Schack Art Center Features Haida Art

Article and photos by Kalvin Valdillez

The National Basketry Organization (NBO) is a non-profit organization consisting of basket-makers, collectors, art gallery owners, students, schools and museums. Members from the organization recently traveled to the Northwest for a basketry conference held in Tacoma.

Fiber Artist, Jan Hopkins, wanted to host a Native American art gala at her home in Everett, for the NBO. Unfortunately, due to conflicting times, NBO members informed Jan that they would be unable to attend her event. The organization, however, originally scheduled time to tour Everett’s Schack Art Center, where Jan’s husband, Chris, frequently showcases his paintings. Jan contacted art collectors John Price and Nancy Kovalik as well as Haida Master Weaver, Lisa Telford, to see if they were interested in showcasing their Haida art collections at the Schack for the NBO.

With the art collectors and Lisa on board, the Art Center allowed Jan to guest curate Courtesy of: Extraordinary Basketry, Textiles and Sculptures from the Northwest Collections. The exhibit features paintings, carvings and weavings created by Haida artists Delores Churchill, Isabelle Rorick and Evelyn Vanderhoop – to name a few.

Lisa, who also works for the Tulalip TERO program, is a world renowned Haida Weaver. Her works are featured in museums nationwide including exhibits at the Burke Museum in Seattle, the Heard Museum in Phoenix, the Hallie Ford Museum of Art in Salem and the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.

“[Weaving] is my thread to sanity,” states Lisa. “When my older brother passed, the first person in my family to pass away that affected me, I didn’t weave for about six months. When I started weaving again, I went to work on Monday and everybody asked ‘what happened to you’ and when I said nothing, they said ‘yeah, something life changing happened to you this weekend because you’re glowing.’ I feel like it keeps me grounded and it makes me happy, so I just say it’s my thread to sanity, when I do it I’m happy, I don’t know how else to say it.”

“I come from a family of weavers; everybody wove,” continued Lisa. “My grandmother wanted to teach me when I was thirteen, but when you’re thirteen you’re too busy running around to settle down. My grandmother sat me down and said ‘I want to show you something,’ and I said ‘I don’t have time for that.’ I always regretted that. After she passed away, I moved to Washington and joined a dance group and I wore her hat. People would ask ‘where’d you get that hat?’ and when I said my grandma, they asked ‘can she could make any more?’ That’s what made me start weaving. I realized that I took it all for granted. I told my mom and she called my auntie and shortly after that I started apprenticing for my aunt Dolores.”

Lisa created six weavings for the exhibit. Her art submissions include a big spoon basket, a traditional hat, two small baskets as well as two pairs of cedar high heel shoes.

“I think it was probably in 1999, this fellow from the Heard Museum asked me if I would give a pair of shoes for this show called Sole Stories,” explains Lisa.

After trial and error, she created a pair of high heels, using BBs and a dress weight to shape the shoes. When submitting the shoes, the museum was shocked by her invention.

“I brought them to the show, the guy goes ‘Oh my God! I didn’t know you were going to make a pair of shoes. I didn’t even know that was possible! I meant a pair of your personal shoes.’ Now people keep wanting the shoes, even after I say I’m done with it. Every time I think I’m done, they pull me back in,” she states.

Many of the works that were provided by the art collectors, were weaved by Lisa’s family members.

“It really could be called my family’s show because the person who wove the tunic was my cousin Evelyn, the person who wove the canoe cape was my cousin Holly and the person who wove the robe was my aunt Dolores,” Lisa exclaimed.

The Courtesy of: Extraordinary Basketry, Textiles and Sculptures from the Northwest Collections exhibit is featured until July 29 at the Schack Art Center., 2921 Hoyt Ave, Everett, WA 98201. For additional information, please visit www.Schack.org

Tulalip Hosts 8th Annual Stick Game Tournament

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Slahal is a well-known gambling game played amongst Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest coast. Known by a variety of names such as hand game, bone game and stick game, Slahal has been used since time immemorial by Native American ancestors to settle a multitude of disputes including the rights to hunting and fishing territories. In many Northwest Native American communities it is believed that Slahal was gifted from the animals as a means to prevent war and unite the Coast Salish tribes.

Each year, the Tulalip Tribes hosts a weekend-long stick-game tournament at the Tulalip Amphitheater, located north of the Tulalip Resort and Casino. Coast Salish families’ journey, some from as far British Columbia, to join in on the festivities and for the opportunity to win cash prizes.

Gameplay requires two opposing teams, consisting of three to five players, to face each other. Salhal game pieces include two pairs of bones, one pair decorated with beaded stripes, as well as a set of sticks, used to keep score. The bones are separated amongst the players and the opposing team has to correctly guess where the beaded bones are. Traditional songs are performed while the team discreetly shuffles the game pieces between players, as a means of distraction.

This year, the 8th Annual Tulalip Tribes Stick Game Tournament was held Friday June 2 through Sunday June 4 and featured a total weekend payout of $63,000. Over one hundred and seventeen teams competed for a chance to win the grand prize of $50,000. Stick games promote positive lifestyle choices as the event is drug and alcohol-free. The tournament is open to all ages, providing the opportunity for multi-generational families to learn, share and enjoy the traditional game of Slahal.

Pow Wow Honors Veterans of Native America

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

During the first weekend of June, the Tulalip Tribes hosted the 26th Annual Veterans Pow Wow. The event, located at the Greg Williams Court, attracted a considerable amount of traditional singers and dancers as well as hundreds of onlookers.

Draped in traditional and vibrant regalia, the dancers took to the floor to celebrate Native American culture, while over fifteen drum circles provided the beats throughout the weekend. The bleachers of the gym were overflowing as attendees witnessed various tribal members gather, from across the nation, to honor the Veterans of Native America.

Master of Ceremonies, Vince Beyl, worked alongside Arena Director, Anthony Bluehorse, during the drug and alcohol-free event. Numerous vendors were stationed outside of the gym, selling an array of goods including art, clothing, jewelry, beaded regalia, Pendleton blankets and traditional foods such as frybread and Indian tacos.

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World

Poster image of RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked The World by Catherine Bainbridge and Alfonso Maiorana, an official selection of the World Cinema Documentary Competition at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

 

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The contributions of Native Americans in modern music (from Link Wray to Robbie Robertson, Charley Patton to Buffy Sainte-Marie) got a much-deserved showcase at the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) premiere of Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World. A celebratory documentary uncovering the indigenous influence on American music history, Rumble was received by an energetic crowd at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre on Friday, May 16.

“First off, let us recognize we are on the land of indigenous peoples, the Coast Salish people,” stated Tracy Rector (Seminole/Choctaw), SIFF Program Director and Native activist as she introduced the film. “Tonight is a celebration of indigenous art, indigenous musicians, and our community.”

From Charley Patton and Mildred Bailey to Link Wray and Jimi Hendrix; from Jesse Ed Davis and Buffy-Sainte Marie to Robbie Robertson and Randy Castillo, the contributions of Native Americans to the soundtrack of popular culture music are as undeniable as they are underreported. The Indigenous influence spans nearly all the musical genres like blues, jazz, pop, rock and heavy metal.

In the celebratory exposé Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World, director Catherine Bainbridge takes us through a rollercoaster of fantastic music and wide-ranging interviews – Martin Scorsese and Taj Mahal rub shoulders with Pat Vegas and late poet John Trudell – while never losing sight of the politically precarious place indigenous persons hold in America’s troubled history, a history in which Native culture has been systematically silenced.

“There was this key express: be proud you’re an Indian, but be careful who you tell,” says Robertson (Mohawk), best known for his work as lead guitarist for The Band, recounting advice he once received. Loud, lively, and endlessly illuminating, Rumble is as powerful as the 1958 Link Wray song it’s named after, one of the rare instrumental tracks banned from radio airwaves since it supposedly “glorified juvenile delinquency.”*

Film producers Lisa Roth and Ernest Webb attend the SIFF premier of their documentary Rumble.

“People don’t understand nor realize that there was a Native contribution and influence, an intermingling of cultures from so long that helped shape the early sounds of many musical genres,” says Producer Lisa Roth on the film’s vision to entertain while educating the public. “This isn’t commonly known because at the time [the U.S. government] was attempting to erase Native culture, essentially. We know this is a lot of information to take in and absorb. I’ve been approached by many Native people after viewing the film who tell me, ‘I learned something that I should have known and I didn’t. Thank you for that.’”

“We don’t want to take anything away from anybody, it’s just that we want to add to the story. We want the contributions of Native musicians and artists who helped shape music recognized in the history,” adds Executive Producer Ernest Webb (Cree). “Just because we hid, they thought we had disappeared. A lot of our people and culture was forced to go underground in order to survive. Presently, a lot of our ceremonies and traditional ways are coming back.

