Our treaties are the last line of defense

Tulalip Tribes educates community on Treaty Rights

Indigenous women were at the forefront of Seattle’s Women’s March on January 21, 2017. Photo by Micheal Rios, Tulalip News.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

If you’re an avid Instagram user, and let’s face it most of us are, chances are you’ve stumbled across somebody’s profile that is filled with gorgeous photos of mountain ranges, waterfalls, beaches and tall evergreens. Every day, more and more people are exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest, hiking hidden trails in search of breathtaking views and secret camping grounds. 

A 2016 study, conducted by the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, reported that outdoor recreation generated over twenty billion dollars in this state alone. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, outdoor recreation is a three-hundred-billion-dollar industry and is continuing to grow exponentially. And while it’s important to disconnect, inhale fresh air, enjoy scenery and experience the great outdoors, it’s equally important to remember that this land is sacred and has strong spiritual ties to the original caretakers of this region, who have lived off its resources since time immemorial.  

Let’s use the power of imagination to travel back about two-hundred years or so. You’re a young Coast Salish hunter who has been tasked to provide food for your family and village. After many years of cultural teachings, you’re finally ready to head into the woods to get your first elk.

 While you’re trekking up to the mountains, you recall all of the stories about elk roaming about in abundance in an area your family has hunted for generations. But you arrive only to see that there are hundreds of people hanging out, sleeping beneath the stars and enjoying themselves in a not-so-quiet manner. Because of all the people and constant foot traffic, there isn’t an elk in sight. So, you decide to try nearby areas to see if the elk have migrated, but instead you’re met with more people. Now you face the dilemma of providing another source of sustenance for your people, who depend on that meat for the upcoming winter months. 

Although crowded hunting grounds weren’t an issue two hundred years ago, you can see how big of an impact it would’ve had on tribal villages. When the Coast Salish people signed their treaty one hundred and sixty-four years ago, they kept the right to hunt and harvest on the same lands their ancestors had since the beginning of time.

Fast forward to the summer of 2018. A story was released by a popular local radio broadcast, KUOW, with the headline reading, ‘Seattle Hikers: You may be trampling on tribal treaty rights.’ Within the article, Tulalip Natural Resources Fish and Wildlife Director, Jason Gobin, shared a similar story but in modern time, claiming that many outdoor adventurers are showing a total disregard to the tribe’s ancestral lands. He expressed that due to over congestion, the areas for tribal members to conduct their spiritual work, whether it be hunting, gathering cedar or harvesting huckleberries, has decreased substantially since the signing of the Point Elliot Treaty of 1855. 

The story spread like wildfire across Facebook and Twitter as people shared the link, voicing both their support and concern. Over the course of a few months, the article inspired several outdoor recreational organizations and non-profit conservation groups to reach out to the tribe in an effort to learn more about tribal sovereignty. Because of the inquires, the Tulalip Natural Resources department hosted a daylong event for local non-governmental organizations to learn about treaty rights and the history of the Tulalip Tribes.

On the morning of January 9, around thirty individuals from recreational and conservation groups gathered at the Hibulb Cultural Center to begin the day with a tour of the museum. While having fun with the interactive displays, the group gained a basic understanding of tribal lifeways.

“It was a very powerful cultural exhibit, I learned so much I didn’t know before,” expressed Erika Lundahl of the outdoors publishing company, Mountaineers Books. “Particularly about the woolly dogs and also to see the special relationship the people share with the salmon in the area, as well as the weaving and the residential schools. It was powerful to hear first person accounts, it’s a lot to take in. There were things I’ve heard before, but getting a chance to hear the full story is something we all need to look at very closely to get an understanding of the impacts of generational trauma.”

The group then journeyed across the reservation and made their way to the Tulalip Administration building. In conference room 162, Natural Resources’ Environmental Liaison, Ryan Miller, spoke passionately about protecting the treaty rights his ancestors fought to keep. 

Ryan Miller, Tulalip Tribes Natural Resources Environmental Liaison, speaks on the importance of treaty rights and the need to protect them.

“Treaty rights are an inherent right,” he explained. “Treaty rights were not given to tribes, it’s a common misconception that the government gives Native Peoples special rights. That’s the exact opposite of how it works. Tribes are sovereign nations, they give up rights and they retain rights. Treaty rights are rights that are not given up by tribes and they’re upheld by the federal government as part of their trust relationship with the treaty tribes. The tribes right to self-govern is the supreme law of the land. It’s woven into the U.S. constitution as well as many legal decisions and legislative articles. The constitution says, congress has the power to make treaties with sovereign nations and that treaties are the supreme law of the land. 

“We all love the Pacific Northwest,” he continues. “Other people love it here too and they keep coming back, it’s really getting aggravating. I’m not talking about one person going out and hiking. That’s not the issue. What we’re concerned about, just like the population increasing, is that those people are coming here for what we all love to do, get out into nature. They want to see all those places that you love and I love, that I have a spiritual connection to. We have to figure out a way that we can provide that for people in a way that protects not only the inherent rights of tribes but the resources, so all of us can enjoy it.”

Libby Nelson, Natural Resources Senior Environmental Policy Analyst, gave the group an in depth look at the Point Elliot Treaty. During her presentation, she familiarized the participants with the term, ‘usual and accustomed grounds’. She also touched on the Boldt Decision and spoke of the Tulalip’s current co-stewardship with the U.S. Forestry department, which dedicated an area solely for spiritual use such as berry picking and the annual mountain camp for tribal youth during the summertime. 

