Major exhibition presents a Native-activated space, explores legacy of Edward S. Curtis

 

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) presents Double Exposure: Edward S. Curtis, Marianne Nicolson, Tracy Rector, Will Wilson (on display from June 14 – September 9). Featuring iconic early 20th-century photographs by photographer Edward S. Curtis alongside contemporary works – including photography, video, and installations – by Indigenous artists Marianne Nicolson, Tracy Rector, and Will Wilson. Their powerful portrayals of Native identity offer a compelling counter narrative to the stereotypes present in Curtis’s images.

Edward S. Curtis is one of the most well-known photographers of Native people and the American West. Double Exposure features over 150 of his photographs. Threaded throughout the galleries of his works are multimedia installations by Marianne Nicolson, Tracy Rector, and Will Wilson. Their work provides a crucial framework for a critical reassessment and understanding of Curtis’s representations of Native peoples, while shedding light on the complex responses Natives and others have to those representations today.*

“The historical significance of Curtis’s project is well-established,” says Barbara Brotherton, SAM’s Curator of Native American Art. “In many cases, his photographs and texts provide important records of Native culture. However, it’s time for a reevaluation of his work. His methodology perpetuated the problematic myth of Native people as a ‘vanishing race.’ This exhibition reflects a collaboration among SAM, the artists, and an advisory committee comprising Native leaders to make a space for a reckoning with Curtis’s legacy.”

Three contemporary Indigenous artists in Double Exposure challenge assumptions about Native art and illustrate how Native communities continue to creatively define their identity and cultures for themselves. First Nation artist Marianne Nicolson created an immersive sculptural light installation that casts moving shadows to address the impact of the 1964 Columbia River Treaty on Native communities. 

Seminole and Choctaw filmmaker/artists Tracy Rector empowers Indigenous communities by capturing the activism, defiance, and reclaimed traditions of Native tribes through her new video work of short stories derived from environmental awareness and life experiences of Natives today.

“All of my work is centered in Indigenous story: for, by, and about Indigenous people,” says Rector, whose video will welcome viewers inside a “Native-activated space” surrounded by related art.

Will Wilson’s large-scale tintype portraits feature Native lawmakers, artists, educators, and community members from the Seattle area. Artist Tracy Rector, Senator John McCoy, and others will speak through “talking” tintypes created using augmented reality. Wilson, a Navajo/Diné photographer, aims to counter stereotypes that Curtis’s work propagated.

“I want to supplant Curtis’s ‘settler’ gaze and the remarkable body of ethnographic material he compiled with a contemporary vision of Native North America,” states Wilson.

Double Exposure is a chance to see art of Native Americans in all its complexity through each of these artists’ perspectives on culture and identity.*

In honor of Double Exposure’s opening, the Seattle Art Museum invited any individuals with tribal affiliations to be the first visitors to view the exhibit. Dubbed ‘the Indigenous Peoples opening’, held the evening of June 11, representatives from many Coast Salish tribes gathered at SAM for the free event which included admission to the exhibit, performances by the Suquamish canoe family, and songs shared by Lummi violinist Swil Kanim.

“This Indigenous-only celebration was inspired by Miranda Belarde-Lewis (Tlingit/Zuni),” explains artist Tracy Rector. “She suggested the idea of decolonizing curation and what it means to indigenize museum spaces. Having a Native-centered exhibit opening is a way we could be in community experiencing artwork together.”

*source: Seattle Art Museum press releases, exhibition literature

Image credits: Kalamath Lake Marshes, 1923, Edward S. Curtis, goldstone. Mussel Gatherer, 1900, Edward S. Curtis, photogravure. John McCoy (Tulalip) – Talking Tintype, 2018, Will Wilson, exhibition print. Madrienne Salgado (Muckleshoot) – Talking Tintype, 2018, Will Wilson, exhibition print.

Journey to a healthier you

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Everyone wants to live a healthy life. The ideal health for most is reached by eating nutritious meals to fuel the body and mind, while being balanced with enough physical activity to keep the body working properly. 

But where does one start? There seems to be an endless amount of questions to ask and information to gather before starting a journey to a healthier you. Luckily, for the Tulalip community, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) and a team of health experts are here to help by offering a series of nutrition and cooking classes that are fun and interactive.

