Tribal nations summit in DC included Tulalip voice

 

By Micheal Rios. Tulalip News; photos courtesy of Theresa Sheldon

From February 11-14, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) hosted a tribal nations policy summit in Washington, DC. Many Native citizens with political know-how and an unyielding desire to see progressive change sweep this country for the better were in attendance. Two former Board of Directors, Theresa Sheldon and Deborah Parker, were present at the tribal summit representing forward-thinking advocacy and the Tulalip voice.

“I started traveling to DC when I was 26-years-old for our Tribe,” reflected Theresa. “I never tire of the possibilities that are there. The ability to educate someone of influence on our treaty rights, the need to fully fund Indian Country as it should be, and to change laws/policies to support our communities. 

“A lot of times we share our own personal stories to explain how the federal government is not living up to their trust responsibility. It can be mentally exhausting having to fight an establishment that wasn’t created to support our way of life. It can be uncomfortable speaking to people who cannot relate to us as Indigenous peoples who have inherent rights. It can feel demeaning and embarrassing, but we never surrender.”

A definite highlight of this year’s annual NCAI winter executive session was the excitement and hope spurred on by the first two Native American women elected to Congress. Democratic representatives Deb Haaland of New Mexico and Sharice Davids of Kansas attended the tribal summit and shared their political experiences to date, while making time to take photos galore and chat with their Native constituents. 

“For every picture you see of a U.S. Senator or U.S. Congressperson with a Tribal leader, it means something,” explains Theresa. “It means that we are documenting their words with us. That we are keeping proof of their support and holding them accountable. We are documenting our issues with them and showing the world that this Congressional member is going to follow through. If they do not live up to their word, we have proof of it. This may seem silly, but it’s absolutely necessary.”

Theresa and Deborah, a pair of Tulalip tribal members, made the most of their week on Capitol Hill navigating the current political structure while broadening their network of influence. They attended several tribal policy breakout sessions, an Emily’s List event, had countless conversations with Congressional representatives and tribal leaders from all over the country, and made time to attend the 24th Annual National Indian Women’s “Supporting Each Other” Honoring Lunch. 

“Indian Country’s progress should be a lot farther than we currently are, but without the tireless advocates who travel to D.C., we would be completely invisible,” shared Theresa on the importance of having tribal representation present and engaged in the nation’s capital. “I’m thankful to have grown up in the Northwest where we support each other, mentor each other, advocate together, and uplift each other. 

“We have no time or space for competition, jealousy, and animosity,” she continued. “There is so much work to do that we can all shine brightly and there will still be work to do. I’m thankful for the teachings and thankful for the knowledge to be able to arrange Hill visits, find my way in D.C., and believe in the words that need to be shared in the offices of Congress. We are here and we will continue to aspire for good!”

Wendy Lee Aleck (1952 – 2019)

Dec. 30, 1952 – Feb, 12, 2019 Wendy Lee Aleck born December 30, 1952 in Everett, WA, to Joseph Jimicum Sr. and Mary Jane Jimicum passed away on February 12, 2019. Wendy was a nurse, preschool teacher, and worked at the bingo parlor and the Tulalip Cannery and East Point and Kodiak King Crab Cannery for many years. She loved fishing at the Stillguamish River, playing bingo, going to the casino, garage sale-ing, and second hand shopping. Wendy is preceded in death by her parents, daughter, Hope Jimicum, sister, Mary Jane Davis, brother, Larry A. Jimicum, and sister, Rose Fryberg aka Tootsie. She is survived by her husband, Anthony Aleck; son, Mitchell Jimicum, daughter, Susan Jane Jimicum, son, Albert Jimicum, brother, Albert Moses, sister, Ruby Jimicum sister, Mary Ellen Tom, as well as numerous grand-children, great grand-children, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins. Visitation will be held on Sunday, February 17, 2019 at 1pm at Schaefer-Shipman Funeral Home. There will be an Interfaith service at 6pm that same evening at the Tulalip Gym. Funeral services will be Monday, February 18, 2019 at 10am at the Tulalip Gym, burial to follow at Mission Beach Cemetery

Tulalip wrestlers put on a show at Novice Championship

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Of the many sports children can participate in, wrestling is perhaps the most misrepresented, misunderstood, and underrated. Each year hundreds of thousands of kids participate in this non-violent combat sport, yet the average person knows as much about wrestling as they might know about rugby or polo.

“Wrestling is perhaps the purest form of athletic competition to exist in the realm of organized sports,” explained Young Champions President Bill Campbell. “There are no bats or balls, or pucks or sticks. No pads or helmets or jerseys. There’s no time to rethink strategy, regroup, or even to catch your breath. There’s only you, and your opponent of equal weight and size. Experience, preparation and the will to succeed will determine the victor. There’s no doubt about it, wrestling tops the list of intense, highly competitive sports.”

Put that way, it’s no wonder why there is a multi-generational connection of Tulalip athletes who are coming up in the sport and finding serious athletic achievement and personal growth, on and off the mat. Coached by Tulalip tribal members and former wrestling standouts, Sam Davis and Tony Hatch, the Marysville Tomahawks wrestling program has amassed quite the youth following. They have wrestlers of all ages, skill level, and quite a few girls who prove wrestling isn’t just for the boys.

There are additional youth tribal members who are making quite the name for themselves while wrestling under the Punisher wrestling banner, located in Arlington. Regardless of team camp, the aspiring athletes are learning invaluable lessons such as self-discipline, hard work, skill building, and an inner strength that’s only developed over countless hours of practice. Plus, there are many social skills and benefits that come naturally for athletes who learn what it means at an early age to be part of a team. 

“To us, Marysville Tomahawk wrestling is our family,” shared Katie Lancaster-Jones, mother of two Tulalip wrestlers, Milo and Cole. “We started seven years ago when Milo was six-years-old and Cole was only four. They started with Tony Hatch and his family. Now, we work with coaches Sam Davis and Brandon Davis. From the coaches, athletes and families we are all here to help the youth move forward in life, not just the sport. 

“We motivate our wrestlers to keep their grades up, respect one another, and to stay healthy by being active,” continued Katie. “The team is here to teach and to learn from. Wrestling is a life style. There’s a lot of coordinating, planning, and fundraising that requires commitment by our athletes and their families. The team gives them a place to go; gives them goals to work toward. It’s all about our future generations learning how to handle tough moments on and off the mats.”

A large group of local wrestlers were invited to participate in the WWKWL 2019 Novice Championship, which took place on January 27 at Kirkland Middle School. The novice designation means only wrestlers within their first two years of competition. 

In front of family, friends, and hundreds of onlookers, the novice wrestlers competed in an all-day, round-robin style tournament. Win or lose, the collection of wrestlers demonstrated strong grappling maneuvers and a variety of defensive techniques. Several of the kids’ wrestling prowess stood-out even in a gym where eight matches were going on at any given time. 

One such wrestler was 8-year-old Julie Blevins. Representing Tomahawk wrestling, Julie’s limber frame and quickness caught spectator attention as she went heads-up with the boys. She held her own in every match, not allowing herself to be pinned nor giving up any points easy to her male counterparts, and came away victorious in the hearts of her adoring fans.

“She found wrestling naturally because her dad (Jason) wrestled for coaches Sam and Tony back in his wrestling days. Now, he coaches for the Tomahawks program,” said Julie’s mom, Victoria Blevins. “It’s been so awesome watching Julie grow as an athlete. When she first started she was really scared and tentative, but now she pushes through even if she gets hurt or competes against boys tougher than her. Going up against the boys, Julie relies on technique more and that’s given her opportunities to learn some go-to moves. Her confidence has soared since she has learned she’s capable of picking up her opponent and slamming them for a pin.”

Wrestling, like any sport, has its share of phenoms; those that make excellence look like ease. Five-year-old, Tulalip tribal member Julian Lawrence is such a phenom. This year alone he has accomplished quite a bit, taking 1st place in several tournaments held in Spokane and Oregon. In fact, the day before the Novice Championship, Julian competed in another tournament and entered in two separate brackets. He dominated both and took home two 1st place medals for his efforts.

The dazzling five-year-old put on a show in front of community members who couldn’t help but gravitate to whatever mat he was competing on. Pin after pin, Julian overpowered his opponents en route to being crowned a novice champion and earning yet another 1st place medal.

“As parents, we couldn’t be any more proud of our son. Watching him grow stronger, faster and smarter…pushing himself to be the best that he can be…he has so much passion and heart for the sport,” beamed his mother Honeykwa Lawrence. “We are very proud of his sportsmanship, win or lose. Julian has grown into a polite, respectful little boy on and off the mat.

“He has grown so much within these past few months since joining team Punisher. He is constantly learning new things and he soaks it all up like a sponge,” continued Honeykwa. “After this tournament, Julian’s record is currently 50-4, so 50 wins and only 4 losses. We are looking forward to State coming up next weekend. We have high hopes for him and think he will take State title!”



