SNAP-Ed offers fun, interactive nutrition course to Tulalip community

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

When you see a class hosted by the Tulalip SNAP-Ed Program it’s safe to say you can expect a little fun and often times, some good eats. The program offers education about nutrition and the importance of exercise, encouraging community members to live healthier lifestyles. SNAP-Ed is known for their Tulalip Walking Club that meets each week to walk about the reservation and their Wellness Wednesdays classes, formerly held at the Tulalip Administration Building. Maybe it’s the food, maybe it’s the activities or perhaps it’s the prizes, but whatever it is, the participants of a SNAP-Ed training have a good time, showcased by their many smiles and laughter. Which is why it’s no surprise that SNAP-Ed’s most recent endeavor is extremely popular.

If you haven’t heard of the Eat Smart, Be Active, Nutrition and Cooking course, you’re going to want to get in line for the next series of classes so you can experience the nine-week health journey in its entirety. Classes are currently held every Wednesday, until March 21, from 5:00 p.m. to approximately 6:30 p.m. at the Tulalip Dining Hall where the students are gaining much of knowledge about buying, preparing and consuming healthy meals.

Tribal communities nationwide face health issues such as diabetes and hypertension due largely in part to assimilation and a disconnect from traditional foods. Whether its lack of time or kitchen knowledge, many Americans end up hitting the drive-thru or placing an Uber Eats order at the end of the day.

The Eat Smart, Be Active course not only teaches participants how to cook, it also teaches how to meal plan, put together a budget-friendly grocery list, the nutritional value of foods and how to incorporate more veggies into your diet. The classes also include exercise breaks throughout the daily lesson plan, which the students enthusiastically participate in.

“There are four really important exercises that you need to know,” explains SNAP-Ed Nutritionist, AnneCherise Jensen. “You need to know muscle strengthening exercises, cardio, stretching or yoga and also bone strengthening exercises. Today we did a cardio pyramid which is a series of exercises to get our heart rate up, get fresh oxygen to the brain and wake us up a little bit.

“We’re all about promoting an active, healthy lifestyle. We’re trying to teach people different ways to prevent disease before it starts happening,” she continues. “I personally believe that it all starts with diet and exercise. Food is medicine. The food that we eat determines our health and our future; food affects our mood spiritually, mentally and physically. All good things come from eating good, healthy foods.”

After their daily nutritional lesson, the students enter the kitchen where they work together to prepare a meal. SNAP-Ed incorporates fresh ingredients with hand-picked produce and also raffles off reusable grocery bags filled with ingredients that the students can use to make recipes at home.

“I come to the classes to learn more about being healthy and being active,” states Tulalip tribal member, Tyler Fryberg. “I like everything in the class because it’s all useful. The exercises are fun. I enjoy cooking, it’s fun making new recipes. It’s just a really fun class.”

Fun might be the best way to describe the Eat Smart, Be Active course as Tyler’s views were shared by a group of co-workers from the Tulalip Resort Casino as well as numerous community members.

“These nine weeks focus on important areas where we can make changes in our life, to make a positive impact on our health and our overall well-being,” states AnneCherise. “There’s lots of one-on-one activities, everybody gets to cook, we learn new things and try new recipes. It’s a great program to get a fresh new start on a journey to a healthier you.”

For more information, including how to sign-up for the next course, please contact SNAP-Ed at (360) 716-5632.

Ryan Shaughnessy sworn in as Tulalip Bay’s new Fire Chief

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

“Couldn’t be prouder as an organization to be where we are at right now,” assured Fire District 15 Commissioner, David Sherman, in his opening statement to an engaged crowd of Tulalip citizens and Fire Department personnel who gathered to witness the swearing-in of a new fire chief.

The occasion was a regular board meeting for the Fire Commissioners of Snohomish County Fire District #15 held at the Tulalip Administration Building on Tuesday, February 13. Although a regularly scheduled board meeting, it was anything but regular as the event doubled as a momentous occasion with Ryan Shaughnessy being sworn-in as Fire Chief.

“I’d like to thank the Commissioners and everybody here for supporting me,” said Fire Chief Shaughnessy immediately after being sworn-in. “It’s an exciting time for me personally and, of course, for our Fire Department. I have a great staff that I work with and look forward to the future.”

Marlin Fryberg, Jr congratulates Ryan Shaughnessy, newly sworn-in Fire Chief.

Fire Chief Shaughnessy will be leading the firefighters at Snohomish County Fire District #15, known as the Tulalip Bay Fire Department, which services an estimated 13,000 people living in an area of 22 square miles on the Tulalip Reservation.

Tulalip tribal member and Fire Commissioner, Marlin Fryberg, Jr., took a moment to reflect on the how far Tulalip Bay Fire Department has come over the years. “Today’s a very historical day for our people here at Tulalip. We’ve come leaps and bounds from where we started, and I’m honored to witness us take this step to the next professional level for our people and community.”

