New Trail Opens Along Qwuloolt Estuary

The 12-foot wide waterfront trail is ideal for pedestrians, bicyclists and pets

Tulalip Tribes Chairwoman Marie Zackuse cuts the ribbon at the Ebey trail celebration

Article and photos by Kalvin Valdillez

Children on scooters, adventurists in kayaks, dog lovers with their best pal on a leash and joggers in their favorite running shoes were among the many members of the Tulalip and Marysville community who gathered to celebrate the grand opening of the Ebey Waterfront Trail on April 22, a brisk Saturday morning.

A traditional song, performed by Tulalip tribal members, blessed the trail prior to the official ribbon cutting. The 1.3-mile trail is located east of the SR-529 bridge, however, the city of Marysville plans to extend the trail over the next year and a half to create a five-mile loop with entry points throughout Marysville, including the Sunnyside area and the Ebey Waterfront Park.

The trail extends along the Qwuloolt Estuary; an area the tribe has been restoring back to its natural habitat for the past seventeen years. Tulalip Chairwoman Marie Zackuse explained the history and importance of the Qwuloolt Estuary.

“Our people used these estuary lands for fishing, hunting and harvesting, especially duck hunting. Our wild fish runs were healthy and productive until recent times and with the Qwuloolt restoration, our salmon have been given the opportunity to survive. The Tribes are restoring and renewing sites in the estuary and in the Snohomish River that provide benefits to not only to the tribe but the public as well.

One of the points we have emphasized over the years is the fact that the large scale restoration projects can make communities more livable, offer more recreational activities, more educational opportunities and the opportunity to see more habitat including many bird species. We hope that future signage will allow visitors to learn about the history of the tribe and how they used and interacted with this estuary in traditional times,” said Zackuse.

With the first of three phases complete, the City of Marysville and the Tulalip Tribes have provided their community members an opportunity to experience beautiful scenery and admire wildlife while enjoying outdoor recreation.

Art of the Future Generation

Tulalip Youth Services hosts Annual Native American Student Art Festival

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Excitement filled the air of the Don Hatch Youth Center, which was briefly transformed into an art gala, on April 20, for the annual Native American Student Art Festival. Various works were on display including poetry, self and family portraits as well as an array of traditional Native American art including paddles, blankets, beaded regalia and cedar woven baskets.

The festival is open to all Tulalip tribal members between kindergarten and the twelfth grade, as well as students of other tribal nations who attend the Marysville School District. Students are able to submit one art project for each category – culture, mixed media, painting, sculpture, digital art, writing, new media and drawing. Awards are presented for first, second and third place, as well as for honorable mentions, to each grade for every category.

Art has been an essential necessity to the Native American culture since time immemorial. Coast Salish ancestors utilized their natural resources to create art such as masks, blankets, drums and rattles for ceremonial purposes; as well as for tools, for everyday use, like hats, baskets, canoes and paddles.

With over a whopping one thousand art submissions this year, the event continues to provide the young Indigenous Picassos with the opportunity to express their creativity and showcase their talents to their community. Often participants will submit a project for each category, like Taylee Warbus, who was awarded six ribbons in total – three of them being the highly coveted first place blue ribbon.

10th grade student Selena Fryberg reconnects with her ancestry while drawing a portrait of her late grandmother Catherine Rivera.

Many students reconnect with their culture while preparing their projects for the festival. This year, tenth grade student and multiple prizewinner Selena Fryberg reconnected with her ancestry while drawing a portrait of her late grandmother Catherine Rivera. Selena states, “She passed away before I was born, but people always say I get my talent from her. I feel like I got to know my grandma a little better while drawing her for [the art festival].”

If you missed the opportunity to experience the student art exhibit, don’t fret because the winning masterpieces will be on display exclusively at the Hibulb Cultural Center until Friday May 5, 2017.

UW Bothell empowers Native American students to plan for higher education


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


By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matt Remle, Marysville School District Native American Liaison.


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

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

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

Tribal members show up by the masses to attend B-I-N-G-O celebration

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

On Monday, April 24, the Tulalip Tribes held their 16th annual Tribal Bingo Celebration. Tribal citizens who live locally on or around the reservation were joined by their fellow tribal members who journeyed from Seattle, Bellingham, and Tacoma to join in on the festivities and try their luck to win high-end prizes and fill their pockets with cash.

Board of Director Theresa Sheldon took to Facebook early in the morning to remind everyone about the special day and to wish everyone good luck. “Best of luck to all our Tulalip Bingo-ers! Enjoy visiting, laughing, hugging, and catching up with each other. The three sessions are 10am, 2pm and 6pm. Have fun! t’igwicid to Tammy Taylor and her staff for making this event such a success and always a good time.”

Like he has done in years past, Board of Director Mel Sheldon reigned supreme on the mic as the MC for each bingo session. Mel kept the atmosphere lively and upbeat with plenty of jokes and witty banter.

“We are honored to host our tribal bingo while bringing fun and excitement to the membership for 16 wonderful years now,” said Tammy Taylor, Tulalip Bingo Director. “The beautiful part of our celebration is it really brings the tribal membership together for a fun time, free of politics and drama. It’s all about our people enjoying each other’s company, sharing stories, and catching up with people you don’t see often enough. During any one of the three sessions you could feel the happiness, feel the positive spirits, and see the beautiful smiles of our elders.”

Bingo staff did their best to make the 16th annual celebration one to remember. First of all, instead of having only two sessions like years past, there were three sessions; held at 10:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 6:00 p.m. Adding an extra session makes seating more comfortable and gave a slight bump to everyone’s chance of winning prizes and cash. Secondly, the door prize drawings were held in a different fashion. Tribal members who were lucky enough to have their ID called would make their way to the front and choose from a number of tribally designed cards (provided by our very own Hibulb Cultural Center), and then inside a folded envelope within each card would be their door prize. Prizes ranged from a trip voucher, a laptop, a 60” flat screen SMART TV, and of course various amounts of everyone’s favorite, cold hard cash.

Spanning each session were 14 games of bingo, plus an all-new Wild Goose Chase pull-tab game. For each session there was an estimated $30,000 in total cash prizes awarded to bingo and door-prize raffle winners.

The 6:00 p.m. evening session was most popular with 347 tribal members in attendance, followed by the 2:00 p.m. afternoon session with 340, and lastly the 10:00 a.m. session had 305. All in all there were 992 Tulalip tribal members who took part in this year’s bingo celebration.

“Our Bingo team did a wonderful job of preparing for each session and executing as a team,” added Tammy. “There were virtually no lines, whether it was getting the membership in the door and finding a seat or getting a plate of food. Our Deli team cooked and prepared more than enough food for the breakfast, lunch and light dinner we provided. From our Bingo team members to the Enrollment team members, everyone did a fantastic job start to finish.”


General Manager provides insight to Tulalip government for UW class

Misty Napeahi, Tulalip Tribes General Manager.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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