Tulalip Heritage High School Receives Accreditation

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Tulalip Heritage High School recently received accreditation through AdvancED, an accrediting agency comprised of educators who conduct on-site external reviews of Pre K-12 schools. The education accreditation procedure is a yearlong voluntary process in which a school becomes a certified institution by meeting a set of external standards of quality. Due to successfully completing the process, Tulalip Heritage has been granted accreditation for the next five years.

Tulalip Heritage was previously accredited under Marysville-Pilchuck, the recent accreditation now recognizes Heritage as its own school and by doing so, the high school has the opportunity to thrive on its own, as well as provide a fresh outlook for potential students and their families. On the evening of Wednesday August 30, Tulalip Heritage celebrated their accreditation with the Tulalip community at the Francis J. Sheldon Gym.

“It’s really a huge accomplishment for us, as a school, to receive this accreditation,” states Tulalip Heritage High School Principal, Shelly Lacy. “We’re accredited through AdvancED, they have accredited over 34,000 schools nationally and we actually scored ten points higher than their average. A lot of times we hear in the community that Tulalip Heritage is an alternative school, that we’re less than. This accreditation tells them no, we meet the same standards; as a matter of fact, we exceed those standards.

Tulalip Heritage High School Principal, Shelly Lacy.

“It took us a year to get ready,” she continues. “[AdvancED] were at our school for three days and spent over a week looking at all of our data. They came in and did interviews with the students, parents and staff; and also observed the classrooms. We learned a lot through the process, [the accreditation] is good for five years and is an ongoing process where we continue to work with them to improve our instruction so that we make sure that our students receive the best education that they can receive.”

The accreditation celebration allowed parents and students a chance to fill out paperwork for the upcoming school year. Heritage also provided dinner, a spaghetti-bar buffet by Olive Garden, as well as entertainment as many Tulalip Heritage Alumni took to the basketball court to compete in a full four-quarter game against the current Heritage High School student-athletes.

“When we thought about celebrating the accreditation, we wanted to include all of our alumni because they are who made our school important. They came and did their best work here and then they continue to come back. They come back to support the athletes, they come back to volunteer at our school. So, we wanted to make sure we included them and the best way is through their love to play sports.

“The one thing we’re most excited about is this year’s graduating class will receive the first-ever Tulalip Heritage High School diploma, we’re really excited about that,” Shelly expresses. “We’re in the process of designing the new diplomas. They will say Tulalip Heritage High School and will include our logo and probably a picture of our school. We thank the Tribe for their support because we couldn’t offer our students what we offer without the Tribe’s support. We can offer P.E., have a full-time counselor and a full-time principal because the Tribe supports us, so that we can make sure our kids have everything they need to graduate and be successful in college and their future careers.”

YES! Youth Entrepreneurship Summit

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Engaging and inspiring Native American youth toward success, a one-of-a-kind Youth Entrepreneurship Summit (YES!) was held in the Tulalip Resort Casino’s Orca Ballroom during the afternoon of Tuesday, September 5.

Designed for Native high school and college-aged students interested in business and entrepreneurship to hone their skills and learn more about what it takes to become successful in business, YES! offered Tulalip youth especially an opportunity to hear good words and success stories from Native business owners around the area.

To get the eager young minds’ creativity flowing, the summit opened up with a thought exercise. Everyone closed their eyes and pictured themselves in a tunnel, and at the end of the tunnel there is a ball of light.

“That ball of light represents your success, your dreams, your ambition, and everything you are striving for in life. That’s what is at the end of your tunnel,” declared event co-M.C. Dyami Thomas (Klamath/Leech Lake Ojibway). “Now envision on both sides of your tunnel are open doors. These open doors represent your struggles, obstacles, and all the negativity in your life. These doors stay open and there are thousands of them, but as you zoom towards the ball of light and move passed each door it closes. You can look right and look left into the open doors, but never walk through them because once you walk through one you never know if can get back on your path to the ball of light.

“This tunnel, your tunnel, represents tunnel vision to the person your meant to become. Always see that light at the end of the tunnel. When you feel lost, sad or lonely then close your eyes and see yourself in that tunnel and look towards your ball of light. Some of us like to quit and give up because they aren’t making big steps, so they start making excuses and entering those open doors only to never make it back on their path. You all have to understand that no matter if it’s a big step or many small steps, each step is heading in the same direction, and it’s toward that ball of light; to your success and ambition making your dreams come true.”

