Opportunistic youth enjoy “Glamping” adventure on the Oregon Coast

Sea lions entertain the girls at Port Stevens State Park.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Exploring the great outdoors is a concept lost on most youth today. The digital age has ushered in a generation of children who would rather use their digital devices within the confines of an available Wi-Fi signal than to go outside and play. For precisely this reason, it is imperative children are exposed to nature and their surrounding environments if for nothing else than to remind them there is a whole wondrous world out there and they are a part of it.

“Glamping” is a new term used to describe a method of exploring the outdoors, but still having some of the luxuries and comforts of home. Imagine, a primitive cabin located next to a beach that has bunk beds and electricity to provide heat, but no TVs, no computers, no Wi-Fi. Instead of a kitchen there’s an available fire-pit to make fires and then cook over. Oh, and the only available restroom in the evening is the one you construct. Talk about getting back to nature.

The girls visit the house featured in the movie Goonies.

For eight opportunist youth, plus their two chaperones, this was precisely their set of circumstances as they unplugged for three days and two nights in order to experience the great outdoors, namely the Seaside, Oregon coastline.

Jacynta Myles-Gilford, Kendra McLean, Savannah Black Tomahawk, Hazel Black Tomahawk, Lovaiya Guardipee, Tahlanna Guardipee, Mirayna Guardipee, and Ariyah Guardipee were all glamping first-timers eager to try out the new experience. Their chaperones were Barbara Hinchcliffe, Therapist at Behavioral Health, and Monica Holmes, MSPI Grant Behavioral Health.

“As part of the MSPI grant and values of Tulalip Youth Services, we hope to expose youth to various opportunities to learn and grow, build skills and positive coping mechanisms, while boosting their resiliency and quality of life,” explains Monica on the decision making that ultimately led to the glamping opportunity. “I believe that engaging youth in activities that stimulate their growth mindset, put them in a position to learn and practice self-sufficiency skills, and mentorship through adults who care about them helps our community get one step closer to solving the problem of teen suicide and addiction.”

During the three-day adventure along Seaside’s coastline, each young lady learned some basic outdoor essentials, like how to start a campfire, prepare food, and to cook over a campfire. They were introduced to financial literacy as well. Each participant was given a per diem to cover a meal out, souvenirs and entrance fees to various activities. Many of them learned to budget their money wisely and save for a rainy day.

Stormy weather made-up most of their first two days at the coast, however that didn’t stop the girls from having fun and finding new experiences. Despite the wind and heavy rainfall, the girls geared up in rain ponchos and explored the Seaside beach for adventures in the surf and sand.  Whether it was charging up sand dunes or splashing around in the ocean, there were plenty of smiles to go around.

A high-tide adventure was found at Fort Stevens State Park where the Peter Iredale shipwreck remains along the shore. The youth reveled in the sea foam, waves and climbed the wreck like a jungle gym. They also collected a variety of seashells, sand, and other beach trinkets for their memory cups they created.

While exploring their surroundings, the group came into contact with a variety of animals, such as elk, deer, raccoons, sea lions, and seals. In fact, at one of the coastal docks was a host of seals that entertained the girls with their funny antics and graceful swimming. When the girls bought sardines and tossed them out for the seals to eat as snacks, the seals gave a loud applause through their vocalizing.

The group came into contact with lots of other marine life when they enjoyed a tactile adventure at the Seaside Aquarium. A favorite spot was the octopus tank where those brave enough could reach into a water tank and feel the underside of octopus tentacles. The touch tank exposed the girls to a wide variety of local sea life located in the Pacific Ocean. Creatures like starfish, anemone, and sea urchins beckoned them to learn more about a range of textures, colors and habitats of each animal through a completely hands-on approach.

“My favorite part was…probably all of it!” exclaimed 11-year-old Savannah of her glamping experience. “I learned to work together and spend my money wisely.”

“I liked seeing such big waves. I’ve never seen ones like that before,” added 14-year-old Hazel.

While she enjoyed the getaway and seeing all the sights, 13-year-old Lovaiya said she “learned to be prepared” when it comes to the outdoors and inclement weather.

