NACTEP – Native American Career & Technical Education Program

by  Jeanne Steffener, Tulalip Tribes Higher ED

Have you heard of the Native American Career & Technical Education Program (NACTEP)? More than likely you have seen advertising in the See Yaht Sub in the past for these classes at the Tulalip College Center. NACTEP was authorized to provide grants to Indian tribes, tribal organizations and Bureau funded schools to support career and technical education programs by the Federal Government. These programs are provided to help Native Americans prepare for high-skill, high-wage or high-demand occupations in established or emerging professions. The grant provides for the program’s teachers, tuition, books and stipends for students so they can effectively participate in their education.

Tulalip Tribes has partnered with Everett Community College (EvCC) and Edmonds Community College (EdCC) to provide the Native American Career and Technical Education Program (NACTEP) courses here at Tulalip. With EvCC the focus has been on the Tribal Business Technology Certificate Program. These classes may be applied to a future degree. The goal of the courses and program is to provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary to gain employment as office support and customer service front line staff. There is a current need within the Tulalip Tribes for these skills.

Edmonds Community College’s focus has primarily been on the Leadership-Management courses. The Leadership Certificate of Completion can be earned by completing a series of courses on Supervision Basics, Presentation Skills, Leadership, Effective Teams and Coaching & Mentoring.

The success rates for NACTEP students is documented and demonstrates that Native American students are progressing through these skill and knowledge building programs nationwide. These students are better prepared to pursue further education or enter into high-skilled or high-wage employment. Courses are offered to all Tulalip members, employees & community members.

This Summer 2016 quarter is beginning July 5th. Courses offered this summer are Business Communications, Introduction to Microsoft Word, Job Search/Professional Development, Beginning Keyboarding, Keyboarding – Speed & Accuracy, Records Management, Service Essentials for Business, Computer Literacy. We are having two (2) Drop-In Sessions on May 31 (2-4 pm) & June 16 (4-6 pm) at the Administration Building in room 263. The complete AD will be in a couple of upcoming issues in the See Yaht Sub. Please look for them.

If you are interested in becoming part of this success story and opening up your opportunities, just pick up your phone and dial 360-716-4888 to contact the Higher Education Department for more information or email us at

Public Health Alert: Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) in Tulalip

This health alert is to advise the community of a recent increase in Hand Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) in Tulalip.  
HFMD infection spreads quickly and should NOT be confused with the chicken pox (more info below).  
If your child or family member has symptoms of HFMD, take the child or family member to their medical provider:
First few days:
o   Fever
o   Reduced appetite
o   Sore throat
o   Feeling unwell (malaise)
 A day or two later: 
o   Painful sores in the mouth, usually starting in the back of the mouth
o   The sores often start as small red spots that blister then turn to ulcers.
 Over a few days:
·         Similar spots (red spots that may blister) on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet
·         Other, less common places for the spots are: knees, elbows, buttocks, and genital area.  
HFMD Spreads VERY easily.  Prevent the spread by: 
·         Frequent handwashing with soap and water:
o   Always after touching any blister or sore
o   Before preparing food and/or eating
o   Before caring for babies
o   After using the toilet/changing diapers
·         Cleaning surfaces touched by anyone with HFMD (including toys, counters, dishes, etc.)
o   First clean with soap and water
o   Then disinfect with a solution made of 1 part bleach and 10 parts water (e.g. 2 Tablespoons bleach in 1¼ cup water)
·         Avoid close contact (kissing hugging, sharing cups, forks, spoons, etc.) with anyone with HFMD
·         Keep infants and sick children out of school, daycare, and other gatherings until they are well.
·         Monitor sick children and see a doctor right away if:
o   There is a high fever that doesn’t go down, 
o   The baby/child is not as alert as normal, or 
o   You think the baby/child needs to be seen (isn’t getting better, something is “off,” etc.)
·         Cough and sneeze into your elbow and teach children to do the same
·         Immediately throw away used tissues, diapers, etc. in trash bins with lids
HFMD is not preventable with a vaccine.  You can get HFMD more than once.  There is no benefit to getting or spreading HFMD.  
HFMD is NOT “chicken pox” (varicella), nor is it related.  Currently, there are NO confirmed cases of chicken pox at this time.  HFMD rash is more common on the hands, feet, and in the mouth; chicken pox rash is more common on the chest/back/abdomen.  If you would like to learn about chicken pox:  All children should be vaccinated against chicken pox twice: on or shortly after their 1stbirthday and again before kindergarten.  

