Medicine Wheel Garden Celebrates the Spring Equinox

By Michael Greene, Tulalip News

On a crisp morning in March, people gathered at the Karen I. Fryberg Tulalip Health Clinic to honor the Spring Equinox of 2017, with a blessing of the Medicine Wheel Garden by Father Pat Twohy, longtime friend of the Tulalip Tribes. Song, drumming, and thoughtful stories were shared by families, friends, youth, and elders.

Misty Napeahi, Tulalip Tribes General Manager, opened the ceremony and offered kind words about Father Twohy. “Father Pat, it is always a blessing when you are here,” she said. “I want to let you know that the Tulalip Tribes love you”.

Father Patrick J. Twohy, an honorary Tulalip Tribes member and former priest of St. Anne’s Catholic Church, has been a friend of the tribe for the past forty years. Whether it be blessings, funerals, or personal visits to tribal members, he has been an important part of the Tulalip community.

As a show of appreciation and respect from the Tulalip Tribes, Dale Jones officiated over the formal gifting of a pair of moccasins to Father Twohy. An Elders Advocate for the Diabetes Care and Prevention Program, and long-time friend, Jones honored Father Pat with a “footwashing ceremony.” This was done as an example of serving one another by “building each other up in humility and love.” A true demonstration of a servant heart.

The Wisdom Warriors, a group of elders, made the moccasins over several weeks. They were taught the traditional art of moccasin-making by Shirley Jones, member of the Yakima Nation.

The Medicine Wheel Garden is the latest effort by the Tulalip Tribes to build an integrative medicine practice. The new garden is in the shape of the well-known medicine wheel of Native American cultures. It mirrors the Four Directions, or cyclical patterns of life: the four changing seasons, the life cycle from birth to youth, adult to death, as well as the mental, physical, developmental, and spiritual states of our own bodies.

Students at the Tulalip Vocational Training Center (TVTC) created the garden boxes for the Medicine Wheel Garden. Several students worked outside in the rain, heavy winds, and mucky conditions to help configure the garden beds.  Jennie Fryberg, Health Information Manager for the Tulalip Health Clinic, stated, “All the students from TERO, we would like to thank you very much for all the work that you have done for our beautiful gardens. We thank you so much for your hard work constructing these garden beds!”

Fryberg spoke about the Tulalip Tribes Diabetes Care and Prevention Program and gave recognition to those that helped, “I want to give honor to the Diabetes Program and let everyone know that they [recently] won the Portland Area Indian Health Services Directors Recognition of Excellence Award.” She thanked each staff member of the team: Monica Hauser, Veronica Leahy, Dale Jones, Layla Fryberg, Natasha LeVee, Rose James, and Susan Adams. “Our hands are up to you for all that you have accomplished,” said Fryberg.

Jennie continued, “When Roni started the garden, she wanted to start with the Medicine Wheel Garden, so that we can take care of our people as a whole.” With the collaboration of the Behavior Health, Diabetes, and Pharmacy Clinic team, combined with the Health Clinic, these departments represent the four sections of the medicine wheel. For the tribes to take care of patients as a whole the Tulalip Health Clinic implemented its model of integrative medicine on the Medicine Wheel, a longtime vision of Karen Fryberg.

Marie Zackuse, newly elected Chairwoman of the Tulalip Tribes, concluded the ceremony, “We are on a good path to become healthy, starting with the young ones, helping our members learn about nutrition and diabetes prevention,” she said. “I want to thank all the elders, youth, students from Heritage High School, the construction training students, and clinic staff who helped make this garden a reality for our people.”

For more information about the Karen I. Tulalip Health Clinic and the Medicine Wheel Garden, please contact Veronica Leahy at (360) 716-5642 or

Lifting Our Community Through Recovery

Leah Crider (center) was wrapped in a special Louie Gong made blanket by Coordinator Sarah Sense-Wilson and MC Jobey Williams.



By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month. To increase public awareness of problem gambling and the availability of prevention, treatment and recovery services here at Tulalip a free community-wide celebration was held at Hibulb Cultural Center on Friday, March 3.

