Quilting for Veterans

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

On a brisk, fall afternoon, seven Tulalip women gathered behind the Hibulb Cultural Center, a place where they often met over the past several months. Rae Anne Gobin, Lena Jones, Sherry Dick, Benita Rosen, Edith Johnny and Sara Andres continued the annual tradition of quilting blankets for Tulalip Veterans, making this their third consecutive year honoring those who served in the military. 

Each member of the quilting bee has created one quilt for the project every year with the goal of blanketing all of Tulalip’s veterans. As they arranged their quilts for a number of photos, the quilters all shared a certain excitement with one another as they admired each other’s final product. Ooh’s and ahh’s followed by compliments about color schemes and patterns were heard as each quilter proudly showcased her work to the group. Seven beautiful red, white and blue quilts were completed after months of hard work and the quilters couldn’t wait to gift them to seven lucky local veterans at the annual Hibulb Cultural Center Veterans Day event.

“This is our third year sewing quilts, bringing a total of twenty-one quilts,” expresses Tulalip Quilter, Rae Anne Gobin. “For 2018, the Tulalip Veteran Quilt group took the challenge of sewing the Hollow Star pattern by Krista Moser, who designed, taught and long-armed the quilts. The pattern was full of Y seams that presented challenges until we began to master them. Each one of us took the time to select our fabric and put our love in each of these quilts. We hope each recipient finds the quilt comforting.”

The Tulalip Veteran Quilt Project has been funded through the Tulalip Foundation since their first year. Around this time last year, the Foundation decided to honor the ladies for their loving efforts by selecting the group as their Giving Tuesday recipients. 

“Giving Tuesday is the response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” says Tulalip Foundation Executive Director, Nicole Sieminski. “It’s an idea of giving back to the community after all of the consumerism over Thanksgiving weekend. We chose the Tulalip Veterans Quilt Project this year and raised almost $1,700, covering all of the supplies for the quilting. We love supporting community driven projects. It’s always great to see the amazing work these ladies do and it’s such a great opportunity to support our veterans.”

  The ladies presented their quilts to Veterans Ronald Burns, Peter Henry Sr., David Fryberg Sr., Cyrus Williams and Leonard James in a moving moment during the museum’s Honoring Our Veterans event on November 11. Each veteran displayed youthful exuberance, joyful smiles and tears of happiness when accepting the beautiful blankets from their makers. Everybody in attendance of the event were wowed by the patterns of the quilts and gave both the quilters and the veterans a standing ovation after the gifting. Veterans Ernest Millholland and Wesley Charles Jr. were unfortunately unable to attend the event, but the Tulalip Honor Guards will be sure they receive their quilts on behalf of the ladies. 

“We enjoy doing this work and giving back to our community, making sure our veterans are recognized for protecting us and our country,” expresses Rae Anne. “We know our veterans put their lives on hold while serving and helped protect us to keep our freedom. We care for and love our Tulalip veterans and want to honor them for their service and let them know, you are not forgotten and will always be remembered.”

Honoring our Veterans

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Each year, the Tulalip-Marysville community takes a little extra time to ensure our local veterans feel exceptionally appreciated on November 11. After spending years away from home, traveling to dangerous locations throughout the world and putting their life on the line to protect this country, it’s important to make sure our veterans are taken care of and well-respected when returning to civilian life. Because of combat, many veterans are living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and due to the economic climate, many veterans struggle finding employment, contributing to the rise of homelessness among veterans in the United States. As Americans, we tend to get caught up in the everyday cycle and often miss opportunities to show kindness, compassion or gratitude to the vets within our communities who are transitioning back to a life of normalcy. Many veterans throughout the weekend voiced these concerns, stating the impact of a simple thank you outside of Veterans Day can last a lifetime. 

“For me, Veterans Day is a day where we can come together as communities to say thank you to our veterans for their service,” expressed Navy Veteran, James Lovely, to the students of Totem Middle School at their annual Veterans Day Assembly. “Although, we shouldn’t only thank our vets on just that one day out of the year. I’ve been in the Navy for seventeen years, done four deployments and seen a lot of cool places around the world while serving my country. After my first deployment ended in September 2004, I went to New York to watch a baseball game, I’m a big Yankees fan. When I was in line to get my ticket, the National Anthem started playing and after it played, a little girl, about eight years old, got my attention and said ‘thank you for keeping me safe and defending our freedom’. That was fourteen years ago, it wasn’t on Veterans Day, but I still think about her thank you every single day. It stuck with me and reminded me why I joined the military and to keep fighting when I thought I no longer could.”

The Totem Middle School assembly is always a grand event that includes live patriotic music from the school band and speeches from the students. Held on the morning of Friday November 9, the young adults were excited to take a break from their first period class to listen to the veterans recall their days in the service. The annual assembly ended with the famous Armed Forces Melody, where the students honored all five branches of the military by saluting each of their flags; Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. 

Meanwhile on the other side of the freeway, the students at Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary sat respectfully on their gym floor as the Tulalip Honor Guards presented the American, Prisoner of War/Missing in Action and Tulalip flags to begin the school’s daily morning assembly. The kids were treated to a number of stories from honorable veterans and in return, offered many adorable thank-you’s by way of special classroom presentations. 

After a heartwarming morning, the veterans said good-bye to the young students as they returned to their classrooms. The Quil Ceda assembly was just the first event for the Tulalip Honor Guards as they journeyed south to make an appearance in the 53rd Annual Veterans Day Parade on Saturday November 10, a huge celebration that takes place throughout the streets of Auburn. The Honor Guards returned to Tulalip for the Hibulb Cultural Center’s annual Honoring Our Veterans event, held on Veteran’s Day every year. 

“I work at the Tulalip Veterans Department, proudly following the footsteps of David Fryberg, Gene Zackuse and Mike Dunn,” stated Tulalip Honor Guard William McLean III to a packed longhouse the morning of the museum’s honoring. “First and foremost, I want to thank everyone for coming out today, it means so much to all of us veterans. Everyone in this room is here for a reason, for somebody. And I appreciate all of you coming out, whether it’s for a family member, loved one or for a friend, we thank you and thank them for their service.” 

