Hibulb Exhibit Teaches Kids About Agriculture During Assimilation Years

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Beginning in the late 1800’s and extending into the early 1900’s, boarding schools were established across America in an effort to strip the culture and traditions from Indigenous Peoples. Native children were taken from their homes and were punished for speaking their traditional language and practicing their cultural teachings while in the schools. The atrocities were occurring across the nation as the students who were forced to attend the boarding schools were mistreated and often beaten. The United States Government set up these schools to introduce the western lifestyle, including the English language, in attempt to ‘civilize’ Native people. However, students were tragically abused, both physically and mentally.

The Tulalip Indian Boarding School opened in 1905, fifty years after the signing of the Point Elliot Treaty of 1855, and operated until 1932. One of the main areas of study at the boarding school was agriculture. Tulalip tribal members were learning how to grow their own crops and were to become farmers. In 1915, Tulalip and several surrounding tribes held their first Indian Agriculture Fair as a requirement by the state. At the fair, students showcased their new ‘Americanized’ teachings as well as some traditionally inspired handicrafts such as an assortment of tools and baskets. Many events occurred at the fair including a football game and an award ceremony. Tulalip Indian Boarding School Superintendent Dr. Charles Buchanan would continue the fair, holding the first annual Indian Fair two years later on October 5 and 6, 1917.

On the hundredth anniversary of the first annual Indian Fair, the Hibulb Cultural Center opened a new exhibit, Cultivating History: Tulalip Indian Fair, sharing the history of the agriculture fair, which occurred for over ten years. The exhibit features many interactive activities and is targeted for youth from kindergarten to the third grade; and also provides exciting displays with interesting information to keep parents entertained as well.

“We have all these reports from the early 1900s about how the U.S. Government was attempting to train our people to become farmers, becoming dependent on small plots of land,” explains Hibulb Cultural Center Lead Curator, Tessa Campbell. “Each family received 80-acre allotments and the government wanted Native Americans to farm on their land, deterring them from going out and practicing the hunting and gathering lifestyle.

“I think it’s pretty amazing that we were able to obtain so much information on the fair,” she continues. “We have newspapers that start from the very first fair in 1915 all the way up to 1922. We have all the original brochures from the fair and the original ribbons. That’s where the inspiration for the exhibit actually came from, when I was hired in 2009 we had one little ribbon from the 1917 fair. As I continued working, all this material kept coming in until one day we had enough material for the exhibit. The photographs depict the different displays of the exhibit that our tribal people put together. The fair was overseen by Dr. Charles Milton Buchanan, everything else was done by tribal members. They promoted it, fundraising, advertisement, they put together all of the displays and developed a committee. We’re lucky to have some photographs depicting some of the events that took place at the fair – there were a lot of sports games like football games, tug-of-war, canoe races and canoe tug-of-war.”

The exhibit is sure to keep the youngsters entertained by engaging them with fun activities. Aside from the original fair items, and a Chief William Shelton carving and headdress on display, kids can play a variety of games during their Indian Fair experience.

“We have touch screen games that were developed by our TDS Department,” says Tessa. “We wanted to have learning activities to reflect the Washington State learning standards, so there’s a math element. One is a canoe racing game, kids race each other. You can do one to two players, so the kids can play against the computer or a friend. They answer math questions such as subtraction and addition; whoever hits the correct button first, their canoe will go faster. The other game is called At the Fair and it’s a farmers market where the youth sell their produce and win prizes.

Then we have the garden section, one garden bed has actual fake dirt, and the other is made out of felt. Kids can build their own garden and play in the sandbox. There’s also a produce stand that our TERO construction department built for us, they did an awesome job. There’s a cash register with games so that kids can practice buying and selling produce. There’s also a chalkboard wall where kids can design their own gardens. It’s really a highly interactive exhibit.

When I’ve told tribal members about the Indian Fair they’re surprised to learn about it, a lot of tribal members don’t know about this history,” she continues. “I think [the exhibit] is important because it reinforces the importance of the treaty and sustaining our cultural lifeways like hunting, gathering and access to our natural resources.”

The Cultivating History: The Tulalip Indian Fair exhibit is currently on display at the Hibulb Cultural Center and will extend into 2018. For more information, please contact the museum at (360) 716-2600.

Hibulb Cultural Center Hosts 5th Annual Film Festival

Larry Campbell Sr. (Swinomish) and Tracy Rector (Seminole/Choctaw)
accept lifetime achievement awards at the Film Festival for their work in cultural sharing and filmmaking.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Local filmmakers, cinephiles, culturalists and food fanatics gathered at the Hibulb Cultural Center on Saturday September 23, to attend the Center’s annual Film Festival. Every year the festival has a new theme and filmmakers are encouraged to submit a project correlating to the theme, however, all projects are welcome. The Cultural Center chose First Foods: Feeding our Spirits as the theme for this year’s festival.

