TULALIP VIES TO BE HOME TO AMAZON’S “HQ2”

Tulalip offers Amazon sites in the first tribally chartered city in the United States
Tulalip is participating in this regional proposal with Snohomish and King County

 

TULALIP, WASHINGTON – Tulalip Tribes have partnered with regional leaders to persuade Amazon to build “HQ2” in Washington State. The Tulalip Tribes are offering large sites in Quil Ceda Village, the first tribally chartered city in the United States, as part of the joint bid announced on Thursday.

Tulalip Tribes leadership is confident Quil Ceda Village is a prime location for Amazon. It boasts buildable and appropriately zoned land, with a full suite of utilities and a location easily accessible to I-5. The Tulalip Tribe has also worked extensively with County and State officials to increase transportation capacity in the region.

“Amazon has proven themselves as forward thinking and the areas where they do business flourish,” said Marie Zackuse, Tribal Chairwoman. “We feel strongly that Amazon’s commitment to job growth, talent retention and their generous philanthropic culture aligns with Tulalip’s philosophy of looking forward, not only for our success, but for the success of our neighboring communities. “Amazon has been touted as ‘the world’s most customer centric company,’ and that generous focus on the long-term relationship with people, rather than short term profits, fits right in with our style of business, Zackuse continued.

“The Tulalip Tribes believe we all benefit when innovative companies make their home in our communities, Zackuse said. There are a wealth of positives for everyone involved that will occur from Amazon locating their second headquarters in our region, and this is why Tulalip is participating in this regional proposal with Snohomish and King County.

“Our teams are ready, the real estate is ready, and all that is left is a business that would best complement our ideals and our economy. We strongly believe, with Amazon, we’ve found that.”

For more information, visit www.tulaliptribes-nsn.gov.

Paint and Sip brings out inner artist for Girl’s Talking Circle

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News; photos courtesy of event coordinator and para-pro, Monica Holmes 

On the afternoon of Friday, September 29, the popular Paint and Sip experience came to Tulalip’s own Girl’s Talking Circle. Eight aspiring young ladies had the unique opportunity to create their own masterpiece on canvas while sipping sparkling cider and enjoying fancy snacks.

The Paint and Sip activity provided both our youth Girl’s Talking Circle and their family members with an opportunity to explore their creative side. They learned to hone their artistic skills, like utilizing color for effect, balancing light and dark, adding shapes, dimension and perspective, and taking risks to personalize art in order to make it their own.

Hosted by Tulalip Youth Services and Behavioral Health’s MSPI Program, and held at the Kenny Moses Building, Paint and Sip was a creative way of engaging with female youth ages 11-18+. The mother, aunties, grandmas or female guardians of participating youth were also invited to participate. There ended up being two pairs of mother/daughter duos attending.

“One mother-daughter duo in particular really exemplified unity and support,” explains event coordinator and para-pro Monica Holmes. “Amy and Kelsey Sheldon reached out to us early on to see if we could create an inclusive activity that Kelsey could participate in. Kelsey has Autism and rarely has opportunities to interact with other young women her age with or without disabilities.

“Understanding the challenges Kelsey might face in groups, we felt including her mother Amy would be an important first step into helping Kelsey feel at ease in a group of new people. Sitting beside one another and working together on an art project helped to focus her attention to the task at hand. The finished product both mother and daughter created and the positive experiences they had, proves that kids with challenges and disabilities can benefit from more inclusion in community sponsored activities. MSPI (Methamphetamine Suicide Prevention Initiative) is working to push forward with even more tailored inclusive activities in which all youth can gain skills, camaraderie and connection to their heritage and community.”

For most of the girls Paint and Sip provided the opportunity to showcase their artistic talents on canvas for the very first time. Under the guidance of art instructor Irina Johnson from Vine and Palette, everyone painted their own rendition of sea turtles swimming in the ocean under a bright summer sun.

