Cultural fair celebrates diversity at QCT Elementary

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Students of Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary, along with their families, were captivated by the richness of Native American song and dance during the Cultural Fair held on the evening of April 24th. In collaboration with Marysville School District (MSD) Indian Education, Tulalip Youth Services and school staff, the Cultural Fair celebrated the wonderfully diverse community that is the Tulalip/Marysville area. 

Over a hundred participants filled the elementary multi-purpose room where a hearty dinner was enjoyed by all. Following the meal, there was a variety of family-friendly activities to engage in. Interactive booths and presentations represented several cultures from around the world, including Tulalip, Guam, the Philippines and the United Kingdom.

“It’s always nice to learn about other cultures because it creates a better understanding between people,” shared QCT Teacher, Ms. Sablan. Along with her daughter, the duo were presenters of the Guam station. “I taught on Guam for six years and during that time I loved learning about the culture. While there I married and had a daughter who is Pacific Islander. My passion for embracing vibrant culture was the reason I became an educator at Tulalip after attending a Salmon Ceremony years ago.”

As fair goers made their way around the room they gained insights into other cultures and traditions. Of course, the variety of Native cultural stations was the most popular. There was dreamcatcher making under the guidance of experienced staff members and even a fry bread station manned by Chelsea Craig and her daughter Kamaya. 

With the weather cooperating, many people wound up outside after hearing the call of the Native round-drum. Terrance Sabbas, Native Liaison for MSD, led a series of round-drum songs that held the attention of everyone young and old. Several young girls, dressed in their powwow regalia, shared their dance skills to the rhythmic beats of the drum. 

“It means a lot for our kids to have pride in who they are and where they come from,” said Terrance. “When different tribes come together to celebrate with song and dance it’s even more special. Seeing youth who have the confidence to share their dances is awesome. To know they have that within themselves and are willing to share that with our community is inspiring.”

The musical jam session continued with a variety of hand-drum songs led by Ray Fryberg.

The Cultural Fair was a success in putting a spotlight on the richness of a diverse community; knowledge was gained and shared. For those with a strong understanding of historical context, the fact that so many were able to participate in traditional song and dance is a testament to the strong Native spirit.

“When the boarding school was here, our songs, our dances and all our ceremonies were prohibited by law. It was the aim of the government to assimilate the Indians into American society. For many years our people couldn’t speak their language or sing their songs for fear of punishment,” explained Ray Fryberg, Executive Director of Natural Resources. “It’s important for us to know who we are and where we come from, to retain the parts of our culture that make us unique. The boarding school era sought to take all that away from us, but we endured.

“Now, we have our own schools where we can teach our culture to the young ones; it gives them a cultural identity and builds up their self-esteem. The drum has a voice that calls to our people; it has its own good medicine. You can see how much the children love learning their culture. Our songs and dances are an expression of the inner spirit and that’s the one thing that can’t be taken away from us.”

Quil Ceda Elementary Celebrates Diversity

 

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

 

President Trump’s latest immigration order suspended refugee resettlement in the United States for 120 days and indefinitely for Syria. In the same order, Trump suspended entry for 90 days for citizens of Muslim majority nations such as Iran, Iraq, and Libya. The President’s reasoning is national security, as he believes the countries harbor potential terrorists. The order was controversial, to say the least, and resulted in protests across America and a temporary halt to the order by the U.S. Federal Court. On social media, Native America showed support for refugees with the hashtag #NoBanOnStolenLand.

In a divided country, amidst the controversy surrounding Trump’s immigration order, Quil Ceda Elementary recently held a cultural fair to celebrate diversity by teaching their students about different cultures. School staff of varying cultural backgrounds prepared interactive stations to give students a look into the lives and cultures of other nations.

Upon arrival the students received paper passports. As they “traveled” around countries such as Guam, Peru, Mexico and China, they filled their passport with stamps from each country.

Quil Ceda Elementary also celebrated the culture of the Tulalip Tribes. The school dedicated four learning stations to the Tribe, each station representing different cultural aspects the Tribe values such as the Lushootseed language, the Hibulb Cultural Center, and basket weaving. An exclusive coastal jam was held in the school library, complete with a powwow rendition of the SpongeBob SquarePants theme song.

Cardboard presentations, prepared by students, were on display in the school cafeteria. The topics varied from Martin Luther King Jr. tributes to recent movements such as Black Lives Matter and Water is Life.

The after-school-hours event attracted a large amount of families, as parents and siblings joined the students in celebration. For many, the highlight of the evening was the international cuisine. As the students passed through different nations, they tasted traditional homemade dishes such as egg rolls, tortilla chips with pico de gallo, coconut candy, and frybread.

Once the students completed their passports they received a free book of their choice to take home.

 

 

During a time when the President is signing executive orders that violate the rights of Native, Muslim, and Mexican-Americans (not to mention the women of America) events such as cultural fairs are vital to communities in America. Through the cultural fair, the youth learned the importance of diversity as well as the history and traditions of several countries in a fun, interactive yet respectful manner.

Many students enjoyed the event, as evidenced by student Colt, as he excitedly exclaimed, “I had a blast! I really did. It was so awesome reading about Vietnam and China.”

“And I liked the egg rolls the best!,” his younger brother, Evan, quickly added.

 

UW Seminar: Preserving the Past Together

Leonard Forsman, Chairman of the Suquamish Tribe and presidential appointed Vice-Chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, was the keynote speaker.

 

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The University of Washington has created a new seminar and workshop series sponsored by the College of Arts & Sciences, Office of Research, and the Burke Museum. These two-hour luncheon events bring together tribal representatives, tribal historic preservation offices, representatives from local, state and federal agencies, and cultural resources managers to evaluate the contemporary needs and challenges of preserving heritage in the Salish Sea. The objective is to foster the development of collaborative approaches to heritage management and historic preservation that integrate the needs of these diverse stakeholders.

On Thursday, January 12, the opening seminar of the four-part series, titled Collaborating on Heritage in the Puget Sound, was held at UW’s ωəɬəbʔαltxʷ Intellectual House. Taking place was a facilitated conversation with representatives from local tribes, the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, UW Law, and the Washington State Department of Transportation.

“We want to provide a forum for archaeologists, heritage professionals, and tribal cultural resource managers to consider the current challenges and future possibilities of managing heritage in our own backyard,” explained Sara Gonzalez, UW Assistant Professor and seminar moderator. “Our objective is strengthen and build upon existing methods of knowledge sharing from the diverse stewards and stakeholders who are sitting here today. We have the unique opportunity to think more deeply and creatively about how we can best use our resources to contribute to the capacity of tribes, as well as local agencies and cultural resource firms to manage heritage within the Salish Sea.”

Leonard Forsman, Chairman of the Suquamish Tribe and presidential appointed Vice-Chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, was the key-note speaker and gave a heartfelt opening address that connected with many in the room. The following is an excerpt of his speech that explains the important of cultural resources and sacred site protection to Native peoples and how these topics apply to Standing Rock.

“Cultural resources has always been deep in my heart and remains a key pillar of my thinking as we move forward. There are a number of issues that face the tribes, from economic development to habitat protection to educating our children to justice and housing for our people. Many, many aspects of our tribal governments take into account the physical cultural resources unique to our respective nations and communities, as well as our spiritual culture.

One topic that there’s been a lot of talk about recently is sacred site protection, especially in regards to Standing Rock. We know natural resources is vital as a part of the context for identifying a sacred site. We are hearing a lot that cultural practitioners are being asked to step in and explain those elements that essentially tell us why a place is important spiritually. The Standing Rock – DAPL protest is an example of this, where there are a lot of different factors and influences to the protest. There’s a very strong argument based on sacred site protection. This highlights the importance landscape has to us as Native people, that we have these ancestral connections to the land.

Chief Seattle spoke of our interconnectedness with the land and nature in his most memorable speech. He explained how we live with our ancestors on a daily basis and how they are with us all the time. What happens to the land is permanent, and knowing this we are very concerned about what may impact the land because that in turn impacts our lives. That is why we are so adamant about protecting our cultural resources and sites we can preserve because we want to remain respectful of that constant presence in our lives.”

Native American scholar John Mohawk (Seneca) defined culture as a learned means of survival in an environment. As tribes, our means of survival used to be finding what the need was within our community and then each member doing their part to fulfill that need.

In thinking about opportunities and challenges of caring for heritage and protecting our culture in the Pacific Northwest, there is a glaring need to better understand one another. We have to work together to communicate and understand each other’s viewpoints, instead of making assumptions about one another. There are assumptions made about the tribes, about the government, about federal agencies, and seemingly everything in between. Some of these assumptions may be true, but a lot of them aren’t. We have to make sure that we talk to each other and feel safe in doing that, even if it means being blunt in order to express how we feel.

 

 

In order to preserve the past together and continue protecting our cultural resources there must be an open dialogue that allows for questions and understanding. This UW workshop series is a promoter of such dialogue and looks to build upon all the knowledge shared and communicated by all those who attend. The next workshop in the series, Meaningful Collaboration and Indigenous Archaeologies, takes place on February 16 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Suzzallo Allen Library (located on the UW campus). For more information please visit http://blogs.uw.edu/preserve.

 

Contact Micheal Rios: mrios@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

Passing Ancestral Teachings To Our Young Men

Tulalip tribal members Andy James and Cody Monger are leading the Young Men’s Group and helping to guide youth through life.

Tulalip tribal members Andy James and Cody Monger are leading the Young Men’s Group and helping to guide youth through life.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

A new program that teaches the young men of Tulalip about their treaty, hunting, and fishing rights began this month. The group meets at the Family Haven center located across from the Boys & Girls Club. Led by Tulalip tribal members Andy James and Cody Monger, the group will meet on Tuesdays and Wednesdays after school from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

“We are saying ages 12-14 but that is a recommended age. We aren’t going to turn anybody away who wants to participate,” stated Cody.

Young Men’s Group will feature many fun activities such as fishing and drum making. Andy expressed that while he is excited about making pre-cut hand drums, he eventually wants the group to start creating them from scratch. He believes that it is essential to know how to track, hunt, skin, soak and stretch the hide for their drums.

“That’s where it all starts. Our ancestors never received pre-cut drum kits and its important our kids learn the teachings the ancestors passed down generation after generation. Afterwards, they can keep the drum and use it for cultural purposes and ceremonies or they can gift them. What they decide is up to them but the important takeaway is they wanted a drum, they made a drum, and now they know how to [make a drum] in the future.” Andy stated.

Among the cultural activities and important lessons, Young Men’s Group will also cover areas that teen males want advice in, but don’t necessarily know how to ask for. Topics such as conflict resolution, how to deal with anger, and family, social, and romantic relationships will be discussed during group meetings.

Cody expressed, “We will be involved a lot, just helping with anything they don’t get at home or in school.”

“Our intent is not to take the place of the parents but to help these young men progress into life,” Andy added.

By instilling values and culture, Cody and Andy are taking on an incredibly important task of molding the minds of the young men of the Tulalip community. Young Men’s Group participants now have the opportunity to learn the teachings and traditions the Tulalip ancestors practiced and apply those lessons while learning how to survive in today’s society.

To sign up and for more information please contact Andy James at (360) 716-4403 or Cody Monger at (360) 716-4935.

 

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Marysville School District works to ensure tribal heritage and culture is visible, shared and preserved

 

By Dr. Becky Berg, Marysville School District Superintendent

Recently, a conversation was overheard at the Hibulb Cultural Center. A young woman was talking about her tribal history. Her grandmother was a student during the boarding school era and the young woman said that while growing up she rarely learned about her tribal history and culture. She added that her grandmother often hid her cultural affiliation, as well as her ability to speak Lushootseed. In turn, her father never learned the language or embraced his native heritage. This was difficult for the young woman to understand, as at a young age, she chose to dedicate her career to educating herself and her community about her region’s rich cultural history, and her own tribal identity.

As a community, we are lucky to have tribal members and others who have had the strength to stand up and ensure tribal history and culture is recognized, shared and preserved. Our community, our school district, and our local leaders must also take on this charge and do what is necessary for our entire community to understand where we have been, where we are today, and where we are going.

In November of 2014, The Marysville School Board of Directors took the historic action of officially adopting the “Since Time Immemorial” (STI) Tribal Sovereignty Curriculum so that all students learn about the history, culture, government, and experiences of their Native American peers and neighbors. Partners who were instrumental in this effort included Denny Hurtado, former OSPI Office of Indian Education staff member, and State Senator John McCoy.

This curriculum was adopted in advance of Washington State Senate Bill 5433, which passed in 2015 and mandated that Washington’s Tribal history, culture and governance be taught in all Washington schools by 2016-17.

The adoption of the STI curriculum seeks to remedy a grave omission by our educational system. American history begins with the story of indigenous peoples in all parts of the land. Yet for decades our curriculum has made this rich and important heritage and culture virtually invisible. The lack of awareness of the Tribal legacy in our Marysville-Tulalip community is especially glaring given the presence of the Tulalip Tribes within our district boundaries. Teaching the STI curriculum to all students in our schools is a matter of basic justice for all, especially for those who were made to feel ashamed of their identity and culture for far too long.

The “Since Time Immemorial” provides engaging lessons. The lessons are thought provoking and are meant to help students understand multiple perspectives. During the 2015-16 school year, the curriculum was implemented in grades Kindergarten through 5, and this year it has expanded to all secondary schools district-wide.

Every day I feel deeply honored to be a member of this community and to be welcomed by tribal leaders, elders, parents and students. And every day, the Marysville School District will work to ensure our community’s tribal heritage and culture is visible, shared and preserved.

To learn more about the Since Time Immemorial curriculum, please visit www.indian-ed.org.

Co-Stewardship Ensures Tulalip Cultural Traditions Live On

Picking huckleberries at Tulalip Mountain Camp 2015

Tulalip Mountain Camp 2015

 

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News; Photos Courtesy of Libby Nelson, Tulalip Tribes Natural Resources

 

Annually, the Tulalip Tribes and the U.S. Forest Service hold a meeting regarding the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) the two parties signed in 2007. The aforementioned MOA was created so that the Tulalip Tribes and the U.S. Forest Service can collaborate on the decision-making, planning, and counseling for the conservation of Tulalip’s resources on off-reservation ancestral lands in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. This year the meeting was held on May 12, 2016.

 

Tulalip Tribes Chairman Mel Sheldon and Forest Supervisor Jamie Kingsbury sign an historic and important agreement, the swədaʔx̌ali Co-Stewardship Plan, 2016-2026.

 

During 2016’s MOA meeting Chairman Sheldon and Forest Supervisor Jamie Kingsbury signed an historic and important agreement, the “swədaʔx̌ali Co-Stewardship Plan, 2016-2026”. The agreement, a provision to the MOA, is a culture resource management plan that covers the swədaʔx̌ali  area over the next ten years. swədaʔx̌ali  or “Place of Mountain Huckleberries” is a 1,280-acre parcel in Tulalip ancestral lands in the upper Skokomish watershed that the Tulalip-Forest Service Co-Stewardship looks to enhance. One of the many reasons this is important to the tribe is the huckleberry.

Northwest huckleberries are generally picked in the late summer/early fall seasons, and grow in the damp areas of mountains. The huckleberry, known for boosting the immune system, has always had a strong relationship to the indigenous peoples of the northwest. Coastal Native American ancestors considered the huckleberry to be of the utmost importance because of the medicine the plant contains.

Inez Bill, Tulalip Tribes Rediscovery Program Coordinator, provided a foreword for the swədaʔx̌ali Co-Stewardship Plan. In the foreword Inez spoke of the significance huckleberries and the spiritual connection Natives have with the berry.

Inez writes, “Huckleberry is a food and medicine to our people. Our ancestors visited certain areas for gathering these berries. They knew where the berries were growing, and what companion plants were growing there too and how to utilize them.” Like fishing and hunting the huckleberry is essential to the Native American culture. Preserving these plants requires a lot of love and care. Inez stated that caring for the swədaʔx̌ali area offers a chance to pass on the knowledge of the huckleberry and it’s harvest to Tulalip’s future generations.