Celebrating its fifth year, the festival featured a showing of several Indigenous films, a presentation by the Rediscovery Program and a story presented in Lushootseed by Natosha Gobin. Awards were presented to filmmakers in attendance as well as lifetime achievement awards to Swinomish elder Larry Campbell Sr. and Longhouse Media Director and Seminole/Choctaw tribal member Tracy Rector for their work in cultural sharing and filmmaking.

Language teacher Natosha Gobin tells a story in Lushootseed.

The Rediscovery Program shared the history of traditional Tulalip ancestral foods and a food tasting which included hawthorn horsetail peppermint tea, basil stinging nettle pesto, deer and elk meat, as well as mixed berries comprised of salal berries and mountain huckleberries. The Rediscovery Program also showcased a traditional bentwood box used for cooking. Inside the box were a variety of traditional foods, including mussels, oysters, clams, salmon, elk meat, berries and herbs; as well as cooking necessities such as cedar-woven food storage baskets, cooking rocks and utensils.

“It’s truly a blessing to be able to be one with our environment,” expresses Rediscovery Program Coordinator, Inez Bill. “We need to share that with our young people so they know that the lifeways of our people is very important to who we are. We need to see that continues to our grandchildren’s grandchildren. What’s important to know and remember is that our ancestors were one with their environment; and being one with the environment, they had a key identity with the resources. These natural resources provided for all of the needs for our people; it provided shelter, tools, transportation to go from one area to another. This relationship with the natural environment also meant that they respected the environment, they had teachings and values that they lived by. They had a spiritual connection that they followed daily.

“The spiritual connection, the teachings and the values were in all the lifeways of our people,” she continues. “Whether it was hunting, fishing or gathering it was done in a proper manner – with the rituals, making the baskets, carvings and all of the different teachings that took place. We had people that were so keen to the native plants that they were able to provide the medicine that was needed to help our people live. There were no hospitals; there was no fast food outside the reservation like there are now. Our people were a lot healthier than they are today. As our people adapted to the changing world, our bodies were not accustomed to these drastic changes and it’s not always in the best interest for our health. We need to do the best we can to continue to keep some of these foods, not for ourselves, but for the future generations. Because we know that when we eat our native foods we’re not only nourishing our bodies, we’re nourishing our spirits.”

Rediscovery Program Coordinator, Inez Bill.

 

Following the presentation by the Rediscovery Program, festival attendees were treated to a viewing of eight films.

“We have categories in animation, documentaries long and short, feature films long and short, anti-bullying and experimental films,” explains Hibulb Cultural Center Education Curator and Film Festival Organizer, Lena Jones. “We have youth categories for animation, documentaries, feature films, anti-bullying, and experimental also. We have a section specific to Tulalip members in all those categories as well.”

Navajo Filmmaker Kody Dayish submitted three films for this year’s event. In his film The Beginning, a Navajo elder explains the heritage and traditions of the Navajo people to his grandson through traditional song. Kody also tackled serious issues such as bullying in schools and suicide during his three-minute film, Spared. For his third submission, Goodbye, a Navajo elder returns to her childhood home and is hit with a wave of nostalgia as she reminisces of young love in a music video-style film featuring music by Navajo band, Our Last Chants.

The Hibulb Cultural Center Film Festival also screened the short animation film, σčəδαδξʷ. The film’s name is in the traditional Lushootseed language, meaning salmon. The animation explains the importance of salmon to Coastal Natives while depicting the salmon’s lifecycle. The main character is the late Billy Frank Jr. and is told entirely in his voice, as the cartoon was built from one of his speeches.

“When I first saw [σčəδαδξʷ] I was at home reviewing all the films and I just cried,” states Swinomish tribal member and Hibulb Cultural Center Film Festival Judge, Robin Carneen. “Billy Frank Jr. was such a hero in our Northwest area because he was such a fighter for the rights of the people – treaty rights, our right to fish. He was on the ground to the day that he passed. That is such a powerful film. And to mix it as an animated film, it’s going to reach even younger generations. I grew up watching cartoons, not a lot of educational purpose to them except maybe for entertainment value and not necessarily always a good message. Later as an adult and watching animation, you think ‘wow all that was going into my brain?’ You see how much of an influence animation, films and TV are. To see Billy Frank again – he’s immortalized. His message is immortalized now, for all of us and all the generations yet to come so that we don’t quit fighting. This film is going to be our inspiration to make sure that fight keeps happening for generations to come.”

Tulalip tribal member, David Spencer Sr., presented his film, Waiting for Blackberries, which displayed clay Stick Indians chanting a traditional song to help ripen blackberries during the upcoming spring season. David was inspired to create the film when recalling advice from his grandmother to respect the berries, stating, “if you don’t show the berries respect, they will whip you with their thorny vines.”

The main screening, Maiden of Deception Pass: Guardian of her Samish People, was held in the Hibulb longhouse. The twenty-minute documentary highlighted the traditional story of Ko-kwal-alwoot, a young Samish woman who married a sea spirit in order to save her people from famine; and the erection of her story pole at Deception Pass in 1983. Filmmakers of the documentary include Jason Ticknor, Lou Karsen and Tracy Rector. Two international films, Hani’s Barbershop and Closer, were also shown to close out the festival.

“What I like about the Native films is that it’s really important that we’re preserving and documenting our culture,” says Robin. “When I see the language show up in the films, I get so excited to see and hear the language. That’s what I like about the films that are coming in from our area. The films are all so different but they’re all so important. The mix of people that we have, including the many generations, I think that all of the storytelling is great. Especially with all the modern technology, to mix the two together because it’s going to reach everybody on some level.”

The fifth Annual Hibulb Cultural Center Film Festival was a success as movie buffs from the Pacific Northwest, including Canada and Oregon, traveled to Tulalip for an afternoon of culture and movies. The event continues to generate interest as several young tribal members attended. Lena hopes to inspire indigenous youth to pick up a camera and start shooting.

“I encourage young people to become involved in filmmaking,” she states. “Films can impact people. We have such a strong, beautiful culture; and we have a belief that young people can reflect our ancestral values in film work because of their experience living in the culture. Plus, filmmaking is enjoyable!”

For additional information about the Annual Hibulb Cultural Center Film Festival please contact the museum at (360) 716-2600.

Jazz Therapy: Preservation Hall Legacy Jazz Band visits Tulalip community

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

As the last note of their second set was hit and spit valves were emptied, trumpet extraordinaire, Gregg Stafford, approached the microphone at the Francis J. Sheldon Gymnasium. He graciously thanked the audience of middle and high school students for the standing ovation he and his fellow band members of the Preservation Hall Legacy Jazz Band were receiving. The traditional six-piece New Orleans jazz band recently traveled to Tulalip to perform and speak with the youth of the community about jazz history, culture and the importance of keeping traditions alive. During their week-long visit the band performed for over 4,000 students at schools within the Marysville School District including Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary, and Heritage, Getchell and Marysville-Pilchuck high schools.

After the much deserved cheers and applauds began to quiet down, Gregg informed the students that the band would be answering any questions the students had for them. The kids asked a variety of questions ranging from who is your favorite jazz singer to more complex questions regarding mutes, tempo and time signatures. Inevitably, a student asked ‘how long have you guys been playing?In this moment Gregg, along with trombonist Fred Lonzo, clarinetist Louis Ford, pianist Lars Edgrean, bassist Richard Moten and drummer Joesph Lastie Jr collectively grinned as Greg looked at his watch and responded ‘oh about twenty-five minutes now.’ Laughter filled the entire room, most notably from the band.

Those small joyful moments, within the twenty-five-minute jazz set, where the entire room is smiling ear to ear, sharing laughter with one another and getting lost in the music is the reason Tulalip Tribes Employee Assistance Counselor, Jessica Talevich, brought the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to the Pacific Northwest.

Tulalip Tribes Employee Assistance Counselor, Jessica Talevich (right) dancing to the band during their performance at  the Hibulb Cultural Center.

Nearly two years ago, after witnessing the band live in their native New Orleans and once again in Seattle a week after, she discovered the band offers outreach work to high schools nationwide. In the wake of tragedy amongst the Tulalip-Marysville community, Jessica consistently witnessed division as several messages from ‘talk-based’ outreach programs missed their mark and constantly reminded community members of their hard times.

In an effort to change the cycle and promote healing, Jessica and the Tulalip Tribes partnered with the Marysville School District to bring the unique outreach program to the community.

“They just exude so much joy,” exclaimed Jessica. “The history of New Orleans is built on tragedy. From the early days of illness’ and diseases killing off many people, to the whole city burning to the ground and being rebuilt, and slavery is a whole other aspect. And then there’s instance after instance of hurricanes coming through and decimating [the city] such as Katrina and then the gulf oil spill that happened after [Hurricane Katrina]. These are resilient folks and their culture and arts, especially their music, have a lot to do with their resiliency so I wanted to bring that up here and talk about creativity as a tool for resiliency.”

After a tour of Tulalip, hosted by Tulalip tribal member Freida Williams, the band performed for the community at the Hibulb Cultural Center. Plenty of audience members danced and joined in a march led by Fred while he performed a solo on his trombone. Following the performance, the band had an open discussion with the audience touching on subjects such as the ever-changing music industry and music education. Gregg inquired about the local population of black bears and the tribe’s hunting regulations.

