Team Outreach provides support and encouragement to Tulalip youth

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

The transition from adolescence into adulthood is no easy feat. The teenage years are filled with triumphs and numerous setbacks. In many Native communities, kids are exposed to much more pain growing up, witnessing their loved one’s attempt to fight through adversity and find ways to cope with the years of generational trauma that is embedded in our DNA. Sometimes we find healthy outlets to work through that trauma and other times we look for ways to escape it. In addition to finding their personal identity, studying, participating in social activities and preparing for college, Native youth face many similar challenges as the average teen, but arguably at a higher extent, such as depression, violence at school or at home, the pressure to abuse drugs as well as the loss of friends or family to suicide. 

Teens often need an extra bit of encouragement to help them through their periods of struggle. Many kids look to confide in somebody outside of their families, who can listen, relate and provide a positive perspective to help them keep pushing forward. Tulalip Outreach workers, Dakota (Cody) Monger and Cassandra Jimicum, are providing exactly that for several local youth of the community. 

The Family Haven program, Team Outreach, is designed to provide support to Tulalip youth, helping them accomplish their goals and get things back on track. Cody works with the young men of Tulalip between the ages of thirteen and twenty-two, while Cassandra works with the young ladies between fourteen and twenty-two. The teens learn how to set, prioritize and accomplish both short and long term goals while also receiving assistance with recovery, physical and mental health, legal issues, obtaining a driver’s license, money management and resumes. The program assists high school students get re-enrolled if they dropped out of school and also helps those who wish to transfer schools within the Marysville School District. 

“We will help them with everything and anything really,” says Cody “It’s like a role model program or a mentorship. Everything you can think of that our youth needs, we cover it like self-esteem, or if they’re suicidal and too scared to talk with somebody about it. It’s hard to pinpoint a specific area we work on, but we work at their pace. The biggest thing is we want to earn their trust and just be real with them, like call their bluff out or if they’re doing something wrong, tell it to them like a friend would, like dude you’re messing up.”

“They set their own goals and we go at their pace,” adds Cassandra. “I just started in February and I’ve already helped my girls with TANF, I awarded a few shoe vouchers, I got one of my girls into Drivers Ed, I got two girls enrolled back in school and helped a girl get into counseling. We have a referral process and when we get referrals, we go out and just talk with them. They tell us everything they want to accomplish and then we narrow it down to two goals and then we work on those goals and once those are completed, we work on two more.”

Both Cody and Cassandra have seen a number of success stories from the youth who participate in their groups. They explained that they proudly watched several individuals overcome personal obstacles and achieve huge feats, rising to the challenge one issue at a time and getting things done. 

“I had a young man who posted every day that he didn’t want to be here,” Cody states. “It took about six to eight months pinpointing where the issue stemmed from. We had to break everything down, just so he could be happy again. Now the only thing he posts are messages saying ‘I’m doing fantastic, I’m going to school today or I love being a stepdad.’ He went from a deep, deep depression to being happy and thankful every day. He’s holding down a job, getting his GED, he became a stepfather and recently he’s started traveling more.  

“Another one of my guys got in a fight with a family member and literally barricaded himself in his room for months on end and had no communication with anybody, not even his mom. Now he’s into classical music, he’s holding B’s and A’s in school and is going to be doing a few concerts in the summer.”

The Outreach workers meet one-on-one with their teens on a weekly-basis, allowing them the chance to vent about any current difficulties they are experiencing as well as celebrate any new victories. Cody and Cassandra make the experience as smooth as possible for their clients by meeting them where they’re most comfortable, whether that’s at the Family Haven office, home, school, a coffee shop or a restaurant. 

Since Cody’s program has been established for a few years, many members of his group are well-acquainted with each other and have created a strong support system within the group. Cody also holds a study day on Wednesdays as well as an end-of-the week gathering, where those who wish to participate can meet up to talk about the week or participate in a physical activity together, like weight training or a pick-up game of basketball at the Marysville YMCA. As Cassandra’s program continues to gain momentum and additional participants, she also wishes to hold group gatherings throughout the week to enhance life skills with cooking and exercising classes as well as fun art and craft activities. 

Currently Cassandra is guiding six young ladies through the program and Cody is serving twelve young gentlemen on a consistent basis. They want to extend a friendly welcome out to other young adults in the area who can benefit from this program, as well as to those parents and teachers who may have someone in mind that could use a helping hand, and some encouragement to reach their full potential and beyond.

 “It’s important for our kids to know that there is somebody out there willing to go above and beyond for them, to help them through their darkest times,” expresses Cody. “I know sometimes it’s hard to reach out to ask for that peer support, or help in general. It’s a good feeling for them, knowing that there are people who are genuinely looking out for what’s best for them and their future.”

