Tulalip prepares for Treaty Days

“We honor the good intentions our ancestors had for us in negotiating and signing the treaty. I encourage young folks to listen to their elders when they talk about the treaty and our sovereignty. Understanding the treaty will help you understand the influence it has in every aspect of our lifeways. It accepts the fact that our people have the right to organize themselves, protect our way of life, and care for our resources. Our tribes have significant control of, and rights to, important natural resources such as fishing. As our language and culture become stronger, we are able to help others understand how to take care of the earth and one another.”
– Lena Jones

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Numerous northwest native nations including tribal leaders of the Snohomish, Lummi, Swinomish and Suquamish people met with Washington Territory Governor Isaac Stevens one hundred and sixty-three years ago this January 22. During this gathering, the Coast Salish people would sign the Point Elliott Treaty, which granted the United States Government an enormous area of land for white settlement that now makes up Washington’s King, Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties. The treaty also established the Tulalip, Port Madison, Swinomish and Lummi reservations. In exchange for ceding such a large portion of land, the tribes reserved the right to fish on their usual and accustomed grounds.

Tribal communities would face difficult years after the signing of the treaty, including the boarding school era. Fifty years after the signing of the Point Elliott Treaty of 1855, the Tulalip Indian Boarding School opened. Native children were forced to attend these schools to learn to live the new westernized lifestyle. The institutions were established to ‘civilize’ the Indigenous population, but while in the boarding schools the kids were often punished, physically and mentally, for speaking their traditional language and practicing their spiritual and cultural traditions.

During these times the U.S. Government outlawed traditions such as songs, dances and language that the Coast Salish tribes practiced for generations. Longhouses were demolished and modern day houses were erected on the reservations. The people were to learn the ways of agriculture to become farmers.

The people of the land were in the middle of forced assimilation when the last hereditary chief of the Snohomish, William Shelton, stepped in to save his people’s heritage. By convincing the right people, including the Tulalip Superintendent and the Secretary of Interior, to build a longhouse in Tulalip, William created a way for the tribes who signed the Point Elliott Treaty to practice their traditional ways of life once a year. William informed U.S. Government officials that the people would be celebrating the anniversary of the treaty, which they did. However, this short amount of time was often used to teach the younger generations their culture that seemed to be slipping away at an alarming rate. The annual gathering became known as Treaty Days, as the yearly potlatch often extends into the early morning of the following day. Though the horrific boarding school era has since passed and the practice of traditional lifeways are no longer punishable by law, the annual Treaty Days’ commemoration is still celebrated every January at the longhouse overlooking Tulalip Bay.

As the Tulalip community prepares for the 104th Treaty Days Commemoration on Friday January 19, 2018, a handful of Tulalip tribal members took a moment to reflect on the Point Elliott Treaty of 1855 as well as Treaty Days.

“I think it’s a responsibility that keeps passing down from generations of those who actually signed the treaty. And also living on the reservation and protecting those rights that were reserved for us as well as the spiritual and cultural way of life. I think that we have the responsibility to revisit the treaty all the time so we know we are keeping our younger people abreast and informed as much as possible. Because we gave up a lot in the treaty to keep our sovereignty to be able to determine our own future and our own direction in our tribal path.” – Ray Fryberg

“The Point Elliott Treaty is important to me because it has to do with our tribal rights and how we live.” – Image Enick

“Treaty Days is a commemoration of the signing of the 1855 Point Elliott that affected the coastal tribes. At this time, we remember and acknowledge our ancestors that signed the treaty and reflect on the importance of that treaty, who we are as a people and how to continue our way of life.”
– Inez Bill

“The treaty is literally my livelihood. We fight for our rights every day, fighting to keep our treaty rights. I want my kid’s kids to come out here and be able to exercise their treaty rights. Not everyone has to be a fisherman, but it should be there if they want to exercise it.”
– Brian Green

“The treaty is important because it talks about our history and it connects me with my ancestors.”
– Deandra Grant

Tulalip students engage in hands-on, experimental learning

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Excitement was hard to contain at the Greg Williams Court on the night of December 20, 2017. Though it was merely five days until Christmas, the holiday spirit appeared to take a backseat as the youth of the Tulalip community participated in a fun, educational evening at the first Family STEAM and Literacy Night, hosted by Tulalip Youth Services.