Natural Resources Special Projects Manager, Patti Gobin, shared a personal and moving story about her grandma, Celum Young, who was a first generation Tulalip boarding school student. As she shared her grandmother’s painful experiences, she quickly followed with a heartwarming story of Celum, depicting her as a woman full of love who struggled loving herself. Because of years of forced assimilation, Celum endured physical abuse for speaking her language and practicing her traditions while at the boarding school. And as a direct result from the boarding schools, Patti admitted that her grandmother never spoke Lushootseed or taught the language to her children and grandchildren, in fear that they would be punished just as she was. 

Patti Gobin, Tulalip Tribes Natural Resources Special Projects Manager, speaks passionately about the boarding school era and asks that attendees honor the tribal treaties.

Native children who were around Celum’s age also experienced these atrocities at the boarding schools. Indigenous languages slowly began to slip away from their respective tribal communities. It wasn’t until recently that the language saw a major revitalization within the Tulalip community. Patti shared all this information, weaving together tales of happiness during dark times, to paint a picture that showcases how the trauma from the boarding schools trickled down generation after generation. 

Patti then asked the group to help honor tribal treaties, now that they are equipped with more knowledge and understanding of treaty rights and the tribal experience. She suggested signage depicting the tribe’s history as well as murals, such as the ones that will be displayed shortly in Skykomish and the San Juan Islands. 

“You don’t have to tell the intimate story of the Stu-hubs people,” she stated. “You can simply begin with the most general knowledge, that there are Indian tribes in the area and we will respect their treaty rights.”

At the end of the presentations, Ryan handed out a list of principals to the recreationalists and conservationists, stating that the tribe wants to be included in any project proposals and to build strong relationships with each organization. He urged them to bring the principals back to their team and discuss and modify the list to meet their mission and values. 

“Protection of treaty rights protects endangered species and habitat for all of Washington citizens, not just for tribes,” he said. “All the places that you love, all the species you care about, the orca, the salmon; our treaties are the last line of defense. When our state’s governor was telling the Trump administration that they couldn’t drill for oil off of our coast, he said it would be a violation of tribal treaty rights. We’re the last vanguard, help us protect it. Treaties are the supreme law of the land. They’re living documents and they have as much importance today, to us as Indian People, and they should to you as Washington citizens, as they did the day they were signed.”

The Tulalip Natural Resources Department plans on hosting several more Treaty Rights events like this throughout the year, tailoring their presentations to groups such as environmentalists and governmental entities. For more information, please contact Natural Resources at (360) 716-4480. 

Related Articles: 

The Treaty of Point Elliott: A living document

Tulalip prepares for Treaty Days

Tulalip youth exercise treaty rights, learn hunting safety

New colonizer in chief, same fight to protect our treaty rights

Tulalip educates community on habitat restoration and treaty rights

Point Elliott Treaty, 159 years later

Tulalip Tribes stewardship recognized by the Harvard Project

Pacific Northwest Tribes unite to protect and defend salmon

 

 

Accomplishing New Year goals with SNAP-Ed’s AnneCherise Jensen

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Tulalip Tribes SNAP-Ed Nutritionist, AnneCherise Jensen

As we welcome a new year, many of us look to begin anew. Whether it’s reading more, meeting new people, learning a foreign language or picking up a hobby, people across the globe look at the start of the new calendar year as an opportunity to work on themselves. One of the most common goals individuals set is bettering their overall health, which includes creating healthier eating habits and incorporating exercise into their daily routines. Although we begin each year with our best intentions, after the motivational ‘new year, new me’ phrase loses its luster a few weeks down the road, we tend to slip back into our old ways and think, ‘meh, maybe next year’. One of the many challenges people face when setting resolutions is sticking to them. 

The Tulalip Health Clinic offers a variety of programs and classes throughout the year in which community members can participate to help stay true along their health journey. Programs like Diabetes Prevention and Care offers cooking and gardening classes, encouraging citizens to grow their own produce and prepare their own meals to limit sugar and sodium intake. The Eat Smart, Be Healthy course, offered by the Tulalip SNAP-ED program, teaches about the nutritional value of food as well as how to budget, shop and prepare tasty meals to enjoy at home. SNAP-Ed Nutritionist, AnneCherise Jensen recently sat down with Tulalip News to offer ideas and tips on how community members can set and accomplish their New Year goals for 2019.

Its a new year. A lot of people are beginning their health and fitness journey, any tips for those just getting started?

What I usually recommend for people who are starting out their new year is to set realistic expectations and set small feasible goals that will eventually lead up to big goals. If their goals are to reverse diabetes or lose weight, it’s good to meet with professionals to set small realistic goals by changing your lifestyle in order to get there. 

People like to work on their physique this time of year, what are a few recommendations for getting back into shape? 

Getting at least thirty minutes of exercise a day, that’s a really great way to do it. I know many people don’t have access to gyms. One recommendation I like to give is find what you like to do, whether it’s Zumba, yoga, fitness or weight training, and just watch YouTube videos. YouTube is a really easy way to have a gym at your house without having to go somewhere,you can have your own space and privacy. It’s a lot about lifestyle changes and mostly exercise and slowly modifying your diet. 