C.R.E.A.T.E. Space brings out the smiles while promoting mental health awareness

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Tulalip Youth Services celebrated “Say Hello Week” with an added focus of taking the stigma out of mental health awareness. The week included a variety of learning activities for the children and teenagers of the community. The biggest event was without a doubt the open house and grand opening of the C.R.E.A.T.E. Space on Friday, February 2.

From 10:00am-6:30pm on that Friday, the 2nd floor of the Youth Center was a destination for celebration and hands-on learning while becoming acquainted with the newly created space designed for inclusion, offering a place for community youth to go when they need to decompress.

C.R.E.A.T.E. Space stands for Calm Room & Expressive Art to Empower. It’s the result of a collaborative effort of the Methamphetamine Suicide Prevention Initiative through Behavioral Health and Youth Services. All community members and youth are invited to visit the space and learn more about its uses and how to remove the stigma and shame surrounding mental health issues.

“With the recent creation of the Tulalip Special Needs Parent Association by several key community members and Youth Services, we wanted to honor the great work that’s going on by making sure that we create activities and places that are wholly inclusive of all youth,” explained Monica Holmes, C.R.E.A.T.E. Space designer and Parapro for the M.S.P.I. Grant. “That meant taking a look at our facilities first and asking the question: Are we accessible in every sense of the word to our youth with special needs be they social, emotional, physical or mental?

“The C.R.E.A.T.E. Space has two major components that were developed to meet those needs. The Calm Room is a sensory inclusive space with various elements that can be utilized to provide a sensory environment which promotes a sense of calm and well-being, while addressing the individual sensory input needs of our youth with sensory overload challenges. We’ve stocked it with items like play dough, Legos, fidgets, soft furnishings, lower lighting, colored mood lighting, essential oil infusers, nature sound machine, yoga mats and resistance bands that can deliver the right amount of sensory input and/or relax the nervous system that is agitated or overloaded by typical lights and sounds of most spaces.

“The Expressive Art studio is the second component to the C.R.E.A.T.E. Space which serves youth in a unique fashion. It doubles as an art studio and gathering spot for teens who want to hang out in a homey, quiet, comfortable location to interact in small groups or one-on-one with a staff member trained to use art and games as a means to express creativity and emotion in a safe space.”

For the grand opening event many Tulalip service departments were invited to setup their own information booths where they could interact with visitors to the Space. Community Health, Smoking Cessation, Problem Gambling, Chemical Dependency, and Behavioral Health were among those who accepted the invite. Partnerships are key in spreading awareness and resources to our community members. With all those services under one roof at the same time, they were able to let people know they have many choices and places to go for help with various addictions or issues. They also helped de-stigmatize the act of reaching out for help.

A variety of free expressive art classes were offered to visitors and attendees of the grand opening event. The one receiving the most youth attention and excitement was the Broken Bowl Project. The bowl represents us as an individual, we are vessels that hold many things. But sometimes we break and need to be put back together. Our brokenness changes us, makes us who we are. And so the painting on the outside of the bowl represents who we are on the outside, and the words on the inside of the bowl express all the hidden components that make us who we are.

“The lesson of the Broken Bowl Project is to embrace the brokenness, to add words and colors and fill the cracks and holes with beautiful reminders and positive messages about the things we have overcome or hope to be someday,” says Monica, who guided over fifteen youth undergoing the project. “But mostly we should be able to stand back and admire this new vessel we have become, not despite but inspite of all we have done, been or had happen to us.”

The C.R.E.A.T.E. Space is a place to decompress and also learn positive coping skills with an adult who has been trained to provide sensory appropriate options during times of high stress and overload. As the mother of four special needs children with sensory processing issues, Parapro Monica Holmes has spent years learning ideas from occupational therapists and creating spaces like this at her own home and in public settings for children.

Hours of C.R.E.A.T.E. Space are Monday – Friday from 3:30p.m. – 6:00p.m. Individual sessions can be made by appointment or small groups wanting a private setting can make a reservation. For more information please contact Monica Holmes at 360-631-3406 or

Hawks take 2nd at Districts, win opening game of  Tri-Districts


By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The Tulalip Heritage Hawks basketball team demolished Shoreline Christian 70-39 and then ran away with a 67-46 victory over Grace Academy in their opening two games of the NW1B District Tournament. Those Ws set up the much anticipated third meeting between the undefeated Cedar Park Christian Lions and the Tulalip Hawks on February 7 for the NW1B Championship.

