Community members “walk in the shoes” of domestic violence victims

Elishia Stewart, tribal member and Manager of the Tulalip Legacy of Healing Advocacy Center and Safe House, introduced herself and the program she manages before the “In Her Shoe” workshop started.

Article and photo by Jeannie Briones

TULALIP, Washington – Domestic Violence can happen to anyone. Victims of domestic violence usually turn to family and friends for help, so staff at the Tulalip Legacy ofHealingAdvocacyCenterand Safe House is working to educate the community about the realities of domestic violence, and teaching empathy rather than sympathy.

‘In Her Shoes’, a series of interactive workshops created by the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV), debuted at the TulalipAdministrativeBuildingthis month. These workshops are designed for learning about domestic violence through audience participation.  Participants act out real life scenarios of battered women – essentially putting themselves in their shoes. The October 18th workshop, ‘In Her Shoes, Economic Justice Edition,’ focused on the added struggles that low-income battered women face and how the community can help bring justice to these survivors.

“‘In Her Shoes, Economic Justice Edition’ pays close attention to each one of these survivor’s stories and how finances and poverty impact their situation and create barriers that make them more unsafe and at risk,” said Traci Underwood, Program Coordinator for WSCADV.

During the workshop, participants stepped inside the victim’s world through an interactive exercise about life choices.  Participants were given cards printed with a real story of a victim and abuser. These stories are unique and the victims in each share a similar background, involving a lack of money and resources. Through these cards, participants make “life choices” concerning school, housing, legal situations, social services, friends, etc. These choices send them in different directions in life to face the consequences.

“When you are walking through the interactive process, you learn what happens in a woman’s life with domestic violence,” said Elishia Stewart, tribal member and Manager of the Tulalip Legacy ofHealingAdvocacyCenterand Safe House.

During the workshop wrap-up session, audience feedback was followed by an open discussion period where workshop participants were given the opportunity to voice concerns and questions about domestic violence.

On October 30th, the second workshop in the series, will feature a Native twist, focusing on the struggles that pertain to Native American victims and their abusers.

For more information, call the Tulalip Legacy of Healing Advocacy Center and Safe House at 360-716-4100, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and more information about the “In Her Shoes” series, visit WSCADV at

Hibulb Cultural Center features Tulalip Storyteller, Virginia Jones

Article by Brandi N. Montreuil, photos submitted by Mike Sarich

TULALIP, Washington- Virginia Jones, a former Lushootseed language teacher for the Tulalip Tribes, is fluent in two languages. While holding a conversation she easily switches between the two creating a multicultural bridge from past to present. She is a storyteller, and among a select few who are keepers of her tribe’s history, lessons, and language through storytelling. In the October 7th, Hibulb Cultural Center Storytelling Series, Virginia shared the story, “Chipmunk and the Owl Lady” and, “Sparrow washing his face,” which was told by William Shelton in 1923.

Virginia explains that storytelling was traditionally a way to keep a family or tribe’s history passed down to each generation, and to teach lessons on morality, ethics, and the creation of the world.

“A storyteller had a very big responsibility, they had a lot of teachings that they had to hold within the stories,” said Virginia.

Every story, she explained, held multiple lessons, and each time a person would hear the story they would learn a new lesson or value as they grew from children to adults.

“Some of the stories would teach the people about how they should live. How they should treat each other and how they should treat the world. Some would teach where you came from and I think that is a powerful thing. Stories could teach you everything you needed to know to become the person you needed to be. “

Virginia carries on the tradition of storytelling with her own children, explaining that over the years, stories are changed very little to keep the oral history intact.

“Stories hold important traditions and I try not to change them very much. It depends on what teachings I am trying to give to my children. If I feel that maybe they are not ready to understand the teachings, I’ll change the stories a little bit so they can understand parts of it better.”

“Even if I am trying to teach them one thing in a story, they might learn something else and I think that is the important part for people everywhere.”

For more information on the Hibulb Cultural Center, please contact Lena Jones at 360-716-2640 or by visiting the website


Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-716-4189;

Tulalip Hawks see loss against Clallam Bay Bruins, 30-40

Article and photos by Brandi N. Montreuil

Robert Miles Je maintains possession of the ball

TULALIP, Washington- Tulalip Heritage Hawks met the Clallam Bay Bruins for their last home game of the season on Saturday, October 20th.

Hawks have struggled through the last four games to keep their offense focused leading to losses for the team. A series of false starts by the Hawks and a series of fumbles made by the Bruins put the two teams’ defense on high alert.