“Art teaches you to look at nature and everything around you through different eyes,” says artist Irina on the importance of experiencing art. “You look for details, texture, and color in a way that makes you appreciate all those things you generally ignore and take for granted. For example, how many colors can you spot in a leaf when the sun is setting, or what are all the textures in a tree branch, or the intricate details in a single blade of grass. All these little things add up to a greater awareness of our world and our reality. In this sense, art makes us appreciate life that much more.”

An eloquent description for sure, but for 11-year-old Tieriana McLean she puts it much simpler, “I came here because I just like painting.” What more need be said?

The Girl’s Talking Circle meets every Friday from 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. at the Tulalip Youth Center.  They do hands-on arts and crafts, explore cultural identity, focus on personal, team and community building, have speakers from the Tribe teach their wisdom, and go on fieldtrips to explore, learn and grow.

For more information about the Girl’s Talking Circle please contact Monica Holmes at 360-631-3406 or email: mholmes@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

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.

Screenagers sheds light on the impact of youth’s increased screen time

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Raising youth in our technologically advanced society is a challenge for most caregivers technologywho struggle to understand the effects and how to set limits on their children’s screen time. Today’s youth are the first to be raised in the age of the smartphone, and its influence can be felt everywhere.

Smartphones, video games, and digital media have created new headaches for many families. Concepts like sexting, online bullying, video game addiction, and obsessive social media attachment have become common practice among today’s youth. Behaviors as these can often lead to disruptions in school and sleep, anti-social behavior, and depression. For parents and caregivers, the question of how to even begin addressing these concepts with their children seems like a daunting task.

In this context, Tulalip Youth Services invited youth and their parents to participate in a discussion of the topic and view the award-winning film, Screenagers: Growing Up in The Digital Age, on the evening of September 19. Screenagers is the first feature documentary to explore the impact of screen technology on kids and to offer parents proven solutions that work.

“Parents should always take the time to talk to their kids about the risks of technology, especially social media and using technology appropriately,” stated Teri Nelson, Youth Services Executive Director. “There are some great uses in the digital age that provide opportunities to learn and be creative, but with everything there needs to be moderation. I feel big concerns for our youth are online safety, privacy and reputation management with social media. One bad decision to post something inappropriate can have long-lasting, damaging effects.”

During the film’s screening there were 32 youth in attendance, plus several caregivers and Youth Services staff members.

Screenagers provided an in-depth, personal look at how families are coping with kids and screen time, the plot explored how being connected to devices is affecting relationships and even child development. Directed by Dalaney Ruston, a Seattle filmmaker and physician, the movie profiles her own family’s struggles with smart phones, social media, and video games. The film includes interviews with parents, teenagers, authors, psychologists and neuroscientists providing ideas on how we can empower ourselves to best navigate this digital world we live in.

Throughout the film, children and their parents are shown dealing with often serious consequences related to excessive screen time, or screen time without boundaries. Revealing stories that depict messy struggles over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction are shared.

A boy who lives with his grandmother becomes a “different child” when told he has to get off his video games. The grandmother seeks help for dealing with the confrontations.

Another boy, Andrew, is so consumed with playing video games into the wee hours during his freshman year of college that he stops going to classes and leaves school. He enters a rehabilitation facility to treat his addiction.

A girl with a love of photography spends most of her time in her room posing and taking pictures of herself to nurture a social identity aimed at getting “likes.”

Another girl, Hannah, shares a picture of herself in her bra with a boy she likes. When he shares the picture, the girl deals with the fallout at school and being bullied.

It’s not just the kids scrolling Facebook or Instagram or blasting away on the PlayStation that demand the attention of the filmmakers. Adults connected to work and their own social outlets through devices are called out by the very kids who they are attempting to digitally police.

“Can we really tell our kids, ‘Do as we say and not as we do’?” the film asks.

Interwoven into these stories, are cutting edge science and insights from thought leaders who present evidence on the real changes happening in the brain. For example, we are led to believe that through technology we can multitask. However, the truth is our brains aren’t built to multitask. We’re meant to focus on one thing at a time. Switching what’s on our screen from Facebook to Instagram to Twitter and inevitably back to Facebook , that back-and-forth raises levels of the hormone cortisol in our brains. Cortisol is the hormone produced when we are stressed. On top of that, every time you refresh any of your social media feeds, the brief burst of news or images gives you a quick dopamine hit, which activates the brain’s pleasure centers and leaves you wanting more. It’s a destructive cycle that can lead to addiction and an inability to stay unplugged and offline.

While our digital lifestyle is certainly not going anywhere, it’s critical to find a healthy balance between screen time and real-world interactions. In most cases, this means putting realistic restrictions on screen time for children and their parents.

Among community viewers at the film screening was tribal member Nickie Richwine and her three daughters. Following the movie, Nickie shared she already places restrictions on when and how her daughters can use their devices, but has learned additional methods of staying offline from the film.

“My girls are 15, 11 and 8-years-old. I took them all to see Screenagers because as a parent I believe that technology and electronic overuse prevents them from developing social skills that they’ll need as they become young adults,” says Nickie. “Face-to-face interaction is necessary to build healthy relationships with their peers. Texting and IM’ing is no substitute. My kids struggle to understand why I limit their screen time, but one of the main reasons I do is to protect them. Kids don’t understand the internet has a lot of dangers and potentially harmful exposures. I was hopeful that this film would help them understand that.”

Dexter Smith, 8th grader and junior rep for Tulalip Youth Council, was also present for the film and recognized some of his own behavior when it comes to video games. Dexter said he can get too caught up in video games and become angry, especially when he loses. He says he is going to work on that and adds, “I think people my age are on their phones too much when they could be enjoying the outdoors. My advice to youth out here is to stay off of inappropriate sites and not make posts hurtful to others.”

Two young ladies, who wished to remain anonymous, shared, “It’s become way easier to text someone than it is to have a conversation in person. We’re so attached to our phones that we don’t even realize we’re addicted to them. People are controlled by their phones and social media accounts, kids and adults. Even in school kids are constantly posting and updating through their phones during class. It’s a distraction from their education.”

Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, and delves into the messy family conflicts over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Only through self-reflection and an open dialogue do solutions emerge on how we can best empower young people to navigate the digital world. More information can be found at screenagersmovie.com.

 

The doctor’s prescription for limiting screen time

  • Dr. Ruston suggests putting phones and other devices away at meal times, in the car and during family outings.
  • While studying, teenagers should put their phones in another room but can take “tech breaks”.
  • No phones, tablets or other devices in the bedroom when it’s time to sleep.
  • Rather than relying on your phone, buy an alarm clock and a calculator.
  • Limit interactive video games to certain times – the weekend, for example – especially for younger children.
  • Try what a group of teenagers do in the film: when they eat out, they put their phones in the middle of the table. First to check their phone pays for dinner.
  • Set aside regular time to calmly discuss any issues about mobile phones and other devices rather than letting them spark arguments.
  • Parents worried about their children’s screen usage should think about what they are doing themselves.

Salish Modern: Innovative Art with Ancient Roots

Museum Director Patricia Cosgrove sits with “Super Ken” mannequin by Bill Holm.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Thirty years ago, you couldn’t find a map using the term “Salish Sea” for the Puget Sound region. There were Seattle galleries and t-shirt shops aplenty selling Northwest Coast Native art, but the masks, totem poles and sinuous formline animal prints were designs from hundreds of miles away, not from here.

Thirty years ago, no major art museum in Washington had mounted an exhibit highlighting Native created works of our own lands and waters. Artists were indeed working – Musqueam visual pioneer Susan Point was making innovative prints based on ancient carved designs. Ron Hilbert was painting bold scenes of spiritual practices and Lummi weavers Bill and Fran James were making sumptuous blankets and intricate baskets. But the critical interest and most gallery attention was focused on art from the Canadian coast.

Painting of a ceremonial smokehouse dance from 1989 by Ron “Chadusqidub” Hilbert (Tulalip and Upper Skagit).

