Tulalip Tribes celebrates 2018 graduates


By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

On the evening of June 12, Tulalip Resort’s Orca Ballroom was home to hopes and dreams aplenty as the graduating class of 2018 was recognized with a graduation banquet. In all there were seventy-four high school graduates and forty-eight higher education graduates who, accompanied by their proud families and friends, convened to commemorate the rite of passage. 

There was entertainment, a catered buffet-style dinner, and plenty of motivational words offered from their peers and elders reminding the graduates this is just the first step on the path to success. 

 “It is a privilege and an honor to be here with you all on this special night where we come together and celebrate the academic achievement of our young ones,” stated Board of Director Mel Sheldon, banquet emcee. “We are so proud of each and every one of our graduates for their commitment to education. We thank the parents, grandparents, extended family, and all the school faculty who were always there for the students and made it possible for them to be here today.”

Graduating high school senior Keryn Parks, along with higher education graduates Kaeli Grenier-Moses and Marci Fryberg Johnson each took to the stage and offered encouraging words to fellow graduates. They reminisced over their favorite school experiences, spoke of hardships overcome, thanked their families and Tulalip community for always supporting them, and shared their excitement for great things yet to come.

“It’s an honor to speak on behalf of Tulalip Heritage and the entire graduating class of 2018,” said Keryn. “The road to graduation may have been easy for some, but has been difficult for others. Our class was dealt with the heaviest card any freshmen class could go through. There were setbacks, breakdowns, a lot of pain, and a community separated. Yet, through all that we found strength and healing that brought us closer. Class of 2018, never doubt how far you can go, but most importantly don’t ever forget what you have accomplished.”

Marci, representing the higher education graduates, shared details from her fifteen year journey to earn a Bachelor’s Degree. “Being educated has been instilled in me since I was a little girl. Having an education allows for us to move beyond the ignorance we will encounter in the world, and to stand tall and represent our Native people in a good way.”

Nikkita Oliver, activist, educator, lawyer and spoken word artist, provided a truly memorable keynote speech that left many in the crowd feeling inspired. She is a University of Washington graduate who has committed herself to empowering others to reach for goals larger than themselves.

“Being here, at a gradation, is something very powerful. For our peoples, rites of passage are something that we’ve been going through for a long time. Maybe it didn’t always look like a graduation from a school, but we’ve long celebrated what it means to complete a season in our life and to celebrate the lessons and knowledge we have gained,” explained Nikkita, former city of Seattle mayoral candidate. “Look around this room. I was told there are a thousand people in here. There are seventy high school graduation and forty college graduates, and somehow that adds up to a thousand people. 

“Dream what you want to have with these thousand people. Dream about who you want to be with these thousand people. That’s far more important than what your next step is tomorrow because what that vision will do is become your guiding principle. It’ll become the way you think about the world and become the way that you think about yourself.

“No matter what statistics say about you, no matter what stories society tries to tell about you, you should always dig deep into your own history. Look to the perseverance of your own people, to the resilience that’s already been set before you and understand that you can push through any obstacle.”

Following the inspiration keynote speech a special recognition ceremony was held to honor the Tulalip Tribes senior boy and girl student of the year. 

Keryn Parks, a graduate of Tulalip Heritage High School, received the female student of the year honor. Having overcome adversity and hardship early on as a freshman, Keryn went on to be a tribal youth representative, active ASB participant, and two sport athlete in basketball and volleyball, all while maintaining a high G.P.A. and taking college classes through Running Start. 

Coby Nelson, a graduate of Marysville Pilchuck High School, received the male student of the year honor. Coby balanced his academic course load with playing varsity golf, tennis, and baseball. One teacher said, “As with all families the children are called upon to take responsibilities and help out with the task of family life. I’ve observed this young man helping his family, taking on adult responsibilities, and volunteering to help many of his peers at school. He’s a polite and humble young man.” Another teacher said, “He’s one of the most caring young adults that I know. He has a kind heart and shows so much compassion for those younger and less fortunate than himself.” Coby plans to attend Washington State University in the fall.

Concluding the evening’s celebration, former youth council chairwoman Jlynn Joseph shared, “This was a very emotional event for my family. We’ve worked so hard to keep me on my path to academic success. I will be the first in my immediate family to have graduated on time from high school. My great grandma, the late Loretta James, has inspired me so much and has been my driving force to give back to my community and to use my future degree to take care of the people.” Jlynn excelled at Bishop Blanchet High School, a private school in Seattle, and will be continuing her education at Arizona State University in the fall.

 Congratulations to all those Tulalip students who put in the hard work and dedication to earn their graduate status. Chasing a dream requires your efforts and passion. The hard work isn’t over now that you have graduated, it’s only the beginning as you now prepare for the new challenges waiting in the next chapter of life. Good luck and congratulations! 