During the second quarter Hawks experienced an amazing turn over by a fumble made by Bruins and recovered by Payton Comenote gave the Hawks possession of the ball. With one minute remaining in the quarter Comenote scored the Hawks first touchdown with another two point conversion. Another fumble by Bruins led to Keanu Hamilton recovering the ball on the 43 yard line and taking the ball into the end zone for a touchdown. A recovered short kick made by Hamilton at the 48 yard line with a pass from Dontae Jones to Comenote brought the Hawks down to the two yard line. With six seconds remaining in the quarter a pass to Hamilton for a touchdown followed for pass for a two-point conversion put the Hawks as the leaders at halftime for a score of 22-14.

No points were scored for the Hawks during the third quarter leaving the Bruins to dominate the field with a touchdown but held back from a two-point conversion by the Hawks defense. Hawks were able to score a touchdown minutes before the end of the game along with a two-point conversion losing the game with a total game score of 30-40.

Keanu Hamilton caught seven passes for a total of 105 yards ran and two touchdowns and returned a fumble for a 45 yard score. Brandon Jones tallied 18 tackles during Hawks defense lead.

For live coverage of the Tulalip Heritage Hawks home games, go to On Demand on Channel 99 or go to the website Games will be available the following day at 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.


Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-716-4189;

Lady Hawks lose to Grace Academy Eagles in 1st five-match game of the season, 2-3

Article and photos by Brandi N. Montreuil

TULALIP, Washington- Tulalip Lady Hawks met second place league holder Grace Academy Eagles in the fifth home game of the season on October 19th in a tense match up. In their previous match up, Lady Hawks lost to the Eagles 0-3, but this time around Lady Hawks had the backing of three previous straight wins to boost their game approach.

Lady Hawks opened the game with a sour set ending with a match score 5-25. Taking the lead Cassandra Jimicum opened the second game match with two ace serves followed by three points scored by Santana Shopbell, the Lady Hawks aggressive server. But game point went to Wendy Jimicum for a game score of 25-20.

In a repeat from the Lady Hawks game against Skykomish, confusion over serving rotation put a delay on the game involving Matilda Comenote and Cassandra Jimicum, resulting in a team spirit back and forth bantering with the home crowd and the guests. On game resume, Cassandra Jimicum took the serve leading to a net touch by Kanoa Enick on the return rally and a game point to the Eagles, game ended with a score of 19-25.

The fourth game started with all serve points made by Kanoa Enick and ended with a strong volley for Lady Hawks for a score of 25-15 putting the game

Rebecca Marteney

into the first Lady Hawks five-match set for the first time this season.

According to game rules the fifth match will only go to 15 points, and Eagles led the starting with a strong defense scoring 4 points quickly. Kanoa Enick served with a point tip made by Matilda Comenote putting the Lady Hawks on the scoreboard with a 2-4 score. Lady Hawks scored 2 additional points and a tip point from Cassandra Jimicum catapulting the Lady Hawks into a point lead. Eagles made a strong display of defense score 3 points and proceeded to dominant the volleys scoring the match win with a score of 10-15, and a final game score of 2-3.

“Grace is a really good team and I don’t know if the girls know how well they played tonight. On the delay it looks like either we skipped a server or they served the same person twice, or the scorekeeper made a mistake, we are not sure yet what happened,” said Tulalip Heritage Lady Hawks Coach Amy Andrews, who says the strategy for the remainder of the season is to relax and play the game.

            For live coverage of Tulalip Heritage Lady Hawks home games you can check out On Demand on Channel 99 or go to Games will be available the following day at 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.


Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-716-4189;

Lady Hawks make incredible defeat over Skykomish Rockets, 3-1

Article and photos by Brandi N. Montreuil

TULALIP, Washington- Tulalip Heritage Lady Hawks met the Skykomish Rockets in their second match up this season on their home turf on October 18th, but unlike last time they met, Lady Hawks were out to prove they could take the win.

The first game match ended with a loss for the Lady Hawks with a score of 19-25, putting the Rockets on the scoreboard as leader.

Second game match started with an explosive round of serves by Santana Shopbell who is quickly gaining the reputation as an overhead serve assassin serving an ace at the beginning of her serve set. A neck in neck round of rallies resulted in a point for point leadership between the two teams, with Issabelle Cervantes scoring an ace during her third serve putting the Lady Hawks as the score leaders. Confusion over Lady Hawks player rotation in the barrel caused a delay on a serve during the match involving Teri Jimicum and Matilda Comenote, but resulted in Lady Hawks taking the match win for a score of 25-19, and another win for the third game match with a score of 25-18.