What are the benefits of exercise and why is important for our bodies?

Muscle is the organ of longevity. The more muscles we have, the longer our bodies are going to stay physically strong and active. Really focusing on, not getting buff or anything, but just maintaining healthy muscle mass is important. Muscles are one of our main calorie burning sources, having more muscle keeps us thriving for a longer period of time, prevents osteoporosis and overall exercise keeps our bodies active for more years in our life. I recommend trying to increase muscle mass, even if it’s just with small weights. 

Other benefits of exercise are it helps with depression and anxiety. It gets rid of all the toxins in our body. We all probably have a diet high in sugar and caffeine, some of us smoke cigarettes or drink. That stuff can last in our bodies for a couple of weeks, and if we continue to put those toxins into our bodies, overtime it can damage our DNA synthesis. They’re carcinogens and if we don’t flush those out of our system every now and again it could eventually lead to cancer. It’s always good to have phases in our lives where we eliminate those from our body and we include more exercise and more water because it does give us more mental clarity, it helps with our emotions and our moods and it helps make our bones stronger so we don’t have osteoporosis later on in life. I consider daily exercise our daily form of medicine because it does so many things to our body; it’s good for the mind, body and soul.

You mentioned water. Can you talk about the significance of staying hydrated and ways to increase your daily water intake?

At our house we always have a big glass of water in the morning and one before we go to bed. I encourage myself to have a glass with every meal. It can be a little challenging because today, we have all these fun drinks and nobody wants to drink water. But water is chemically one of the most unique compounds because it’s comprised of hydrogen and oxygen and it could dilute or dissolve more compounds than any other acid in the world. It really helps keep our organs healthy, because if our organs are dehydrated and our brain is dehydrated, we don’t absorb our food as well, we don’t digest our food as well. Drinking water helps increase our metabolism and also helps flush out any toxins in our body. If you’re looking to get into yoga, water helps with flexibility. Water helps a lot with gaining muscle, you can’t gain muscle unless you’re fully hydrated. 

In the winter months where we have a tendency to get sick, water is good to keep our immune system going, keep the white blood cell count high and get rid of bacteria and viruses. Including fruits and berries into your water is a great way to add more flavor and more phytochemicals to help fight off those diseases and bacteria. If you have a hard time drinking water, what I like to do is drink ice with La Croix or some kind of sparkling water, that helps, especially if you’re a pop drinker. If you replace one glass of soda a day with water, it’s going to help with your mental clarity, weight and overall biochemistry.

Any advice on where to start for those who are looking to switch up their diet and make healthier eating choices?

Make breakfast your most important meal of the day because that’s what kick starts your metabolism. Try to focus on three meals a day with snacks in between. It can be overwhelming because there are a lot of diet crazes out there. What I recommend for people who may feel overwhelmed with nutritional information is stick to whole foods. If the food you’re eating was around 100 years ago, it’s probably good for you. 

You really want to step away from the processed foods and fast foods. I call them sometimes foods, where you only have them on occasion instead of a daily basis. Also using herbs and spices and the natural foods found out here on the reservation like nettles. Using what you have available for flavor instead of salt and sugar can help against diabetes and hypertension, which are two of the major killers in the United States.

Meal prepping is really big right now. What are your thoughts on meal prep? Is there any downside?

The weeks when I meal prep, my week goes by much smoother. I spend a lot less time thinking about what I’m going to eat, I save money and it decreases the chances of me going through a drive-through. Because you have a guaranteed meal, you don’t have to worry about what you’re going to eat. Many prepare all their food for the week on Sunday, the downside to that is the meals can get boring. What I like to do is make a few meals on Sunday and then again on Wednesday to add a little variety.  There are a lot of health benefits to meal prepping, you just have to stay consistent. It might be a little hard and challenging but it’s developing a habit that will lead to positive change.

Tulalip SNAP-Ed is gearing up for a big year, hosting several new classes including Mindful Movements, a yoga class offered to elders at the Senior Center on Tuesdays in February; the Food Smart class, similar to the Eat Smart, Be Healthy course but less intensive. SNAP-Ed will also continue their fan favorite programs this year like the Walking Club, Family YMCA Nights and of course the Eat Smart, Be Healthy course. For further details, please contact SNAP-Ed at (360) 716-5632.

 

Healthy Fruit Smoothies

  • Pick a Fruit: Frozen Mixed Berries, Mango, Pineapple, Peaches, Kiwi, Strawberries, Blueberries, Bananas, Pears, Grapes
  • Add Some Greens: Spinach, Kale, Avocados, Chard, Mixed Baby Greens, sprouts
  • Choose a Base: Milk, Almond Milk, Soy Milk, Low Sugar Fruit Juices, 
  • Coconut Water, Water, Coffee, Iced Green Tea 
  • Thicken It Up: Greek Yogurt, Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Cottage Cheese, Coconut, Oats, Ice Cubes
  • Power Boost: Protein Powder (casein, whey, vegetable), Ground Flax Seeds, Chia Seeds, Fish Oil, Vitamin Powder, Probiotics, Bee Pollen, Wheatgrass, 
  • Flavor Savors: Cinnamon, Honey, Coco Powder, Nutmeg, Vanilla Extract, Ginger

Creamy Raspberry Coconut Smoothie  

  • 1 cup almond milk 
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries 
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon 
  • 2 tablespoons shredded coconut 
  • ¼ cup raw cashews 
  • 3-4 ice cubes 

Berry Banana Oat Smoothie 

  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free oats
  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries
  • 1 cup light coconut milk or low fat milk. 
  • 1 Tbsp. Peanut Butter 
  • 1 tsp. ground flax seeds 
  • 1 scoop protein powder 

Spinach Pineapple Green Smoothie

  • 2/3 cup low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup pineapple
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach, packed
  • ¼-1/2 cup coconut water or low fat milk
  • 3-4 cubes ice 
  • 1 Scoop Vitamin Powder 

Tulalip Tribes first in state to introduce Aristocrat gaming machines

Tulalip tribal members and Slot Shift Managers, Andrew Flores and Erin Reyna showcasing one of several Aristocrat gaming banks.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Aristocrat has installed its first Tribal Lottery System (TLS) games in the State of Washington at the Tulalip Resort Casino and Quil Ceda Creek Casino. The new games – Birds of Pay™, Buffalo Gold Collection™, Wild Lepre’Coins™, and Wild Panda™ Gold – are the first games in the state provided by Aristocrat on the TLS platform. 

“Aristocrat is an Australian based slot manufacturer and one of the largest in the world,” explained Jason Woodall, TRC Slots Engineer. “It’s been close to ten years now that we’ve been working with them to bring their product to the Washington State market. Aristocrat is well-known for making games with big payouts and sought after jackpots.” 

While the Aristocrat games have only been installed for a few weeks at both Tulalip gaming properties, they already have a committed player base. Dale Horton of Arlington is one such player. Dale has been playing the new machines diligently since their arrival and his commitment paid off big time on the morning of January 7 when he hit a whopping $72,000 jackpot.

Dale Horton of Arlington hit a $72,000 jackpot
playing the newly installed Aristocrat machines.

“I’ve been playing Buffalo Gold quite a bit since it’s been put in,” shared Dale. “I frequent the Tulalip Casino nearly every day. I enjoy the mornings when it’s quieter and not as smoky, that allows me to socialize with the friendly staff who have always treated me well. It feels pretty good to have hit a jackpot, it’s my first in a long while.”

The games come to Tulalip and Quil Ceda by means of the Tulalip Tribe of Washington’s sponsoring Aristocrat’s entrance into the TLS market. That sponsorship allowed the company to sell its cabinets and games in the State. 

“We are excited for the Tulalip/Aristocrat partnership and what it means to the Washington market. Aristocrat has established solid product performance and will bring a superior library of content for our guests’ enjoyment,” said Don Hegnes, Tulalip Resort Casino Slots Director. 

“Tulalip Resort Casino and Quil Ceda Creek Casino are excited to be the first properties to introduce Aristocrat cabinets and games into the Washington market. Since the first install, our guests continue to embrace the product,” added Quil Ceda Creek Casino Slots Director, Belinda Hegnes.

The games are the first in a series of titles Aristocrat plans to bring to the State over the next year. “We are very excited to bring these new games to Tulalip, Quil Ceda, and Washington State,” said Siobhan Lane, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Gaming Operations. “We have worked diligently to create new games based on player-favorite titles that fully comply with TLS regulations, and we are grateful to The Tulalip Tribe of Washington for their sponsorship and encouragement throughout this process.” 

Aristocrat Technologies Inc. is a subsidiary of Aristocrat Leisure Limited (ASX: ALL), a leading global provider of land-based and online gaming solutions. The Company is licensed by more than 200 regulators and its products and services are available in more than 90 countries around the world. Aristocrat offers a diverse range of products and services including electronic gaming machines and casino management systems.*

*Source: Aristocrat press release (1/2/2019)

Share your story: Poetry at Hibulb

Shawnee tribal member and renowned Indigenous Poet, Laura Da’, read poems from her most recent book, ‘Instruments of the True Measure’, the follow up to the critically acclaimed, Tributaries.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

As far back as many can recall, long before precontact times, Indigenous Peoples used the art of poetry to engage their communities and convey important life lessons. Through stories, the younger generations learn how to navigate through their journey and avoid some of the many pitfalls life has to offer. 

Poetry has always been a way to cleverly portray a story, rhythmically using words to paint vivid pictures into the audience’s mind. Traditionally, poems were crafted as blessings to the creator and countless storytellers throughout time used poetry to explain how Mother Earth came to be, with such verses describing the raven stealing the moon and tossing it into the sky. And across the world, generation after generation, romantics relied on the expressive art form to win the hearts of their main attraction. 

Once a month, the Hibulb Cultural Center hosts a poetry series inside of their longhouse where local Indigenous poets are featured and invited to share their words with the community. The series provides a space where creatives can tell their story and explain the thought behind each of their readings, while listeners delve into the deeper meaning, paying close attention and hanging onto every word.  

“Tulalip elders were the foremost poets in our area,” says Hibulb Cultural Center Education Curator, Lena Jones. “Our ancestral language itself is rhythmical and expressive. When one translates the elders’ words and wisdom from Lushootseed, the words contain profound meaning expressed in a beautiful way. Our elders tell us that the ancestral elders advised us to use words as medicine for the people.

“Hank Gobin,” she continues. “The first director of the Hibulb Cultural Center and himself a talented poet, included poetry as one of the objectives of the Center, feeling poetry was becoming a lost art.”

On the afternoon of January 3, Shawnee tribal member and renowned Indigenous Poet, Laura Da’ read poems from her most recent book, Instruments of the True Measure, the follow up to the critically acclaimed, Tributaries. During Hibulb’s first poetry series of the year, she explained that she created fictional characters to tell the true story of the relocation of the Shawnee people.

“I see them [my books] as part of the same art, they definitely go together,” says Laura about her publications. “They both have a sense of going back and forth from the history to the present time and kind of wobbling along that line and taking the linear piece of time out. Mostly they [show]how the past impacts the present, particularly for Shawnee people and how the history informs how we live today and how knowledge of it can gives us more strength, but also understanding of our conflicts within our own nation. Knowing what my own ancestors have gone through is helpful to me to know how to interact with challenges today.”

Poetry is an essential art within many cultures and has led to modern day music and film. To Native American culture specifically, poems are integral to many tribal communities’ way of life. Since the years of forced relocation and assimilation, contemporary Indigenous writers use poetry to speak about important issues and accurately recount the colonization era that is far too often romanticized in U.S. History. While displaying incredible resiliency, the poets give insight to rez life, coping with generational trauma as well as many other issues happening across Native America. 

“Poetry is the way I love to write best because I like that it allows a lot for the unsaid,” Laura explains. “I feel that it gives you time to sit with difficulty and also with beauty but it doesn’t tell you what to do with it. It’s a meditative kind of writing and I like to do it because it’s so difficult. It makes you notice things so much as a person. You work so hard to get the line, the image and the rhythm, you create a relationship with words that ebbs back to an original appreciation of what it means to say something.”

The one-hour poetry series allows the featured artist to express their words for approximately half-an-hour. The floor is then opened up for fellow wordsmiths to share their poems and ideas with the people. 

“Poets such as Laura Da’ bear historical witness to the strength of the Native American spirit and inspire appreciation for the diversity of the American experience,” states Lena. “Others, such as Tulalip tribal member Sarah Miller, a poet and Lushootseed Language teacher, illuminate Tulalip’s vibrant cultural legacy. Sarah will be the featured poet on February 7. The open mic portion of the poetry series brings an endless source of wisdom and imagination, often times humor, and quite often meaningful dialogue to the Tulalip experience and current social issues.”

In recent years, poetry has seen a huge resurgence within tribal communities. More and more youth are reciting original words that reflect their perspectives while tackling issues that they witness on a day-to-day basis including suicide and drug abuse. Laura encourages young Indigenous writers and artists to pursue their dream and continue creating. She also urges young Native women to use their talents as a tool to heighten their voice, expressing that stories about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, as well as domestic and sexual assault, need to be heard. 

 “My main piece of advice is, seek and cultivate your community,” she says. “Use your writing to enhance your friendships, use your writing to talk to your elders and listen to them while honoring your voice too. For young Indigenous writers, know how much we need your story.”

The next Hibulb Cultural Center Poetry Series will be held on February 7. For additional details, please contact the museum at (360) 716-2600.

January is Stalking Awareness Month

Submitted by Sydney Gilbert, Tulalip Tribes Child Advocacy Center

This January marks the 15th annual National Stalking Awareness Month. Though millions of men and women are stalked every year in the United States, the crime of stalking is often misunderstood, minimized and/or ignored. 

Stalking is a pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that causes fear. Many stalking victims experience being followed, approached and/or threatened – including through technology. Stalking is a terrifying and psychologically harmful crime in its own right as well as a predictor of serious violence.

  In 85% of cases where an intimate partner (i.e., boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife) attempted to murder his partner, stalking preceded the attack. We all have a role to play in identifying stalking and supporting victims and survivors.

If you would like to learn about other ways to help support victims and survivors, visit www.stalkingawareness.org.

Glimpse of Glory: Tulalip Hawks create legendary moments

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Twenty-one aspiring athletes recently returned from a once in a lifetime experience in which they not only represented their Tulalip community with pride, but did so while playing the sport they love, tackle football. For these boys, football is much more than just a game. It’s a passion that teaches discipline, perseverance and commitment. And for those fortunate to play at the highest level, they got a glimpse of glory on the national stage.

Such was the case with the Tulalip Hawks 12-u youth football team. With a loaded roster of thirteen talented Tulalip kids along with Anthony Najera (Port Gamble S’Klallam) and Michael Abbott (Alaskan Native), the Hawks squad made history all season. They went undefeated, being crowned North Sound league champs and Northwest Regional champs along the way, before receiving a highly coveted invitation to play in the Pro Football Hall of Fame World Youth Championship hosted in Canton, Ohio. The Hawks were one of only ten teams in the entire country within their age bracket to be invited to play for a national title. 

“This is a special place for football, where only the best are called to play,” explains Rich McGuiness, Director of the Hall of Fame World Championship. “We think football is the greatest team sport and more than that, it is the most democratic. Height and weight, speed and strength all have their value, but those qualities alone don’t win games. Football is a great equalizer that way, in that regardless of color or socioeconomic status athletes have to play as a team to create a game plan and execute it on the field versus quality competition.”

With team sponsorship covered by the Tulalip Tribes, and a devoted group of team moms that fundraised nonstop for weeks, the Hawks were able to afford the hefty price tag and ancillary costs that come with a national tournament.

“I was very impressed with our parents who went out of their way to help fundraise for the trip. In total, we raised $13,000 in a month’s time with a variety of fundraising events,” said Malory Simpson, one of two official team moms. “The community support we received was amazing! As parents, we’re so thankful to have had the opportunity to travel with the boys and support them on their Ohio journey.”

The team spent nearly an entire day traveling across three time-zones before arriving in Canton on the evening of Tuesday, December 11. They got a much needed night of rest ahead of their introduction to a national viewing audience at Media Day. 

At the team’s Media Day, the young athletes moved as one cohesive unit with coaches in tow while taking in a number of unique experiences. They glimpsed the custom championship belts that would be awarded to the winners of each age bracket before being put on stage and interviewed about all the hard work that got them to this point. In a random chance meeting, the boys got to meet and take photos with former NBA slam dunk champion and Seattle-area icon Nate Robinson. Another highlight of the day was getting a quick lesson by a Hall of Fame educator detailing the history of football. Nearly each Hawk player got their mind blown when viewing football equipment used in the 1920s through the early 60s.

“It was cool to see the history of football helmets and the evolution of footballs,” said 13-year-old wide-receiver Jayden Madison. “After seeing how small and different old school cleats, helmets and pads were, I think it must have been pretty hard to play football in that stuff.”

“When I first saw that old equipment I wondered ‘what the heck is that stuff?’” added 12-year-old Image Enick. “The first helmet didn’t cover the whole head or have a chin strap. I wouldn’t play football if that was the only gear we could play in.”

Luckily for youth playing today, they have loads of gear that can be considered revolutionary when compared to what was used at the sport’s inception. The boys’ equipment includes one-of-a-kind Native American designs that is only befitting of the first-ever tribal team to qualify for the Hall of Fame’s national tournament.

During the afternoon of Thursday, December 13 the undefeated and multi-championship winning Tulalip Hawks made their Hall of Fame tournament debut versus the Georgia Bulldogs. In near freezing temperatures, the Hawks were on fire early. As a team the boys were executing their game plan and playing with the same style that had garnered them national spotlight. Lead running-back Gio Hernandez rushed for a touchdown on the opening drive and the Hawk’s stifling defense came up with a 4th down stop on Georgia’s next possession. After running-back Gaylan Gray rushed for a touchdown early in the 2nd quarter, Tulalip jumped out to a 15-0 lead.

They say football is a game of adjustments. Georgia didn’t wilt after the early deficit and adjusted their game plan to make use of their near 6-foot tall pass catchers. In combination with a bunch of Tulalip penalties, including costly turnovers and some that were very iffy, Tulalip saw their lead disappear. Georgia would score 25 unanswered points to finish the game, handing the Hawks a 15-25 loss. The stunning defeat was the Hawks first ‘L’ in two years under Coach James Madison. 

“It’s tough because it was our first loss in two years, but we are using it as energy for the next game. I’m using that loss as motivation for sure,” insisted defensive end Ryelon Zackuse. “We’re representing Tulalip and that feels good because we’re a small tribe and we’re the only tribal team that made it here playing against teams from states like Georgia and New York.”

With a quick turnaround, the Hawks had no choice but to get over their disappointing first game ahead of an early morning matchup with the Las Vegas 49ers. The determined Tulalip football team did use the previous day’s loss as motivation to showcase their skill and game breaking ability. In 30-degree weather, versus a loaded Las Vegas squad, the Hawks earned an impressive 30-14 victory backed by a stellar defense that came up with two interceptions and two forced fumbles. They represented the Tulalip/Marysville community with pride, showing their resilience. With the ‘W’ the boys proved they can compete with the very best in the country.

“We stood tall, played hard, fought hard and gave both games everything we had. I couldn’t be prouder of any set of kids in my life,” beamed head coach James Madison. “The greatest thing I saw out of this whole trip is seeing these boys step up and play the best competition in the nation. To have the season we had, it’s beyond a dream come true. I want to thank everyone who has sponsored us and supported our kids all season long. It’s been one amazing achievement after another and we did it all as a family.”

Only teams that went 2-0 in their opening games continued to play. The Hawks’ 1-1 record left them out of the remaining tournament games, but even so they left the national platform with a top eight ranking among the best of the best. 

The boys had a lot of fun at Media Day, made memories galore exploring the Ohio area and Hall of Fame complexes with their family and teammates, and had their competitive spirits fulfilled with a historical win. The glimpse of glory allowed them to dream bigger and set loftier goals with their football futures. 

“It means a lot to me making it all the way to the Hall of Fame tournament and especially good when we were all on stage together at Media Day,” shared Hawks standout Gaylan Gray. “My goals are to return next year and win it all, then my focus will be to get good grades in high school and make it to the NFL.” 

“It’s been really cool to be in Ohio to play football and win a game with this team because we play as a family. We protect each other and always have each other’s back,” reflected 13-year-old cornerback Adrian Jefferson, who has played football since he was just 5-years-old. “What I’m going to remember most is how we worked so hard just to get here and experiencing Ohio as a team, but I’m ready to be back home. I’ve missed school, I mean football means a lot to me, but school is more important. Being gone a week means I have a lot of homework to make up.”