Louie Gong, Nooksack, artist and owner of Eighth Generation in Seattle.

Following the exercise, audience members were amped to hear several successful Native entrepreneurs share their stories. Guest speakers included Louie Gong (Nooksack – artist and owner of Eighth Generation), Rebecca Kirk (Klamath – singer, actress, and talent manager), Jordan Skye Paul (CRIT Mohave – user experience manager at Pinterest), and Dyami Thomas (model, actor and motivational speaker).

Among the crowd of engaged youth was a family of Tulalip tribal members, mother Angela Davis and her three children Abigail, Samuel, and Samara Davis. Angela said she was excited to bring her kids to the Youth Summit after seeing a flyer online, “Entrepreneurship is something we’ve been talking about with our children for years now. We encourage them to be their own individual, to be unique, and embrace their Native American culture. Attending this event is another way for us to encourage and implement what we’ve been teaching them.”

11-year-old Samuel commented his takeaway from the Youth Summit was that you can start from scratch and make something really big out of your passions. Younger sister, 9-year-old Abigail added, “I learned you can build amazing things if you really put your mind to it. If you try really hard and focus on what you want to make out of yourself, then you can make it happen.”

With encouraging and inspiring feedback from future Tulalip entrepreneurs, YES! was effective at engaging the youth who attended and helping to plant seeds for future success.

Washington State University – Everett 

Submitted by Jeanne Steffener, Higher ED

Washington State University (WSU) – Everett opened it’s doors on August 18, 2017 with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Hundreds of new students, potential students and those just interested in seeing Everett’s newest educational instutution stopped by for a tour.

The new building, a four-story structure (95,000 square feet of space), is located at 915 N. Broadway. The Fall term began August 21, 2017. The structure has taken over two years to construct and cost $64.6 million dollars to design and build. The building is projected to house around 1000 students. The building will have classes and programs of WSU-Puget Sound–Everett and EvCC’s University Center offering bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. Everett is WSU’s fifth campus along with Pullman, Spokane, Tri-Cities and Vancouver.

The project has taken years to materialize; stemming from legislation coming out of Olympia beginning in 2005, which paved the way for WSU’s decision to locate in Everett and including a financing mechanism for the structure.

Students will typically enter WSU-Everett with two years of education – Associate of Arts Degree from a community college. WSU calls this a “two plus two” model. The school will offer six degrees: mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, software engineering, data, hospitality business management and integrated strategic communication. In the future, the school is planning to have a program dealing with organic agriculture systems.

This new building establishes a strong, physical identity for WSU in the Puget Sound area and will stimulate more interest for prospective students. The potential increase of an academic population coming into the area could be a catalyst for new economic development in the North Everett area as well as encouraging  a much needed revitalization to this part of town. In the future, we can imagine new types of shops, coffee houses, restaurants and other types of business catering to university students, professors and the myriad types of employment associated with a university town.

In the WSU degree programs at Everett, students will have:

  • Convenience of a campus close to home with affordable tuition
  • Expertise and resources of one of the nation’s top public research universities
  • Businesses throughout the North Puget Sound area employing WSU graduates and actively looking for more
  • Low student to instructional faculty ratio: 15 to 1
  • Diverse community of men and women with a large share being multicultural

Cougar Advantage: Students are mentored by faculty, motivated by high-achieving peers, and supported by Cougs around the world. Once you are a Coug, you will have a network of supporters who will help you land your first job and open career doors.

If you are interested in opening a door to a promising future, pick up your phone and call 360-716-4888 to contact the Higher Education Department for more information or email us at highered@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov.

Early Learning Academy goes solar

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

A sunshine celebration ribbon cutting was held by Tulalip tribal leadership on Tuesday, August 15, to honor the many benefits of the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy’s solar energy movement. In partnership with Bonneville Environmental Foundation’s Solar 4R Schools program, four 20’x14’ solar panels were installed at the learning center back in April. Since their installation they have been harnessing the power of sunlight and turning it into electricity to help power the 52,000 square-foot Early Learning Academy,

“We are so excited to be the first tribal facility to go greener,” says Sheryl Fryberg, Director of the Early Learning Academy. “We want our children to learn at a young age the importance of how to make our planet a cleaner, safer place for future generations.”