Tulalip tribal member Natosha Gobin and her children were present for nearly every Preservation Hall Jazz Band performance to offer prayers and gifts to the musicians.

She states, “It was a good week, my kids had so much fun! I think that music is such a great outlet and sometimes there are youth out here who kind of feel overwhelmed with not knowing our own traditional songs or like they can’t sing their songs and express themselves through our culture. And I think that a lot of the youth were able to find a connection and a love and passion for another music outlet and they understand more about Preservation Hall, although they are not an Indigenous group. They’re not a tribe, yet everything that they struggled with is parallel to what our people struggle with. So you can make those connections and those connections help – they’re inspiring for kids. For our youth, I think its inspiring that music does have a culture.”

On their last night in the community, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band spent the evening performing for a large crowd in the Marysville-Pilchuck auditorium. Both Getchell and Marysville-Pilchuck high school jazz bands showcased their skills for Preservation Hall. Fred, Louis and Gregg made special appearances and performed alongside the bands.

During their final performance the band shared the stage with Native American Grammy Award Winner, Star Nayea. The band played Dixieland jazz, jazz blues, and ragtime as well as jazz funeral music. The audience was highly engaged and interactive throughout the bands last set. The crowd sang along to classic songs such as What a Wonderful World and A Closer Walk with Thee. Nearly everyone in attendance marched around the auditorium before rushing the stage while the horns blew to the tune of When the Saints Go Marching in.

“Witnessing the interactions between our musicians with students from the Tulalip community was both inspiring and impactful,” states Preservation Hall Foundation Program Director, Ashley Shabankareh. “We saw such passion from students in the community for their own cultural traditions and were able to make meaningful connections to how we pass traditions in New Orleans. This trip is something myself and our musicians will never forget – we were overjoyed to see the power of music bringing communities together.”

For additional information about the Preservation Hall Jazz Band please visit PreservationHallJazzBand.com

Artist In Action: An Inside Look at Hibulb Colors Exhibit

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By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Color shapes our daily lives because the colors that surround us can influence and even inspire us. We respond to color when we choose something to wear in the morning, when we see traffic lights or go shopping at the grocery store. Since time immemorial, color has influenced humans historically, socially and artistically, as color has been an integral part of the natural world. Throughout time, humans have manipulated color for social, spiritual, emotional and artistic purposes.

Celebrating color is what the latest featured exhibit on display at The Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve, Vibrant Beauty: Colors of our Collection, is all about. Additionally, the exhibit honors our local Tulalip tribal artists.

At the heart of the exhibit is a large panel display with several unique and vibrant designs created by Tulalip artist Ty Juvinel. After being approached by Hibulb curators and asked to add his inventive touch to the latest exhibit, Ty spent a series of afternoons working on and finalizing his vibrant beauty addition.

 

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“Color is emotion, and the color I choose for my art depends on the emotion of the piece,” states Ty. “I like to use bright colors in my work because it makes a statement. I use all colors because nature uses all of the colors. Some have more significance like red, black and white, which have greater significance to us. Color to me is emotionally dependent on how I am feeling. I’m feeling drawn to yellow right now because I want it to be spring. Last week, I felt drawn to the color purple.”

Using modern day technology to advance his art methods, Ty printed his tribal designs on transfers that were then paint masked to the panel walls. This method saves an enormous amount of time compared to a traditional method of stenciling and painting by hand. Using this refined technique also allows Ty to color his designs with spray paint. After choosing his selection of color, he went to work on spraying the transfers, then meticulously peeling the transfers off the panel.

Lastly, Ty goes over each design in a detail enhancement process, so that the quality of his artwork is up to par by his standards. As Ty explains, each of his designs are inherently Tulalip because he is Tulalip, but there is some real creativeness to his ingenuity. For example, he created a Tulalip family tree design, which he fittingly colored green. The tree contains eight spirits with each one representing the spirit of a generation.

 

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“I’m always looking for new ways to push myself as an artist and being open to try new methods and techniques, but at the same time I’m always looking for ways to put our culture out there in a good way,” continues Ty. “People come in here to Hibulb and there’s a pride in seeing our culture displayed as Tulalip or Coast Salish people. My goal is to create something that I’m proud of, so the community is proud of it, too, because all the work I do represents Tulalip.”

 

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Check out Ty’s contribution to Vibrant Beauty: Colors of our Collection on display at Hibulb through February 2017.