Nodding her head in agreement, Cassandra adds, “I feel the same way. It’s important that people know we are here to help our kids get back in school and that we are here to assist in any way we can to make sure they are successful in life.”

For more information about the Team Outreach program, please contact Family Haven at (360) 716-3284.

Oscar Carl Jones, Sr. Tulalip Tribal Court 2019 Warrant Amnesty Week

By Alicia Horne, Tribal Court Director

The Tulalip Tribal Court is offering Warrant Amnesty Week from

Monday, June 3rdthrough Friday, June 7that the following times:

  • Monday, June 3 – 10:30m
  • Tuesday, June 4 – 10:00 am
  • Wednesday, June 5 – 10:00 am
  • Thursday, June 6 – 3:00 pm
  • Friday, June 7 – 10:00 am

Warrant Amnesty means that on the scheduled days and times, a community member who has a warrant out of the Tulalip Tribal Court can come to Court and quash their warrant without a quash fee and will not be taken into custody regardless of case charge(s). YOU MUST BE HERE AT THE TIMES ABOVE OR YOU MAY NOT GET A HEARING!

You will be issued a new court hearing date to review your case.

There are over 300 active warrants in the system– costing police officer time, judicial and clerk time, and increasing jail costs, therefore, the Tribal Court is offering this Warrant Amnesty Week.

Please visit us at our new justice building:  6332 31stAvenue NE, Suite B, Tulalip, WA 98271.

If you have any further questions regarding our upcoming Warrant Amnesty Week, please contact the Tulalip Tribal Court at 360-716-4773.

A perfect day, a perfect moment’: UNITY mural revealed

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Don “Penoke” Hatch Youth Center. Kenny Moses Building. Greg Williams Court. Alpheus “Gunny” Jones Ball Field. Debra Barto Skate Park. 

These locations have become five common place names in everyday Tulalip lexicon. However, the people these locations are named after are anything but common.            They were influential individuals who dedicated much of their lives to supporting, bettering, and empowering tribal youth. 

Each a Tulalip citizen, their commendable spirits are now immortalized in paint as part of a five portrait project known as the UNITY mural. The highly anticipated mural reveal took place on Saturday, April 13.

 “This is a perfect day, a perfect moment,” declared Herman Williams Jr., a representative from Greg Williams’ family shortly after the murals were unveiled. “This is what we are about as Tulalip people, honoring those who had a positive effect on ourselves. Each mural is of someone who was very influential to us as young people, old people, and everything in between.” 

More than 150 community members gathered at Greg Williams Court to share in the special moment as the curtains were pulled down and the vibrant portraits were put on full display. This type of gathering was exactly what the project coordinator had in mind.

“Initially, I envisioned something that would bring the community together and bring families together,” explained mural coordinator Deyamonta Diaz. “These murals tell the stories behind our buildings, who they are named after, and the legacy these people left. To see all five people together gives the families an opportunity to share memories. 

“Also, for the people who don’t know them, they are going ask ‘who are these people?’ and ‘why are their pictures up?’” added Deyamonta. “I think that’s a great conversation starter for the community to keep these people’s legacies alive.”

Legacy was a concept routinely mentioned as speakers and representatives for each painted figure shared loving words and fond memories. A shared hope for future generations to carry on their family member’s legacy through resolve and action, while looking to each painting as a symbol of support when needed, was also expressed repeatedly at the podium. 

Don “Penoke” Hatch gets an up close and personal view of his portrait, while daughter Denise speaks of his long-time commitment to the youth.

Four of the five mural honorees have passed on, with Penoke Hatch being the lone exception. 

“As we look at these murals, it’s important to know each one of them is still here with us. They are here in their families who tell their stories,” shared Penoke. “Each one of them made an impact in different ways. They always took care of everybody, especially the young ones. Thank you to the artists, Youth Services, and the Tribe for what they did here to honor us.” 

Honoring those represented on the Tulalip Bay athletic campus with a UNITY mural was made possible in partnership with Youth Services and local Native artists, Monie Ordonia (Tulalip) and Jordan Willard (Tlingit).

Tulalip artist Monie Ordonia (right) and assistant Jordan Williard (Tlingit) reflect on their painting process during the mural reveal.

“They had a vision of having portraits in mural form of all the legends that these building are named after,” said Monie. “The concept incorporates Native colors, so we used red, black, yellow, and white as the backgrounds. For Debbie, we used gray as the background and then incorporated her grandchildren’s hand prints.

