Annual Color Run celebrates life

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Three years ago, Tulalip Youth Services and the Marysville School District teamed up to bring Unity Month to the community during the month of October. Jam-packed with exciting activities like movie nights, field trips to the corn maze and the pumpkin patch, school assemblies and pumpkin carving, Unity Month successfully sparked a lot of community involvement which afforded Youth Services the opportunity to talk about serious issues that are prevalent in many modern day Native communities. 

Youth Services and the school district decided to plan each week of the month with trainings and presentations focused on four issues that the youth of Native America are struggling with in today’s society; suicide, bullying domestic violence and substance abuse. Due to tremendous success, Tulalip Youth Services continues to celebrate Unity Month annually, adding new improvements each year. 

While spreading awareness and providing prevention tools for serious topics, Youth Services also brings a positive outlook to each of these issues by celebrating life, promoting kindness and healthy relationships as well as participating in National Red Ribbon Week, an alcohol, drug and violence prevention campaign. With each week comes a new trendy hashtag for participants to use when posting photos and videos to social media while attending Unity Month events. 

This October began with #LifeisSacred week, kids learned that their lives matter and that they’re needed here by their families and friends. Youth Services partnered once again with the Community Health Department to bring QPR trainings to the community. QPR is an acronym for question, persuade and refer, the three actions you must take if someone is showing suicidal tendencies. Question if they are planning to harm themselves, persuade them to seek help and refer them to the appropriate resource. The class also teaches participants how to recognize the warning signs a person contemplating suicide may be exemplifying. Tulalip leader, Verna Hill, also spoke to the kids at Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary about how sacred they are to the future of Tulalip. 

The suicide rate continues to escalate throughout Native communities every year. Eighteen states agreed to participate in a report conducted by the United States Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That report showed that there are 21.5 suicides per every 1,000 Native Americans, over three and a half times higher than the national average. And according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the US with 45,965 suicides each year. Suicide is also the eighth leading cause of death in the state of Washington where on average one person dies by suicie every eight hours. Native communities see significantly more lives taken by suicide than any other race in America which is why it’s important to openly discuss this issue, especially with the youth. 

Tulalip Youth Services ended #LifeisSacred week in colorful fashion with the extremely popular annual Say Something Color Run. A little rain didn’t stop the community from showing out and ending their Friday with a mile run from the Tulalip Community Health Department to the Kenny Moses Building on the afternoon of October 5. With stylish, protective eyewear and clothes they didn’t mind getting dirty, the community ran through multiple checkpoints along Marine Drive where they were blasted with colorful chalk, resulting in tie-dyed runners reaching the finish line. 

“It’s a fun time to celebrate living and it’s for a good cause,” says Tulalip Youth Services Executive Assistant, Danielle Fryberg. “The Say Something Color Run is part of the Sandy Hook Promise, which is preventing gun violence, suicide and just bringing awareness. If you know someone whose struggling, we ask that you speak up and say something, even if you’re just reaching out to say hello. We want to help our community, our youth and adults who are struggling and let them know there’s always somewhere they can go and someone they can talk to.”

Youth Services has more fun, educational events planned for the Tulalip community for the remainder of Unity Month, including cultural events each week and Halloween-inspired activities. To view the entire Unity Month events and activities schedule, be sure to check out the Tulalip Youth Services Facebook page.

 

Tulalip Coastal Jam honors Indigenous People

“To me, Indigenous means being proud of who you are and where you come from; remembering your ancestry and all that they’ve done to get us to where we are right now; and to educate our youth to be strong as Native People and to love themselves so our culture and traditions stay alive.” 

– Denise Hatch-Anderson, Tulalip tribal member

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

For the past four years, the greater Seattle area has been celebrating the beautiful culture of the people who lived off of this land since time immemorial. Every second Monday in Octber, communities throughout western Washington host a variety of events to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day, which officially replaced Columbus Day back in 2014. Indigenous Peoples’ Day aims to provide Washingtonians with accurate information about the series of events that occurred after Columbus reached our lands in 1492. Many communities nationwide have joined Seattle and now celebrate Indigenous culture every year. 

