Summertime smoothies with Tulalip kids



By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 


Tulalip Health Clinic Diabetes Care and Prevention held a cooking class at the Boys & Girls Club on Friday June 24, 2016. The class, held for children attending TRAILS diabetes prevention program, focused on food safety. Students received work packets containing information about germs and bacteria, cleanliness, kitchen etiquette, safety, and food temperature.

After washing their hands thoroughly, the students were ready for the cooking demonstration. With a table full of fruit and vegetables, the instructor informed the class that they would be making smoothies. The first round of smoothies went to members of the Wisdom Warrior Elders, who were enjoying watching the kids learn about food safety.

“Having our Wisdom Warrior elders present was a vital part of this day. Our elders were there to pray and participate with the kids. They loved watching them interact with the food, the recipes they were creating, and sharing their smoothies with [the students],” stated Veronica ‘Roni’ Leahy, Tulalip Health Clinic Diabetes Care and Prevention Program Coordinator.

Veronica explained that the students in the cooking class are currently developing their own cookbooks. Program staff hopes these books serve as both a reminder of the importance of healthy choices as well as the fun and memories that were created during these classes at the Boys & Girls Club.

The excitement and eagerness to learn were qualities all of the students possessed that afternoon. Each student was respectful, listened intently, and followed instructions perfectly during class.

Veronica stated, “Teaching the children at the Boys and Girls Club about food safety was an important part of the lesson plan for the day. We would like to say thank you to Karen Knopp, Food Safety Inspector, for developing a lesson plan targeted at the age of our kids in the TRAILS Program.  Hearing the kids questions and seeing them respond to the food after the teaching was really special because they were truly listening and applying what they learned while they made their own smoothies. I would also like to say thank you to Klesick Family Farms, they offer outstanding service and beautiful fruits and vegetables. We teach how to use the foods and we order enough boxes of food for the kids to take home for their families to enjoy.”




Summer Berry Smoothie

Makes 2 servings

  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 cup frozen wild blueberries
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1 fresh ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup vanilla soymilk
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut water ice cubes


This smoothie is rich in manganese, vitamin C, and B12 from the fortified soymilk. It is also a good source of fiber and potassium. You can add a scoop protein powder to give it and extra boost protein. Add some flax seeds, chia seeds or flax oil to give it a boost of healthy omega fatty acids.


  • Add the soymilk, frozen fruit, maple syrup, cider vinegar, ice and sea salt to blender. Blend until chunky-smooth
  • Add in the fresh banana. Blend until smooth
  • Lastly, add in the fresh strawberries and pulse blend for a few more rounds – you don’t want to mush up the berries though

Serve: Garnish with fresh fruit and enjoy!

Gary Payton on the importance of goal setting in today’s youth




By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Seattle SuperSonics legend Gary Payton aka “The Glove” has partnered with the Native basketball camp, Rise Above, for appearances on reservations in the Pacific Northwest. Since last fall, the Colville Reservation and our very own Tulalip Reservation have both hosted a Rise Above camp. Two more camps are planned to take place on the Kalispel and Coeur d’Alene reservations in the upcoming months.

As our readers may recall, The Glove hosted a basketball youth skills camp at the Tulalip Youth Center last summer. For all those youth who participated and the adults who volunteered or stayed to watch their kids, they quickly realized that the camp was about much more than just basketball. It was about using basketball as a modality to empower our kids, teaching life lessons, and creating resiliency in the youth so they can grow into future leaders.

Payton met with the Tulalip News to share what his insights are on how to positively impact urban youth. You may be wondering what kind of insight a former NBA superstar can have about urban youth, especially in regards to Native youth living on a reservation. Well, the simple answer is Payton is familiar with growing up in an impoverish neighborhood, being surrounded with the poverty mindset, drugs and crime, and having to struggle against a system determined to see him fail.

Payton grew up and survived the drug-infested streets and gang filled neighborhoods of Oakland, California in the 1980s. Oakland was plagued in the eighties by a continuation of the rising crime rate and drug issues of the previous decade. Crack cocaine exploded as a big problem for the city during this period, and Oakland was regularly listed as one of the U.S. cities most plagued by crime. From being born and raised in Oakland to now following his passion for traveling the Pacific Northwest to mentor and coach urban youth, Payton has a unique perspective for sifting through issues he feels are of the biggest concern regarding the youth and how these issues can be addressed.

