Tulalip Resort Casino’s new Italian steakhouse serves fresh, affordable dishes in fun, inviting atmosphere

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

A few short years ago, the Tulalip Resort Casino (TRC) released a number of renovation plans to update the venues, restaurants, resort rooms and gift shops to a more modern design. Since then, Club Impulse has been replaced by the Draft Sports Bar and Grill, a consolidation of two gift shops led to the opening of Journey’s East, and the relocation of the poker room provided the space for the popular pizza joint, Blazing Paddles. The resort rooms have received makeovers featuring beautiful Tulalip artwork in each room, and a new lounge welcomes resort guests as they arrive from a long day of travel. TRC’s latest endeavor, however, might be its biggest change yet, transforming their highly-popular and extravagant fine-dining restaurant, Tulalip Bay, into an urban eatery that welcomes gamblers, nightlifers, wine connoisseurs and families alike, named Tula Bene Pastaria + Chophouse. 

“It’s a livelier space,” expressed Tula Bene Chef and GM, Jeremy Taisey. “Formally it was fine-dining, very intimate and quiet. We tried to create a more fun atmosphere where you can come in, sit down with friends, have some wine, have some great food and relax and enjoy company. And we strive to make the food a part of that conversation. It’s a lot more open but it still has a certain intimacy at the same time. And the way we approach the food in the kitchen is to bring it back to the basics, get rid of all the fancy stuff and keep it clean and simple. The atmosphere is casual and fun, the food is presented nice, we have a lot of great wines and the pricing is affordable for our guests. We want to give the guests fine dining without them realizing it’s fine dining.”

With delicious dishes including a variety of steaks, chops, burgers and pastas, the restaurant’s new menu is sure to have something for everyone in your party. A number of meals and drinks are made tableside, adding to the fun experience. 

“Tulalip Bay had a fine-dining theme and even though I want the food to be just as good, I want Tula Bene to be more of a fun restaurant, something that’s more approachable and that people will leave saying, we had a good time,” expresses Tulalip Resort Casino Executive Chef, Perry Mascitti.

The Tula Bene menu was created by a team that included Chef Perry, Chef Jeremy, TRC Sommelier Tommy Thompson and TRC Food and Beverage Director Lisa Severn. Once an idea for a dish was agreed upon, Chef Jeremy took to the kitchen to create the recipe from scratch, using only fresh ingredients and local meat for the dishes.

“It’s focused on Italian cuisine, everything is made fresh to order,” Chef Jeremy expresses. “Some of our signature items would be our lobster ravioli, which is very unique in that there’s a lot of lobster that actually goes into it. We bring in seventy live lobsters a week for the restaurant. We have a real commitment to freshness. Our steaks are all hand-cut here in the kitchen, we have custom dry-aged steak, we have wagyu steaks.  Our beet salad is fantastic, it has a great balance of roasted beets and all these different flavors and has a really nice presentation. For our salmon carpaccio we cure our salmon in-house. We bring in all of our fish whole, nothing is pre-fileted, we break everything down here. Again, it’s just that commitment to quality and freshness.

“We used to be fine-dining and at the heart all of these guys are fine-dine cooks and chefs, so to go causal was a bit of a challenge,” he continues. “Our mantra is, we don’t do easy, we make easy happen through hard work and learning. When a guest comes into the restaurant and orders, it may appear simple or something easy to cook, but really these guys do about four to five hours of prep every day before we open. For an example, all of our peas are fava beans. We bring them in whole and shell them by hand, it takes hours and hours of work. It’s easy to buy a bag of frozen peas, but we’re very committed to quality and freshness and letting the flavors shine through.”

Sommelier, Tommy Thompson spoke of the many wines offered at Tula Bene. With two wine cellars, the restaurant certainly has wide variety of red and whites for their guests.