Thank you for your attention and for caring for your community.

Tribal Court Warrant Quash Fridays


by Wendy Church, Tribal Court Director

If you have a warrant for your arrest on the Tulalip Reservation, you may be able to quash your warrant.

Warrants are issued because you failed to appear at your hearing, or there was a criminal complaint filed against you, also if you have failed to comply with a court order, such as having a probation violation or a missed urinalysis. You may be able to quash old warrants and get a new hearing date.

For first time offenders (sometimes second time offenders), your warrant quash will cost you nothing.  If you are a repeat offender, the judge may levy a fee for you to quash your warrant, anywhere from $25, $50 or $75 dollars.  The police, prosecution, and probation are then notified that you came to the court to quash your warrant.  It is advised to please keep your warrant quash paperwork on you for at least one week.

The Tribal Court encourages you to come in to quash your warrant.  It shows you are taking care of business and makes a good impression on the judge.

Warrant quashes are held on Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.—it is advised you show up no later than 10:45 a.m. to quash your warrant.

If you have questions regarding warrant quashes, you can call the Tribal Court

at 360 / 716-4773.

Deborah Parker named to Democrat’s Platform  Committee


Deborah Parker, vice chair of the Tulalip Tribes of Washington state, reacts to President Barack Obama signing the Violence Against Women Act in 2013 in Washington. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP


Press Release, 

WASHINGTON – First the news. Then the context.

The news is that Deborah Parker has been named to the Democratic National Convention’s Platform Committee. That’s both remarkable and important. She was appointed by Bernie Sanders.

As Nicole Willis posted on Facebook: “I am beyond pleased that American Indian and Alaska Native issues are such a high priority for this campaign– so much that one of our platform spots has gone to Deborah Parker!” (Willis is the National Tribal Outreach Director for the Sanders’ campaign.)

Now the context. Every four years political parties craft carefully worded statements.  They outline exactly what the party hopes to achieve over the next four years should they win the White House and Congress. These are aspirational documents, not a governing document or political legislation.

So the way it works is that usually the party’s nominee selects the platform committee. That’s exactly what will happen on the Republican side as Donald Trump will start to put his stamp on the Republicans campaign. But the Democrats are not there yet. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has a sizable lead, but not quite enough delegates to win. And Bernie Sanders is in that tough spot of trying to catch up to Clinton with fewer and fewer delegates up for grabs. When there is no nominee, usually, the party appoints the convention committee posts.

On Monday the party picked another route. Clinton was awarded 6 seats; Sanders 5; and the remaining 4 will be appointed by the party itself. Politico call this a “concession” to Sanders because his supporters will be able to influence the party to be more progressive on a range of issues, such as a higher minimum wage.

Parker, a former Vice-Chairman of the Tulalip Tribes in Washington, was an early supporter of Sanders. Parker has much to offer any platform committee. First, she understands and can communicate the relationship between tribes and the federal government and what might be possible in terms of improvement. Second, Parker was a critical voice in the enactment of the Violence Against Women Act. She adds expertise and credibility.

Four years ago, the Democratic Party Platform included this section on Tribal Sovereignty:

American Indian and Alaska Native tribes are sovereign self-governing communities, with a unique government-to-government relationship with the United States. President Obama and Democrats in Congress, working with tribes, have taken unprecedented steps to resolve long-standing conflicts, finally coming to a resolution on litigation—some dating back nearly 100 years—related to management of Indian trust resources, administration of loan programs, and water rights.