Eat Smart, Be Active classes will be taking place every Tuesday from now until July 31 at the Tulalip Dining Hall from 5:00pm – 6:30pm. If you are interested in learning more about whole foods, quality health, exercise, meal prepping, or cooking quick and healthy meals on a budget, then this is the perfect opportunity.

“Making healthy lifestyle changes is not an easy thing to do, but in the end the reward is so worth it!” stated AnneCherise Jensen, SNAP-Ed Nutritionist. “Eat Smart, Be Active classes really do give you an opportunity to learn, to ask questions, to discuss, and gain the tools you and your family need to live a happy, healthy, energetic life. Overall, these classes are very positive, energetic, and fun. We have a great preventative care team that truly cares about your health and wellbeing.”

Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean dieting or giving up all the foods you love. During the opening class on Tuesday, June 5, the twenty-five health conscious participants learned about ditching junk food and give their bodies the nutrient-dense fuel it needs by making a meal together. The main course? A delicious chicken stir fry made with nine different flavorful vegetables. 

After learning a 15-minute aerobic exercise routine that can be done at the comfort of home, the community members received basic cooking instruction before gathering in the kitchen. There each participant had a job to do in order to make the evening’s meal. Finally, while enjoying the freshly prepared chicken stir fry, instructors reviewed all the nutrients being consumed and emphasized how simple the process had been.

“It was empowering as a community to get together and participate in a healthy, nutritious meal,” added AnneCherise after the evening class had ended. “There are so many amazing health benefits to making these small, gradual changes. You start to have more energy, you begin to feel more confident in yourself, you find yourself in better moods, and the more and more you do it – the more friends you will find to exchange recipes with and encourage each other along the way.”

If you missed out on the opening class, no worries. The invite is open to anyone who wishes to learn about healthier lifestyle choices when it comes to nutrition and physical activity. Come in to as many classes as you can, if not all of them.

Questions? Please contact AnneCherise Jensen, SNAP-Ed Nutritionist at 360-716-5632 or ajensen@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov OR Brooke Morrison, Tulalip Diabetes Prevention Assistant at 360-716-5617 or bmorrison@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov 

‘Go Hard or Go Home’ league wraps up spring season

Tulalip basketball league – Spring season Champs.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Established in February 2015, the Go Hard or Go Home community basketball league is organized by Youth Services staff and has gained more notoriety with each passing season. Local ballers can be found competing on the hardwood every Monday and Wednesday evenings at the Tulalip Youth Center.

The league is a prime outlet for basketball players of every level. And most importantly, everyone is welcome to participate. There are former high school stand-outs, a couple college players, but mostly people who just love the sport.

After paying a modest fee of $200, each team played a nine-game regular season and everyone had a spot in the postseason playoffs. Giving Tulalip ballers the best bang for their buck has been a priority of the community league. In fact, costs have been minimal and the amount of games plenty when compared to most basketball leagues. 

Spring season saw nearly ninety players make-up the ten teams vying for bragging rights and making the most out the opportunity to play competitive, localized basketball. Ages ranged from early teens to elder statesmen.

“This league is great for the community,” said Fred Brown Jr., long-time community friend and lead-referee of the past season. “Spring season ran for three-months, giving people in the community something to do either as players or spectators. Most interesting to me was the variety of basketball games. There were high-flyers, 3-point specialists, under the rim fundamentally sound guys, and then those playing to get into shape or to stay in shape. It was a good basketball season for everyone involved.” 

 

Building a better future with Tulalip’s construction career program

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Educators, parents and others often place emphasis on college preparation and earning an Associate or Bachelor’s degree by traditional means. But some students see a more hands-on future for themselves. For those unafraid of getting their hands dirty and learning the true meaning behind a hard day’s work there are ample opportunities available within the construction industry. 

In fact, look around the Seattle area and you’ll see more cranes than you can count. While other career pathways may be oversaturated and hard to come by, the construction trades are booming. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, open construction positions are expected to increase by more than 745,000 jobs nationally through 2026, a faster growth than any other occupation. In Washington State alone, there are already more than 3,200 unfilled construction jobs, of which many pay more than the average state wage of $54,000 a year. 