“Through the teachings of how we value, take care of and utilize our environment, we pass down our history and traditions, and what is important to the cultural lifeway’s of our people, said Inez. ‘This connection to the land enables us to know who we are as a people. It is a remembrance.”

 

Tulalip Mountain Camp 2015

Tulalip Mountain Camp 2015

 

Tulalip Tribes Natural Resources Environmental Policy Analyst, Libby Nelson, agrees that passing the knowledge to the youth is essential to preserving Tulalip’s natural resources. The co-stewardship between the Tribe and the Forest Service is a way to ensure that Tulalip cultural traditions live on.

Libby states, “Treaty rights encompass more than an opportunity to pick berries, hunt game or harvest fish. Having a meaningful role on the ground, in the stewardship of these resources, helps reconnect tribal peoples to these lands and the teachings of their ancestors”.

Last year the Tulalip Tribes hosted it’s first Tulalip Mountain Camp at swədaʔx̌ali  for the youth of the Tulalip community, and looks to make it an annual trip. Inez detailed the trip stating that the youth were able to experience a connection to the mountains and ancestral lands, which in turn allowed the youth to bond with their families and community members by sharing what they learned and observed during their experience.

Tulalip’s Natural Resource Department and the Tulalip Youth workers will manage the swədaʔx̌ali area incorporating both traditional practices passed down from the ancestors and western science while nurturing the plants.

Libby stated that the forestry department is set to begin work on the swədaʔx̌ali area this summer. “As part of this plan, Forestry will be working on one of the major huckleberry areas this summer because it is threatened with getting shaded-out by conifers, which are small now and easier to move as opposed to two to three years from now when they start to vault out and will be more difficult to get out.”

The Natural Resource Department is looking to engage both summer youth workers and Tulalip Mountain Camp attendees to help remove the small conifers that are now about two-feet tall and have has many as 22,000 per acre.

According to a Seattle Times article from 1946, families camped, sometimes for the whole picking season, while gathering huckleberries. Gathering huckleberries was considered a fun social event where families from different tribes would travel to take part in the festivities including games, dances, and singing. Ceremonies were also held thanking the creator for the vitamin packed berry and asking for a blessed harvest.

 

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Often referred to as a superfood, huckleberry offers an abundance of benefits to its consumer. For example, these berries contain large amounts of antioxidants, which help aid in the prevention of many diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart diseases. In today’s society diabetes is a prevalent disease in communities all across Native America. The huckleberry is a reliable food that diabetics can enjoy without elevated blood sugar levels. Huckleberries are used in a variety of recipes including tea, pie, and jam. When used for medicinal purposes the huckleberry can be applied to treat pain, heart conditions, and infections.

The swədaʔx̌ali Co-Stewardship Plan is an imperative provision to the MOA between the Tulalip Tribes and U.S. Forest Service, as evidenced by Inez in her conclusion. “Today, it is not only important that we continue the struggle to uphold our treaty rights, but we need to be involved in taking care of those resources our culture depends on so that they will be available for our future generations. This work at swədaʔx̌ali is an expression of Tulalip’s sovereignty regarding our foods, and our commitment to support the dietary needs and the life ways of our people.”

 

 

Understanding and legitimizing how indigenous children learn

Dr Stephanie Fryberg spoke about building on the strengths of Native students at her lecture held in Kane Hall, on the UW campus. Photo/Micheal Rios

Dr Stephanie Fryberg spoke about building on the strengths of Native students at her lecture held in Kane Hall, on the UW campus.
Photo/Micheal Rios

 

Article/photo by Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The way we learn is shaped by our culture. For indigenous children, there is often a mismatch between their culture and the classroom. This has been a long held belief in the Native community. For Tulalip tribal member and associate professor Stephanie Fryberg, Ph.D., she had the unique access to resources and methodology necessary to examine how indigenous children’s approach to learning and how the teaching model of their educators can coalesce to create a more supportive academic environment. Dr. Fryberg shared her findings during a lecture held at the University of Washington on Wednesday, April 20.

Dr. Fryberg’s lecture was part of the Connecting the Dots Between Research and Community series, where a UW Psychology professor partners with a visiting colleague to tell the story of how their research is addressing some of society’s biggest challenges. Presented by the UW Department of Psychology and the UWAA, this event was free and open to the public. In attendance to support their fellow Tulalip tribal member were Senator John McCoy, General Manager Misty Napeahi, and Board of Director Glen Gobin.

