Tulalip Day: Embracing Heritage, Celebrating Culture

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The morning of November 22nd was a truly joyous occasion, as the Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary gymnasium was packed wall-to-wall with students and community members who gathered for an early celebration of Tulalip Day. Students were encouraged to wear traditional regalia according to their tribal cultures.

“Welcome everyone to Tulalip Day,” greeted Principal Douglas Shook to the jam-packed gymnasium audience. “We thank our tribal elders who are in attendance, our guests from Heritage High School and 10th Street, as well as all our family, friends, and community members for being here today. I am honored to be part of this day with you all.”

Tulalip pride was on full display with many students wearing traditional Coast Salish garb featuring cedar weaves, abalone shells, and woven wool. Other students shined bright in their colorful and stunning powwow regalia. Many hand-made, uniquely painted drums were seen carried by youth and audience members who came to drum united under a common heritage.

“It’s significant we are here today, being in a public school dressed in our traditional regalia, showing pride for our Native culture…that’s healing,” proclaimed cultural specialist Chelsea Craig. “During the boarding school era, lots of hard times happened for our people. One of the biggest things was our people weren’t allowed to speak their language. They weren’t allowed to sing their songs. If they did, they were beaten and thrown in jail.

“We started this morning assembly to try to heal what was done in education, and the fact we filled this auditorium with our kids, their families, and community members is humbling. So we are going to celebrate today, not just because it’s Native American Heritage Month, but because we are proud to be Native American every single day.”

The floor was opened to anyone in the audience who wanted to share a song, encouraging words to the youth, or a story. Native Liaisons for the Marysville School District, Matt Remle and Terrance Sabbas each took their turn greeting the admiring students and shared songs.

Ray Fryberg then brought up the Tulalip Canoe Family so their singers and drummers could fill the air with their enchanting, traditional sound. As they performed several songs, children and their families adorned in tribal regalia danced in the middle of the gym.

Watching her daughter and other students dance from the audience, proud mother Roselle Fryberg shared she felt overcome with joy because “the youth give me hope.”

Next up, the eager and energetic powwow dancers took center stage while Terrance Sabbas provided them with the necessary powwow music according to each style of dance; traditional, grass, fancy, and jingle.

Led by Natosha Gobin, the Tulalip Language Warriors closed out the near 60-minute assembly dedicated to embracing Native culture. The Language Warriors shared Martha Lamont’s berry picking song, a song many of the students have learned while participating in the annual Language Camp.

“What a beautiful Tulalip Day at Quil Ceda Elementary School this morning!” stated Board of Director, Theresa Sheldon, following the assembly. “Our kids sang their hearts out and danced with such joy. Anytime we can gather with our students in a good way makes for an excellent day.”

Tulalip Pride Shines at Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary

Photo/Micheal Rios

Photo/Brandi N. Montreuil

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary gym was packed wall to wall with students and community members who assembled to celebrate Tulalip Heritage Day. Students were encouraged to wear traditional regalia according to their tribal cultures. Tulalip pride was on full display as many students wore traditional Coast Salish garb featuring cedar headbands, abalone shells and wool. Other students wore traditional pow wow regalia according to their style of dance. Traditional Tulalip song and dance was performed for audience members, including Marysville School District Superintendent Dr. Becky Berg who was in attendance as a show of support for Native students and respect of Tulalip culture.

Students were encouraged to bring their drums. As Co-principal Dr. Craig said, “Some students have never drummed before and learn by attending and drumming with the Tulalip members who attend the morning assemblies. This gives Native students an opportunity to learn their culture in a safe positive environment.”

Children adorned in their tribal regalia danced in the middle of the gym while the Tulalip drummers and singers filled the air with their traditional, enchanting sound.

 

Photo/Micheal Rios

Photo/Micheal Rios

 

The proud heritage of Tulalip was best demonstrated when the Tulalip Canoe Family sang their “Happy Song.” All the elementary students are familiar with the “Happy Song” as they sing it with school faculty at every morning assembly. When the Tulalip Canoe Family performed, their hand movements were gleefully mirrored by the students as they sang along. During the “Happy Song” performance, all the students were transformed into Tulalip performers.

Matt Remle, tribal liaison for Marysville School District and Lakota Native from the Standing Rock Reservation, shared a traditional Lakota song about uplifting one another. During the event he took to Facebook to remark on the importance of the even for Native students posting, “It was beautiful to see the tremendous community support, as well as, see so many young ones singing, drumming, and dancing. This is real education, indigenous education, and empowerment.”

The morning’s assembly marks an important change in history for Tulalip students who previously were not allowed to celebrate or practice their traditional customs, which were prohibited during the boarding school era.

 

Photo/Micheal Rios

Photo/Micheal Rios

 

Theresa Sheldon, Tulalip Tribes board member, was also in attendance and spoke to the students about the origins of Tulalip Day. As she explained, “In the 1980s, our Board of Directors actually changed the holiday and made the Friday after Thanksgiving Tulalip Day. Tulalip does not actually recognize Columbus Day, we recognize Tulalip Day.”

After the assembly concluded Principal DeWitte commented on the impact of displaying and teaching Tulalip culture to the students. “Because we do it every day it becomes a part of who we are.”

Photo/Brandi N. Montreuil

Photo/Brandi N. Montreuil

Photo/Brandi N. Montreuil

Photo/Brandi N. Montreuil

Photo/Brandi N. Montreuil

Photo/Brandi N. Montreuil

 

Quil Ceda & Tulalip Elementary Celebrates Tulalip Day During Morning Assembly

MVI 7006 from Brandi Montreuil on Vimeo.

TULALIP – This morning Quil Ceda & Tulalip Elementary started the day with a special morning assembly celebrating Native American Heritage. With only days left  in Native American Heritage month, Quil Ceda school staff invited students to dress in traditional regalia and welcomed community members to celebrate Tulalip Day with them.