Whether it be laborer, carpenter, ironworker or heavy equipment operator, there are countless openings for work and advancement within construction trades, especially for sought after minorities, like Native Americans and women. A major access point for entry into the construction trades for tribal citizens and their families continues to be Tulalip’s own TERO Vocational Training Center (TVTC).

On Wednesday, May 30, eighteen TVTC students were honored with a graduation banquet for their commitment to building a better future. Over 200 guests attended, including several Board of Directors, trade union representatives, and many cheerful friends and family members of the graduates. 

Of this latest graduating cohort, nine students are Tulalip tribal members, two are children of tribal members, and seven are other Native. Three hardworking ladies were among the graduates; Sela Kalama (Quinault), Verla Wapato (Yakama) and Pamela Dick (Colville). The desire to build a new skillset while creating new career pathways was the main motivator, as each of these three women left their home and children in order to reside within the Tulalip area for the duration of the intensive, sixteen-week pre-apprenticeship construction trades program 

As far as we know, the TVTC program, which is managed by the Tulalip TERO, is the first and only state and nationally recognized Native American pre-apprenticeship program in the country. The program is accredited through South Seattle Community College and Renton Technical College, while all the in-class, hands-on curriculum has been formally approved by the Washington State Apprentice and Training Council. 

The sixteen-week program provides 501-hours of hands on instruction, strength building exercise, and construction skills that can last a lifetime. In addition, students are trained and awarded certifications in flagging, first aid/CPR, and OSHA 10-hour safety training. Also, students receive certification in the scissor lift, boom lift, industrial fork lift, and powder-actuated tools. Upon completion, each graduate’s diligent training is rewarded with a wide-range of new employment opportunities as they navigate the construction trades career path. 

  “I took this class to better my work experience, gain new skills, and become more comfortable with interviews,” said Tulalip tribal member and now TVTC graduate, Izzy Wolftail. “My favorite part of the TVTC experience was making new friends from different tribes and working side-by-side with them to complete our tiny home project. I plan on bettering my future and the Tribe with my new skills.”

TVTC pre-apprenticeship is a unique, nationally known model that supports tribal members from sovereign nations across the United States. The program is not dependent on tribal hard dollars. In fact, zero hard dollars are used to fund it. Instead, due to the dedication and commitment of so many individuals the TVTC program continues to grow and gain more recognition while being funded by the graciousness of the Tulalip Charitable Fund and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

“This particular group of students was just tremendous,” described instructor Mark Newland during the graduation ceremony. “They came prepared and ready to work every single day. Each student was eager to learn and they worked really well with one another. It was a pleasure being their instructor.”

Under the supervision of Mark and co-instructor Billy Burchett, spring quarter students constructed four tiny homes as their final class project. These houses, which are approximately 120-square-feet in size, are the first batch of tiny homes that will be staying on the reservation, with plans for them to provide shelter for homeless tribal members. The insulated houses will be a major upgrade for their soon-to-be residents as they offer electricity, heat, and, most importantly, a measure of stability.

“Tulalip Tribes Board of Directors requested this TVTC cohort build the first four tiny houses for the Tribe. The Board provided the materials and the class built the houses,” explained Lynne Bansemer, TERO Coordinator. “According to instructor Mark Newland these were the best home that have been built to date by our students. We feel the reason is because they were built with love. Bringing this home has meant so much for the TERO and TVTC staff, but our students knew they were building for potential family and friends. What a difference this made!”

Beyond construction skills, several students, who are also tribal members, reached major milestones during the pre-apprenticeship program. Quinton Hill retrieved his driver’s license, while Carter Paul and Hayden Cepa both put in the work necessary to be awarded their high school diploma. 

“For persons on the path to recovery, we have seen them find success during their time as TVTC students and beyond,” added Lynne. “This program introduces them to so many new experiences, shows them their unique individual strengths, and builds their confidence to new heights. We have had families reunited and people find the success they have hoped for because they are able to see daily how strong and capable they are.”

For more information on Tulalip TERO’s TVTC program or to inquire about admission into the next pre-apprenticeship opportunity, please contact Lynne Bansemer, TERO Coordinator, at 360-716-4746 or visit TVTC.TulalipTERO.com 

MSD traditionally honors 5th grade native students

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

The Marysville School District (MSD) Indian Education Department held a ceremony at the Hibulb Cultural Center Longhouse on the evening of May 31, to honor their fifth-grade students who will be making the transition from elementary to junior high next fall. Native students from the Allen Creek, Cascade Grove, Liberty, Marshall, Kellogg Marsh, Marysville Co-Op, Shoultes and Sunnyside elementary schools were recognized for successfully completing grade school and beginning the next phase of their educational journey. 

The traditional graduation ceremony was inspired by the Quil Ceda Tulalip fifth grade potlatch that is held at the end of every school year. MSD native liaisons were motivated to create a similar ceremony to honor the native students who attended other elementary schools throughout the district. During the ceremony, the students are gifted necklaces with cedar-carved salmon pendants and are offered words of support and encouragement from Tulalip tribal leaders. 

“Students, you hit a milestone on going into a new school,” expressed Tulalip Vice-Chair Woman, Teri Gobin. “You’ve taken a step into a new direction and it’s going to be a wonderful. Next thing you know you’ll be going into high school and then graduating. We look forward to doing anything we can to assist you. I want to encourage you to take advantage of the native liaisons to help you through every step. We’re proud of each and every one of you.” 

The ceremony also serves as a means of introduction between students who will be attending the same middle school but attended different elementary schools; as well as between students and the native liaisons of their new school. 

“We came together as a team to honor the fifth graders as they go to middle school,” said Native Liaison, Zee Jimicum. “It’s a tough transition. Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary has a fifth-grade transition weekly course to help their students prepare for middle school. So for those kids who don’t have that connection like Quil Ceda Tulalip students, it’s super important that they see our faces so when they get to middle school next year they have that connection.”

MSD native liaisons Terrance Sabbas and Matt Remle performed an honor song for the students on the traditional round drum and presented them with cedar necklaces. Each liaison also introduced themselves and shared their excitement with the future middle schoolers. 

“As a district we wanted to honor, encourage and support these students culturally here in the longhouse,” said Terrance. “We wanted to sing our traditional songs so they can feel at home. We wanted to tie it all together with culture and honor all the work they’ve accomplished.”

The MSD Indian Education Department also thanked Cascade Elementary Principal, Teresa Iyall Williams, for her years of dedication to the youth as she’ll be enjoying the retired life after this school year. Teresa was blanketed by the Indian Education Department and referred to as an ‘inspiration to all the young native girls’ and ‘a great example of how to conduct yourself’ by Tribal member, Denise Hatch-Anderson.

The students received journals from the MSD Indian Education Department so they can document the next three years of their middle school experience. 

“The excitement you have, I hope it continues all the way until you graduate from high school and from college. Whatever you choose to do in this world, we ask you to dream big,” said Deborah Parker, MSD Director of Equity, Diversity and Indian Education.

Dreaming big is exactly what the students plan to do, including Tulalip tribal member Conner Juvinel, who plans to continue pursuing his passion during his middle school years. 

“I dream to become a scientist,” he states. “I enjoy science a lot, like earth studies. It feels terrifying but still pretty awesome to go into middle school. I don’t know what I’m most excited about but I know I’m excited.”

Annual Stick Game Tournament unites Northwest tribes in friendly competition

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Players of the traditional Coast Salish gambling game, known by a few names including slahal, lahal, bone games and stick games, gathered at the Tulalip Amphitheater during the weekend of June 1-3. Many players arrived an entire day early, equipped with their bones, drums and lawn chairs in anticipation of the 9th Annual Tulalip Tribes Stick Game Tournament. This year’s tournament attracted a record-breaking one-hundred and forty-two teams who competed for a chance to win cash prizes, including the grand prize of $50,000. 

Native families journeyed across Washington and Canada to play in the tournament. The total payout this year was $63,000 which was distributed throughout the weekend during a number of rounds including the kid’s tournament, which drew a large crowd of spectators. 

The game was said to be invented centuries ago in order to settle a number of disputes between tribes of the Northwest, including the rights to fishing, gathering and hunting territories. As legend has it, the game was gifted to the people by the animals in order to unite the tribes and prevent war. 