“We’re wine-centric,” says Tommy. “We have a pretty cool selection of wine for people looking for an experience. We have the Italian wines, thirteen of those, and thirteen international wines as well. We have keg wines with Italian and Washington fruit. You’re not paying for the fluff, the bottle, the cork, the wrap, but you’re getting high-end fruit. There’s a stigma about wine, that it’s pinky out and high-end only, and we’re here to challenge that and say just relax and enjoy a damn good glass of juice with Washington fruit for around eight-dollars a glass.”

Tula Bene features a full bar located near the gaming floor, separating the machines and the restaurant. The famous Chihuly glass chandelier that hung at the heart of Tulalip Bay is still in place, highlighting the stylish new floor plan. Tommy also paired a few of his favorite wines with a couple new Tula Bene menu items to suggest to the guests upon their first visit to the restaurant.

“Chef Jeremy and his team put together an excellent menu and did a fantastic job,” he states. “One of the most simple foods is the French fry and they took it and put out the best parmesan fries, it’s ridiculous, they’re addicting. My favorite wine to go with that would be a killer prosecco. Fries and bubbles are perfect together. I’m also currently geeking out on a wine called Domain Mercouri. It’s a white wine from Greece and it’s grown in volcanic soils, so it gets ripe but retains really good acidity, that goes great with the pancetta wrapped halibut.”

Since Tula Bene’s recent opening on June 14, the restaurant has received several great reviews. Chef Jeremy, Chef Perry and Tommy all expressed the joy they feel when seeing a family have a great time while at the restaurant.

“The main course I want to serve here is fun and a fun experience, the sharing experience,” says Chef Perry. “To see our guests come in for great food and leave with great memories, I think that’s what’s most important. It’s always nice when people say, we had great food in your restaurant, but it’s always that much better when we get a guest who leaves saying they had a great experience.” 

For further details and to view the Tula Bene Pastaria + Chophouse menu, please visit www.TulalipResortCasino.com

New documentary explores Indigenous families’ long history of forced separation

Georgina Sappier-Richardson screenshot.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News; Photos courtesy of Upstander Project & SIFF

There has been a nationwide controversy over the United States government’s immigration policy in recent weeks. The sweeping wave of shock and disgust directed at the Trump Administration resulted from national news outlets detailing immigrant children being separated from their parents after being caught entering the U.S. illegally from Mexico. 

For Native America, visual confirmation of the federal government forcibly removing innocent children from their parents, while arguing it’s for the good of the child, is nothing new. ‘Kill the Indian, save the man’ was a long-lasting theme by which Native children were separated from their communities and put into boarding schools or even unwillingly placed with white families. 

For much of the last century, the United States government maintained a genocidal policy that forcibly removed Native American children from their homes and placed them into white communities. As recently as the 1970’s, one in four Native children nationwide were living in non-Native foster care, adoptive homes, or boarding schools.* Many of them faced traumatic physical and emotional abuse by white adults in effort to erase their cultural identity and history.

It’s hard to know just how many children experienced this separation phenomenon of the 19th and 20th centuries because there was no system in place to account for them and many disappeared. 

Stolen children, racism, devastated families, and a cultural genocide resulting from government sanctioned atrocities committed against Native peoples are topics thoroughly explored and weaved together in the intense, feature-length documentary Dawnland.

Dawnland SIFF audience

“Today, Native American children are far more likely than other children to grow up away from their families and tribes,” stated Dawnland Co-Director Adam Mazo. “Many of us are familiar with popular culture’s portrayal of the westward expansion, Indian wars, and boarding schools. We are often taught to think that these occurred in a distant time, disconnected from people who are alive here now.”

Dawnland sheds light on the decades of forced assimilation and misguided child welfare policy that devastated generations of Indigenous people. Revealing the untold narrative of Native child removal in the United States, the film goes behind-the-scenes as a state-sanctioned Truth and Reconciliation Commission goes to the Wabanaki tribal community of Maine with the sole purpose of recording the actual history of this policy and to witness sacred moments of truth telling and healing.