Overlooking scenic Tulalip Bay, the sunlight absorbing solar panels have a direct sightline to the most powerful source of energy in the solar system, our sun. Making further use of the life-giving and renewable energy source, the solar movement forwards the Tribe’s goals of creating a healthy, sustainable community. There is no loss of air or water quality as a result of increasing the amount of energy now available to the Early Learning Academy. In this respect, making use of renewable energy is highly compatible with Native beliefs, such as living in harmony with nature and protecting the environment.

“This solar panel project is about showing our community what’s possible with solar energy. I’m committed to renewable energy all the way and even have solar panels installed on my home,” states Bonnie Juneau, Tulalip Board of Director. “Solar energy is proven to be effective and reduces our harm to the environment. It’s phenomenal. Going forward, all of our buildings will have south-facing roofs so the panels can harness as much sunlight as possible.

“This project also gives us an opportunity to show our children what exciting things can be achieved with math and science. Teaching them about solar energy at such a young age will only help them in the future. Think about the possibilities, about what one of our children may be able to come up with in 15-20 years. I’m so excited just thinking about what is now possible.”

Indeed, the Early Learning Academy’s children have already begun learning about solar energy in fun and effective ways. Solar 4R Schools program delivers one of the most comprehensive renewable energy STEM education experiences in the nation. Through teacher training, science kits, teacher-generated activities and real-time access to energy generation data from 200+ solar systems nationwide, we are directly empowering the next generation of clean energy leaders.

“The preschool staff are thrilled to be learning new activities to teach our children,” explains Sheryl Fryberg. “They were part of an all-day training to learn how to teach their preschool children energy projects in the classroom. They learned how to build a solar energy car, bake with a solar oven and even make some Crayola shirts with a solar oven. Our children will be learning how to do these projects and we are hoping that it will spark a long term interest in them about how to do their part to save the planet.”

An underlying benefit to the Academy going solar is a reduction in utility costs, which will allow more dollars to be directed toward educational needs. The solar panel array has produced 8,767.4 kWh (kilowatt-hours of electricity) so far. Given that the school has the SNOPud general utility rate of $0.0891/kWh, the solar system has generated approximately $781.18 worth of electricity savings to date.

Located in the lobby of the Early Learning Academy is a very cool information kiosk that gives students, teachers, and visitors an in-depth look into solar electric energy generated by the panels. At any given time one can see live data in a variety of ways. Equivalency results detail the impact of conservation efforts made by using the solar panels. To date, 13,584 pounds of CO2 has been saved which is the equivalent of 14,767 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle, 6,575 pounds of coal burned, or 14.3 barrels of oil consumed.*

For more information on the Academy’s solar panel project please visit http://www.solar4rschools.org/kiosk-betty-j-taylor-early-learning-academy for live data and further renewable benefits.

*Source: https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator

Tulalip Mountain Camp 2017

By Libby Nelson, Senior Environmental Policy Analyst, Treaty Rights Office, Tulalip Tribes Natural Resources Depoartment 


Mountain Camp 2017 kicked off with Kelly Moses storytelling and preparing the kids for their mountain journey, in the longhouse around a fire.

The kids backpacked the first three days into Barlclay Lake where they explored, hiked and stayed cool swimming

With guides Ross Fenton and Matthew Moses, the group then went to swədaʔx̌ali, our co-stewardship area in the Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, where they participated in our huckleberry restoration work. The kids joined Chelsea Craig, Patti Gobin and Melissa Gobin in cedar weaving and making cedar headbands.  Natural Resources Department staff members Ryan Miller, Daryl Williams, Ross Fenton, Matthew Moses, and Zach Lamebull talked with the youth about careers in natural resources.

It was hot at 5,000 feet, but nights were just right and skies were starry.  Michelle Myles from the Lushootseed Department and I spent Thursday night at camp, with Michelle telling stories under the stars before bed.  As before, kids learned to set up tents, carry their own gear, cook in the wilderness, conserve water, and support each other, and about their mountain culture.  Once again, Inez Bill helped contribute to the program with her ideas and feedback on our curriculum.

For the first time this year, we ended camp with a river trip. Kids got a lesson in kayaking and suited up for a three-hour downriver trip starting at the bridge in Skykomish.  We contracted with Outdoor Adventure Company of Index, and the kids seemed to love it!