“I like to feel the energy of who I’m painting, like an activation, it helps bring the person to life,” continued Monie. “Once the murals are complete and I look into the eyes of the painting, then I can feel them communicating with me. Hopefully, that helps other people have the ability to do the same.”

The memories of Kenny Moses, Debra Barto, Greg Williams, Penoke and Gunny Jones are kept alive by those who knew them best. Some were beneficiaries of their admirable determination, while others were fortunate to witness their heroic exploits in action. For everyone else, the UNITY mural serves as a reminder that legends are never forgotten. 

Fun-filled spring break for Tulalip youth

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Every student hopes to have a cool spring break. One where they can make memories galore with their friends and family so they have fun-filled stories to tell when school resumes. Fortunately, in Tulalip we have two dedicated teams in our Youth Services Department and local Boys & Girls Club who coordinated a whole week of kid-friendly activities to keep our youth occupied during April 1 to April 5. 

This year, the staff of Youth Services planned a week of teenager approved activities and overall good times during the 6th-12th grade annual time off from class. The week started with a series of indoor tournaments (e-sports, board games, etc.) giving ample opportunities for youth to claim prizes and bragging rights. Day’s following were filled with BINGO, a bus ride to Tukwila to experience Family Fun Center, Alfy’s pizza and multiple arcades. Finally, the week came to a close with a premiere showing of the latest superhero movie Shazam!

A highlight of their week was a Thursday morning spent having elevated fun at Altitude trampoline park. Sixty-five teenagers remained active on the main jumping zones. Some played 8-on-8 trampoline dodgeball, while the hoopers of the bunch held a slam dunk contest.

“As a mom, having spring break activities provided by Youth Services and the Boys & Girls Club for our children is a blessing,” shared Sarah Murphy, Y.S. Activities Supervisor and mother of nine. “Keeping the youth busy with positive activities helps to keep them out of trouble and away from danger!

“To see the youth come together, creating memories and sharing nothing less than smiles assures me that as employees, we are exactly where we need to be. It’s so important for Y.S staff to teach healthy activities and programs. We take great pride in providing a safe place to hang out and a positive environment to share love and memories,” continued Sarah.

While the Tribe’s teenagers were preoccupied with their own version of fun, the always energetic, elementary-aged students were having a blast of their own at Tulalip’s Boys & Girls Club. Participation soared this year, with nearly 130 kids per day joining in on all the Club’s offerings. 

The youngsters started off their week with Monday’s variety of “minute to win it” games yielding prizes to winner after winner until everyone had a prize. Tuesday’s glow party and Wednesday’s chalk war were definite hits. Then on Thursday the Boys and Girls Club youth took a field trip to Everett Skate Deck where they took over the skating rink. With countless loops around the rink, the kids skated to their hearts desire while dancing to all the classic roller skating songs. Wrapping up their week away from school, the imaginative kiddos put on a talent show that proved a rising tide of Baby Shark song and dances could still get a gym packed with kids and their parents grooving. 

“It takes so much planning and dedication from our Club staff to make our spring break week an amazing experience for all the kids,” said Diane Prouty, B&GC office manager. “Multiple times we had kids who were having so much fun they didn’t want to go home. Seeing all the beaming smiles and such cute laughs from the kids makes it so worth it.”

For the youth of Tulalip, spring break was a week of enjoying one activity after another with friends and cousins, while giving many working parents a stress-free way of managing five straight weekdays without the routine of school. Youth Services and the Boys & Girls Club made sure our youth remained fed and got their snack on, safe while going on off-rez adventures, and created priceless memories of fun experiences that kids can tell to their classmates now that they’re back in school.

Tulalip seniors visit Tulip Festival

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Every April, people travel from around the world to the outskirts of Mount Vernon, Washington to witness thousands of tulips burst into bloom at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, officially welcoming the arrival of the spring season. At two featured sites, Roozengaarde and Tulip Town, spectators are treated to a stunning visual experience provided by Mother Earth, and the bulb growers as well. 

Since its inception thirty-four years ago, the festival continues to grow in popularity, garnering more and more tulip enthusiasts each year. The tulip festival is in fact Washington State’s biggest festival, attracting over one million participants annually. 

This year, the Tulalip Senior Center organized a trip for the local elders of the community to join in on the outdoor fun at the festival and witness the beauty of Mother Nature firsthand. Eleven elders met bright and early at the Tulalip Dining Hall on the morning of April 9, and made the hour-long journey north to Roozengaarde Flowers and Bulbs, a family owned establishment that has been in the tulip growing business for over seventy years. 

Arriving well before the rush, the seniors had plenty of time to walk about the enormous garden and admire the tulips without feeling overcrowded or pressured to hurry along. Rows and rows of tulips, varying in all different types of vibrant red, pink, yellow, purple and white colors, were just beginning to bloom during the seniors visit, generating a lot of oohs and ahhs as well as several smiles from the elders, as they stooped low to get an up-close look at the flowers. 

