UW Bothell empowers Native American students to plan for higher education

 

For the Native high school students, the hope is by getting a taste of the university experience they will be inspired and motivated to attend a higher education program after graduating high school. 

 

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The University of Washington Bothell campus held its 5th annual Reaching American Indian Nations (RAIN) diversity recruitment event Friday, April 21. RAIN is a day dedicated to preparing students of American Indian, Alaskan Native and Native American backgrounds with the tools necessary to access higher education.

Tribal high school students and faculty from Native American educational programs from all across Washington State were invited to attend RAIN 2017.

For the Native high school students, the hope is by getting a taste of the university experience they will be inspired and motivated to attend a higher education program after graduating high school.

Creating culturally relevant events where advocates, faculty, and college alumni can speak on all the reasons why potential high school graduates should attend college helps turns dreams into reality. Explaining why higher education is important as a Native American person, how the education can be used to connect to and better the community is all integral to changing the narrative. It doesn’t matter if it’s a community or technical college, online or big-time university, so long as Native students start thinking about and planning for life after high school.

Interestingly enough, the inspiration that led to UW Bothell creating RAIN five years ago happened right here on the Tulalip Reservation. It was during a routine admission workshop that Rachael Meares, former UW Native American Outreach Coordinator, was undertaking at Tulalip Heritage High School that inspiration struck. The junior and senior high school students at Tulalip Heritage were so eager to participate in her workshop and to learn of the opportunities available at UW Bothell that Meares thought it would be really beneficial for the students to spend a day at the UW Bothell campus. While on campus, students participated in various workshops, while exploring and learning about what university life at UW Bothell has to offer them. The Tulalip students received an alternative college perspective that wouldn’t otherwise be available to them here on the reservation.

A few months later, the entire Tulalip Heritage High School student body, with chaperoning from teachers, spent a day at the UW Bothell campus learning about the university and opportunities available only a short thirty minute drive south on I-5. That day marked the first culturally relevant outreach event for Native American students, which was given the name Reaching American Indian Nations, or more commonly referred to as RAIN. The next year Meares and her colleagues from the UW Bothell Division of Enrollment Management extended invites to Tulalip Heritage and other tribal schools across Washington.

Matt Remle, Marysville School District Native American Liaison.

 

At this year’s RAIN, the students were welcomed with breakfast, introductions of the coordinating event staff, and an opening prayer by Matt Remle (Lakota), Native American Liaison for Marysville School District. The students then heard a culturally oriented key-note speech from Abigail Echohawk (Pawnee/Athabascan).

Following their warm welcoming, the high school students chose two available on-site workshops to attend. Keeping the idea of cultural relevancy in play, each workshop was specifically tailored to the Native American students pursuing higher education. Each workshop was also led by a Native American staff member of UW Bothell.

For the participating students, they received a glimpse of the university life that pushes the boundaries for what opportunities are available to them after graduating high school. They were able to learn about higher education opportunities and campus programs, while participating in cultural and educational workshops. The college admissions process, touring UW Bothell, and networking with community partners were designed to give students a better understanding of college life, while relating the importance of education to the individual and their communities.

Fleece, Love and Happiness

Handmade drum stick, featuring horse and otter fur constructed by Tulalip tribal member, Richard “Two Dogs” Muir.

 

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

In Native America, blankets hold a significant value to many tribal communities as they are associated with honor and respect. Traditionally, blankets are gifted at various ceremonies including potlatches, pow wows and graduations. Pendleton, a blanket company based in Oregon, grew in popularity during the trade era due to their bright colors and tribal inspired designs. Not to mention they were a necessity, because the blankets are made from wool, they were warm, durable and weather resistant. In 2016, President Obama was honored and blanketed by the tribal nations of America during his last White House Tribal Nations conference.

Newborn babies are often swaddled in the wool blankets and most Native children grow up surrounded by Pendleton. For this reason, the Parent Committee of the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy are raising money, by means of a raffle, to purchase over three hundred blankets for the students of the Academy. The blankets will be fleece and feature Pendleton-esque designs.

The Parent Committee is raffling a handmade drum stick, featuring horse and otter fur that was constructed by Tulalip tribal member, Richard “Two Dogs” Muir. Tickets can be purchased through April 28 in the Early Learning Academy’s lobby between 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. The cost is $5 per ticket, five tickets for $20, or an arm’s length worth of tickets for $30. The winner will be announced April 28 during the upcoming Superhero Dance, which is also organized by the Parent Committee.

For more information, please contact the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy at (360) 716-4250.