Out of the local Tulalip/Marysville competitors, quite a few wrestled into a high placing or earned a 1st place medal at the Novice Championship. Julian Lawrence, Donte Luong and Conner Juvinel all took home top honors for their brackets. Karter Wright took 2nd place, Troy Blevins took 3rd, and his brother Jason Blevins took 4th. 

For any parents who are interested in getting their kids participating in youth wrestling, feel free to connect with Marysville Tomahawk Wrestling through their Facebook page or email Marysvilletomahawkwrestling@gmail.com

Heritage basketball place 2nd at Districts

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Opening round: Hawks tame Cedar Park Lions, 52-32.

The Heritage Hawks boys basketball team steamrolled through the regular season and finished with an impressive (17-2) record. A high-octane offense averaged 74 points per game while a stingy defense only allowed 42 points to opponents, for a whopping average margin of victory of 30+ points. Prior to the season, these boys had one mission: win a State title. Nineteen regular season games later the mission remained unchanged.

District playoffs kicked off on Thursday, January 31. Heritage’s regular season performance earned them a #2 seed and with it came the rights to host an opening round playoff game at Francy J. Sheldon gymnasium. Their opponent was the Lions of Cedar Park Christian. In their two previous meetings, Tulalip won both easily by 20+ points.

In front of an energetic home crowd, Heritage sputtered on offense to start. Midway through the 1st quarter Tulalip had yet to score and trailed 0-5. Coach Cyrus “Bubba” Fryberg called a timeout to light the fuse of urgency for his explosive team of young gunners. Did they respond? Most certainly. 

The Hawks locked in, took complete control of the playoff game, and went on decisive 26-2 scoring run spanning late in the 2nd quarter. From trailing 0-5 to leading 26-7, the home team gave their crowd much to cheer for. Junior guard Leno Vela led the charge with his combination of dead-eye perimeter shooting and ball pressure yielding steal after steal. Tulalip took a 28-12 lead into halftime.

In the 2nd half, the rout continued. Heritage held the Lions to only 6 points in the 3rd quarter while both Joshes, Iukes and Miranda, added to Tulalip’s scoring barrage from 3-point land.  Entering the 4th quarter, the boys had their largest lead of the game up 23 points, 41-18.

With the outcome only a formality Coach Bubba inserted his bench players to finish the game. The Hawks starters cheered from the bench as everyone celebrated the 52-32 victory.

Leno led all scorers with 13 points and 6 steals. Josh Miranda added 12 points, while Rodney Barber collected a game-high 10 rebounds.

Championship round: Lummi Nation keeps Hawks grounded, 64-77.

Following their opening round win, the Tulalip Hawks had two days to prepare for the much anticipated District Championship game versus Lummi Nation. These two teams were clearly the best of the Northwest 1B league and had split their two regular season matchups. Tulalip won by 9 points back on December 8, but Lummi won by 3 points just two weeks ago on January 15. Both teams entered the game riding winning streaks, four straight Ws for Tulalip and an eye-popping nineteen consecutive wins for Lummi.

Being the Championship round, the game was held at the much larger venue of Marysville-Getchell High School on Saturday, January 2. Fans of both teams flooded the gymnasium and packed the bleachers for a lively atmosphere befitting a battle of two highly touted tribal teams.

In the 1st quarter, both teams traded early baskets notching the score at 5-5. Then Lummi clamped down on defense, leaving Tulalip reeling. Lummi came up with two big blocks and several steals that they turned into easy transition buckets. Meanwhile the Hawks offense couldn’t muster any rhythm, which led to an 8-21 deficit after the opening period.

The Hawks trailed by double digits for most of the game. Early in the 3rd quarter, senior guard Paul Shay, Jr. kept the Hawks offense afloat by continually attacking the basket and drawing contact to get to the free-throw line. In fact, Jr. took eleven free-throws and connected on eight of them. When Isaac Comenote finally found a rhythm and hit back-to-back 3 pointers, Tulalip cut their deficit to just 9 points, 34-43 midway through the 3rd.

To their credit, every time it looked like Tulalip was getting momentum, Lummi responded with a bigger scoring run of their own. Whether it was inside with their post players or hot outside shooting, they always had an answer and pushed their lead back to double digits. Heritage trailed 36-52 at the end of the 3rd quarter en route to a 64-77 loss. Lummi’s 77 points was the most Tulalip had given up all season.

Paul Shay, Jr. led the Hawks with 19 points, while Alonzo Jones added 11 points and 9 rebounds.  It was a disappointing loss in front of a packed gym, but even so Tulalip still placed 2nd in the tournament and earned the right to host an upcoming Tri-District Tournament game. The time and opponent is to be determined. However, we do know the game will be played on Saturday, February 9 at Heritage High School.