Learning the business of babysitting

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

A free, daylong babysitting training class took place at the Tulalip Youth Center on Monday, August 1. Boys and girls age 11 and older learned how to perform basic child-care skills like diapering and feeding, first-aid essentials, development stages of children, helpful strategies for play activates, and the subtleties of child discipline.

An astounding thirty-eight youth showed up and participated in the daylong class. In coordination with Behavioral Health and Youth Services, the event aimed at making preteens and teenagers well-rounded caretakers was effective and made an immediate impact for several soon-to-be professional babysitters.

“We were inspired to share a class on babysitting because we wanted to focus primarily on teaching and encouraging our youth to expand their knowledge base, while teaching entrepreneurial skills to those who wished to start up a small business in the community,” states Monica Holmes, Youth Services Parapro. “Babysitting is something many kids do on a regular basis with family and close friends as they become teenagers. We wanted to arm them with the skill sets to be safe and marketable in order take their babysitting to the next step.”

Expanding the youths’ babysitting skill sets was achieved by taking advantage of those who could impart their professional knowledge on the subject, community resources who were willing to connect with the kids to make the biggest impact. Such resources included representatives from Tulalip Bay Fire and Rescue, Police Department, and Tulalip Community Health.

“I talked to the kids about safety in the home, as far as being a babysitter keeping themselves and the children they are supervising safe. We discussed the best practices for keeping kids safe in the home, protocol for answering the phone and what information should and shouldn’t be given out,” says Patrol Commander Sherman Pruitt, a 13-year veteran of the Tulalip Police Department. “We also went over how to stay prepared in the event of an emergency situation while keeping the safeguarding of their children the priority.”

Tulalip Bay Fire and Rescue taught basic first aid, choking hazards and in-home and personal fire safety. They also brought their ambulance and allowed participants to get in and ask questions. Tulalip Police Department spoke to youth about personal and home safety, like answering the door and telephone while babysitting, and what to do in the event of an emergency. Tulalip Community Health helped coordinate all the curriculum and hands-on teaching materials. Suzanne Carson LPN, was the co-presenter for the day and led various break-out sessions.

“We could have taught the class with just one or two instructors, but it seemed more enrichening to include these community partners. We wanted kids to learn from the best but also find people they could look up to or inspire to be like,” continues Monica. “Our community resources became mentors and positive examples in a large sense. It also helped to break down the barriers that sometimes exist between youth and organizations like the Police or Fire Departments.”

After each babysitter selected a baby doll of their choosing, complete with assigning it a gender and name, they were put into small groups. Through the course of the day, the thirty-eight aspiring babysitters rotated between different training stations set-up to replicate various real-life babysitting scenarios.

Instruction stations including the Potty Time Station, which featured all the supplies they’d need to properly diaper, change clothes and swaddle their infant or toddler. There was a First-Aid Kit Station that included supplies for basic first-aid in the event an emergency were to occur while babysitting. There was also a Babysitter’s Magic Bag Making Station, which included supplies, games, toys and arts-n-crafts items the youth could pack into a backpack and bring along with them to any babysitting job to keep their kids occupied and happy.

“Later in the day we designed hands-on Live Babysitting Stations where we invited community members to bring in their children ages 6-months to 10-years to be babysat by our newly minted babysitters,” explains Monica. “This is innovative to most mainstream babysitting classes in that most youth are never given a ‘trial run’ of babysitting in which staff and volunteers could observe, correct and praise their actual skills. We were so impressed with not only the maturity of the youth who attended, but also the drive and desire to take the skills they’d learned and create a real business out of them.”

At the end of the day all participating youth received a certificate of achievement and several take-home supplies to begin their very own babysitting business. Several of the youth have already developed some online advertisements for their new business. One such shining example is 11-year-old tribal member Mariana Richwine.

“I’ve been babysitting my younger sister since I can remember. Taking the babysitting class was fun and I learned a lot of tips and new information,” admits Mariana. “I learned what to do if a baby is choking and how to put a baby to sleep without being smothered by blankets. I’m more confident to babysit babies now that I know how to handle these situations.”

Since learning the added skills and importance of marketing herself as a certified, professional babysitter Mariana has created her own Facebook page titled Sissy’s babysitting service. She was joined in the babysitting class by her younger sister, 8-year-old Malana and older sister, 14-year-old Martelle. Their mother Nickie Richwine shared her impressions of the class she entrusted her three daughters to for the day.

