By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News
Team Washington’s 19U men’s basketball team (led by Tulalip tribal members Bryce Juneau, Robert Miles and Darion Joseph) participated in a highly competitive, week long tournament at the 2017 Native American Indigenous Games hosted in Toronto, Canada. Dubbed “the Native Olympics”, Team Washington represented their tribal communities proudly while coming up clutch game after game on their quest for Gold.
After dropping their opening game in pool play, a 69-73 loss to Wisconsin, the team had little doubt they would bounce back. In fact, talking to the players immediately after they were eager to get back on the court and prove they were much better than the first game showed. Their coach echoed that sentiment.
“They needed those first few quarters together versus quality competition to figure how to play as a team,” reflected Coach Harold Joseph after the opening game loss. “In that second half they got comfortable and everything started to click both offensively and defensively. That momentum will carry over to our remaining games of pool play for sure. These boys still expect to rally and make the gold medal round.”
They were right. The momentum and confidence showed big time the very next game when Washington played Ontario, the host team, in a jam-packed gym of Ontario fans. The loud and cheerful fans fell silent as they watched Washington execute its offense easily over and over against Ontario’s defense. Leading by double-digits most of the game, Washington won 71-55. They were led by Darion Joseph’s game high 18 points.
Only hours later Washington was back in action, this time with a matchup with Northwest Territories out of Canada. It was a complete and utter smackdown served up by Team Washington. With a blazing pace of play and all-go attitude, they boys were scorching hot on offense. They led a whopping 47-9 at halftime on route to a 90-28 victory. This time it was Bryce Juneau scoring a game high 19 points, followed by 17 points from Robert Miles.
Coming off back-to-back wins that showcased the style of play Team Washington (2-1) expected to play, they would have their medal tested versus Team Manitoba (3-0). Playing another team from Canada meant another gym completely full of fans rooting against them, but Washington relished it.
In order to win their pool, make it to the semi-final round, and keep hopes alive of playing for a gold medal, Washington had to beat undefeated Manitoba. The game was a true back and forth battle. Both teams were bringing it on both ends. At halftime Washington trailed 37-39. The teams continued to trade buckets and answer each other’s scoring run with an equalizing string of points. It was only fitting that at the end of regulation the score was 73-73, forcing overtime.
Washington connected on back-to-back 3-pointers by Robert Miles and Tre Williams to open the overtime period. Manitoba again answered back to tie the game at 79-79. Darion and Bryce then took over with a series of pick and roll plays that gave their team the winning advantage, while silencing the gym of ruckus Manitoba fans. The 87-83 win put Washington on a three-game winning streak, but most importantly it meant they won their pool and would play in the semi-final round.
On Friday, July 21 Team Washington (3-1) played an early morning, semi-final game versus fellow west coast team Vancouver B.C. (3-1). A berth to the gold medal game was on the line.
In the first half, each team played to its strength. Washington looked to get the ball down low to its bigger, stronger forwards while B.C. looked to push the ball in transition at every opportunity and beat Washington down court. The Tulalip led team were down 36-38 at halftime and watched the deficit grow to 9 points when they trailed 48-57 near the end of the 3rd quarter.
It was in the game’s crucial moments that Robert Miles was at his best. He was a monster on defense, getting his hands on every loose ball and deflected any pass that came his way. Then on offense he got red hot when his team needed it most. He hit a pair of 3-pointers and several free-throws that gave Washington a 67-65 lead with five-minutes to play. From there are Bryce and Darion again ran their two man game to perfection. Darion scored on series of pick and rolls that sealed the W for Team Washington, 82-76. Incredibly, the three Tulalip boys combined to score 21 of the teams 23 points scored in the deciding 4th quarter.
Washington now (4-1) got a few hours to rest and rehydrate for an impending matchup with Team Minnesota (5-0) in the Indigenous Games basketball finals. Minnesota led the entire competition with an astounding 105 points per game average, while Washington boasted a stifling defense that only allowed 63 points per game to their opponents. It would be a battle of contrasting styles with the gold medal on the line.