The film follows both Native and non-Native commissioners as they travel across the state speaking to tribes of the Wabanaki people. These recorded meetings, the first state government sanctioned of their kind, produce intimate and harrowing moments of truth and reconciliation. But they soon discover these atrocities are more than just history, as current state policy continues to shatter Wabanaki families and threaten the tribe’s very existence. What begins as a learning process evolves into a modern fight for a people’s inalienable human rights.*

As part of this year’s Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), a special public screening of Dawnland was held at the Seattle Central Library. Sponsored by Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund, the screening was a hit as the library’s auditorium was filled to max capacity to watch the extraordinary documentary. 

“The film will air on Independent Lens nationally on PBS in the 2018-2019 season and we’re super excited,” said filmmaker Adam Mazo in a Crosscut interview. “As far as we know this will be the first time that Wabanaki people are featured on a nationally televised program.”

*Source: Dawnland and SIFF press materials

Parade highlights Strawberry Festival celebration

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

A Marysville/Tulalip community tradition since 1931, thousands of families filled the sidewalks of State Street on Father’s Day to enjoy the Strawberry Festival’s Grand Parade. Tulalip Resort Casino was recognized as the top-level, Orca sponsor for the 87th annual Strawberry Festival.

The festival took place over the weekend of June 15 to 17. During those days Marysville Middle School and Asbery Field were home to children’s activities, live entertainment, a talent show, craft making, a large outdoor market, and a fun for all ages carnival. Concluding the festival was the Grand Parade.

Tulalip was well-represented with a variety of themed displays throughout the parade, adding to the spectacle of stunning visuals and raucous sounds. Tulalip Bay Fire and the police department lent the sirens of their emergency services vehicles to signal the parade’s start. 

Board of Director Teri Gobin served as Grand Marshall.

Beginning at 7:45pm, the parade lasted approximately 90-minutes, ending shortly after sunset. Unlike years past, there was no dazzling firework show to mark the parade’s end because of Marysville’s city-wide ban on fireworks, even for display purposes. 

Major exhibition presents a Native-activated space, explores legacy of Edward S. Curtis

 

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) presents Double Exposure: Edward S. Curtis, Marianne Nicolson, Tracy Rector, Will Wilson (on display from June 14 – September 9). Featuring iconic early 20th-century photographs by photographer Edward S. Curtis alongside contemporary works – including photography, video, and installations – by Indigenous artists Marianne Nicolson, Tracy Rector, and Will Wilson. Their powerful portrayals of Native identity offer a compelling counter narrative to the stereotypes present in Curtis’s images.

Edward S. Curtis is one of the most well-known photographers of Native people and the American West. Double Exposure features over 150 of his photographs. Threaded throughout the galleries of his works are multimedia installations by Marianne Nicolson, Tracy Rector, and Will Wilson. Their work provides a crucial framework for a critical reassessment and understanding of Curtis’s representations of Native peoples, while shedding light on the complex responses Natives and others have to those representations today.*

“The historical significance of Curtis’s project is well-established,” says Barbara Brotherton, SAM’s Curator of Native American Art. “In many cases, his photographs and texts provide important records of Native culture. However, it’s time for a reevaluation of his work. His methodology perpetuated the problematic myth of Native people as a ‘vanishing race.’ This exhibition reflects a collaboration among SAM, the artists, and an advisory committee comprising Native leaders to make a space for a reckoning with Curtis’s legacy.”

Three contemporary Indigenous artists in Double Exposure challenge assumptions about Native art and illustrate how Native communities continue to creatively define their identity and cultures for themselves. First Nation artist Marianne Nicolson created an immersive sculptural light installation that casts moving shadows to address the impact of the 1964 Columbia River Treaty on Native communities. 

Seminole and Choctaw filmmaker/artists Tracy Rector empowers Indigenous communities by capturing the activism, defiance, and reclaimed traditions of Native tribes through her new video work of short stories derived from environmental awareness and life experiences of Natives today.

“All of my work is centered in Indigenous story: for, by, and about Indigenous people,” says Rector, whose video will welcome viewers inside a “Native-activated space” surrounded by related art.

Will Wilson’s large-scale tintype portraits feature Native lawmakers, artists, educators, and community members from the Seattle area. Artist Tracy Rector, Senator John McCoy, and others will speak through “talking” tintypes created using augmented reality. Wilson, a Navajo/Diné photographer, aims to counter stereotypes that Curtis’s work propagated.

“I want to supplant Curtis’s ‘settler’ gaze and the remarkable body of ethnographic material he compiled with a contemporary vision of Native North America,” states Wilson.

Double Exposure is a chance to see art of Native Americans in all its complexity through each of these artists’ perspectives on culture and identity.*

In honor of Double Exposure’s opening, the Seattle Art Museum invited any individuals with tribal affiliations to be the first visitors to view the exhibit. Dubbed ‘the Indigenous Peoples opening’, held the evening of June 11, representatives from many Coast Salish tribes gathered at SAM for the free event which included admission to the exhibit, performances by the Suquamish canoe family, and songs shared by Lummi violinist Swil Kanim.

“This Indigenous-only celebration was inspired by Miranda Belarde-Lewis (Tlingit/Zuni),” explains artist Tracy Rector. “She suggested the idea of decolonizing curation and what it means to indigenize museum spaces. Having a Native-centered exhibit opening is a way we could be in community experiencing artwork together.”

*source: Seattle Art Museum press releases, exhibition literature

Image credits: Kalamath Lake Marshes, 1923, Edward S. Curtis, goldstone. Mussel Gatherer, 1900, Edward S. Curtis, photogravure. John McCoy (Tulalip) – Talking Tintype, 2018, Will Wilson, exhibition print. Madrienne Salgado (Muckleshoot) – Talking Tintype, 2018, Will Wilson, exhibition print.

Annual Stick Game Tournament unites Northwest tribes in friendly competition

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Players of the traditional Coast Salish gambling game, known by a few names including slahal, lahal, bone games and stick games, gathered at the Tulalip Amphitheater during the weekend of June 1-3. Many players arrived an entire day early, equipped with their bones, drums and lawn chairs in anticipation of the 9th Annual Tulalip Tribes Stick Game Tournament. This year’s tournament attracted a record-breaking one-hundred and forty-two teams who competed for a chance to win cash prizes, including the grand prize of $50,000. 

Native families journeyed across Washington and Canada to play in the tournament. The total payout this year was $63,000 which was distributed throughout the weekend during a number of rounds including the kid’s tournament, which drew a large crowd of spectators. 

The game was said to be invented centuries ago in order to settle a number of disputes between tribes of the Northwest, including the rights to fishing, gathering and hunting territories. As legend has it, the game was gifted to the people by the animals in order to unite the tribes and prevent war. 

During gameplay, two teams consisting of three to five players face each other. The game pieces, which include a set of bones and sticks, are discreetly distributed amongst the players on one team. The opposing team has to correctly guess where the bones are and how many pieces the player has in their hands. The sticks are used to keep score and the team with their bones in play, sing traditional family songs in an attempt to distract the other team from seeing where the bones end up. The team who has the correct amount of guesses wins the game and gets to advance to the next round.

 “I came out to play for the Northwest Indian College team,” says NWIC student, Mikaela ‘Miki’ Ponca-Montoya of the Osage Nation. “We held a fundraiser last week so we could register and play in the games. We’ve been practicing, we have a stick game club at the college and a bunch of people participate and came out to play. I enjoy the medicine from the games because when people are playing their songs, some of us don’t know what they mean but we proudly sing those words as they’ve been upheld for generations and generations. You can feel it when your team starts to put their medicine in the music and when they’re playing the game you can feel the energy. That, and if you win, that’s the best part!”