Major exhibition presents a Native-activated space, explores legacy of Edward S. Curtis


By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) presents Double Exposure: Edward S. Curtis, Marianne Nicolson, Tracy Rector, Will Wilson (on display from June 14 – September 9). Featuring iconic early 20th-century photographs by photographer Edward S. Curtis alongside contemporary works – including photography, video, and installations – by Indigenous artists Marianne Nicolson, Tracy Rector, and Will Wilson. Their powerful portrayals of Native identity offer a compelling counter narrative to the stereotypes present in Curtis’s images.

Edward S. Curtis is one of the most well-known photographers of Native people and the American West. Double Exposure features over 150 of his photographs. Threaded throughout the galleries of his works are multimedia installations by Marianne Nicolson, Tracy Rector, and Will Wilson. Their work provides a crucial framework for a critical reassessment and understanding of Curtis’s representations of Native peoples, while shedding light on the complex responses Natives and others have to those representations today.*

“The historical significance of Curtis’s project is well-established,” says Barbara Brotherton, SAM’s Curator of Native American Art. “In many cases, his photographs and texts provide important records of Native culture. However, it’s time for a reevaluation of his work. His methodology perpetuated the problematic myth of Native people as a ‘vanishing race.’ This exhibition reflects a collaboration among SAM, the artists, and an advisory committee comprising Native leaders to make a space for a reckoning with Curtis’s legacy.”

Three contemporary Indigenous artists in Double Exposure challenge assumptions about Native art and illustrate how Native communities continue to creatively define their identity and cultures for themselves. First Nation artist Marianne Nicolson created an immersive sculptural light installation that casts moving shadows to address the impact of the 1964 Columbia River Treaty on Native communities. 

Seminole and Choctaw filmmaker/artists Tracy Rector empowers Indigenous communities by capturing the activism, defiance, and reclaimed traditions of Native tribes through her new video work of short stories derived from environmental awareness and life experiences of Natives today.

“All of my work is centered in Indigenous story: for, by, and about Indigenous people,” says Rector, whose video will welcome viewers inside a “Native-activated space” surrounded by related art.

Will Wilson’s large-scale tintype portraits feature Native lawmakers, artists, educators, and community members from the Seattle area. Artist Tracy Rector, Senator John McCoy, and others will speak through “talking” tintypes created using augmented reality. Wilson, a Navajo/Diné photographer, aims to counter stereotypes that Curtis’s work propagated.

“I want to supplant Curtis’s ‘settler’ gaze and the remarkable body of ethnographic material he compiled with a contemporary vision of Native North America,” states Wilson.

Double Exposure is a chance to see art of Native Americans in all its complexity through each of these artists’ perspectives on culture and identity.*

In honor of Double Exposure’s opening, the Seattle Art Museum invited any individuals with tribal affiliations to be the first visitors to view the exhibit. Dubbed ‘the Indigenous Peoples opening’, held the evening of June 11, representatives from many Coast Salish tribes gathered at SAM for the free event which included admission to the exhibit, performances by the Suquamish canoe family, and songs shared by Lummi violinist Swil Kanim.

“This Indigenous-only celebration was inspired by Miranda Belarde-Lewis (Tlingit/Zuni),” explains artist Tracy Rector. “She suggested the idea of decolonizing curation and what it means to indigenize museum spaces. Having a Native-centered exhibit opening is a way we could be in community experiencing artwork together.”

*source: Seattle Art Museum press releases, exhibition literature

Image credits: Kalamath Lake Marshes, 1923, Edward S. Curtis, goldstone. Mussel Gatherer, 1900, Edward S. Curtis, photogravure. John McCoy (Tulalip) – Talking Tintype, 2018, Will Wilson, exhibition print. Madrienne Salgado (Muckleshoot) – Talking Tintype, 2018, Will Wilson, exhibition print.

Building a better future with Tulalip’s construction career program

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Educators, parents and others often place emphasis on college preparation and earning an Associate or Bachelor’s degree by traditional means. But some students see a more hands-on future for themselves. For those unafraid of getting their hands dirty and learning the true meaning behind a hard day’s work there are ample opportunities available within the construction industry. 

In fact, look around the Seattle area and you’ll see more cranes than you can count. While other career pathways may be oversaturated and hard to come by, the construction trades are booming. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, open construction positions are expected to increase by more than 745,000 jobs nationally through 2026, a faster growth than any other occupation. In Washington State alone, there are already more than 3,200 unfilled construction jobs, of which many pay more than the average state wage of $54,000 a year. 

Whether it be laborer, carpenter, ironworker or heavy equipment operator, there are countless openings for work and advancement within construction trades, especially for sought after minorities, like Native Americans and women. A major access point for entry into the construction trades for tribal citizens and their families continues to be Tulalip’s own TERO Vocational Training Center (TVTC).

On Wednesday, May 30, eighteen TVTC students were honored with a graduation banquet for their commitment to building a better future. Over 200 guests attended, including several Board of Directors, trade union representatives, and many cheerful friends and family members of the graduates. 

Of this latest graduating cohort, nine students are Tulalip tribal members, two are children of tribal members, and seven are other Native. Three hardworking ladies were among the graduates; Sela Kalama (Quinault), Verla Wapato (Yakama) and Pamela Dick (Colville). The desire to build a new skillset while creating new career pathways was the main motivator, as each of these three women left their home and children in order to reside within the Tulalip area for the duration of the intensive, sixteen-week pre-apprenticeship construction trades program 

As far as we know, the TVTC program, which is managed by the Tulalip TERO, 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 sixteen-week program provides 501-hours of hands on instruction, strength building exercise, and construction skills that can last a lifetime. In addition, students are trained and awarded certifications in flagging, first aid/CPR, and OSHA 10-hour safety training. Also, students receive certification in the scissor lift, boom lift, industrial fork lift, and powder-actuated tools. Upon completion, each graduate’s diligent training is rewarded with a wide-range of new employment opportunities as they navigate the construction trades career path. 

  “I took this class to better my work experience, gain new skills, and become more comfortable with interviews,” said Tulalip tribal member and now TVTC graduate, Izzy Wolftail. “My favorite part of the TVTC experience was making new friends from different tribes and working side-by-side with them to complete our tiny home project. I plan on bettering my future and the Tribe with my new skills.”

TVTC pre-apprenticeship 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 and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

“This particular group of students was just tremendous,” described instructor Mark Newland during the graduation ceremony. “They came prepared and ready to work every single day. Each student was eager to learn and they worked really well with one another. It was a pleasure being their instructor.”

Under the supervision of Mark and co-instructor Billy Burchett, spring quarter students constructed four tiny homes as their final class project. These houses, which are approximately 120-square-feet in size, are the first batch of tiny homes that will be staying on the reservation, with plans for them to provide shelter for homeless tribal members. The insulated houses will be a major upgrade for their soon-to-be residents as they offer electricity, heat, and, most importantly, a measure of stability.

“Tulalip Tribes Board of Directors requested this TVTC cohort build the first four tiny houses for the Tribe. The Board provided the materials and the class built the houses,” explained Lynne Bansemer, TERO Coordinator. “According to instructor Mark Newland these were the best home that have been built to date by our students. We feel the reason is because they were built with love. Bringing this home has meant so much for the TERO and TVTC staff, but our students knew they were building for potential family and friends. What a difference this made!”

Beyond construction skills, several students, who are also tribal members, reached major milestones during the pre-apprenticeship program. Quinton Hill retrieved his driver’s license, while Carter Paul and Hayden Cepa both put in the work necessary to be awarded their high school diploma. 

“For persons on the path to recovery, we have seen them find success during their time as TVTC students and beyond,” added Lynne. “This program introduces them to so many new experiences, shows them their unique individual strengths, and builds their confidence to new heights. We have had families reunited and people find the success they have hoped for because they are able to see daily how strong and capable they are.”

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 

MSD traditionally honors 5th grade native students

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

The Marysville School District (MSD) Indian Education Department held a ceremony at the Hibulb Cultural Center Longhouse on the evening of May 31, to honor their fifth-grade students who will be making the transition from elementary to junior high next fall. Native students from the Allen Creek, Cascade Grove, Liberty, Marshall, Kellogg Marsh, Marysville Co-Op, Shoultes and Sunnyside elementary schools were recognized for successfully completing grade school and beginning the next phase of their educational journey. 

The traditional graduation ceremony was inspired by the Quil Ceda Tulalip fifth grade potlatch that is held at the end of every school year. MSD native liaisons were motivated to create a similar ceremony to honor the native students who attended other elementary schools throughout the district. During the ceremony, the students are gifted necklaces with cedar-carved salmon pendants and are offered words of support and encouragement from Tulalip tribal leaders. 

“Students, you hit a milestone on going into a new school,” expressed Tulalip Vice-Chair Woman, Teri Gobin. “You’ve taken a step into a new direction and it’s going to be a wonderful. Next thing you know you’ll be going into high school and then graduating. We look forward to doing anything we can to assist you. I want to encourage you to take advantage of the native liaisons to help you through every step. We’re proud of each and every one of you.” 

The ceremony also serves as a means of introduction between students who will be attending the same middle school but attended different elementary schools; as well as between students and the native liaisons of their new school. 

“We came together as a team to honor the fifth graders as they go to middle school,” said Native Liaison, Zee Jimicum. “It’s a tough transition. Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary has a fifth-grade transition weekly course to help their students prepare for middle school. So for those kids who don’t have that connection like Quil Ceda Tulalip students, it’s super important that they see our faces so when they get to middle school next year they have that connection.”

MSD native liaisons Terrance Sabbas and Matt Remle performed an honor song for the students on the traditional round drum and presented them with cedar necklaces. Each liaison also introduced themselves and shared their excitement with the future middle schoolers. 

“As a district we wanted to honor, encourage and support these students culturally here in the longhouse,” said Terrance. “We wanted to sing our traditional songs so they can feel at home. We wanted to tie it all together with culture and honor all the work they’ve accomplished.”

The MSD Indian Education Department also thanked Cascade Elementary Principal, Teresa Iyall Williams, for her years of dedication to the youth as she’ll be enjoying the retired life after this school year. Teresa was blanketed by the Indian Education Department and referred to as an ‘inspiration to all the young native girls’ and ‘a great example of how to conduct yourself’ by Tribal member, Denise Hatch-Anderson.

The students received journals from the MSD Indian Education Department so they can document the next three years of their middle school experience. 

“The excitement you have, I hope it continues all the way until you graduate from high school and from college. Whatever you choose to do in this world, we ask you to dream big,” said Deborah Parker, MSD Director of Equity, Diversity and Indian Education.

Dreaming big is exactly what the students plan to do, including Tulalip tribal member Conner Juvinel, who plans to continue pursuing his passion during his middle school years. 

“I dream to become a scientist,” he states. “I enjoy science a lot, like earth studies. It feels terrifying but still pretty awesome to go into middle school. I don’t know what I’m most excited about but I know I’m excited.”

Annual Stick Game Tournament unites Northwest tribes in friendly competition

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Players of the traditional Coast Salish gambling game, known by a few names including slahal, lahal, bone games and stick games, gathered at the Tulalip Amphitheater during the weekend of June 1-3. Many players arrived an entire day early, equipped with their bones, drums and lawn chairs in anticipation of the 9th Annual Tulalip Tribes Stick Game Tournament. This year’s tournament attracted a record-breaking one-hundred and forty-two teams who competed for a chance to win cash prizes, including the grand prize of $50,000. 

Native families journeyed across Washington and Canada to play in the tournament. The total payout this year was $63,000 which was distributed throughout the weekend during a number of rounds including the kid’s tournament, which drew a large crowd of spectators. 

The game was said to be invented centuries ago in order to settle a number of disputes between tribes of the Northwest, including the rights to fishing, gathering and hunting territories. As legend has it, the game was gifted to the people by the animals in order to unite the tribes and prevent war. 

During gameplay, two teams consisting of three to five players face each other. The game pieces, which include a set of bones and sticks, are discreetly distributed amongst the players on one team. The opposing team has to correctly guess where the bones are and how many pieces the player has in their hands. The sticks are used to keep score and the team with their bones in play, sing traditional family songs in an attempt to distract the other team from seeing where the bones end up. The team who has the correct amount of guesses wins the game and gets to advance to the next round.

 “I came out to play for the Northwest Indian College team,” says NWIC student, Mikaela ‘Miki’ Ponca-Montoya of the Osage Nation. “We held a fundraiser last week so we could register and play in the games. We’ve been practicing, we have a stick game club at the college and a bunch of people participate and came out to play. I enjoy the medicine from the games because when people are playing their songs, some of us don’t know what they mean but we proudly sing those words as they’ve been upheld for generations and generations. You can feel it when your team starts to put their medicine in the music and when they’re playing the game you can feel the energy. That, and if you win, that’s the best part!”

Smiles are shared throughout the entire weekend, even when a team is knocked out of the competition, as most people are delighted to visit with other Native people and practice the traditional game of our ancestors. 

Annual Veteran’s Pow Wow

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

The first weekend of June marked the 27th Annual Tulalip Veterans Powwow. The extremely popular event welcomed hundreds of traditional dancers and singers to the Greg Williams Court to honor our veterans and celebrate Indigenous culture. The event kicked-off on June 1 and ended on the evening of June 3, as Natives of all ages and from across the Nation journeyed to Tulalip to participate in the powwow. 

“I came from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and am Blackfeet and Colville,” said Dave Madera. “I came to dance and sing.  It’s really positive, it feels good to get out on the floor and dance it’s really a celebration of our lives and uplifting our people through song and dance.”

The powwow featured a number of grand entries throughout the weekend, but the most popular was perhaps on the evening of June 2, as the entire gym was rocking to the beats provided by the many drum groups and the jingle of traditional regalia. 

“It’s about visiting with your family and friends and at the same time you’re sharing the culture,” said Russell McCloud (Puyallup/Yakima) “Song and dance brings everyone together. For the powwow it’s that drum, the drum brings everybody here. When they’re drumming and singing, everybody’s on the same beat and that unites all of us together.”

Ruben Littlehead served as Master of Ceremonies during the powwow and Northern Cree provided loud, rhythmic drumbeats throughout the event as the host drum circle. This year featured a playground for the kids that overlooked Tulalip Bay as well as numerous vendors. 

The annual powwow continues to inspire a new generation of dancers as kids of all ages took to the floor to honor our vets and ancestors by showcasing their traditional dance skills. Adults and elders also joined in on the fun by dancing their hearts out and getting lost in the culture.

“I love everything about this powwow,” expressed young Tulalip tribal member, Jordan Power. “I come to dance for the people, share our culture and continue practicing our traditions.”

An entrepreneurial journey with Angelina Elworth

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Angelina Elworth is far from understated. Her life’s journey to this point has taught her much about circumstance, being reactive vs. proactive, the value of experience and, most importantly, the power of the growth mindset.

She understands her effort and attitude determine her ability to overcome any challenge, and recognizes that failure is just an opportunity to grow, to be better. In her twenties, Angie spent years working for the Tulalip Tribes; started in ECEAP, then in Leasing, followed by a stint in Utilities and finally a few years in Child Support.

None of those jobs were fulfilling because she had the entrepreneur’s spirit. From a young age she’d always wanted to own a business of her own, to be her own boss. Willing to risk it all and bank on herself, Angie resigned from her office job at the Tulalip Tribes in September 2016 in order to pursue her dream of being a business owner. It’s been 21-months since she made that fateful decision. Now, she sits down to reflect on her entrepreneurial journey, thus far, and detail how a 30-year-old tribal member has become the full-fledged owner of Angie’s Nail Boutique.

When did you first consider creating a business of your own?

“Honestly, I’ve always wanted to have my own business. It’s taken a long, long time to get to this point, but it’s always been a goal of mine. I worked in several positions for the Tribe, but the thought was always there that I’m not happy knowing what I really want is to create something of my own. So I took a leap of faith and went all-in with being an entrepreneur.”

That’s a huge risk. Most people aren’t willing to leave the comfort of a stable job for the uncertainty of following a dream.

“It was a risk, a huge one, but in order to become the person I want to be I have to accept those risks and continually challenge myself to grow. I’m confident enough in myself and my abilities that at the time it was something I had to do.”

What were your immediate steps after resigning from your job?

“Before resigning, I researched local beauty schools and found out about an amazing program offered at Evergreen Beauty School in Everett. I knew it would be the right fit for me. So after resigning from Child Support, I enrolled full-time at Evergreen and began classes in October 2016. Plan was to cash-out my 401k and invest that money into supplies and money for my own business. That’s exactly what I did after graduating from the beauty program.”

How was the transition to becoming a full-time student?

“I’ve taken a number of miscellaneous classes, including several online classes offered by the University of Phoenix, over the years. It may seem unrelated but I’ve accrued so much knowledge over the years by taking advantage of online and evening classes. So becoming a full-time student was easy because I love to learn. At Evergreen, it took six months for me to complete the program and receive a beauty license. After graduating, in April 2017, I registered my business, Angie’s Nail Boutique.”

Why the beauty industry?

“It makes women feel amazing. We live in a society where there’s a lot of negativity and suppression, but yet women will always try to uplift themselves by looking and feeling good. When a woman has a really nice set of nails, do you know how many compliments she’ll receive? Compliments make people feel good. That kind of positive feedback is what makes the beauty industry a constant because the demand to feel good and look good will always be there.” 

After creating and registering Angie’s Nail Boutique, then you hit some bumps in your journey. What happened?

“I attempted to really hit the ground running by leasing a space at Phenix Salon and Suites in Lynnwood, but being new to that area I didn’t have the clientele necessary to sustain the business. So I got out of the lease and had to take a step back and reevaluate my strategy for long-term success. Looking back, I really wasn’t strategic in my planning and I should have planned more thoroughly. That was a mistake, but I’ve learned from it.”

So you went back to school, again?

“Yes. I decided the best strategy was to re-enroll in Evergreen to receive an instructor’s license. That way I could eventually hire employees, train them in my style of work ethic, and better position myself long-term. I just finished the instructor’s program and passed the State exam two weeks ago. 

It was one of the best experiences of my life. When you learn to be a facilitator and teacher, you become a student for life; whatever you learn, you teach other people. My instructor was amazing as well. She had very strong interpersonal skills, was consistent and always in a good mood. She is who I aspire to be.”

What’s the present status of your entrepreneurial journey?

“I’ve been in my current location in Everett since May 1st, not long at all, but I love it. It’s not work to me because I love what I do. I’m leasing a space at a better location for me right now. We have close to fifteen individual businesses here, sharing a building for the benefit of all. The ladies here I can interact with every day in a positive atmosphere where we are all rooting for each other to succeed.

“I definitely think this will be the point where I can establish a firm foundation for my business. It’s a good location with a positive atmosphere, somewhere that can allow me to build my client list to where I’m booked out for weeks.”

What’s the future hold for Angie’s Nail Boutique?

“Once I’ve reached a comfortable level with my savings, I plan to lease a larger space that’s dedicated to my business. Then I’ll be able to hire on employees, so that I can make full use of my instructor’s license by training other ambitious ladies who are willing to grow within the industry. 

The ultimate goal is to expand my business so that I’ll have locations in Everett, Seattle and Bellevue. I see myself and this business continuing to grow together because there is nowhere else to go but up.”

Any advice you’d offer to someone considering the entrepreneur life?

“Everybody dreams. You can’t be scared to follow your dreams. A lot of people won’t allow themselves to succeed because they are so afraid of failure and looking bad. All the young adults of our Tribe are so full of opportunity. In order to reach your potential and chase your dreams, you have to be willing let go of everything holding you back. You have to cut out the negativity and the naysayers. It might sound scary, but it’s so worth it in the end. And remember, that any bump in the road offers the chance to learn and grow, to be better.”

Angie’s Nail Boutique is located at 2817 Rockefeller Ave, Everett WA 98201. To schedule an appointment please call (425) 501-4210. For more information about services she offers visit angiesnailboutique.com or check out the Angie’s Nail Boutique page on Facebook.

20th Annual B&GC Auction: It’s for the kids!

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

During the evening of Saturday, May 19, the Tulalip Resort Casino’s Orca ballroom was home to the 20th Annual Tulalip Boys and Girls Club Auction. The annual fundraising event is all about giving donors and community members the opportunity to take action for the benefit of countless kids and support the Tribes’ local Boys and Girls Club. 

‘The Club’, as it’s affectionately been dubbed by the hundreds of children who attend daily, is a safe place where children can just be kids. At the Club, children make relationships that can last a lifetime, are exposed to healthy food choices, and create an abundance of happy memories.

The Club is the first of its kind to be built on tribal land in Washington. Established in 1995, 2018 marks twenty-three years of commitment to the community. Through before and after school programs, it aims to help young people improve their lives by building self-esteem, developing values, and teaching skills during critical periods of growth.

“It has been two decades since the Tulalip Boys and Girls Club has blessed our community by providing services to our children,” said Rochelle Lubbers, auction committee member and Tulalip tribal member. “If you talk to anybody, they’ll tell you how much the Club’s services have meant to them. For our families, especially those with working parents, this place has been a game-changer.”

Serving as a model for those working to improve the lives of young people in the surrounding communities, the Club is the primary beneficiary of the annual fundraising auction. With each auction building off the success of the previous years, the Club has not only been able to sustain services, but to complete much needed campus expansions that add additional learning and activity space. Funds raised from this year’s auction will make it possible to add a 5,000-square-footextension to the existing Boys and Girls Club building to better accommodate an ever-growing membership. 

Funds raised from the annual actions are dedicated for capital improvement, not operating costs. Previous auction funds have paid for a state-of-the-art music studio, a multi-media room with twenty-plus computers, several transportation vehicles, a new roof, and upgraded kitchen equipment.

“Like past years, the funds raised from [the] auction will ensure that our Club not only continues to provide, but improves upon, quality programs in a fun, safe, and positive environment for the children who attend,” stated Samuel Askew, Auction Co-Chair. “We’re making great impacts in the lives of our kids through support and program expansion.

“The Tulalip Boys and Girls Club is a place where our children can build relationships, advance in school, excel in sports, learn new talents, and have a nutritional meal while spending time with their mentors and friends.” 

There were over 700 caring and generous people in attendance at this year’s 20th annual auction. With such an amazing turnout to support the kids came some thrilling fundraising numbers. Over $67,000 was raised for Kids Kafé, which is an essential part of the Club’s services. Kids Kafé addresses the very basic fact that often the meals provided to club members are the most nutritious part of their daily diet. This year, Kids Kafé served hot meals and healthy snacks to approximately 385 kids each day, which translates to 2,500 meals per week and 123,000 meals per year. 

In total, over $400,000 was raised between the silent and live auctions, including the enormous amount of support for Kids Kafé. 

“The auction is really about building relationships with the community and continuing to build upon the strong foundation of support we have with the Tulalip Tribes, Snohomish County, the school board, and the Tulalip Resort Casino,” explained Terry Freeman, Assistant Director of Development for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County. “For twenty years now, our goal has remained the same – to create more and more partnerships off the reservation to achieve our goals on reservation. Thanks to our tribal leadership team, we continue to meet and exceed this goal. This year’s auction goes to show that it’s so much bigger than just an auction, it’s a signature event for people to give back to the kids.”

On behalf of the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club, the Tulalip Tribes thanks everyone who contributed to the success of the 20th annual auction. The generosity and heartfelt support received each year from sponsors and volunteers is overwhelming. As in years past, the funds raised from the auction will ensure that the Club continues to provide and improve upon quality programs in a fun, safe and positive environment for our kids.

Relocating Taholah

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

As a member of the Quinault Indian Nation (QIN), I spent the majority of my childhood summers in Taholah at my grandparent’s house while my parents worked throughout the summer. My grandparents lived right at the heart of the lower village. Many of my childhood memories occurred in Taholah. Playing backyard baseball with all of my cousins, daily trips to the mouth of the Quinault River with my auntie, bike rides with my sister throughout the reservation, lighting fireworks on the beach and enjoying good food and times served up at the many family functions at the community center. In my adolescent years, I worked for the Quinault newspaper, the Nugguam, where the offices had an amazing view of the river, located directly across the street. My mother, my grandparents and countless others created priceless memories in the lower village and have lived there for nearly their entire lives. It’s heart wrenching to learn that at any given moment the entire lower village could be washed away. 