President Obama worked with Democrats to pass the HEARTH Act to promote greater tribal self- determination and create jobs in Indian Country. The Affordable Care Act permanently reauthorized the Indian Health Care Improvement Act to improve care for Native Americans. Democrats enacted the Tribal Law and Order Act, support expansion of the Violence Against Women Act to include greater protection for women on tribal lands, and oppose versions of the Violence Against Women Act that do not include these critical provisions. We will continue to honor our treaty and trust obligations and respect cultural rights, including greater support for American Indian and Alaska Native languages. Democrats support maximizing tribal self-governance, including efforts for self-determination and sovereignty of Native Hawaiians.

In addition to Parker, other members of the Democratic Platform Committee: Bernie Sanders’ appointments are Dr. Cornell West, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota), Bill McKibben (Author, expert on climate change), and James Zogby (Arab American Institute). Hillary Clinton’s appointments are Ambassador Wendy Sherman, Neera Tanden (Center for American Progress), Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Ohio State), Carol Browner (Former EPA head), Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois), and Paul Booth (union leader).

Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, who has endorsed Clinton, will head the committee. The DNC also named Rep. Barbara Lee, D-California; Former Rep. Howard Berman, and a former CEO, Bonnie Schaefer.

Servin’ up Tulalip: Ryan’s REZ-ipes offers tasty, unique dishes

Food truck-2

Ryan Gobin, owner of Ryan’s REZ-ipes food truck. Photo/Kalvin Valdillen


By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

New food truck hits the streets of Tulalip. Tribal Member, Ryan Gobin, talks about his new business, his unique menu, and his long time passion for food.

What inspired you to open your own food truck?

My inspirational drive comes from within myself in wanting to inspire others to reach for the stars and know that goals are achievable. Going from being a law enforcement officer for ten years to owning a food truck is a huge change, but it was a goal set by myself and I wanted it bad enough to not stop until it became a reality.

I know there are a lot of Tribal members who are great cooks and I want to inspire them to do the same and hope one day to have a line of food trucks within Tulalip owned and operated by Tribal members who do what they love and follow their passion.

I’m all about supporting others in following their dreams and I feel it’s never about being competitive. It’s about supporting one another and lifting each other up to do better. I feel that treating others how I want to be treated will create a better outcome in life and positive empowerment is a great way of life.

I’ve always wanted to start something that had to do with food because I’ve always had a passion for cooking and it brought me joy to see others enjoy my food. I never thought it would be a food truck though.

Over the past few years, I set a goal for myself to start my own business and made attempts at others that didn’t work in my favor. Most importantly they just weren’t my passion; food is my passion.

So after many attempts and fails seeking a venture in food, I came across a concession stand at an auction and purchased it. The concession needed a lot of work and I had little to work with. I then started a Kickstart account and received help with funding by many within our own community and even several I didn’t know. The concession needed over 10k in work to pass health inspection.

During the time of putting money into the concession and attempting to fix it up, I saw a food truck and smoker combination for sale on Craigslist. I believe God had a plan for me and I felt it was meant to be mine. So I purchased the truck and smoker and began my work in piecing it together. After months of work, with the help of community members, it was finally complete and ready for business.

How did you come up with the name?

I had a hard time coming up with a name as I was trying to come up with something different. After going through several names in my head, I thought to myself that I wanted to get others involved within our own area. So I put it out there on social media as a contest.

I asked for others to come up with a name for a food truck and whoever’s name I chose would get two free meals upon grand opening. After going through over 100 names from everyone’s ideas, I finally stopped on Ryan’s REZ-ipes; it had a ring to it and stayed with me. Ding-ding we had a winner and stuck with it!


Food truck-4


When did you first get into cooking?

I first got into cooking in my teen years. I have lots of family members that are amazing cooks and have been taught many recipes from all of them. I watched when people cooked in my younger years and began trying my own recipes. I could name everyone I learned from, but that would be a long list.

I took a little from everyone and began making my own. One thing I kept the same was my salsa. I can’t really call it my salsa because I was taught by Gerald Lugo Sr., who wrote down on a piece of paper for me how to make his salsa. Which is why I’m going to eventually jar my salsa with a label that says ‘Uncle G’s salsa’ dedicated to Uncle G who has passed on and left us all with his amazing teachings of happiness and great tasting recipes.