STEAM, an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering Arts and Mathematics is similar to the popular learning curriculum, STEM, implementing the arts as an additional area of study.  Variations of the STEAM program are currently being used in schools across the nation; however, local schools such as Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary and Tulalip Heritage High School continue to follow the STEM program for the time being. By bringing the STEAM experience to Tulalip, families participated in creative, experimental activities and the kids had a blast while doing so.

“STEM was created to engage more students in learning and gaining hands-on skills,” explains, Jessica Bustad, Tulalip Youth Services Education Coordinator. “I feel that adding arts into what was originally STEM is important. Most of what we do in school and also in the workforce requires creativity. Art can be found in each of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields. In my opinion, to add it, to give it more power and recognition helps us all keep the creativity we have inside. Each child and adult learns differently and the larger variety of opportunities we offer, the better.”

The event kept the future leaders busy with several interactive activity stations such as an assembly line, where the kids took apart and reassembled ballpoint pens. Another popular activity was the cup tower station. A small group formed amongst the youth who worked together to make an extreme tower, so tall the kids were barely visible behind their structure.  Laughter and surprised expressions such as ‘woah’ and the occasional ‘wait, how’d you do that?’ were heard from the youngsters as they experimented together, eagerly bouncing from station to station. And drawing the largest crowd was a hands-on art project presented by the Imagine Children’s Museum in Everett.

“Today we are creating a nature-scape,” explains Jennifer of the Creative Arts Department at the Imagine Children’s Museum. “We use recycled materials and other items found in nature to create a scene, like a diorama, found in nature and today we’re focusing on the winter season.”

The children used cotton balls and various items to construct snowy sceneries, which they viewed under a black light to give their diorama a more dramatic, chilling winter look.

The first fifty kids who arrived at the event received free beanbag chairs. The Scholastic book fair was part of the event and Youth Services gave everybody in attendance a free book.

“We want to encourage reading and learning together as a family at home,” says Jessica. “We also want to show that learning can be fun, that there’s different ways to learn and also that studying doesn’t always have to be so stressful. We have to empower our children to be explorers of their own interests. It is our duty to encourage them to find and research all of the possibilities for their future.”

The STEAM and Literacy Night was a success. Tulalip parents and kids are already inquiring about the follow-up to the action-packed, hands-on learning event, to which Youth Services promises there will many more during the new year.

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

Training for a better tomorrow

TERO Vocational Training Center  instructor Mark Newland (right) celebrating the graduates achievements.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

On Wednesday, December 20, fourteen Native students were honored at the Dining Hall with a graduation banquet for their commitment to training for a better tomorrow. The fourteen students, five of whom are Tulalip tribal members, were the latest cohort to complete an intensive, fourteen-week pre-apprenticeship construction trades program offered by the TERO Vocational Training Center (TVTC).

As far as we know, the program, which is managed by the Tulalip TERO department, is the first and only state and nationally recognized Native American pre-apprenticeship program in the country. The program is accredited through South Seattle Community College and Renton Technical College, while all the in-class, hands-on curriculum has been formally approved by the Washington State Apprentice and Training Council.

The fifteen-week program provides curriculum that teaches a variety of core construction skills that can last a lifetime. Upon completion, the graduate’s dedication to a better future is rewarded with a wide-range of new employment opportunities now available to each graduate as they navigate the construction trades career path. In addition, students are trained and awarded certifications in flagging, first aid/CPR, and OSHA 10-hour safety training. Graduates have also received certification on three pieces of lift equipment, specifically the scissor lift, boom lift, and industrial fork lift. TVTC students graduate trained and ready to safely and productively enter the construction work environment.