“The Tulalip Tribes is a trailblazer in Indian Country for acknowledging Problem Gambling Awareness Month. Our efforts to illuminate and shine a spotlight on problem gambling and recovery contributes to the wellness movement in Tulalip,” states Sarah Sense-Wilson, Problem Gambling Coordinator. “Events like this provide us a platform and an opportunity to address gambling disorders as a real public health concern, negatively impacting individuals, families, and communities. Our goal is to invite people to learn about gambling addiction and to destigmatize the illness by seeking recovery through a wide range of treatment services offered through Tulalip Family Service’s Problem Gambling program.”


Comedian and motivation speaker Kasey Nicholson (left center) brought lots of laughs and smiles to his fellow Natives.


The celebration event consisted of a large gathering of local residents, members of the gambler’s anonymous community, and friends to the cause who offered guidance and support. Master of Ceremony was Jobey Williams, drumming and singing was provided by the talented Terrance Sabbas, and the keynote speaker was Native comedian Kasey Nicholson.

Kid, elder, and family friendly, the atmosphere was shared by all as attendees enjoyed a bountiful salmon dinner with lots of entertainment and encouraging words.

Many of us have been personally affected by friends or family members who are problem gamblers. We’ve witnessed the devastating effects of financial, emotional, spiritual and physical toll on our families and community. Gambling addiction has a rip tide impact on our people and we want to encourage them to seek help and have the courage to make change.

Heartfelt, personal life stories of gambling and alcohol addiction and their road to recovery were shared by Jobey and Leah Crider. Their words were truly inspiring as audience members absorbed the emotions invoked in journeys from co-occurring addictions to recovery and healing.

“I am overwhelmed with adulation for Jobey and Leah’s willingness to share their triumphant victories over the powerful, life-taking addictions,” marvels Sarah. “The gamblers anonymous community is growing in our region, as more and more folks seek help and begin to reconnect with their community. It is important we continue to provide spaces and opportunities for folks in recovery. Fellowship is a core principle of every 12-step program and we want to honor our gamblers anonymous community by celebrating their recovery.”

Lifting our community through recovery is vitally important for building a network of support for both the inflicted and their friends and family members.



Among the celebrations attendees was twenty-five year old tribal member Brando Jones. Brando grew up in Tacoma and when he was a teenager fell into the vicious grips of alcohol and drug addiction. Now 22 months clean and sober, Brando has recently moved to Tulalip and has been attending Tulalip cultural events to help him remain spiritually strong on his road to recovery.

“The reason I attended this event is because it’s important for people in recovery, like me, to hear words of wisdom and advice from people that have been where I’ve been, people who’ve battled the beast of addiction and came out on top,” says Brando. “It’s truly inspiring to see Natives from different tribes helping each other out and showing their concern and offering support for our people. We may be from different tribes, but that doesn’t stop us from coming together to help each other in our addictions and recovery.”

During Problem Gambling Awareness Month, Tulalip Family Services and the Problem Gambling Program will be hosting and co-sponsoring several upcoming special events throughout the month of March. These events include the ‘Community Fun Run/Walk’ at Tulalip Heritage H.S. campus on Saturday, March 11th from 1:00pm – 3:00pm and the Youth Dance that night from 6:00pm – 9:00pm. There will be an Elders Luncheon March 24th from 11:30am – 1:00pm at the Elders Center with guest performer Star Nayea. Concluding the month, there will be a Movie Night for the youth on March 31st at 5:00pm, where the youth will share a special educational presentation on problem gambling awareness.

ABC Curriculum promotes healing at Tulalip schools


By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

During a recent visit from the Washington State Board of Education, Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary (QCT) provided an inside look at their ABC curriculum, an acronym for the new approach to the education system within the Tulalip community. ABC stands for the Academic instruction, Behavioral and social-emotional support and Culture based curriculum that the Marysville School District and the Tulalip Tribes have recently began implementing at the elementary.

