Chairwoman Marie Zackuse to Freeman High School

Freeman High School, now and in the difficult days and nights ahead, the hearts of Tulalip are with you. We are grieving with you. We are praying with you. Words can’t describe the pain that the students, the families and the community are experiencing right now. We know that nothing we can say can bring back the life or the innocence that was lost, we can only offer our love and support during this dark day.

Lady Hawks season opener

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

After finding unprecedented success on the volleyball court last year, a season that saw Heritage make it all the way to Tri-Districts, the Lady Hawks opened up a brand new season with a home game versus the Providence Classical Christian Highlanders. The game was played on Monday, September 11, at Francy J. Sheldon gymnasium.

The foundation of this year’s team include senior captains Keryn Parks and Deandra Grant. The Lady Hawks graduated six seniors from last year’s team, which included three starters. In their place comes a new batch of young, eager to play student-athletes.

“We have lots of new faces to our Lady Hawk program. For some of the girls this will be their first-ever volleyball match,” says Coach Tina Brown. “Fortunately, we have two senior leaders in Keryn and Deandra who can remain positive and help teach their teammates during the games. There’s a learning curve for us as a team, but we’ll only get better as we gain more experience playing together.”

It was a tough opening matchup for the new look Lady Hawks, as the PCC Highlanders only lost one regular season game last season and returned the majority of their players.

In the 1st game, the Lady Hawks struggled to get any momentum going while the Highlanders weren’t missing a beat. The Highlanders took the opening game 25-11.

The Lady Hawks played much better in the 2nd game. After trailing 0-5 to start, the girls got their game going on both sides of the net, going on long rallies and hustling to every ball. The service game got going as well with several Lady Hawks coming up with aces. They battled back to get within four points, 19-23, before the Highlanders called a timeout. Both teams traded points leading to the Lady Hawks dropping a competitive 2nd game 21-25.

The 3rd and final game saw the Lady Hawks go down 3-9 early before once again battling back behind timely aces and solid defense to get within three points, 10-13. The Highlanders were just too good on this day though and won the game 25-19 and the match 3-0.

Following the game, Coach Tina said she was very proud of her players for playing as competitively as they did versus a top tier opponent. She continued, “There were stretches during the final two games where we played them even, nearly point for point. However, the mistakes we made during the match are the same we’ve been making in practice. They are little mistakes, but they add up when they keep happening. So we’ll look to fix them and continue working on getting better at practice.”

Keryn added, “It’s a whole new group of girls compared to last year and we’re still getting used to playing with one another and learning each other’s strengths. In the 2nd and 3rd games the score showed we got really close. I think we’ve gotten way better through practice and it showed today on the court.”

Up next for the Lady Hawks is another home game versus Arlington Christian before hitting the road to play at Shoreline Christians. Heritage then returns home to play rival Cedar Park on Thursday, September 21.

JR Hawks youth football soars in Tulalip

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

It’s been nearly fourteen years since Tulalip had a youth tackle football program. During that time frame any young athlete with a desire to showcase skills on the gridiron has had to play under the Marysville or Everett banner, but not anymore. Only a matter of weeks ago Tulalip received the necessary funding and resources to put together its own youth tackle football program. With the careful guidance of Lonnie Enick and Josh Fryberg at the helm, the JR Hawks football team has officially taken flight.

“I was coaching youth football here in Snohomish County back in 2002 with the Marysville Red Raiders. When I became an employee of Youth Services I knew a football program would really help the youth here on the Rez,” says Lonnie Enick about his longtime desire to bring youth football back to Tulalip. “Josh and I have been trying for the past four years to get it going. We wanted to have a team with all tribal members, and once we got the field built I knew it was only a matter of time before we had a team.”

Like the Field of Dreams mantra says, ‘If you build it, they will come’. With a brand new football field installed at the Youth Center, all the staff needed was to spread the word about the return of youth tackle football. There was no shortage of eager, young tribal members turning out for a series of practices held in early summer. When it was all said and done the latest iteration of the JR Hawks football team consists of 27 players, 25 of them being Tulalip and two other Native (Alaskan and Klamath). Ages range from 9 to 12-years-old.

Worth noting is two girls are on the team. Tieriana McLean aka ‘Peanut’ and Jayne Jones aka ‘Icebox’, as their teammates call them, are proving females can thrive in the contact driven sport as well.