In 1989, the balance started to tip. Washington State’s Centennial exhibit of Native arts opened, managed by Patricia Cosgrove (now Director of the White River Valley Museum) with Kenneth Watson as part of the exhibit staff. Both art historians were on a mission to convince Seattleites that totem poles are not indigenous and that Salish art in all its creative branches is. The exhibit was incredibly successful, and soon many influences aligned to literally change the landscape of the Native art market.

Ever since, both Cosgrove and Watson have worked hard to see the word ‘Salish’ enter the mainstream vocabulary, and to insure that the characteristic sweeping lines and subtle patterns of Salish arts become recognizable and emblematic of the Seattle area.

Through the effort of many, this vision has come true. High quality galleries like Seattle’s Stonington Gallery and Steinbrueck Native Gallery feature experienced and rising artists from across the Salish Sea region. Generations of new artists have risen in skill and popularity. Today, Salish art is an explosion of innovation and creativity that still has a firm foundation in our region’s earliest Salish generations.*

That innovation and creativity of Coast Salish artistry is currently on full display at the White River Valley Museum, located in Auburn only blocks away from the Muckleshoot Reservation. Inside the museum mounts an unprecedented six-month-long exhibition titled Salish Modern: Innovation Art with Ancient Roots.

“I’m really thrilled that we have works from artists who are rock stars in the Native art world, such as Louie Gong (Nooksack), Susan Point (Musqueam), and Shaun Peterson (Puyallup),” states Patricia Cosgrove, Museum Director and Salish culture enthusiast. “People are surprised when they see the ancientness of the tradition and then recognize the elements of it all around them in these very modern pieces. This is a perfect exhibit to celebrate this vital, fabulous modern art world.

“For museum visitors and people who see the exhibit, I’d like them to know that Salish cultures are alive and can be very modern. In my opinion, modern Salish art is some of the most elegant, divine visuals that you can find,” continues Patricia. “I’d love to see Salish art take the place of totem poles and form line design in Seattle as its visual identity.”

Salish Modern: Innovation Art with Ancient Roots will be on display through December, 17. The exhibit is supported in part by the Tulalip Tribes Charity Fund. Included among the many elegant Salish artworks is a rare painting by Ron “Chadusqidub” Hilbert (Tulalip and Upper Skagit) depicting a ceremonial smokehouse dance from 1989.

*source: Salish Modern exhibit material

YES! Youth Entrepreneurship Summit

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Engaging and inspiring Native American youth toward success, a one-of-a-kind Youth Entrepreneurship Summit (YES!) was held in the Tulalip Resort Casino’s Orca Ballroom during the afternoon of Tuesday, September 5.

Designed for Native high school and college-aged students interested in business and entrepreneurship to hone their skills and learn more about what it takes to become successful in business, YES! offered Tulalip youth especially an opportunity to hear good words and success stories from Native business owners around the area.

To get the eager young minds’ creativity flowing, the summit opened up with a thought exercise. Everyone closed their eyes and pictured themselves in a tunnel, and at the end of the tunnel there is a ball of light.

“That ball of light represents your success, your dreams, your ambition, and everything you are striving for in life. That’s what is at the end of your tunnel,” declared event co-M.C. Dyami Thomas (Klamath/Leech Lake Ojibway). “Now envision on both sides of your tunnel are open doors. These open doors represent your struggles, obstacles, and all the negativity in your life. These doors stay open and there are thousands of them, but as you zoom towards the ball of light and move passed each door it closes. You can look right and look left into the open doors, but never walk through them because once you walk through one you never know if can get back on your path to the ball of light.

“This tunnel, your tunnel, represents tunnel vision to the person your meant to become. Always see that light at the end of the tunnel. When you feel lost, sad or lonely then close your eyes and see yourself in that tunnel and look towards your ball of light. Some of us like to quit and give up because they aren’t making big steps, so they start making excuses and entering those open doors only to never make it back on their path. You all have to understand that no matter if it’s a big step or many small steps, each step is heading in the same direction, and it’s toward that ball of light; to your success and ambition making your dreams come true.”