QCT is one of few schools in Washington State that is integrating traditional Native teachings into school subjects such as music, art, language, math and history. The school often invites tribal members to help teach the children about the Tulalip culture. Each morning the school holds a fifteen-minute assembly where students perform traditional song and dance. QCT holds an annual cultural fair where tribal members are invited to share traditional foods as well as tribal history with the students. The elementary school also observes Tulalip Day every November and holds a fifth-grade potlatch at the end of each year. Most recently the school held a Billy Frank Jr. themed spirit week, honoring the man who dedicated his life to fighting for Native American fishing rights.

“We all had heroes growing up. I remember going to the library and spending all day reading about Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth and Jim Thorpe. You know growing up as Indian People, we don’t have a lot of Native heroes we can look up to, but Billy Frank Jr. is a true Coast Salish hero. He is someone we all look up to because of the amazing work he did for fisheries. Thank you for honoring him, he definitely deserves to be celebrated,” stated Tulalip Chairman Mel Sheldon.

The ABC curriculum puts emphasis on family and community, connections that are often strong in Native America. QCT makes an effort to communicate regularly with their student’s family members. The school also ensures the students stay up to par with the utilization of modern technology, both for research and to create documents. During a classroom walk-through the State Board of Education observed the curriculum in action during an art class as well as a writing class.



Representatives from the Tulalip Board of Directors, Marysville School District and QCT faculty spoke about cultural assimilation and the affect it left on Native communities. Each explaining to the Board of Educators that assimilation caused trauma that is still affecting the descendants of boarding school victims today, although the events occurred several generations prior. Families were broken and cultures were stripped during the ‘kill the Indian, save the man’ era.

“Our people were [originally] taught in a traditional way at the foot of our grandmothers, not in classrooms but out in nature. When the education system was forcibly put on us, it was done in way that stripped everything away from our children. It was done purposely to take away who we are as Indian People in a very painful way. That was our introduction to education. Since then we’ve had elders try to get this work, our voice and our story, into the public schools to try to heal. I believe we are continuing the work of our ancestors,” states Tulalip tribal member and QCT Instructor, Chelsea Craig.

The tribe, school district and Board of Educators are well aware and prepared for the hard work that will be required, and they started the healing process through the ABC curriculum.

A Gathering of Coast Salish peoples


By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Western Washington Tribes and British Columbia First Nations of the Salish Sea came together to speak with one voice at the Tulalip Resort Casino’s Orca Ballroom on February 27.

As one voice, the tribal leaders, activists, and caretakers of the environment spoke for the continued protection of the land and waters of our aboriginal homeland and the preservation of our culture. As brothers and sisters, they shared their culture and concerns for the endangered eco-region, and continued their dialogue on the need for strengthened environmental policies and practices in our ancestral homelands.

These Coast Salish ancestral homelands, the Salish Sea and its people continue to face detrimental damages to the environment and resources based on the pollution based economy, and they will continue to move on co-management and co-decision making on the Salish Sea. The agenda for the 2017 gathering was to discuss:

  • Aboriginal and Treaty Rights at Risk
  • Resource and Environmental Challenges
  • Laws, Policy and Regulation
  • Coast Salish 21st Century Nations and Tribes
  • Federal, State and Tribal Dispute Resolution
  • Decision making, uniform consent

Following the day’s seminars and presentations, attendees were treated to an evening filled with traditional song and dance. The next generation of Tulalip drummers, singers, and dancers opened, led by cultural specialist Chelsea Craig.


Tulalip drummers and singers


Succeeding the young and spirited Tulalip group was one of the top Native dance groups on the west coast, Git-Hoan.

“We are Git-Hoan, the People of the Salmon. We are a makeup of Tsimshian, Haida, and Tlingit people from southeast Alaska and are proud to be in your territory to sing and dance for you,” stated group creator David Boxley, a renowned Tsimshian artist and carver. “What a beautiful place to dance. Thank you for allowing us to be here.

