UW Bothell empowers Native American students to plan for college

Photo/Micheal Rios

Photo/Micheal Rios

 

by Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

The University of Washington Bothell held its 3rd annual Reaching American Indian Nations (RAIN) event Friday, February 6. It was a day dedicated to preparing American Indian, Alaskan Native, and First Nations students with the tools necessary to access higher education. Students interacted with UW Bothell and Cascadia College students, staff and faculty, engaged with speakers, and participated in cultural and educational workshops.

Native high school students and faculty from Native American educational programs from all across Washington State were invited to attend RAIN 2015. Amongst those who attended were tribal students from Tulalip, Puyallup, Yakima, Port Gamble S’Klallam, La Conner, Central Kitsap, Edmonds Indian program, and representatives from Tacoma.

“We have created this culturally relevant event where we can bring amazing people out to speak on all the reasons you, as a Native American high school student, should go to college, and to explain why higher education is important as a Native American person. How can you use it to connect to your community or be more a part of your community or work for your community,” explains Rachael Meares, Native American Outreach Coordinator for UW Bothell. “We just hope that they get that idea here. It doesn’t matter if they want to attend this campus or another college. We invite Northwest Indian College out and we have Cascadia College here, so they can see their college options. We just want them to think about planning for college.”

This year’s RAIN attendance was by far the highest in its history. In 2013, the first year RAIN was held, only  Tulalip Heritage high school students were participants. The following year there were roughly 55-60 students from tribes all over the state. This year the attendance nearly doubled with an estimated 110 Native students participating.

The inspiration that led to UW Bothell creating RAIN three years ago happened right here on the Tulalip Reservation. It was during a routine admission workshop that Rachael Meares was undertaking at Tulalip Heritage High School that inspiration struck. The junior and senior high school students at Tulalip Heritage were so eager to participate in her workshop and to learn of the opportunities available at UW Bothell that Meares thought it would be really beneficial for the students to spend a day at the UW Bothell campus, participating in various workshops,  exploring and learning about the campus, and receiving an alternative college perspective that wouldn’t otherwise be available to them here on the reservation.

A few months later, the entire Tulalip Heritage High School student body, with chaperoning teachers, spent a day at the UW Bothell campus learning about the university and opportunities available only a short thirty minute drive south on I-5. That day marked the first culturally relevant outreach event for Native American students, which was given the name Reaching American Indian Nations, or more commonly referred to as RAIN. The next year Meares and her colleagues from the UW Bothell Division of Enrollment Management extended invites to Tulalip Heritage and other tribal schools across Washington. The event has continued to grow with an increasing number of tribal students attending and more workshops being offered.

“Before RAIN our Native American student admission numbers were like five, six, or ten some years. Now we have eighty-three Native American students enrolled and attending UW Bothell. Our Native American student population has grown a lot over the last few years and we want to continue building upon that momentum RAIN has given us,” states Meares, who also carries the title of Admissions Advisor and Recruiter for UW Bothell.

At this year’s RAIN event the keynote speaker was the Executive Director of Chief Seattle Club, and member of the Pawnee tribe, Colleen Echohawk who gave a very passionate speech to her tribal student audience. Echohawk told her story of growing up in remote Alaska, not just living off the land but living with it, and how attending college opened up opportunities she had never imagined.

“Be brave, be strong, be bold and stay connected. You are the indigenous voice and are on a hero’s journey,” Echohawk said to the tribal students in their pursuit of higher education. “We are not just surviving, we are thriving.”

After a light breakfast, introductions of the coordinating event staff, and the keynote speech, the students chose two out of five available on-site workshops to attend. Keeping the idea of cultural relevancy in play, each workshop was specifically tailored to the Native American student pursuing higher education. The workshops were also led by a Native American staff members of UW Bothell.

“Paying for College” Financial Aid and Funding Resources workshop was led by Danette Iyall (Nez Perce), Director of Financial Aid. This workshop provided a unique opportunity for the students to meet with UW Bothell’s Director of Financial Aid to learn about the many ways to fund their education through grants, scholarships, loans and more. Students were introduced to the FAFSA as well as University funding resources such as the Husky Promise.

“Airplanes” Opportunities at Boeing workshop was led by Dr. Deanna Kennedy (Cherokee), UW Bothell Assistant Professor. This workshop allowing the tribal students to experience the interactive UW Bothell student classroom. Students got a feel of the UW Bothell classroom lecture about Boeing productions processes and learned first-hand about academic approaches in the School of Business and career pathways.

“Pathways to College” was led by Sara Gomez Taylor, Cascadia College Outreach Specialist. Students learned about the admissions process and the vast opportunities for academic growth from representatives from three college settings; 2-year institution, 4-year institution, and Tribal College.