During gameplay, two teams consisting of three to five players face each other. The game pieces, which include a set of bones and sticks, are discreetly distributed amongst the players on one team. The opposing team has to correctly guess where the bones are and how many pieces the player has in their hands. The sticks are used to keep score and the team with their bones in play, sing traditional family songs in an attempt to distract the other team from seeing where the bones end up. The team who has the correct amount of guesses wins the game and gets to advance to the next round.

 “I came out to play for the Northwest Indian College team,” says NWIC student, Mikaela ‘Miki’ Ponca-Montoya of the Osage Nation. “We held a fundraiser last week so we could register and play in the games. We’ve been practicing, we have a stick game club at the college and a bunch of people participate and came out to play. I enjoy the medicine from the games because when people are playing their songs, some of us don’t know what they mean but we proudly sing those words as they’ve been upheld for generations and generations. You can feel it when your team starts to put their medicine in the music and when they’re playing the game you can feel the energy. That, and if you win, that’s the best part!”

Smiles are shared throughout the entire weekend, even when a team is knocked out of the competition, as most people are delighted to visit with other Native people and practice the traditional game of our ancestors. 

Annual Veteran’s Pow Wow

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

The first weekend of June marked the 27th Annual Tulalip Veterans Powwow. The extremely popular event welcomed hundreds of traditional dancers and singers to the Greg Williams Court to honor our veterans and celebrate Indigenous culture. The event kicked-off on June 1 and ended on the evening of June 3, as Natives of all ages and from across the Nation journeyed to Tulalip to participate in the powwow. 

“I came from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and am Blackfeet and Colville,” said Dave Madera. “I came to dance and sing.  It’s really positive, it feels good to get out on the floor and dance it’s really a celebration of our lives and uplifting our people through song and dance.”

The powwow featured a number of grand entries throughout the weekend, but the most popular was perhaps on the evening of June 2, as the entire gym was rocking to the beats provided by the many drum groups and the jingle of traditional regalia. 

“It’s about visiting with your family and friends and at the same time you’re sharing the culture,” said Russell McCloud (Puyallup/Yakima) “Song and dance brings everyone together. For the powwow it’s that drum, the drum brings everybody here. When they’re drumming and singing, everybody’s on the same beat and that unites all of us together.”

Ruben Littlehead served as Master of Ceremonies during the powwow and Northern Cree provided loud, rhythmic drumbeats throughout the event as the host drum circle. This year featured a playground for the kids that overlooked Tulalip Bay as well as numerous vendors. 

The annual powwow continues to inspire a new generation of dancers as kids of all ages took to the floor to honor our vets and ancestors by showcasing their traditional dance skills. Adults and elders also joined in on the fun by dancing their hearts out and getting lost in the culture.

“I love everything about this powwow,” expressed young Tulalip tribal member, Jordan Power. “I come to dance for the people, share our culture and continue practicing our traditions.”

TPD carries the Torch to raise funds for Special Olympics

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

On the afternoon of May 31, the Tulalip Police Department (TPD) joined other Washington State police departments in the Annual Law Enforcement Torch Run. Police departments from across the Nation participate in the yearly run in an effort to raise funds for the Special Olympics USA Games. Law enforcement officials carry the Flame of Hope to their respective state’s Special Olympics Spring Games to help kick off the competition. 

Washington’s Spring Games took place at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma during the first weekend of June. Several police departments that joined in runs across the state met at the University. TPD participated with a group that began at the Washington State-British Columbia border, joining the team in Stanwood and also running through Quil Ceda Village, Tulalip and Marysville. 

“It was awesome to participate,” says TPD Officer and Torch Runner, David Taylor. “To see the other departments link up together and do something positive for the community is great. Not a lot of people know about the Torch Run, so being able to be a part of it and raise funds and awareness was pretty cool, it meant a lot that they asked us to do it. We ran about twelve miles.”

The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games takes place in Seattle this year at the UW Husky Stadium from July 1-6. Over 4,000 athletes will participate in variety of sports including track, basketball, bowling, golf, gymnastics and softball. For donation information and further details, please visit www.SpecialOlympics.org