Joseph Davis and Jacoby James journey to Ohio

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The recent big buzz around the reservation surrounded the Tulalip Hawks 12-u team and their performance at the Pro Football Hall of Fame World Youth Championship. However, they weren’t the only Tulalip tribal members vying for a national title. Youngsters Joseph Davis and Jacoby James were also in Canton, Ohio at the same time playing under the Marysville Tomahawks banner.

Marysville Pilchuck’s feeder team, the 11-u Tomahawks, won-out in their age bracket at Northwest Regionals and in doing so earned an invitation to the Hall of Fame tournament. The Tomahawks feature Joseph at lead running-back and middle linebacker, while Jacoby plays special teams and back-up safety. 

“It’s been really fun traveling with the team and just exciting to be here in Ohio,” said Joseph at his team’s Media Day. “We’ve been practicing in the cold weather back home to get ready for the games here. We’ve gotten used to it and I’m looking forward to having fun and kicking some butt.”

“It’s good to get our program on the map and make it so we get more good football players,” added Jacoby. “I’m excited because it’s a once in a lifetime experience to play football in Ohio.” 

From December 11-16, Joseph and Jacoby, along with their families, got in on the Hall of Fame experience both on and off the field. Their first game was played against the Louisiana Knights. The 1st half was all defense as neither team found the end zone, leaving the score tied 0-0 at intermission.

At halftime, Jacoby’s grandmother Verna Hill shared her thoughts on what Ohio meant to their family. “For both boys to represent their family name and their tribe is a wonderful thing,” she said. “I have twenty grandchildren and Jacoby is the only athlete out of all of them. Watching him play is amazing! He is one of the two smallest players on the team, but his energy and quickness give him an edge.”

Moments into the 2nd half, tragedy struck for the Tomahawks when their do-it-all player Joseph absorbed a helmet to helmet hit that knocked him out of the game with concussion-like symptoms. Without Joseph his team wasn’t able to compete at the level they are used to. The Tomahawks went on to lose to Louisiana, and struggled again without Joseph in their next game versus the Columbus Bucks.

  Off the field, the Davis and James families made the most of their time in Ohio, no more so than when together they toured the Hall of Fame museum and were awed by Native American sports legend, Jim Thorpe’s exhibit and bronze statue. 

“It was an amazing trip and I’m thankful to spend the time with my boys,” reflected Joseph’s father, Sam Davis. “Ohio was something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives. It meant a lot to Joseph to travel with his team and play on the national level. It was a proud dad moment for me to watch my son lead his team because he works so hard all year round to be in that position. Football has allowed him to grow not just into a well-rounded athlete, but a leader as well. Even injured, he was on the sidelines with his teammates cheering them on and keeping his guys pumped as best he could.”

Joseph’s final message before departing Ohio was, “Thank you to everyone back home for all the support in getting us here.” He’s already looking forward to next season and coming back to lead his Tomahawks team to victory. 

Clerks office named in honor of Anna M. Moses

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

f-the-year retreat, the Tulalip Tribal Court surprised tribal member Anna ‘Annie’ Moses on the morning of December 14. In one of the Justice department’s courtrooms, a large sign was revealed before the eyes of Annie and her co-workers that read, ‘The Anna M. Moses Clerks Office’. The sign will be featured directly above the clerk’s office windows and her efforts will be recognized by tribal members for generations to come.

“It makes me feel wonderful,” Annie ecstatically expressed. “I’ve been working for the court for about twenty-eight years and worked for the tribe thirty-three years. When we first started, we had court once a month and we just got bigger and bigger. It’s been a great honor and I’m just proud to be a part of it.” 

Interim Tribal Court Director, Alicia Horne, states the courthouse wanted to show their gratitude and thank Annie for her years of service, stating her work was pivotal in the Justice department’s evolution.

“The clerk’s office has been going strong since the early nineties and Annie’s been a big part of that,” says Alicia. “She’s been here for many years and has seen the court grow and change over the years. It’s good to honor our people while they’re present. It’s become tradition for a lot of tribes to honor our people for their dedication, passion and profession. Annie’s name and the clerk’s office will become synonymous because of her work, and she’ll continue to be remembered for it for years to come.”

Twenty-three students celebrate TERO graduation

TVTC grad, Jackson Bascue (Tulalip), is ready to build a better tomorrow, equipped with proper certifications and new tool belt.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

“It feels great,” says TERO Training Vocational Center (TVTC) graduate and Tulalip tribal member, Joseph Henry. “It’s a blessing to be a part of this program. It gives us a lot of opportunities, opens many doors for us. It’s the stepping stone of where we want to go. What I learned from this program is to be humble, utilize all your tools. It gives us a career, more than just a temporary job. I have several trades that I wouldn’t mind pursuing, cementing, masonry or carpentry, that really caught my eye. The goal is to build my own house one day. We’ve gained so much skills, it’s really an honor to be Native and take part in a program like this.”

TVTC is a hands-on learning experience that trains Native Americans, from all tribal nations, and their family members in the construction trades. During the sixteen-week course, the students learn several skills that they can apply at a variety of well-paying jobs including carpentry, cementing, plumbing as well as electrical and mechanical work. In addition, they also earn their flagging, first aid and safety certifications. 

TVTC is well known throughout the nation and has welcomed Indigenous Peoples from many tribes. It is one, if not the only, Native pre-apprentice program in the United States. Most recently, the training center began adding new vocational trainings for their students such as marine technology and medical pre-apprenticeship. 