To start off the second week of Tulalip Unity Month, #KindnessWeek, Youth Services hosted a cultural gathering at the Greg Williams Court on the evening of Indigenous Peoples Day. The gym was packed and the bleachers were filled as people waited in anticipation for the festivities to begin. The youth proudly led Tulalip to the floor with loud drumbeats and booming chants in a song paying respect to the four directions. It didn’t take long for the spectators to become participants as the bleachers emptied and people joined Tulalip on the floor for a large coastal jam. 

“Today I’m happy to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day. That whole Christopher Columbus Day, we don’t recognize that,” says Tulalip tribal member and Tulalip Youth Services Activities Coordinator, Josh Fryberg. “The main thing is we want to honor our ancestors and make them proud and continue to set a cultural path, continue on with our treaty rights for the future generations to come. And we want to encourage the youth to continue to learn your culture each and every day and continue to fight for it so that it’s here for the future generations. Tonight, I believe we have Puyallup, Lummi, Swinomish and some from Canada, just a good mix of many tribes. We’re blessed, it shows the unity within all of our tribes and all of our bands.”

Native families created a circle around the gym and took turns performing their traditional songs and dances. A few songs were known to all of the coastal families in which more dancers hit the floor and the words were sung at a much louder volume by the entire crowd, causing that goosebump sensation during a beautiful moment for the culture. The youth ruled the night. Kids of all ages, infants to teens, sang their hearts out and danced all evening. After performing a song, the Tulalip youth put down their drums and rattles and joined the dancers on the floor until it was their turn to sing again, repeating this cycle for over two hours.

“It makes me feel good, it makes my heart warm because this is something that we needed,” says Tulalip tribal member and Marysville School District Native Liaison, Denise Hatch-Anderson. “October is always hard for our youth, not just because of the change in seasons but because of what happened four years ago. October has been a hard transition for our teens ever since. To see our teens here, knowing they’re going to get the healing they need from the songs tonight warms my heart and it’s going to uplift them as well as our tiny ones and our elders.”

Tulalip Youth Services will continue hosting a variety of activities throughout October for Unity Month including many fun autumn themed events that bring attention to issues such as bullying, domestic violence and substance abuse. For more information, please visit the Tulalip Youth Services Facebook page.

 

Celebrating Indigenous People

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

On the second Monday of October 2014, Seattle became the third place in the United States to acknowledge Indigenous Peoples’ Day. The process to end the celebration of a genocidal, slave trading, lost navigator was strenuous, but thanks to tireless work by activists like Matt Remle and many others, the proclamation was voted on by the Seattle City Council and signed into law by Mayor Ed Murray in 2013.

“People ask, ‘Why Indigenous Peoples Day and why not American Indian Day or Native American Day?’ It’s only appropriate that we honor the legacy of the work [that’s been done],” explains Remle. “It’s not only honoring legacy, but when we say ‘Indigenous peoples,’ it’s referring to more than just the tribes of colonized United States. We’re talking about all Indigenous peoples who’ve been impacted by settler colonialism around the world. We want to represent and acknowledge the Taíno, they’re the ones that first faced Columbus.”

Over the past four years, the Indigenous Peoples’ Day movement has spread to over 70 places in the United States, while locally becoming a day to celebrate global Indigenous cultures. On Monday, October 8, Indigenous people and allies from around the Pacific Northwest gathered at Westlake Park, on ancestral Duwamish land, for a march and rally to celebrate the 5th year Seattle has celebrated Indigenous Peoples’ Day. More than 200 people marched in heavy rain from Westlake Park to Seattle City Hall, where a rally of celebratory song and dance was held. 