Veterans Day at Hibulb begins with a roll call where all of the veterans in attendance state their name and which branch they served in. Veterans who couldn’t make the trip to the museum or are no longer with us are also honored during roll call and recognized by their family members. The gathering unites service men and women from all branches of the armed forces. Tulalip elders who served shared several colorful stories that painted a vivid picture of wartime. Reflecting on the horrors of enemy fire, the brotherhoods formed within infantries and journeying into the unknown at a young age, the vets spoke about their tours, sharing stories that always ended with a strong sense of pride for both this Nation as well as their respective tribes.

“I want to thank all of our veterans both men and women,” said Tulalip Board of Director and Vietnam Veteran, Mel Sheldon. “Tulalip has a rich history for volunteerism and participation in the military. There’s also another segment of people we can’t forget about and that’s the spouses. Wherever a veteran goes to their next post, we don’t get to hear what it was like for the spouses, to be in a strange place at different parts of the country. We want to raise our hands and thank the spouses who went along with and supported their loved ones.”

To close the 2018 Honoring Our Veterans event, the ladies of the Tulalip Veteran Quilt Project gifted their beautiful handmade quilts, that they put much time, effort and love into, to seven Tulalip Veterans for going to war and defending our country. Tulalip Chairwoman, Marie Zackuse, whose husband Gene served in the military, shared a few words before the veterans and their families emptied the longhouse. 

“I want to thank each and every one for coming out to support our veterans today,” she said. “As we honor all the veterans who are here present with us, our prayers are also with those elders who couldn’t be with us today. Thank you for the sacrifice you made to leave our reservation to serve our country and our people. Today we also want to honor our fallen heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice as well as our gold star mothers who suffered that loss. I want to thank the Creator today for all of those veterans who are still physically with us. I also want to thank our women who are doing this wonderful gifting to our veterans and honoring them in that special way with your beautiful talents and quilting.”

Be sure to extend a huge thank you to any veteran you may meet along your journey for bravely defending us and our freedom. 

Hibulb Cultural Center opens new wool weaving exhibit

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Generation after generation, the Coast Salish tradition of wool weaving was historically passed down from mother to daughter, since the beginning of time all the way until the years of assimilation. The art of creating clothing, regalia and blankets from wool was nearly lost until it saw a sudden resurgence in the early 2000’s. Of course, the tradition wasn’t completely lost, after the boarding school years a number of families continued to practice weaving. Both oral history as well as several artifacts served as reference points when bringing back traditional wool weaving. 

Master Weavers Betty Pasco (Suquamish), Danielle Morsette (Suquamish), Dr. Susan Pavel and Frieda George (Sto:lo Nation) are among the few names who deserve the most credit for the revival. These ladies took it upon themselves to host a number of classes on local reservations to teach tribal members the tradition that seemed to be fading from existence due to the advancement of technology.  

The revitalization allowed Coast Salish people to reconnect with the tools and textiles our ancestors created, as well as reflect on the significance certain woven items possess within tribal communities. Now all of the students from the wool weaving resurgence are passing their knowledge down to the next generation as more and more tribal members want to learn how to traditionally weave blankets and regalia, as well as the history of wool weaving.

On the night of November 2, Tulalip and surrounding communities gathered at the Hibulb Cultural Center (HCC) for an exclusive first look at the museum’s new exhibit, Interwoven History: Coast Salish Wool. As the guests entered the museum’s longhouse they were welcomed by HCC Senior Curator, Tessa Campbell. 

“This exhibit demonstrates the resilience of our people, our culture and how the teachings have been passed down,” explained Tessa. “Coast Salish wool weaving started to disappear around the early 1900’s with the introduction of the boarding schools. Around 1905 you started seeing the sale of goods by tribal members such as vegetables because they were learning how to grow crops. But basketry and woven blankets were being sold around this time also. Around 1920, tons of socks were being knitted, which seemed to replace wool weaving. And in the 30’s, the Tulalip Home Improvement Club was started by a group of Tulalip women and this one woman started teaching Coast Salish wool weaving. It seemed to disappear up until around 2000-2005 when Tulalip people start weaving again and it seems they learned from Susan Pavel and Danielle Morrissett. Those two weavers were the forces that brought back Coast Salish weaving in Tulalip.”

Woven tapestry by Frieda George.

Master Weaver Frieda George traveled all the way from Chilliwack B.C. with her family and was honored as the evening’s guest speaker. Frieda recalled first learning how to weave as a child, when she would visit with her grandmother. She also stated that she is a fourth generation weaver and has carried the tradition for her entire life, sharing her techniques with Coast Salish people for decades. Frieda’s daughter, Roxanne, then took the floor to share a story about how her great-great-grandmother used to cleverly place branches along pathways in the Canadian mountains where mountain goats were known to pass through. After a few days, she would return to the mountains and collect all of the fur from the branches to use for weaving traditional blankets. 

Museum attendees were free to explore the new exhibit in an open-house style setting. Upon entering the exhibit, your eyes immediately meet a beautiful wool woven shawl that was gifted to Tulalip Board of Director Mel Sheldon. You’re then taken on an interactive adventure that is fun for the entire family. The exhibit features a number of hands-on activities for the youth including a puppet show, a touch-screen weaving game as well as a sensory station. On display were a number of pieces created by Tulalip tribal members including a spindle whorl by Tulalip carver Mike Gobin and several regalia pieces woven by a number of Tulalip artists. 

Spindle whorl
by Mike Gobin.

“We reached out to the community to see who was an active weaver and if they wanted to loan any pieces,” says Tessa. “We had twelve pieces donated by weavers Virginia Jones, Carolyn Moses, Sarah Andres, Joy Lacy, Tessa Campbell, Andrew Gobin and Taylor Henry.”

“I did two pieces for this exhibit, a speaker sash with a matching headband,” explains Taylor Henry. “I’ve been weaving since 2014 and have been beading since 2004. Once I mastered beading, I wanted to expand my knowledge and put my hands in other textiles. I did these pieces on my own, it was my second project that I made on the loom my auntie Marci gave me. I wanted to stick with traditional colors, I did the natural white and brown, I didn’t want to go too contemporary. 