As basketball fans and players from various team across North America filled the stands to watch the gold medal game, Team Washington put on a defensive clinic. They had played zone defense for nearly the entire competition to this point, but against Minnesota’s shooting arsenal Washington switched to an aggressive man-to-man defense. The strategy paid off huge as the quicker and taller Washington defenders contested every single shot and cut off every passing lane. At halftime Washington led 48-36.
There is a classic saying “the best offense is a good defense”. Team Washington proved that saying true. In the 3rd quarter, with center Mike Leslie in the game coming up with big time blocks and guards Bryce and Rob getting steals, Washington turned several Minnesota turnovers into easy scoring opportunities. Up 20 points, 75-55, the game was out of reach for a Minnesota team that couldn’t solve Washington’s lockdown defense. When the final game buzzer sounded Washington had won convincingly, 93-77, to claim the title as best Indigenous basketball team in North America.
Following the medal ceremonies, where the boys and their coaches were beaming with pride and excitement as they were each presented with a gold medal, the Tulalip tribal member athletes reflected on their North American Indigenous Games experience.
“I feel great having been given the opportunity to represent Team Washington and my tribe,” said Bryce Juneau. “Losing our opening game got us going, it was a punch in the mouth that we needed to regroup and focus in on playing at our best. Seemed like every game we played we had a gym full of fans rooting on the other team. We used that as extra motivation to play well and silence those fans. We came a long way from Tulalip to play at these Toronto Games and to win the gold is an amazing feeling.”
“To win the gold with this group of teammates for Team Washington is great. Just thinking of all the basketball I’ve played with Bryce and Darion since we were kids and now we’re here as champions,” reflected Robert Miles, who is now a two-time gold medalist after winning gold at the last edition of NAIG. “I’ll never forget being here in Toronto the past week and getting to experience the city and culture with my team. From all the sites, food, and art in downtown Toronto to going to Niagara Falls, we made a lot of memories.”
“As a team, being in Toronto, we were all in a new place, exploring together and having fun. After that opening game loss we kept together, we knew we could fight back because we were here to win the gold medal. And we did!” declared Darion Joseph. “Participating in the Indigenous Games and to represent your tribe is an amazing experience. To all the young kids back home in Tulalip my advice is to keep working hard to craft your skills and never give up, you can be at the next Indigenous Games representing Team Washington.”
By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News
Over sixty future Tulalip leaders participated in the first week of the 22nd Annual Lushootseed Language Camp. The kids learned the traditional Coast Salish language and Tulalip culture during the week of July 17-21. Hosted by the Tulalip Lushootseed Language Department, the summertime camp is held twice during the month of July and is open to Tulalip youth age five to twelve.
The kids are treated to five fun days of culture in which they learn the traditional language, teachings and stories of Tulalip. The camp utilizes several interactive activity stations to teach about Tulalip’s traditional way of life. Campers become familiar with the words while playing games and using modern technology. In addition to studying Lushootseed, campers also learn traditional Tulalip dances and songs.
“One of the songs we sang was the Welcome Song and it was Harriet Shelton Dover’s song,” stated Language Camp Instructor, Cary Michael Williams. “We also sang the Killer Whale Song, which was Ray Fryberg and Tony Hatch’s song they put together and brought forward to the Lushootseed Department.”
Each year, the Lushootseed Department honors a Tulalip member by teaching the youth about their work within the Tulalip culture. Last year the camp was dedicated to Harriett Shelton-Dover, this year the camp is dedicated to her son and Tulalip Elder, Wayne Williams.
“We always think of somebody to honor and dedicate the camp to and this year Wayne Williams came to mind,” explains Lushootseed Language Teacher, Natosha Gobin. “We know that he’s done so much for our community with preserving our teachings as well as everything he’s donated to the Hibulb Cultural Center. We felt it’s very important to acknowledge him while he’s here because a lot of times people don’t get acknowledged until they’re gone, and he’s still here with us so we want to honor him.”