Reflecting on the Oregon Coast adventure with eight energetic youth minus smart phones and TV, chaperone Monica can’t help but smile. “Eight girls in two small cabins did not come without its minor setbacks. Youth were encouraged to express their issues in a forum where they could be resolved in a calm and constructive fashion. Each girl walked away learning how to resolve issues, trust each other, and live up to expectations for conduct and healthy communication. They represented the Tulalip Tribes, their families, and themselves well during our travels. I am so proud of the leaps and bounds everyone has made and look forward to watching them bloom into their highest potential.”

QCT Elementary participates in Red Ribbon Week

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

In an effort to inspire eager to learn students to live a drug-free life, Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary participated in Red Ribbon Week from October 23 to 27. This year’s theme was “Your Future Is Key, So Stay Drug Free.” Students, parents, and staff were invited to participate in daily activities to promote positive, healthy living.

Red Ribbon Week is a national campaign held during the final week of October and brings drug abuse awareness to schools. Think of it as a modern day equivalent to the D.A.R.E. program for the previous generations. It’s a program that started back in the 1980s in honor of a Drug Enforcement Administration agent, Kiki Camerena, whose goal was to educate youth on drug prevention.

“The message behind Red Ribbon Week was explained really well to our students during our daily assemblies and through in-class activities,” said Principal Douglas Shook. “The most powerful piece was the pledge that the students took with our Youth Service Advocates, Doug Salinas and Malory Simpson. The pledge of belief in one’s self and to be all that they can be to stay drug free resonates with our students when they have trusted adults reinforcing this belief. My hope is that this pledge lives, not only during Red Ribbon Week, but throughout the year.”

During the week, QCT students filled out a pledge to be drug-free that were then linked together in a unified chain put on full display at the front entrance of the Elementary. There were several in-class activities, most notably a poster making contest with the theme of staying drug-free that got the participation of all classes. Class winners were celebrated with an Italian soda party.

Students were most excited to participate in the themed dress up days. One day they looked to the future while wearing the colors of their favorite college, and on another they brought out their inner superhero to assemble in Avengers-like fashion.

“Red Ribbon Week brought drug awareness to our students. They pledged to live their life drug-free in pursuit of their goals and to make sure drugs wouldn’t be a road block to finding success in life,” explained school advocate, Doug Salinas. “As a community, we need to spread the word of drug prevention and do healthy activities in order to keep our youth safe.”

“In our community, we have kids who might see drugs and alcohol every day and think that kind of activity is normal,” adds fellow advocate, Malory Simpson. “For these students, it’s important for them to learn about drug-free living and to understand that they have the choice to make their own future. They made those drug-free pledges and it could have long-lasting meaning for them.”

At the end of the week, it’s safe to say every student at QCT received a quality lesson in what it means to live drug-free and is more aware of drugs and drug prevention than they were before. Just having the conversation itself is critical. Evidence shows that children of parents who talk to their youth regularly about drugs are 42% less likely to use drugs than those who don’t, yet only a quarter of youth report having these conversations. For QCT students, the seed has been planted.

Basket weaving and story time bring families to TVTC

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

The latest cohort of TERO Vocational Training Center (TVTC) students made some pretty cool memories with their family and friends on October 25th, during the autumn session’s “Family Day”.

“We set aside a day every session to bring families together, allowing for the children of students to visit the training center and experience their parents’ success,” says Lynne Bansemer, Tulalip TERO Coordinator. “Family Day focuses on literacy as well. We partnered with Sno-Isle Libraries who come in for storytelling, library card sign-up, and book check out.”

Making the day even more impactful for everyone was being given an introduction to basketry. Instructors Heidi Miller and Bill Roeder were on hand to teach construction students and their families how to make garlic baskets in the traditional way, using round reed.

“It was a privilege to have an opportunity to get some bonding time with my son and his grandfather at Family Day. It was exciting to meet with my fellow students and get to know them a little better after being introduced to their families,” says TVTC student and Tulalip tribal member, Brando Jones, who had his father and infant son, Dakota, on-site participating in Family Day. “My favorite part was learning how to weave a small basket. I’m making it as a gift for my son. Also, it was awesome bringing my father in to get a behind the scenes look into what it is we do in pursuit of a construction career.”

The gathering of students with their young children also allowed for some hands-on experience with trade skills. Several of the kids assisted their parents adding special meaning to their personal projects. Whether it was hammering a nail or adding additional flare with some bright colored paint, the children apprentices made their presence felt.