“It’s an honor to be asked to have something displayed in the museum,” he continues. “It’s important because it teaches us our identity and where we come from, who we are. We may work with commercial wool now, but we still use that traditional technique and style of weaving and that’s something that connects us to our ancestors.”

Traditionally, the Coast Salish people utilized fur from mountain goats as well as from wooly dogs when weaving. Wooly dogs were a breed that the Northwest tribes held in high regard because of their fur, so much so that tribes kept the dogs on nearby islands away from village dogs to prevent crossbreeding. In his expedition log, Captain George Vancouver stated that the wooly dogs resembled pomeranians but larger. The dogs were sheared every summer and their wool was used to prepare for the upcoming cold seasons. After the arrival of blanket manufacturers like the Hudson Bay Company and the importation of sheep, tribes no longer had to use wooly dog fur as sheep fur was more water resistant and blankets became easily accessible. Tribes eventually brought the wooly dogs back to their villages and because of crossbreeding, the breed went extinct in the early 1900’s. 

Shortly after the opening of the museum, HCC sent a traditional blanket to the University of Victoria so they could determine what type of fabric was used to create the blanket. The university recently contacted the cultural center with the results and to great surprise, the blanket was comprised of both mountain goat and wooly dog fur.

“I think the focal point of the exhibit is the fact that we have a wooly dog blanket which is very rare and very few museums throughout the whole world have them,” Tessa exclaims. “We’re so fortunate to have something from the 1820’s that helps preserve our culture and helps us tell the history of this important part of Coast Salish weaving.” 

Master Weaver Tillie Jones held a live demonstration during the exhibit’s first night. On large looms, she displayed two of the projects that she’s currently working on and explained the many intricacies and the importance of weaving. 

“We have a twill pattern, twine pattern and tabby pattern,” she says. “I really like to mix them, it reminds me of the blankets I grew up seeing, the significant ones the chiefs would wear and the status that comes with those different pieces. We also have different dyes. We use huckleberries and different natural materials whether it’s nettles, walnuts, madrona bark, you can use commercial dyes as well. Twining really teaches patience. You have to be present when your weaving, if you let your mind wander, you can make a mistake. It’s important because you’re putting yourself into your work, whether you’re a carver or a weaver, you’re bringing that work to life, you’re breathing life into your piece.”

Tillie is currently hosting a six-week course at the museum, teaching the community the art of wool weaving. The class immediately filled up upon its announcement but she encourages you to call HCC and request to be put on a waitlist for the next course and to visit the Interwoven History exhibit in the meantime.

“Whether we’re teaching or creating our weavings, we’re keeping it alive for the generations to come,” says Tillie. “We’re showing that this is the regalia that we used to wear, that we still wear and that this is who we are as Coast Salish people. That’s how we’re recognized, by our regalia. When we travel people recognize where we come from, who we are and what our roles are in life.”

Interwoven History: Coast Salish Wool is on display until the end of 2019, be sure to visit soon. And for more information, please visit www.HibulbCulturalCenter.org

Music yoU ROCK

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

For one hour, every Monday evening, the Tulalip Youth Council board room is turned into a music studio where a live rock band rehearsal takes place. As you approach the building, you hear the sound of drum patterns increasing and decreasing in pace and volume, accompanied by small fits of laughter. In the middle of the youth council chambers was a small circle of young musicians banging out beats on large paint buckets. The band is so caught up in the moment and exuding so much joy that their smiles become extremely contagious and every four measures somebody ends up making the entire group crack up with just a grin. 

As the drums started to decrescendo, a voice that many local youth would instantly recognize, began to sing the hello song, welcoming everybody to the rehearsal. Victoria Fansler, of the Snohomish County Music Project (SCMP), led the band with the first song of the day. Victoria often works with the Tulalip youth at the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy, Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary and many other schools and tribal programs, helping the kids overcome traumatic experiences through music therapy. Over a year ago, representatives of SCMP attended a meeting held by the Tulalip Youth Services Inclusive Advocacy Committee,  and from the meeting, Music yoU ROCK was created – an interactive, inclusive rock band instructed by SCMP Music Therapist, Colby Cumine. 

“We started about a year ago,” says Colby. “We attended a few parent committee meetings for tribal youth with special needs and there was talk about a lack of opportunities for kids with special needs, especially those who are aging out of services. After high school, there are no federal requirements to continue providing services for individuals with disabilities who graduate from high school. We started the program a year ago and we had three or four people sign up each quarter. And we’ve had three other successful quarters since then.”

After Victoria welcomes everybody to the class, the band practices a few more rhythmic exercises before Colby calls upon someone to pick a song the class can get down to. Colorful scarves are passed out as Colby queues up the jams on his phone. Once the beat drops, everybody is out of their seats, dancing and waving their scarves. Following the dance party, the group picks the instrument and partner of their choice and begin practicing a song. This particular day, the band worked on the Michael Jackson classic, Billy Jean. After practicing with their partners, the band reforms their circle in the middle of the room to perform the song altogether. 

“We are using music for goals that aren’t necessarily musical,” says Victoria. “In Music-Ed or a typical rock band experience, the focus would be on the final product, the performance and quality of the music. Here we’re focusing on that ensemble connection, noticing how each other plays and communicating together.”

“Music is a level playing field, everyone enjoys music in some form or another,” adds Colby. “In the music therapy setting, we don’t emphasize how well you can play the instrument but how much fun you’re having while playing the instrument. So if you’re a super talented guitar player who can play all the chords, licks and chops, or if you’re just strumming along having fun, both of those are equally as successful in this program. 

“It’s a really good way to bring people together,” he continues. “People are sharing songs here; every week we drum along to a song chosen by someone attending the group. Even today one of the guys was singing along to a song he doesn’t listen to outside of this group but he’s picking those lyrics up and connecting with other people through that song and that makes my day. It’s always cool to see their growth, it’s always such a rewarding reminder of why we started this program and why we want to continue it.”

Before the class ends, Victoria sings farewell to her bandmates. Many of the musicians meet up briefly after the class to discuss their day and speculate on how much fun next week’s class will be. 