With food trucks growing in popularity in the Northwest, you are one of few in our area, what was the initial reception from the community?

The community was a huge help in getting my food truck off the ground and I have got nothing but great feedback from everyone within our area.

What’s your best seller and what makes it a fan favorite?

Being we are in our fourth week of being open, it’s difficult to say what our best seller is as of yet. However, when I observe customers approach the food truck and look over the menu, I see they have a difficult time choosing what to order being all of the items are amazing choices. I honestly don’t think we have a best seller as of yet, it seems pretty even with all items sold.

What’s your favorite part about owning your business?

I can control the outcome. If I want to make it a success, I will make it happen with consistency, dedication and passion.

What I also like about it is that I can create a team of people that also share the same passion for food and wanting to make others happy by producing amazing tasting food, which comes from a happy, positive environment.

One person that has been with me in this truck since day one is Dale Grove. Dale is very passionate about food and a huge help in getting my business off the ground and has also taught me a lot along the way. I’m very thankful to him as he also works a full time job and still finds the time to help me.

What makes your truck unique?

I believe my truck has it’s own uniqueness in a couple different ways. One would be the name. When someone looks at our name, it’s usually followed with a smile, which is always my first intent. The second would be by looking over the food menu. Honestly, I’ve never even heard of smoked salmon fried rice (some may have, but I haven’t).

In thinking of different recipes, we thought about something that nobody around has which would make it unique. Eating a burger with smoked salmon, cream cheese and caramelized onions I’ve never heard of, but sounded amazing so we tried it and BAM! It was amazing! Everything that is sold in the food truck is always fresh and never frozen. We even provide hand cut fries and hand made chips which are deep fried in peanut oil, which provides an even better flavor.

Besides your own, what is your favorite food truck?

In all honesty, I don’t have a favorite food truck being I haven’t eaten at very many. I think the only food truck that sticks out to me is from an event I attended in Seattle, which sold deep fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I mean, who wouldn’t love that?

How would you describe your food and menu?

Ryan’s REZ-ipes menu is best described as unique. Our menu has a variety of things to choose from, from smoked meats to smoked veggies. I try to have a little for everyone, whether they want to eat just veggies, smoked salmon fried rice or a bowl of BBQ baked beans infused with smoked brisket. I’ve had many say they may just have to come back once a day to order one or two things on the menu at a time until they try every single item. The options are just that amazing.

Where can we find you?

Ryan’s REZ-ipes food truck can be found within the boundaries of Tulalip Tuesday through Friday and eventually I plan to extend the days and hours.

We can be located on Facebook; just type in ‘Ryan’s REZ-ipes’ and hit the ‘like’ button and you will see locations, photographs of food served and daily specials.


Food truck-1

NPLCC Seeks Tribal Climate Change Management Intern 

Special Announcement from the North Pacific LCC

In partnership with the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) and Indian Affairs Northwest, the North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative (NPLCC) is pleased to announce a tribal climate change management internship opportunity working in our Olympia, WA office.In addition to the NPLCC position, there are 5 other tribal climate change research and management opportunities with ATNI and Bureau of Indian Affairs in Oregon and Washington. These paid internships will last 13 weeks over the summer months and candidates must currently be enrolled in graduate or undergraduate degree programs. Candidates will be considered from a range of academic backgrounds including public affairs, social policy, legal, engineering, environmental science, environmental management, or similar degree.


The intern selected to work with the NPLCC will assist in collaboration with area Tribes and First Nations to understand and adapt to our changing environment. Specific tasks include:

  • Planning and support of a regional Tribe/First Nation Committee gathering
  • Assisting NPLCC Science/Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Communication staff and subcommittees in improving how we connect with our Tribe and First Nation partners
  • Develop strategies that improve coordination between the NPLCC and other forums that engage tribes on climate-related topics
  • And much more!

This partnership offers the NPLCC a great opportunity to strengthen our engagement with Tribes and First Nations and we look forward to choosing a dynamic applicant.

Poll shows Tulalip overwhelmingly in favor of term Indian, split on Redskin

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

A few days ago the Washington Post, a daily newspaper widely circulated in Washington D.C., published their findings of a poll supposedly showing that Native Americans don’t care that much about the term ‘Redskin’. In fact, the Washington Poll found that an overwhelming 90% of Native Americans weren’t at all bothered by the term. Following their publishing of the poll, news outlets across the country picked it up and ran with it. All the sports related networks, TV shows, talk radio and on-line media were quick to have “Native Americans don’t care about term Redskin” as a major talking point.

Here’s the thing though and it’s a biggie…the Washington Post poll was grossly inaccurate in its methodology. So much so that as a fellow media outlet and news organization, we are embarrassed for them.

“Accuracy is the foundation of good journalism. However, the methodology used to conduct [the Washington Post] poll was fundamentally flawed and as a result, its data set and all conclusions reached are inherently inaccurate and misleading,” stated the Native American Journalist Society in their response to the poll. “The reporting fails to pass the test of accurate and ethical reporting in an example of creating the news rather than simply reporting it.”

The poll was severely flawed on two fronts. First, it relied completely on self-identified Native American respondents in its sampling. So individuals would be asked if they are Native American or not. Then they would be asked if they did claim to be Native, if they were enrolled in a tribe. No research or fact gathering was done to verify whether a respondent was indeed Native or if they were actually enrolled. Secondly, the vast majority of respondents to the poll lived nowhere near a tribal reservation, let alone actually lived on one.

So the Washington Post polled individuals who did not live on or near a reservation and who self-identified as being Native American with no kind of process in place to determine if these people were actually, you know, Native American. Terrible, terrible methodology which led to wide-spread inaccurate reporting in the mainstream media. We can’t begin to assume what every Native American in the country thinks about the word Redskin, but we can figure out what Tulalip thinks about it. While on the subject we also wondered how our people felt about the word Indian. So we did our own poll.

Here’s our methodology. With a quick stop to the Tulalip Admin. Building, Senior Center, Youth Services, Hibulb Cultural Center, Heritage High School, and a few places in between we were able to poll 110 Tulalip citizens. That’s 110 tribal members who are firmly connected to the reservations through residence, school, and work. Of the 110 it was a seemingly 50/50 split of males vs. females, while ages ranged from high school student to tribal elder. It’s interesting to note that every single person polled responded in-person to the polling staff member; no one refused or abstained from questioning.

You may be wondering how a poll of only 110 Tulalip citizens can be indicative of the entire Tulalip Tribe. Well, basically that’s how surveys and polls of nearly any nature work. For example, in the Washington Post poll they used 504 so-called Native people to represent the 5.4 Million Native American population. Here, we are using 110 Tulalips to statistically represent the 2,845 adult members of the Tulalip Tribe.

The polling consisted of two straight-forward questions; 1. Do you find the word Indian offensive? 2. Do you find the word Redskin offensive? Accepted responses were ‘yes’, ‘no’, or ‘depends on the context’. The following is our results.



A whopping 83% of Tulalip citizens said they are not offended by the word Indian, while only 9% said they were offended, and the remaining 8% said it depends on the context.

Now, for the as-of-late, media driven buzz word Redskin: 46% of Tulalip citizens said they are offended by it, 37% said they were not offended by it, and the remaining 16% said it depends on the context. The results were quite mixed, but definitely a far cray from the 90% the Washington Post found to be not bothered by the term. Interesting to note that of the 16% who said it depends on the context, almost everyone said that the context is whether or not a Native or non-Native person was using it.

Interpretation of the results is an entirely different discussion. People can talk about political correctness, media narratives, and social science theories on linguistics and imaging for days on end. That’s not what we are doing at this time. Instead, we just wanted to show what an accurate polling representation of Tulalip citizens would illustrate in regards to the level of offensiveness of two words, Indian and Redskin, on the Tulalip Reservation.



Contact Micheal Rios,

The World Day you’ve never heard of

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

You’ve all heard of World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, right? Wait, you haven’t? No, it’s not Earth Day. It’s more like Earth Day’s illegitimate step-child.

Saturday, May 21, was the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (we’ll just call it World Day), just like it’s been every year since 2002. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard about it before, you’re in the majority. There are plenty of reasons that it isn’t well known, most of which have to do with being a legitimate attempt to accept and recognize cultural diversity.

“Celebrating cultural diversity means opening up new perspectives for sustainable development and promoting creative industries and cultural entrepreneurship as sources of millions of jobs worldwide – particularly for young people and especially for women. Culture is a sustainable development accelerator whose potential has been recognized in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the United Nations,” says Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO.

World Day was created by UNESCO in December 2002. Wondering what the heck UNESCO is? It’s a specialized agency of the United Nations. Its purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights.

So, why the need for a World Day? Maybe because three-quarters of the world’s major conflicts have a cultural dimension. Because bridging the gap between cultures is urgent and necessary for peace, stability, and development throughout the world.

On the micro-level, as Native people we are pretty experienced with cultural conflicts. Seems like every month, every week, and every day even, we are fighting some kind of cultural conflict; either externally with the US Government, internally between tribal families, or on some level in-between. Between the city of Marysville and the Tulalip Reservation there are never any shortages of cultural conflict stories to be heard, and we’re neighbors. So it’s easy to see why bridging the gap between cultures is urgent and necessary for stability and development.

One way that culture gap is being bridged is by the implementation of Since Time Immemorial (STI) curriculum in the Marysville School District, amongst other school districts in the area. The ground-breaking initiative will teach the details of tribal sovereignty, tribal history, and current tribal issues with context to students of all grade levels. Teachers will find that it’s easy to integrate tribal perspectives into their already existing lesson plans. The result echoes the mission of World Day, to openly accept and acknowledge cultural diversity as a driving force of development with respect to personal growth and as a means of leading a more fulfilling intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual life.

We know that cultural diversity should be promoted not just some of the time, but all the time. Cultural diversity is an asset that is indispensable for poverty reduction and the achievement of sustainable development. That is why World Day is an important day to be celebrated.

The Snohomish County Human Rights Commission held a celebration for World Day that was open to any and every one. It took place at the Edmonds Seniors Center on Thursday, May 19. There were some very fascinating talking points discussed about diversity and Snohomish County. Did you know that Snohomish County is undergoing an explosion of diversity with profound social and cultural change? With an increasingly diverse population base, 14.5% of Snohomish County residents were born outside the country. Just a short 20-minute drive from Tulalip is the city of Lynnwood. What’s so interesting about Lynnwood is it has become a city in which the majority of residents are people of color. Similarly, to us in Tulalip where the majority of residents are of color (read Native).

All this is to say our local area, Snohomish County, is rapidly growing in diversity. However, we know that being diverse isn’t the same as recognizing and appreciating diversity. That’s why a day like World Day is important to acknowledge and celebrate. The hope is that by talking about and honoring cultural diversity, as an inclusive and necessary framework for our very survival, we can bring about a more peaceful community and county.

There are issues facing all humankind – global warming is an example – that will take all of us working together and taking responsibility for each other to clean up the common air we breathe, the common water we drink. How clean does the water have to be in order for us to safely eat the fish that swim in it? Cleaning up the ocean is a global task. No one can do this alone.

Cultural diversity is the common heritage of humanity, as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature.

While Earth Day is more like a club that you can join and say that you are part of, World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development forces you to take responsibility for your actions and actually walk the talk. This assertive stance is part of the reason it isn’t as popular with mainstream America. It calls for people to build a world community of individuals committed to support diversity with real and everyday life gestures. To raise awareness about the importance of intercultural dialogue, diversity and inclusion.

In any case, now that you know that World Day exists, take a moment to think about its important and what it means as Native person to help spread cultural diversity. Maybe consider making a resolution to follow through with one of ten simple things you can to do celebrate World Day every day.