We’re in a new age, especially with successful music groups like A Tribe Called Red. We don’t need to hide who we are anymore. With the new and young generation coming up I’m hopeful our culture will continue to grow and thrive on the foundation our ancestors provided.”

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World will be wide-released to select theaters in the Seattle area later this Summer.

To view the Rumble trailer you can visit http://rezolutionpictures.com/portfolio_page/rumble/

*Source: Rumble press material provided by Seattle International Film Festival

It’s for the kids! 19th Annual Boys & Girls Club Auction

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

During the evening of Saturday, May 20, the Tulalip Resort Casino’s Orca ballroom was home to the 19th Annual Tulalip Boys and Girls Club Auction. The annual fundraising event is all about giving donors and community members the opportunity to take action for the benefit of countless kids and support the Tribes’ local Boys and Girls Club.

‘The Club’, as it’s affectionately been dubbed by the hundreds of children who attend daily, is a safe place where children can just be kids. At the Club, children make relationships that can last a lifetime, are exposed to healthy food choices, and create an abundance of happy memories.

“In an uncertain world the Boys and Girls Club is fortunate to be able to be that rock and stable foundation that so many of our children long for,” states Rochelle Lubbers, Auction Chair. “The hard working leadership and staff at the Club continue to explore dynamic ways in which to expose our children to diverse activities to nourish their spirts and minds. With a focus on safety, healthy body movement, and culture the Club is enriching the lives of children every day.”

The Tulalip Boys & Girls Club is the first club of its kind to be built on tribal land in Washington. Established in 1995, 2017 marks twenty-two years of commitment to the community. The Club promotes the health, social, educational, vocational and character development of boys and girls. Through before and after school programs, it aims to help young people improve their lives by building self-esteem, developing values, and teaching skills during critical periods of growth.

Serving as a model for those working to improve the lives of young people in the surrounding communities, the Club is the primary beneficiary of the annual fundraising auction. With each auction building off the success of the previous years, the Club has not only been able to sustain services, but to complete much needed campus expansions that add additional learning and activity space. Funds raised from this year’s auction will make it possible to add a 4,000ft2 extension to the Club that can serve as a teen-oriented, multimedia room.

“Across the country it’s very difficult to get these teens to re-engage after they’ve aged out of the Boys and Girls Club, so what we want to do is get them their own addition to our Club,” said Marlin Fryberg Jr., Director of the Tulalip Club, to the auction audience. “We’re trying to get those kids back into a safe facility. With your generous donations we’re going to do that.”

There were over 600 caring and generous people in attendance this year. With such an amazing turnout to support the kids came some thrilling fundraising numbers. $53,000 was raised for Kids Kafé, which is an essential part of the Club’s services. This year, Kids Kafé served hot meals and healthy snacks to approximately 385 kids each day, 2,500 meals per week, and 123,000 meals per year.

In total, a record breaking $432,000 was raised at the 19th annual auction.

“The auction is really about building relationships with the community and continuing to build upon the strong foundation of support we have with the Tulalip Tribes and the Tulalip Resort Casino,” stated Terry Freeman, Assistant Director of Development for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County. “Our goal remains to create more and more partnerships off the reservation to achieve our goals on reservation. Thanks to our tribal leadership team, we continue to meet and exceed this goal. This year’s auction and the record amount of funds raised goes to show that it’s so much bigger than just an auction, it’s a signature event for people giving back to the kids.”

On behalf of the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club, the Tulalip Tribes thanks everyone who contributed to the success of the 19th annual auction. The outpouring of support received each year from sponsors and volunteers is quite overwhelming. As in years past, the funds raised from the auction will ensure that our club not only continues to provide, but improves upon, quality programs in a fun, safe and positive environment for kids to attend.

Jazz Therapy: Preservation Hall Legacy Jazz Band visits Tulalip community

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

As the last note of their second set was hit and spit valves were emptied, trumpet extraordinaire, Gregg Stafford, approached the microphone at the Francis J. Sheldon Gymnasium. He graciously thanked the audience of middle and high school students for the standing ovation he and his fellow band members of the Preservation Hall Legacy Jazz Band were receiving. The traditional six-piece New Orleans jazz band recently traveled to Tulalip to perform and speak with the youth of the community about jazz history, culture and the importance of keeping traditions alive. During their week-long visit the band performed for over 4,000 students at schools within the Marysville School District including Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary, and Heritage, Getchell and Marysville-Pilchuck high schools.