“Growing up in Oakland, California I was in a similar environment to a lot of these kids today, where they have a lot of free time on their own with not much adult supervision. That means you get to be around your friends the majority of the time, and your friends are going to be doing things that you want to be involved in because you want to fit in. Then things start to happen.

As I grew up and I had a father who was working all the time, but he used to tell me ‘you got to be your own man, you got to be a leader not a follower.’ If somebody says something or wants to do something that ain’t right, then tell them they ain’t right. If they don’t want to be that person who helps you and says okay I understand, then they are not really not your friend. That’s what a lot of these kids are starting to see more and more of because youth of this generation prefer to do anything other than be bored.

My generation was different because we knew how to go outside and just have fun. Everyone didn’t have a fancy cellphone, iPads, and all the rest of it. Even our cartoons and TV shows were only on during Saturday mornings and a couple hours after we got home from school. Now, TV and the internet caters to these kids so they can be watching something all day, every day.

I think for these kids today, all they need is a little push. They need someone, like myself, who has been through and seen the same things they have, to come around and give them a talking to and tell them the right way and what not to do. Because once we leave and they get someone they think is a friend who pressures them, it’s hard for them to make the right decision because of the peer pressure and idea it’s better to fit in than stand out.

But when these kids have adults and role models around who are not only looking out for their best interest, but are actually making themselves available by text, phone call, or to meet up to talk, then it becomes easier for them to say no to the bad choices and yes to the good ones. All they need is to have that support behind them, people they know are helping build them up into the best person they can be. But it can’t be only a sometimes thing, it has be an all the time thing because these kids can tell who is fake and who is real.

It’s important for us as mentors, the adults who these kids will listen to and respect, to get the youth to set individual goals. We want them to set goals or to have an ultimate goal for themselves. Most of these kids don’t have goals other than to have fun or good times with their friends, that’s not a goal. We see it all the time where they’ll get just a little bit of satisfaction from what they are doing in school or from actual hard work and then they’ll immediately flip to okay that’s enough now let me go and hangout with my friends. That mindset comes from not having goals to succeed, not having the goal to be someone who the community looks up to.


Gary Payton visits with Tulalip youth. Photo/Micheal Rios

Gary Payton visits with Tulalip youth in 2015. Photo/Micheal Rios


If they had goals that are bigger than just hanging out with friends or messing around on the internet, then they’d be more willing to say no to the little things that get in their way in order to achieve their goals. That’s the biggest problem with youth today. They’re so focused on the immediate and what’s right in front of them that they don’t see the larger picture, they don’t have the passion to set long-term goals and follow through. They don’t understand that by focusing in and setting goals today, that what they are actually doing is investing in their future.

As mentors, advocates, and educators we have to remain vigilant and get these kids to buy in to setting goals and following through. It starts with their education because nothing is more important than getting a good education. A good education means opportunity and with opportunity comes the ability to do what you want to do, not just doing what you have to do. We know that kids today love doing what they want to do, so now it’s on us to get them to see that through education they can be adults doing what they want to do as well. Getting them to set goals in the classroom and with school is where it starts.

We want them to have goals like, ‘I’m going to get better grades this year than I had last year’, ‘I’m going to make honor roll this semester’, ‘I’m going to graduate with my high school diploma’, and ‘I’m going to go to college’. They seem like no-brainers, but we’ve seen they are too interested in other things and have lost that focus in school and on their education, and I’m going to keep going back to it and say it’s because there’s a lack of goal setting. It’s not good enough to be satisfied with just showing up or only doing enough to get by. We have to want and expect more from them in order to get them to want and expect more from themselves.

Our mission as mentors is to encourage, and support our youth as they discover who they are and what they want to be. Through goal setting and an emphasis on education as future opportunity for themselves, they’ll be able to become the best person they can be. Once they have that mindset to want better, to be better, everything will start to click and it’s an amazing thing to witness. They have so much to accomplish and so many opportunities available, and when they realize they are capable of reaching their goals and achieving like they never thought before then this entire community benefits.”