“I come in every Monday,” says young rocker Ernie Mapanoo. “I like to play the guitars and learn to play the piano. Today I was working on a Michael Jackson song, I like that song a lot too, it was fun. I work on all kinds of songs though because I love music. I play the drums and guitar, that’s why I come out all the time to this rock band. [Colby and Victoria] are pretty cool too; I like them a lot.” 

This quarter, the band was joined by future music therapists Lindsey and Kesha, Seattle Pacific University music therapy practicum students. Throughout the entire session, the young ladies assisted the musicians with chords and tempo and shared laughs during both of the dance and drumming sessions. 

The musicians will continue vibing out the Youth Council board room every Monday from 4:30-5:30 p.m. until December 17. Towards the end of Music yoU ROCK, the band will record a few of their hits and have a listening party on the last day of the program.

Music yoU ROCK is funded through the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA). The program is open to the entire community. Those who are DDA participants can attend the program with no charge. For non-DDA particpants, the cost of the progam is $220.

For more information, please contact Tulalip Youth Services at (360) 716-4909 or the Snohomish County Music Project at (425) 258-1605.

N8tive Vote 2018 Rez-to-Rez tour visits Tulalip

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

On October 27, tribal leaders embarked on a momentous 10-day tour to visit all 29 of Washington State’s tribal nations in a first-of-its-kind effort to encourage Native citizens to have their voice heard by voting in the November 6 midterm election. 

According to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), nationwide 34% of eligible Native voters are not registered to vote. The turnout rate of American Indian and Alaska Native registered voters is also very low, being historically 5 to 14 percentage points lower than the rate of many other racial and ethnic groups. The Rez-to-Rez tour aimed to change that by going directly to Native voters and encouraging them to vote.

“The Puyallup Tribe is proud to sponsor the N8tive Vote 2018 Rez-to-Rez tour,” said Puyallup Tribe Chairman Bill Sterud. “This is the very first time we’ve had an intertribal tour like this. Now is the time to stand up and use your voice so get out and vote!”

While encouraging Native voter turnout, N8tive Vote 2018 also shared information about initiatives 1631 (Carbon Emissions Fee Measure) and 940 (De-Escalate Washington).

“This is a historical election year for Washington natives with both I-1631 and I-940 involving Native peoples and communities at their core,” said Quinault President Fawn Sharp. “As Natives, we have power… the power of our voice, the power of our unity and strength, and the power of our vote. We encourage all Natives to exercise that power by voting in this year’s election.”

The N8tive Vote 2018 movement came about thanks to a political coalition, called the First American Project, founded by an all-star collective of Native American leaders from within the state and their allies from fellow communities of color. With a mission to advocate for righteous environmental and civil rights policies, the First American Project’s first priority was to pass I-1631, the comprehensive climate change policy that was co-authored by tribal leadership. 

After visiting 21 tribes in seven days, N8tive Vote’s Rez-to-Rez tour made their 22nd stop at Tulalip on Friday, November 2. An engaged gathering of 40+ individuals from youth to elders convened at the Tulalip Youth Center for an evening dedicated to empowering each and every Native citizen to cast their votes and mail in their ballots. 

“My hands go up to all of you who are committed to spreading awareness and encouraging participation in this most important midterm election,” expressed Tulalip Chairwoman Marie Zackuse during the voting rally. “We must work hard to protect our people and our sovereignty that is being attacked every single day. We must never forget our ancestors who stood up strong and fought for us as a people to have the right to vote, to have our voices count.”

Tulalip tribal member Ryan Miller was recognized for his steadfast commitment to advocating and creating policies that protect the environmentand our treaty rights.

During the evening’s event, Tulalip tribal members Terry Williams and Ryan Miller were both recognized for their steadfast commitment to strengthening our community by advocating and creating policies that protect the environment and our treaty rights. For their years of service and dedication they both were wrapped in blankets and gifted cedar woven headbands. 

Tulalip tribal members Theresa Sheldon and Terry Williams with
Tim Reynon, Puyallip tribal council member. Terry was recognized by N8tive Vote Washington for his work in fighting climate change and protecting our treaty rights.

“It has been a very good day. A day where we came together as different tribes to speak the same language and see the same vision of what’s in front of us,” reflected Terry, who made his career as a treaty rights commissioner working for Natural Resources. “The togetherness allows us to walk in unison with good hearts and good minds as we look to protect our Mother Earth.” 


Celebrating midterm election results

Progress, justice, and history is being celebrated around Indian Country as Election Day results showed Democrats regaining control of the House of Representatives, Sharice Davids (Ho-Chunk) and Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) becoming the first-ever Native women elected to Congress, and the tribal-sponsored Initiative 940 (De-Escalate Washington) passed with strong support.

“Washington becomes the first state in the nation to respond to the national conversation about use of force by passing a ballot measure by a direct vote of the people,” stated De-Escalate Washington’s official campaign page following the victory. “Yes on 940 will improve training, save lives, and help build better relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”

A large contingent of 250+ Native citizens gathered at the Puyallup Tribe’s stylish showroom for an election night viewing party. The occasion also marked the final destination of N8tive Vote 2018’s Rez-to-Rez tour. 

“We are so grateful for Theresa Sheldon’s (center) leadership during our Rez-to-Rez tour. I call her the cheerleader because at every tribe we visited she would always lead us with her enthusiasm.”  – Puyallup Tribe councilman Tim Reynon.

“Today, we finished our 29th tribe on our amazing Rez-to-Rez tour,” reflected Tulalip tribal member Theresa Sheldon while addressing the crowd of supporters. “We have driven across the state from plateaus to the ocean, up and down the Salish Sea to encourage our people to vote! It’s been a fast and furious trip and I’m so thankful for this time.

“It’s been an absolute honor and privilege to have served on this journey to empowering our Indigenous communities,” she continued. “That fact that Initiative 940 passed is amazing; that is victory, that is justice, and that is speaking to the power of what we can achieve when we stand united.”

Celebrations were also enjoyed more locally by the Tulalip Tribes and their allies thanks to tribal member Senator John McCoy retaining his position by defeating challenger Savio Pham, and the passing of Fire District 15 Proposition #1, which will provide the Tulalip Bay Fire Department with much needed funding to upgrade emergency medical services.

Raising Hands: Celebrating charities and community groups making a positive impact

“We have not forgotten what it’s like to be in need; as we succeed because of our community,
we have a responsibility to give back.” – Chairwoman Marie Zackuse (2nd from left)

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

On the evening of October 27, the Tulalip Tribes recognized and gave thanks to the 488 Washington non-profits and community groups who made a significant difference over the past year at the 11th annual Raising Hands celebration event. Held in the Tulalip Resort Casino’s Orca Ballroom, the stylish space was filled to max capacity as representatives of these high-impacting organizations came together to create an atmosphere of gratitude and shared values for making our community better.

“In the Tulalip Tribes tradition, we raise our hands to show appreciation to the numerous organizations that work so hard to contribute services to our community,” stated Chairwoman Marie Zackuse. “It is truly remarkable how many of our citizens, non-profits, and community organizations are involved in efforts to improve health care, education, natural resources and the well-being of our communities. The Tulalip Tribes holds this event every year to let these individuals, organizations, and surrounding communities know that we value their good works.”

This year’s Raising Hands recognized the prior year in community achievement stimulated by a record $7.9 million in Tulalip support to more than 480 charitable organizations. Since 1992, the Tulalip Tribes charitable giving program has donated over $92.1 million in critical support to the community and, indirectly, to their own membership by supporting regional efforts to improve education, health and human services, cultural preservation, public services, the environment, and the economy.

But the Raising Hands event isn’t all about dollars and cents. At the annual celebration, our community’s change makers are given a chance to celebrate each other, to share their plans for the future, and to learn how others are striving to make a difference in our communities. This is an invaluable benefit for organizations who can sometimes struggle to get their message broadcast to the larger community. 

This year, six recipient non-profits received special recognition for all that they do. Habitat for Humanity of Snohomish County, Leah’s Dream Foundation, Long Live the Kings, NorthWest Therapeutic Riding Center, Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS), and Seattle’s Youth Symphony Orchestra (Musical Pathways Project) were highlighted for their good work serving the community. 

Additionally, there are traditional songs, speeches from tribal leaders, and videos that underscore the good work that is being done. Lushootseed language teacher, Maria Martin, opened the event with a compelling prayer. She was followed by the next generation of Tulalip culture bearers, 10-year-old KT Jean Hots and 8-year-old Allyea Lu Hernandez, performing Martha “səswix̌ab” LaMont’s Berry Picking Song. The exchange of cultural knowledge and understanding that took place at this year’s event was truly a sight to behold. 

“When you see people having these amazing, positive conversations that is when we see we are making a difference. Giving people the opportunity to work together is worth its weight in gold,” asserted Marilyn Sheldon, manager of Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund. “We try to show respect and honor these charities that give so much of themselves for this community. We want them to feel like the red carpet got laid out, and that it’s just for them.

“Each year, as soon as the event is over, we ask ourselves how we can help make the next one better,” continued Marilyn. “Some days, I feel so blessed that this is my job. We are so fortunate to be able to work with these amazing organizations in Snohomish and King Counties, and throughout Washington State that do so much good in our communities.”

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988 allows tribes to conduct certain types of gaming if they enter into a gaming compact with the state. Tulalip’s tribal-state gaming compact, like most, includes a provision to donate a percentage of gaming earnings to organizations impacted by gaming, as well as other charitable organizations. From this provision the Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund was created.

Charitable Contributions Fund provides the opportunity for a sustainable and healthy community for all. The Tulalip Tribes strives to work together with the community to give benefits back to others to help build a stronger neighborhood. That’s why, in Tulalip, it is tradition to ‘raise our hands’ to applaud and give thanks to the numerous organization in our region that strive to create a better world through positive action. 

Non-profits and community groups may apply for quarterly awards through the Tulalip Cares program. For more information, visit the Tulalip Tribes Charitable Funds website at www.TulalipCares.org 

 

Tulalip Tribes stewardship recognized by the Harvard Project

Albert Moses. Photo by Ross Fenton.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The Harvard Project’s Honoring Nations program has announced the selection of 18 semifinalists for the 2018 Honoring Nations awards. Among those selections are a variety of outstanding programs exemplifying self-governance and resource management, which includes the Tulalip Tribes ongoing demonstration of sovereignty through stewardship. 

Honoring Nations identifies, celebrates and shares excellence in Native American tribal governance. At the heart of Honoring Nations are the principles that tribes themselves hold the key to generating social, political, and economic prosperity and that self-governance plays a crucial role in building and sustaining strong, healthy tribal nations

Since 1999, Honoring Nations has endeavored to spotlight successful governmental programs across Indian Country. This year’s applications included nearly 70 outstanding tribal programs representing 51 tribes. Of these, 18 were selected as semifinalists. These programs have demonstrated incredible impact in their communities, evidenced by their effectiveness, significance to sovereignty, cultural relevance, transferability, and sustainability – the criteria by which Honoring Nations assesses applicant programs.*

“Each year we are blessed with the gifts of Indigenous peoples’ resilience and perseverance reflected in their response to the challenges our people and nations face. They rise to the same levels as our forefathers did in their time to define the inheritance of the next generation,” stated Regis Pecos, Chairman of the Honoring Nations Board of Governors. “We are proud to share their wisdom and their vision.”

swədaʔx̌ali: Sovereignty through Stewardship”

Tribal communities in the Pacific Northwest have long-standing relationships to ancestral lands now managed by federal land management agencies. Generally speaking, during the centuries before colonial expansion, Indigenous peoples were profoundly connected with their natural surroundings. These cultures approached the natural world with an attitude of reverence and stewardship rather than dominion. In recent years, federal and state governments have increasingly recognized tribal rights to cultural resources on public lands and to participate in their management.

In the summer of 2009, three Tulalip staff accompanied the Skykomish District Ranger to a remote high elevation area of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (MBS). This 1,280-acre area located 5,000 feet up in the mountainous highlands is now referred to as swədaʔx̌ali, a Coast Salish Lushootseed word for ‘Place of Mountain Huckleberries’.

