Youth create LEGO robots during STEM week

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Located behind the Tulalip Boys and Girls Club, a group of young Tulalip summer school students occupied one classroom in each of the three Tulalip Education Department buildings during the week of August 6– 10. Separated by age, the kids intently worked behind laptops as they constructed a series of robots, programing them to move and perform tasks. The youth had so much fun in fact, they got lost in the LEGO robotics software and forgot they were in summer school learning about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). 

After two successful years of STEM ROBOTICS week, the Tutoring and Homework Support Program of the Education Department once again reached out to Kathy Collier and her team at Robotics.how.com to bring the fun, hands-on learning experience to the students of the summer school.

“They don’t even realize they’re inventing,” says Kathy. “They are taking part in what is called upper-level critical thinking but they’re having fun. They’ve learned two different physics principals this week and had a blast with it.”

The students are split into three groups based on which grade they will be entering at the beginning of the school year; kindergarten through second grade, third through fifth grade and sixth through twelfth grade. The students began each day with a new science experiment and assembled their bots in the afternoon. 

“K through second graders are doing science experiments in inertia, centrifugal force, momentum, stored energy and they use the Lego WeDo Robots,” explains Kathy. “They are doing simple coding, they can actually explain to you the function of each LEGO piece, interpreting the software language at a kid level. The third through fifth grade kids are using the EV3 Robots, that’s the latest version of LEGO robots, which is actually being used at MIT. First year college students in engineering have a course where they explore all kinds of principals using the EV3 robot. It’s a very sophisticated little machine. And the sixth through twelfth are teaching their robots. They built a custom obstacle course and have to program the robots to make a decision at each turn like forward, right or left.”

Through a set of commands on their laptop, the kids are able to control their bots. While the older kids created one spider-bot that they worked with throughout the week, coding it to make directional choices, both younger groups assembled a number of robots. The youngest group built lions, monkeys and airplane robots and the third through fifth grade students invented both rolling EV3 robots as well as a dog robot. 

 “This entire week we’ve made a bunch of different little LEGO robots and took them apart because that was our practice for programing, it’s been a lot of fun,” said Alexis Bowen while putting the finishing touches on her bot.

“We learned how to build robots!” young Jala Jimenez enthusiastically expressed. “The airplane one was fun. We put the human LEGO in it and made the propeller spin. We did a lion yesterday, that was the most fun. I learned how to make it move on the computer, it was good and easy. Oh and you can record your own sounds like a roar for your lion. After the lion we built a drumming monkey and he drummed on some cups.”

Tulalip Youth Employment worker, Quintin Yon-Wagner, attended the camp to assist the Robotics.how.com team during STEM week. Quintin, who will be a freshman this year, also built a spider-bot and used it to race his fellow peers through an obstacle course comprised of text books and wastebaskets. 

“This past week has been amazing because we’ve learned so much,” states Quintin. “Starting with programming the computer and learning how the Bluetooth connects with the robots that we made out of LEGOS. The building process takes some time but the benefits that the students take away and how much you learn about programing is amazing. But this isn’t just about programming, it expands on different, new ideas like artificial intelligence and machine learning.

“My favorite part has been building my robot and programming it to move its way through an obstacle course, knowing where and when to turn at the exact time and angle,” he continues. “We actually got it through a huge obstacle course and it was a huge accomplishment. I’ve made great friends and connections this week. This all can help you get different types of jobs or into a good college. Learning about STEM can ultimately lead to a new career path for your future.”

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

TELA students receive first diploma during Moving Up ceremony

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Family members gathered in the lobby of the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy to cheer on their kids as they completed the very first phase in their educational journey. On August 14, forty-two students graduated from the Early Head Start birth to three program and took a symbolic walk across a mini podium as they moved up from the Early Head Start side of the Academy to the Montessori and ECEAP side of the building.

The kids received certificates for completing Early Head Start along with cedar-carved pendant necklaces. Many of the students have been enrolled in the program since infancy and are ready to expand their knowledge as well as see what the big kids have been up to in Montessori. 

“My son will be going into Montessori, leaving the birth to three program,” says parent and Early Head Start teacher, Teresa Frane. “He’s been in the program since he was six-weeks old, he started right away. It’s been very emotional but very exciting at the same time watching him go through the whole Early Head Start process. My son has grown into this amazing little man because of Early Head Start. I especially love the cultural aspect because they do a lot of the drumming and get to learn about the canoes and the salmon. It was a very emotional day; I’m excited to see what the next two years brings him through this academy.”

Tulalip opens high-end retail cannabis shop

Remedy Tulalip is one of the first cannabis dispensaries to open on a reservation in the U.S

Tulalip Tribes Vice Chairwoman Teri Gobin and Tribal Council Members Les and Jared Parks cut the ribbon at the Remedy Tulalip soft opening.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

“Today is the big day. We’ve been waiting for this day for many, many years,” said Tulalip Board of Director, Les Parks, as he addressed a large crowd at the Remedy Tulalip Grand Opening on August 9. “I’ve been challenged as a Board of Director for the last three years to get this door open. Today we’re finally there, there’s so many good things that are going to come out of this.”

The Tulalip Tribes held a ribbon cutting ceremony and soft opening for the new recreational marijuana dispensary located in Quil Ceda Village at the old Key Bank. Remedy Tulalip is the tribe’s flagship cannabis store that was long rumored since Washington State voters passed bill I-502, legalizing the use of recreational marijuana for citizens ages twenty-one and older, back in 2012. Word was, the Tribe set their sights on the Key Bank location nearly two years ago, which kept community members debating if and when the store would open. 

“We were very deliberate in our negotiations with the state of Washington in getting this place open,” says Les. “We wanted it done our way, and it took a long time for us to get there.”

The Tribe believes it will be well worth the wait and plans on Remedy generating plenty of revenue because of its prime location near the Tulalip Resort Casino, the Seattle Premium Outlets, Walmart and Home Depot, which is sure to attract a number of cannabis enthusiasts, from locals running errands to high rollers at the casino. 

“Remedy Tulalip is one of the first stores to open on a reservation,” stated Remedy Tulalip Assistant General Manager, Jonathan Teeters. “We are also one of the first who have this sort of location, many of the others are tucked away or are smaller shops. We have the opportunity to succeed immensely and we planned for it. That’s one of the reasons we’re one of the most technologically advanced stores in the state. We employ seventy plus people and I’m very optimistic that this going to turn into quite the endeavor for the tribe.”

Upon stepping into the store, your eyes are immediately drawn upwards to the artwork along the inside of the building’s corners which showcases an orca swimming in the Salish Sea, Big Foot walking amongst the trees and the Cascade mountain range. Another thing you may notice is the number of staff, or cannabis concierge, who are available to help you find the perfect strain. The concierge in red shirts work the retail floor and are equipped with iPads. These team members typically have prior experience in the marijuana industry and are very knowledgeable about the products offered at Remedy Tulalip. The concierge in green shirts assist guests from behind the counters, retrieving their orders from the inventory room as well as taking their payments.

“If you walk into most dispensaries in Washington State there’s really only one or two type of workers, there’s the budtender behind the counter waiting to take your order and sometimes there’s the manager,” Jonathan says. “The cannabis industry hasn’t really created a lot of opportunity for people to gain experience and move up because it’s been managed by the people who started and founded it. We’re taking a different approach here, we recognize that as a wholly-owned tribal entity, part of our major responsibility is to create economic opportunity in the form of jobs here on the reservation both for tribal members and others in this community. Not just any jobs, but well-paying jobs and ones that leave them more empowered and ready to move on to something bigger and better and hopefully take some of the experience they learned here and pass that forward.”

The new recreational pot shop will work with local companies to provide a variety of cannabis products including flower, oil, edibles and wax. The store also offers an assortment of glass and CBD products as well as a membership program.