In the evening, the festivities continued at Daybreak Star Cultural Center with an honoring celebration for Native communities in the Puget Sound Region. Sponsored by Tulalip Tribes community impact funds, the Daybreak Star gathering included hundreds of urban Natives, dancers from a variety of tribal nations, and non-Natives who wanted to share in the memorable event.

“When we have an honoring gathering in our community, it is a way for us to show respect, to listen, and to acknowledge the incredible work our people do for one reason and one reason only – the love of Native people,” said Abigail Echo-Hawk, emcee for the Daybreak Star celebration. 

The American Indian Movement (AIM) honor song kicked off the evening, followed by Taíno dancers, and then a riveting performance by Indigenous Sisters Resistance. After a short intermission, a truly captivating fire ritual was performed by the Traditional Aztec Fire Dancers. The overflowing crowd was treated to performances by Haida Heritage and a powwow squad as the evening’s finale. 

“It’s been a beautiful day to see so many Indigenous people come together and be filled with so much joy,” shared 19-year-old Ayanna Fuentes, a member of Indigenous Sisters Resistance. “Our younger generation is growing up not knowing what Columbus Day is, and that’s an amazing thing.”

“It’s also a celebration of the amazing resiliency of Indigenous peoples, period,” added educator and activist Matt Remle. “Despite the Euro colonizers greatest efforts at mass genocide, disposition, slavery, and assimilation, we as Native peoples are still here. Native communities continue to fight to protect the land, air, and waters. We continue to live traditional roles and responsibilities, which have been passed down from our origins as a peoples since the beginning of creation. We continue to sing our songs, relearn our languages and express ourselves through our dances and cultures.”

A variety of States, cities, towns, counties, community groups, schools, and other institutions observed Indigenous Peoples’ Day on October 8th. They all did so with activities that raised awareness of the rich history, culture, and traditions of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas. 

Hibulb Film Festival celebrates music, language and culture

Tulalip filmmaker David Spencer Sr. (2nd from left) takes photo with family after the premiere of his award-winning film, I Am Frog, at the 6th Annual Hibulb Cultural Center Film Festival

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

The art of storytelling has been passed down generation after generation since time immemorial. In Native America, stories are shared to teach youth valuable lessons while incorporating traditional songs, dances and language. Sacred animals such as killer whales, eagles, wolves, bears and ravens often play a role in many traditional stories as well as legendary creatures like Slapoo, Sasquatch and Thunderbird. Indigenous stories explain the mysteries of the universe like how the sun, stars and moon came to be and also emphasizes cultural values like respecting your elders, helping your community and practicing your ancestral teachings. 

As technology advanced, storytellers began to explore new forms of storytelling through art, poetry, music, film and animation. Classic stories have been given new life through film and new ideas are created to raise awareness about current issues in the Native American community like climate change, declining fish runs, missing Indigenous women, suicide and overdose. Native musicians often use their storytelling abilities to construct powerful songs that promote positive messages about protecting our waters, healing from generational trauma, decolonization and of course, finding love. 

In today’s fast-paced social media society, the most popular form of storytelling is multimedia. Thousands of creative Native minds upload visuals to platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram every day, whether they’re showcasing their comedic skits, music videos, news or short films, the artists are using their voice, video footage and photos to perfect the art of storytelling. 

On the first day of fall, September 22, the Hibulb Cultural Center hosted their annual film festival, celebrating the new wave of storytelling. Local and international filmmakers were invited to share their work with the Tulalip community and nine video entries were selected for this year’s festival, which was centered around music. 

“This year is the 6th Annual Film Festival, with a music theme entitled Frog Catches a Song,” says Lena Jones, Film Festival Organizer and Hibulb Cultural Center Education Curator. “The Hibulb Cultural Center Film Festival initially began as a way to celebrate the power of cinema, to tell the stories of our many cultures and to honor and recognize Coast Salish filmmaking and filmmakers. We always hope to introduce or strengthen the filmmaking and artistic talents within our own community. This year, we continued to receive outstanding programming with films that featured traditional and contemporary music, language and culture. The festival had an international flair as well, by films from Tomer Werechson of Israel, Bernard Weilavani (Wolfsheart) of Austria, and Ian McKay-Weaselfat of Canada.”