Louie Gong, Nooksack, artist and owner of Eighth Generation in Seattle.

Following the exercise, audience members were amped to hear several successful Native entrepreneurs share their stories. Guest speakers included Louie Gong (Nooksack – artist and owner of Eighth Generation), Rebecca Kirk (Klamath – singer, actress, and talent manager), Jordan Skye Paul (CRIT Mohave – user experience manager at Pinterest), and Dyami Thomas (model, actor and motivational speaker).

Among the crowd of engaged youth was a family of Tulalip tribal members, mother Angela Davis and her three children Abigail, Samuel, and Samara Davis. Angela said she was excited to bring her kids to the Youth Summit after seeing a flyer online, “Entrepreneurship is something we’ve been talking about with our children for years now. We encourage them to be their own individual, to be unique, and embrace their Native American culture. Attending this event is another way for us to encourage and implement what we’ve been teaching them.”

11-year-old Samuel commented his takeaway from the Youth Summit was that you can start from scratch and make something really big out of your passions. Younger sister, 9-year-old Abigail added, “I learned you can build amazing things if you really put your mind to it. If you try really hard and focus on what you want to make out of yourself, then you can make it happen.”

With encouraging and inspiring feedback from future Tulalip entrepreneurs, YES! was effective at engaging the youth who attended and helping to plant seeds for future success.

A Step in the Right Direction

Tulalip community participates in International Overdose Awareness Day

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

The opioid and heroin crisis has continued to escalate over recent years in America. The state of Washington sees approximately three-thousand deaths annually due to drug abuse, according to the Washington State Department of Health. In Snohomish County there are nearly seven-hundred drug-related causalities per year, with the largest amount of overdoses occurring in the Everett-Marysville-Tulalip area. A recent study conducted by the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute shows that thirty-one percent of deaths statewide can be credited to drug overdose.

International Overdose Awareness Day is held each year on August 31 to bring attention to the drug epidemic, educate community members and remember the loved ones who have fallen to their addiction. This year the Tulalip community participated in International Overdose Awareness Day with the Fed Up? Wake Up! Overdose Awareness event hosted by the Tulalip Community Health Department.

“One of the important things that Community Health believes in and wants to bring to the community is meeting the people right where they are,” explains Tulalip Community Health Nurse, Suzanne Carson. “This event is to share with community members what they can do to educate themselves about the overdose problem; what overdoses look like, what withdrawal looks like, what the risk factors are – that kind of education, so they know what they’re looking at when they see someone who is struggling.

“We also want to acknowledge those loved ones who we have lost to an overdose and the lives that have been affected by an overdose,” she continues.  “An overdose not only affects the person who took the drugs, but everybody in the community. The hearts are impacted every time the community loses or almost loses somebody and our goal is to give the community a chance to reflect on the lives that have been affected.”

Internationally, people are encouraged to show support by wearing purple and silver on Overdose Awareness Day. A trail of shoes, spray-painted purple and silver, were lined from Marine Drive, alongside Totem Beach Road, leading to the new Tulalip Community Health Department.  According to Suzanne, each shoe on the ‘trail of empty shoes’ symbolizes a life lost or a life affected by an overdose.

In 2014, the Tulalip Tribes adopted a Good Samaritan aw, the Lois Luella Jones law, which shields addicts from arrest and prosecution when reporting an overdose. Sergeant William Santos of the Tulalip Police Department and Tulalip tribal member Rico Jones-Fernandez were in attendance to speak to the community about the law. In 2011, Lois Luella Jones lost her life to an overdose. Authorities believe she could’ve been revived, however her peers did not call for medical assistance, fearing they would be arrested. Her son Rico created the Good Samaritan law and has since dedicated his life to raising overdose awareness in the community by running the Tulalip Clean Needle Exchange Program.