After the much deserved cheers and applauds began to quiet down, Gregg informed the students that the band would be answering any questions the students had for them. The kids asked a variety of questions ranging from who is your favorite jazz singer to more complex questions regarding mutes, tempo and time signatures. Inevitably, a student asked ‘how long have you guys been playing?In this moment Gregg, along with trombonist Fred Lonzo, clarinetist Louis Ford, pianist Lars Edgrean, bassist Richard Moten and drummer Joesph Lastie Jr collectively grinned as Greg looked at his watch and responded ‘oh about twenty-five minutes now.’ Laughter filled the entire room, most notably from the band.

Those small joyful moments, within the twenty-five-minute jazz set, where the entire room is smiling ear to ear, sharing laughter with one another and getting lost in the music is the reason Tulalip Tribes Employee Assistance Counselor, Jessica Talevich, brought the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to the Pacific Northwest.

Tulalip Tribes Employee Assistance Counselor, Jessica Talevich (right) dancing to the band during their performance at  the Hibulb Cultural Center.

Nearly two years ago, after witnessing the band live in their native New Orleans and once again in Seattle a week after, she discovered the band offers outreach work to high schools nationwide. In the wake of tragedy amongst the Tulalip-Marysville community, Jessica consistently witnessed division as several messages from ‘talk-based’ outreach programs missed their mark and constantly reminded community members of their hard times.

In an effort to change the cycle and promote healing, Jessica and the Tulalip Tribes partnered with the Marysville School District to bring the unique outreach program to the community.

“They just exude so much joy,” exclaimed Jessica. “The history of New Orleans is built on tragedy. From the early days of illness’ and diseases killing off many people, to the whole city burning to the ground and being rebuilt, and slavery is a whole other aspect. And then there’s instance after instance of hurricanes coming through and decimating [the city] such as Katrina and then the gulf oil spill that happened after [Hurricane Katrina]. These are resilient folks and their culture and arts, especially their music, have a lot to do with their resiliency so I wanted to bring that up here and talk about creativity as a tool for resiliency.”

After a tour of Tulalip, hosted by Tulalip tribal member Freida Williams, the band performed for the community at the Hibulb Cultural Center. Plenty of audience members danced and joined in a march led by Fred while he performed a solo on his trombone. Following the performance, the band had an open discussion with the audience touching on subjects such as the ever-changing music industry and music education. Gregg inquired about the local population of black bears and the tribe’s hunting regulations.

Tulalip tribal member Natosha Gobin and her children were present for nearly every Preservation Hall Jazz Band performance to offer prayers and gifts to the musicians.

She states, “It was a good week, my kids had so much fun! I think that music is such a great outlet and sometimes there are youth out here who kind of feel overwhelmed with not knowing our own traditional songs or like they can’t sing their songs and express themselves through our culture. And I think that a lot of the youth were able to find a connection and a love and passion for another music outlet and they understand more about Preservation Hall, although they are not an Indigenous group. They’re not a tribe, yet everything that they struggled with is parallel to what our people struggle with. So you can make those connections and those connections help – they’re inspiring for kids. For our youth, I think its inspiring that music does have a culture.”

On their last night in the community, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band spent the evening performing for a large crowd in the Marysville-Pilchuck auditorium. Both Getchell and Marysville-Pilchuck high school jazz bands showcased their skills for Preservation Hall. Fred, Louis and Gregg made special appearances and performed alongside the bands.

During their final performance the band shared the stage with Native American Grammy Award Winner, Star Nayea. The band played Dixieland jazz, jazz blues, and ragtime as well as jazz funeral music. The audience was highly engaged and interactive throughout the bands last set. The crowd sang along to classic songs such as What a Wonderful World and A Closer Walk with Thee. Nearly everyone in attendance marched around the auditorium before rushing the stage while the horns blew to the tune of When the Saints Go Marching in.

“Witnessing the interactions between our musicians with students from the Tulalip community was both inspiring and impactful,” states Preservation Hall Foundation Program Director, Ashley Shabankareh. “We saw such passion from students in the community for their own cultural traditions and were able to make meaningful connections to how we pass traditions in New Orleans. This trip is something myself and our musicians will never forget – we were overjoyed to see the power of music bringing communities together.”