“This dance group has been in existence since 1996. We use a lot of masks to tell our stories. All of our tribes, including [Tulalip], at one time danced with masks and this form of expression is coming back strong over the last decade. The songs and dances you are about to see are old in their origins, but relatively new in their make-up. Missionaries were very successful with our people. We are trying to change that by [revitalizing our culture] like how it was before the missionaries. We are proud of the fact we try really, really hard to look like the old days, with the masks and telling the stories like our people once did.”



Git-Hoan performed for nearly an hour to the marvel of gathering attendees. Included in their selection of dances was a brand new song debuted for the Coast Salish occasion.

“We are the People of the Salmon, and so are you. We are all People of the Salmon,” explained Boxley. “Historically, our ancestors’ lives depended on the salmon. The next song we are going to show is a brand new song that shows our pride in being People of the Salmon .We dedicate this song to all of you.”

With the conclusion of the day’s events, Board of Director Theresa Sheldon shared her amazement in watching the performances by several Coast Salish tribes.

“It’s always a blessing to see our young students singing our ancestors songs, especially for this Coast Salish Gathering. A gathering that’s all about our Mother Earth and how we can work together on protecting our waterways. It was truly a delight to witness the Alaskan group perform their traditional mask dances. They had the most amazing raven dance, with the mosquito ancestor dance, and the supernatural eagle dance. It’s truly an honor when our relatives bring out their masks to share with us. Sharing our songs and dances together is the way of our people. I’m so thankful to the parents and teachers who help our young ones embrace this.”

Former Pro Wrestler Marc Mero Lays the Smackdown on Bullying


By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Prizewinning posters created by students of the Marysville School District (MSD) were on display in the Orca Ballroom of the Tulalip Resort and Casino. The posters promoted anti-bullying messages such as make bullying extinct, stop cyberbullying, and you don’t have to touch someone to hurt them.

The recent Anti-Bullying Community Campaign Event drew large amounts of families from the Tulalip-Marysville community as many were excited to see special guest speaker, former professional wrestler Marc Mero.

Last year MSD School Resource Officers, law officials assigned to the school district, attended an anti-bullying conference in Florida because the cyberbullying epidemic reached the school district and quickly became an issue among many students.

During the conference, the School Resource Officers heard Mero share his inspirational life story, told to assist with bullying prevention and encourage the youth of America to make smarter life decisions. Following Mero’s speech, the officers made it their top priority to bring the WWE Champion to Washington State to talk to students in school district about bullying. Marc presented his message at middle and high school assemblies throughout MSD before concluding with the Tulalip Resort and Casino event.



“Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future,” stated Mero as he urged the youth in attendance to be mindful of the company they keep. Mero, professionally known as Wildman Marc Mero, created a wish list at a young age that contained both his dreams and future dream purchases. Among the various items on the purchase list, stand-outs included a black Cadillac and a house for his mother.

“I was bullied very badly as a kid. My mother worked two jobs to support my siblings and I. We didn’t have a lot of money so we got a lot of our clothes from garage sales,” he remembers. Marc explained that because his classmates discovered he wore articles of clothing they once owned, they nicknamed him ‘bum’, likening his used attire to a homeless person. However, young Mero was able to channel those emotions, triggered by his bullies, into sports. Excelling in a variety of sports, he found his true passion in boxing and fought his way to a New York amateur championship match. Due to an accident that resulted in a broken nose, he was unable to fight for the championship title.

Although he had intentions of returning to the boxing ring, he was restricted from fighting for a year per doctor’s orders. Marc used that time to rekindle old friendships and quickly spiraled into drug and alcohol addiction. He watched ten years of his life pass by, along with any boxing comeback dreams. It was while flipping through television channels that he first watched, and decided to pursue a career in, professional wrestling.

After months of hard work and determination, Mero began to quickly climb to the top of the wrestling world, facing opponents such as The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Triple H. He was meeting celebrities, making upwards of millions of dollars and married professional model and female wrestler Sable. Most importantly he was finally able to purchase a brand new house for his mother as well as the car of his dreams, the black Cadillac.