When they met the first time Cedar Park thumped the Hawks, but the second time they met it was a highly competitive, back and forth game Cedar Park narrowly won. The third matchup, to say the least, did not live up to the hype. The Hawks came out flat and were unable to raise their level of play to that of Cedar Park. After trailing 1-16 only three minutes into the game the Hawks looked on with desperation at the undefeated Lions out executed them at all phases of the game.

After the lopsided 37-81 game ended, the Hawks had suffered their worst defeat of the season; their defense gave up the most points they have all season combined with the lowest offensive showing on the season. It was a disappointing game, but the show must go on and the Hawks had finished 2nd place in their District.

With six days between games, the Hawks had plenty of time to practice and prep for their upcoming opponent, the Eagles from Pope John Paul II out of Lacey. The teams faced off in the opening round of the Tri-District game on Tuesday, February 13. Because of their high-seeding it was a home game for Heritage.

The Hawks came out executing their game plan to the tune of a 13-6 early lead they were able to extend to 22-12 midway through the 2nd quarter. With both teams full of quick, athletic guards the defense was showcased much more than offence. Both teams were forcing turnover left and right, but it was the Hawks were doing the better job of getting to their spots on offense.

Guards Josh Iukes, Isaac Comenote, Josh Miranda, and Sam Fryberg all connected on 3-point shots in the early going. With the ball continuing to move and no one player jacking up shots, Tulalip was playing their brand of basketball. As for senior center, Rodney Barber, he was having a block party and all the Pope John Paul II players were invited. He would finish with a career-high 9 blocks on the game.

While Rodney was patrolling the paint and contesting anything within his reach, the Hawks weren’t giving up any easy buckets. At one point their lead got cut down to only a single point, but they didn’t give in to the pressure and kept playing smart. Guard Jr. Shay who missed his first nine shots finally got into a rhythm in the 2nd half and scored 7 points in the 4th quarter.

To the home crowd’s delight, the Hawks took home a well-earned 50-44 win. Rodney finished with a near triple-double 12 points, 11 rebounds and 9 blocks, while Josh Iukes added 9 points. With the win, the Hawks now advance to the next round of the Tri-District Tournament where they will play the #2 ranked school in the state, Muckleshoot Tribal School.

Lady Hawks unable to sustain their rhythm in back-to-back playoff games

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The Tulalip Heritage Lady Hawks basketball team steamrolled their inner-league competition during the regular season, going a perfect 12-0 in those games. That momentum carried over in the first two rounds of the NW1B District Tournament when they crushed Cedar Park Christian 62-20 and Grace Academy 60-34.

Entering the NW1B Championship game versus the Mt. Vernon Christian Hurricanes, played at Lummi High School on February 7, the Tulalip girls had won an impressive four straight games by 25+ points. However, for the first time in a long while they’d be facing an opponent who had an equal amount of talent and athleticism.

Both teams played a well-matched 1st quarter that finished with a 7-7 tied ball game. The Hurricanes were double-teaming forward Deandra Grant early and often, which made it difficult to get her the ball in her usual spots. After taking a 17-11 lead in the 2nd quarter, Tulalip’s zone defense fell victim to hot outside shooting by the Hurricanes. With a little over three minutes left in the 3rd quarter the score was 20-19 Tulalip.

Senior guard Keryn Parks then did her best to take over the game. She was beating everyone down the court in transition and her teammates her throwing her half court passes she could gather and score off of. The strategy was working as the Lady Hawks ended the 3rd quarter on a 14-3, giving them a 34-22 lead.

In the 4th quarter, the Mt. Vernon Christian coaching staff made some crucial adjustments that changed the game completely. They started double-teaming the hot-handed Keryn even when she didn’t have the ball, basically forcing other Lady Hawk guards to handle the ball. They also implemented a full-court trap that caused the Lady Hawks to turn the ball over several times on errant passes. Add in Tulalip’s foul trouble and it was the perfect storm of doom and gloom that led to the Lady Hawk’s eventual collapse.

Tulalip’s once double digit lead in the 4th quarter gradually disappeared and with only thirty-five seconds remaining, the Hurricanes took their first lead of the game 41-40. The Lady Hawks were unable to regain the lead and lost 40-44, to take 2nd at the District Tournament.

Days later, the Lady Hawks returned to the court as their 2nd place showing at Districts gave them a Tri-District home game. Heritage hosted Clallam Bay at Francy J. Sheldon gymnasium on Tuesday, February 13.

The Tulalip girls jumped out to an early 6-0 lead before Clallam Bay fought back to tie the game at 11-11 going into the 2nd quarter. The offense was running their usual plays and getting the shots they wanted, but the ball just wouldn’t go through the hoop. In the 1st half the Lady Hawks shot an abysmal 8-38 from the floor.

Nearing the end of the 3rd quarter, the Lady Hawks were still struggling on the offensive end and saw their biggest deficit of the game, 32-44. Over the next five minutes of play Tulalip finally found their rhythm and knocked down shot after shot. They went on an impressive 17-3 run to take a 49-47 lead with only minutes remaining in the game. The long quiet home crown came alive and was cheering on their team.

But, the Lady Hawks tendency to pick up so many early fouls came back to haunt them in this game, similarly to what happened in their last game. Several Lady Hawks players found themselves in foul trouble early on and in the game’s closing minutes they were fouling out. Clallam Bay was knocking down their free-throws and in the end their 17 made free-throws proved a difference maker. Tulalip lost a heartbreaker, 55-63.

As a team the Lady Hawks shot 21-76 from the field, a 28% shooting percentage that is difficult for any team at this stage in the postseason to overcome. Keryn led her team in scoring with 23 points, while Deandra finished with 16 points and 23 rebounds.

Next up, the Lady Hawks play a loser-out game vs. Rainier Christian.

Build your career with the Tulalip Job Ready program

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Searching for a job can be frustrating, time consuming and discouraging. Especially when you apply for an entry-level position that requires prior experience. When working with money, it’s important that an applicant has at least a working knowledge of accepting and distributing cash, especially in gaming establishments like the Tulalip Resort Casino, Tulalip Bingo and Quil Ceda Creek Casino. For positions within the Resort, it’s expected that a future team member understands how to communicate with guests in a professional manner to uphold the AAA Four Diamond rating. To maintain these standards and ensure that each guest is treated with respect and receives quality service, the Tulalip Gaming Organization (TGO) requires six months of prior cash handling experience and/or guest service experience for entry-level positions.

Many people who are job hunting might have found themselves on the Tulalip career website thinking, ‘how do I get experience if all entry-level positions require experience?’ Although that question may be rhetorical, TGO has an answer in the form of a week-long training known as the Tulalip Job Ready Program. Originally open to Tulalip tribal members only, the trainings expanded upon gaining interest from spouses of Tulalip tribal members as well as from other natives. Beginning last September, the trainings have now opened up to applicants who are identified as Tier 5 in the Tulalip hiring process, or non-natives who are current team members.

The trainings are held on a monthly basis and will take up to ten participants, requiring a minimum of four to conduct the classes. In the course of a week, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., participants gain the equivalent of six-month cash handling and guest service experience. Upon successful completion, participants will be able to apply for any ‘frontline’ position at any of the Tulalip gaming establishments as well as Tribal positions with the Hibulb Cultural Center, the Chevron gas stations and the liquor store. To help ensure further success, the trainings also cover interview skills. At the end of the week, the students participate in mock interviews and discuss their strengths and areas to improve. Trainees also get to turn the tables and interview the trainer. The idea behind the role reversal is that by seeing the hiring process from a different perspective, the applicant will essentially be rooting for the trainer during the interview and think of new ideas and answers they want to hear as the person conducting the interview.

“I learn as much as they do, it keeps me within the community which is important to me,” states Tulalip Resort Casino Training Manager, Lisa Olver. “I’m hoping to build the future of our workforce and whatever I can do to help people realize their potential is what I’m aiming for.”

Now that the trainings are open to Tier 5 team members, many TGO employees have attended the classes in order to move up within the organization. On recommendation from his supervisor, Eagles Buffet Host, Nicholas Leech, attended the trainings and plans on using his newfound knowledge to obtain a new position.

“With the knowledge I’ve gained, I plan on reaching for a supervisor position and move up in the near future,” states Nicholas. “But with all the stuff that I’ve learned, I can also take it and apply for a number of positions as well as to my everyday life. I think everyone should take the class, it gets people in the door. It gives you that experience and gets you going. It gives you a reason to say, I’m willing and able to get that job.”

Lisa explained that often times, participants like to take the trainings with their significant others with hopes of beginning careers at Tulalip to support their families. Family members and friends are encouraged to attend the classes with each other to help build support and confidence in one another. Recently Tulalip mother and son, Danelle and Danicio Gomez, successfully completed the training together and are ready to start applying for positions at the casinos, preferably somewhere in the cage.

“Everything about the class is good,” says Danelle. “It gives you a different point of view. I’m forty-six, I came in to do the classes with my son. This class got me thinking outside of the box, they have honestly helped. It’s important because you gain knowledge and skills in these classes and the trainers are here to help you get into these jobs.”

“It’s actually a lot more fun than I thought it would be,” adds Danicio. “I learned a lot about cash handling, using the ten-key [calculator] and how the cage handles cash. It helps everybody. Anybody who wants to work in the cage or somewhere in the casino, they have to know the regulations and this is like a crash course to teach them.”

To sign-up for the next Tulalip Job Ready Trainings please contact the TGO Hiring and Resource Center at (360) 716-1562.