“As a flagship store for the Tulalip Tribes, we recognize that we are in charge of making sure the products that folks find in the store meet the experience that they expect and the brand expectations that come with the Tulalip name. This going to be your top-of-the-line stop for cannabis,” Jonathan explains. “When you come here you’re going to see things you haven’t seen on other shelves, a lot of things from small craft growers, producers and processers. Part of our mission is to make sure that we use our economic influence to help not only small producers and processers, but especially those that are Native-owned and Native-affiliated. This is a Native movement and we want to celebrate that.”

The Tribe has big plans in the future for Remedy Tulalip which may include expansion stores along I-5. Tulalip also intends on exploring the many benefits the plant can offer medicinally, to help heal their people and combat the opioid crisis. 

“Opening a retail shop is really just the tip of the iceberg for the Tulalip Tribes,” Jonathan explains. “Under the company Traditional Biologics, we have plans to open not only a few other cannabis dispensaries here on the reservation but also other companies in cultivation and manufacturing. Eventually we have our eyes set on making an impact when it comes to reminding people that cannabis is medicine. There’s an epidemic facing this country, and certainly here, the opioid epidemic. The folks who really pushed to have cannabis become part of this reservation were forward thinking enough to know that cannabis is actually something that is proving to have a very positive effect on communities that are ravaged by opioids. In many cases CBD has proven to break the addictive pathways in the brain. It’s a natural product that we can grow with the love and spirit that it’s intended.” 

Remedy Tulalip is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.RemedyTulalip.com.

Poise under pressure: Malana Richwine crowned Miss Regal Majesty

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Malana Richwine recalls watching her big sister Martelle transform into a beautiful princess as she captivated runway and stage judges alike while competing in national beauty pageants. For nine-year-old Malana, the moment her sister won National Cover Girl and received a dazzling tiara, she was inspired to compete in pageantry. Like little girls everywhere, she dreamed of being a princess. 

After a series of discussions with her parents to prove she was committed to everything pageantry required, they were convinced this was the path for their youngest daughter. Following in her sister’s footsteps, the bold, young Tulalip tribal member set out into the competitive world of beauty pageants under the banner Miss Tulalip. 

“Because Tulalip is my tribe, it’s where I’m growing up, and it’s my community,” says Malana on why she chose to be Miss Tulalip.

In the beginning, it was all about practice, practice, and more practice. Malana had to rehearse every routine, every stage queue, and, yes, even every hair flip until it became muscle memory. Because in pageants, just one misstep, missed mark, or misspoke word on stage can be the difference between placing high or being at the bottom.

  “Pageantry is no different from any other program you put your child into,” explains Malana’s mother, Nickie Richwine. “Gymnastics, Little League, basketball, it all requires money, commitment, practice and lots of hard work on the part of the kids. Malana showed us her dedication by putting the time in to get prepared for a competition she had never done before.”

After months of training with a coach, Malana learned how to strut across a stage with style, keep her poise under pressure and speak into a microphone before crowds of people without faltering. With her personal introduction and stage routines fine-tuned to maximize her sparkling eyes and bubbly personality, Malana was ready to hit the big stage and put her skills to the test. 

“I’ve been practicing and working really hard. Preparing for pageants and going on stage has made me confident,” admits Malana. “I know that anything is possible if I put my mind to it and try my best. I have my mom and dad, my sisters, my coach Jeremy, and so many people back home supporting me.”

Having a dedicated support system has been a reciprocal relationship, with Malana and her family giving back to the community. For example, on weekends she volunteers at local non-profit Leah’s Dream Foundation, which helps support families who have children with autism and other special needs. She’s also dedicated time at Volunteers of America collecting and sorting foods for families in need, and local charitable events like the 5k for the Fallen and the Walk for Autism. 