 

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Contact Micheal Rios, mrios@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

Vibrant Things Found at Tulalip Hibulb Cultural Center Latest Exhibit

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By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Looking to plan a fun yet educational activity for the entire family? Look no further, because Tulalip’s Hibulb Cultural Center has your back! This summer Hibulb unveiled its brand new exhibit, Vibrant Beauty: Colors of Our Collection. The exhibit, geared towards students in kindergarten through the third grade, is interactive and such a blast that youth will gain a whole new perspective on color. Hibulb’s Senior Curator, Tessa Campbell believes that although this exhibit is targeted towards youth, adults will also have fun and learn a few new things about color during their visit.

“We had the vision of creating the exhibit to be highly interactive, and we developed a total of 12 different colorful activities. Children will have the opportunity to reflect on how color affects them, vote for their favorite color, and discover why we like a certain color or choose to wear certain colors. In addition to the color reflection opportunities, children and visitors can learn how to say colors in our Lushootseed language,” stated Tessa.

Learning colors in Lushootseed is enticing on it’s own, pair that with the remaining 11 interactive activities such as a touch screen computer that not only allows you to learn about the color wheel but also shares traditional Tulalip stories, and you have yourself a culturally rich museum exhibit.

 

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One of the many interesting facts about this exhibit is that everything on display was made in-house by the Hibulb staff, Tulalip artists, and Tulalip youth. Vibrant Beauty uses colors brilliantly; the exhibit incorporates new information on colors that the Tulalip youth frequently see around the community. Among the touchscreens, puppets, and engaging stories is a magnificent display featuring watercolor artwork made by the youth in the Tulalip community that attend the Boys & Girls Club.

Tulalip artist, Ty Juvinel, was extremely hands-on during the creation of the Vibrant Beauty project for Hibulb. Creating the main display in the center of the exhibit, Ty expressed the importance of individuality within a group project with both his contributions as well as his story he shared, How Hummingbird and Butterfly Painted All the Flowers.

 

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Hummingbird and Butterfly, a Ty fan favorite, perfectly conveys why colors are essential to our community. Ty stated that colors are our emotions, that statement holds a significant amount of truth. Our brains associate colors with certain emotions and we often use colors to describe how we feel. For example, we might say we feel red when we are frustrated or angry and blue when we are upset or sad. The recognition of how colors affect your emotions is a big take-away for the youth.

The Vibrant Beauty exhibit is on display until February 2017. According to feedback from a lucky few families who got a sneak peak on Friday July 15, the exhibit will be a major success.

The cultural center is thrilled to have an exhibit on display that caters to the local kids.  They found a way to reach the youth, families and the entire Tulalip community on a much deeper level than one would expect at first glance of advertisements for the Vibrant Beauty exhibit; while simultaneously creating an exciting, fun and informational environment.

Mytyl Hernandez, Hibulb Cultural Center Marketing and PR, shared her excitement of shaping the minds of Tulalip’s future leaders stating, “The kids are going to keep the cultural fire burning!”

 

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Hibulb United Schools Spring Pow Wow brings community together

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by Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

The Hibulb United Schools Spring Pow Wow was held at Totem Middle School on Saturday May 14, 2016. The venue was small, however, it was a more intimate setting, which allowed everybody to take part in the festivities. There were five drum circles, and several vendors selling clothing, beadwork, art prints, sage, and sweet grass.

A dinner, featuring hamburger stew, dinner rolls, and fresh fruit, took place before the grand entry. Once everybody made their way to the gym, Totem Middle School Principal, Tarra Patrick, briefly spoke of the importance culture, and keeping traditions alive. MC, Arlie Neskahi, then welcomed everybody and a culture filled night with drums, singing, dancing, competition and laughter followed.

In the middle of the ceremony, all dancers stopped on a whistle, elder Charlie Pierce, signaled for everybody to stop momentarily. “Thank you all for stopping immediately, there is a pressing issue that I must acknowledge right now,” said Pierce, “Three times I was stopped in my tracks, there is somebody here who is hurting, three separate occasions something came to me and told me I have to address this situation.” He then called for complete silence while he prayed for the gym. Pierce continued, “Whoever you are, if you are going through a tough time, then get yourself out here, there is medicine on this dancefloor come and receive your healing.”

 

 

The evening really began after that moment; dozens of on-lookers came out and danced, seeking healing, A father, who brought his new born out to dance said “That was amazing, I am not sure if there was a particular person that was addressed to, but there were many people who needed this, and his words gave them the courage to get up, share memories and have some fun.”

In between dances there were raffles, donations, and birthday wishes. Gifts were also handed out. One of the gifts were coloring books for every kid that danced. “I think the books were a great gift, we worked with Everett Community College, and we just wanted to encourage kids to stay in school.” stated committee member Terrance Sabbas,“I am very happy with the turn out, especially because our community had so many events going on in the same night.”