“The last huge cataclysmic earthquake happened on January 24, 1700. The Quinault or Makah didn’t have records, but the Japanese kept good records,” states QIN Senior Planner, Kelsey Moldenke. “From that, they were able to extrapolate back to when it exactly happened. That’s three hundred and thirteen years ago, these quakes happen every three to five hundred years. We’ve already passed that three-hundred-year threshold, so the biggest threat to the village is a tsunami.” 

Kelsey Moldenke, Quinault Indian Nation Senior Planner

Schools along the coast, throughout Grays Harbor County, practice tsunami evacuation drills in case they ever need to transport students to higher ground. Tsunami evacuation routes are posted throughout the highways as coastal communities including Ocean Shores, Seabrook and Westport are all at high-risk. Many of the small towns have only one or two roads leading away from the ocean. Several of my classmates would often scoff at the idea of a tsunami ever occurring during our lifetime. One classmate even stayed home while his entire family evacuated during one of a few red tsunami alerts. Tsunamis, for some reason, always seemed somewhat farfetched. However, the Quinault Nation is currently in the planning process of creating an entire new village that is out of the tsunami danger zone, preparing for a tidal wave that may not be as far away as we once thought.  

 “We have the Cascadia subduction zone off of the coast, about fifty miles,” says Kelsey. “It’s geologically similar to the area off Indonesia, which back in 2005 had that big quake and tsunami that wiped out two hundred and fifty thousand people. There’s six hundred and fifty people and one hundred and seventy homes in the lower village, so we need to get people up the hill and out of danger in case of a disaster.” 

Relocating all of Taholah’s lower village community members and programs will be no easy feat. In fact, the planning department envisions completing the entire project within twenty to twenty-five years, depending on a number of variables such as funding and convincing the community to leave their current homes. When creating the plan for the new village, QIN also had to include the programs that are currently located in the lower village as well as the cultural museum, the Taholah Mercantile, post office, community center and the school. 

“We wanted to have a central road with the mercantile, the bank, the post office and other offices,” Kelsey said while describing the relocation plan.  “We have the museum at the heart of the community to keep the culture right there in the center. And also a new community center at the top of the hill where you would be able to have better space. The community center will probably be a little oversized, we’ll have extra showers and we added some storage for cots and tents, so that it could serve as the emergency evacuation area.

“The school’s plan was in place before I got here,” he continues. “The school is owned by the state, it’s not a BIA school, so it’s going to be harder to fund. I think the state will pay up to twenty percent of the new school, otherwise it’s up to local jurisdiction. Somehow we’d have to come with forty million dollars to pay for that school. Those funds could come through congressional appropriation or a big loan because that’s by far the most expensive building we’d be looking at and it’s not totally within the Nation’s control.” 

The new village will also include a central park, cottages for elders, apartments for college students and single adults, and tiny houses for the homeless population as well as people who are returning to the community from recovery. If a disaster were to take place, the QIN planning department took measures to ensure the sustainability of the community. 

“In the case of the quake and the tsunami, Taholah is by itself,” says Kelsey. “There’s one road in and there’s one powerline in and they both go through the tsunami zone on the beach. So having the best shelter in place was the goal of this project. We talked to Grays Harbor PUD and it would take six months to two years to get power restored in Taholah. Being at the end of the line, we’re the last ones to get served out here. How do we maintain at least some power was another goal of this plan. We placed an energy park in the village and a biomass facility. We worked with some federal agencies and with a non-profit group on incorporating solar into the neighborhoods. That may not take care of all the power needs for the village but it would keep the lights on for some of the day and the refrigeration going. And with the biomass, we’re looking at doing the district heating system where it would basically boil water and then you would take the heat from the boiled water and heat the clinic, the Admin Building and the Generations Building.”

The Generations Building is essentially the first step in implementing the relocation. The Generations Building will unite the elders and the babies of Taholah, combining the senior program and the Taholah Early Head Start, Head Start and day care programs into one building. Although the tribe hopes for much interaction between the generations, Kelsey explained that the idea behind the Generations Building is to protect the community’s most vulnerable populations. The new building will also serve as Taholah’s evacuation facility until the new community center is completed. 

The Generations Building is currently in the process of architectural development and if approved by the Nation, could begin construction as early as next year. After the Generations Building is complete, the next phase will be constructing the first neighborhood of the village, with spaces for both small and large families.

QIN will then focus their attention on relocating the Queets Village, located near Lake Quinault and home to a number of Quinault tribal members.

“We asked, how’s the tsunami going to affect Queets, and found that all of the lower village of Queets will also possibly be wiped out. We’re working on a plan for Queets, we’ll also be building a Generations Building for them, which could also serve as the evacuation center.”

 Kelsey believes the relocation of Taholah and Queets will happen over a number of years and in phases, alternating projects between the two new villages. In addition to the tsunami, QIN has to think about how climate change will continue to affect Taholah through sea level rise and beach erosion. 