Contact Micheal Rios,

A sign of progress for the recovery of salmon habitat

Billy Frank Jr. stands on top of a culvert in 2008. photo/Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission

Billy Frank Jr. stands on top of a culvert in 2008. Photo/Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission


U.S. 9th District Court of Appeals rules in favor of the tribes in culvert case 


By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

A culvert is a tunnel carrying a stream or open drain under a road or railroad. Currently, there are hundreds of culverts in the state of Washington that are in need of repairs. This issue has been an on-going problem for the tribes of Washington State for a large amount of time. The reason this is an issue for northwest Native Americans is because the blocked culverts are preventing salmon from swimming into spawning areas and from swimming back to the ocean, thus diminishing the salmon runs in Washington.

The original case began over 15 years ago; in 2001 the 21 federally recognized tribes of Washington filed a complaint against Washington State in the U.S. District Court regarding the damaged culverts. In 2007 the court ruled that building the culverts put the state in violation of the treaties the state signed with the tribes, and in 2013 the court made it a requirement for the Department of Transportation to replace the culverts with more efficient and salmon friendly culverts. The court gave Washington 17 years to replace the culverts making this the second victory for the tribes regarding this issue.

Washington State found this ruling a bit harsh and filed an appeal stating that the ruling was too expensive. The estimate given by The Department of Transportation was around $1.9 billion for the replacement of approximately 800 estimated culverts over the next 17 years. The court did find these estimations to be over-calculated for both the cost as well as the number of culverts that need to be replaced.

Washington agrees that blocked culverts are one reason why salmon runs are on the decline. The state corrected 23 culverts since the ruling in 2013, and looks to fix several more before the year ends. However, the state did file the appeal claiming that the treaties did not require the state to restore the salmon habitat, there is no minimum requirement of salmon for the tribes, and that the project is too time consuming and expensive. The states appeal was heard in October of 2015.

On Monday June 27, 2016 the U.S. 9th District Court of Appeals ruled yet again in favor of the tribes. The state can still file for a rehearing and petition for the U.S. Supreme Court. Washington State attorneys are currently reviewing the case and deciding whether or not they would like to proceed with a rehearing,

Once the culverts are replaced they will open over 1,000 miles of streams for salmon to pass through. Tribal leaders are looking to Washington for a sit-down to create a co-management plan that is financially realistic as well as time efficient. The decision is definitely a sign of progress for the recovery of the salmon habitat. However, many believe that there is still much work to be done, citing the culverts as just one of many problems. John Sledd, the primary attorney for the tribes believes that this is a major step in the right direction.

“Treaty fishing rights mean nothing without fish to catch, and you can’t have fish if they can’t get to their habitat to reproduce.  The Court of Appeals made it absolutely clear – the treaties promised the tribes more than the right to set their nets and bring them up empty.  They promised enough fish to meet the people’s needs.  This decision is a big step to fulfilling that promise. It’s a great decision for the tribes, the fish, and everyone who values wild salmon.”

Annual cedar pulling event showcases cultural traditions and departmental coordination

Cedar Pull - Lance_Taylor


By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News ; Photos courtesy of Ross Fenton

Over the weekend of June 17, the Tulalip Tribes membership was once again afforded the opportunity to participate in the cultural upbringings of our ancestors; specifically by journeying into the woodlands and using traditional methods of pulling, gathering, and harvesting cedar.

“Tulalip Natural Resources Department (NRD) always works as a premier team annually to coordinate this culturally significant opportunity,” says Ross Fenton of the Tulalip Tribes Forestry Program. “The Tulalip Natural Resource’s Timber, Fish, and Wildlife Program (TFW) generally arranges a cedar site for the upcoming season by utilizing existing relationships with off-reservation landowners.

“This year, and in years past the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) was very cooperative in providing a good quality cedar and land access that favors children, elders, and all the types of vehicles as well.”


Cedar Pull 1

Cedar Pull 2


Our Tulalip NRD education and outreach coordinator plays a key role in providing all the contact personnel information as well as any other special requests that the landowner may have to Tulalip Forestry staff and others involved. Tulalip Forestry staff then reviews the site boundaries and any other special requests from the DNR/landowner (i.e. no cedar pulling within stream buffers, etc.) in order to provide guidance to the tribal membership before and during the cedar bark harvest event. Leading large caravans of tribal members to the site, obtaining access through locked gates, and securing gates after the event are some of the roles that Forestry performs.

Tulalip Forestry staff also assists the membership by helping pull and/or separate inner bark, carrying bark up steep inclines for elders, and has also donating bark to tribal members who were not able to attend, if their time allows.