 

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Terrance expressed that the vision of the Hibulb Pow Wow was to create a more traditional experience. “It’s officially Pow Wow season! We just wanted to have a more traditional vibe, we paid drums equally, we had competitions, but we didn’t want it to be about the prizes. We wanted to bring it back to the days where the community got together and enjoyed good song and dance.”

 

 

Hibulb Cultural Center debuts Sing Our Rivers Red

Photo/Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Photo/Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

 

by Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

The reality.  Since 1980, over 1,181 Native women and girls in Canada have been reported missing or have been murdered. While there isn’t a comprehensive estimate, there are many factors that contribute to the disproportionate number of Indigenous women who are missing and murdered in the United States.

Indigenous women have incurred devastating levels of violence in the United States. According to the US Department of Justice, nearly half of all Native American women have been raped, beaten or stalked by an intimate partner; one in three will be raped in their lifetime; and on some reservations, women are murdered at a rate 10 times higher than the national average. But many factors complicate the reporting and recording of these numbers, including fear, stigma, legal barriers, racism, sexism, and the perpetuation of Native women as sexual objects in mainstream media.

 

This map reflects the diverse community that contributed to the Sing Our Rivers Red earring installation. Over 3,400 earrings were received from over 400 locations for this project – so many that a second installation has been created that will open in Albuquerque this March.

This map reflects the diverse community that contributed to the Sing Our Rivers Red earring installation. Over 3,400 earrings were received from over 400 locations for this project – so many that a second installation has been created that will open in Albuquerque this March.

 

 

The exhibit.  On Friday, January 8, the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve debuted the travelling earing exhibition, Sing Our Rivers Red, created by Diné (Navajo) and Chicana artist Nanibah “Nani” Chacon. The exhibition uses 1,181 single-sided earrings to represent the Indigenous women reported murdered and missing in both Canada and the United States. Nani’s intention is to use the power of this art piece to raise awareness about this epidemic that occurs in the United States and all across Turtle Island. Over 3,406 earring were donated from over 400 people, organizations, groups, and entities from six provinces in Canada and 45 states in the U.S.

Former Board of Director, Deborah Parker, who had an immense role in the 2013 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization, was present to witness the exhibit debut and speak on its importance.

“I thank everyone here for honoring the work that’s been going on, for honoring all the missing and murdered Indigenous women who are represented by these earrings. I know for some of us this is a difficult issue to even talk about,” said Parker. “When we talk about policy, protecting, and justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women there’s not always the words that can be said to fight on behalf of those who cannot speak. I know this is such a somber, such a hard issue to think about, but it’s so important for us to discuss. So I really want to honor each and every one of you who are here tonight because you are part of the story, you are part of the prayers, and I’m hoping and praying you are part of the solution.

“This exhibit is a good way to open up that dialogue and discuss the issues represented in this art and those earrings. We no longer have to remain silent. I strongly believe when we speak of the missing and murdered Indigenous women that we honor them on the other side, we honor their name and their presence. They deserve to be honored and to be talked about in a way that will bring justice because no one deserves to go missing from their families, no one deserves to be murdered. Hopefully, we leave this exhibit feeling motivated to stand up and to speak out for justice.”

Before closing the evening’s debut, several strong and motivated Tulalip women donated earrings and shared words of their importance. The earrings will join the many others that represent and speak for those who can’t speak for themselves.

Board of Director, Theresa Sheldon, was one of those who donated earrings to the exhibit. “Planting those seeds of change right now is just the beginning. Making it a regular conversation with people, finding where it is that you are comfortable to discuss these issues, and learning how to further the conversation helps victims become survivors,” explained Sheldon. “I truly thank you all for answering the call and being here. Please share what you witnessed tonight and carry on the words that were shared and know that you can make a difference. By sharing these messages and breaking the cycle of silence you have that ability to provide opportunities for healing.”

 

Photo/Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Photo/Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

 

The mission. The Sing Our Rivers Red exhibition and events aim to bring awareness to the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women and colonial-gender based violence in the United States and Canada. The events strive to raise consciousness, unite ideas and demand action for Indigenous women and girls who have been murdered or gone missing, raped, and assaulted, and who have not received the proper attention and justice.

Sing Our Rivers Red stands in solidarity and with collaborative spirit to support the efforts built in Canada and to highlight the need for awareness and action to address colonial gender violence in the United States. The events recognize that each of us has a voice to not only speak out about the injustices against our sisters, but also use the strength of those voices to sing for our healing. Water is the source of life and so are women. We are connecting our support through the land and waters across the border: we need to “Sing Our Rivers Red” to remember the missing and murdered and those who are metaphorically drowning in injustices.

 

Missing. Oil on canvas. From the artist, “I created this piece to honor the lives and memory of unexplained murders and missing Indigenous women of North America. The imagers I chose places a woman amongst a landscape and butterflies. The interaction of the woman and the butterflies has little do with one another in the physical sense; instead, I combine the elements in this painting in an overlapping manner to create cohesion between three violated subjects. The butterflies are a symbol for Indigenous women, which is why they are seen moving through and within the woman. The monarch butterfly has a migratory pattern that spans North America. In recent documentation, the monarch butterfly is also unexplainably dying / missing. In this piece, I wanted to depict the connection between land and women – I see that we are mistreating and killing both. I believe that because there is no respect for the land, there is no respect for women. I believe when one stops, the other will too.”

Missing. Oil on canvas. From the artist, “I created this piece to honor the lives and memory of unexplained murders and missing Indigenous women of North America. The images I chose places a woman amongst a landscape and butterflies. The interaction of the woman and the butterflies has little do with one another in the physical sense; instead, I combine the elements in this painting in an overlapping manner to create cohesion between three violated subjects. The butterflies are a symbol for Indigenous women, which is why they are seen moving through and within the woman. The monarch butterfly has a migratory pattern that spans North America. In recent documentation, the monarch butterfly is also unexplainably dying / missing. In this piece, I wanted to depict the connection between land and women – I see that we are mistreating and killing both. I believe that because there is no respect for the land, there is no respect for women. I believe when one stops, the other will too.”

 

Sing Our Rivers Red will be on display at the Hibulb Cultural Center through the end of the month. For hours and directions, please visit HibulbCulturalCenter.org

 

 

 

 

NEW Exhibit: Roots of Wisdom opens at the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve

 

Mytyl Hernandez, Tulalip Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve

 

Tulalip, Washington – Overcoming environmental and cultural challenges can make for unexpected partnerships that result in extraordinary outcomes. At Roots of Wisdom, the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve’s latest exhibit opening to the general public May 16th from 12:00–5:00 p.m., the knowledge of native peoples and cutting-edge Western science are explored, providing insight into how we can improve our relationship with the natural world.

Roots of Wisdom features stories from four indigenous communities, giving visitors real life examples of how traditional knowledge and Western science, together, provide complementary solutions to ecological and health challenges facing us today. Through the voices of elder and youth, engaging video interactives and hands-on games, visitors will gather resources, examine data, and take part in the growing movement towards sustainability and the reclamation of age-old practices.

“We are so pleased to have had the opportunity to develop an exhibit through a collaborative process which is a new experience for us. We are so excited that we get to be its hosts”, says Tessa Campbell Senior Curator. “Roots of Wisdom allow our guests an inside look into Tribal communities throughout the country and see how they are managing and preserving their natural and cultural resources”.

Traditional Knowledge/Western Science

Visitors are invited to explore the unique relationship between Western science and native ecological knowledge. From everyday items like duck decoys to surfboards, popcorn to chocolate, guests will learn how native knowledge impacts our daily lives, and recognize the great contributions that indigenous peoples have provided over centuries.

Re-establishing a Native Plant (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians)

The river cane plays a prominent role both in revitalizing cultural practices and restoring ecosystems. Guest will learn how this hardy plant affects water quality and how Cherokee elders are teaching new generations about the traditional craft of basket weaving. Visitors are invited to experiment with river environments and even try their hand at basket weavings.

Restoring Fish Ponds (Hawaii)

Guests are given a chance to act as a caretaker of a fish pond or join a droplet of water on an incredible journey down a Hawaiian mountainside in these popular hands-on interactives. Visitors learn how native ecosystems have been disrupted and what is being done to restore these innovative forms of aquaculture, which could be a critical component to food sustainability for the people of Hawaii.

Rediscovering Traditional Foods (Tulalip Tribes)

Through a clever computer interactive, hands-on activities, and recorded stories, guests learn how Tulalip Tribes are striving to find a balance in their need for natural resources against the loss of land rights and environmental degradation. Visitors learn about traditional practices of wild harvesting and gardening. They will discover through Western science how these techniques are beneficial to human health.

Saving Streams and Wildlife (Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation)

Seen as a pest in some areas of the country, the lamprey is an eel-like fish that is important both ecologically and as a food source to many indigenous people. In this fun interactive, visitors can pick up a replica lamprey as would a scientist. Visitors learn about the traditional stewardship of the lamprey and how the fish is a critical component of the ecosystem that the Umatilla Tribes depend on. Find out how traditional ecological knowledge and Western science are being applied to bring this amazing little fish back from the brink of extinction.

Roots of Wisdom opens Saturday May 16, 2015 at 12:00 PM and closes September 13, 2015.

The Hibulb Cultural Center is open Tuesday through Friday 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Saturday and Sunday 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM, closed on Mondays. Pricing: Adults $10, Seniors (50yr+) $7, Students $6, Veterans & Military $6, Children (under 5) FREE. “Family Pass” (2 adults, 4 children) $25. Visit www.hibulbculturalcenter.org for more information about the museum.

Funded by the National Science Foundation, Roots of Wisdom is specially designed for visitors ages 11-14. The exhibition was developed by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), the Indigenous Education Institute (IEI), the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, Tulalip Tribes, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the Waikalua Loko Fishpond Preservation Society in Hawaii, and was made possible through funds from the National Science Foundation.

About the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve

The Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve is dedicated to those who have gone home before us and those who remain to keep the cultural fires burning.  The Hibulb Cultural Center features a fully certified collections and archaeological repository. The Center features a main gallery, a temporary exhibit, two classrooms, a research library, an interactive longhouse and a gift shop featuring Coast Salish and hand made products.

Directions: From I-5 take exit 199 Marine Drive NE in Marysville. Go west approximately 0.5 miles, then turn left on 23rd Avenue NE.

 

NWIC Poetry students showcase work at Hibulb Cultural Center poetry series

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

NWIC student Ed Hill recites his poetry during the Hibulb Cultural Center's December poetry series. Students penned poems during a NWIC poetry class and recited for the first time to the public for the first time. Photo/ Bob Mitchell

NWIC student Ed Hill recites his poetry during the Hibulb Cultural Center’s December poetry series. Students penned poems during a NWIC poetry class and recited for the first time to the public for the first time.
Photo/ Bob Mitchell

Students in a Northwest Indian College poetry class had a chance to showcase their creative prowess during December’s Hibulb Cultural Center’s poetry series. The class, composed of novice and beginner poets, presented a collection of work created during the course to the public for the first time.

Professor Lynda Jensen, who teaches the class, is an avid writer and poet herself, encouraging students to create poetry with depth and emotional response.

“One of the exercises that we did in class was to make a list of 35 words we like. We would pass the list to someone else, and that person’s job was to turn the list into a poem,” said Jensen.  A poem by student Talon Arbuckle using the list of 35 words technique was performed during the event.

“I asked the students to give me a list of 35 words that they associate with themselves, with their personal identity. From these lists, I made a poem for each student. I read these poems to them at the event. That was one of my favorite parts of the evening, extolling and featuring them within poetry,” Jensen.

Students Ed Hill and Crystal Meachem, both newcomers to poetry, found inspiration in the structure of poetry. Hill’s poems focus on his connection to nature, and discovered poetry to be an inviting and inspiring form of communication. Meachem, who did not enjoy poetry at the start of the class, explored different forms of poetry to learn the deeper meanings embedded in style and word choice.

“As an enthusiastic optimist, Crystal enjoys the word search when creating something sublime. She said that when she writes poems, she lets the words flow out. Then she re-reads to see if it is sublime yet. If it isn’t she sits there, frustrated and confused, until she finds the right words to make the poem work perfectly,” said Jensen.

Novice writers Bobbi Jones and Marci Fryberg use poetry regularly as a way of self-expression. Jensen describes Frberg’s use of poetry as, “strong, inviting and eschew the exclusivity that poetry so often inflicts on readers. Her meanings are clear and her metaphors recognizable. A quiet and private person, Bobbi was uncertain about performing her poetry in public. She gave me permission to read two of her poems. After I finished reading her poem “Howling,” an appreciative hush fell over the room. Bobbi writes powerful personal poetry,” explained Jensen.

Other students use poetry as a mean of healing. Student Katie Longstreet used the skills she learned in class to write poetry as a way to process difficult emotions, drawing inspiration from strength and courage. She shared several poems that focus on the isolation individuals who endure trauma experience.

While poetry for many of the students became a way to communicate emotions and thoughts that could not be described otherwise, student Talon Arbuckle found a comedic undertone while developing his poetry.

“Talon discovered his interest in poetry on the first day of class. He shared several poems that he wrote, including one that was a response to an assignment that students write a poem as if they were someone else. Talon decided to write a poem as if he were Mike Tyson. He used only published quotes from Tyson. The poem was powerful and very well received,” said Jensen.

“The evening was full of emotion, support, beauty and laughter. It was the perfect capstone for our course,” Jensen said. “We are grateful to the Hibulb Cultural Center for hosting the event. We plan to create a chapbook with the poems we performed that night. We will make these available to the community when they are complete.”

The Hibulb Cultural Center hosts a monthly poetry series featuring local artists. For more information on the poetry series, please visit the Hibulb’s website at www.hibulbculturalcenter.org.

For more information on Northwest Indian College’s poetry classes, please visit their website at www.nwic.edu.

 

Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402; bmontreuil@tulalipnews.com