During the end of fourth game match Cervantes suffered an injury during the rally causing Comenote to be called in as a substitution on the barrel. Another confusion on rotation on Lady Hawks’s players called for a replay in the game, following Wendy Jimicum for a point serve tying the game at 23-23. Wendy Jimicum served two more points ending the game match for a winning score of 25-23, and final game score of 3-1.

“The team is really small and we’ve had issues off and on about eligibility. Some of the girls

Cassandra Jimicum

know their positions really well, and the ref helped them incorrectly, but then they fixed it that’s why there was a delay. I think they played really well even though we had some off serves, and our communication has gotten so much better. This has been an exciting season so far,” said Coach Amy Andrews who has struggled this season in getting the players to communicate with each other during plays.

For live coverage of Tulalip Heritage Lady Hawks home games you can check out On Demand Games will be available the following day at 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.


Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-716-4189;

Tulalip Resort Casino first tribal hotel to be honored with “Outstanding Property of the Year” award

Tulalip Resort Casino

Press Release, Ken Kettler, President & COO, Tulalip Resort Casino

TULALIP, Washington –Tulalip Resort Casino is honored to be the first tribal hotel to receive the “Outstanding Property of the Year” award from The Washington Lodging Association (WLA).  With the receipt of this accolade, Tulalip will qualify to be considered for the “National Outstanding Property” award by the American Hospitality Lodging Association.

“This tribute really belongs to our incredible hospitality team, for their passion and continuing dedication to creating an exceptional experience for our guests,” says Kenneth Kettler, Tulalip Resort Casino President and COO.  “The WLA’s recognition is a perfect complement to the acknowledgement the hotel has received from AAA with the presentation of the Four Diamond award.”

Tulalip Resort Casino is located on the Tulalip Indian Reservation near Marysville. The 12-story, luxury hotel opened August 15, 2008 and includes 370 guest rooms with numerous specialty suites, such as the 3,000 square-foot Tulalip Suite, the 2,000 square-foot Player’s Suite; the Technology Suite; and two Asian-themed suites. All standard rooms at the hotel sport granite countertops, dark African wenge-wood trim, 47-inch flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, triple-headed showers and floor-to-ceiling windows. Authentic tribal art, valued at more than $1 million, is incorporated into the hotel’s interior design.

The Washington Lodging Association, incorporated in 1920, is the non-profit trade and professional association dedicated to the interests of the lodging industry in Washington State. They are a resource for news and events, member benefits and programs, directories and publications. WLA members are represented by hoteliers and hospitality professionals from the Pacific Northwest.

For more information about Tulalip Resort Casino visit  To learn more about the Washington Lodging Association, visit


About Tulalip Resort Casino

Award winning Tulalip Resort Casino is the most distinctive gaming, dining, meeting, entertainment and shopping destination in Washington State. The AAA Four Diamond resort’s world class amenities have ensured its place on the Condé Nast Traveler Gold and Traveler Top 100 Resorts lists, as well as Preferred Hotel & Resorts membership. The property includes 192,000 square feet of gaming excitement; a luxury hotel featuring 370 guest rooms and suites; 30,000 square feet of premier meeting, convention and wedding space; the full-service T Spa; and six dining venues.  It also showcases the intimate Canoes Cabaret; a 3,000-seat amphitheater; and Seattle Premium Outlets, featuring more than 110 name brand retail discount shops. The Resort Casino is conveniently located between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. just off Interstate-5 at exit 200. It is an enterprise of the Tulalip Tribes. For reservations please call (866) 716-7162.


NACTEP experiences astounding volume of Tulalip students

Article and photos by Brandi N. Montreuil

Construction Industry Training Site Supervisor, Billy Burchett, checks on the progress of students taking the CIT 104 class

TULALIP, Washington-  The Native American Career & Technical Education Program (NACTEP) is a unique opportunity for Native American and Alaskan Natives to get hands-on experience, through college credit courses, in the construction industry. Upon completion of the courses, students are certified in areas such as energy management, CPR, first aid, and flagging, and will have specific skills in framing, plumbing, and foundations.

NACTEP is authorized under the section 116 of the Carl D. Perkins Career & Technical Education Act of 2006. Through this act, NACTEP is able to provide grants to tribes, tribal organizations, and Bureau of Indian Affairs funded schools. This funding is used to support programs tailored for careers in high-demand occupations in established or emerging professions, such as the Construction Industry Program offered at Tulalip through Edmonds and Everett Community Colleges.

However, funding is so competitive that only 30 grants are awarded each year to tribes across the nation. Awarded funding is for a limited time period and in 2007, $14.6 million was allotted to 30 tribes for the next five years, with Tulalip Tribes being one of them. Tulalip Tribes received $493,345 and now is experiencing its highest amount of Tulalip Tribal members enrolled at any one time for its fall 2012 quarter.