Funding remains a concern for the project at the moment because many communities haven’t had to move an entire village to higher ground for the safety of their people during this modern age. In earlier years, Indigenous communities would be able to move about the land more freely, today the tribes face more challenges such as property ownership and the cost of construction. Since working on this project with QIN, Kelsey has come into contact with two tribes, one in Alaska and the other in Louisiana, who are currently experiencing similar situations and are having to relocate. By keeping in contact with those tribes, Kelsey has been able to learn of a couple new resources for funding as well as pick up a few pointers.

Saying good-bye to the entire Taholah village would be extremely hard because of the memories created and shared there. However, QIN is making efforts to protect the culture, the safety of its people and ensuring the future of the tribe by beginning to build a safe, new community away from the danger of a tsunami. 

Quil Ceda Village tax case underway in federal court

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

According to the Washington Department of Revenue, Tulalip’s Quil Ceda Village generates approximately $40 million in tax revenues each year, but none of these taxes go to Tulalip or the Village. Instead, the State and County collect 100% of the taxes, with the vast majority going to Olympia. The State and County do not share any of these tax revenues with Tulalip.

The Tulalip Tribes’ lawsuit challenging Washington State and Snohomish County’s authority to collect sales tax generated by businesses in Quil Ceda Village (QCV) has finally commenced. The bench trial, presided over by Judge Barbara Rothstein, is scheduled for 10-days and began on Monday, May 14, at the U.S. District Courthouse located in Seattle.

Moments prior to court going into session, Chairwoman Marie Zackuse stated, “The Tulalip Tribes are here today to present our case. This is about taxes generated in our own tribal municipality – built with our own resources. We are confident we have a strong case and look forward to a positive outcome.”

The U.S. federal government is Tulalip’s co-plaintiff in the legal battle against Snohomish County and Washington State. The United States claims the State and County’s imposition of taxes on commerce in Quil Ceda Village undermines tribal and federal interests, infringes on tribal self-governance, and violates the Indian Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

“The United States takes seriously the federal role in protecting tribal self-government, which has its foundation in federal statutes, treaties, and regulations,” said John C. Cruden, the Assistant U.S. Attorney General at the time the lawsuit was filed.

“The State of Washington and Snohomish County did not contribute in any significant respect to the development of Quil Ceda Village,” according to the United States complaint filed in Seattle. “Moreover, they provide no significant governmental services at the Village and they play no role in the Village’s ongoing operations.” 

The State and County currently collect over $40 million in annual property, business and occupation and sales taxes on the on-reservation activities at Quil Ceda Village. Even though Tulalip has its own applicable tribal tax laws, State and County taxation, in effect, preclude Tulalip from imposing its own taxes and deprive the Tribe of the tax base needed to fund important governmental services.

During opening arguments, Tulalip’s legal team expressed that the evidence will show that Tulalip has done everything reasonable to build QCV into what it is today while working under the guidelines of the Tulalip Leasing Act and other federal statutes encouraging self-determination. Tulalip created an economic engine, only to have the tax-base they created be 100% appropriated by County and State governments. 


In 2001, the Bureau of Indian Affairs approved QCV’s status as a tribal municipality. Quil Ceda Village became the first tribal political subdivision in the nation established under the Indian Tribal Governmental Tax Status Act of 1982, and one of only two federal municipalities in the country, the other being Washington, D.C. As the first tribal city of its kind, Quil Ceda Village is an innovative model of tribal economic development.

The Tulalip Tribes, with support of the United States government, took what was once undeveloped land and engaged in master planning, invested in infrastructure, and created resources that benefit its tribal membership and the surrounding communities. 

Quil Ceda Village is widely regarded as an economic powerhouse, located entirely on federal land held in trust by the United States for the benefit of the Tulalip Tribes. The Village contains the Tulalip Resort Casino, Walmart, Home Depot, Cabela’s, the 130 designer store Seattle Premium Outlets, and provides jobs for over 5,000 employees. QCV has fulfilled the vision of past tribal leaders who sought to create a destination marketplace on the Tulalip Reservation.

Be a witness to history

Tulalip filed suit against the State and County in 2015, seeking the right to claim the tax revenue generated at QCV. Three years later, the lawsuit is finally being heard and is open to the public. Over the 10-day federal court proceedings, Tulalip Tribes, represented by the Office of Reservation Attorney and the Seattle-based law firm of Kanji & Katzen, will seek authorization to exercise its sovereignty over the economy and tax-base, while asking the Court to instruct the County and State to cease collecting sales tax on economic activities within the boundaries of QCV.

Tulalip Tribes, et al., vs. the State of Washington, et al. is ongoing at the U.S. District Courthouse located at 700 Stewart St, Seattle, WA 98101. Tribal members who wish to show their support are encouraged to do so. The case is being heard by Judge Rothstein in room 16106 from 9:00a.m. to 5:00p.m. 

“We are witnessing history in the making as the two-week hearing for our federal city, Quil Ceda Village, is underway to preempt Washington State sales taxes within our sovereign lands,” said former Board of Director Theresa Sheldon. “It’s important to acknowledge that it has taken decades of work for us to get to this point. The efforts of so many past tribal leaders and QCV employees helped carry this vision forward.”