The idea was originally presented by Tulalip elder, Barbara Jones, when brainstorming field trip destinations for the seniors. She stated that she thought it would be a great way for the fellow elders of the community to enjoy a springtime activity as well as get some fresh air and ‘to get out and get moving’.

“We thought it was a fun idea to bring the seniors out here today,” explained Jessica Leslie, the Senior Center Manger’s Assistant. “We left at nine this morning to come and walk around the tulip fields. It’s beautiful out here. They’re not fully in bloom yet, but we just wanted to get out and go for a walk. We like to get our seniors out and about to see different things. Some of them don’t drive, so we try to bring them places to do fun stuff like this and get them out of the house to break up the routine a bit.”

The elders broke off into small groups as they made their way through the garden, enjoying company and exploring hundreds of acres of tulips, as well as daffodils, for approximately an hour-and-a-half. The seniors finished their self-led tours just on time as people began to arrive by the carload with their cameras in hand, to capture the gorgeous flowers as they began to open up.

The group also enjoyed a picnic lunch and visited the Roosengaard merchandise shop where they could purchase any of the tulips that were on display to take home and add to their personal garden.  

 “It finally feels like spring is here,” expressed Tulalip elder, Tina Lyle. “It feels great to be out here, it wakes you up and brings your senses alive and strengthens our connection to the Earth. The tulips are all so beautiful, the blood orange ones are my favorite so far. And to come out here with other Tulalip seniors is special. If you get a chance, you got to come up here and enjoy it and see the tulips in-person for yourself.”

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival will continue for the duration of April and will feature a variety of events including the annual Tulip Parade. Roozengaarde Flowers and Bulbs is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., while Tulip Town is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For directions and more information, please visit www.TulipFestival.org

Newly elected Board Members sworn in

Tulalip Tribes Board Members Misty Napeahi and Glen Gobin were sworn in by
Reservation Attorney Michelle Sheldon (left).

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

During last month’s General Council, tribal members Glen Gobin and Misty Napeahi received the two highest vote totals in a very closely contested Board of Directors election. The pair were sworn in officially as Tulalip Tribes Board of Directors and began their three-year terms on Saturday, April 6. 

In front of a jam-packed Board Room audience, Misty and Glen were sworn in by Reservation Attorney Michelle Sheldon. The two are replacing longtime Board member Marie Zackuse and one-term incumbent Bonnie Juneau. 

“I’d like to acknowledge and thank the membership of the Tulalip Tribes who have supported me through the years,” reflected exiting Chairwoman Marie Zackuse. “I’m truly grateful for the two tribal members who asked me in 1990 to run for Board. Collectively, the different Boards I’ve been a part of gave a lot of insight, knowledge, and truth, while always reminding all of us we cannot forget where we came from with the early leaders who set the foundation for us all.” 

Marie was the first elected Chairwoman in the history of the Tulalip Tribes. Previously the Vice Chairwoman, she had served on the Board of Directors since April 1990. Marie also holds the distinction of longest serving female in Board history.

“When you go into election time, sometimes you’re running for election against people that you care about. It makes it difficult, but we all want what’s best for our tribe,” said Glen, now serving as Vice Chairman. “The elders want us to help the community and bring us back together in a good way, to work as one people in the best interests of our next generation.”

Glen has owned and operated a successful construction company for many years, and also continues a lifelong tradition of commercial fishing and staying active in many cultural and community activities. He is married with four children and four grandchildren and resides on the reservation.

Misty has spent her career dedicated to the Tulalip Tribes, holding various positions at both tribal government and the casino. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Columbia College. Misty brings more than twenty-three years of experience in tribal government processes and systems.

“I have a deep sense of responsibly to my community and I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve in this capacity as a Board of Director,” stated Misty, now serving as Treasurer. “I’m very thankful to my grandpa, Herman Williams Sr., for signing my petition, mentoring me, and being my rock. A lot of things have happened in a very short time. Some of those things have been good and some have been painful, but I look forward to us moving forward together in the best way for all of our membership. I’m truly dedicated to honoring our membership by keeping them informed and part of the process.”

Teri Gobin takes her new seat as Tulalip Tribes Chariwoman.

In year three of her Board of Director term, Teri Gobin is now serving as Chairwoman. After taking her new seat as Chairwoman, Teri said, “We look forward to moving ahead in a positive way and bringing the community back together. We have a lot of work to do from housing to healthcare to the opioid addiction, but we are going to get through this together and in a positive way.”