Smiles are shared throughout the entire weekend, even when a team is knocked out of the competition, as most people are delighted to visit with other Native people and practice the traditional game of our ancestors. 

Annual Veteran’s Pow Wow

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

The first weekend of June marked the 27th Annual Tulalip Veterans Powwow. The extremely popular event welcomed hundreds of traditional dancers and singers to the Greg Williams Court to honor our veterans and celebrate Indigenous culture. The event kicked-off on June 1 and ended on the evening of June 3, as Natives of all ages and from across the Nation journeyed to Tulalip to participate in the powwow. 

“I came from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and am Blackfeet and Colville,” said Dave Madera. “I came to dance and sing.  It’s really positive, it feels good to get out on the floor and dance it’s really a celebration of our lives and uplifting our people through song and dance.”

The powwow featured a number of grand entries throughout the weekend, but the most popular was perhaps on the evening of June 2, as the entire gym was rocking to the beats provided by the many drum groups and the jingle of traditional regalia. 

“It’s about visiting with your family and friends and at the same time you’re sharing the culture,” said Russell McCloud (Puyallup/Yakima) “Song and dance brings everyone together. For the powwow it’s that drum, the drum brings everybody here. When they’re drumming and singing, everybody’s on the same beat and that unites all of us together.”

Ruben Littlehead served as Master of Ceremonies during the powwow and Northern Cree provided loud, rhythmic drumbeats throughout the event as the host drum circle. This year featured a playground for the kids that overlooked Tulalip Bay as well as numerous vendors. 

The annual powwow continues to inspire a new generation of dancers as kids of all ages took to the floor to honor our vets and ancestors by showcasing their traditional dance skills. Adults and elders also joined in on the fun by dancing their hearts out and getting lost in the culture.

“I love everything about this powwow,” expressed young Tulalip tribal member, Jordan Power. “I come to dance for the people, share our culture and continue practicing our traditions.”

HCC Flute Circle encourages self-expression and creativity

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Soothing, peaceful music resonated throughout the Hibulb Cultural Center (HCC) on the night of Thursday, May 24. Around thirty community members gathered in the museum’s longhouse to listen and take part in HCC’s bi-monthly flute circle. The circle is led by Tulalip tribal member and HCC Museum Assistant, Cary Williams, and is a recent addition to the museum’s Culture Series workshops.

“I’ve been playing since 2007, so eleven years now, wow,” Cary reflects. “Growing up, I went to church at St. Anne’s and they would do an intermission with flute and from that I was inspired to pick the instrument up myself. My first flute was actually a Chinese flute that was made from maple. It was very thin and actually broke when I was climbing up a hillside where I was playing as a kid. After that, I purchased more flutes up until I met my uncle Paul Nyenhuis and he gifts me handmade flutes that he makes from his heart. I’ve been playing those since and been sharing my music with my community since I started playing. I pack them with me wherever I go and share with anyone who is interested in listening.”

Cary enlisted his uncle Paul to help encourage a new generation of flute players to join in on the fun. Paul is local flutist who constructs and plays his own collection of handmade instruments, all of which are carved from various trees such as cedar, maple and cherry and also contain their very own stories. Paul shares the story behind each flute with the community and lets them get an up-close, detailed look at each of his designs before performing a melody for the circle. Cary also performs a number of songs throughout the event, which was originally inspired by his love and passion for the Indigenous instrument.  

“Being a flutist myself, I wanted a space where other flutists could share a connection with each other and also share their songs with the community, the young people and the elders of the tribe,” he explains. “And to help inspire an artform that was once lost as well as encourage self-expression through music, because physically, spiritually and emotionally the flute helps out a lot. 

“Personally, it helps me in my day-to-day life. If I’m overwhelmed I can play the flute and calm myself and come back to a great state of being or if I’m happy I can play a song and share that happiness as well. Just honoring our surroundings and our ancestors by playing the songs of them, speaking about the area that surrounds us, the Pacific Northwest, and talking about our salmon and that cedar tree. The music speaks on behalf of the unspoken, our ancestors and our Tribe. That’s what these songs feel like to me.”