“Tieriana and Jayne earned their spots on the team, just like the boys did,” explains Lonnie. “The boys took to them well, and in fact they found out pretty quick that these two can hold their own. They’re both aggressive and fast learners. In practice when either of them makes a big play it really gets the boys fired up and ready to play.”

The head coach is Jeff Rice, longtime President of the Marysville Red Raiders Youth Association. Coach Rice is a big asset to the team not only because he knows a lot about the program, but because he’s very familiar with the traditions and culture of the Tulalip Tribes. His assistant coaches are Willy Wolftail, Izzy Wolftail and Deyamonte Diaz. Each of them are tribal members, former high school football standouts, and well-known personalities within the Tulalip community. Together they form a coaching staff that is knowledgeable and committed to the next generation of athletes.

After a series of scrimmages with local teams, the JR Hawks hit the road and journeyed to Judkins Park in Seattle for their first taste of real game action. Their opponent was the JR CD Panthers who ranked number one the last three years in Seattle’s youth premier league.

Prior to kick-off, Lonnie shared his thoughts seeing the JR Hawks prepare to take the field for their first official game. “This has been such a long-time dream for me to run a football program like this for our youth. The smiles and joy it brings as I look around at all our players and their parents who came out to watch, it makes all the work well worth it. I love that sports brings the families and community together in a good way.”

Although the game ended up being lopsided in the JR Panthers favor, it was a good learning experience for the JR Hawks and provided the coaching staff with a list of things to work on going forward. The team plays another away game at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma on September 16 before playing a home game on September 23 versus the JR Puyallup Warriors.

“It feels great to see a Tulalip Tribes youth football team again,” says Josh Fryberg. “I remember wearing that Tulalip Tribes football jersey when I was a kid. The youth will learn so much about discipline, work ethic, and teamwork from playing football, things that will help them mature into responsible adults. We are proud of all of the players for striving to be successful on and off the field. We look forward to creating great relationship with all organizations for youth football as we support unity and teamwork.

“I really want to thank the volunteer coaches from back in the day; Delmer Jones, Steve Henry, Dana Posey, Jay Napeahi, Jon Moses and Eddy Pablo Sr. for building a foundation for us to build upon today. Thank you for everything that our current coaching staff and parent volunteers do for the youth, you all are truly difference makers. We are looking forward to a great season and many more future generations of Tulalip Tribes youth football to come. Special thank you to Play It Again Sports located in Marysville for all their support. As a community member, if you want to purchase any team spirit wear it is available there and part of your purchase will go towards supporting the football team. Let’s continue to bring our Tribes and community together in a good way.”

1st Tribal Lending Builds Strong Future for Native People With American Indian College Fund

 

Darkfeather Ancheta.

Submitted by Dina Horwedel, American Indian College Fund 

Denver, Colo.—September 8, 2017– Home ownership, like education, are considered to be both an investment and part of the American dream. But these paths to a strong future have not always been accessible to American Indian people.

Home ownership has been problematic because not all lenders could or can provide loans for people living on reservations or federal trust lands.

As for higher education, federal government statistics show that only 13.8% of American Indians and Alaska Natives age 25 and older have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with nearly 30% for all other groups. Affordability is a major reason for this disparity.

But now thanks to 1st Tribal Lending, an administrator of a federal program called The Section 184 Indian Home Loan Guarantee Program, American Indian and Alaska Native families, Alaska Villages, Tribes, or Tribally Designated Housing Entities can access financing for properties both on and off Native lands. The program was enacted by the Office of Loan Guarantee within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of Native American Programs, which guarantees the Section 184 home mortgage loans made to Native Borrowers. Financing is available for new construction, rehabilitation, purchase of an existing home, or refinancing. This program makes it possible for lenders to serve Native Communities both on and off the reservation, helping to increase the marketability and value of Native assets and financially strengthen Native communities.

1st Tribal Lending has supported the American Indian College Fund (the College Fund), a national nonprofit which provides access to higher education for Native people, to get a college education, for more three years, giving a percentage of its closing costs to the College Fund. This year they announced they are renewing their commitment to Native higher education with a gift of $66,000.

“It’s a perfect match,” said Darkfeather Ancheta, HUD 184 Tribal Advocate/Outreach, of 1st Tribal Lending. We are a Native organization that helps Native people get into their homes, and if we can help the American Indian College Fund help Native people get an education, this also helps with economic development—it’s a perfect synergy.