In August 2017 (Tacoma), November 2017 (Anaheim, California) and March 2018 (Lynnwood), Malana’s confidence soared as she competed in three preliminary pageants. In each of them she wowed the judges in a variety of categories, even surprising herself with how well she performed on the microphone. Most importantly, Malana received high enough marks in all competitions to qualify for her first national pageant, Regal Majesty. 

Beauty pageants aren’t cheap. Fees for preliminary or local contests range from $25 to $95. State level pageants run $150 to $300, and once one gets to the national level, competitors can expect to pay $400 to $1,000 (not including travel and accommodations) just to take part in the basic competitions. These include bonding parties, such as Disney and neon parties, photo portfolios, an interview, photogenic rating, plus formal and theme wear competitions. 

The wardrobe alone can run $400 to $800, depending on whether mom is a clever seamstress. Because the Richwines don’t have money to burn, Nickie has become a whiz at pulling together outfits by adding a ruffle here and some beading there. She also utilizes valuable Tulalip resources, like leaning on Karen Fryberg as a custom wardrobe designer.

To pay for the Regal Majesty pageant experience, momma bear Nickie raised $3,000 in less than five months by holding garage sales, car washes, and 50/50 raffles like a madwoman.

The Regal Majesty National Pageant took place in Seaside, Oregon during July 29-31. All told, 41 contestants including teen, pre-teen, and adult contestants were introduced as the three-day pageant opened. Based on their modeling, confidence, style, and overall grooming, only a handful would be selected to wear the highly coveted Regal Majesty crowns.

Malana competed in seven competitions, having to change wardrobes and remake her hair and makeup on the fly in the short window between events. She showcased a hip, creative, and trendy style the entire time, all while never breaking eye-contact and a beaming smile towards the judges.

“I was really nervous before my first event. I had a nervous attack backstage going ‘oh my god, oh my god I can’t do this’ and had really bad butterflies in my stomach,” describes the animated, soon-to-be 4th grader. “But once I got on stage and could hear my family and friends cheering me on, I felt much better and was able to just have fun.” 

Having fun came easy and her swagger was palpable as each competition came and went. In a group full of deserving youngsters, Malana’s stage game stood out. During the Regal Majesty crowing ceremony, many in the crowd could be overheard talking about Malana as the favorite in her age division.

After the 1st and 2nd runners-up were announced, leaving only the radiating little girl who not so long ago dreamt of being a princess like her big sister, Malana was overcome with emotion and cried tears of joy while being crowned a petite national champion and Miss Regal Majesty. 

“When I realized I won, I was so happy that I couldn’t stop crying. So happy because I did my best, listened to my coach and my mom, and won a national title,” reflects Malana while wearing a dazzling tiara and sash signifying her as Miss Regal Majesty. “Having confidence in myself and smiling, and being focused were the keys to winning. I got to travel with my family and make a bunch of new friends, too.”

  Monica Berginc, national director and owner of Regal Majesty, shares “Malana is so happy and positive. She’s simply amazing! She’s such a hard worker and has participated in so many community service events. In this pageant, we really focus on family, community service, and being positive role models, all of which Malana embodies beautifully.”

Looking forward, Malana is already envisioning herself winning another crown as she’ll be competing for a state title in the upcoming National American Miss pageant.

For the Richwines, competing in pageants has forged a strong bond among mother and daughters. 

“The pressure is tremendous,” says Nickie, “but it’s so cool looking at the pictures and video to remember that feeling of being together and supporting each other. Not many moms have that kind of experience with their daughters. It’s a great feeling to watch their strength and confidence grow. Knowing I play a part in that by supporting and encouraging them to follow their dreams is so fulfilling as a mom.”

Luau-themed lunch brings elders and youth together

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

“Okay, I want everybody to find a partner and create a secret handshake,” instructed DJ Monie Ordonia to a large crowd of elders and youth at the Tulalip Senior Center. “Once you’ve done your handshake, you can come up front and we’ll vote on whose is the best.”