“We started out with 21 students for the fall quarter, and we currently have 19 still enrolled. It has been two years since I started here, and this is the biggest class of Tulalip tribal members, it is 84 percent of our numbers right now,” said former NACTEP student Billy Burchett, now the Construction Industry Training Site Supervisor and Tulalip tribal member.

Burchett accredits the steady pace of building projects Tulalip has scheduled as a possible motivator for new students enrolling in each quarter.

“Each class has been getting a little more [Native students]each time, and more of the young generation that are just right out of high school, or a couple of

class instructor, Mark Newland helps NACTEP student Rafael Madera

years out of it. I think it is word of mouth that is bringing them in,” said Burchett.

Burchett said students learn the basics and fundamentals of the construction industry through a series of courses that highlight certain construction trades, such as framework, foundations; finish work, and core skills involving blueprint reading, layout, and safety.

“I am hoping to get a job with Tulalip Construction and help build the housing projects that the tribe is building,” said NACTEP student and Tulalip tribal member Ryan Jones, who is taking the course for the second time.

Jones explains that through the NACTEP he has learned valuable skills that he did not previously have, that will help him obtain a job in the competitive construction industry.

“The hardest part was reading a measuring tape. I could read the inches but I didn’t know about all the fractions of the inches until I took this class.”

In a class of 19, student Johnean Fornsby, a Nooksack tribal member, is the only other woman taking the CIT 104 class, and hopes to make her career in building foundations

NACTEP is available to Tulalip tribal members, persons enrolled in a federally recognized tribe, parents and spouses of an enrolled Tulalip tribal member, and employees of the Tulalip Tribes, such as Victor Alday Jr.

Alday, a parent to enrolled Tulalip members, says a lack of experience has kept him from previously succeeding in construction. Now going through the course he says a career, as an electrician, will be a possibility for him as well as joining the Union.

Students going through a NACTEP supported course are better prepared to pursue further education, and enter high-skilled high-waged employment, reports the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Vocational and Adult Education. Part of the unique opportunity students have through NACTEP is help with job placement. Wait times between student graduation and job placement is drastically reduced through the grant, making it popular for students switching careers.

“If you are here everyday, you are going to succeed, and that is our number one thing, be here, and be on time,” said Burchett.

For more information on classes offered through the NACTEP or how you can register, please contact Mark Newland or Wendy Thompson at 360-716-4759.

Two Indians, by Matika Wilbur

By Kim Kalliber; photos by Matika Wilbur

SEATTLE, Washington – Photography can have such an impact on our lives. Discovering nature’s beauty and exploring new cultures and opening minds to new ideas, these concepts are all found in the work of Matika Wilbur.  Her emotionally complex photographs examine how Native people face cultural dualities and the connection between their culture and contemporary pop culture.

Matika is from the Swinomish and Tulalip Tribes. Her work has been shown in regional, national and international venues, such as the Royal British Columbia Museum of Fine Arts, the Nantes Museum of Fine Arts in France, the Seattle Art Museum and the Burke Museum.

Now you can find Matika’s latest project on Kickstarter, a funding platform for creative projects. Kickstarter is an online site full of independent, ambitious and imaginative projects that are brought to life through direct support of others.

Matika’s project on Kickstarter, 562 A Photo Project Documenting Native America, is currently accepting donations.  The goal is to create a publication, exhibition, and lecture series documenting all 562 Tribes in the United States, although the ultimate goal is education. Matika will be traveling the United States in a photo studio equipped RV, paying a visit to all 52 states, and all 562 Federally Recognized Tribes. She will be using these donations for travel expenses, film and darkroom supplies and website development.

“I am so excited about my upcoming journey,” said Matika. “I feel as though all of the work that I have done up until this point has prepared me for a project of this magnitude.”

My mom, Matika Wilbur

Matika goes on to describe events in her life that led her to explore Native cultures through the camera  lens.

“When I was 17 years old I got sober, and have remained sober for the last 11 years and it was because of this experience that I had the courage to pursue higher education at The Brooks Institute of Photography. After I graduated, I took my first internship with Round Earth Productions photographing indigenous people in South America, where I realized that I hadn’t ever photographed my own people – so I came home, and began ‘We Are One People,’ a series of character study portraits documenting Coast Salish Elders. ‘We Are One People’ hangs in the Tulalip Admin Building, and has been shown at several museums. The success of ‘We Are One People’ catapulted my career into projects that explore our “indian-ness.”

Organic vs Origin, Matika Wilbur

“All of those experiences led me back to Tulalip Heritage High School to teach photography, where I learned so much working with our youth, and really had the opportunity to re-connect,” Matika continued. “I didn’t realize that all of that travel, exhibition and teaching would lead me to this- but I’m glad that it did. I’m so grateful for all of the support that I’ve received from my family and friends, I feel so blessed.”

Funding levels vary on Kickstarter and each pledge level offers the backers specific items in return. For instance, with a pledge of $10 or more, backers will receive a digital copy of the “562” book, while a pledge of $2,500 or more will entitle backers to join Matika on the road for two days as she explores Indian Country, along with receiving the awards offered at the $1,000 level.

Matika will be having an “End of Kickstarter” bash on October 28th in Seattle, with live music performed by Kore Ionz and Bakra Bata. Visit for more information and location of this event.

This project will only be funded if at least $30,000 is pledged on Kickstarter by Novemer 1st. For information and to become a backer, visit and enter 562 under “search projects.”

For more information on Matika Wilbur, visit

Building relationships through open communication

Totem Middle School teachers reach out to parents

 Article and photo by Jeannie Briones

TULALIP, Washington – Teachers are always looking for ways to better communicate with their students, and now they are reaching out to the parents. Community Partnership, a new program at Totem Middle School, is simply designed for teachers to meet one-on-one with parents outside of the classroom, at their homes or any other location of the parents choosing.

These out-of-classroom visits enable the teachers and parents to form better relationships and build trust. Questions such as, what are your child’s hopes and dreams, bring both teachers and parents to a common understanding about the kids needs and academic standing.

Daniel Natividad, Native Equity Access Specialist and Interim Associate Principal for Totem Middle School is elated with the progress the program has made so far. In the few months that the program has been in operation, school staff has seen an improvement in attendance and test scores and a decrease is suspensions and expulsions, along with less vandalism around the school.

 “It’s been a positive program,” said Daniel, referring to the positive changes in the children’s behavior.

Staff is striving to make 60 home visits to parents by the end of the first quarter of school. 25 visits have already been made, ten of these to tribal member families. 

Teachers have received warm welcomes from the families, many of which give thanks to Totem Middle School staff for taking the time to show they care about their child’s education.

“It’s all about building a relationship, and once we have that relationship, everyone is going to be successful,” said Daniel.

Staff are available to meet with parents after school and weekends. For more information, contact Daniel Natividad at 360-653-0608 or email,

Watch D.O.G.S. brings dads to school

Totem Middle School

Article and photo by Jeannie Briones    

TULALIP, Washington – Something exciting is happening at Totem Middle School.  New to the school this year is Watch D.O.G.S. – Dads of Great Students –a program that encourages fathers to get more involved at their child’s school. Father, grandfathers, step-dads, uncles, and all father figures are encouraged to volunteer at the school to provide positive male role models, and work with the kids to enhance their learning environment.

These mentors assists in a variety of ways, such as monitoring the school lunch room, helping out in classrooms, and other activities assigned by the school’s administrative staff. Their presence also provides an extra set of eyes and ears, which reduces signs of bullying.

 Daniel Natividad, Native Equity Access Specialist and Interim Associate Principal for Totem Middle School is one of the dedicated employees working to get this project underway. As an advocate for Native American kids, David feels that this positive program helps kids grow socially and academically, creating a solid foundation for their future.

 “We are in the opening stages of this program. We had 21 dads sign up for different days throughout the school year, to help out in the classroom, lunchroom, and on campus,” said Daniel.

Through the Watch D.O.G.S. program, these role models are asked to volunteer for at least one full day during the school year

“We are trying to increase male positive role models on campus. Kids can feel like they are cared for, especially the kids who don’t have a positive role model at home,” Daniel continued. “The first dad is coming in this month, and he’s going to help out with the classroom and buses.”

Daniel encourages all tribal and non-tribal parents to participate in the program, saying,  “One the big goals this year is to make sure the community understands that education is not a one sided street. It’s not a one person process, it requires everyone, the teachers, students, and lastly the parents.”

Watch D.O.G.S., an educational initiative of the National Center For Fathering, has been in operation since 1998, helping children thrive through father and father figure involvement at schools across the nation. For Totem Middle School it means a step in the right direction to enhancing children’s lives, especially for kids dealing with challenging issues at home like poverty, drug abuse, abuse, and the lack of parental guidance.

For information on volunteering at Totem Middle School, contact Daniel Natividad at 360-653-0608. For information on the Watch D.O.G.S. program, visit