Dr. Fryberg’s lecture was titled Using Cultural Models to Build on the Strengths of Native Students. The description is as follows: Individuals are a product of the culture they inhabit, and also play an important role in creating and adapting to that culture. For many indigenous students, the culture of educational institutions in the U.S. reflects a set of ideas and practices about what it means to be a “good” student, the purpose of education and the nature of the relationship between teachers and students. This results in a cultural mismatch between indigenous students’ model of self and the model prevalent in mainstream educational contexts.

A central theme to the lecture was an examination of the “struggling Native student” narrative. We’ve all heard about this narrative and probably seen the statistics that are often used to defend it. Taking it up another notch, we’ve also heard that even when Native students do manage to graduate high school, they are not adequately prepared to achieve success in higher education. Dr. Fryberg attributes this narrative to being one of a cultural context and to alleviate the narrative we must reframe the idea altogether.

“We are going to reframe this idea of the struggling Native student by looking at it through a bigger picture, which we in my field refer to as the cultural cycle,” stated Dr. Fryberg. “The culture cycle reminds us that to truly alleviate the achievement gap we have to start by looking at every piece of the culture cycle. So when we think about a child in a classroom, it isn’t just about the child and the teacher, it’s about so much more. It’s about the ideas that stand behind why children go to school, it’s the ideas that lead to the development of the school, or that set the stage for what we see as the ‘good’ or ‘right’ way to be a student.

“Within that we setup institutions. We have schools and we have the media, but we also have classrooms and we have micro-cultures within classrooms, in which teachers play a role. So we get to this level of the interaction that’s between the student and the teacher, but sometimes what our field has shown is that interaction is not just between us in relationship, it’s between us and representational space. It is the idea the teacher has about me, as a student, that allows that space between us to shape the interaction and ultimately, for young children, to shape their development and the outcomes that we see.”

Within the cultural cycle it is critical to be aware of two distinct cultural models of self, the independent model and the interdependent model, that play major roles in how the shaping of interactions between student and teacher effect student development and achievement outcomes.

The independent model of self is based on an understanding of self as independent from others and the social context. “Good” actions promote separation from others and individual self-expression. The independent model of self is best seen in the U.S. mainstream, where context is driven by a set of cultural norms, values and beliefs that center the individual as independent and separate from others. It is a unique cultural model that most of the world does not engage in.

In many parts of the world that notion to separate yourself from others is not only unheard of, but would be seen as unhealthy. A much more common model is the interdependent model of self that is based on an understanding of self as interdependent with others and the social context. “Good” actions promote connection to others and attention to others’ preferences. Most people and cultures in the world, specifically outside of the U.S., engage in this more interdependent model. It’s important to recognize that Native culture is inherently within the interdependent model, but because we are within the U.S. our actions, values, and norms are constantly scrutinized by the mainstream independent model.

Now, you may be wondering how all these concepts and social psychology terms tie-in with Native students, their teachers and academic success. It does all come together.

By recognizing Native students’ engagement in the interdependent model of self, but that in large part their teachers and schools adhere to the independent model of self, we can then understand how the prevailing education system is not setup for Native student to succeed. However, there are courses of action to change this, which Dr. Fryberg and her team demonstrated at Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary from 2011-2014.

Using the culture cycle to enhance academic performance by Native students alleviates the “struggling Native student” narrative by requiring culturally-grounded interventions that focus on all levels of the cultural cycle. This work is achieved by building schools that reflect and foster a diversity of viable ways of being; creating an immersion environment (e.g., morning welcome assembly, growth mindset, purposefully placing posters/images on walls); creating “matches” by helping Native students build identities that maximize potential while also providing them with a culturally-safe educational atmosphere; and by valuing old identities and scaffolding new identities.

In the study done at Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary from 2011-2014 by Dr. Fryberg and her team, with the inclusion of the previously listed methods and intervention, the results were staggeringly in favor of increased Native student achievement. Kindergarten and 1st graders led the district in oral reading fluency; 95% of Kindergarten and 80% of 1st graders were proficient or above benchmark in reading.  Using measures of academic progress in literacy and math for grades 3-5, 60% made more than one year’s growth and at least half of these students made 1.5 to 2 years growth. Best of all, the school met state annual measurable objectives in every category.

It’s important to note that having teachers who are aware of their own biases towards the independent model of self and willing to retrain and reframe their teaching methods to suit their Native students is central to overall success as well. It’s a cycle of understanding and legitimizing the learning and cultural model of Native children that leads to them making greater strides in academic development and achievement. When this occurs not only do the expected outcomes of the students and their teacher benefit greatly, but the entire community as well.

 

 

 

Contact Micheal Rios, mrios@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

 

 

 

Cultural teachings continue with new story poles at Tulalip

 

Tulalip Master Carvers Joe Gobin and James Madison and sons.

Tulalip Master Carvers Joe Gobin and James Madison and sons.

 

By Kim Kalliber, Tulalip News

 

“We’re not petrified, we’re still alive”

 

These strong words by James Madison were spoken by his grandfather, Frank Madison, before him. And that is the message Madison wishes to convey to the next generation of Native youth, keep us alive.

Maintaining our culture is of the upmost importance to Indigenous communities like Tulalip. On March 7, Tulalip tribal leaders, tribal members and tribal employees gathered outside the Tulalip Administration Building to welcome two beautiful new story poles, one featuring an orca, the other an octpous, that take position outside the entrance to the building. The poles, made from red cedar, were created by Tulalip master carvers, Joe Gobin and James Madison.

Orca pole created by Joe Gobin.

Orca pole created by Joe Gobin.

 

Octopus pole created by James Madison.

Octopus pole created by James Madison.

 

The unveiling of the poles began with a prayer followed by singing and drumming. Gobin and Madison then shared the meaning of the poles.

Gobin, who carved the Orca pole, explains that, “we’re killer whale people. The person on top is our spirit of the whale.” The eagle design represents the eagles that watch over our gatherings.

The octopus pole features a diving rock. This represents the power of the Native people. Madison’s grandfather told stories of this water power, and how they would jump into the water with a diving rock and get water power for protection.

Madison, with a hand on the shoulder of each his two sons, spoke of how proud his grandfather is for us putting our culture into our tribal buildings.

 

Tulalip tribal drummers and singers.

Tulalip tribal drummers and singers.

Tulalip Tribal Chairman Mel Sheldon and various tribal board members gave thanks to the artists and the art work, while emphasizing the importance of the teachings being passed on.

Wrapping up the unveiling was a singing and drumming performance by Quil Ceda Elementary students.

 

Quit Ceda Elementary students

Quil Ceda Elementary students

 

Crowd gathered at the Tulalip Administration Building for the totem pole unveiling.

Crowd gathered at the Tulalip Administration Building for the totem pole unveiling.

 

 

 

Strengthening our community: Red Curtain Arts Center hosts Tulalip culture night

 

Red Curtain2

by Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

On Friday, October 23, the Red Curtain Foundation for the Arts, in partnership with the Tulalip Tribes’ Lushootseed Language Department, hosted a free cultural event from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Tulalip tribal member and Lushootseed teacher, Maria Martin, shared the legend of “Her First Basket” in Lushootseed and English, accompanied by tribal illustrations and artwork.

Scott Randall, president of the Red Curtain Foundation for the Arts in Marysville, first approached Maria at the annual Raising Hands event in 2014 with his idea for bringing the Marysville and Tulalip communities together with a culture night.

“We, Scott and I, thought it would be beneficial to everyone in the Marysville and Tulalip communities. There is a separation between the two and we wanted to break down that wall,” stated Maria. “We know we can be a strong community, but there is so much unknown about one another. This event is just one way for our communities to come together and grow.

“We plan on having a story and activity once a month. It is a free event, with donations if you feel up to it. We just want to break down those walls of curiosity. I’m sure that there are many Natives/ Tulalip community members that have encountered some sort of silly question about Native Americans and how we live. This is a way to educate outsiders, to understand one another.”

Maria chose to share her favorite Lushootseed story “Her First Basket”, a core story in the Lushootseed Department’s values book, and pass along the significant meaning it holds to both her and her people.

 

Red Curtain

 

“It’s a story about not giving up and there is a bit of community unity within it as well,” explains Maria. “A Cedar tree helps this little girl to see her potential and she gains friends for it. Bringing people together and seeing their potential, it’s something every teacher strives for.”

Marysville and Tulalip community members were invited to partake in the evening of culture. Each table within the auditorium had at its center a “Her First Basket” picture book, so that children and adults could follow along as Maria first told the story in her traditional language, Lushootseed.

Following the storytelling sessions, the audience members were taught some basic weaving skills, using paper and yarn as substitutes for traditional cedar strips, to create their own basket and memento from the evening.

“After telling the story in Lushootseed and in English, we worked on making paper and yarn baskets. For many it was their first basket. It was a fun experience, and people’s talents are so amazing,” says Maria. “I hope to see more community members from both the Marysville and Tulalip communities at future events. We are all related, we live right next to one another, and our care for our neighbors is so important. It was so nice to see the people that showed up; the outcome of their basket making was beautiful. Accomplishing something you haven’t done before is such a great feeling, and meeting new people with the new experience is a beautiful thing too. There are so many people out there that we can all learn something from.”

 

 Contact Micheal Rios,  mrios@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

Tobacco-Free Together

Attendees at theTobacco-Free Together Day not receive help to quit smoking, they also learned weaving and beading as a way to use cultural activities to cope with and get through nicotine cravings. Photo/Micheal Rios

Attendees at the Tobacco-Free Together Day not only received help to quit smoking, they also learned weaving and beading as a way to use cultural activities to cope with and get through nicotine cravings. Photo/Micheal Rios

 

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Smoke Salmon, Not Cigarettes. That was the theme at this year’s first ever Tobacco-Free Together Day, held on Wednesday, October 28 at Greg Williams Court from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Planned by the Adult and Youth Smoking Cessation programs, the event brought members of the Tulalip community together with the goal of getting as many people as possible to quit smoking for the day, begin thinking about quitting, and celebrating a journey to becoming smoke-free together.

Some quick, sobering facts. Although Native Americans make up approximately 1% of the United States population, we have the highest smoking rates of any racial/ethnic group in the United States. Two out of every five Native Americans will die from tobacco-related diseases if the current smoking rate of 40.8% persist. Currently, there is no proven, effective culturally-tailored smoking cessation program designed specifically for the Native American population.

Fortunately, there are dedicated folks within Tulalip’s Smoking Cessation programs who are committed to creating culturally-tailored stop-smoking events and strategies to help combat cigarette smoking, the number one cause of preventable death among Native Americans.

“Attendees shared a salmon lunch, learned some interesting facts about nicotine, and received a goodie bag including smoked salmon, facts about tobacco, and shirts sporting our motto for the event, ‘smoke salmon, not cigarettes’,” said Ashley Tiedman, Tobacco Cessation Program Coordinator. “It was a very positive day full of good vibes!  On top of the delicious lunch, we had the Rediscovery Program from Hibulb Cultural Center on hand teaching attendees cedar weaving. Also, Taylor Henry taught beading as a way to use cultural activities to cope with and get through nicotine cravings.

 

Photo/Micheal Rios

Photo/Micheal Rios

 

“It was a great start for an event we plan to have annually. A total of 120 people attended. Of those, about 30 people were thinking about quitting smoking, currently quitting, or committed to quit for the day.

“I really look forward to how this event will grow,” continued Ashley. “Tobacco-Free Together Day is a day for the whole community, whether you smoke or not, to come together and celebrate being smoke-free. The goal of this event was to help raise awareness on the dangers of smoking while also being a fun and relaxing environment where people wouldn’t feel pressured to quit, but be able to walk away with valuable resources rooted in culture, so when they’re ready to quit they’ll know what is available to help them on their journey to becoming smoke-free.”

Ready to quit smoking? Tulalip Tribes Stop Smoking Program can be reached at (360) 716-5719. Please call for supplies and support in your journey to become smoke-free.

 

Contact Micheal Rios at mrios@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov