Our treaties are the last line of defense

Tulalip Tribes educates community on Treaty Rights

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

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Articles: 

The Treaty of Point Elliott: A living document

Tulalip prepares for Treaty Days

Tulalip youth exercise treaty rights, learn hunting safety

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

Tulalip educates community on habitat restoration and treaty rights

Point Elliott Treaty, 159 years later

Tulalip Tribes stewardship recognized by the Harvard Project

Pacific Northwest Tribes unite to protect and defend salmon

 

 

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

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Tulalip Tribes SNAP-Ed Nutritionist, AnneCherise Jensen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Healthy Fruit Smoothies

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

Creamy Raspberry Coconut Smoothie  

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

Berry Banana Oat Smoothie 

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

Spinach Pineapple Green Smoothie

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

Tulalip Tribes first in state to introduce Aristocrat gaming machines

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

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Share your story: Poetry at Hibulb

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

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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