Ten simple things YOU can do to celebrate the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

  1. Visit an art exhibit or a museum dedicated to other cultures.
  2. Invite a family or people in the neighborhood from another culture or religion to share a meal with you and exchange views on life.
  3. Rent a movie or read a book from another country or religion than your own.
  4. Invite people from a different culture to share in your customs.
  5. Read about great thinkers of other cultures than yours (e.g. Confucius, Socrates, Avicenna, Ibn Khaldun, Aristotle, Ganesh, Rumi).
  6. Go next week-end to visit a place of worship different than yours and participate in the celebration.
  7. Play  the “stereotypes game.” Stick a post-it on your forehead with the name of a country. Ask people to tell you stereotypes associated with people from that country. You win if you find out where you are from.
  8. Learn about traditional celebrations from other cultures; learn more about Hanukkah or Ramadan or about amazing celebrations of New Year’s Eve in Spain or Qingming festival in China.
  9. Spread your own culture around the world through our (UNESCO) Facebook page and learn about other cultures.
  10. Explore music of a different culture.

There are thousands of things that you can do, are you taking part in it?

Edmonds School District seeks Tulalip input on new Native curriculum

Edmonds School District staff meets with Tulalip tribal leadership. Photo/Kalvin Valdillez

Edmonds School District staff meets with Tulalip tribal leadership.
Photo/Kalvin Valdillez


By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

“He took my sacred place and ripped it in half! I knew it was going to happen, but it still made me sad,” stated a third grade student from Edmonds School District (ESD). The student was referring to an assignment from her teacher where she had to create a ‘Sacred Place’ with all of her favorite things, and with all her favorite people. The student drew her sacred place, which included a rare one-of-a-kind tree that grew sideways at a secluded campsite with her family and friends. As she passionately explained her assignment, it was obvious to see she was extremely excited and attached to her sacred place.

Once the student was finished with her assignment her teacher looked at her drawing, admired it and then tore it in half. “It just made me really sad and a little mad because it was mine.” This emotional scene was a video clip from a presentation to the Tulalip Board of Directors (BOD) on May 18, 2016, one of many exercises that were shown in the presentation provided by the ESD. After the video clip finished, a look around the boardroom showed how emotional the video made everybody feel, the little girl was visibly distraught. Which is when the room was informed that the teacher taped up the drawing for the student.

“That is exactly like where we are now, as sovereign nations, we are trying to tape back together our sacred place,” stated board member Bonnie Juneau. The purpose of the assignment was to show young students how it felt to have their sacred place taken from them and destroyed. With Governor Jay Inslee recently signing Senate Bill 5433 into law, making it mandatory for Washington State Schools to teach the history and governance of the 29 federally recognized tribes of Washington State, ESD is taking a step forward by implementing a curriculum that covers elementary through high school students.

Other clips showed students talking about The Boldt Decision, colonization, and religion. “The book I read stated that the Natives were converted to Christianity,” said a Fifth Grade student, “but then I read that the Natives were forced into Christianity. The first one sounds like they had a choice, the second one sounds like they didn’t have a choice at all.”

Prior to Senate Bill 5433, House Bill 1495 only encouraged schools to teach of the indigenous nations in Washington. Tulalip’s John McCoy, who wrote both Bill 5433 and HB 1495, believes Senate Bill 5433 will be a relationship-builder between different cultures, and will provide a more engaging approach to students who will potentially become our future leaders.

Since Time Immemorial: Tribal Sovereignty in Washington State, or STI for short, is the curriculum created by The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). STI was pilot tested for the past five years, in fourteen different Washington State schools. Now, it is being implemented by Edmonds Office of Native Education, headed by Program Supervisor Michael Vendiola. Michael explained that STI is a free online curriculum and available to all school districts.

“I think this is great. Growing up I remember checking all of my history text books for Tulalip Tribes, and I never once found anything about our people in those books,” said Chairman Mel Sheldon.  “All of it was Plains Indians, and even then, it wasn’t much. It’s heartbreaking that our youth can’t identify themselves in our schools.”