“As soon as I learned about this training I knew my girls would be attending. They have always watched their little sister for me, and in the last two years my oldest ones started babysitting for friends and family. I knew there would be more they could learn in addition to their own experiences, and they did. I was happy to hear that our Tribal police and fire departments were also involved and taught the kids what to do in emergency situations. I feel like my girls are now well experienced and trained to babysit at any time.”

Tulalip students learn, discover and invent at STEM Week

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalipo News

Tulalip Summer School students spent the week of August 7-11, creating robots at Tulalip Homework Support, located behind the Boys and Girls Club. Students, kindergarten through twelfth grade, participated in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Week in which they used Legos and laptops to build and program robots.

The Summer School partnered with Matthew and Kathy Collier, founders of the Robotics.How.com website, to bring the hands-on STEM experience to the Tulalip community, teaching the youth about coding through the use of Lego Mindstorms Robots.

“We’ve been working with the Lego Mindstorms Robots for nineteen years,” Kathy explains. “We have a variety of Lego Robotics education products and software. The youngest students are using what is called WeDo Lego Robots and they are actually programming tiny little Lego critters to dance, sing, flap and do all kinds of things. We have a monkey that drums, we have a giant that lifts himself from sleeping, so through the week they do different projects. What’s wonderful about the program is they are actually coding.  The same coding a software engineer does on a big scale, on a much smaller scale. Each one of those children is building a little software program. The third through fifth graders are using what’s called the NXT Lego Mindstorms Robots and sixth grade and above are using the EV3 Lego Mindstorms.

“There are colleges such as MIT that use the Lego Mindstorm Robots to do different demonstrations. These are sophisticated robots,” she continues. “The kids are learning not only to design and build ideas, they’re learning to program. By the end of the week, all of these children will understand what many adults don’t, how to program a robot to dance, move and say things. The emphasis for STEM Week is discovery. Learn by discovery, learn by inventing, and learn engineering by doing, testing, trial and error; and we use a lot of Legos to do that.”

The kids were instantly intrigued and listened both excitedly and attentively to instructions before assembling their robots. Throughout the week, the fourth through twelfth grade students work in teams of two to fine-tune their bots. Students, sixth grade and older, are utilizing a new technology to control their machines with their minds. Without prior programing or the use of controllers, the students operate their Lego Robots by wearing a brainwave reader. The younger students spend their week creating new robots and projects each day.

“I think that robot camp is a fun place to think about robots,” states Summer School Student, Jordan Bontempo. “My favorite thing I did was playing with my robot, I like experimenting with it.”

Fellow classmate, Alo Williams added, “Its fun and I really like to learn here. I like that we get to build and program robots.”

Due to the program’s popularity and interest, the Tulalip Education Department intends to start a Lego Robotics team, comprised of teens from the community, to construct robots to perform in local competitions.

“To get these kids, especially the teenagers, to buy into this and not say ‘oh, this is boring’ is amazing. We haven’t had to push them once to participate, they want to do this,” says Homework Support Teacher Seiya Kitchens. “We’re trying to get a team together to represent Tulalip.  The kids will be able to win awards and get to travel. I think there are a lot of kids that will benefit from STEM Week. Nowadays kids use more technology, so I think a program like this will reach more kids because it’s a transition from pen and paperwork to this.”

STEM Week provides a fun foundation for the children who wish to pursue a career in any of the four fields.

“This is such a techy age, kids are exposed to so much more,” Kathy states. “If these young minds start to show a hint of potential, we can start steering them towards thoughts that inspire engineering ideas. We give them the tools and let them learn and experiment. This is not about following a set of building instructions, we are turning them loose to explore, invent and create.”

For additional details please contact the Tulalip Homework Support Program at (360) 716-4646.

Learning from the past, looking to the future

22nd Annual Lushootseed Day Camp

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The week of July 24-28 was nothing but pleasantly warm and sunny summer days in the Pacific Northwest. Inside the old Tulalip Elementary gymnasium even more radiating beams of sunshine could be found, created by the record turnout 92-kids participating in week two of the 22nd Annual Lushootseed Day Camp.

Open to children age five to twelve who want to learn about their culture and the language of their ancestors, Lushootseed Camp provides invaluable traditional teachings through art, songs, technology, weaving and storytelling. Each year the Lushootseed Department teams up with Cultural Resources, along with a select number of vital community volunteers, to hold two one-week day camps in the summer. Each camp is intended to have openings for up to 50 participants, but this year the demand was so high that 70-kids participated in week one and a stunning 92-kids comprised week two.

“It seems like every year we get more and more kids participating in our language camp, which is great!” boasts Michele Balagot, Lushootseed Manager. “We broke our record for total attendance that we set last year. It is amazing to witness the amount of participation and community involvement we received this year. It makes my heart happy seeing so many of our young ones learning our traditional language.”

With the extraordinary high turnout in camp participation came an equally impressive turnout in community volunteers who assisted Lushootseed staff coordinate daily camp activities. There were 25+ volunteers on a near daily basis on hand to help camp run smoothly.

“The role of the summer youth and volunteers was to be the group leaders, working alongside the youth, mentoring them and encouraging them at each station,” says Natosha Gobin, Lushootseed Teacher who has been involved with every Lushootseed Camp either as a participant or teacher for the past twenty years. “We met with the group leaders almost daily to go over their role and encourage them to be as involved with each of the kids as possible. There were three to four group leaders per group, which helped us ensure that the kids were staying on task at each station.”

Throughout the duration of camp, the children participated in seven different daily stations or activities. The following list is what each child accomplished throughout the week:

  • Art – Votive candle holders, cedar photo frame.
  • Weaving – Cedar medallions, paddle necklaces.
  • Songs and Dances – Killer Whale Song, Berry Picking Song, Welcome Song, Kenny Moses Arrival Song.
  • Traditional Teachings – Message from Wayne Williams, Killer Whale facts, story comparisons.
  • Games – Various outdoor games incorporating Lushootseed.
  • Language – Lushootseed alphabet, Killer Whale and the Two Boys key words.
  • Technology – children learned and practiced Lushootseed materials related their final performance using handheld games on Tablets created by Dave Sienko.

For this 22nd Annual Lushootseed Camp, Wayne Williams was honored for his leadership and the teachings he has passed on to our community. His story “Killer Whale and the Two Boys” was selected as the final performance to be put on at week’s end.

“This year we honored Wayne Williams for his countless years of leadership for our people,” states Michele. “Wayne knew the importance of upholding the teachings that were instilled within him and many others. He has led our community as Assistant Manager and Manager of TTT, while also having served as a Board of Director, including time as Chairman. Wayne passed on his family’s traditional artifacts and documents to the Hibulb Cultural Center, and we are grateful to have such rich teachings within reach for us to continue to learn from.”

For the youthful camp participants, learning Wayne’s story “Killer Whale and the Two Boys” serves two purposes – learning and practicing the Lushootseed words it requires, and gaining knowledge of the lesson hidden within the story.

“The moral of this story is to watch who you hang around,” explains Natosha. “If you find the people you associate with tend to get in trouble, you will realize that you will end up getting in trouble right alongside them, and there are things that may happen to you along that path that will mark you for life and be a reminder of those hard times. Messages like this from our ancestors is so important for our kids to hear, understand and to respect in their early years as they develop into young adults. We can look at many situations in our lives and connect them to traditional stories.”

The closing ceremony for week two’s camp was held on Friday, July 28 in the old Tulalip Elementary gymnasium. The joyous, young play-performers made their theatrical debut to a large community attendance, as family and friends came out in droves to show their support.

“I am honored to be here today to witness the young children sharing in the Lushootseed language. The language is the very heart of our culture as Tulalip people,” proclaimed ceremonial witness Ray Fryberg, Executive Director of Natural Resources. “I thank the parents and families who gave their kids the opportunity to participate in our language camp. Also, I thank our Language Warriors for ensuring that this portion of our culture moves forward and stays alive. Our words are life, reflecting our ancestors and passing on their teachings.”

After the youth performed their rendition of “Killer Whale and the Two Boys” and the ceremonial witnesses had shared a few words, there was a giveaway. The camp participants gave handmade crafts to each and every audience member, which preceded a buffet-style lunch that everyone thoroughly enjoyed.

Reflecting on the conclusion of this year’s 22nd Lushootseed Camp, Language Warrior Natosha Gobin beamed with pride, “We continue to give thanks to those who had the vision to bring this camp to life, and we are grateful to be a part of keeping it going. These two weeks out of the year are really a blessing for us to give back to our community, build relationships with our youth and their families, and remind ourselves of our roles in the community. We are Language Warriors, we are Culture Warriors, and we will battle every day to ensure our traditional teachings live on for the next generation of warriors.”



Honoring Wayne Williams

Submitted by Natosha Gobin

This year we honored Wayne Williams.  His messages to our people, his leadership, his passion, it has touched so many lives and continues to do so. A couple of our staff members stepped away from camp on Monday, July 24th to visit Wayne and gift him with a paddle created by the Art & Design department, a blanket that was on behalf of the Hibulb Cultural Center staff and Lushootseed Staff, and a t-shirt from this year’s camp.

We felt it was important to gift him with these things and let him know how many youth were learning about his amazing work. It was an honor to speak to him and share that his work is still continuing with the teachings our youth are learning these two weeks.

One of Wayne’s famous quotes is “It’s important for us to know who we are and where we come from.” We are hoping to make more visits just to share with him how much he continues to inspire our people and allow each one of our staff members the chance to meet with Wayne.

Bringing youth and community together in a good way

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, Tulalip Youth Services hosted Special Needs Field Day at the Don Hatch Youth Center. The July 29 event catered to children from the Tulalip community with learning and physical disabilities. The kids and their families were treated to an afternoon of fun activities including arts and crafts, face painting and bouncy houses; as well as friendly competition during a game of kickball.

“We wanted to create something specifically for the special needs students that wouldn’t overstimulate them,” states Tulalip Youth Services Education Coordinator, Jessica Bustad. “The idea actually came from a conversation we had at a parent meeting, talking about all the tribal events we have. They’re too over stimulating for some of our special needs students. We wanted to do something more low-key that still allows them to have fun and invite their favorite people with them.”

During Special Needs Field Day, youth enjoyed lunch at the Greg Williams Court with their families and participated in an interactive music circle with Victoria Fansler, Music Therapist for the Snohomish County Music Project. Victoria helps the youth of the Tulalip community work through traumatic life events by using music as an instrument of healing. Numerous kids joined Victoria in song by both singing and playing along with an instrument, among them was Tulalip tribal member Tyler Fryberg.

“I’m really excited that there is stuff for those kids with special needs to do,” exclaimed Tyler.

Tyler is an inspiration and role model to the Tulalip community, especially to those with special needs. A track and field athlete, Tyler carried the torch and participated in the 2013 Special Olympics Summer State Tournament.

“We are so excited that our community has the doors open for kids with special needs,” states Tyler’s mother, Mignonne Bedient. “Not only for the kids but for the parents also. We’ve had a few meetings and they have offered so much support for us. I truly believe we would not get the support outside of this community that we get here. Tyler has moved mountains and he has many more mountains to move, he’s so excited that there is a group here.”

The event was organized by Youth Services’ new Special Needs Advocate, Joe Boon. While researching for Special Needs Field Day, he discovered that activities with high sensory involvement were popular amongst children with disabilities.

“I started researching what we can bring to this event that gets them to tap into all their sensory needs,” Joe explains. “I wanted to give a feel for other tribal events that happen out here but more low-key, so it’s not off-putting for kids with severe sensory issues. I was researching other fun interactive things we can do and I found that with gold panning, they would be able to touch and find all kinds of [rocks and minerals], it turned out to be a huge success!”

A DJ played a variety of popular contemporary songs while the kids jumped about the bouncy houses and ran around the bases of the Alpheus ‘Gunny’ Jones Sr. Ball Field during the kickball match.

“The main objective is we just want the youth interacting with each other, the staff and the volunteers,” states Youth Services Activities Coordinator, Josh Fryberg. “At the end of the day, it’s all about having fun and just letting them be themselves.”

“Tulalip Youth Services would like to thank the parent committee, staff, volunteers and all of the youth and families who attended,” Josh continues. “Our hands go up to each and every one of you. The food was great; along with all of the arts, crafts, bouncy houses and of course the kickball game, which ended with a tie. Everyone was a winner and showed great sportsmanship. We would like to thank Joe Boone, Jessica Bustad and an extra special thank you to Jai Holmes. He is a 100% volunteer here at the Youth Services department and also attends MP as a student full time. He does an amazing job. Once again, we would like to thank everyone that attended and everyone who made this day possible. Let’s continue to bring our youth and community together in a good way.”

For additional information please contact Tulalip Youth Services Special Needs Advocate, Joe Boon, at (360) 716-4912.