During the circles, participants are invited to share stories and songs of the traditional instrument with one another. Everett community member, Ray Mutchler, was delighted when he heard of the flute circle through a Facebook post and attended to showcase his music. Ray and his girlfriend Carlita have been playing the instrument over the past couple years and are a part of a local Native American flute community. 

“I think it’s important for people to learn how to express themselves, especially through music,” says Ray. “Creativity is an important part of life. I learned how to play clarinet in public school and it’s a hard instrument to play for improvisation. The Native American flute is almost all improvisation and that’s great for creativity and self-expression and those are great qualities to learn and possess. I’m grateful for the opportunity to come here to listen and play today.”

The flute circle inspired all ages, as youth and elders awed during the performances inquired about the history of the flute. Research has proven that the Native American flute has been around for centuries and is one of the oldest instruments in history, created shortly after drums and rattles. The flute is more prominently used by tribes to the south, such as Arizona and New Mexico, as well as by many Indigenous nations of the great plains, but is also an integral part of the Coast Salish culture and is used during a number of important ceremonies. 

Once the hour-long flute circles have ended, a handful of youngsters are often gifted beginner flutes from Cary. However, like many instruments, the flutes choose their owners, who often have an immediate connection when first exposed to the instrument.

“The teachings of the flute live within you,” Cary says. “My uncle made some give away flutes for me to hold on to and when I feel that feeling to give away, I gift them to the kids. I always ask if they’re inspired to learn and the majority of the time, being a part of this event, they are very inspired to learn. So I hand them over to them like they were handed to me, with no intentions and no expectations, just to know that they have that tool now and can learn from the flute and learn from themselves by playing the notes that they like that come from the flute.” 

Paul has already gifted Cary’s newborn son a small flute so he can play alongside his dad while growing up. Cary’s goal is to have his son playing by the age of three and participating in future flute circles at the museum.

The next flute circle will be held on the last Thursday of July as HCC alternates hosting the flute circles and the coastal jams each month. For further details, please contact the museum at (360) 716-2600. 

Celebrating Diversity with Festival of World Cultures

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

All families and students of the Tulalip-Marysville community were invited to an evening of cultural exploration at Totem Middle School on May 18th. Offering a free, fun-filled event with a variety of music, dance, art and food for all, Marysville School District (MSD) presented the Festival of World Cultures.

“The coordinator of the English Language Learner Program and I met a few months ago to discuss how we could provide a more diverse and culturally rich experience within the District,” explained Deborah Parker, Director of Equity, Diversity and Indian Education for MSD. “The idea stemmed from the need our District has to become more aware of diverse cultures, while celebrating the distinct backgrounds of our students and their families.”

Community involvement played a large role in the development of the Festival, as coordinators reached out to local businesses, cultural performance groups, and a variety of vendors who could engage with people of all ages, from children to elders. The planning paid off big time as more than 300 people showed up to celebrate diversity and learn about other cultures. 

Attendees were each given a mock passport that were then stamped with approval throughout the evening as they travelled the world and learned from representatives of twenty different nations.

“It is important to both teach students about different cultures and experience cultures that are different from their own,” stated MSD Lead Native Liaison, Matt Remle. “These experiences help to grow students understanding about the broader world around them. Meaningful cultural sharing can lead to meaningful relationships and meaningful relationships can only help our students and communities engage in our diverse world.”

There was something offered for everyone in the family-based atmosphere providing entertainment and many laughs, while engaging everyone’s curiosity as they made their way through a variety of informative booths. Several culture representatives distributed knowledge through collaborative activities that had people learning while having fun.

“Everyone enjoyed the decorative and fun activities for kids, like the paper flower making with the group of Spanish-speaking volunteer moms from Cascade Elementary,” said Wendy Messarina, MSD Parent Liaison. “Also the group of Mexican dancers from Mary’s Place, in Everett, was a highlight when they shared ballet and folklore.”

Some families made quite the journey to learn about cultures different from their own, even families with students from outside the Marysville School District.

Gloria Campbell and her granddaughter Araba, both of West African ancestry, saw a flyer for the Festival of World Cultures online and travelled from Mukilteo to partake in the event. 

“We are very culturally motived,” said Gloria. “It is very important for us to embrace the cultures that are around us. I take my granddaughter with me everywhere to explore this region. I want her to learn as much as she can about people who don’t necessarily look like her.”

After feasting on a diverse selection of food, including the ever-popular fry bread station, Festival guests were treated to song and dance offered by Native, Hispanic, Pilipino, and Hawaiian cultures. 

Officer Sparr of Marysville Police Department enjoyed the Festival and having the opportunity to interact with so many children in such a positive setting. “This is how community events should be”, Officer Sparr said.

The Festival’s success garnered enough excitement that one for next school year is already being planned. 

“It was such a beautiful and harmonious event. We want to continue to expand on the enthusiasm and cultural understanding that was gained through just one evening. The YMCA has already asked to be a co-sponsor for next year,” added Deborah Parker. “Events like this not only helps build stronger relationships in our community, but also strengthens the commitment to our children’s success. It’s about finding ways to honor the diversity of students we have in the District and uplifting them for who they are and where they come from.”

Come celebrate MSD25’s first annual Festival of World Cultures

MARYSVILLE, WA – The Marysville School District English Language Learners Program and Equity, Diversity and Indian Education Department invite families, students, staff and the community to an evening of cultural exploration and discovery through food, music, dance and art. The Festival of World Cultures, taking place on Friday, May 18 from 4:30 – 8 p.m. will feature booths and entertainment from the wealth of cultural backgrounds that form the local Marysville and Tulalip community.

At this Family Engagement event, guests will have an opportunity to sample food from different cultures and from around the world. Participants will also get to experience a variety of cultural dance and musical performances, learn words in Lushootseed, the language of several Salish Native American tribes of modern-day Washington state, and other languages spoken in the District including Spanish, Russian and Tagalog.

“The ELL Programs serves more than 1500 multilingual students and families in the District who speak more than 37 languages,” said Deborah Parker, The Marysville School District Director of Equity, Diversity and Indian Education. “Events like this help us celebrate the many contributions that make our community strong and united, and help us all understand the importance of respecting and honoring our diverse cultural backgrounds.”

Many community organizations and groups contributed to the event. If you are interested in sponsoring the event or hosting a booth, contact Erica Breien at erica_breien@msd25.org or visit the application form at www.bit.ly/WorldCulturesFest2018.

 

WHAT: Festival of World Cultures
WHEN: Friday, May 18, 2018, 4:30 – 8 p.m.
WHERE: Totem Middle School, 1605 7th St, Marysville, WA 98270

WHO: All students, families, staff and community members in the Marysville School District.

Ghosts of the Pacific: On the rise and wrapping up a video trilogy 

 

By Kalvin Valdillez

Local up-and-coming rock band, Ghosts of the Pacific, is steadily increasing their number of fans and playing a handful of local shows. Officially forming in 2016, the band has been hard at work writing and recording their debut album while also performing live shows and shooting a music video trilogy. The band draws influence from a number of legendary rock groups and artists across several different genres, but upon hearing their music, you can tell that Ghost of the Pacific is definitely a Seattle rock band.

“I think we categorize ourselves as hard rock, but it’s a pretty wide range of stuff that we cover,” states guitarist, Sean Kebely. “We can get pretty heavy and then we’ll have a song that’s almost ballad-esque. We kind of cover all the spectrums but meld into one. We’re a diverse hard rock band.”