Throughout the week, the youth rehearse a play based on a traditional Tulalip story. The play is performed for the community during the closing ceremony on the last day of camp. In honor of Wayne Williams, the Language Campers reenacted Wayne’s story Killer Whale and Two Boys.
Language Camp continues to grow; previously the department would anticipate about fifty participants each summer. However, due to increasing interest, the camp has seen an increase of fourteen participants each week in the past two years.
Young Tulalip tribal members and siblings, Natalie and Carsten Nordahl, travel from Boston every summer to attend Language Camp. According to their father, Natalie excitedly awaited the year her younger brother was old enough to enroll, in order to experience the cultural camp together. The kids have returned each summer, making this their third trip to Tulalip.
“I love that we get to learn about our culture and the language of our Tribe. My favorite part is learning the language and just being a part of this experience,” Natalie expressed. Carsten added, “My favorite part about camp was playing the games!”
Parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles gathered at the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy Gym on July 21, for the 22nd Annual Lushootseed Language Camp closing ceremony. The youth showcased their teachings to the community by performing the songs and the play in Lushootseed.
“As a parent it’s important for my son to attend language camp because it was something I was able to do as a child and it’s important to carry on the songs and the teachings from our ancestors,” states Lushootseed Camp parent and Tulalip tribal member Samantha Chavez.
After performing Killer Whale and Two Boys, the youth gave handmade gifts, such as weavings and necklaces, to every guest in attendance. Over the span of twenty-two years, the camp has inspired numerous Tulalip youth to learn more about their culture. Many current Lushootseed Language Instructors, attended Language Camp when they were younger, including Tulalip tribal member Shelbi Hatch.
“Language Camp started before I was born actually, it was in ‘93 I think,” Shelbi recalls. “It’s a place for the kids to learn their culture and for everybody to get a view of what Tulalip is and how intact our culture and language still is. This gives them the utilities and the tools they need for later on in life. I feel more of a generational importance, I don’t feel like it’s me receiving the teachings, I feel like I’m giving it and these kids will be the ones to speak fluently.”
The Lushootseed department and the language campers displayed two paddles, with traditional artwork depicting the Killer Whale and Two Boys story that will be gifted to Wayne Williams and his sons.
“We keep trying to follow the teachings that Shelly Lacy and Auntie Joy [Lacy] laid out because this was part of their vision twenty-two years ago,” states Natosha while reflecting on a successful first week. “This is always the best time of the year for us. The kids have so much fun, the families are so grateful and it’s just a good time. We’re happy we’re able to keep this alive and keep it going.”
For more information about the Annual Lushootseed Language Camp please contact the Lushootseed Language Department at (360) 716-4499 or visit their website wwww.TulalipLushootseed.com
By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News
On a beautiful warm summer evening, hundreds of tribal members from across Washington State traveled to Safeco Field to watch the Seattle Mariners take on the New York Yankees. Every summer the Mariners partner with the Emerald Queen Casino to present Salute to Native American Night, in which the baseball clubs celebrates Pacific Northwest Native American culture.
The Mariners often present gifts on game nights, such as t-shirts and bobble heads, to fans that arrive early to the stadium. In honor of Native American Night, the baseball club gave away fedora hats designed with salmon, in traditional Coast Salish art, to the first 10,000 fans to enter Safeco. Several tribes received tickets to the game to disperse amongst their members. The majority of the Tulalip community sat together in section 149, near left field, creating a fun atmosphere with friends and family while enjoying America’s favorite pastime.
The sold-out stadium contained a playoff-type energy as the fans were treated to a close and intense ball game. Mariner’s Second Baseman, Robinson Cano, hit a solo homerun in the bottom of the eighth that gave Seattle a 5-4 advantage. However, the Yankees came back to tie the game in the ninth inning. The game extended into extra innings, where the M’s we’re able to score a walk-off run to win the game, providing a thrilling victory for the fans of Seattle.