“Over the last seven years, since the area’s formal designation, Tulalip has guided the management of this special area based on tribal values and ecological knowledge, and in direct support of the treaty, cultural, spiritual, subsistence and educational needs of our membership and our future generations,” explained Libby Nelson, Senior Environmental Policy Analyst for Tulalip’s Treaty Rights Office. “For example, rather than allowing continued encroachment of conifers that would eventually shade out huckleberries and other associated plants, Tulalip staff will remove many of them to stall natural succession in certain areas at swədaʔx̌ali. This will allow us to maintain productive berry fields and other cultural plants of importance, and enhance habitat for wildife that forage in open meadows.

“The swədaʔx̌ali co-management area did not happen easily or overnight,” continued Libby. “Instead, it was the result of a committed and sustained effort initiated by Tulalip to get the attention of our federal trustee, the U.S. Forest Service. Dialogue over three years culminated in the signing of the first tribal Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in 2007. As our relationship with the Forest Service grew under our MOA, so too did the breadth of projects undertaken.” 

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 Tulalip Mountain Camp began in 2015, providing an annual weeklong, overnight natural resources and culture camp for middle-school tribal youth at σωəδαʔξ̌αλι This outdoor program seeks to connect youth to nature in a remote setting, teach them about their ancestral lands in the mountains, and engage directly with elders and our natural resources staff in huckleberry enhancement. This camp program has had a very positive impact on youth participants, as measured by camper surveys, feedback from families, and the significant number of return campers each year.  

This initiative at swədaʔx̌ali is not only relevant to Tulalip culture, but is designed specifically to help sustain it. Continuation of tribal lifeways is dependent on having the resources that support these lifeways, access to them, and opportunities to transfer tribal knowledge and traditions to our youth. The 1,280-acre mountain area that constitutes σωəδαʔξ̌αλι, offers not only a diversity of habitats, plants and animals, but also remoteness, solitude and a relatively pristine environment needed for many cultural activities.

“We view our MOA and our work at swədaʔx̌ali as a strategic and dynamic government-to-government collaboration, with benefits directly proportional to the time and resources we invest in it,” reflected Libby. “The swədaʔx̌ali co-stewardship area most benefits Tulalip by providing an area for treaty gathering of high elevation resources, and for huckleberries in particular. It’s a place for our membership to connect to their ancestral mountain lands in a quiet, pristine, private setting, that is accessible to elders.”

The Harvard Project selected Tulalip’s ongoing stewardship of swədaʔx̌ali as a semifinalist for the 2018 Honoring Nations awards. As such, Tulalip’s commitment to stewardship is an active exercise in self-determination and implementing effective solutions to common governmental challenges in the areas of environmental research and resource management.

“Every day, tribal nations are solving complex issues in meaningful and effective way,” stated Director of Honoring Nations, Megan Hill. “Their work is inspiring, and holds examples for other governments, Native and non-native, to learn from.”

*Source: Honoring Nations press release, 3/28/2018

Yes on I-1631

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

On a sunny autumn afternoon, a gathering was held outside of the Western States Petroleum Association building in Lacey, Washington on October 17. Many participants arrived wearing cedar hats and headbands and carrying traditional hand drums, as tribal members journeyed from around the state to show support of Initiative Measure No. 1631, an effort to charge pollution fees to large greenhouse gas emitters and conserve our natural resources for generations to come. As more and more participants arrived, they began to make signs to wave at local commuters who were taking a shortcut through an I-5 overpass. A number of small drum circles began to form and prayers were shared while they waited in anticipation for the I-1631 rally guest speakers to take the floor, including former Standing Rock Chairman, Dave Archambault and Quinault Indian Nation President, Fawn Sharp. 

“Today we are here to raise awareness and to rally support around I-1631 right in front of the Western States Petroleum Association,” passionately expressed President Sharp. “They have sunk over twenty-two million dollars into their campaign to stop us but we are resilient, we are strong and we want to amplify our voice. We are confident that through our prayers and through the rich legacy of leadership throughout the ages, from the beginning of time to the end of time, we are going to be victorious on election day.”

As this year’s General Election date of November 6 draws nearer, it’s important to understand what I-1631 is and why it’s important for Northwest tribes. The initiative is a climate policy that imposes a fee on organizations that burn or sell fossil fuels, that includes motor vehicle fuel, natural gas and electricity. The measure is expected to generate over two-billion dollars within five fiscal years, beginning on January 1, 2020, and is set at fifteen dollars per metric ton of carbon content, or the carbon dioxide equivalent released from burning fossil fuels. This will increase by two dollars each year until 2035, putting the state on target to reach its 2035 and 2050 greenhouse gas reduction goals.

The monies generated from the carbon fee are prioritized as follows: 70% of carbon fees will go toward a new clean-energy infrastructure for Washington, utilizing clean, renewable energy, providing public transportation that uses cleaner fuels as well efficiency upgrades to homes and businesses to help save money on utilities; 25% of funds from the measure will go toward clean water and healthy forests, ensuring our forests are well taken care of and can protect the air quality, clean-up polluted lakes and rivers, increase the amount of drinking water and ensure cleaner water for salmon; and the remaining 5% will be invested into the local communities, preparing for any future problems that may arise due to climate change. 

Fawn Sharp, Quinault Indian Nation President

“I-1631 is a specific climate policy tribes’ gathered over the last year and a half,” says Fawn. “Quinault has been working on this initiative for well over two years and we’ve been working on climate policy for about twelve years. It was very clear to us that we’re not going to achieve climate policy in Olympia, it’s not going to happen in Washington D.C., but we were also confident that the average citizen understands the role of tribes as leaders. 

If you look to Lummi at Cherry Point or Quinault fighting crude oil in Grays Harbor, the average citizen understands our treaties are the last line of defense to keep corporations out and from continuing to exploit our natural environment. We pulled all those resources together, the brain trust of Indian Country, our scientists, our lawyers, our tribal leaders and we adopted thirteen basic principles of climate policy that we knew were the minimum standards for us to effectively combat climate change.”  

As the rally continued, tribal and community leaders from Tulalip, Quinault, Puyallup, Nisqually, Squaxin and several other sovereign nations shared their traditional songs as well as words of encouragement that got the crowd of over one-hundred I-1631 supporters hyped. Young Tulalip and Tsleil-Waututh Indigenous Activist, Cedar George-Parker, spoke to the youth about the importance of their voice and Earth-Feather Sovereign talked about MMIW (Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women), continuing to bring much needed awareness to the epidemic that is claiming the lives of our Native women. Dave Archambault journeyed from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to show his support of the initiative.

“For me, [I-1631] means the things that happened at Standing Rock lives on,” he says. “The effort that was put forth to protect Unci Maka, Mother Earth, wasn’t lost just because that one battle didn’t work out the way we wanted it to. The policy that fails us is consultation and 1631 is a way to address that and a way to assure that tribes have complicit consent when a project threatens their homelands or threatens their environment, threatens mankind or humanity. When tribes speak up, we will be heard and that’s transcends from Standing Rock and that’s what today means to me.”

I-1631 does in fact have a provision for the tribes of Washington state that requires any state agency to consult with tribes on any decisions that could directly affect the tribes, their land or their usual and accustomed fishing grounds. Projects that are funded or begin on tribal land without prior consultation will be forced to end upon request of the tribe. Keeping the tribe’s sovereignty at heart was the First American Project comprised of several tribal leaders and El Centro de la Raza, a Latino based organization that promotes unity amongst all races. 

“The First American Project was originally founded when tribes organized to take out Slade Gordon and elect senator Maria Cantwell,” explains Fawn. “When it came time to organize for I-1631 we thought it would be a natural fit to revive something that worked so well for tribes in the past. We wanted not only to create space for tribal nations but also our partners like El Centro de la Raza who helped us during the fishing wars. It’s an exciting opportunity for us to join our communities that have worked effectively in the past. We view I-1631 as the first issue we are going to take up. We understand that there are many issues of our generation like immigration that we can partner with El Centro because I think tribal nations have something to say about immigration and separating children from families.”

Theresa Sheldon, Tulalip tribal member and First American Project Board member

Tulalip tribal member and First American Project Board Member, Theresa Sheldon, took up emcee duties during the rally. She is also the project’s Campaign Chairwomen and has been tasked with informing and educating Native Peoples on why the initiative is important.

“It’s important for us because we’re the first ones who feel it,” Theresa states. “Native Peoples are like the canary birds in the coalmines, we’re the first ones to show signs of it not being safe. We’re already seeing that; we’re seeing that in gathering our cedar, gathering our huckleberries, we’re seeing the change in the seasons happen and the change in our plants. Sea level rise is already impacting our nations, look at Taholah, Queets and Hoh who have to relocate. They’re the first ones on the ocean so it’s already impacting them. Tulalip Tribes just did our climate change flood levels and in fifty years we’re looking at a lot of different areas of our reservation that potentially could be under water. That’s scary to think about, that will be during my lifetime so I’ll probably see that.

“It’s also important for Natives because carbon is what warms our water,” she continues. “Carbon pollution warms our Puget Sound and our rivers and that’s what’s impacting our fish. That results in not being able to have our fish, crab, our traditional foods. And once it’s gone, there’s no coming back. All the studies have shown that we’re the ones who can make the change, this generation has to make monumental changes. It has to be radical, it has to be fierce and intense changes, it can’t be to just stop using straws.”

Studies show that climate change is real and is currently happening at an alarming rate. If we continue to emit pollution into the environment, scientists predict that in a hundred years the world will frequently experience deadly, extreme heatwaves for days at a time. And if you think about it, one-hundred years isn’t that far away and the heatwaves are going to be something your great-great-grandchildren will have to live through. As Theresa pointed out, tribal lifeways are already being threatened by climate change, namely the Quinault Indian Nation’s villages of Taholah and Queets. 

“This is important as Quinault tribal leader because we are right now facing an emergency situation where I’m having to relocate two of our villages to higher ground, the villages of Taholah and Queets,” says Fawn. “In my tenure as President of the Quinault Nation, I’ve seen it first hand, it’s created an unreal sense of urgency for me and we’re going to continue to fight this until we achieve those policies that we know are minimally necessary for us to defend ourselves and advance our future.”

If voters pass I-1631, the initiative will create over 40,000 jobs in the clean energy field, developing and maintaining renewable energy resources such as wind turbines. A number of big name supporters including Bill Gates and Pearl Jam recently expressed that they are in favor of the measure. And organizations such as Microsoft, Expedia, Union of Concerned Scientists and the American Lung Association are funding the initiative.

On the other side of the coin, Western States Petroleum has dug deep into their pockets and raised over twenty-five million dollars to run a slew of misleading TV ads against I-1631 claiming that the fee is ‘unfair’ to big oil. The opposition also wants you to believe that a large amount of companies are exempt from the fee, which is true to a degree if they are referring to coal burning factories or power plants that have been legally bound to close no later than 2025. 

A real concern for undecided voters is that the cost of gasoline, electricity and natural gas is expected to rise as a result of the companies’ obligation to pay the carbon fee. However, funds raised from the fee will actually help Washingtonians transition into more of a clean energy lifestyle by utilizing renewable energy resources such as solar and wind power, so we’re not dependent on companies who are harming the environment.  

“The power of our tribal communities is so remarkable and I firmly believe that when we come together, no matter what the issue, we’re unstoppable,” expresses Fawn. “When you look at this last year, we were victorious on the culverts case, we were victorious on eleven different treaty conflicts with the state of Washington. At any time, anyone or anything tries to attack us and we come together, we’re quite successful. 

“We envision a clean, healthy future. A prosperous future where renewable energy, new technologies and new economies are going to be developed and you’re going to see an explosion of growth in Indian Country. The one thing I would like to tell the voters is to get out there and vote. If you’re not registered, register [by October 29] and make sure your voice counts on November 6.”

For more information, please visit www.YesOn1631.org

Annual Color Run celebrates life

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Three years ago, Tulalip Youth Services and the Marysville School District teamed up to bring Unity Month to the community during the month of October. Jam-packed with exciting activities like movie nights, field trips to the corn maze and the pumpkin patch, school assemblies and pumpkin carving, Unity Month successfully sparked a lot of community involvement which afforded Youth Services the opportunity to talk about serious issues that are prevalent in many modern day Native communities. 

Youth Services and the school district decided to plan each week of the month with trainings and presentations focused on four issues that the youth of Native America are struggling with in today’s society; suicide, bullying domestic violence and substance abuse. Due to tremendous success, Tulalip Youth Services continues to celebrate Unity Month annually, adding new improvements each year. 

While spreading awareness and providing prevention tools for serious topics, Youth Services also brings a positive outlook to each of these issues by celebrating life, promoting kindness and healthy relationships as well as participating in National Red Ribbon Week, an alcohol, drug and violence prevention campaign. With each week comes a new trendy hashtag for participants to use when posting photos and videos to social media while attending Unity Month events. 

This October began with #LifeisSacred week, kids learned that their lives matter and that they’re needed here by their families and friends. Youth Services partnered once again with the Community Health Department to bring QPR trainings to the community. QPR is an acronym for question, persuade and refer, the three actions you must take if someone is showing suicidal tendencies. Question if they are planning to harm themselves, persuade them to seek help and refer them to the appropriate resource. The class also teaches participants how to recognize the warning signs a person contemplating suicide may be exemplifying. Tulalip leader, Verna Hill, also spoke to the kids at Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary about how sacred they are to the future of Tulalip. 

The suicide rate continues to escalate throughout Native communities every year. Eighteen states agreed to participate in a report conducted by the United States Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That report showed that there are 21.5 suicides per every 1,000 Native Americans, over three and a half times higher than the national average. And according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the US with 45,965 suicides each year. Suicide is also the eighth leading cause of death in the state of Washington where on average one person dies by suicie every eight hours. Native communities see significantly more lives taken by suicide than any other race in America which is why it’s important to openly discuss this issue, especially with the youth. 

Tulalip Youth Services ended #LifeisSacred week in colorful fashion with the extremely popular annual Say Something Color Run. A little rain didn’t stop the community from showing out and ending their Friday with a mile run from the Tulalip Community Health Department to the Kenny Moses Building on the afternoon of October 5. With stylish, protective eyewear and clothes they didn’t mind getting dirty, the community ran through multiple checkpoints along Marine Drive where they were blasted with colorful chalk, resulting in tie-dyed runners reaching the finish line. 

“It’s a fun time to celebrate living and it’s for a good cause,” says Tulalip Youth Services Executive Assistant, Danielle Fryberg. “The Say Something Color Run is part of the Sandy Hook Promise, which is preventing gun violence, suicide and just bringing awareness. If you know someone whose struggling, we ask that you speak up and say something, even if you’re just reaching out to say hello. We want to help our community, our youth and adults who are struggling and let them know there’s always somewhere they can go and someone they can talk to.”

Youth Services has more fun, educational events planned for the Tulalip community for the remainder of Unity Month, including cultural events each week and Halloween-inspired activities. To view the entire Unity Month events and activities schedule, be sure to check out the Tulalip Youth Services Facebook page.

 

Tulalip Pride Walk celebrates LGBTQ community

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

The Tulalip Youth Council hosted the very first Pride Walk in the Tulalip-Marysville community on September 29. Over one-hundred citizens gathered at the Francis J. Sheldon Gymnasium to celebrate and show love and support to the LGBTQ community. As people began to arrive, a group of youngsters raised a rainbow colored flag on the pole located outside the gym. Meanwhile on the inside, participants constructed a number of signs that read messages such as Love Wins and Love is Love.  

Participants began their two-mile trek from the gym to the four-way intersection located in front of the Tulalip Bingo Hall and Quil Ceda Village administration. With miniature pride flags and their posters proudly displayed overhead, the community members were met with an overwhelming response from local drivers on their daily commute, who emphatically honked their horns as they passed the crowd. Tribal members and local leaders showcased large smiles during the walk, happy to support their two-spirited loved ones. 

“This is important and it’s been a long time coming,” says Tulalip Youth Services Education Coordinator, Jessica Bustad. “September is back to school time and a lot of students who identify as LGBTQ feel uncomfortable and wonder if people are going to judge them. So the Youth Council wanted to show their support to their peers in the school system and show that they should feel safe and respected. I feel like there are a lot of people who are still stuck with their judgments against the LGTBQ community, so we want to show our support for those students and community members. It’s needed to prevent depression, suicide, bullying. If the community and everyone sees we’re in support of it, hopefully more people will start to show support too.”

Jessica explained that the Youth Council was inspired to begin the Pride Walk back in June during national pride month. Thanks to a few months of planning and organizing, the walk was a great success. A large turnout of youth showed that this is an important issue amongst the future generations as they continue to build each other up and encourage their friends to be who they are.

The Seattle Clear Sky Native Youth Council of the Urban Native Education Alliance (UNEA) traveled north to show solidarity with the Tulalip Youth Council and the LGBTQ community. The Clear Sky Youth Council previously wrote a resolution in support of two-spirited individuals and wants to continue offering that support at marches and rallies. 

“We just wanted to come and show our support,” says Clear Sky Youth Council member, Asia Gellein. “I really like seeing everyone come together to support the LGBTQ Natives, it’s heartwarming seeing all this love for our two-spirited brothers and sisters.”

After the walk, the community met once again in the gym. This time, however, the walkers enjoyed pizza and good conversation before participating in a jam session to close out what may go down as a historic day for the Tulalip and Marysville community.

“What inspired me to do this was my own personal experience, being two-spirited, and how I was treated not only by strangers but my own family,” says Tulalip Youth Council member, Elizabeth Edelman. “It’s important to bring the community together and raise awareness because I know a lot of two-spirited people out here who struggle in school and fitting in with society, so I think raising awareness is the thing to do for our youth. I thought it was a successful day and I’m really thankful people showed up on their own time to help raise awareness. Bringing the young ones together, teaching them what this is all about is important. There were a lot of cool people here today, it was very inspiring and I’m so thankful for it.”

The Tulalip Youth Council looks to continue the Pride Walk annually, but wishes to make the event coincide with national pride month in June. For further details, please contact Tulalip Youth Services at (360) 716-4909.