It’s a huge help to Natives to support their education. I personally know people who are trying to finish their education that do not have the resources to pay for it. One tiny grant can make or break a student. We think supporting the College Fund is a wonderful opportunity because graduates will use their educations to get into a job, create a life, and help their communities. And once they take this step, we can help people finance their dream home,” Ancheta said. “When our customers benefit, we all benefit in our country.”

Robin Máxkii, a member of the Stockbridge-Munsee nation who graduated from Salish Kootenai College with a degree in psychology and is planning to earn her master’s degree in the fall, is one of many Native students 1st Tribal Lending has helped to support through the College Fund. Thanks to scholarship support, in addition to attending college Máxkii has been able to enjoy college-related activities such as serving internships with the National Science Foundation; an invitation to the White House, MIT, and Google; and she has appeared on the television series Codetrip Nation for students to discover technology opportunities as part of Roadtrip Nation.

Máxkii said, “Thanks to 1st Tribal Lending and the American Indian College Fund’s generous support, I am the first in my family to attend college. Growing up in a less privileged community has not only offered financial and academic challenges, but has also helped me realize the value of a college education. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been and still be able to attend these institutions which wouldn’t be possible without the support of your organization. My educational pursuits would not be possible without generous support from scholarship sponsors like you. Thank you for enabling this opportunity!”

Tulalip Heritage High School Receives Accreditation

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

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

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

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

Tulalip Heritage High School Principal, Shelly Lacy.

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

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

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

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

YES! Youth Entrepreneurship Summit

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.”

Huckleberry Harvesters

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The gate to swədaʔx̌ali huckleberry fields was opened from August 25 to September 10, allowing tribal members a two-week window to walk in the shadows of their ancestors and harvest the elusive mountain huckleberry. Traditionally, the end of summer meant an annual trek of berry picking parties into the high regions of the Cascade Mountains to harvest the rare and sought after dark maroon huckleberries.

Mountain huckleberries are larger than the lowland evergreen variety and are more delicately flavored. They are found on high sunny slopes at about 5,000 feet elevation, and ripen towered the latter part of August and into early September. Fortunately, the Tulalip Tribes and its Natural Resources team has invested countless man hours and resources into a co-stewardship area located within the Skykomish Watershed, a place where our ancestors once resided. This pristine co-stewardship area allows tribal members to learn and practice traditional teachings in an ancestral space called swədaʔx̌ali (Lushootseed for “place of mountain huckleberries”).

Over Labor Day weekend, a number of Tulalips used the holiday to undertake the 2-hour journey to swədaʔx̌ali and spend a day breathing the fresh mountainous air while berry picking under the summer sun. Among the harvesters was first-time berry picker and Lushootseed language teacher Maria Martin.

“It was a beautiful, uplifting experience. Once we hit the forest, where there were no buildings, no cars, no people, just trees…my soul soared. I couldn’t not smile,” reflects Maria on her time at swədaʔx̌ali. “I’ve read and heard stories of people out picking berries and I always wondered how that felt. I didn’t grow up doing traditional things. I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to speak my language, but that is only a piece of my culture.

“Berry picking felt natural, like I’ve always done it. The smells were intoxicating. The sounds beautiful, from the buzzing bugs and chirping birds to the families sharing laughs and love. These are the meaningful experiences that we all need to share in. While I was picking I told myself the story of “Owl lady and Chipmunk”, and sang Martha Lamont’s berry picking song; connecting the pieces of my culture, my words with my actions I felt whole. When I returned home I gave away a batch of my berries to an elder, which was very meaningful to me. Those that can hunt and gather are responsible for gathering enough for those that cannot. We are all family and we all are responsible for taking care of one another.”

Several tribal members who recently returned from Canoe Journey also used Labor Day to pick mountain huckleberries, including George Lancaster, Shane McLean and Dean Pablo. George brought up his nephew Brutal and his aunt Lynette Jimicum so they could soak up the experience as well.

“It’s awesome having the opportunity to be up here,” says George. “Being up here, I remembered blackberry picking with my grandma as a kid and that made me happy. I look forward to using my harvested berries to make pie. I love pie!”

“I absolutely love being here,” adds Lynette. “Having my grandson Brutal here and being able to teach him that there’s more activities than just playing video games. It means a lot to me to show him the value of outdoor activities, like berry picking and hiking in the woods.”