As Ross puts it, “the main goal and function of Forestry staff is primary oversight and logistical planning of this season’s event to ensure successful cedar procurement for many future Tulalip generation to follow.”


Cedar Pull 4

Cedar Pull 3


During the cedar pulling event’s first day, tribal members braved some seriously wet weather to harvest a staple commodity of their ancestors. On the second day, those who returned were joined by even more tribal members and were rewarded with beautiful weather and pristine conditions for cedar pulling.

“There were three generations of family members pulling cedar bark together on the second day,” adds Ross. “It was a great experience to witness old traditions and teachings being shared.”


Cedar Pull 5


Tulalip Amphitheatre sold-out for vocal talents of Rhonda and Diana Ross

Photo courtesy of  John Lappen

Photo courtesy of  John Lappen


By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

“If you want to understand electricity, get yourself a seat anywhere Rhonda Ross performs!” – NightLife Exchange


Singer-Songwriter, Rhonda Ross is an African Diasporic Woman of the World. Bilingual in French and English (and raising her son to be fluent in four languages), Rhonda knows how to communicate with audiences around the world. Her original music lives in the gap between Jazz, Neo-soul, Funk and Gospel. Her lyrics live in the pause between life’s most important questions and their answers. Rhonda is one of the rare artists today using her music to examine the society she lives in – from racism to sexism to homophobia to the need for self-love and spirituality, Rhonda’s songs look through all of it and ask “In the midst of THIS, how can I still live the best life possible?

Rhonda has great power on stage and her refreshingly personal and moving performances set her apart from other vocalists of her era. Rhonda’s music flows straight from her essence and her bright spirit uplifts everyone in the room. With a crown of natural hair, Rhonda graces the stage with the gravitas and glamour of a modern-day queen. As the only child of Diana Ross and Motown Founder Berry Gordy, it has become evident that Rhonda not only has the talent, but the significance to carry on her parents’ legacy, all the while establishing her own unique musical destination.*

Through Rhonda’s individual and creative expression, the legendary Ross influence continues to live on and expand. While gearing up for the long-awaited release of her newest CD, expected to launch in July, Rhonda is currently touring the U.S. with her mom. The Tulalip Amphitheatre was fortunate enough to book the talents of Rhonda Ross as part of the Tulalip Resort Casino’s summer concert series. Rhonda will be sharing the stage with her mother Diana Ross on Saturday, July 2 in front of a sell-out crowd of faithful fans.

Rhonda took some time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for the Tulalip News readers:

Where does this interview find you today?  

RR: I’m in my Harlem apartment. It’s a gorgeous new summer day and there’s a breeze blowing in the window! So wonderful! Reminds me of my song Summer Day; ‘Walking out of a deep freeze. My heart is healing and I finally feel at ease. The sun is breaking through the trees. Like the first summer day in the park. Like the first summer day in the park”. Ha!

How has your spring/summer tour shaped up thus far? What has been the highlight of the tour?

RR: Our summer tour hasn’t officially started yet. The first day is Friday June 24 in Aspen and I can’t wait! Touring as part of my mother’s show is a very new occurrence and it provides me with not only wonderful opportunities to share my music and message with audiences across the country, but also it affords my mother and me special family time. So I can’t wait!

When did you know you wanted to be a performer in the music industry? How did that decision come about?  

RR: I have known all my life that I wanted to be a performing artist. Perhaps it is in my DNA or perhaps it’s because it’s what I witnessed, but I have been singing all my life, all the way through high school and college. It was during my last couple years of Brown University that I joined a jazz quartet and started performing professionally. I never looked back.

When you are backstage preparing to perform what motivates you? Any superstitious rituals a part of your preparation? 

RR: I like to quiet myself, align with the Spirit of God. The Spirt of Truth. I remind myself that none of this is about me. I am just a vessel for that energy and I relinquish to it and prepare to be danced and sung by it. It’s so fun. I feel beyond blessed to have that opportunity night after night.

Who were some of your biggest role models that you looked up to in the beginning of your career? 

RR: Of course my parents, my mother and my father. They are trail-blazers. They believed in themselves when no one else did. They were single-focused. They stuck to their values and kept their eyes on the prize. They have work ethic like I have never seen before and I believe it’s because they love what they do. They both created careers that they enjoy so much, they don’t need to take vacations away from them! Even from a young girl, I knew I wanted to create a career that was organic and authentic to who I am so that it lifts me up, not burdens me, so that I can pursue it, joyfully, for the rest of my life.


Photo courtesy of  John Lappen

Photo courtesy of  John Lappen


You will be performing at the Tulalip Amphitheatre on Saturday, July 2 opening for you mom. Can you tell us what audiences can expect from this performance?

RR:My mother’s show is a high-energy, feel good 90 minutes. All the songs that people love from the Motown days through her film career, and her hits from the 80s, 90s and 2000s. People will be on their feet for the entire time!

And my part of the show begins in the evening. I’m a singer-songwriter and I write songs that help me to live. They are about life, how to navigate it, and how to digest so much of what we see around us. I like to say that my music is for “Grown Folk”, adults. There is meaning and there are messages. That said, it’s also fun. I got a grooving band behind me and we have a ball! All told, it’s a fun, meaningful night.

Think you will find time to play some slot machines or table games at the Tulalip Resort Casino while you’re in town?

RR: I’m not much of a gambler, but I do love to explore. I will definitely be walking around seeing all the new things there is to see and experience.

Who would you love to collaborate with musically that you haven’t yet had the opportunity to do so?

RR: Oh my! There are so many. I’d love to work with Jill Scott, Kendrick Lamar, Erykah Badu! Right now I (like the rest of the country) am completely obsessed with Hamilton: The Musical. Lin-Manuel Miranda is one of our geniuses. It would be incredible to collaborate with him one day.

What is the most outrageous fan interaction you’ve ever had?  

RR: My mother’s and my fans are the best! The most loyal! Truly! When we go “on tour” they go “on tour” too. It’s remarkable! And truthfully, I have learned so much from them, they really know how to enjoy their lives. They pursue the things that bring them joy. It’s fantastic! Nothing is too outrageous if it brings joy into our lives. In this day and age, we need all the joy we can get.

Who is currently in your music playlist? Any artists or genres we would be surprised to find there?

RR: Like I just wrote I am obsessed with the Hamilton Soundtrack. I listen to it (from beginning to end) almost every day (I was just listening before I started this interview). I think people would be surprised to know how much I like musical theater, but it’s because I am a storyteller at heart, a poet. I am really turned on by smart lyrics.

What’s on tap next for you? What are you most excited about?  

RR: My new CD should be out in July and that has got me really excited. Been working on it about a year and I’m really proud of how it’s turned out. So stay tuned for that. It will be everywhere; iTunes, Spotify, you name it. Of course, I’ll be selling (and signing) it after my shows!


Explosive business and bargains at Boom City

Boom City 1


By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Fireworks could be heard from the I-5 freeway on a cloudy Monday afternoon as vendors at Boom City were seen putting the finishing touches on their spray-paint graffiti decorated stands on June 20, 2016. Boom City, located in the lot behind the Tulalip Resort and Casino, officially opened June 17, and vendors are gearing up for another busy fireworks season.

Boom City offers a designated area where visitors can enjoy fireworks that are banned on off-reservation land. This area, located on the north end of Boom City, came in handy last year for firework enthusiasts who live in the nearby community of Marysville, which recently issued a citywide ban on fireworks. The ban went into effect during the summer of 2015. Marysville residents are currently only permitted to light legal fireworks on Independence Day from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

As always Tulalip wants to ensure that safety is the primary priority this season, and the promotion of safety is evidenced throughout the busy weeks leading up to the Fourth of July. Vendors are exceptionally knowledgeable of their products, often taking the time to explain how to safely light their fireworks, and the reason they are knowledgeable is experience.


Boom City 4


Tulalip has hosted Boom City for decades and many stands that are currently selling fireworks have been located at Boom City for years. This season there are 122 total stands that expect to sell to thousands of buyers. And based off of the success of Boom City throughout the years, vendors can expect a demanding but profitable fireworks season. Fireworks aren’t the only item available for purchase at the thriving northwest pyrotechnics capital; Boom City also hosts arts and craft vendors as well as food vendors. And a variety of eateries at the entry of Boom City include traditional Native American dishes, BBQ dishes, espresso and shaved ice.

The Tulalip Police Department routinely checks-in on Boom City throughout each day. Security is also on hand to ensure safety for both vendors and fireworks lovers alike.  For community members looking to participate in the summer celebrations, Boom City is open for business daily from 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. through July 4.


Boom City 2