La Gran Final de Piano, by Tomer Werechson, was a one-minute film about an old, classic piano but the keys played the kicks and snares of an 808 drum kit, much like a modern midi-keyboard. Bernard Weilavani, professionally known as Wolfsheart, is a Native American flutist who submitted two of his music videos, Walking the Wolf Path and Wolfsheart House of the Rising Sun. And First Nations rapper, Ian McKay-Weaselfat, chose to share the music video for his song, Puppy Love. 

Tulalip filmmaker, David Spencer Sr., participates in the festival every year and creates his films based upon the theme. Last year, David wowed the crowd with his movie, Waiting for Blackberries and followed this year with I Am Frog, which was performed entirely in Lushootseed. David received the Best Film Award this year for his fifteen-minute presentation which included original songs and photos within his film. 

“It’s a story about frog who didn’t have a song,” says David. “She despised all her friends; crow, coyote, bear and owl because she didn’t have a song. All of them offer advice on how to prepare yourself to get a song. Once she realizes they’re trying to help her, she gets her song. The moral of the story is, even though we all may despise somebody or they might despise us, we’re meant to come together and to do this spiritual work and help one each other out.”  

Following I Am Frog, the Film Festival featured an important screening, created by Lummi tribal member Freddie Lane, about the southern resident orcas and the Lummi Nation’s effort to return the last remaining poached orca, Tokitae, back to the Salish Sea.

“This year, the judges chose to honor Frederick “Freddie” Lane for Special Recognition for a Lifetime Achievement in Filmmaking and Cultural Sharing,” states Lena. “He has been an important voice in the nation. His film Qwel lhol mech ten (the People that Live under the Water) is exemplary of his commitment to protecting the earth, educating communities about tribal history and standing with leaders to preserve and promote the Coast Salish way of life for all future generations. Qwel lhol mech ten received the Best Documentary Short Award.”

Three local film lovers were selected as judges for this year’s event, Brit Reed (Choctaw), Robin Carneen (Swinomish) and Lois Landgrebe (Tulalip). Robin judged over half of the festivals throughout the years and assisted with this year’s theme and artwork, stating the story Frog Catches a Song came to her in a dream. 

“It’s fascinating seeing all this creativity,” expresses Robin. “I used to do a lot of media with the kids here at the Boys and Girls Club. I really wanted to help create more storytellers in the generations that are coming up. I’d definitely like to see more youth films; however, I’m thinking maybe we need to have a youth film festival and really challenge the youth to turn in some films and explore storytelling. In the meantime, we’ve had some really great entries. This year was unique and that’s what I love about film festivals, you don’t know what each film will look like because everyone’s a storyteller but they tell their stories in different ways.”

Robin’s love for multimedia led to a large involvement during the 2018 film festival. This year she spread the word by inviting local filmmakers and musicians to participate from the many forums that she follows on Facebook. The invitations gained a lot of inquiry and three films were submitted resulting from the social media outreach, including the two Wolfsheart music videos and a four-minute film called Thought Dream by Edmonds songwriter and filmmaker, Ed Hartman. 

“They found me on Facebook,” said Ed. “I’m a composer and I make videos mostly to promote my music. I post my videos on different filmmaker pages and groups because I’m trying to score movies in the future. They invited me to submit to this festival so I went ahead and did it. It’s a wonderful, intimate festival. The film was this serendipitous moment. We live in Edmonds and go down to the beach quite a bit. There was a guy who was releasing giant bubbles and all I had was my phone with me, so I started to shoot some video. There was smog out at that time, it was late in the evening so the sun was on the low horizon.

“When I got back in my studio I looked through my music to see what matched the footage,” he continues. “I found an interesting track that matched called Thought Dreams. Very much like the theme of this festival, Frog Catches a Song, everything about this project has been just that; catching the bubbles, the bubbles catching the sun, the festival catching me, the video catching the song. Everything’s coming full circle and I’m just thankful for the invitation, this absolutely inspires me to work more on the filmmaking side.”

The attendees were intrigued by a film about Hispanic American artist, Roberto Chavez, who is famous for his murals in Los Angeles during the seventies. The film, The Execution Painting, was a time-lapse of the artist painting a bar scene which featured many people of different ethnicities enjoying a good time. While he created his mural he spoke about his art being destroyed on walls throughout the city, before painting over his own mural with white paint, seconds after it’s completion. 

The afternoon ended with an informational film put together by the Hibulb Cultural Center. The video explained the history of Tulalip music beginning with traditional songs performed during ceremonies. During the boarding school experience, several Tulalip tribal members picked up instruments such as the trombone by Robert Shelton and the violin by William Shelton. Many Native girls were in choirs and as the video explains, standout vocalist Maria Sneatlum became Tulalip’s first opera singer.

After a year’s worth of hard work, the Hibulb Cultural Center film festival featured many important and intriguing films. The museum will continue hosting their monthly film series with the next screening held on October 18 at 6:00 p.m. about cultural survival and Indigenous child removal. 

“We are grateful to this year’s judges,” says Lena. “We also thank film volunteer Mike Van Luvan and Cary Williams who opened the event with his exceptional flute playing. As always, we encourage Tulalip members who are interested in filmmaking and media work, or any artform, to continue following their interests or passion. Filmmaking is a great avenue to share your voice and is a valuable artform to preserve cultural art, language, and ideals. It gives us the means to unite communities and showcase the beauty in our culture and our community.”

To view the films featured at the 6th Annual Hibulb Cultural Center Film Festival as well as the winners, please visit www.HibulbCulturalCenter.org

Taste of Tulalip Oktoberfest 2018

Tulalip Resort Casino Chefs Put Their Own Twist on the Yearly VolksFest Tradition

Tulalip WA — Tulalip Resort Casino chefs are putting their own twist on the annual Bavarian VolksFest tradition with inspiring culinary creations. Paired with a selection of Oktoberfest beers procured by Sommelier Tom Thompson, this Bavarian fun-fest is happening early – because just one day is never enough. The celebration is happening now through October 31, 2018.

Taste of Tulalip Oktoberfest menus pay tribute to German tradition and will draw from the original Munich Oktoberfest experience. Thompson’s team will serve a grand selection of imported, local and domestic Oktoberfest beers from noteworthy breweries, such as Dru Bru, Sierra Nevada and Silver City, to create the complete package.

“Dirndl (a peasant style pinafore dress for women with an undershirt and apron) and Lederhosen are not required for this dress code,” said Executive Chef Perry Mascitti. “But if you must, we won’t object! And the good news is, you don’t have to purchase a plane ticket to Germany in order to celebrate this Oktoberfest.”

In order to spark an appetite, the menu previews are as follows:

Cedars Café will serve its annual Bavarian-Style Wiener Schnitzel with warm sweet and sour coleslaw, mashed potatoes; topped with crispy onion straws, lemon beurre blanc and blackberry sauce. For the perfect finish to any meal, diners can order a piece of the Warm German Chocolate Tart made with a chocolate crust and filled with gooey chocolate chips, coconut and toasted pecans. Served with stout syrup and vanilla bean ice cream – a must-try confection.

Blackfish Wild Salmon Grill & Bar is offering three Oktoberfest menu items this year. Diners can start the evening with their specialty cocktail Gin Symphony, which is made with an herbaceous blend of cardamom, ginger, rosemary and Angostura bitters blended together with Broker’s London Dry Gin, fresh lemon juice and Riserva Speciale Rubino Sweet Vermouth.

The dinner special features Chef David’s Roasted Half Duck with Hunter’s Sauce showcasing a roasted duck breast and duck leg confit, which is served with an apple-pear potato hash, Brussel sprouts tossed with Boarshead bacon and Hunter’s Sauce with chanterelle mushrooms. For a sweet finale, guests can order Pastry Chef Nikol’s Apple-Raisin Strudel with vanilla bean ice cream.

Carvery/Hotel Espresso makes their mark with a Bavarian Ham Sandwich Black Forest ham on a fresh Bavarian pretzel roll, Munster cheese, dill pickles and stone ground mustard.

The Draft Sports Bar and Grill will be serving a traditional Deutschland dish of Grilled Sausages and Mashed Potatoes. Chef Susan will prepare grilled Uli’s Thuringer and Frankfurter sausages paired with their house-made German mashed potatoes and topped with caramelized onions and red peppers. This dish wouldn’t be complete without The Draft’s sauerkraut and beer mustard.

Blazing Paddles is also celebrating the season with a special Brat-n-Beer Cheese Pizza made with Bratwurst, Manny’s beer and smoked Gouda cheese sauce, onions, yellow peppers and fresh onions. Topped with smoked cheddar.

Eagles Buffet will offer dinner guests several Oktoberfest specials, which will feature Beer Braised Bratwurst and Onions, Bavarian Pretzels with a mustard sauce, Lemon Thyme Oven Roasted Chicken served with buttered noodles, or Smoked Pork Ribs with an onion grain mustard sauce served over braised red cabbage.

For more information about Oktoberfest 2018, visit TulalipResort.com. Thompson and Mascitti invite guests to join in the fun by raising a beer and toasting “Feierst Oktoberfest.”

Festival of the Steh-Chass Celebrates Salmon Protection and Restoration

Native American rapper Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas headlined the Festival.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Pre-colonization, the Port of Olympia was once a plentiful estuary that was occupied by the Steh-Chass people on Squaxin Island territory. Salmon swam in abundance through the inlet and there was no shortage of wildlife in the estuary, providing food for the Steh-Chass community comprised of a number of tribal members from Squaxin Island, Nisqually, Chehalis and Suquamish. The Salish Sea waters freely flowed from the Puget Sound through the estuary along the Deshutes River, ensuring nourishment for the people. 

As time passed, the area eventually became the home to Washington State’s capital and in the 1950’s, the state built a dam on 5th Ave. The dam separated the lake from the Puget Sound, creating a reservoir used to reflect the Washington State capital building on its surface. The once bountiful estuary is now a decorative body of water known as Capital Lake where currently no native wildlife reside. Not to mention that nearly every spawning season since its construction, the dam has been home to a number of seals who pick off salmon attempting to swim upstream. 

Billy Frank Jr. was a strong advocate for the removal of the dam. Salmon Defense, a non-profit established by the twenty Northwest Washington tribes, continues his vision today, years after his passing. And for nearly three decades, the Deschutes Estuary Restoration Team (DERT) has been fighting the same fight, actively working to reconnect the reservoir back to Puget Sound and restore the estuary. 

Over Labor Day weekend, Salmon Defense and DERT teamed up, along with the Tulalip, Puyallup, Nisqually and Squaxin Island tribes, to host a festival celebrating Indigenous culture while honoring local tribes and the water in the name of salmon recovery and estuary restoration. 

The first annual Festival of the Steh-Chass was held September 1, at Heritage Park in Olympia overlooking Capital Lake. The weather was sunny and clear and a stage was setup at the center of the park where the Washington State Capital was visible in its background. The start of the festival, however, began at the 5th Ave dam as tribal members and Olympia community members welcomed the canoe families of Squaxin Island, who pulled into the Port in traditional cedar canoes. The crowd then followed the canoe family as they sang the traditional songs of their people while walking through Heritage Park.  

“What we wanted to do with this festival is create a space for Indian people to gather, talk, sing and celebrate Indian people and reawaken the Indigenous spirit of this area,” says Salmon Defense Director and Willie Frank III’s wife, Peggen Frank. “The Salmon Defense has been wanting to do something to raise awareness for the salmon, for the crucial state we’re in. The salmon are collapsing and it’s really scary. For me, as a tribal person, the reason why I’m fighting for the salmon is not only because of what [Billy Frank Jr.] taught me – and that’s when salmon are healthy, we’re healthy and without clean water we won’t survive – but the coastal people have a beautiful culture and the salmon are a vital piece of that culture. 

“The tribes are so powerful here because of their treaty rights,” she continues. “That’s how Salmon Defense was created from the Northwest Washington treaty tribes to litigate, advocate and educate on behalf of Pacific Northwest salmon. When they put the dam in and created this pond, they destroyed two-hundred and fifty acres of salmon habitat. If we remove the dam and are able to start the restoration process, we’ll have both Coho and Chinook salmon. Those are the two main species that our resident orcas eat. If we’re not able to create, protect and enforce policies that save salmon, that enhance salmon restoration, that support tribal treaty rights, we’re not going to be able to save the orca.”

Information booths were stationed along the park’s walkway from organizations such as Northwest Treaty Tribes, Salmon Defense and DERT. Children got to enter the belly of a giant salmon, named Finn the Fish, and learn about the watershed habitat through traditional art that was painted on the inside of the fish. 

“We came out today because anytime there’s an opportunity to join forces in protecting our water, I think it is absolutely our responsibility,” says Tulalip Tribal member, Theresa Sheldon. “I think it’s amazing to bring our young people together; we have to get our youth more involved because our youth’s voices are so powerful. When they’re fighting and protecting the Mother Earth and doing this justice for the environment, that will transcend boundaries and crosses over any politics and gets to the root core of who we are as Indigenous People.”

As the day progressed a number of talented Native American singers and artists took the stage, including Suquamish singer and WaterIsLife activist, Calina Lawrence, as well as singing trio, Thunderbirds Raised Her, who are a group of young sisters from Lummi. The crowd was moved by both acts as they sang about important issues in Native America like protecting the water and growing up on a reservation. The songs were in contemporary R&B fashion while incorporating elements such as hand drums and their traditional language into the music. Several other Native performers kept the crowd entertained throughout the day including Seattle hip hop artist Momentum X and the Indigenous Sisters Resistance group, as well as a fashion show by Indigenous Designer Abriel Johnny.

The festival’s headliner did not disappoint. Event goers rushed the stage as Native American rapper and advocate, Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas, began to perform an array of the hip hop group’s hits that had the crowd dancing. 

About halfway through his set, Taboo asked the sound crew to cut the music so he could talk to the people about protecting our natural resources. He explained that he was so moved by the NODAPL movement that he postponed recording a new project and tour dates with the Black Eyed Peas to ‘go to Standing Rock to be with my people’, after receiving full support from bandmates. Taboo also spoke about the resiliency of Indigenous people before performing his MTV Video Music Award Nominee song, Stand Up/Stand N Rock.

Following Taboo, Willie Frank III took to the stage to close out the Festival of the Steh-Chass. 

“As we talked about all day today, the message is to make this lake flow into our Puget sound, make it an estuary again and bring the salmon back to Capital Lake,” he passionately expressed. “It’s so good to see all these youth out here taking part in this, they are truly our next generation, they are our future. Our elders are the most important piece of our culture and now we have the youth coming up, and we’re going to educate them. We’re going to do what we need to do to protect our salmon, to protect our natural resources.

“The salmon defense was an idea from my late father, Billy Frank Jr., and it’s been four years since he’s passed. I know he’s looking down on us with a big smile shouting, ‘get rid of the damn dam!’ My hands go up to everybody who help put this together, it’s been a great day. We’re still here and we’re not going anywhere.” 

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.