During the event, community members painted rocks, in dedication to those who lost their life to an overdose, and placed them in the Remembrance Rock Garden, located in front of the Community Health Department. Many of the rocks in the Remembrance Garden display the names of overdose victims as well as personal messages from the community members. Tulalip community member and Yakima tribal member, Scott Rehume, explained the story behind the rock he designed for his brother, Kevin.

“I just went to his funeral the other day,” he emotionally states. “When they said he passed away, I asked how – they said he OD’ed on heroin. He never even messed with it before, at the beginning of his usage he ends up doing too much and dying. When I came back to Tulalip from the funeral, I saw they had this overdose awareness event, so I decided to show up and make him a rock.”

The event concluded with a Naloxone training to better equip community members with the knowledge of how to revive someone who has overdosed.

“Naloxone is the opioid antagonist,” says Suzanne. “The receptors in the brain that opioids and heroin bind to, Naloxone goes in there and kicks them of those receptors so that the opioid is out of their system immediately. It’s what can save a life when somebody is overdosing. By taking the training, Tulalip tribal members are sent home with a free Naloxone kit that they can use to save a life.”

The Fed Up? Wake Up! event brought valuable information to the Tulalip community. Tulalip Tribes Chairwoman, Marie Zackuse, believes that events like the Overdose Awareness are a step in the right direction during these trying times of the opioid and heroin epidemic.

“When this affects your family member, you become helpless,” Marie expresses. “You don’t know what to do because you love them and you want to be able to help them, but you lose the ability to figure out what you can do to help – these types of get-togethers can help us. Seeing the flyer brought me to bring my daughter and we’re hoping to bring more family members together to just talk about it, because it is hard to talk about and we need to be able to support one another.

“I’m so thankful for the staff that brought this all together because it shows that we do care for our members,” continued Marie. “Each and every one of our families in this community are affected and we don’t want to lose one more person, because that person is our child, our grandchild. If we can all come together and take back our community, we can save some lives.”

Huckleberry Harvesters

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The gate to swədaʔx̌ali huckleberry fields was opened from August 25 to September 10, allowing tribal members a two-week window to walk in the shadows of their ancestors and harvest the elusive mountain huckleberry. Traditionally, the end of summer meant an annual trek of berry picking parties into the high regions of the Cascade Mountains to harvest the rare and sought after dark maroon huckleberries.

Mountain huckleberries are larger than the lowland evergreen variety and are more delicately flavored. They are found on high sunny slopes at about 5,000 feet elevation, and ripen towered the latter part of August and into early September. Fortunately, the Tulalip Tribes and its Natural Resources team has invested countless man hours and resources into a co-stewardship area located within the Skykomish Watershed, a place where our ancestors once resided. This pristine co-stewardship area allows tribal members to learn and practice traditional teachings in an ancestral space called swədaʔx̌ali (Lushootseed for “place of mountain huckleberries”).

Over Labor Day weekend, a number of Tulalips used the holiday to undertake the 2-hour journey to swədaʔx̌ali and spend a day breathing the fresh mountainous air while berry picking under the summer sun. Among the harvesters was first-time berry picker and Lushootseed language teacher Maria Martin.

“It was a beautiful, uplifting experience. Once we hit the forest, where there were no buildings, no cars, no people, just trees…my soul soared. I couldn’t not smile,” reflects Maria on her time at swədaʔx̌ali. “I’ve read and heard stories of people out picking berries and I always wondered how that felt. I didn’t grow up doing traditional things. I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to speak my language, but that is only a piece of my culture.

“Berry picking felt natural, like I’ve always done it. The smells were intoxicating. The sounds beautiful, from the buzzing bugs and chirping birds to the families sharing laughs and love. These are the meaningful experiences that we all need to share in. While I was picking I told myself the story of “Owl lady and Chipmunk”, and sang Martha Lamont’s berry picking song; connecting the pieces of my culture, my words with my actions I felt whole. When I returned home I gave away a batch of my berries to an elder, which was very meaningful to me. Those that can hunt and gather are responsible for gathering enough for those that cannot. We are all family and we all are responsible for taking care of one another.”

Several tribal members who recently returned from Canoe Journey also used Labor Day to pick mountain huckleberries, including George Lancaster, Shane McLean and Dean Pablo. George brought up his nephew Brutal and his aunt Lynette Jimicum so they could soak up the experience as well.

“It’s awesome having the opportunity to be up here,” says George. “Being up here, I remembered blackberry picking with my grandma as a kid and that made me happy. I look forward to using my harvested berries to make pie. I love pie!”

“I absolutely love being here,” adds Lynette. “Having my grandson Brutal here and being able to teach him that there’s more activities than just playing video games. It means a lot to me to show him the value of outdoor activities, like berry picking and hiking in the woods.”

For tribal member Shane McLean, his thoughts have been impacted by the ongoing natural disasters like the droughts plaguing the Pacific Northwest and raging forest fires throughout the region causing smoke and ash to cloud the skies.

“My short-term goal is to give some berries away, my long-term goal is to get a four year supply. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the prophecy telling us to be prepared for the future,” states Shane. “It’s said you should have four years of your traditional food stored away, just in case there’s something that might happen. We can see there’s natural disasters happening all over. I’m thankful the berries are even here to be harvested.”

Year of the Woman: Tulalip Honors Lifegivers

 

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Honoring Lifegivers:

The women in our community are strong. We want to acknowledge their role in strengthening our people. As grandmothers, they continue to be our first teachers, building our foundation and shaping our cultural identity. As mothers, they nurture our future generations. As daughters, they are the promise that our people, our teachings and values, and our identity will live on.

 

This past March, the Tulalip Tribes elected Marie Zackuse to serve as Chair to its Board of Directors, making her the second Chairwoman in the Tribe’s history – the first woman to hold the position since Harriette Shelton-Dover. The Tribe also elected Teri Gobin as Vice Chairwoman, giving Tulalip its first-ever female majority of the seven-person Board, as the new Chair and Vice Chair joined Bonnie Juneau and Theresa Sheldon; as well as Mel Sheldon Jr., Les Parks and Jared Parks.

Following this year’s historic election, Les made a motion for the tribe to dedicate an entire day to honor the past, present and future women of Tulalip.

“This happened right after the election in March,” Les explained. “In the first meeting of the Board, we were trying to decide amongst the seven of us, ‘how are we going to identify ourselves as the new Tulalip Board of Directors?’ To me it was obvious because I was sitting around four women, now a majority of the board. It’s really exciting times for Tulalip to know that we now have Chairwoman Marie Zackuse, Vice Chairwoman Teri Gobin, Bonnie Juneau and Theresa Sheldon serving and leading our Board of Directors. It was really apparent that this is the Year of the Woman. It is so important that we come together to celebrate women because it’s you women who made us who we are today, we could not be here without you.”

On Wednesday August 16, the Tulalip Tribes hosted Honoring Our Lifegivers at the Greg Williams Court to pay tribute to the Grandmothers of the tribal community as well as celebrate the first female majority Board of Directors. Upon the ceremony’s opening speeches, the Board showcased a video which honors many Tulalip grandmothers, many of whom passed. However, Les expressed that the video is still a work in progress as it is the Board’s wish to have all of the grandmothers of Tulalip featured in the video.

During the event, the Tribe recognized and honored the ten eldest grandmothers of the community, Blanche James, Genevieve Williams, Etta Jones, Roberta Skoog, Lavinia Carpenter, Elizabeth Penn, Katherine Elliot, Geraldine Bill, Eleanor Nielsen and Loretta James. The honored guests were encouraged to speak to the community, and many of the women shared their family history as well as advice for future generations.

“My father was one of the first loggers on this reservation,” expressed Loretta James. “He always held that title but he was a policeman too. And then I was a judge, so that goes to show that there’s a leader in each generation. My advice for the future generations: if I had a dream it would be to find a way to get rid of all the drugs on this reservation. They have hurt and taken away the lives of our people who have been far too young. I have seven children, over one-hundred grandchildren and great grandchildren who all love me dearly.”

Traditional honor songs were performed by the Tom family as well as the Tulalip Salmon Ceremony singers for the grandmothers and the four female Board members.

“It is history making for our Board to have a majority of women,” stated Chairwoman Marie Zackuse. “And it’s because of the women we are honoring today, for the women that were on the film and for the ones not mentioned who we don’t have a picture for. I’ve said many times, if it wasn’t for the men and the women who were our early leaders, who laid that foundation for us, for our youth, for the young ones sitting here today, the ones that are in our Early Learning center and for the ones that are coming still – seven generations out. On behalf of our people, we are going to continue to do this in a good way – serve for our children and for our children’s children.”

Tulalips paid respect to the many strong women of the Tribe. Several female leaders spoke to the community sharing stories, advice for the youth, as well as who their female mentors were while growing up. Many community members were moved to tears as Deborah Parker, Karen Fryberg, Marci Fryberg Johnson, Inez Bill and Tulalip Tribes General Manger, Misty Napeahi passionately spoke about both their personal experiences as well as the resiliency of past female leaders during the colonization era.

“I’m honored to serve as your General Manager, I’m also honored to say that I come from a long line of strong women,” Misty stated. “My grandma is not here in physical body but I know she’s here in spirit. Her name is Genevieve Kona Williams and I know how proud she is of the work we are doing to honor the women of our community. Women always had a rightful place in our communities but through the acts of colonization we got put behind men. That’s why I’m so grateful for today, because there’s not one stronger gender, we’re all equal. It’s the balance we bring to one another that creates a community that’s full of love, blessings and safety. I’m a strong woman because I come from a long strong line of women but I also have strong men that stand beside me.”

Board Member, Theresa Sheldon thanked the community for uniting together to honor the Lifegivers.

“Our hands go up to every single one of you who are here today to celebrate our Lifegivers, our women, our mothers, our grandmothers, our aunties, our sisters – those who gave us the foundation of who we are,” said Theresa. “To be able to celebrate the Year of the Woman means to honor those who came before us and those who set the ground for us to stand upon today. It was not easy to be a woman in leadership; today we are able to stand on the shoulders of the great women of our Tribe and say thank you. Because of your work and all of the things you’ve done, you’ve lead the path for us to be where we are today. Thank you, t’igwicid, is never enough for the love, the strength, the beauty that’s in this room right now; I feel it in my heart.”

Tulalip Mountain Camp 2017

By Libby Nelson, Senior Environmental Policy Analyst, Treaty Rights Office, Tulalip Tribes Natural Resources Depoartment 

 

Mountain Camp 2017 kicked off with Kelly Moses storytelling and preparing the kids for their mountain journey, in the longhouse around a fire.

The kids backpacked the first three days into Barlclay Lake where they explored, hiked and stayed cool swimming

With guides Ross Fenton and Matthew Moses, the group then went to swədaʔx̌ali, our co-stewardship area in the Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, where they participated in our huckleberry restoration work. The kids joined Chelsea Craig, Patti Gobin and Melissa Gobin in cedar weaving and making cedar headbands.  Natural Resources Department staff members Ryan Miller, Daryl Williams, Ross Fenton, Matthew Moses, and Zach Lamebull talked with the youth about careers in natural resources.

It was hot at 5,000 feet, but nights were just right and skies were starry.  Michelle Myles from the Lushootseed Department and I spent Thursday night at camp, with Michelle telling stories under the stars before bed.  As before, kids learned to set up tents, carry their own gear, cook in the wilderness, conserve water, and support each other, and about their mountain culture.  Once again, Inez Bill helped contribute to the program with her ideas and feedback on our curriculum.

For the first time this year, we ended camp with a river trip. Kids got a lesson in kayaking and suited up for a three-hour downriver trip starting at the bridge in Skykomish.  We contracted with Outdoor Adventure Company of Index, and the kids seemed to love it!