Jessica Bustad and her young daughter, Jazmyn, spent their morning at the construction center partaking in the day’s activities in support of TVTC student, Rayvin Foster.

“I thought the TERO family day was great! All of the staff did a great job in making the day special for families,” shared Jessica. “It made me feel good to see what Rayvin has been working on and all of the different types of knowledge he is gaining from being a part of the class. Our daughter, who is 18 months old, loved running around the shop and wearing her “safety” gear they gifted to her. We were also able to sign back up for our library cards and get my daughter some books from the book mobile.”

#TMUnityMonth Promotes Kindness

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Citizens of the Tulalip and Marysville community are currently celebrating the second annual Unity and Wellness Month. Each October, Tulalip Youth Services and the Marysville School District unite to bring attention to issues such as domestic violence, substance abuse, bullying and suicide. Youth Services hosts several events throughout the month to promote awareness about these issues, in a positive manner, including the Say Something Color Run, Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary Coffee Morning and movie nights. Each week of Unity Month sheds light on serious topics; the first week focused on suicide prevention and was deemed Life is Sacred week, the second week was Healthy Relationships week which addressed domestic violence. The third week of Unity Month focused on bullying prevention.

“This past week was our Unity and Wellness Month Kindness week,” states Tulalip Youth Services Education Coordinator, Jessica Bustad. “We had a pumpkin carving night, movie night and even had a Don’t be a Monster assembly at the Marysville-Tulalip Campus for all four secondary schools. We had our five-day Kindness Challenge that we used to encourage people to put extra effort into sharing kindness and to show them how easy it can be. We had students, staff and community members going the extra mile to work on their random acts of kindness. We would like to continue the challenge to all of the youth and adults in this community.”

Youth Services kicked off the third week of Unity Month with a Family Pumpkin Carving Night. Community members gathered at the Don Hatch Youth Center on October 16, to carve and decorate jack-o-lanterns in preparation for Halloween. Dozens of families participated as over three-hundred pumpkins were sculpted into spooky designs and the youth entered their creations into a contest for a chance to win various prizes. Movie night consisted of a screening of Chicken Little, complete with pizza and popcorn.

The bullying problem continues to grow nationwide in schools, the work place and most recently online. Children who are frequently bullied can often develop depression and anxiety. According to the website, www.StopBullying.gov, twenty-eight percent of students nationwide have experienced bullying and approximately thirty percent of students have admitted to bullying their peers. Cyberbullying is on the rise. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, cyberbullying has nearly doubled amongst ninth through twelfth grade students in the past ten years, from eighteen to thirty-four percent.

“As we all know, bullying is a serious issue across the country and even more-so now with social media,” says Jessica. “Cyberbullying has become a huge problem. Our children are exposed to so much through social media and it does impact their self-esteem. Teach your children to use social media for positive things. Monitor your children’s social media accounts. Our society has become so desensitized to acts of violence and bullying. Stand up and show the world that kindness and good people are everywhere. Raise your children to be kind to others, our earth and especially themselves. Teach your children to love and respect themselves so that they can properly love and respect others.

“Here are a few ways you can teach your child to be kind,” she continues. “Tell your child you love and care about them, share with your child what kindness is and what it means, lead by example by being kind to others and talking to your children about it. Spend quality time with your child at the dinner table or reading for 20 minutes a minutes a night. Listen to your child, ask them about school experiences and ask them about their feelings, talk to your child about bullying and what to do if they have been bullied, have seen bullying or are the bully. Let them know it is ok to reach out for help.”

For more information, please visit the Tulalip Youth Services Facebook page or contact  the department at (360) 716-4909.

Students and their families enjoy QCT Coffee Morning

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Research shows that children are more likely to succeed academically and are less likely to engage in disruptive behavior if their families are involved in their education. Additional studies have found that parental involvement is more important to student success, at every grade level, than family income or education. However, many parents say that they feel unwelcome or uncomfortable in their children’s schools.

To bridge this gap, Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary (QCT) has brought back ‘Coffee Morning’, an activity to promote parental involvement and gets families more familiar with school staff. The first Coffee Morning of the school year took place on October 11.

“I feel the significance of a monthly Coffee Morning is to provide access to the school, myself, and our staff in an informal setting,” said Principal Doug Shook. “Just as we want Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary to feel welcoming to all of our students every day, we want families to feel welcome when they come in the building. It is important for families to have an opportunity to meet me and talk to me about their child’s experience here at QCT. This way we can stay responsive to the needs of the family and community.”

Parents, grandparents, and guardians alike were invited to join their students in the school library where coffee, juice, and a variety of donuts could be enjoyed. Over 80 participants showed up and mingled during the 8:45a.m. – 9:15a.m. window. Several parents could be found joining their student in reading a good book, while others took the opportunity to introduce themselves to the new Principal and his staff.

“As the new principal at QCT, I’m excited that we had 80 family members and students participate!” added Principal Doug. “We’re hoping that word of mouth gets out so we have even more family members at our next Coffee Morning. I had the opportunity to talk with many families and to introduce myself and answer all of their questions. My hope is that we can provide additional ways for our QCT families to visit and show off the great work of our students. Our staff does a great job and works hard in making QCT a warm and inviting space so that our students can do their best every day.”

October marks the second annual Unity and Wellness Month sponsored by the Tulalip Tribes and in partnership with the Marysville School District as they focus on a different area of student wellness each week in October. Week 2 was healthy relationships week. Morning Coffee showcased the goals of healthy relationships with students, parents, and teachers coming together in unity.

If you missed out this time (or even if you didn’t) QCT staff would love to see more of their students and families at the next month’s Coffee Morning on November 1 from 8:45a.m. -9:15a.m.

Cultural Gatherings brings Lushootseed language to ELA families

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

At the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy, the Lushootseed Language Department and the Rediscovery Program teamed up to bring Family Cultural Gatherings to the young students of the Academy and their families. The gatherings are held at the Academy every Tuesday and alternate between a one-hour class at 12:00 p.m. and a two-hour class at 5:00 p.m. weekly. Families can learn traditional Tulalip Lushootseed Language by means of storytelling, song and interactive lessons.

“We really want to build that connection between our language and culture back to the families so that they can really have a feeling of what the kids are learning in school,” explains Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy Director, Sheryl Fryberg. “We want to share that value; I think that the Lushootseed Department does a really great job of sharing that value. We want our families to have an opportunity to learn Lushootseed too, with our kids.”

The revitalized traditional Coast Salish language is currently offered at all levels by the Lushootseed Language Department. The language is being spoken to and utilized by students at the Early Learning Academy,

Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary and Tulalip Heritage High School. The Language Department also offers Lushootseed 101, a college course through Northwest Indian College, to the employees of the Tulalip Tribes. This past summer, the Annual Lushootseed Language Camp was a huge success as over one hundred and sixty youth participated in the week-long language camp.

The Academy wanted to bring this experience to the parents and siblings of their students, and the Cultural Gatherings presents the perfect opportunity for students to practice the language outside of the classroom. During the Cultural Gatherings, parents and students learn words, phrases and songs alongside one another.  A meal is prepared by the Academy for the participants and each gathering begins with a joint prayer, in Lushootseed, to bless the food. The Language Department creates a fun learning experience for the families with book readings, flash cards, and songs as well as arts and crafts. Many students are familiar with the words and often assist their parents with pronunciation.

Lushootseed Language Teacher, Natasha Gobin, encourages families to attend the gatherings.

“It’s encouraged for each family to attend at least one of the classes we offer,” states Lushootseed Language Teacher, Natasha Gobin. “We’re trying to teach the families what the kids are learning in school because we know that when the kids go home, they’re trying to get their parents to learn [the language] with them. If they point out any of the animals and are saying the words in Lushootseed to their parents, quite often the parents are like ‘I have no idea what you’re saying’, so we’re trying encourage the families to engage in that learning and make it relevant in the home which in turn empowers the kids when they start using the language.”

The next gathering will be held on Tuesday, October 25 at 12:00 p.m. for more information please contact the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy at (360) 716-4250.