By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News
Washington State’s one-hundredth anniversary inspired a cultural movement amongst Pacific Northwest Tribes in 1989. While planning for the State’s centennial celebration, Quinault tribal member, Emmett Oliver organized a traditional canoe pull across Elliot Bay to honor Washington’s Native American culture. The paddle influenced the tribes to continue their traditional practices by starting the annual summertime event known as Tribal Canoe Journeys.
For nearly thirty years Northwest tribes have participated in Tribal Journeys. While honoring the traditional mode of transportation, multiple tribes navigate the open waters in cedar dugout canoes and travel together from tribe to tribe until they reached their final landing destination. The tribes take turns hosting the event each year, marking their reservation the final destination. After all the canoes arrive, a weeklong celebration ensues in the form of traditional song, dance and storytelling. The Tribal Canoe Journey experience reconnects tribal members with their culture and promotes positive lifestyle choices.
This year, the We Wai Kai Nation along with the Wei Wai Kum Nation are hosting Canoe Journey in Campbell River, BC. En route to the final landing destination, several Canoe Families entered the waters of Tulalip Bay on the evening of July 21, including Muckleshoot and Lummi. Tulalip Canoe Families also joined in on the ceremonial canoe landing, pulling alongside their guests. Once the Canoe Families were granted permission ashore, they enjoyed a meal before celebrating a night of culture during protocol at the Don Hatch Youth Center.
The Canoe Families, now traveling with Tulalip, continued their journey to Campbell River, departing from Tulalip Bay in the early morning of July 22. The canoes are expected to reach Campbell River by August 5, and festivities will continue through August 10.
US Senate to Vote on Healthcare Bill this week – Make your Voice Heard!
- The Federal Government has trust responsibility to provide health care to American Indians and Alaska Natives
- I want my Senator to protect the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHICIA) in any legislation or repeal effort
- Medicaid cuts will have significant negative impacts to Indian Country. For over 40 years, Congress has recognized Medicaid as a means to help fulfill the trust responsibility for health to Indian Country and today represents about 13% of total IHS spending. This means, that cuts to the Medicaid program, are really cuts to IHS.
By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News
“When you think about the heart and soul of Washington, what we do is we get better,” stated Washington State Governor, Jay Inslee. “We build better jets every couple years, we build better software every couple years. Isn’t it a joy to know that hundreds of Washingtonians are going to get better because of the Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital? What a joy to celebrate that effort and to know that these folks are going to get better.”
Hundreds of Snohomish County community members recently celebrated the grand opening of the new 70,000 square-foot behavioral hospital on July 13. The 115-bed psychiatric and addiction center will provide both inpatient and outpatient care for children, teens, adults as well as elders; and will offer specialized programs for the youth, women and veterans of the community who are in need of mental health care. Operated by US HealthVest, a behavioral healthcare company that runs multiple behavioral hospitals nationwide, the Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital aims to provide care to individuals suffering with mental disorders as well as to those battling drug addictions.
“This facility fulfills an incredible need in the state of Washington,” Governor Inslee continued. “We have not had the capacity, not even close to the capacity, to provide for the mental health of our citizens and this plugs an enormous gap in this community. The effort of this company to work with others including the Tulalip Nation, who I understand has a contract with this facility, what a beautiful partnership.”
The behavioral hospital is working with local tribes to offer culture-based healing for the Native American community. The hospital also features Native American artwork and incorporates traditional teachings for tribal members receiving care.
“I want to offer my congratulations on behalf of our elders, our youth and community at large for building a facility that was a need like twenty years ago,” expressed Tulalip Tribes Chairwoman, Marie Zackuse. “I want to thank Dr. Richard Kresch and US HealthVest for the work they have done these past five years, to build and now manage this facility. Your staff has worked with ours, and the Tulalip Tribes look forward to a strong and supportive relationship.”
“Thank you to Misty Napeahi, our Tulalip Tribes General Manager, for helping build a relationship between our Tribe and the Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital, it will help ensure Tulalip tribal members and other Native Americans in this area have access to the care they need,” said Marie.