Easter Bunny hops around Early Learning Academy

Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Looks of surprise and sheer joy were shared by countless students of the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy when the Easter Bunny hopped into town. The kids, ranging in age from toddler to 5-years-old pushed their daily activities aside and sought to be as close to the huge, furry celebrity as possible.

The rascally rabbit hopped right into the academy and proceeded to visit every classroom from ECEAP side (students birth to 3-years-old) and then onto the Montessori side (students 3-5-years-old). Nearly every classroom the white fuzzy Bunny would enter, resulted in smiles, squeals of delight, laughter and plenty of hugs.

Following the classroom visits, the Easter Bunny led the older students on several Easter egg hunts at the academy’s playground. There were mad dashes to collect the candy-filled eggs while all the students got to take home a basket filled of Easter treats.

General Manager provides insight to Tulalip government for UW class

Misty Napeahi, Tulalip Tribes General Manager.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Stephanie Fryberg, Associate Professor and Tulalip tribal member, is currently teaching a class at the University of Washington under the department of American Indian Studies. Introduction to American Indian Contemporary Issues and Social Issues is a 50-student class that discusses topics like identification, child welfare, government relations, treaty rights, and Indian gaming.

It’s one thing to read textbooks and scholarly articles about tribal histories, governments and the way of life on reservations, but no amount of research will be as perceptive as first-hand accounts from tribal members who know the intricate and complex systems that make-up the day-to-day operations of a Native community. That is why Stephanie extended an invite to Misty Napeahi, Tulalip Tribes General Manager, to be a guest speaker for the class. Misty accepted and gave an insightful presentation to the collegiate students on Monday, April 10.

In a fascinating tactic, Misty began her presentation by wanting to give the students just a small glimpse into what tribal people have gone through and continue to go through today. How it worked was each student wrote down the three most important things in their lives, three things each individual felt they could not live without. Most common answers were family, faith/spirituality, knowledge, and friends. Misty then asked for the paper students wrote their answers on and in dramatic fashion she tore up the papers and threw them in the trash.

Misty explained to the students that they just willfully handed over the things they felt were most important in their lives to an authority figure who then deemed those things unimportant and trash. Student expressions of shock and frustration were priceless as they realized the subtleties of what just occurred.

“This exercise is supposed to make you think and feel uncomfortable. It shows you how indigenous people feel almost every day,” explained Misty to her captive audience. “When I was asked to speak about contemporary issues in the workforce for the Tulalip Tribes this exercise came to mind. This is what I deal with on a daily bases, people and employees who have had family members and friends taken away, people who have been told their religion is savage and barbaric.

You all have read about historical and generational trauma, but we live it. Where I’m from and where I work, we can see and feel it on a near daily basis. Issues like domestic violence and drug addiction are a symptom of all the trauma we have gone through, that our parents and grandparents went through when they were stripped of their families, language, and religion. The traumas makes people feel powerless and that powerlessness can carry on for generations.”

Following the opening exercise, Misty went on to explain how out of the ashes of all destruction and traumas Native people went through they endured and grew to govern themselves. Using the Tulalip Tribes as her example, the students became aware of the transitions that the tribe has gone through to get where it is at today. Topics included the tribal preference code for employment, TERO, the diversity of departments that compose Tulalip’s government, and the delicate systems at work when it comes to a tribal community (where everyone knows or is related to so many others) creating a workforce of countless interpersonal relationships.

There were plenty of opportunities for the inquisitive students to ask questions and for more information on issues that peaked their interest. Misty was very honest and detailed in her responses.

Three UW students shared their immediate thoughts after witnessing General Manager Misty Napeahi give her thought provoking and informationally rich presentation.

“I thought it was great. It touched on all the things that you don’t really see, but you know are probably occurring on the reservation,” said 22-year-old Collin Youngblood.

Third-year student Harneet Grewal shared, “I thought it was really eye-opening. She spread a lot of awareness to what Native people have gone through in the past, but also what they are going through currently. To consider what a person is going through, from their family and what their mental health and background may be is so different from Western culture.”

Kenia Diaz, also a third-year student added, “I thought it was very interesting overall. Like our professor said, she is not capable of giving us the insights that the General Manager of the tribe can. I feel like the reservation itself, the way it’s governed is like a family and I really like that. That type of community is awesome because people are willing to build each other up and empower one another.”

Students honor the legacy of Billy Frank Jr.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Many schools across the nation celebrate the works of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss by hosting a spirit week each March during his birthday week. This tradition is practiced annually at Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary (QCT.) But before preparations for this year’s Dr. Suess week began, Chelsea Craig, Tulalip tribal member and QCT instructor, suggested the school celebrated another national hero, Billy Frank Jr., whose passion for preserving fishing rights for Washington State tribes has made a positive impact for both Indian Country and the environment for generations to come. QCT celebrated by learning about the Native American activist every day during his birthday week, March 6-10.

