New Trail Opens Along Qwuloolt Estuary

The 12-foot wide waterfront trail is ideal for pedestrians, bicyclists and pets

Tulalip Tribes Chairwoman Marie Zackuse cuts the ribbon at the Ebey trail celebration

Article and photos by Kalvin Valdillez

Children on scooters, adventurists in kayaks, dog lovers with their best pal on a leash and joggers in their favorite running shoes were among the many members of the Tulalip and Marysville community who gathered to celebrate the grand opening of the Ebey Waterfront Trail on April 22, a brisk Saturday morning.

A traditional song, performed by Tulalip tribal members, blessed the trail prior to the official ribbon cutting. The 1.3-mile trail is located east of the SR-529 bridge, however, the city of Marysville plans to extend the trail over the next year and a half to create a five-mile loop with entry points throughout Marysville, including the Sunnyside area and the Ebey Waterfront Park.

The trail extends along the Qwuloolt Estuary; an area the tribe has been restoring back to its natural habitat for the past seventeen years. Tulalip Chairwoman Marie Zackuse explained the history and importance of the Qwuloolt Estuary.

“Our people used these estuary lands for fishing, hunting and harvesting, especially duck hunting. Our wild fish runs were healthy and productive until recent times and with the Qwuloolt restoration, our salmon have been given the opportunity to survive. The Tribes are restoring and renewing sites in the estuary and in the Snohomish River that provide benefits to not only to the tribe but the public as well.

One of the points we have emphasized over the years is the fact that the large scale restoration projects can make communities more livable, offer more recreational activities, more educational opportunities and the opportunity to see more habitat including many bird species. We hope that future signage will allow visitors to learn about the history of the tribe and how they used and interacted with this estuary in traditional times,” said Zackuse.

With the first of three phases complete, the City of Marysville and the Tulalip Tribes have provided their community members an opportunity to experience beautiful scenery and admire wildlife while enjoying outdoor recreation.

Art of the Future Generation

Tulalip Youth Services hosts Annual Native American Student Art Festival

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Excitement filled the air of the Don Hatch Youth Center, which was briefly transformed into an art gala, on April 20, for the annual Native American Student Art Festival. Various works were on display including poetry, self and family portraits as well as an array of traditional Native American art including paddles, blankets, beaded regalia and cedar woven baskets.

The festival is open to all Tulalip tribal members between kindergarten and the twelfth grade, as well as students of other tribal nations who attend the Marysville School District. Students are able to submit one art project for each category – culture, mixed media, painting, sculpture, digital art, writing, new media and drawing. Awards are presented for first, second and third place, as well as for honorable mentions, to each grade for every category.

Art has been an essential necessity to the Native American culture since time immemorial. Coast Salish ancestors utilized their natural resources to create art such as masks, blankets, drums and rattles for ceremonial purposes; as well as for tools, for everyday use, like hats, baskets, canoes and paddles.

With over a whopping one thousand art submissions this year, the event continues to provide the young Indigenous Picassos with the opportunity to express their creativity and showcase their talents to their community. Often participants will submit a project for each category, like Taylee Warbus, who was awarded six ribbons in total – three of them being the highly coveted first place blue ribbon.

10th grade student Selena Fryberg reconnects with her ancestry while drawing a portrait of her late grandmother Catherine Rivera.

Many students reconnect with their culture while preparing their projects for the festival. This year, tenth grade student and multiple prizewinner Selena Fryberg reconnected with her ancestry while drawing a portrait of her late grandmother Catherine Rivera. Selena states, “She passed away before I was born, but people always say I get my talent from her. I feel like I got to know my grandma a little better while drawing her for [the art festival].”

If you missed the opportunity to experience the student art exhibit, don’t fret because the winning masterpieces will be on display exclusively at the Hibulb Cultural Center until Friday May 5, 2017.

UW Bothell empowers Native American students to plan for higher education

 

For the Native high school students, the hope is by getting a taste of the university experience they will be inspired and motivated to attend a higher education program after graduating high school. 

 

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The University of Washington Bothell campus held its 5th annual Reaching American Indian Nations (RAIN) diversity recruitment event Friday, April 21. RAIN is a day dedicated to preparing students of American Indian, Alaskan Native and Native American backgrounds with the tools necessary to access higher education.

Tribal high school students and faculty from Native American educational programs from all across Washington State were invited to attend RAIN 2017.

For the Native high school students, the hope is by getting a taste of the university experience they will be inspired and motivated to attend a higher education program after graduating high school.

Creating culturally relevant events where advocates, faculty, and college alumni can speak on all the reasons why potential high school graduates should attend college helps turns dreams into reality. Explaining why higher education is important as a Native American person, how the education can be used to connect to and better the community is all integral to changing the narrative. It doesn’t matter if it’s a community or technical college, online or big-time university, so long as Native students start thinking about and planning for life after high school.

Interestingly enough, the inspiration that led to UW Bothell creating RAIN five years ago happened right here on the Tulalip Reservation. It was during a routine admission workshop that Rachael Meares, former UW Native American Outreach Coordinator, was undertaking at Tulalip Heritage High School that inspiration struck. The junior and senior high school students at Tulalip Heritage were so eager to participate in her workshop and to learn of the opportunities available at UW Bothell that Meares thought it would be really beneficial for the students to spend a day at the UW Bothell campus. While on campus, students participated in various workshops, while exploring and learning about what university life at UW Bothell has to offer them. The Tulalip students received an alternative college perspective that wouldn’t otherwise be available to them here on the reservation.

A few months later, the entire Tulalip Heritage High School student body, with chaperoning from teachers, spent a day at the UW Bothell campus learning about the university and opportunities available only a short thirty minute drive south on I-5. That day marked the first culturally relevant outreach event for Native American students, which was given the name Reaching American Indian Nations, or more commonly referred to as RAIN. The next year Meares and her colleagues from the UW Bothell Division of Enrollment Management extended invites to Tulalip Heritage and other tribal schools across Washington.

Matt Remle, Marysville School District Native American Liaison.

 

At this year’s RAIN, the students were welcomed with breakfast, introductions of the coordinating event staff, and an opening prayer by Matt Remle (Lakota), Native American Liaison for Marysville School District. The students then heard a culturally oriented key-note speech from Abigail Echohawk (Pawnee/Athabascan).

Following their warm welcoming, the high school students chose two available on-site workshops to attend. Keeping the idea of cultural relevancy in play, each workshop was specifically tailored to the Native American students pursuing higher education. Each workshop was also led by a Native American staff member of UW Bothell.

For the participating students, they received a glimpse of the university life that pushes the boundaries for what opportunities are available to them after graduating high school. They were able to learn about higher education opportunities and campus programs, while participating in cultural and educational workshops. The college admissions process, touring UW Bothell, and networking with community partners were designed to give students a better understanding of college life, while relating the importance of education to the individual and their communities.

Tribal members show up by the masses to attend B-I-N-G-O celebration

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

On Monday, April 24, the Tulalip Tribes held their 16th annual Tribal Bingo Celebration. Tribal citizens who live locally on or around the reservation were joined by their fellow tribal members who journeyed from Seattle, Bellingham, and Tacoma to join in on the festivities and try their luck to win high-end prizes and fill their pockets with cash.

Board of Director Theresa Sheldon took to Facebook early in the morning to remind everyone about the special day and to wish everyone good luck. “Best of luck to all our Tulalip Bingo-ers! Enjoy visiting, laughing, hugging, and catching up with each other. The three sessions are 10am, 2pm and 6pm. Have fun! t’igwicid to Tammy Taylor and her staff for making this event such a success and always a good time.”

Like he has done in years past, Board of Director Mel Sheldon reigned supreme on the mic as the MC for each bingo session. Mel kept the atmosphere lively and upbeat with plenty of jokes and witty banter.

“We are honored to host our tribal bingo while bringing fun and excitement to the membership for 16 wonderful years now,” said Tammy Taylor, Tulalip Bingo Director. “The beautiful part of our celebration is it really brings the tribal membership together for a fun time, free of politics and drama. It’s all about our people enjoying each other’s company, sharing stories, and catching up with people you don’t see often enough. During any one of the three sessions you could feel the happiness, feel the positive spirits, and see the beautiful smiles of our elders.”

Bingo staff did their best to make the 16th annual celebration one to remember. First of all, instead of having only two sessions like years past, there were three sessions; held at 10:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 6:00 p.m. Adding an extra session makes seating more comfortable and gave a slight bump to everyone’s chance of winning prizes and cash. Secondly, the door prize drawings were held in a different fashion. Tribal members who were lucky enough to have their ID called would make their way to the front and choose from a number of tribally designed cards (provided by our very own Hibulb Cultural Center), and then inside a folded envelope within each card would be their door prize. Prizes ranged from a trip voucher, a laptop, a 60” flat screen SMART TV, and of course various amounts of everyone’s favorite, cold hard cash.

Spanning each session were 14 games of bingo, plus an all-new Wild Goose Chase pull-tab game. For each session there was an estimated $30,000 in total cash prizes awarded to bingo and door-prize raffle winners.