“This TERO program is an amazing opportunity for any Native American, regardless of which tribe you’re from,” says Tulalip tribal member and now TVTC graduate, Brando Jones. “I was living in Tacoma when I first learned of this class. After meeting with Lynne and Robert from Tulalip TERO I knew this class was the best chance for me to reconnect with Tulalip, while at the same time building a foundation for a better future. Now that I’ve graduated, my goal is to use this experience as a stepping stone towards success. I’m really going to miss the teachers and students. To my fellow graduates I say this, ‘We have the tools to build and keys to unlock doors, so let’s get it!’”

The TVTC pre-apprenticeship program is a unique, nationally known model that supports tribal members from sovereign nations across the United States. The program is not dependent on tribal hard dollars. In fact, zero hard dollars are used to fund it. Instead, due to the dedication and commitment of so many individuals the TVTC program continues to grow and gain more recognition while being funded by the graciousness of the Tulalip Charitable Fund, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, DOT’s Ladders of Opportunity Grant, and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Pass Grant.

This Fall session gave TVTC students plenty of opportunities to showcase their newly acquired construction-based skill set with a series of projects. Community projects included a two-day demo and refurbishing of the Hibulb Cultural Center’s fence, constructing a presentation booth for Hibulb, and making a concrete sidewalk at the apprenticeship training headquarters in Seattle.

“This particular group of students was a very together, cohesive unit,” describes instructor Mark Newland. “They looked after one another real well and were always willing to help each other out. When it came to the culminating project, building three tiny houses, the students showed a lot of passion in their work and did an awesome job.”

Under the supervision of instructors Mark Newland and Billy Burchett, the students constructed three tiny houses for their final class project. These houses, which are approximately 120-square-feet in size, are being donated to homeless families located at a yet to be named, newly created homeless village in Seattle. The insulated houses will be a major upgrade for their soon-to-be residents as they offer electricity, heat, a much safer environment and, most importantly, a measure of stability.

“TVTC works with Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI). To date we have built 18 tiny Homes for this organization, which donates all supplies and materials required. This has saved TVTC thousands of dollars as these houses are used for training purposes, and lumber that was previously purchased for class is no longer needed,” explains TERO Coordinator, Lynne Bansemer.

“This most recent TVTC session we added a specialty course – a forty-hour scaffolding course – that was developed by the Carpenters Union Training division,” adds Lynne. “TVTC is excited to bring this opportunity to our students as scaffolding is used across many trades and this allows more employment opportunities for our students.”

Since the Fall of 2013, when TERO took over the program, 141 students have graduated the pre-apprenticeship program. Of those 141 graduates, 57 have been Tulalip Tribal members, and 17 have either been Tulalip spouses or parents. That’s 74 graduates from Tulalip and 67 fellow Native Americans from all over the region who have opted to train for a better tomorrow by completing the construction training program.

TVTC has seen an increasing number of persons who balance a full-time job while attending the training program. This term they had several students who came to training school every day who held full-time jobs by working swing or graveyard shifts. These students wanted more opportunities in their future and were willing to put in the dedication and sacrifice necessary in order to open more doors.

For more information on Tulalip TERO’s TVTC program or to inquire about admission into the next pre-apprenticeship opportunity, please contact Lynne Bansemer, TERO Coordinator, at 360-716-4746 or visit TVTC.TulalipTERO.com

 

Santa joins firefighters in visiting children and collecting donations

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

“HO! HO! HO! Merry Christmas!” rang throughout the neighborhoods of the Tulalip reservation during the weekend of December 15-17. The loud holiday expressions were from none other than Santa Clause himself, as he walked the streets of the community accompanied by the Tulalip Bay Fire Department. Every year, Santa joins the firefighters to hand out candy canes to the children, while the Fire Department collects canned foods and cash from community members who are kind enough to donate to the less fortunate during the holidays.

The yearly occurrence is known as the Tulalip Bay Fire Department Annual Santa Run and is remarkably popular within the community. Many children anxiously wait for the Christmas-decorated firetruck to pull up on their street, because they know that means Santa is near. Equally shocked and excited, the children enthusiastically greet Saint Nick to let him know what’s at the top of their Christmas list.

Santa Run is a three-day event in which Tulalip Bay Fire visits several neighborhoods on the reservation. All food and money collected by the fire department is donated to the Tulalip Food Bank located at the red church. This year’s donations totaled over 1,000 pounds of non-perishable food items as well as over six hundred dollars.

“Not everybody has food to put on the table during the holiday season,” explains Tulalip Bay Volunteer Firefighter and Santa Run Coordinator, Patrick Dinneen. “The food that we bring in, everything goes straight to the red church the day after we’re done. It’s a huge deal just to get our faces out in the community because on people’s worst days, they can call on us to make it better. We want to be familiar with our community we want people to know who we are and that we’re here for them.”

Quil Ceda Village Implements Retail Bag Ordinance

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Quil Ceda Village (QCV) is taking a huge step in protecting the environment by prohibiting the use of plastic carryout bags in all of the businesses located within the city. Effective January 1, 2018, grocery and retail stores as well as restaurants will convert from plastic to paper, in an effort to go green. QCV is home to several large companies including Walmart, Home Depot, Cabela’s and the Seattle Premium Outlets, not to mention the Tulalip Resort Casino, Tulalip Bingo, Quil Ceda Creek Casino and numerous eateries. With so many businesses that utilize plastic bags, you might think a huge change like banning them entirely would ruffle a few feathers. However, the ordinance has appeared to garner more praise than protest and is in the midst of smooth transition, thanks to long-term planning.

Learning of the terrible impact plastic bags have on the environment, the QCV team had a  brainstorming session with the Tulalip Board of Directors on ways the newly established city can be more environmentally friendly and conscious. As many know, plastic is a non-recyclable material that takes hundreds of years to break down into micro-plastics, which often travel to the ocean causing further pollution. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, the average American household accrues over 1,500 plastic bags annually and recycle less than one percent of those bags. Currently the ocean is littered with plastic bags and plastic toxins that are killing over 100,000 marine animals every year.

Several department managers at the Seattle Premium Outlets described the ordinance as ‘wonderful’ and ‘great’ while a Disney employee called it ‘inspiring’, stating that guests from nearby counties want their cities to follow in QCV’s footsteps. Over fifty percent of the one-hundred and thirty stores at the outlets already switched to reusable and recyclable bags before the ordinance was even announced, including Disney who sells reusable totes that feature their famous, loveable characters. Stores that were still offering plastic bags are phasing out their inventory during the holidays. A few stores such as Nike and Hot Topic are electing to switch to reusable, biodegradable bags that are in compliance with the ordinance, while other stores such as Pro Image Sports chose to stop offering bags completely.

There are a few exceptions to the plastic ban, including plastic bags used for produce and meat at grocery stores as well as to-go bags for restaurants, though Quil Ceda Administrative Director, Nina Reece, stated that the majority of the restaurants are switching to paper. Shoppers are encouraged to BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag) once the new year begins as some stores may charge a bag fee. The Tulalip Resort Casino moved away from the usage of plastic bags a few years ago and offers their T Spa, Salal Floral and gift shop guests paper bags. Similar to the outlets, Cabela’s and Walmart are using the remainder of their plastic bags until the ordinance goes into effect and have their paper and reusable bags set and ready to go. The ordinance originally had a tentative start date last spring and in preparation for that date, Home Depot was the first company in QCV to successfully switch entirely from plastic to paper.

Any businesses that violate the ordinance can be fined for each plastic bag handed out, up to a maximum of $250 per day. The ordinance aims to improve, sustain and protect the environment from plastic pollution and is an inspiring decision by the Tulalip Tribes and the city of Quil Ceda Village. For more information, please contact Quil Ceda Village at (360) 716-5000.

Taking care of patients as a whole, Clinic integrates to one Tulalip health system

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Tulalip community members who pass by the Karen I. Health Clinic on their daily commute may have noticed recent construction occurring at the front of the building. Over the past few months, many people have seen a small, new addition being built at the clinic that will serve as a conference room to its faculty. What many may not know, however, is the entire clinic also received renovations. Unless you have recently received care at the health center, you are in for a big surprise upon stepping into the clinic.

One of the first things you may notice is how clutter-free the lobby is. Where once stood a totem pole is now a spacious open area where patients can register at one of the five new check-in stations.

“It has that beautiful longhouse look with high ceilings, made of cedar, which helps with the acoustics,” explains Tulalip Health System Administrator, Jim Steinrick. “Our focus with the lobby was to make it welcoming, warm and cleaned up. There are four new check-in areas with lighted panels that go off and on. There will be a sign that says ‘if you see a blue light come on up and we’ll take care of you’. Around the corner we also have our ADA compliant, lower counter check-in area for people with wheelchairs.”

The idea of the check-in stations came about upon a visit to the Monroe Providence Clinic. According to Tulalip Health Information Manager, Jennie Fryberg, the entire remodel initially began with a need to centralize check-ins. Prior to the renovations, patients would often become frustrated after waiting in line at the wrong check-in stations. Now patients can check-in at any of the new stations for any services at the clinic.

A few short months ago, once you were finally checked-in at the clinic, the waiting game began. The Health Clinic made changes within the facility that are sure to cut that wait time significantly, beginning with four new healing rooms for acute care.

“We separated the acute walk-in care from scheduled patients,” says Jim. “So, if someone comes in and needs to be triaged, the nurse will bring them into one of the four new healing rooms.”

“Before we were tight on rooms because the scheduled appointments took all the healing rooms,” added Jennie. “We have two new acute care doctors so we can get patients in, out and through faster so they aren’t having to wait as long.”

The new healing rooms feature state-of-the-art equipment as well as hands-free lighting and water faucets. The previous healing rooms also received a make-over with fresh paint and hardwood floors, as did the hallways. The clinic placed a referral station near the healing rooms, by the entryway to the lobby, so referral specialists can assist patients on their way out.

The health clinic has also gone paperless, converting all of their patient’s health records to electronic format in a system that is able to communicate with both the Everett Clinic and Providence. The decision helped create a lot more space during reconstruction resulting in the expansion of the clinic’s lab and dental areas. The lab received new equipment and dental received three new chairs, which will be used to prep patients before seeing the dentist.

Another space enhancer is the consolidation of the doctors and nurses workspace from individual offices to an open work area known as the hub.

“The hub will have doctors and nurses all together, so everyone’s on the same page” Jennie explains. “We did away with all the doctor’s offices. We wanted to open it up so the whole team can be together and communicate more efficiently.”

Inside the hub is a large flat screen TV that displays the clinic’s new Versus Tracking System.

“When our patients check in at the desk, they’ll receive a sensor to carry with them,” says Jim. “We’ll have a big screen where we’ll be able to tell where they are. So if they’re waiting in one place too long, we can check on them and let them know we’ll be right with them, instead of letting someone sit and wait for twenty minutes.”

During the brief wait after checking in or after receiving care, the patient can visit any of the services that are conveniently located in the lobby including Alternate Resources for Elders, Everett Optometry and two additional referral desks.

In an effort to treat the whole patient and provide wrap around care, the Health Clinic is welcoming eight new behavioral health specialists to the team. The specialist will be readily available to meet with individuals seeking mental health care.

“When we work as a team on a patient we focus on the whole body, so teeth, eyes, mind, body and spirit,” Jim explains. “We can have the specialist meet with the patients while they’re here and take care of the whole person. We’re working on destigmatizing mental health. Some people say it’s too personal, but it’s like dental.  The old adage is the mouth is part of the body, well so is the mind.”

The conference room that many saw constructed over the Fall was a much needed addition. In previous years, large meetings would often take place in the employee break room, which received a makeover as well.

“We’ve integrated to a health system now,” states Jim. “We used to be the clinic, behavioral health and recovery, and chemical dependency. Now we’re one health system and part of the same health team. I want to make sure that our Tulalip tribal members know that we’re doing this so we can provide better continuity of care, so we’re more seamless. And also that this is a good place to come and when they come here, they will get good customer service and good quality clinical care. I think there are some misconceptions out there about the care that’s given here, once people are in here, they will really see the changes we made.”

Jennie adds, “As a Tulalip health system, our whole purpose is to take care of the patient as a whole and to smoothly get people in and out easier. Its good changes that were doing and it’s to better our services. So we’re hoping to get some of our Tulalip tribal members back here to see the changes that we are making for the betterment of our community.”

Be sure to visit the newly remodeled Health Clinic and for more information please contact (360) 716-4511.

Tulalip holds groundbreaking for QCC replacement

Tulalip Tribes Board of Directors prepare to break ground on new Quil Ceda Creek Casino with celebratory gold shovels.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Members of the Tulalip Tribes, various officials, and employees were in attendance at a groundbreaking ceremony held at the future site of the new Quil Ceda Creek Casino (QCC) on Tuesday, December 12.

“I raise my hands to everyone who came here to celebrate with us,” greeted vice-Chairwoman, Teri Gobin. “What an honor it is to take part in this journey for the Tribe. It’s so exciting we’re finally doing this groundbreaking, and to think what it means for the Tribe and our community, creating new jobs and helping with economic development. This will be a good project for our whole community and the surrounding communities that benefit from our type of development.”

The multi-million dollar project to relocate the QCC facility from its current location to a sixteen-acre property across the street is based on a number of factors, the most prominent being a stagnant revenue stream that is unable to grow due to logistical and structural challenges posed by the current facility.

“We’re replacing [the existing QCC] because it is bursting at the seams,” explained Les Parks, Board of Director and Treasurer. “The revenue cannot grow anymore, they are using every square foot they can, and our customers are screaming for more machines and a hotel to stay at. This new journey is going to get us there.”

The project cost is “rolled into the $155 million syndicated loan that includes the new Quil Ceda Creek Casino and hotel, its parking structure, and the future Gathering Hall,” continued Les. “This is the same amount that was approved by General Council two years ago. Without increasing the loan amount, we were able to add in the hotel by extending the deferred payment process, which is typical of loans we do, to put more money towards actual construction.”

The new casino will span across 110,000 square feet that will allow for 1,500 gaming machines, a lofty increase from the current 1,000 operating at the existing QCC. Besides the additional 500 machines, there will be additional table games, an innovative dining hall experience, an upgraded entertainment venue, and a state of the art smoke elimination system included in the new QCC.

In recent weeks, the Tribe announced the new QCC with also feature a 150-room hotel and 1,200-stall parking garage. The property will be called Quil Ceda Creek Casino Hotel and is expected to open in spring 2019.

“We have a tag phrase: ‘It’s not just bigger and better, there’s more to love’,” stated Ken Kettler, President of Tulalip Gaming Operations. “When you think about it, we’re just expanding on the experience we have today and we’re going to give you more of it. It keeps us competitive and protects the current revenue stream. The competition is pretty tough out there, so we, as a leader, have to step up and set the example of what can happen at a local’s casino.”

Festival of Trees Benefits Providence Children Center

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Extravagantly festive Christmas trees and wreaths, each decorated with its own unique theme and style, brightened the Orca Ballroom at the Tulalip Resort Casino during the 32nd annual Festival of Trees. The week-long celebration kicked off November 28 with Opening Night festivities, continued with the excitement-filled Gala Dinner and Live Auction on December 1, and concluded December 2 with Teddy Bear Breakfast.

Each year, thousands of community members take part in the Festival of Trees – from volunteer, sponsors, and attendees – to raise funds for Children’s Services at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett. For more than three decades, Providence Children’s Center has been providing comprehensive, family-oriented care and highly specialized therapies – such as physical, occupational, speech and feeding therapy – for children with a wide variety of special needs.

“Knowing this is one of the largest charitable events for Snohomish County, it is appropriate for us to host and participate with goodwill and sharing the opportunity to help all children in need,” stated Marilyn Sheldon, manager of Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund, on the importance of hosting Festival of Trees and being the title sponsor. “We recognize that over 50% of Tulalip’s population is 0-24 years of age and Providence is our local hospital for care most tribal members use for emergency situations and other needs. Also, this event brings many to our facilities for the week and encourages them to come back and host their own business/charity event at our venue.”

A highlight of the holiday season, the Festival of Trees provides entertainment for countless families and children. Whether it’s a black-tie evening with a three-course dinner or a free afternoon with cookies and Santa, the Festival’s variety of events offer holiday cheer for all kinds of crowds. The beautifully decorated Christmas trees won’t soon be forgotten as their specialized themes like ‘Every Kid Needs a Hero’ and ‘Merry Lego Christmas’ to ‘Penguin’s Playground’ and ‘Mount Elegance’ capture the imagination.

During the Gala Dinner and Live Auction, the glittering Christmas trees, wreaths, and a towering tree arch were sold to the highest bidders. Several of the trees were reserved to be put on display throughout the Children’s Center as a special treat for the kids this holiday season.

As the Snohomish County community grows, the need for Children’s Center services has increased dramatically – 7% in the last year alone – which equates to almost 10,000 visits to the Center annually. Recognizing this tremendous need to provide for more children in the growing community, proceeds from the several fundraising events comprising the Festival of Trees directly supports the Children’s Center. The generosity of the donors and Festival attendees support Providence in growing and expanding the specialized therapies, equipment and educational classes that do so much to change young lives.

Over the past three decades, more than $10 million has been raised to care for the children and families of our community. However, this year’s Festival of Trees was one for the record books as it drew in the largest attendance ever, which resulted in a staggering $1.2 million raised from the week’s events.

All funds raised will support Providence programs and services such as Pediatrics, the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, the Children’s Center, the Autism Center, and Camp Prov, a summer camp for children with special needs.

“The lives of thousands of children, that includes Tulalip tribal children, will be helped thanks to the generosity received from the Festival of Trees fundraising efforts,” said Board of Director Mel Sheldon, twelve-year member of the Providence General Foundation. “We are very fortunate to have a relationship with Providence Medical Center and to support such an amazing opportunity that really looks at the bigger picture. We all want to do our part to create a sustainable and healthy community.”

 

Tulalip appoints interim Police Chief Sherman Pruitt

Interim Chief Pruitt

TULALIP, Wash. – December 4, 2017 — Patrol Commander Sherman Pruitt was sworn-in by the Tulalip Board of Directors to lead the Tulalip Police Department. Interim Chief Pruitt is stepping in for former Tulalip Chief of Police Carlos Echevarria who resigned, effective 12/4/17, citing personal reasons.

Chief Echevarria served the Tulalip Police Department since 2001; he was interim Chief of Police for 11 months and in May 2014, he became the first Tulalip citizen to serve as Chief of Police post-retrocession (a process wherein the Tulalip Tribes took back jurisdiction of tribal lands in 2001). He said, “My focus for the Police Department has been to work in collaboration with other Tribal departments for the safety, health, welfare, education and outreach to the community. TPD’s mission is to reduce the number of our children exposed to violence and provide law enforcement support services to assist victims of crime.”

Chief Echevarria’s watchwords, ‘Trust, Pride, Dedication’ remain emblazoned across every Tulalip Police vehicle, a reminder that policing at Tulalip is truly about serving the people.