Immediately kids sprung from their seats in search of an elder, someone to create a super-secret and super-cool handshake with. Some were a simple, yet firm handshake. Others were complex and even involved a little choreography. The important thing to note is the youth’s display of respect, how quickly they responded so their elders wouldn’t have to leave their chairs and also how they introduced themselves by explaining their lineage so the elders could identify their family. This was all showcased during the first activity of the Hawaiian Paradise event hosted by the Tulalip Problem Gambling program on August 7. 

The luau-themed luncheon united youth and elders alike in an afternoon of fun, which included a dance group competition. The kids continued to show respect to their elders throughout the day by happily plating and delivering a delicious Hawaiian meal catered by Ryan’s Rez-ipes. 

Nadene Foster and granddaughter Kailani Carpenter-Cox attended the event together and were incidentally paired up during the handshake competition. The ladies won the competition, garnering the most applause from the crowd. 

“It’s important to bring our youth and elders together to hang out with each other,” says Nadene.

“It’s fun just to be together and celebrate,” adds Kailani. “All the elders are awesome. I like how all the kids participated in all of the activities. My favorite was creating a handshake with my grandma.”

The event not only brought youth and elders together, it also shed light on problem gambling and how it can affect your family and community. The youth and elders listed many of the ways gambling addiction can become an issue such as depression, boredom, anxiety and the loss of a family member. The group also took the time to brainstorm other activities people can try instead of gambling, like hiking, exercising, writing, and watching movies as well as attending family and cultural events. 

Deyamonta Diaz and Rachel Steeve of Tulalip Youth Services transported two vans filled with kids from the youth center to Hawaiian Paradise. And just for a brief moment, with the amazing weather paired with the food and décor, one could almost trick themselves into thinking they were actually on one of the beautiful Hawaiian Islands. 

“We attended this last year and we had quite a few kids too,” states Rachel. “It’s important for the kids to sit among their elders because they can teach the youth so many things. They have all of our knowledge and are the only people who can pass it on. And these youth will get the chance to pass on that same knowledge in the future. It reminds kids a lot about respect and taking care of our elders. All the kids prepared plates and brought food and refreshments to the elders, so it teaches them the importance of taking care of our elders because they took care of us at one point.

“It’s really good to see them having fun and interacting with each other,” she continues. “Just walking around the room you can see the smiles and feel the positive energy radiating from everybody. The dance competition was fun, the food was wonderful and it was nice to bring enlightenment to the issues of problem gambling in a fun way that the elders could teach and the youth can grasp.”

For further information regarding gambling addiction, please contact the Tulalip Problem Gambling program at (360) 716-4304. 

National Night Out: Tulalip joins in community-police partnership building event

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

It was a gorgeous afternoon, clear skies and just a little over eighty degrees, on August 7. The tide was high and the waters of Tulalip Bay appeared more blue than usual, providing a spectacular view for the Tulalip community as they gathered to celebrate the 35th Annual National Night Out with the Tulalip Police Department (TPD). Held in the Tulalip Youth Services parking lot, the event attracted several families of many generations who they came to have a good time and thank local law officials for protecting the community. 

“National Night Out is an annual event that most law enforcement agencies throughout the United States hold for their communities, typically in the month of August,” explains Tulalip Interim Chief Sherman Pruitt. “The police department and other tribal departments come together to provide resources, that way people can see the services that are offered and provided to them within their community. It’s always a great time. The kids come out, we have jumpies, we have our K-9 officer, we have the police vehicle that kids can go in and out of. Just spending that time so they can see the police officers in a different, positive light.”

That summertime barbeque aroma filled the air while officers grilled up hot dogs for their guests. Attendees visited the many stations at the event, learning about services offered at programs like the Tulalip Child Advocacy Center, the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy and the Legacy of Healing. The Tulalip Office of Emergency Management was also in attendance and provided local citizens with safety information, as was the Tulalip Lions Club who donated numerous books to the youth.

The Tulalip Bay Fire Department was sure to make an appearance at National Night Out to re-spark an old on-the-court basketball rivalry between the two emergency response teams. This year, however, the Fire Department and TPD decided to mix things up, literally, by creating teams consisting of players from both departments on each team. A terrific display of camaraderie as Chief Pruitt passed the ball to Tulalip Bay Fire Department Chief Shaughnessy, exclaiming, ‘hit that Ryan!’

“We’re here to show our support for our local law enforcement and also be here for the community,” says Chief Shaughnessy. “It’s a fun night; the community gets to see their firefighters and their police officers and get in touch with them when it’s not a 9-1-1 call. It’s a great night for everybody to meet up, play some basketball, do some BBQ-ing and see the fire trucks and police cars. We appreciate TPD extending the invitation to us, we’re glad to be here.”

TPD officers gave the youth an up close look at their squad cars, showing them all of the cameras and gadgets they use while on the job. Officers were seen socializing with community members and laughter could be heard from all directions of the parking lot. 

“It was a great turnout,” states TPD Officer, Aissa Thompson. “Everyone brought their families and I enjoy meeting new people. It’s good getting acquainted with the community you don’t always get a chance to interact with on a day-to-day basis. It was great playing basketball with a few of the girls from the community as well. I appreciate everybody coming out.”

As young Tulalip tribal member Kaiser Moses visited each booth, he took a moment to take in all of the good vibes his fellow community members seemed to be exuding. 

“I like to see everybody talking, having fun and getting to know each other a little more,” he expressed. “It’s really important for the law enforcement and community to get together and talk because that’s what makes a strong bond. It’s important to have good communication between the law enforcement and the community because the law enforcement is what protects the community. And you don’t want the community to be afraid of the law enforcement, you want them to be like friends.”

  Another successful National Night Out is in the books for TPD as this year’s event was a smash yet again, strengthening the relationship between the community and the police force that much more. 

“My favorite part is the kids,” says Chief Pruitt. “Seeing them come over to see us and ask questions, because they’ve got an abundance of questions to ask, regarding law enforcement and showing an interest in that. Some of them even expressed that they want to be police officers when they grow up and I love to hear that.”

The Tulalip Tribes Open Flagship Retail Cannabis Store

Remedy Tulalip aims to set a higher bar for retail cannabis and customer experience

TULALIP, WA—August 6, 2018 —The Tulalip Economic Development Corporation (TEDCO) is opening the doors to Remedy Tulalip, its flagship retail cannabis store, and among the first cannabis dispensaries in the United States to open on a reservation.  Remedy Tulalip joins the bustling retail sector in Quil Ceda Village, the Nation’s second federally-recognized city, and a consolidated borough of the Tulalip Tribes.

9226 34th Ave NE, Tulalip, WA 98271

Open to the Public: August 10th, 2018 9:00 AM-10PM

Regular Store Hours: Mon-Sun 9:00 AM-10:00 PM

Remedy Tulalip aspires to provide a curated cannabis experience designed for both the connoisseur and the tourist alike, with a focus on offering a unique, informative customer experience.  As one of only four tribes in Washington State in retail cannabis, Remedy Tulalip aims to be the top-performing retail store in Washington, and a symbol for the role that Indian Country will play in this rapidly expanding new industry.

“Indian Country is poised to become leaders in the emerging cannabis market,” says Les Parks, Tulalip Tribes Board of Directors.  “Three decades of experience in entertainment and hospitality, and an I-5 location, give Tulalip an advantage. We have built a cannabis retail model that brings the same level of engagement, knowledge, and professionalism that we offer at all our properties.  We are also partnering with emerging and affiliated Native American cannabis suppliers to help bring new values and voices to the forefront.”

Remedy Tulalip aims to be the busiest, most technology-driven retail cannabis store in the region with an interior design that integrates the unique natural and traditional aspects of Tulalip into the retail experience. The Remedy Tulalip model prioritizes staff engagement and education, a unique customer experience, and buying practices that reflect the value of diversity, sustainability, collaboration, and transparency.

  “We are lifting the industry by expecting and supporting excellence from all of our suppliers.  While much of the industry works from a bottom up model, we have intentionally flipped that to focus on high-quality and hand-curated products that reflect the Tulalip brand,”  said Jonathan Teeter, Assistant General Manager for Remedy Tulalip.

www.remedytulalip.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep drugs off our Rez: Youth participate in drug prevention walk

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States recorded 42,249 deaths in the year of 2016 due to opioid overdose, surpassing the amount of deaths caused by breast cancer which is estimated at 41,070 each year. Between July 2016 and September 2017, the amount of deaths by opioid overdose increased by thirty percent. The opioid epidemic is still escalating throughout the nation and has claimed more American lives in 2017 alone than the Vietnam War, which reported 58,220 causalities over the course of twenty years. Although the CDC has yet to officially release the 2017 statistics, the projected amount of deaths by heroin, prescription opioids and fentanyl is said to be close to 70,000 fatalities. 

The crisis is hard to ignore, especially when it’s happening within our own community. The Washington State Department of Health reports that approximately 3,000 deaths can be credited to drug overdose annually, which is thirty-one percent of all deaths statewide. Snohomish County, namely the Everett-Marysville-Tulalip area, sees perhaps one of the largest amounts of drug-related casualties in the state with around seven hundred deaths per year. 

Over recent years, the Tulalip Tribes has fought back strongly against the opioid epidemic, implementing several programs, departments, forums, and events as well as the wellness court system. The tribe has been actively dedicated to healing their people who are battling with addiction and continue searching for a solution to the crisis. Most recently, during the mid-morning of July 26, the Tulalip 477/TANF department organized a walk against drugs with their Summer Youth Community Service program, comprised of thirty local kids between the ages of eleven and thirteen who wanted to spread awareness for those struggling and help bring an end to drug addiction. 

“We worked on our signs all day yesterday, just for the walk today,” says community service participant, Stanley Nguyen. “We walked from the old school all the way up to [the Tulalip Administration Building] and we’re trying to stop drug abuse and get drugs off the rez because they can kill people.”

Drivers emphatically honked their horns for the kids as they proudly displayed their handmade posters during the prevention walk. Their signs displayed a variety of strong messages such as ‘your family needs you’ and ‘heal the hurt, don’t hide the pain,’ attempting to spread their words to local addicts. A few kids also used their signs to urge any drug distributors to ‘stop selling drugs to my people’ and to ‘keep drugs off our rez!’

“My sign says, drugs equal death so stop!” expressed young Taleen Enick. “I felt people needed to know to stop doing drugs, it can harm them and they can probably die from it. If they keep doing it, they can overdose. That’s why I want people to know we need to keep drugs off our rez and that we need to help our people to stop doing drugs.”

The six-week community service program helps kids prepare for the Tulalip Youth Services Summer Youth Employment Program which is open to kids between the age of fourteen and eighteen. Throughout the community service course, the young adults learn about their treaty rights, Tulalip’s history and future, bullying prevention, suicide prevention, drug and alcohol prevention, healthy habits and financial education. The program is currently in its second year and dedicates every Thursday to a community service activity such as beach clean-ups and the prevention walk.

“There’s a lot of people driving by, hopefully it gives addicts some hope that live around here,” says TANF Case Manager, Danielle Hill. “The kids all created their own posters and a lot of them had some good words to share. We’re hoping this helps them steer clear from drugs and alcohol in the future especially when they’re dealing with peer pressure.”

The kids ended the prevention walk at the newly constructed walkway below the Tulalip Admin Building and held their posters up high for passersby to see while on their daily commute. The youth posted up through the lunch hour, waiving their signs and received great response from the tribal employees on their way to appease their appetites. 

 “I think our message will help people, I really do,” says Taleen. “If they see our signs today, maybe they’ll be inspired to reach out and help somebody they know who’s been using drugs. What I liked best about today was all the people honking. That shows that they care as well and are doing their part to help out too.”