For tribal member Shane McLean, his thoughts have been impacted by the ongoing natural disasters like the droughts plaguing the Pacific Northwest and raging forest fires throughout the region causing smoke and ash to cloud the skies.

“My short-term goal is to give some berries away, my long-term goal is to get a four year supply. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the prophecy telling us to be prepared for the future,” states Shane. “It’s said you should have four years of your traditional food stored away, just in case there’s something that might happen. We can see there’s natural disasters happening all over. I’m thankful the berries are even here to be harvested.”

Eighth Generation Celebrates One Year Anniversary

Louie Gong with hummingbird print.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

In the late summer of 2016, Nooksack artist Louie Gong opened the doors of his ‘Inspired Natives not Native Inspired’ brick and mortar shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, located directly above the tourist-favorite gum wall. After several years of independently grinding and selling his traditional yet contemporary artwork online, Louie decided to bring authentic Native American art to the masses by opening Eighth Generation and by doing so, he began to break stereotypes. In a world where big-name companies such as Forever 21, Urban Outfitters and Pendleton often appropriate Native designs, Louie took control by becoming one of the only Native-owned retailers selling authentically made Coast Salish art in the entire nation.

Louie has journeyed a long way since first making his mark in the fashion scene by taking a Sharpie to pair of Vans shoes and mixing traditional and urban art together. Since then, he has used his platform to empower and promote fellow Indigenous artists and has become one of the most prominent voices in the Native American community. Many tribal nations across the United States often gift   wool blankets to community members and leaders during traditional ceremonies. Blanketing honored guests is a tradition in Native America that has been practiced for centuries. These blankets were almost exclusively Pendleton but now tribes have the opportunity to support Louie’s movement during potlatches, powwows and many other tribal events.

On Saturday August 26, Eighth Generation celebrated their one-year anniversary by hosting an open house at their storefront. Tribal members from across the nation, including Ahousaht, Quinault and Lummi attended the event to show support for Louie and Eighth Generation.  The event featured a giveaway of several Eighth Generation products including blankets, soap, a limited number of signed Louie Gong Hummingbird prints as well as an original Louie Gong framed art piece valued at $1,200. During the event, Louie took a moment to reflect on the success of Eighth Generation throughout this past year.

“We’ve been open for a year and I feel like I’m at the end of a marathon,” he expresses. “When we launched it wasn’t time to rest, it was really time to put our nose to the grindstone and work even harder than the time leading up to the launch. Now that we’ve been open for a year and gone through all the different lessons that we had to learn, many of them the hard way, I feel like its finally time to take a deep breath, reflect on what we’ve learned over the last year and recalibrate to do even better next year. I feel like I’ve finally reached a time of reflection so I’m going to take some time away and think about how to move forward in a strategic way and how to continue scaling up Eighth Generation in a way that’s consistent with our values and our long-term vision. Not just creating opportunities for ourselves but also creating opportunities for other cultural artists and other community-based Native people.”

Central District Ice Cream Company  debuted eight new tasty ice cream treats at the celebration.

For the celebration, Eighth Generation collaborated with a local Native-owned business, the Central District Ice Cream Company, to debut eight new tasty ice cream treats: Hummingbird Huckleberry, Seattle Freeze (deep chocolate ice cream with Salish Sea salt and almond cookie crumble), Horchata De La Raza, COOL καψə? (nettle mint ice cream with chocolate chips), Genmaicha, Wunder Beer, Chica Fresca and Sleepy Dragon (lychee and lavender ice cream).  The Eighth Generation team also created artwork for each ice cream flavor.

“There’s no better way for us to celebrate the work that Eighth Generation does than by collaborating with another Native-owned company,” Louie states. “Over the course of last year, we were fortunate to become aware of Central District Ice Cream and the fact that they’re also Native-owned. We teamed up to create eight unique ice cream flavors that we launched today at our one-year celebration. It was the perfect way to act in a way consistent with Coast Salish and Northwest Coast teachings around how to conduct a celebration, but to also do it in a way that reflects the light-heartedness and contemporary nature of Eighth Generation. By incorporating traditional ingredients into the ice cream, including some medicines, it was a way for us to do what I try to do with my art, which is to make cultural teachings and ideas relevant to contemporary life.”

After a successful first year, Eighth Generation continues to inspire Native artists and break stereotypes. For further information and to view the Eighth Generation catalog, please visit www.EighthGeneration.com or visit the store in person at 93 Pike Street Seattle, WA 98101.

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.