The 6:00 p.m. evening session was most popular with 347 tribal members in attendance, followed by the 2:00 p.m. afternoon session with 340, and lastly the 10:00 a.m. session had 305. All in all there were 992 Tulalip tribal members who took part in this year’s bingo celebration.

“Our Bingo team did a wonderful job of preparing for each session and executing as a team,” added Tammy. “There were virtually no lines, whether it was getting the membership in the door and finding a seat or getting a plate of food. Our Deli team cooked and prepared more than enough food for the breakfast, lunch and light dinner we provided. From our Bingo team members to the Enrollment team members, everyone did a fantastic job start to finish.”

 

Fleece, Love and Happiness

Handmade drum stick, featuring horse and otter fur constructed by Tulalip tribal member, Richard “Two Dogs” Muir.

 

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

In Native America, blankets hold a significant value to many tribal communities as they are associated with honor and respect. Traditionally, blankets are gifted at various ceremonies including potlatches, pow wows and graduations. Pendleton, a blanket company based in Oregon, grew in popularity during the trade era due to their bright colors and tribal inspired designs. Not to mention they were a necessity, because the blankets are made from wool, they were warm, durable and weather resistant. In 2016, President Obama was honored and blanketed by the tribal nations of America during his last White House Tribal Nations conference.

Newborn babies are often swaddled in the wool blankets and most Native children grow up surrounded by Pendleton. For this reason, the Parent Committee of the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy are raising money, by means of a raffle, to purchase over three hundred blankets for the students of the Academy. The blankets will be fleece and feature Pendleton-esque designs.

The Parent Committee is raffling a handmade drum stick, featuring horse and otter fur that was constructed by Tulalip tribal member, Richard “Two Dogs” Muir. Tickets can be purchased through April 28 in the Early Learning Academy’s lobby between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. The cost is $5 per ticket, five tickets for $20, or an arm’s length worth of tickets for $30. The winner will be announced April 28 during the upcoming Superhero Dance, which is also organized by the Parent Committee.

For more information, please contact the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy at (360) 716-4250.

Tulalip’s got talent

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

On Thursday, April 13, the auditorium of Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary was home to the artistic expression, vocal talents, and hula-hooping skills provided by the youthful, creative student body.

The 2017 talent show was a great way to showcase the students, build their confidence, and bring the community together. It’s a fun-filled event that appeals to all age groups and gives family and friends the perfect opportunity to capture long-lasting memories.

“Our annual talent show is such a great event. There is a buzz in the school prior to the talent show, with pockets of kids practicing their acts during their recess time. It’s so cute to witness,” marvels cultural specialist Chelsea Craig. “As a staff member it is beautiful to watch the kids blossom. I have seen kids who normally are pretty shy [step up] and sing in front of the whole school. I love how it really showcases such a variety of talent and empowers our kids.”

Several of the young aspiring singers covered the catchy hit song “How Far I’ll Go” from Disney’s Moana soundtrack, while a couple others utilized popular dance moves of ‘Watch Me’ (Whip/Nae Nae), while Lupita Alvarado stayed true to her cultural roots and shared a traditional Mexican folk dance with her peers. Then there were those who took creativity to the next level by coming up with their own choreography and dance moves.

The students, teachers, and parents were all blown away from the get go as a large ensemble led by Kamaya Craig opened the talent show with their own unique dance routine. Dancing to music by Beyonce, the eleven student girl-group displayed a variety of dance moves and choreographed precision. In creating the routine, Kamaya’s vision was to have a variety of girls from difference grade levels perform a song that really takes pride in who they are as young ladies. The group of 1st – 5th grade ladies met daily during lunch time to practice channeling their inner Beyonce.

Following the amazing performances, Kamaya’s mother Chelsea said, “It felt good to see the arts living in our school, we definitely need more of that!”

The annual elementary talent show set the stage to showcase so many talented kids and the student body came through, act after act. All the young entertainers braved being on center stage and performed admirably.

“Every year the talent show is a big success; 2017 was no exception. It is an event that is anticipated by parents, staff, and students alike,” explains Principal Cory Taylor. “For many years, 1st grade teacher Corina Hansen has put many hours into planning this event. Putting on an activity like this doesn’t just happen without a vision. As a school, we are fortunate to have her leadership in coordinating the talent show.

“All of the performers did such an amazing job. There was a wide variety of talent ranging from comedians to artists. Without question, these students will do amazing things with their lives. As a school, we applaud them for their great work.”