Sean, along with his father and Ghosts of the Pacific keyboardist David, originally started the band which was previously known as Ashes of Mercury.

“Shawn came to me and we started this project,” explains David. “He’s been in several bands before and this is my first project. It’s been amazing, I had to learn how to play with a band because before I was used to doing mostly solo stuff. We used to do a Christmas show every year at a Montessori school. He and I would perform Christmas rock and roll songs to open the show and we also did a few open mics doing The Doors covers. But this is my first time playing with a band.”

Ashes of Mercury went through several lineup changes before enlisting Josh Williams on vocals and Michael Ball on drums. By this time, Sean and Dave were ready for a new beginning and decided on a name change. They erased all the previous vocals from their songs and sent the tracks to Josh asking him to write his own original lyrics for the songs. Josh, who is the son of Tulalip tribal member Terry Williams, provides the band with gravelly and raspy vocals, reminiscent of early grunge bands.

“I’m from the Tulalip Indian reservation, I grew up there my whole life,” says Josh. “I’ve been in different projects and bands and Ghosts of the Pacific has been a solid act. These are cool guys, we hooked up about a year ago and have done a lot of work since then. I was raised heavy in the eighties music scene. I loved the nineties, got way into Alice in Chains, Soundgarden and Tool and even branched off when nu-metal came like Linkin Park and Papa Roach. I like to adapt to what’s going on in the music scene and dig into that. I don’t stay dated, I try not to. I think it’s harder now because of Spotify, it’s hard to follow any specific musical direction.”

“That’s why I was saying that we fall under hard rock,” concurs Sean. “That’s definitely the best genre that we fit. Because of the variety of influence we each have, you get a taste of everything. Right now we’re actually doing the album, I think we’re a little over halfway there of getting all the tracks down. It usually starts out as a guitar riff, Josh and I both play guitar so he’ll throw riffs my way and I’ll throw some riffs his way.”

“Over time, it morphs,” states David. “We all start putting our pieces in and it just kind of grows.”

Each member of Ghosts of the Pacific spoke passionately about music and their desire to inspire a new generation of musicians.

“I think music definitely benefits the youth, it did for me. When I picked up guitar at sixteen, I was in love with it,” Josh expresses. “With music you can explore and express, it gives you that outlet. Rappers and rockers will say that music is an outlet to take out their frustrations. You go to shows to release energy in the mosh pit or just to sit and watch a great band. Music is an outlet they can utilize when they feel like they have nowhere to go.”

“I started buying records at ten years old, they were singles, 45s,” shares David. “Especially in the wintertime, when I was living back east, we’d go in the basement of the school building, someone would bring a record player and the 45s and we would just dance. It was a way to interact and connect socially through the music. We’d discuss what we liked and what we didn’t like. And even in school, dances are always a big social event. After school, we always had the stereo going. Music has always been like a common language that we all can express and enjoy. I think it’s important as a means to communicate and meld socially.”

“Even if it’s not music, finding a hobby and something to focus your time and energy on is huge,” adds Sean. “I picked up guitar at thirteen. After school there’s a lot of free time to get into trouble but if you find something to focus on and expel most of your energy on you’ll have a brighter future and can do away with some of that negative stuff.”

Josh adds that having a great support system is a big help and credits the Tulalip Casino for allowing him to work on his music while working with them for nearly twenty years.

When asked for words of advisement for young musicians, Michael simply stated, “Anyone can play music and don’t ever think you can’t.”

“Come out and see us live,” states Sean. “We put a lot of time and effort into our live shows. We really try to make it a spectacle because that’s one of the reasons people go to shows, to feel the energy and emotion of the bands and I feel we really try to express that.”

For more information and to hear music by Ghosts of the Pacific please visit www.GhostsofthePacific.com. The band is currently planning to release the final music video of the trilogy this fall. In the meantime, please check out New Forgotten (part one) and Human Machine (part two) videos on the band’s YouTube page.