It is no secret that Indigenous Peoples are misrepresented in U.S. History and the media. On a national level, Coastal Native Americans specifically are nearly non-existent in the history courses being taught in schools. The Chairman continued, “I remember being asked, and I am sure everyone in this room at some point has been asked, if I lived in a Tee-Pee when I told somebody I was a Native American.”

Vendiola pointed out that change won’t happen overnight. “This is like our  ‘Zero Year’ where we are still seeing what works, what doesn’t, and how we can improve the curriculum.” One of the ways ESD looks to improve STI is to provide the history of the nearest federally recognized tribe. This is a huge change.

“Partnering with The Tulalip Tribes allows us to involve the community in [the] culture close to home. This is our opportunity to change the future.”

The presentation not only showed how concerned and shocked students were, but also showed that most students reacted positively to learning the history and culture of Native People. One mother was astounded by her son’s enthusiasm, stating that he has never talked about what was going on in school, but could not hold in his excitement when learning about the culture. The mother, who at the time was finishing law school at Gonzaga University, continued stating that she was able to have a full discussion with her fifth-gradestudent about fishing rights.

An ESD instructor gave a teacher’s perspective on STI. “I think at first teachers were hesitant to teach this subject because of how harsh the reality is, and also because we didn’t know where to begin. With STI, I believe teachers are discovering how fun and easy this can be.”

He then stated that his students were disappointed when the lesson was over and were not excited to move on to the usually popular Medieval Times lesson.

Although STI does mainly focus on the history of both local and national tribes, it also touches on where the tribes are today as far as culture and self-governance.Tulalip Board member Marie Zackuse spoke about changing the perception of tribes in today’s world, and why it is important to update what’s being taught about tribal communities in a contemporary point of view.

Marie stated, “Racism is still very alive and well in communities that are nearby reservations. Most of the history taught about our people is in a pre-1900 context.” She believes that the racism stems from the misunderstanding of our treaty rights. For example, many non-native citizens believe Native Americans receive privileges not granted to others, rather than seeing Treaty Rights as the rights that a tribe negotiated to keep while giving up other rights.


“I thought Indians were just people who were discovered and who hunted a lot, but now I know that there are many different tribes and the tribes here fish, dance and carve beautiful masks!” 

– Fourth-grade student from Edmonds


The curriculum itself is extensive, incorporating information of the history, governance and culture of federally recognized tribes in elementary, middle, and high school lesson plans. What an elementary school student can expect to take away from STI is a basic understanding of tribal sovereignty, the history of tribal sovereignty, as well as the ability to identify the names and locations of the tribes in their area. A middle school student will comprehend that tribal sovereignty has cultural, political, and economic basis. And a high school student will be able to explain the governmental structure of at least one tribe in their community.

The Tulalip Board briefly explained to ESD that Tulalip is proactive about teaching Tulalip’s culture, history and language in The Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy, and Heritage High School. However, the Board also expressed that high school students who choose to go to different high schools in the Tulalip/Marysville area are not exposed to the culture, history and language. This is why both Senate Bill 5433 and STI are vital in today’s society, so both tribal and non-tribal students have a better understanding of Native America.

ESD is looking to Tulalip for consultation to ensure that Tulalip’s perspective is represented appropriately. “Every tribe is different. Look at how different we are compared to tribes on the other side of the mountains,” stated Bonnie Juneau.  “We have so much history and we want to share our story.”

The tribe and ESD are looking to meet once a month to continue to build upon the STI model. Chairman Sheldon closed by stating, “We raise our hands to you. This is something we feel is needed, and it’s great to see your school district implementing this curriculum. It’s a long awaited step in the right direction and it’s very healing to see.”

The impact of just the pilot curriculum is beautiful and promising, as evidenced by the reaction of one fourth-grade student from Edmonds, “I thought Indians were just people who were discovered and who hunted a lot, but now I know that there are many different tribes and the tribes here fish, dance and carve beautiful masks!” she exclaimed.


Contact Kalvin Valdillen,