Community members had the opportunity to tour the two-story facility during the grand opening celebration. The hospital features a recreational room with board games, coloring books and fitness equipment such as yoga mats and stability balls. The hospital also utilizes uplifting colors throughout the building and each patient room is free of any sharp edges and hooks, creating a safe environment for patients to grow and heal.
“We have been talking a lot recently about healthy communities,” Marie stated. “Working together as community partners to identify the needs of our people was a critical first step. The essential services in acute behavioral health care and addiction treatment are necessary if we want to heal our communities. Again, I just lift my hands to each and every one of you who helped this dream come alive.”
For further information, please contact the Smokey Point Behavioral Hospital at (844) 202-5555 or visit their website www.SmokeyPointBehavioralHospital.com
By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News
The 19U Team Washington men’s basketball team competing at the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) features Robert Miles, Bryce Juneau, and Darion Joseph in the starting lineup. That’s three Tulalip tribal members who have been playing basketball since they were able to dribble a basketball. They were perfect for the team as they are all too familiar with the up-tempo, high intensity flow of rez ball. Their natural chemistry that comes from playing with one another since club teams in their Elementary school days is an added benefit as well.
Joining the three Tulalip boys on the team are four highly talented ballers from the Native tournament circuit. The complete roster is as follows:
Team Washington 19U Men’s basketball
- #2 Isiah Strom (Yakama)
- #3 Bryce Juneau (Tulalip)
- #10 Robert Miles (Tulalip)
- #15 Xavier Littlehead (Northern Cheyenne)
- #20 Mike Leslie (Muckleshoot)
- #21 Tre Williams (Nez Pierce)
- #34 Darion Joseph (Tulalip)
On Monday, July 17 Team Washington squared off with Team Wisconsin in the opening game of pool play. Wisconsin featured several players who took Gold at the previous edition of NAIG in 2014, so the game was expected to be highly competitive with Washington having their own expectation of making it to the medal round. The game was played at Humber College in Toronto, Canada.
Washington opened up the game playing 2-3 zone defense, while Wisconsin employed man-to-man defense. Wisconsin came out firing from 3-point territory against the zone and quickly took a 7-0 lead. However, Washington eventually settled in and forced several Wisconsin turnovers that led to transition buckets. The good guys ended the 1st quarter on an impressive 14-3 run, including 4 points each by Robert and Darion, to take a 14-10 game lead.
In the 2nd and 3rd quarters, the gold medal experience of Wisconsin showed. They continued to execute against the zone defense by hitting long-range shots and making running floaters in the lane. During the same time frame, Washington struggled to keep up with its own offense. Washington trailed 31-54 with 1:10 remaining in the 3rd quarter, the 23 point deficit was the largest of the game.
Down by 20+ points with one quarter to go usually leaves the trailing team defeated and without fight. But this wouldn’t be the case for a team with Robert, Bryce, and Darion. They’ve come back from large margins before and knowing it could be done they’d try to do it again.
Coming out with a sense of urgency in the 4th quarter, the three Tulalip boys led the charge with a frantic offense pace – all go, no hesitation. They combined to score 20 points while playing aggressive, lockdown defense in an amazing display of resiliency and teamwork. The no quit attitude had Wisconsin on their heels, as Washington cut the once 23 point deficit to only 6 points, 66-72 with just under two-minutes remaining.
Washington’s comeback fell just short though. There just wasn’t enough time left as Wisconsin held the ball as much as they could to eat up the game clock. Washington lost 69-73, and left the gym thinking they gave the W away. Following the game Bryce, Robert and Darion all shared the same sentiment: how well they played as a team down the stretch was how they’d play going forward and they were determined to still make the medal round.
“I think we’re still going to do real well at these Games. They needed those first few quarters together versus quality competition to figure how to play as a team,” reflected Coach Harold Joseph after the opening game loss. “In that second half they got comfortable and everything started to click both offensively and defensively. That momentum will carry over to our remaining games of pool play for sure. These boys still expect to rally and make the gold medal round.”
Let the Games begin!
By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News
On the spectacular evening of Sunday, July 16 an estimated 5,250 Indigenous athletes, coaches and support staff proudly marched into the Aviva Center, located just outside of Canada’s largest city Toronto, for the opening ceremony of the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) 2017.