Marysville School District selects former Tulalip Tribes Board Member and Native American advocate to serve as Director of Equity, Diversity and Indian Education

Other positions also filled include Deputy Superintendent, Assistant Director of Human Resources, and Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program Interim Manager
Source: Emile Wicks, Marysville School District, Communications and Community Relations Coordinator
Marysville, WA – The Marysville School District has selected Deborah Parker to serve as the District’s Director of Equity, Diversity and Indian Education. Parker comes to the Marysville School District after serving as a member and Vice Chair of the Tulalip Tribes’ Board of Directors. In addition, Parker has run her own company which provided consultation to tribal nations, local, state, national and foreign government agencies and colleges and universities in developing effective communication, strategic management and policy. Her work has taken her around the world to places such as the University of Guadalajara, the Peruvian jungles of South America, and countries across Asia. During her time as Director of the Residential School Healing for the Aboriginal Healing Foundation in British Columbia, the program received honors from the Canadian Parliament.
A Marysville School District graduate, Parker holds a bachelor’s degree in American Ethnic Studies and Sociology with a focus on racial disparities from the University of Washington. She has extensive knowledge of the K-12 educational system and its policies, as well as experience improving equity and diversity in large, complex organizations.
“We are honored to welcome Ms. Parker to our staff,” said Marysville Superintendent Dr. Becky Berg. “Her wealth of knowledge, experience, and passion for equity and social justice will help us better serve and build success for our students and the Marysville-Tulalip community.”
Parker’s many efforts and accomplishments include working to pass the Ethic Studies Requirement (ESR), advocating for the Violence Against Women Act (WAWA), mentoring minority students in math and science, as well as serving as the Education Committee Co-Chair for the Affiliated Tribes of the Northwest Indians (ATNI) and on the Board of Directors for the Smithsonian Institute Board of Trustees.
In addition to a selecting a new Director of Equity, Diversity and Indian Education, the Marysville School District has selected Tracy Souza to serve as the new Assistant Director of Human Resources. Souza replaces Jason Thompson who was recently appointed Deputy Superintendent. Thompson will work closely with Superintendent Berg on educational finance, learning and teaching, and student achievement goals.
Souza has worked in the Marysville School District since September 2000. For the past 15 years, she has served as program manager for the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP). Under her leadership, the program received a rating of five on the Early Achievers’ Quality Rating Improvement scale. This is highest rating available, and Marysville’s is the only ECEAP program in the region to receive it.
JoAnn Moffitt has been appointed to replace Souza as the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) Interim Manager at the Early Learning Center. Moffit brings much knowledge and experience to this position. Her work in the Marysville School District goes back to 1999 when she served as a family service provider for the early childhood education and program manager for ECEAP, then as a school counselor and intervention specialist for several years. Most recently, she served as a counselor at Shoultes Elementary School.
“The Marysville School District continues to move quality, effective staff members into positions that build further success for our students and capitalize on our individual and team strengths,” said Marysville School Board President, Pete Lundberg. We are pleased with the direction our district is moving, look forward to the programs these individuals will take to the next level, and the positive impact their efforts will have on student achievement.

Tulalip, From My Heart: WWU reading group studies the life of Harriette Shelton-Dover

Ray Fryberg, Patti Gobin and Chelsea Craig perform of one of Harriette Sheldon-Dover’s songs.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

If you look up the word resiliency in the dictionary there will be a picture of the Tulalip leader, Harriette Shelton-Dover. Or at least there should be, because she is the very definition of the word. Harriette was a boarding school survivor, cultural preserver and language revivalist. She was a highly respected leader as well as a daughter, mother, cousin, auntie and grandmother of the Tulalip people. Harriette restored the practice of the Salmon Ceremony, testified during the Boldt decision and was the first chairwoman of the Tulalip Tribes – to name a few of her accomplishments. But perhaps one of Harriette’s biggest accomplishments was rebuilding pride in a tribal community during and after years of forced assimilation. She knew her language, rights and culture and stressed the importance of both practicing those traditions as well as passing them down to the next generation. Harriette passed on to the next life in 1991, yet her teachings continue to inspire generation after generation.

Despite her boarding school experience, Harriette knew the importance of an education and received her college degree from Everett Community College during the seventies, while in her seventies. While attending the college, Harriette met Darleen Fitzpatrick, a young Anthropology Professor who was teaching a course on Northwest Coast tribes.

“The beginning of one fall quarter, I was standing in front of the room getting ready to start class and I just happen to look over at the door and she just happened to walk in at that moment,” recalls Social Anthropologist Darleen Fitzpatrick. “With her cane thumping on the floor, she stopped halfway to me and said ‘I want to know what you’re saying about Indians’. Thumping with her cane, she thumped over to the front row and sat down exactly in front of me. Looking at her I thought well, if there’s anything wrong this is how I’m going to find out. I was twenty-eight years old and she was seventy. When she said, ‘I want to know what you’re saying about Indians’, that began a relationship that eventually became a friendship. As we were becoming acquainted, I finally said to her, ‘I can help you with the history you want to do about Tulalip. We have tape recorders; we can do it on Friday afternoons before I go home’. So that’s what we did for quite a while.”

Darleen spent every Friday, for two years, recording Harriette as she shared the history of Tulalip as well as some of her personal experiences. In total, there were nearly two hundred cassette tapes, filled with audio recordings on both sides. After years of transcribing, editing and placing Harriette’s accounts in chronological order, Harriette’s memoirs were published by the University of Washington Press in 2013, twenty-two years after her passing, in the book titled Tulalip, From My Heart: An Autobiographical Account of a Reservation Community.

Western Reads is a reading group designed for the new students of Western Washington University. The book club promotes intellectual engagement through a variety of events and activities. Every year, Western Reads collectively decides which book they will be reading; for this year’s selection, the group chose Harriette’s From My Heart.

“We feel that in the past Western has not done a good job of acknowledging the Indigenous culture. This is an opportunity for everyone to reflect on this history of this area and how this history is represented,” states Dawn Dietrich, Director of Western Reads.

Western Reads hosted a forum on October 4, at the Fairhaven Auditorium. During the forum, the reading group witnessed guest speakers Darleen Fitzpatrick, Ray Fryberg and Patti Gobin recount the life and times of Harriette Shelton-Dover. Ray spoke of the boarding school atrocities and shared a little bit of Harriette’s experience at the school.

“She talks about being raised by her grandmother,” says Ray. “The teachings that she got from her grandmother; being introduced out into the woods to the four directions, how to sit properly in the longhouse because people are going to look at you to see how you were taught, because your teachings reflect on your elders. Then she went to the boarding school. She said that during her experience at the boarding school, two boys from Lummi ran away and she knew that they went out and caught them so she and [the other students] had to go back to their dormitories. They all looked out the window, down at the school, to see what they were going to do to the two boys that ran away – they whipped them so hard that it took them forty-five minutes to crawl from the school to the dormitory which was only a quarter of a block.

“They said no speaking Indian – no Indian,” Ray continues “[Harriett] and two girls from Lummi were in the bathroom, they were talking Indian and the matron came in and said ‘didn’t I tell you no talking Indian?’ Harriette said they had a whip – she described it: two inches wide, an inch thick and it had brass tacks – outlawed in the prisons yet they were allowed to be used in the school. She said, ‘the matron whipped me all the way across the bathroom hitting me underneath my ear, across my neck. But there were two things I wouldn’t let that white lady do, I wouldn’t let her knock me down and I wouldn’t let her see me cry. I caught myself in the corner and I grabbed a hold of the sink and I would not let her knock me down.’”

Ray expressed that Harriette knew of the long-term damage Native America faced due to the boarding schools. “She also said, ‘everybody I went to the school with turned out to be alcoholics. I can’t blame them. Out here we don’t have no doctors, no psychologist, no psychiatrist like they do in town.’ We were talking about that back in the mid-eighties before boarding school experiences and generational trauma were even buzzwords. For me, when I read that about the boys, I cried. When I heard about her being whipped, I become really angry that anybody would ever treat a grandmother like that.”

Patti Gobin is Harriette Shelton-Dover’s grandniece. Patti explained that the boarding school experience left many Native Americans across the nation lost, including her grandmother, Celum Young.

“My grandma, she was so broken, split between two worlds: being ‘civilized’ and uncivilized,” explains Patti. “I say that in a good way because that describes my grandma. Uncivilized being something very bad and civilized meaning something you needed to attain. My grandma was first generation in the boarding school, her first language was Lushootseed, her first culture was Coast Salish; and in the blink of an eye she was no longer Coast Salish, she was no longer Indian. She was going to be Catholic, her name was now Cecilia and she was going to speak the English language.