For additional information about the Preservation Hall Jazz Band please visit PreservationHallJazzBand.com

Cultural imPRINT: Northwest Coast Prints exhibition showcased at Tacoma Art Museum

Art Thompson (b. 1948)
Nuu-chah-nulth, Dit-i-daht First Nation
Not a Good Day, 1993
Screenprint

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) is currently showcasing the vast styles of printmaking by tribal artists in its Cultural imPrint: Northwest Coast Prints exhibit. Reminding us of the local talent and cultural beauty inherent in works by artists from various First Nations and Native tribes along the Pacific Coast, you can take advantage of this special exhibition by visiting TAM now through August 20.

Faith Brower, TAM’s Curator of Western American Art, has partnered with co-curator India Young from Victoria, B.C. to bring together a selection of approximately 46 prints by 30 Coast Salish and Fist Nations artists.

Art Thompson (b. 1948)
Nuu-chah-nulth, Dit-i-daht First Nation
Hy-ish-tup, 1975
Screenprint

“This exhibition is really about how artists create community through their work,” said co-curator India Young. “Artists visualize their nationhood and territory. Cultural knowledge and design are passed from print to print and generation to generation. Prints circulate a sense of belonging.”

Providing a survey of Indigenous artists who have defined six-decades of printmaking in the Pacific Northwest, this exhibition proudly boasts a cultural narrative. Through their prints, these artists share knowledge about the diverse cultures in the region, while sustaining their art and history. Some of this artwork focuses on culturally specific design motifs that can identify a nation or tribe within the region. Others affirm how artists have used the print medium to reexamine the role of women’s histories with Northwest Coast communities. Still other works illuminate the passion of knowledge between generations.

Jeffrey Veregge
Coast Salish, Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe
Restoration, 2012
Digital print

“What’s fascinating about this exhibition is the various interpretations of cultural symbols,” states co-curator Faith Brower. “These print works connect people in new ways to vibrant Northwest communities.”

Much of the printmaking from the Northwest Coast can be immediately recognized by the high contrast, black and red graphics. Indigenous printmaking in the region continues to be exploratory and innovative while adhering to traditional teachings. Through the print medium artists expand on their visual languages to create works that broaden the scope of Northwest Coast art.

Marika Swan (b. 1982)
Nuu-chah-nulth, Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation
Become Worthy – State I, 2016 Digital print
“When our people were whaling they prepared their whole lives spiritually to be worthy of a gift as generous as a whale. Everyone in the community had to work in unity to ensure the hunt was successful and done safely. Each whale was such a bountiful offering of food for the community and each part of the whale was utilized and celebrated. As a Tla-o-qui-aht woman there are many large gifts I am hoping to bring home to my community and I understand that I am on a journey to spiritually lay the groundwork so that I am ready when they arrive. Pook-mis, the drowned whaler, lies at the bottom of the sea floor and offers a warning that things can go horribly wrong if you are not properly prepared.” – Marika Swan

Henry Speck (Ozistalis, b. 1908)
Kwakwaka’wakw, Tlowitsis First Nation
Sea Raven –
Gwa wi’s, 1964
Screen Print

Medicine for Our People: Annual Hibulb United Spring Schools Pow Wow

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

“This is not a show for your entertainment, this is medicine for our people. We come to this floor seeking healing and it’s important that we continue to teach this to our future generations,” explained Elder and traditional dancer, Charlie Pierce, of the importance of carrying on traditions. “There is a reason we perform at these gatherings; it is not a spectacle.”

The Tulalip and Marysville community showed up in large numbers for the Annual Hibulb United Spring Schools Pow Wow. The recent event was held on Saturday May 13, 2017 at Totem Middle School to celebrate Native American culture with traditional song and dance. Many families traveled, some from as far as Canada, to participate in the festivities. Several drum circles performed including host drum, Indian Heritage.

MC Arlie Neskahi directed the competitions throughout the evening. In between the inter-tribal dances and competitions raffles, donations and birthday wishes were held and books were awarded to every child in attendance willing to dance. This year featured an arts and crafts table for the youth to make traditional Native American art, namely beaded jewelry. Numerous vendors were in attendance, selling an array of items including beaded regalia, art prints, sage, sweet grass, blankets and clothing.