Art of the Future Generation

Tulalip Youth Services hosts Annual Native American Student Art Festival

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tulalip’s got talent

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UW Presents 46th Annual Spring PowWow

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Tribal families from all over the Coastal Pacific Northwest gathered on Saturday, April 8 to partake in the Grand Entry that marked the beginning of the University of Washington’s 46th annual Spring PowWow. The yearly UW powwow is hosted by the First Nations @ UW student organization and takes place at Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Ed Pavilion.

The purpose of the annual Spring PowWow is to preserve the customs and traditions of the University of Washington Native American community and to promote cultural education and diversity on campus. The powwow is the largest student-run event on campus, attracting over 5,000 people expected to attend throughout the weekend every year.

First Nations @ UW is run by both undergraduate and graduate students of Native and non-Native descent. They hold weekly meetings for Native students to socialize, eat food, and plan events. The First Nations organization often partners up with other Native establishments on campus for field trips and cultural educational activities.

When it comes to cultural activities it doesn’t get any bigger than the coming together of Natives from all across Indian Country to celebrate heritage and pride in the form of a powwow. The indigenous mentality was clearly on display through the traditional regalia, songs, dances, and heartfelt words shared by all those involved.

“It’s just not something you see every day, all these Native people coming together as a community,” said Lyndsey Brollini, a member of the UW student group First Nations and a Haida native. “Powwows have become kind of a pan-Native thing instead of just one tribe.”

Over a dozen Northwestern tribes were represented at the powwow, including the Yakima, Spokane, Quinault, Tulalip and Skokomish Nations. Among this year’s Spring PowWow participants were several Tulalip tribal members (e.g. Myrna Redleaf, Terrell Jack and Jobey Williams) who represented their tribe and heritage proudly on the main stage during the Grand Entry.

The Spring PowWow is a competitive powwow, meaning it includes dance contests according to age (junior, teen, adult, 50 and up) and style. The dancers specialized in a variety of styles: grass, cloth, jingle, fancy, chicken, their regalia reflecting the style. Dancers compete for monetary prizes.

Grand Entry not only opens the powwow, but allows the dancers to showcase their ceremonial regalia for all the spectators in attendance. The MCs announced the Grand Entry in an upbeat, enthusiastic voice, while dancers entered in a line, led by veterans bearing the U.S. and Canadian flags. The arena was filled with Native American dancers of all ages, representing a multitude of styles and regalia. The stage was awash with color and movement, glittering gold and silver, the earth tones of leather and feathers, and all manner of bright colors.

Celebrating Indigenous culture and traditions during this holiday season

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

In the Francis Sheldon Gym of Heritage High School, drumbeats echoed throughout the room as spectators filled the bleachers to enjoy a night of culture and Christmas. Hosted by Tulalip Youth Services and the Marysville School District, the Third Annual Christmas Powwow and Coastal Jam spread holiday cheer, with traditional song and dance, to the Tulalip community. Mr. and Mrs. Claus handed out presents to the children, donated by Toys for Tots. Led by MCs Randy Vendiola and Arlie Neskahi, the powwow presented the opportunity for community members to spend time with each other, while celebrating Indigenous culture and traditions during this holiday season.