The over 5,000 athletes represent 26 regions across North America, consisting of 13 provinces and territories in Canada and 13 regions in the United States. Since 1990, Indigenous competitors between the ages of 13 and 19-years-old have taken part in the showcase that celebrates their athleticism and heritage. This year’s Indigenous Games marks the 9th edition of the multi-sport, multi-disciplinary event dedicated to Indigenous youth from the United States and Canada. The Games offer 14 sport competitions in addition to a vibrant cultural program.
For the first time in over 25 years NAIG returned to eastern Canada, notably allowing the province of Ontario to host its first ever Indigenous Games. For many of the young tribal competitors who reside on reservations in the United States, their athletic expertise allowed them their first ever entrance into Canada, to sightsee the City of Toronto, and, most importantly, to experience and connect with Indigenous cultures from around the continent.
During the opening ceremony of NAIG 2017, which was delayed approximately 90-minutes due to a thunderstorm, the capacity crowd of over 9,000 was rightfully energized by a surprise musical performance from Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas, flanked by traditional hoop dancers putting on a mesmerizing cultural performance.
“Ladies and gentlemen, it is an honor to be here. I represent the Shoshone and Hopi Nation,” said Taboo before performing his musical medley. “I am very proud to be Native American representing here with you all in Toronto. We represent the future. Natives, Indigenous, First Nations, and Aboriginals all coming together as one people, one nation, one tribe to make dreams come true.”
Spanning the week of July 17-22, more than 5,000 athletes from across the continent will compete in 14 sporting categories on the traditional lands and homelands of the Huron-Wendat Nation, Metis Nation of Ontario, Mississauga of the New Credit First Nation, Mississauga of Scugog Island First Nation, and Six Nations of the Grand River.
Government and Indigenous leadership from various regions took to stage to deliver rallying messages of encouragement, strength, and unity through sport.
“On behalf of the Six Nations, we are the Haudenosaunee and we welcome you. We are so excited and proud to be one of the community partners hosting these Games,” exclaimed Chief Ava Hill, representing the Six Nations of the Grand River. “To the athletes, these are your Games! It is so emotional to me as a leader to witness all you young people here today because each and every one of you is a dream come true. You are role models for the younger ones who are watching you. You are ambassadors for your families and for your communities. You are all winners! You are all winners just by being here and being a participant in the North American Indigenous Games.”
Following a rocking performance by A Tribe Called Red, fireworks filled the night sky at the Aviva Center to signal the beginning of the Toronto 2017 North American Indigenous Games.
Sport can be a launching pad for many great things yet to come for youth. Through participation in NAIG 2017, youth are given many opportunities to travel, make new Indigenous friends, and form life-long connections. As athletes participating in NAIG 2017, Indigenous youth learn many character building skills, such as team building, courage, determination, and goal-setting in a familiar setting located at the intersection of culture and sport. These are all skills that will help greatly as the youth move on to the next chapters in their lives.
Representing the Pacific Northwest region of the United States is Team Washington and its 19U men’s basketball team which includes three Tulalip tribal members: Robert Miles, Darion Joseph, and Bryce Juneau. They are joined by Michael Leslie (Muckleshoot), who played basketball for Tulalip Heritage during his sophomore year, Tre Williams (Nez Pierce), Xavier Littlehead (Northern Cheyenne), and Isiah Strom (Yakama). They are coached by Tulalip tribal member Harold Joseph, who participated in the first four editions of NAIG as a competitor and has coached in every NAIG since.
“Having three Tulalip tribal members on the team is special because they get to share this experience with the younger youth back home,” says Coach Harold. “All three of them are positive role models in our community. They each played high school sports; Robert at Heritage, Bryce at Marysville-Pilchuck and Darion at Archbishop Murphy, so the younger kids see that and it pushes them in the right way. I want to thank the Tulalip Tribe for supporting us and giving us the opportunity to represent all our people back home in our quest for a gold medal.”