UW Bothell Wetlands Tour was led by Alice Tsoodle (Kiowa), Islandwood Instructor and UW Bothell Alum. Students learned about the restoration design and how the campus and students have influenced the UW Bothell ecosystem. Participants left with a better understanding of how this campus resource is used in the classroom.

The fifth workshop offered was the Campus Tour led by current UW Bothell students. The campus visitors got to see all that UW Bothell has to offer thought current student perspective; classrooms, café’s, housing, sports field, library, and much more. A highlight of the campus tour was a walkthrough of the 3-story high student library. The UW Bothell student library features Native American artwork from tribal artists near and far. For the students participating in the tour they were happy to see artwork from their culture being so stunningly displayed throughout the campus library.

Among the tribal student attendees was Oceana Alday, Tulalip tribal member and current senior at Marysville Getchell High School. She is also a Running Start student in her 3rd quarter at Northwest Indian College. Alday expressed her enthusiasm for RAIN and hopes more Tulalip high school students attend in the future.

“Attending RAIN, I think Tulalip high school students could learn that there are college alternatives other than attending EvCC or NWIC,” says Alday. “They can consider their options at UW Bothell and Cascadia College. We have a few tribal members who attend UW and WSU, so I think they can see other options besides those close to the reservation.”

 

Contact Micheal Rios at tulaliptribes-nsn.gov 

Green River Community College placed on lockdown following threat

Q13 Fox News

 

AUBURN — The Green River Community Community College was put on lockdown Monday after a student made a veiled threat to a faculty member.

A large police presence was seen on the campus in the 1200 block of SE 320th Street in Auburn around 10:50 a.m.

Police sources said a student made a threat to a faculty member, and police were called to the school.  No weapons were seen and the student is no longer on the campus, sources said.

Officers checked the college following the threat.

Some in the area tweeted about the event around 10:50 a.m. Monday, posting pictures of a lockdown message sent to students.

The threat follows a shooting event at a high school in Marysville Friday that left three students dead. This was the second police call to an area school Monday, as a Molotov cocktail was discovered at a Seattle high school.

 

School shooter raised in Tulalip traditions; his actions defy explanation

Jaylen Fryberg performs in his dance regalia during the Paddle to Squaxin Island, August 2012. Courtesy photo

Jaylen Fryberg performs in his dance regalia during the Paddle to Squaxin Island, August 2012.
Courtesy photo

 

By Andrew Gobin, Herald Writer

Herald writer Andrew Gobin is a member of the Tulalip Tribes and grew up on the reservation.

 

TULALIP — What do you say about a young man whose actions forever changed the lives of so many? You can seek rhyme and reason, you can analyze his troubles, you can gaze into the abyss of disbelief.

This is not about gun control, this is not about how a community failed a young man, and it’s not about using his troubles to solve everyone’s problems.

Strangers are telling Jaylen Fryberg’s story. Strangers who never met him.

What do you say about a boy? You say who he was.

Jaylen Fryberg came from a large, influential family on the Tulalip Indian Reservation. His grandfather, Ray Fryberg Sr., sat on the tribal council and is the director of Cultural and Natural Resources for the tribes. His grandmother, Sheryl Fryberg, was an executive with the tribes for many years, most recently the general manager of tribal government operations. His father, Ray Fryberg Jr., also works in Natural Resources for the tribes. His mother, Wendy Fryberg, a former Marysville School Board member, is deputy general manager for tribal government operations. He has two sisters, Tenika Fryberg and Mekyla Fryberg, and two brothers, Anthony Gobin and Julian Fryberg.

Jaylen was grounded in the traditions of the Snohomish people, his people, on the Tulalip Indian Reservation. He was a star wrestling and football athlete since he was young, competing with his cousins. He was an avid hunter and fisherman, from a place where rites of passage include those skills.

Jaylen came from a traditional family with a strong presence not only at Tulalip, but with tribes up and down the Pacific Northwest coast. He sang and drummed with the men of his family, learning to lead the group at a young age. His father and grandfather were dedicated to grooming Jaylen to be a strong leader, like so many of his elders.

His great-grandmother, Della Hill, was a strong spiritual leader in the Shaker faith throughout Northwest reservations. That was a path Jaylen and others in his family followed.

As he grew, Jaylen learned to revere traditional dances, earning his dance shirt and feather headdress. The shirt is embroidered across the chest and along the sleeves with small paddles hand-carved from cedar. The paddles clacked as he danced. The shirt and headdress were presented to him by tribal elders who chose him to be a lead dancer. Along with these came the responsibility to carry on tribal traditions. He wore the dance shirt and headdress often, at tribal ceremonies and the annual Canoe Journey, a summertime celebration of cultural heritage.

From the time Jaylen was 5 or 6, he was involved in sports. He wrestled on the tribe’s team and played football on city and school teams, including this year as a freshman with the MPHS Tomahawks. His teammates, often cousins and friends, were closer to him than brothers. Jaylen always made time for them.

He learned to fish for salmon using gill nets with his father and grandfather. Many Tulalip families are fishing families.

Throughout the fall and winter, Jaylen was an avid hunter. He hunted deer and elk with his dad and brother, never failing to bring an animal home. He hunted for many reasons, including to feed families in their times of sorrow. Tulalip people find comfort and connection to each other in sharing traditional foods

At 14, Jaylen started high school at Marysville Pilchuck. He seemed to have it all. He was in a long-term relationship with a great girl, was part of a strong family, pulled down good grades and was on the football team. High school can be stressful, but he seemed to be handling things well enough. The truth is, no one saw this coming. A few outbursts on social media, a few scuffles, normal freshman angst that came with normal consequences. After Friday’s events, we are left with questions that may never be answered.

Jaylen got in a fight and was suspended from the football team just before a crucial game. Two of the boys he shot — Andrew Fryberg and Nate Hatch — were his cousins and also on the football team. Were they targeted because they would play in the championship game that night? We don’t know.

He had separated from his girlfriend, and it is speculated that caused an argument. Contrary to many news reports, his girlfriend did not attend Marysville Pilchuck. She was not among those shot.

And there is talk of bullying. All six of the students involved were close. They grew up together. They competed together. They went to homecoming together only a week before.

Did they tease each other? Of course. That’s what cousins are for.

We know Jaylen became troubled. Why is not clear.

What he did in that cafeteria was monstrous.

His uncle, John Dumonte, told TV reporters, though, that Jaylen wasn’t a monster.

As someone who walked with him in this community, who knew him from the time he was small, I understand that sentiment.

Culture and tradition can fall away. Not for Jaylen. He was viewed as living hope for the tribes’ future.

Now he is gone.

The shaken community on both sides of I-5 now must put the pieces together, to help each other learn how to heal from this, to understand why.

Study Evaluates Young Native Adults’ Connection to Tribal Lands

 

By: Andrea Kelly, Arizona Public Media

 

University of Arizona master’s student Aurora Trujillo is a member of the Taos Pueblo nation in New Mexico, a full-time resident of Tucson during the school year, and is working at an internship in Montana this summer.

She is representative of other young adults who do not live on the tribal reservation land of their native nation, and two UA researchers are hoping to find out how people in a similar situation stay connected with their culture.

Jennifer Schultz and Stephanie Rainie are asking 18- to 29-year-olds from Indian Country to share information about their off-reservation lives. They work at the Native Nations Institute at the UA. The institute’s projects aim to study tribal governance and share adaptable models of success among various tribes.

They chose the topic of study after hearing tribal leaders express an interest, Rainie said.

“Trying to engage those citizens and seek their input and have them be viable, active members in the community, even when they’re gone is something that a lot of tribal leaders have been thinking about,” she said.

People in the age range the two hope to hear from are making important decisions, and will shape the future of their native nations, Schultz said.

“The period between the ages of 18 and 29 is really important for identity formation, for making choices about life partners, for making choices about jobs, for choosing where you’re going to live, ultimately,” she said.

More than 50 percent of the country’s native population does not live on reservations, Schultz said.

“Over the past several decades, native nations have made a lot of great strides culturally, economically, and in other respects,” she said. “One of the questions we still don’t know a lot about is the experience of tribal citizens, especially young people, and it continues to be a population of great interest to tribes.”

While the study has a specific focus: young adults’ connection, or lack of, to native lands, the goals are broad and will inform other research, Schultz said.

“This project was developed to serve the needs of native nations by facilitating the exchange of ideas, stories of what’s working and to basically be a general resource for tribes in dealing with this issue,” she said.

Trujillo is a graduate research assistant at the Native Nations Institute. She grew up on and near the Taos Pueblo reservation, and attended Bureau of Indian Affairs schools.

This summer she is working on the Blackfeet reservation in Montana, as part of her education toward a master’s degree in public health. When she’s in Tucson for the academic year, she makes the 600-mile, 10-hour drive to her nation for ceremonies and dances.

She feels a responsibility and an honor in doing so, she said.

“Our traditions are thousands of years old and it makes me feel really good to be part of that. It makes me feel like I am connected to the land you know by blood. I feel connected even though I’m not there. I still know who I am and know where I came from,” Trujillo said.

It’s also her identity.

“It’s who I am, and it feels good to belong to that, so I want to keep it going. I like how strong it is, we’re a very traditional culture. It makes me feel good to be a part of something that’s larger than myself.” she said.

The researchers want to look beyond the state of young adults’ relationships with their tribal nations. Through follow-up interviews, Schultz said she and Raine hope to ask participants for suggestions for changes in tribal communication to improve connectedness with those living away from the reservations.

“On the one hand we hope to come up with stories of what’s working, but also stories of what might work, and utilize the creativity of these young people in the service of their nation,” Schultz said.

Academic work with tribal communities sometime lacks data, Rainie said, so the responses to these questions will inform the Native Nations Institute for a while.

“This is a start, a pilot project,” Rainie said. They are “trying to gather initial data to focus and refocus where we’re going with this project.”

One such suggestion for future projects is to help tribes find a way to improve economic opportunities for young adults, Trujillo said. The nations can be good at encouraging young people to move away for education and opportunity, but the message to come back is not as loud, Trujillo said. She said she thinks a big part of that is lack of opportunity to draw people back to their native lands.

She speaks Tiwa, the language of her Taos Pueblo. Every time she goes home, it’s a challenge to refresh her language skills, she said. The language is not written, only spoken, and she said she would like to help herself and others study it from afar.

“Maybe if we recorded some languages, you know some phrases, and sent the recording to a student or somebody who was living off the reservation and they could keep learning while they were away and then of course practice when they come back home,” she said.

The researchers are also interested in the connections young American Indians make in their non-reservation communities. Trujillo said she has formed valuable connections in Tucson, even though there are not many Pueblo Indians in town.

She said she makes those connections at the Tucson Indian Center.

“They have a walking club every Wednesday and it’s with some elderly ladies,” she said. “Even though they’re not from my tribe, it’s sort of like they fill a bit of an auntie/grandmotherly void.”

That void is notable when she is not at home in New Mexico, she said.

“I grew up surrounded by women and I feel like I need that sometimes and it feels really good to be around them,” Trujillo said.

She wants to continue to be connected to tribal lands, even if they are not the ones she experienced as a girl.

“Of course everybody wants to go back and serve their reservation, but I also feel part of the larger Indian Country community, so I’d hope that I can use my education to serve anybody,” she said.

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Class of 2014: She set a goal — and an example for others

Dan Bates / The HeraldSantana Shopbell, the second-youngest of nine children, is the first in her family to receive a high school diploma.

Dan Bates / The Herald
Santana Shopbell, the second-youngest of nine children, is the first in her family to receive a high school diploma.7

By Julie Muhlstein, Herald Writer

TULALIP — Santana Shopbell has eight siblings, most of them grown. She is the second-youngest child, but she is about to distinguish herself with a big first.

When she graduates from Tulalip Heritage High School on Saturday, Santana will be the first in her immediate family with a high school diploma.

“It was a struggle. I had my doubts,” said Shopbell, 18.

Her focus on a goal — to graduate, and to set an example for more than 20 nieces and nephews — grew until doubt was edged out by accomplishment. “I just kept at it,” she said.

Her toughest course was geometry. Math teacher Jennifer Ham was a great help.

She went all four years to the small school that shares a campus with Marysville’s Arts & Technology High School and 10th Street Middle School. Heritage has fewer than 100 students. “You get one-on-one time with teachers. You learn more about your culture, and other cultures,” she said.

Shopbell lives with her father, Rockey Shopbell, an older sister, a younger brother and an uncle. When she was 11, the family suffered a terrible loss. Her mother, Peggy Jones Shopbell, died.

It was love of family that helped her through. Today, family is everything. “I like hanging out with friends — and my friends are my nieces, nephews and cousins,” she said.

She also loves her community. A member of the Tulalip Tribes, she recently volunteered at a luncheon for tribal elders. She has helped with children through Tulalip Youth Services and has volunteered at the Marysville Community Food Bank.

She expects her next academic step to be Everett Community College but doesn’t plan to enroll until next spring. “I want to take a break,” she said. She hopes to get a job and a car, and do some traveling.

A high school highlight was playing basketball her senior year. Her Heritage team went to the state B basketball tournament in Spokane. She had never played before.

She also played volleyball in high school, was a student-body ambassador and president of the science club.

Someday, she hopes to work in tribal government. A role model is Deborah Parker, a member of the Tulalip Tribes board of directors.

“She is an inspiration,” Shopbell said. “I want to come back and work for my people.”

First, she’ll celebrate. “We’re having a big graduation party with lots of family. They are really proud,” she said.