Chairwoman Marie Zackuse said the former chief left big shoes to fill, “Carlos served our community for 15 years and did an excellent job. We are proud of the fact that he was our Chief of Police and it was with great sadness that the Board of Directors accepted his resignation. His parents and grandparents taught him in a good way and he brought a lot of compassion to his job. He will be missed, my best to him and his growing family.”

Interim Chief Pruitt will serve the department while the Tulalip Board of Directors search for the right person to step in and lead the future of the Tulalip Police Department.

Interim Chief Pruitt is a 21-year veteran of the military; he served 12 years in the United States Marine Corp and an additional 9 years in the Reserve Air Force. He was deployed five times, serving in Somalia, Rwanda and Iraq. In his 13 years as a Tulalip Police Officer, Interim Chief Pruitt has worked as a Patrol Officer, Detective, Patrol Sergeant, Detective Sergeant, Patrol Commander and now Interim Chief. In addition to his duties with the Tulalip Police Department, Interim Chief is cross-commissioned with the FBI and U.S. Marshalls as part of the Safe Trails Task Force, which fights against major crimes in Native America. He is a father of five and is happily married to his wife of 20 years.

“I will make sure we continue to serve with pride and respect,” said Interim Chief Pruitt. “We will continue to build trust with the community, along with mentoring our youth and making a difference in their lives. The Tulalip Tribes is thriving and we want to continue to get even better.”

 

 

 

Action Alert: File Comments with FCC on Net Neutrality by Thursday

On December 14, the FCC will vote on whether to repeal Net Neutrality. Indian Country is encouraged to stand up for internet freedom by filing comments with the Federal Communications Commission opposing this action by this Thursday December 7. If this item moves forward, Tribes and their citizens could be charged more for basic internet, could experience slower internet speeds and will continue to be on the wrong side of the Digital Divide.

Net Neutrality means that an internet service provider (ISP) cannot charge you more to access different sites or charge you more for faster speeds. Currently, you pay one bill to your ISP to access every site on the web at one speed. Under the new FCC plan, your ISP can charge you more money to access particular websites and can slow down your speeds if you chose not to purchase a fast lane. This could negatively affect Tribal Members and Tribal Governments that rely on the internet to stay connected to their members, governments, businesses and families.

NCAI filed comments with the FCC today. Feel free to use NCAI’s comments as a template or guide. Click here to view NCAI’s Net Neutrality Comments

Repealing Net Neutrality could negatively impact Tribal Governments and their citizens by

  • Corporate Interference in the Government-to-Government Relationship
  • Corporations could monopolize and interfere with the Government-to-Government relationship by charging you more to access government websites or intentionally slowing down service to those websites
  • Limits Tribal Self-Determination
  • Internet providers could charge you more to access basic sites- email, education sites, healthcare sites, internal administration sites, natural resource mapping, educational video and streaming services, social media to connect with Tribal members and community
  • More Costs for Tribal Governments
  • Tribal Governments could be charged more to access the full internet including sites that are necessary functions- email, mapping, health administration
  • Harms Data Sovereignty
  • Internet providers could limit the data Tribal Governments can use over the internet- limiting telehealth, videoconferencing, education, streaming services, gaming, security

This action could allow Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Centurylink and other internet providers to charge consumers more to access different sites and will allow ISP’s to intentionally slow service. Many people anticipate Internet Service Providers setting up “fast lanes” for websites that you access most often, and then charging more for those “fast lanes.”

How to File with the FCC

Tribes are encouraged to file comments with the FCC opposing the FCC Action titled “Restoring Internet Freedom” WC 17-108. Due to the high volume of comments the FCC is receiving, we encourage Tribes to follow these steps.

File with the Electronic Comment Filing System

  1. Go to https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings
  2. For “Proceedings” enter “17-108” and select “17-108 Restoring Internet Freedom”
  3. Enter your information and upload your comments
  4. Submit through ECFS
  5. Email a copy to the FCC Office of Native Affairs and Policy at native@fcc.gov.