“But this isn’t about my grandma,” she continues. “It’s leading up to how Harriette Shelton-Dover came into my life. She came and knocked on my mom and dad’s door when I was ten years old – that was fifty-four years ago. My dad answered the door and asked ‘what do you want Harriette?’ and she responded, ‘I would like to speak with Celum’ – she never called her Cecilia, it was always Celum. She stepped into the house and my grandma was very quiet, very shy. [Harriett] said ‘I want to ask if I can take your granddaughter, because she has ears to hear and I see something in her.’

“My grandma wasn’t happy because culturally you don’t take someone’s granddaughter out of the house physically and have her stay at your house,” says Patti. “My grandma finally asked ‘why do you want my granddaughter?’ and Harriette said, “because she has something and I think I can share our culture, our history as Tulalip people, as Snohomish people with her.’ My grandma said ‘you can have her, but only on the weekends.’ So, I lived with Harriette Shelton-Dover Friday through Sunday from the time I was ten until I was eighteen. I didn’t think I was learning anything. You may not think you’re absorbing your family’s qualities, traits, their values but you are. Even when you’re fighting, even at a young age when you may not want to be like your mom and dad or your grandma and grandpa – but you end up there. I’m sixty-four and I’m there. I am Harriette, I am Celum, I am many of those elders who took their time and invested in me.”

Patti explained the many lessons she learned from Harriette, or as she called her granny, “the first thing she did was try to teach me how to act Si’ab, high class, how to conduct myself in public. I was shy like my grandma and granny would say ‘look at me, look me in the eye. I want you to tell me who you are and where you come from.’

Patti explained the importance of introductions within the tribal community. She demonstrated how she first introduced herself to Harriette, looking down at the ground in a soft-spoken voice.

“She said ‘lift your head up. Look at me and let’s try this again.’ I looked at her and she said ‘never be ashamed of who you are and where you come from. You are an Indian girl and you must be proud of that. When you walk into a room, you hold your head up high, even though you’re shaking and quaking on the inside. You look people right in the face and say I’m Patti Gobin. My mother is Dolores Gobin and my father is Bernie Gobin. My grandmother is Celum Young, her mother was Lucy McClean-Young, her father was George Young.’”

The entire crowd was moved by Patti’s story, many book club members were in tears while listening to Ray and Patti reflect on the impact Harriette left for the future generations of Tulalip.

“What granny taught me was the beginning of a lifelong lesson – that I am Coast Salish,” states Patti. “I have thirteen grandchildren who are Coast Salish and they know that. As soon they came into this world they knew that they’re Coast Salish. They sing our songs and know that they’re members of the Tulalip Tribes and they’re not ashamed. I don’t speak my language, but my grandkids speak the language. My granny preserved our language and our songs in order to pass them on. I went to the University of Washington and ordered From My Heart before it even came out; I don’t even know how I heard about it but I paid full price for the book. It took me a long time, I read two pages at time and cried the whole time because it’s everything she’s ever said to me. I read everything in her voice – she’s always with me. I want to thank Darleen for this marvelous documentation because this will help each generation heal more and more over time.”

The forum ended with a performance of one of Harriette’s songs by Ray and Patti accompanied by Patti’s daughter, Chelsea Craig.

“I think the event was amazing,” says Dawn. “It was so moving not only to read Harriette Shelton-Dover’s account of the Tulalip culture and the region that we all share here, but then to actually hear members of the Tulalip tribe come with very personal connections to Harriette; who knew her, who knew her voice, who knew her songs; and to share that intergenerational wound that people have from everything that happened 150 years ago. There weren’t a lot of dry eyes in the room, particularly when Patti and Ray were speaking and when they were performing the song.

“I feel that people can have misunderstandings of other groups of people when they don’t share a culture,” she continues. “But when you’re face to face and someone has the courage to speak so directly to an audience and to share things so close to their hearts – it moves people. Not intellectually necessarily, but it moves their hearts and that is really the source of education. I felt it was very powerful and I couldn’t have asked for more. I think for students to have the ability to hear this culture and history first hand and hear about how the people today are living with that is invaluable. If it can open hearts and minds and open peoples understanding to an accurate historical account of what actually happened, then the program this year will have been completely worth everything we’ve done to organize it.”