On the morning of December 17, friends and family of twenty-three TVTC students gathered at the Hibulb Cultural Center longhouse to witness their loved ones graduate from the program.

With fifteen Tulalip graduates, seven graduates from other tribal nations and one Tulalip spouse, this latest graduating class saw a whopping twenty-two students complete the construction program and one student successfully finish the medical apprenticeship program. TERO strives to provide ‘training for a better tomorrow’ by teaching tribal members how to work with their hands, giving them the tools and foundation to build a new future for themselves.

“Our construction students did sixteen weeks of intense training,” explains TERO Director, Summer Hammons. “That’s five hundred and sixty-hours and twenty-eight college credits. They’re walking away with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) training, forty-hours of HAZWOPER [Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response] training, forty-hours of scaffolding, flagger certification, CPR/First Aid training and boom, scissor, and fork-lift certification. 

“Our medical apprenticeship program, we started at our health clinic,” she continues. “It’s about a year-long and we worked with the Washington Association of Community and Migrant Health Services. They do forty hours a week, completing a 2000-hour apprentice program in the medical field, requiring additional online classes, ten to fifteen hours a week, plus three Saturday, full-day clinical workshops. And bringing the cultural element, we’ve also brought a new aspect called marine technology and that’s working with the waters and the fishing component, so that our students can learn how to fabricate their boats and work on their engines.” 

Indigenous mother and TVTC graduate, Katrina Black Elk (Fort Belknap), with her kids who proudly display their mom’s achievements for student of the quarter and perfect attendance.

The TVTC participants work on a number of projects throughout the course, all while developing important and necessary skills like time management, finance and resume building. The program is largely based on creating a brighter future for tribal families. Therefore, TVTC puts a special emphasis on including the families throughout their loved one’s journey, hosting fun family nights and providing a number of resources for children, to parents who are enrolled in the classes. 

As the graduation ceremony continued, the students received their diplomas as well as a tool belt they can put to use once they’ve landed their first job. Upon receiving their certificates, it was easy to see that each student shared a unique connection with their instructors Mark Newland, Billy Burchett and Lisa Telford.

“When I first started I wasn’t sure if I would complete it because my whole life I’d quit things before finishing,” expresses Tulalip tribal member and TVTC grad, Rose Runningwater. “Lisa pushed me really hard to do this for myself. I completed this class because I wanted it and I realized that because she pushed me. It was a really good experience and I know today that I’m a woman who can spread my wings, fly and get what I want out of life.” 

 Many students offered hugs and even shared a few words of appreciation about their teachers, gifting them with items such as paddles and blankets. 

“I can’t describe it; it makes me want to well up right now,” says Mark after receiving a beautiful Eighth Generation wool blanket. “I’m so humble, I just try to pass on what I know to the people of my community. We had a large class – lots of strong personalities, leaders and also six strong women to help out. We built four tiny houses that will be utilized here in Tulalip and we also built some looms for this museum that are on display right now. It was a really fun class and I’m excited to see where this will take them.”

Committing to a program that takes months to complete is no easy feat by any means. Although a majority of the class lives locally, a handful of student’s live hours away from Tulalip and made a long-distance trip every day, including Warm Springs tribal member, Nalani Brisbois, who lives nearly one hundred miles away in Nisqually. By befriending fellow classmate and Colville tribal member, Annette Squetimkin, Nalani fortunately did not have to make the entire commute alone.

“I would wake up at 3:30 every morning, get ready and hit the road by 4:30,” Nalani says. “I’d stop in Tukwila and pick up Annette and we’d get here around 7:30. It was kind of hard – early mornings every day. Sometimes I didn’t want to come back but I kept at it and I’m happy because it was really worth it.” 

Puyallup tribal member, Sandy Dillion, can relate to his classmates as he had early mornings as well and would return home late evenings after traveling through stop-and-go traffic, taking away much needed family time from his wife and kids. 

“It was pretty tough,” he says. “Waking up at 4:30 in the morning and having to leave the house at 5:05. It was worth it for me though because just thinking about it, in the long run, driving this far every day to make some money in my future is definitely going to pay off. Our TERO department [in Puyallup] is not as big as this one, so for them to reach out to other tribal members to get them educated and started on a career path is important. I’m really appreciative of this opportunity and I want to thank the Tulalip Tribes.”

Several union representatives were in attendance, looking to introduce themselves and recruit new employees. The TERO department recognized two local construction business owners, Chris Winters and Gordy Sansaver, who acted as liaisons, assisting TVTC graduates find work throughout the years. Many TVTC Alumni sat amongst the crowd, supporting the new graduates. Alumni took a moment to share their success stories and experiences with the program, encouraging other tribal members to consider a career in the trades. 

“If you have any interest at all, come sign up,” said Mark. “You’ll find out that working with your hands, working outside and building a future is for you because the rewards are tremendous. The Tulalip TERO program has paved the way for so many students. It’s there for the taking, you just have to reach out and put your mind to it and go for it.”

The TVTC pre-apprentice construction program is accredited through Renton Technical College and South Seattle Community College and is funded by the Tulalip Charitable Fund and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. There is no cost to enroll in the apprenticeship and the program comes highly recommended from previous students. 

For further details regarding the TVTC program, please contact TERO at (360) 716-4747.