In 1854 and 1855 the State of Washington met with several local tribes to sign treaties in order to designate land for the tribes. Each tribe received a portion of land where the state would provide schools and medical care. The treaties allowed the tribes to retain the right to hunt, gather and fish at all usual and accustomed grounds.

Ninety years after the treaties were signed, fourteen-year-old Billy Frank Jr. of the Nisqually Indian Tribe, was arrested for fishing on off-reservation land on the Nisqaully River. This was the first of over fifty arrests for Billy and ultimately led to the fish wars and the Boldt decision, a landmark court case that affirmed tribal fishing rights; subjects that were studied during Billy Frank Jr. week at QCT.

Billy actively fought his entire life not only for fishing rights but also for the environment. He served as the chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission for over thirty years. Billy passed away in 2014 and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.

Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary students display their school-wide art project in honor of Billy Frank Jr. The students designed paper salmon printed with their name and why they believe Billy’s work was important to Native America. Their artwork, laminated together, gave the illusion of salmon swimming upstream.

The school’s spirit week concluded with a two-hour assembly in honor of Billy, that included artwork as well as traditional song and dance by the students. Also in attendance were Billy’s son Willie and members of the Tulalip Tribes Board of Directors.

“Billy’s fight started as a battle for a right to continue to do what he and his ancestors have done for thousands of years and he went to jail many, many times fighting for that right, which is secured in a treaty with the United States. Since that time, there’s been many battles and struggles in trying to preserve that right,” explained Tulalip Board member Glen Gobin.

He continued, “As Billy got older he recognized that the fish runs were declining. He realized, it wasn’t the harvesting it was the habitat. So Billy’s focus changed, still protecting the salmon but understanding the environment and the changes that were coming. His focus changed because he knew it was going to affect the next generations.”

Salmon appeared to be swimming through the elementary gymnasium as students displayed a school-wide art project. Each student decorated paper cut-out salmon which were then laminated together, giving the illusion of fish swimming upstream. The students also remixed the B-I-N-G-O nursery rhyme to the tune of B-I-L-L-Y. The fifth grade class created a video in which they spoke of Billy’s career and legacy. During the video several students thanked him for his work, stating the battle he fought allows their family members to exercise their fishing rights, as many parents are fisherman or work in fisheries.

Willie Frank thanked the students and offered words of encouragement about environmental protection amongst massive EPA budget cuts from the Trump Administration. He stated, “My dad always said ‘tell your story’. He’s gone now so it’s up to all of us to tell our story, as Native People, about how much the environment means to us. How much the salmon and the water mean to us.”

The assembly concluded with a traditional song provided by both students and tribal members. QCT is making a strong effort on educating their students about the local Native American hero by sharing his story, a sentiment echoed by a fifth-grade student. She states, “They say you die twice. Once in the physical and then again when your story dies. We are going to make sure Billy Frank Jr. lives forever by sharing his story.”

Change your life 15 minutes at a time

Wellness Wednesdays promote healthy eating and exercise

 

AnneCherise Jensen, Tulalip Family Haven Nutritionist, demonstrates how to make a simple and heathy apple fruit salad.

 

By Kim Kalliber, Tulalip News

Many people spend hours each day sitting at their computer for work or staring at their phones for entertainment. Now community members and Tulalip tribal employees can take a quick afternoon break to learn healthy recipes and tips for exercising.

Snap Ed Wellness Wednesdays kicked off February 15 with a cooking demonstration by AnneCherise Jensen, a nutritionist with Family Haven. Taking place at 2:00 p.m. in room 264 of the Administration Building, each demonstration offers hands-on learning.

Fresh fruit salad was on the menu for the first event. The easy to make salad consisted of four ingredients, though AnneCherise encourages everyone to add their own ingredients to personalize their meals.

Attendees not only learned a new recipe, but AnneCherise discussed the health benefits of each ingredient. Such as the difference between red and green apples (green have more nutrients but using both is always a good idea and adds more color) and that the skins should be left on to increase fiber intake. And did you know that Greek yogurt has less sugar and more protein than standard yogurt?

And of course, there’s the fun of tasting the finished product. It’s a good afternoon revitalizer where attendee input is encouraged.

Wellness Wednesdays will alternate each week between cooking and exercise demos. Exercises will include walking, yoga, dancing, cross fit and more.

No sign up is required. Simply join in, have fun and and learn healthy tips that just may change your life.

For information about Wellness Wednesdays, contact AnneCherise Jensen at ajensen@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov.