Dr. Gilbert Kliman brings Reflective Network Therapy to the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy

Dr. Gilbert Kliman

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Autism is a common, yet very complex, developmental disability that has been on the rise in recent times. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in sixty-eight children in the United States have a form of autism. People with an autistic disorder often show significant language delays, repetitive behavior as well as social and communication challenges; and often times have experienced emotional and/or physical trauma. Children with autism are usually diagnosed by the age of four, as signs begin to show at a young age such as having obsessive interests, having trouble understanding others’ feelings and not responding by name.

Reflective Network Therapy (RNT) is a method which helps children with autism, between the ages of two and seven, in a classroom setting. Developed by Dr. Gilbert Kliman in 1965, RNT has assisted over 1,800 developmentally and emotionally disabled children including many foster care children.

“The method involves working with the child in a play therapy session, twenty minutes at a time, every school day,” explains Dr. Kliman. “Each child is worked with every day by a play therapist right in the classroom. Before that therapy session, the teacher briefs the child and the therapist about what the child’s been doing that day – in class and at home. Often the parent has dropped off the child and said ‘Johnny had a bad dream’, ‘Johnny said a whole lot of new words yesterday that we didn’t know he could say’, ‘he started to read’ or ‘he got into trouble’. The teacher uses a very small amount of time, just a minute or two, to condense that information for the therapist. After the twenty-minute play therapy session, the child and the therapist do the same thing in reverse – they debrief the teacher. ‘Johnny has been playing with dogs and cats. The cats had babies and Johnny seemed to be upset about the cats having babies’ and the teacher hears that.

“Meanwhile, other children are allowed to help each session – the children who are not having problems can help the special needs child,” he continues. “For example, he might not know how to play very well, so the more skilled children can teach him how to play and can teach him how to talk and behave. In that process the regular kids become very helpful and altruistic. It’s good for them to learn they can be helpful in their own communities to their own peers. Parents do something similar every week, they get together with the teacher or the therapist and share information about the child, they brief and debrief each other. This establishes a network in which everybody in the classroom has a part in bringing the community’s healing force to a special needs child. We’re finding this very helpful for children who have been through trauma, like domestic violence or having to move from one home to another home – often foster homes. It’s very helpful for children with developmental problems like autism.”

Often referring to RNT as ‘community based’, Dr. Kliman believes that it is important for the child to be in an environment where they feel safe and comfortable. For the past year, Dr. Kliman worked with the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy to implement RNT for the children of the Academy who are either autistic, in beda?chelh, or experienced some form of trauma. Dr. Kliman believes that tribal communities who have their own early learning programs can benefit greatly from RNT.

“The unique part about this method is that it’s evidenced-based and can be carried out in a child’s regular school,” he states. “It’s particularly valuable for Native American special needs children that they be treated in their tribe’s own school and learn their native languages rather than be bussed to a distant white school, which I think was a terrible mistake that happened a long time ago and still haunts Native American communities to this day – the boarding school experience. Native American special needs children go through an unfortunate repetition of that exclusionary experience and what I’m bringing for the past couple years is a message that we can include special needs children at the Betty J. Taylor Center just as it has been done in other preschools.

“I have seen some children get much brighter,” says Dr. Kliman of the kids he is working with at the Early Learning Academy. “I have seen some very agitated hyper-active children become calm and focused without medication – not one of the about 15 children we’ve worked with has been given medication by us. We prefer, in fact, to take children off any medication they’re on because at this age we feel it’s really risky for children to be on some of these powerful medications. We’ve seen mute children become talkative, we have seen some autistic children become well-related, a trans-gender child become more self-confident. We have some children become kinder to themselves, children who use to hurt themselves become more self-respecting and safer. I think the best effect is, in general, children seem to like themselves better with this treatment, they feel self-respect. They absorb the respect of the therapist, teacher, peers and parents so they can feel it’s worthwhile to be themselves. This treatment is a community treatment in which the community of the classroom is harnessed for the good of the individual child.”

In 2011, Dr. Kliman published the book Reflective Network Therapy in the Preschool Classroom to share his method with the world and was met with rave reviews and several awards. The book featured testimonies from many of the children, now adults, affected by RNT. Although there are several different methods, theories and approaches to autism are that there is no cure for the disability as of yet. However, RNT appears to be the most effective treatment to date. In a twice-tested study, a group of seventy-nine autistic and special needs children showed significant improvements to their IQ scores while using Dr. Kliman’s RNT method, with an average increase of fifteen points. One child in particular went from an IQ score of fifty-two to a score of ninety-one during the course of one school year.

“There are about eighty kids we’ve now tested twice for IQ,” he explains. “From nine different projects. From Michigan, Seattle, San Francisco, San Mateo, Argentina and White Plains, New York, we put them all together and the unusual thing about it is almost all the children had a rise of IQ – and they’re all special needs kids. Ordinarily when a kid is traumatized by watching a lot of domestic violence, they do lose some IQ points. This treatment goes the other way; they’re gaining IQ points. It’s not happening with the sixty-three comparison children; in fact, they have no change or slight drops of IQ. These are not significant drops but these are significant gains. We think this is a very sturdy bit of scientific evidence. More importantly, it’s not hard to do and this method seems to work in a lot of different settings.

“There’s a lot of evidence now, in both autism and post-traumatic stress disorder, that there’s some disconnection of brain centers that are ordinarily well-connected, but with those disorders they are not so well-connected. For example, loving and learning centers are not well-connected in autism or post-traumatic stress disorder. Whereas in this treatment, we try to help the child feel cared about and understood in a positive and affectionate way, by the whole school community, and that seems to help the brain grow. It particularly helps the connections in the brain grow. The better all the parts in the brain work together, the stronger and more resilient the individual is.”

For further information regarding RNT please visit www.ChildrensPsychologicalHealthCenter.org or contact Kathryn McCormick, of the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy, at (360) 716-4064.

Tulalip Community Health provides ‘good journey’ for community members

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

The newly established Tulalip Community Health Department assists Tulalip citizens through difficult life phases such as substance abuse, disabilities, mental health issues and even death. The department collaborates with local hospitals as well as behavioral and medical facilities to provide education, care and resources to Tulalip community members. The department also promotes healthy lifestyle choices as well as drug and alcohol awareness to Tulalip by hosting community outreach events.

“The idea behind Community Health is following in the steps of a public health concept but making it more accessible and agreeable with the tribal community,” states Tulalip Community Health Director, Jenna Bowman. “We’re here to collaborate and ensure that our entire community receives their services from the beginning of their life into the next one.”

Community Health moved into their own space this summer. Previously located at the Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic, the department moved down the street to a freshly renovated building, which was once a smoke shop as well as the old administrative building. The Tulalip Community Health Department is comprised of several programs including the Community Health Representative, Hospital Liaison, Community Health Nurse, Public Health, Prevention Education and the Tulalip Health System Transportation programs.

“Our Lushootseed name is ηαʔɬ σʔιβəš, which means ‘good journey’,” Jenna explains. “We are here to ensure that our members have a good journey and provide all those resources to them; from the Hospital Liaison Program, where we have an advocate at the hospital coordinating care so they’re able to transition home safely; to the Community Health Representatives, specialists who are advocates for the client in and about the community, ensuring overall health care needs with advocacy and education to help them live a better life.

“We have a Public Health Program, which as you know, public health affects everything we do from safe streets, safe neighborhoods to everything that would affect the community and impede their life,” she continues. “We also have a Community Health Nursing Program, which helps by going into the homes [of community members who are in need] for education, advocacy and a nursing perspective. The concept behind it is to go into the homes to take care of their health care needs verses having them come out for help. We have also been integrating the Tulalip Health System Transportation Program that coordinates care and transportation for medical appointments, behavioral health appointments and beda?chelh appointments.”

The opioid crisis is affecting communities nationwide. Snohomish County has been hit hard over recent years and sees nearly seven hundred deaths by overdose each year. On International Overdose Awareness Day, Tulalip Community Health hosted an overdose awareness event for the Tulalip community.

“The overdose awareness event has touched a lot of our lives,” says Jenna. “Being Tulalip and having it affect you personally, you want to do something to prevent it from happening, but also spread awareness and education – the signs of withdrawal and overdose symptoms; and anything you can, to be available to the community. I think everything that happened at that event was healing, educational and informing for the community and that’s what we’re here for. I’ve been here my whole life and never seen such an amazing program. I think it will affect every aspect of people’s lives from young parents to elderly. I think that this is a key piece to integral health and making the community healthy again.”

To receive assistance from the Tulalip Community Health Department, one must be registered to receive care from the Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic, a member of a federally recognized tribe and a current resident of Snohomish County. For further information, please contact the Tulalip Community Health Department at (360) 716-5622 or visit them at their new building at 7615 Totem Beach Road Tulalip WA, 98271.

A Step in the Right Direction

Tulalip community participates in International Overdose Awareness Day

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

The opioid and heroin crisis has continued to escalate over recent years in America. The state of Washington sees approximately three-thousand deaths annually due to drug abuse, according to the Washington State Department of Health. In Snohomish County there are nearly seven-hundred drug-related causalities per year, with the largest amount of overdoses occurring in the Everett-Marysville-Tulalip area. A recent study conducted by the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute shows that thirty-one percent of deaths statewide can be credited to drug overdose.

International Overdose Awareness Day is held each year on August 31 to bring attention to the drug epidemic, educate community members and remember the loved ones who have fallen to their addiction. This year the Tulalip community participated in International Overdose Awareness Day with the Fed Up? Wake Up! Overdose Awareness event hosted by the Tulalip Community Health Department.

“One of the important things that Community Health believes in and wants to bring to the community is meeting the people right where they are,” explains Tulalip Community Health Nurse, Suzanne Carson. “This event is to share with community members what they can do to educate themselves about the overdose problem; what overdoses look like, what withdrawal looks like, what the risk factors are – that kind of education, so they know what they’re looking at when they see someone who is struggling.

“We also want to acknowledge those loved ones who we have lost to an overdose and the lives that have been affected by an overdose,” she continues.  “An overdose not only affects the person who took the drugs, but everybody in the community. The hearts are impacted every time the community loses or almost loses somebody and our goal is to give the community a chance to reflect on the lives that have been affected.”

Internationally, people are encouraged to show support by wearing purple and silver on Overdose Awareness Day. A trail of shoes, spray-painted purple and silver, were lined from Marine Drive, alongside Totem Beach Road, leading to the new Tulalip Community Health Department.  According to Suzanne, each shoe on the ‘trail of empty shoes’ symbolizes a life lost or a life affected by an overdose.

In 2014, the Tulalip Tribes adopted a Good Samaritan aw, the Lois Luella Jones law, which shields addicts from arrest and prosecution when reporting an overdose. Sergeant William Santos of the Tulalip Police Department and Tulalip tribal member Rico Jones-Fernandez were in attendance to speak to the community about the law. In 2011, Lois Luella Jones lost her life to an overdose. Authorities believe she could’ve been revived, however her peers did not call for medical assistance, fearing they would be arrested. Her son Rico created the Good Samaritan law and has since dedicated his life to raising overdose awareness in the community by running the Tulalip Clean Needle Exchange Program.

During the event, community members painted rocks, in dedication to those who lost their life to an overdose, and placed them in the Remembrance Rock Garden, located in front of the Community Health Department. Many of the rocks in the Remembrance Garden display the names of overdose victims as well as personal messages from the community members. Tulalip community member and Yakima tribal member, Scott Rehume, explained the story behind the rock he designed for his brother, Kevin.

“I just went to his funeral the other day,” he emotionally states. “When they said he passed away, I asked how – they said he OD’ed on heroin. He never even messed with it before, at the beginning of his usage he ends up doing too much and dying. When I came back to Tulalip from the funeral, I saw they had this overdose awareness event, so I decided to show up and make him a rock.”

The event concluded with a Naloxone training to better equip community members with the knowledge of how to revive someone who has overdosed.

“Naloxone is the opioid antagonist,” says Suzanne. “The receptors in the brain that opioids and heroin bind to, Naloxone goes in there and kicks them of those receptors so that the opioid is out of their system immediately. It’s what can save a life when somebody is overdosing. By taking the training, Tulalip tribal members are sent home with a free Naloxone kit that they can use to save a life.”

The Fed Up? Wake Up! event brought valuable information to the Tulalip community. Tulalip Tribes Chairwoman, Marie Zackuse, believes that events like the Overdose Awareness are a step in the right direction during these trying times of the opioid and heroin epidemic.

“When this affects your family member, you become helpless,” Marie expresses. “You don’t know what to do because you love them and you want to be able to help them, but you lose the ability to figure out what you can do to help – these types of get-togethers can help us. Seeing the flyer brought me to bring my daughter and we’re hoping to bring more family members together to just talk about it, because it is hard to talk about and we need to be able to support one another.

“I’m so thankful for the staff that brought this all together because it shows that we do care for our members,” continued Marie. “Each and every one of our families in this community are affected and we don’t want to lose one more person, because that person is our child, our grandchild. If we can all come together and take back our community, we can save some lives.”

Stretching with Seilavena

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

The world today is busy. As a society, many people nationwide tend to prioritize exercise and health last on their daily to-do list. The demands of the workweek leave many feeling stressed, depressed and exhausted. More times than not, good intentions often get pushed aside for convenience. Diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure are rampant in tribal communities across the nation. Because of the everyday hustle and bustle, people unintentionally neglect to set aside time for themselves, therefore living the majority of their life in a rush causing a disconnect between their mind, body and soul.

Countless studies have shown that individuals are more happy, healthy and heedful when incorporating yoga into their everyday lives. Tulalip community member and Lummi tribal member Seilavena Williams recently began instructing yoga classes at Marysville Spark Hot Yoga. Through her practice, Seilavena experienced the many benefits yoga has to offer and immediately wanted to share her newfound passion with her community. She became a certified Yoga Instructor and started teaching at Spark, guiding yogis through sixty to ninety-minute stretching sessions. Due to the exciting news of her new classes, Seilavena recently sat down with Tulalip News to discuss her personal yoga journey, the many benefits of yoga as well as her Spark Hot Yoga Classes.

Can you begin by talking about your personal journey with yoga – when and how did you become interested in the practice?

2015 is when I started my journey. At first, I tried yoga thinking it was a good work out and just a way to get toned, which it is, but over the years on my journey I learned it is so much more than that. I kind of fell out of the practice in 2016, it was a year that I came across some hard struggles in my life and faced many challenges. I reached a point in my life that I needed to find healthy tools and a new path. Yoga became one of them. I remembered how good I would feel after taking yoga and decided to get back into it with the intention to really dive into the practice. Over time I learned it helps quite my mind, it helps me heal, helps me let go of the things that no longer serve me. It pushed me to work towards the best version of myself not only mentally but physically. It also taught me that self-care is so important to balance out mind, body and spirit. Yoga is the tool for me that inspired me to turn inwards to evolve – meaning always growing, always learning – and definitely has helped me stay healthy.  Yoga is a never-ending journey I am always trying to improve my practice and to be open-minded about learning from others.

What inspired you to become an instructor?

Feeling the benefits and the transformation yoga helped me with, I could not keep it to myself! I wanted to share this! I want everyone to find that path of enlightenment within his or her space and his or her own journey. So if I can help in any way, by holding space and/or by guiding individuals, I wanted to learn how to do that through yoga.

How important is meditation and stretching?

Meditation should be a law! Take five minutes, minimum, a day because It is so beneficial and important. My favorite part is learning to bring your attention to your breath, something we do naturally so you don’t ever really think about it or pay attention to it, but during meditation you take time to control and slowly breathe, which helps tremendously in brining things to a calm state and it also helps with clearing your mind, developing mindfulness and finding your balance to recollect and reenergize.  It can be a challenge to meditate but I think yoga helps. Yoga is like a guided meditation. With each pose, you are focused on that specific pose and taking it to the level you need and concentrating on your breath. Everyone’s style is different that is the beauty, so you get to take it as far or as little as you need it.

Stretching in yoga goes hand and hand with breath and meditation. It draws your attention to your body and deeper into your muscles with concentration on your breath so you do not overdo it. It helps your flexibility and to strengthen your muscles. It helps with alignment and balance.

How can tribal members benefit from yoga?

Yoga is a journey of self-exploration and self-worth because you discover a lot of things about yourself. I think that finding a way back to grounding and balancing yourself is definitely an important thing to do. As Native Americans, we can relate as far as Mother Earth and nature; and recollecting and re-grounding with it, is also a way to rebalance and come together.

What are some of the health benefits of yoga?

I believe the health benefits are endless but to name a few: it helps with joints, certain poses like eagle pose can squeeze fluids in, giving fresh nutrients to your joints. Other poses can help elevate your heart rate, increase your endurance and help with blood flow which gives you fresh oxygen to your cells. Yoga helps with any back pain and improves posture and helps protect your spine. Nevertheless, most importantly it helps with reducing stress, anxiety and brings self-awareness and increased energy.

What style do you teach? What are the other styles?

I mainly teach Hatha, I am certified to teach the other styles as well, such as Yin and Power. Hatha is what I teach right now at Spark Hot Yoga. Hatha is a good class to start with. It consists of twenty-six poses, it can be a sixty-minute or a ninety-minute class and it’s broken down into two categories, a standing series and a floor series, with a warm up and cool down. The focus is compression and extension, movement with breath.

What is your all-time favorite pose?

Dhanurasana-Dancer pose! It’s a love-hate relationship with the pose. It’s a tough one for me, you really have to balance and concentrate but it challenges me every time and I get to push myself somewhere new every time. That feeling of knowing I pushed myself out of my comfort zone is so rewarding, I feel it carries on to other things in my life, so in a way that pose influences me.

Any advice for yogis just getting started?

Yoga is a journey, your own personal journey. It is a practice and you’re always learning something new. No matter how many years someone’s been practicing there is still always something new to learn. I still learn new things all the time from other yogis or instructors. Always be hydrated, drink lots of water, eat a well-balanced diet, go in with no expectations and always have fun!

What happens during a typical Seilavena Williams Spark Hot Yoga class?

I try to make sure that I have good music that fits the mood – to be fun, energizing but also grounding and calming. Through my training, we were taught to teach all levels at all times that way no matter where you are in your practice you get the full benefits. In my warm-ups I try to bring a different pose, so students can learn something new outside of the twenty-six poses in Hatha and with variations as well. Overall, I want you to have fun, challenge yourself and to find one moment where you are able to balance and reconnect with yourself.

What is the most rewarding part about being a yoga instructor? 

I definitely think it is knowing I get to hold space for people to take their journey with yoga.  To take that sixty minutes to guide them into a moment of peace and inspiration. And mainly that I get to help others, it really makes me happy and it feels good to extend that out to people.

Starting September 5, Seilavena’s classes will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. as well as on Sundays at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. For further details, please contact Seilavena Williams or Marysville Spark Hot Yoga at (360) 386-9271.

Tulalip Health Fair and Career Expo

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

The Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic hosted their Annual Health Fair on July 28 in the Chinook Ballroom of the Tulalip Resort and Casino. Numerous departments from the Health Clinic and the Tulalip Tribes had interactive information booths stationed at the event including the Diabetes and Wellness programs, SNAP-Ed, Child Advocacy and the Everett Optometry Clinic. The Health Clinic also provided free screenings for diabetes and high blood pressure to the community at the Health Fair.

“We’ve been doing this for many years,” explains Jennie Fryberg, Health Fair Organizer. “Karen Fryberg started this and I’m just trying to keep her dream alive. We brought in several departments; all of the booths that are here today are services that the Tulalip Tribes offer. We wanted to let our people know that these are the services that can help with preventive health.”

Across the hall in the Orca Ballroom of the Resort, Tulalip TERO (Tribal Employment Rights Office) held a Career Expo where community members seeking employment opportunities met representatives from local colleges and businesses such as Cabela’s, DigiPen Institute, Evergreen State College and Everett Community College Aviation. Tulalip also had many representatives from various departments and entities available to the speak with the community, including the Tulalip Administration CSR team, Tulalip Tribes Planning, Quil Ceda Village and Tulalip Resort and Casino Employment.

Tulalip and Marysville community members were encouraged to attend both events and were treated to an outdoor lunch on a beautiful summer afternoon. Many community members who attended the Health Fair and the Career Expo received free swag, sang carpool karaoke and had the opportunity to win summertime-themed prizes such as a Seahawks cooler, a lawnmower, a freezer chest and an air conditioner.

 

 

Get Your Walk On

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

The Tulalip Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education, or SNAP-Ed for short, is making strong efforts to promote healthy lifestyle choices in the Tulalip community.  SNAP-Ed teaches about the importance of good nutrition and exercise, alternating between live cooking demonstrations and guided workout regimens each week for Wellness Wednesdays at the Tulalip Administration Building.

Wellness Wednesday is popular amongst Tribal employees as the program has many participants who attend on a regular basis. However, SNAP-Ed is looking to expand their services to Tulalip community members who may not work for the Tribe as well as for those who aren’t able to make it to the Administration Building on Wednesdays. In an effort to reach more community members, SNAP-Ed recently created the Tulalip Tribes Walking Club and held the first community walk on July 11.

“We are implementing the Waking Club to start at a low impact level to get tribal members and community members to be more fit, get outside and be more involved in physical activities,” explains SNAP-Ed Assistant, Traci Fox. “We want to start a community within the community, for physical fitness, so that people feel like they have support and have other people they can talk to about their journey through physical fitness.”

The Walking Club will host one to two sessions per week and the locations will vary between the Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic and Tulalip Administration Building as well as other areas throughout the community. Walking Club members are awarded with incentives for their efforts and also have the chance to win prizes at the end of each fifteen to thirty minute walking sessions.

“We’re trying to reach a larger demographic and make sure that all tribal people and everyone in the tribal community can be involved in physical activity and can learn to eat better to have a healthy lifestyle,” Traci states.

For further details about joining the Tulalip Walking Club please contact the SNAP-Ed program at (360) 716-4899.

Local Apothecary Focuses on Traditional Healing

By Kim Kalliber, Tulalip News

 

 

 “We were created out of the earth. Well, we’re part of the earth, and that’s what we’ve got to go back to, the earth, to get something to keep this body a-ticking. Just like the tree, of course, and the herbs here, they’ve got sap in em, and we’ve got blood.”

–Tommie Bass (Appalachian Folk Herbalist)

With the current upsurge of gardening, homesteading and eating traditional and homegrown foods, visiting places like Moddejonge’s Herbals and Other Magical Things, with their extensive knowledge for treating ailments the natural way, is a must-do experience. The aromatic blend of spices, oils, and incense, surrounded by the many jars containing teas and powders along one wall, give the place an overall feel that sets you at ease upon entry.

Located on Hewitt Avenue in downtown Everett, owner Lynn Moddejonge and her knowledgeable staff are there to greet you and offer information, recommendations, remedies and even samples of the day’s tea blend.

“We’ve got over 350 herbs here that are mostly medicinal. We also have magical and cooking herbs, though all the herbs kind of travel between all three genres,” said Lynn. “We’ve got a lot of medicine that is local, like yarrow and St. John’s wort.”

While having heard of the popular St. John’s wort, many folks may not be as familiar with yarrow. Found in the wild throughout the northern hemisphere, yarrow is a member of the sunflower family. Many people use yarrow in teas and tinctures to shorten the duration of colds and flus, as well as relieving cramps, and rashes. Yarrow and mint tea can help ease allergy symptoms.

“I am a folk herbalist. I am not a doctor, I do not diagnose,” explained Lynn. Herbalism is the study of botany and uses plants and foods for healing and for building and maintaining good health.

“We’re a compounding apothecary. All of our herbs are organic or wild-crafted,” said Lynn. “If someone comes in and says, this is the trouble I’m having, we will put something together for you on an individual basis.” She went on to explain that if people keep coming in with the same problem or symptoms, she then mixes larger batches of the medicine to have on hand.

Lynn Moddejonge, owner of Moddejonge’s Herbals and Other Magical Things

Other highlights of Moddejonge’s are not only the evening workshops they offer, but also the socializing and collaboration between the staff and patrons. It’s a place to swap recipes and discuss tea blends, infusions and tinctures with other folks. “After coming in a couple times, a lot of our customers feel part ownership. And they are very willing to share and hold conversations about their outcomes.”

You can even bring your own ingredients in to be made into a tea or tincture or purchase only the necessary items to use at home. All bulk items are sold by the ounce and shoppers are encouraged bring their own bottles in, as Moddejonge’s is working towards a zero environmental footprint.

I inquired about bringing my own bee honey into the shop to get something made up and Lynn encouraged me to do so, noting the health benefits of honey. “It is a very good way to take medicine. If you infuse honey with something like elderberry, an immune builder, it builds on the immune building properties of the honey. And I can help you with that.”

Among the large selection of in-house crafted essential oils, soaps and other bath and body products, you can even find calming mists and flea medications for your pets, along with mosquito repellants and other summertime essentials.

Lynn makes all the ritual items in the shop herself, as she explains, “That way I know the intent is what it’s supposed to be, as opposed to buying items online. And the herbs we have for ritual include cedar, white sage and sweet grass.”

If you are looking to conduct a house cleansing, she says, “Right off the top, everybody should smudge when they move in because of the previous owner’s energy, and that kind of moves it all out. People smudge differently so we can talk about that and if they’ve never done it before I sit down and say, this is how I do it. We share; there is a lot of sharing here.”

Many folks turn to psychics for an analysis of overall health or lifestyle related questions or situations. Lynn can also help with finding a medium, to aid with grieving, relationship connections, healing and communicating with angels.

“This is an old area and there are a lot of spirits here. If you’ve got spirits visiting you, we can help with that. We offer energy work and readings here and we have contacts with mediums if you are in need. We offer health screenings. There’s a lot of medicine here; spiritual medicine as well as physical medicine.”

While cold and allergy relief are big sellers at Moddejonges, Lynn points out, “Our top product is information. And that’s for free.”

Moddejonge’s Herbals is located at 1905 Hewitt Ave, Everett, WA 98201. You can also follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/magickandmore/

 

 

Promoting overall wellness for our youth

Article by Micheal Rios; photos by Micheal Rios and courtesy of Sarah Sense-Wilson

Promoting the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health of today’s youth, especially teenagers, is largely a labor of love. It’s difficult enough getting them to give their social media accounts a break, put their cellphones away, and actually focus on educational activities, let alone holding their attention long enough to get them to interact in a group setting. Yet, it is in the commitment to our youth, to their well-being and personal growth that brings about positive changes in lifestyle, relationships, and overall wellness.

Enter the Tulalip Tribes 5th Annual Wellness Conference and its dedicated day, May 16, to promoting overall wellness to our community’s youth.

“Our youth flourish when provided guidance, tools, resources, and encouragement. They thrive when we set good examples of self-care, and live by example. Our individual and collective actions are always far more meaningful and impactful when we are embracing challenges, and having an open mind for learning and taking the time to nurture healthy relationships,” eloquently states Sarah Sense-Wilson, Wellness Conference Coordinator. “I believe our conference really embodies these values and the presenters and workshop leaders exemplify traditional and cultural values we want our children and youth to follow.”

Approximately 90 students from Heritage High School, Marysville-Pilchuck High School, Totem Middle School, and Marysville Middle School were shuttled to the event hosted within the Tulalip Resort Casino’s Orca ballroom. The adolescent youth were treated to a large and healthy buffet-style breakfast after filling out their registration cards and putting on a name tag. As they settled in keynote speaker Layha Spoonhunter (Eastern Shoshone, Northern Arapaho, Oglala Lakota) took center stage.

Layha is a youth consultant, motivational speaker, Two Spirit Native citizen, and vocal advocate for Two Spirit people. He provided honest, open and engaging discussion on LGBTQI (a common abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersexed community), Two Spirit, and Allyship advocacy.

Layha describes Two Spirit as a “person who has both masculine and feminine identities.” He says it is a spiritual term that encompasses Native culture, language and history. His expertise and experience as a youth spokesperson and advocate for Native youth empowerment bridges differences and strengthens relationships among groups of community members. Layha offered his story as an example for other young LGBTQI and Two Spirit individuals to express themselves and embrace their identities.

“Build an environment of fairness and openness within your community. Stand up against stereotypes and racism. Stand up against bigotry and discrimination,” resounded Layha to his largely youth audience. “Take pride in your identity and use it to make positive change.”

Following the keynote address, the youth were given the choice of three interactive and experiential based workshops to attend. The three diverse workshop presenters were specifically chosen for their ability to reach our Native youth in a variety of ways.

Credentialed Native American mental health specialist and award-winning artist LisaNa Red Bear offered her workshop attendees the opportunity to create a mural art project. Participants engaged in three experiential learning art exercises that support a better understanding of complications associated with smoking. The hands-on creative art project was a hit, as the Native youth’s artistic abilities shined.

“We see an amazing level of creativity expressed by youth who engage in artistic activities. When they allow themselves to imagine and sit still long enough to allow that creativity to flow through them, the results can be awe-inspiring,” reflects LisaNa on the impact of her art mural workshop. “Young people have creativity inside them, innately, and it just depends on whether or not it’s nurtured or repressed.”

Grammy award-winning artist Star Nayea led a Project R.I.S.E Up workshop. She empowered the youth to create video vision statements that involved creating handheld signage decorated with personalized cultural artwork. Participants then took turns filming their own P.S.A. style videos. Star’s unique ability to reach youth and engage them in expressing their ideas, thoughts and feelings led to some amazing video production both individually and collectively. The youth offered messages of hope, vision and inspiration for believing in yourself and living a drug free life.

“Kids just want to know that we, as adults and teachers, are legit. They want to know that we are there for all the right reasons, that we care about them, and that they can thrive from the knowledge and experience we offer,” says Star. “It’s so important for their voices to be heard and for their faces to be seen as they speak the words. It’s one thing to have thoughts and a whole other thing to rise up and share those thoughts, to inspire. In making the P.S.A. videos they help to inspire one another and their community.”

The third workshop option was called In the Spirit of the Story. The tradition of storytelling is a way of passing down, teaching vital lessons, and of course entertainment with a purpose. Gene Tagaban (Tlingit) is an incredibly skillful, knowledgeable and talented storyteller who led this workshop. Using story as a medium for empowerment and self-expression, Gene connected with participants in a deep and meaningful way which transcends all generational differences. The power of storytelling was illuminated through his interactive workshop as a tool for teaching, healing and growing.

“Offering our youth a range of different interactive workshops was intentional and purposeful. We are always wanting to reach our youth for supporting their interests and appeal to their generational issues,” explains Sarah on the importance of workshop variety when working with youth. “Community wellness requires positive action, not passive existence. Some have to work harder because we are up against more barriers, walls, and obstacles. Nonetheless, we have a responsibility to ourselves, our youth, and our community to strive to do better and be better.”

Concluding the youth wellness day was a very special Native Hoop Dance

performance by Tulalip tribal member Terry Goedell. Several youth were brave enough to join Terry on stage and receive a tutorial on hoop dancing basics.

There’s a popular saying in Native communities, “be careful in the decisions we make today as they will impact the 7th generation – our grandchildren’s grandchildren, grandchildren.” Respect for this wisdom continues to guide events like the annual Wellness Conference, where a commitment to preparing Native youth for a brighter future is on full display.