Association with the wrong crowd once again led to Mero’s downfall. This time his addiction led to three overdoses, neglected relationships, and a divorce. During his rise to fame Marc would sometimes avoid returning phone calls and letters to his mother and siblings. He would often skip family events such as his brother’s baseball games and his sister’s high school graduation. Marc revealed that at the height of his professional career, he lost his mother due to lung cancer, his younger brother to a head trauma accident and his younger sister to cancer.

“When it all comes down to it, life is about the choices you make. I missed out on the greatest years of my sister’s life, of my brother’s life, and for what? To go and get high?” He continued, “I was a bully too. I bullied my family. All they wanted to do was play catch with me or sit next to me. I was so mean to them and I regret it every day. I would tell them to quit bugging me or I would tell them to go away. What I would give to go back in time and throw one ball to my brother or hold my sister tightly while she sat next to me. Make sure the people that you surround yourself with will build you up and not tear you down,” he urged.

Marc spoke about the emotional harm bullying causes, stating that suicide is currently the third leading cause of death amongst teenagers in the United States. And the majority of suicide deaths are bully related. Mero invited mother and schoolteacher Amy Briggs on stage to share a story about her son Daniel. At the young age of sixteen, he had been ruthlessly bullied for years from his peers in school. Daniel was often told to ‘kill himself’, verbiage that is unfortunately seen quite often among high school students nationwide across various social media platforms.

One night Daniel received a text from a classmate asking him to save the world from misery by ending his life. He replied stating the world would not have to worry much longer because he was planning to take his life soon. The classmate responded ‘put up or shut up’. The next day Daniel told other classmates of his intentions and was met with similar reactions. And that afternoon, while his parents were at his brother’s basketball game, Daniel died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

As tears streamed down many faces of event attendees, Amy urged parents who have children that are constantly harassed online or at school, to join forces with other parents to put a stop to bullying. “There truly are some teachers and administrators who don’t believe bullying is really a problem. My voice was only heard once or twice but you can’t ignore three hundred voices in a board room at the same time,” she stated.

Mero explained that sometimes when kids bully other kids, it is because they are victims of bullying themselves. He advises that a one-on-one conversation between a bully and an adult can lead to both the revelation of the issue causing the harassment as well as a solution to the issue.

Before thanking the crowd for their attention to this serious issue, Marc gave a possible explanation as to why some kids attempt suicide. “Maybe their parents are going through a divorce, maybe they had a death in the family, maybe they lost their pet, maybe they have a medical condition [their bullies] know nothing about. And it’s that one text, that one message that pushes them over the edge. Behind every text are real people with real feelings,” he stressed to the youth.

For more details about the life and career of Wildman Marc Mero, including information about his organization Champion of Choices, please visit

Wellness Court is now in session

Tulalip Police Officer Joe Dyer poses with participant Robin Hood during a Wellness Court session, displaying the new relationship between TPD and recovering addicts in the Healing to Wellness Court program.


By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 


The heroin and opioid epidemic has hit America hard in recent years. According to a study conducted by the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, thirty-one percent of deaths statewide can be credited to drug overdose. The epidemic has unfortunately claimed the lives of many loved ones nationwide. Previously, addicts who wanted to become clean would often fail because they were not provided with the proper resources and tools while attempting to become sober. In many cases, addicts are eventually caught with possession of drugs, and sometimes turn to thievery for the intent of supplying their high, and are reported to the authorities. The traditional court is a flawed system when it comes to dealing with individuals who committed a non-violent crime fueled by their addiction. For this reason, drug courts were invented. Drug courts can be found nationwide and are utilized by individuals who are battling addiction and were convicted on drug-related charges.

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 around six to seven hundred drug related casualties per year, with the largest amount of overdoses occurring in Everett, Marysville and Tulalip.  Tulalip has made an enormous effort to help heal their people in the form of the Healing to Wellness Court. There are many similarities between drug court and Tulalip’s Wellness Court, such as random drug tests, required court appearances, and numerous resources. Tulalip has modified the drug court model to fit the needs of addicted tribal members, ensuring that there’s an emphasis on culture and community with the new Wellness Court.

“The difference from drug court is mostly the integration of the cultural programs and the community the program is in. In Wellness Court we ask our participants to be in the community,” states Wellness Court judge, Ron Whitener. “A lot of the participants have to rebuild their relationships with the community because a lot of them have burned some bridges on their way into Wellness Court.  It is something positive they can work on while they are also working on their treatment and education. We want to help reintegrate them back into this community.”

Wellness Court is held once a week on Tuesdays, and participants are required to stay for the entire duration of court. The court sessions, typically an hour long, display a new twist to the traditional courtroom scene. Participants approach the podium to speak to Judge Whitener directly about their struggles and successes each week. Wellness Court uses a system of sanctions and incentives to help keep their clients on track. Sanctions include increased court appearances, community service hours and writing assignments. While incentives include gift cards, movie passes, decreased court appearances and later curfews.

“Our goal is to heal the individual completely, not just the addiction,“ states Wellness Court Coordinator Hilary Sotomish.  The Wellness Court team works as a cohesive unit, meeting weekly to review each participant’s progress, ensuring that everybody is on the same page as communication is key amongst the Wellness Court team.  The team is comprised of members from several departments including Behavioral Health and Recovery, the Healing Lodge, Housing Hope, Tulalip Housing, the Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic, University of Washington Tribal Public Defense Clinic, and the Tulalip Police Department.

The Tulalip Police Department assigned three officers to the Wellness Court team. The officers take on a new role, at least from the participant’s perspective, as they interact in a positive, supportive manner while encouraging participants during their road to recovery. Current participants are happy to see the officers in the community and often converse with the officers about their weekly progress.

Tulalip Police Chief Carlos Echevarria states, “Wellness Court allows my law enforcement officers to have greater interactions with the participants. Often the officers will stop by and say hello and ask them how they are doing. We ensure we are providing positive feedback and often the officers will take the time to listen to what the participants have to say. They are building great relationships with each other.”

The five-stage program has no fee with the exception of a fifty-dollar GPS ankle device, which is used to monitor the location of the participant as well to ensure that curfews are met. Cultural activities such as sweat lodge, red road to sobriety and other local events are encouraged.

“Our goal is to keep people involved and to work to help them. As long as the individual is showing they are committed to working and trying, we are going to keep working and trying,” states Hilary.

Tulalip tribal member Robin Hood approached the judge on his twenty-fifth day sober -an accomplishment met with tremendous applaud from the judge and the courtroom, to talk about his past week. Robin is currently staying at the Healing Lodge and attended two more than the required group therapy sessions. However, he missed one of his daily call-ins and received a write-up from the Healing Lodge, which resulted in sanctions of two hours of community service and a one-page written essay on why he missed his daily call in.

“Wellness court can be an easy process, you just got to show up every day and do what is required. It’s only hard if you make it hard, that’s my motto. My experience is going fine. I’m doing this because I know that other people will follow so I’m trying to be a leader. I think this is a positive thing for myself and for my community, and it’s working,” Hood states. “Like my dad always says, ‘it works, if you work it’. Another quote I like is, ‘chase your sobriety like you chase the dope man.’ That’s exactly how sobriety works; you got to want it. If you ain’t wanting it, you ain’t getting it. I’m really glad I’m here. The wellness team has been there to support me one hundred percent. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be clean and sober.”

For more information about the Healing to Wellness Court please contact (360) 716-4773.

Tulalip Child Advocacy Center receives accreditation

Jade Carela, Legacy of Healing Child Advocacy Center Manager proudly shows the departments accreditation award from the National Children’s Alliance.


By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

The National Children’s Alliance (NCA) is the accrediting body for Child Advocacy Centers nationwide. Child Advocacy Centers, often referred to as CACs, conduct forensic interviews as well as provide therapy and assistance to the victims of child sexual abuse and their non-offending family members. In order for a CAC to earn accreditation, the center must pass an extensive application process as well as an on-site review process.

“There was a grandma whose grandchild had been sexually abused. She told the prosecutor that her granddaughter had been repeatedly traumatized by all the questioning she had to go through in order to get to the actual case in court. The prosecutor on the case thought, oh my God, that’s probably true. He started the first CAC ever with a team comprised of law enforcement, CPS [child protective services] and criminal justice members, ensuring everyone was on the same page and the child would not have to retell their horrific stories over and over,” states Jade Carela, Legacy of Healing Child Advocacy Center Manager.

The Tulalip CAC has a multi-disciplinary team that includes members of the Tulalip Police Detectives, CPS, beda?chelh, the Tulalip domestic violence and sexual assault prosecutor, and FBI detectives as well as the child advocate.

The NCA regularly updates their policies and procedures and requires a re-accreditation process every five years for each CAC. The accreditation holds centers to a higher standard and indicates exceptional service and a quality center.

The accreditation process often requires over a year’s worth of preparation. However, under the direction of Jade, Tulalip now has the only accredited CAC on a reservation, in Washington State. The enormous task was accomplished in an impressive three short months. When a CAC receives accreditation, they have achieved the highest level of recognition with the NCA.

The Tulalip CAC offers innocent children victims of sexual abuse a chance to heal. The recent accreditation shows the strong effort the Tribe is making to ensure that the victims receive the best possible care, as well as justice and assistance through the entire court process.

For additional information on the accreditation of the Tulalip Legacy of Healing Child Advocacy Center please contact (360) 716-5437.

Ball is Life for RaeQuan Battle

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

When RaeQuan Battle was in the third grade he was recruited by Cyrus “Bubba” Hatch to play in a basketball tournament at Lummi. At the time, young RaeQuan hadn’t really given basketball much thought, because his favorite sport was football. RaeQuan accepted the invitation and not only did his team win the championship, but he was presented with the Most Valuable Player award, resulting in a new love for the game.

Now a sophomore at Marysville Pilchuck High School (MP), Battle devotes the majority of his time to perfecting his basketball skills and focusing on his grades. He advises young hoopers to put down their smart phones and pay attention during class because at the young age of fifteen, he is aware of the opportunities a good education can offer.

College will begin in a short couple of years for RaeQuan. This is something he is well-aware of and has already started thinking of where he would like to attend. He states, “I would want to play [college basketball] for Kentucky, but I’m looking [into] the University of Washington. A lot of my family members love UW, so that’s a school I would have to consider.”


Family is indeed of great importance to him, citing his grandfather, Hank Williams, as his biggest inspiration. Every time Battle suits up for a game, he puts on a jersey with the number twenty-one on display. He chose twenty-one because it is his mother’s favorite number. A few of his relatives also wore that number when playing for MP.

The basketball season for MP recently concluded with an appearance in the playoffs as RaeQuan’s squad battled for a shot at State. Standing at six-foot, four-inches Battle towers over most of his teammates as well as the competition. He is effective on both ends of the floor often getting buckets and grabbing boards. His favorite position to play is small forward, a position that is played by NBA stars such as Kevin Durant and Lebron James. His height advantage, paired with his skill, gives him the versatility to play any spot on the floor, and MP utilized him in every position throughout their season.

Battle states that basketball has given him a strong work ethic and has taught him many valuable lessons that he can apply on and off the court. “The biggest thing I’ve learned is how to stay humble. When I first started playing I used to get benched because I didn’t have the right attitude. If you want to improve your game or get anything productive accomplished, you have to remain humble and focused,” he states.

Now that the basketball season is over RaeQuan will participate in some extra-curricular activities including driver’s education and track, but the majority of his time will be spent studying. However, he vows to continue to get in the gym and work on his game during the off-season as he continues to follow his dream of playing in the NBA.


College hoopers inspire Quil Ceda Tulalip students


By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

On Friday, February 3, the always energetic morning assembly at Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary (QCT) received a special visit from the very successful Skagit Valley College women’s basketball team, featuring Tulalip’s own Adiya Jones.

The assembly focused on the importance of staying in school and doing your best every day in and out of the classroom. The student-athletes of Skagit Valley passed the mic around and told the youthful students about the importance of being a good citizen in order to achieve their dreams.



Hearing Adiya and her teammates speak on the values that they as college student-athletes feel are important is a source of inspiration for the young, spirited minds of QCT. Especially when it comes to being able to hear from Adiya, who grew up in Tulalip, went to school in Tulalip, and is now succeeding on the college level.

“Assemblies like this are a win-win for everyone involved,” says Steve Epperson, Skagit Valley Athletic Director and women’s basketball coach. “The college team gets the experience of talking with students, answering questions, talking about their experiences and challenges they faced with being successful in school. They also get to talk about their college experience and the importance of staying in school, being good citizens, and studying. All values that are required of students today.”

For the elementary students, they not only got to see and hear from student-athlete role models, but also got to interact with them on the basketball court. The women hoopers held interactive demonstrations with the students that included various dribbling drills, a shooting display, and a short scrimmage.



Following the assembly, the Skagit Valley athletes split up and went to individual classrooms where they got to further interact with the students. They helped them with their in-class assignments and continued to answer questions about college and playing basketball.

The Quil Ceda Tulalip / Skagit Valley experience was beneficial not only for the younger students, but for the college students as well.

“I think that’s really good for both groups,” adds Coach Epperson. “The elementary students get to see role models, ask questions, and see how exciting it can be to be successful in college. While being a valuable experience for the college students, too, as learn to step up as role models and give back to their communities.”



Teaching discipline, healthy exercise through boxing


By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hands can’t hit what the eyes can’t see,” reads a quote that was once stated by the arguably (and self-proclaimed) greatest boxer of all time, Muhammad Ali. The quote is a part of a photo collage, comprised of inspirational words by professional boxers, that hangs on a back wall, on the second floor, of the Don Hatch Youth Center. Tables and chairs that once occupied this space were cleared, and two punching bags were added to the second floor lounging area.

Boxing is a combat sport that has been popular for centuries and can be traced back to the early days of Ancient Greece. Over time, boxing has improved. With safety in mind, weight classes were added and rules were set. Many legends such as such as Ali, Tyson and both Sugar Ray’s have inspired young adults all over the world to step into the ring. In the nineties, Native American World Heavyweight Champion Joe “The Boss” Hipp, inspired many tribes to start boxing programs on their reservations.

Training for the sport is no small feat and is a great way to get into shape. Boxing matches require focus and endurance which is the reason the training includes conditioning and strength training. Aside from exercise, there are many benefits to boxing including self-defense, discipline, and confidence; as well as healthy stress and anger management.


“I thought it would be a good idea because I see that some of our tribal kids have a tough time controlling their anger, or channeling it in a good way,” states Tulalip Youth Services Boxing Coach, Seiya Kitchens. Seiya also teaches within the Marysville School District and has been training for about seven years. With a background in karate and amateur boxing experience, Seiya has been training the youth, between the sixth and twelfth grade, of the Tulalip community for the past three months.

Youth Boxing is held on each Thursday and Friday of the week and Seiya invites all youth of any fitness level to participate. Beginners learn all of the fundamental techniques, such as their jab and stance, before moving on to speed and bag drills.



In today’s social media society, fights in high school are a spectacle that is often recorded and shared across Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. This is a popular trend that Seiya is well aware of and has made his stance on fighting outside of the ring clear, warning his students, if they wish to continue to train, then fighting is not permitted.

In the future, Seiya envisions Youth Services incorporating live inter-tribal boxing matches (e.g., Tulalip vs. Lummi) into the program. He believes the matches would generate revenue by means of food concessions and vendors, and would be a great way to bring communities together.

“I just want to help the kids. I think [the program] promotes healthy exercise and teaches discipline, but most importantly I think it prepares them for life. They show up every week ready to go. They love it and it shows through their hard work,” states Seiya.

For more information about Youth Boxing please contact Youth Services at (360) 716-4909.