TELA focuses on good health, produces lots of smiles

Article/photos by Micheal Rios

On Thursday, March 9, the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy (TELA) hosted a mini health fair in collaboration with local physical, mental, and spiritual health experts. It was a great opportunity to engage students, staff, families and the community about healthy eating, physical activity, health services, and other local wellness resources.

Vendors included everyone from representatives from the Tulalip Police and Fire Departments, the schools music therapy and child development booths, to Tulalip’s all new SNAP ED (Eat Smart. Be Active.) program. Overall there were 24 health fair vendors, two health care institute parent trainings, and a photo-booth for a nice family keepsake.

“The Mini Health Fair at the Tulalip Early Learning Academy was a great reminder to encourage both parents and the children to consume the required 2-3 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. The kids loved their veggie cups and were excited to try an apple fruit salad!,” explains Snap-Ed Coordinator, AnneCherise Jensen (pictured above) of her vendor experience. “Children require good nutrition for proper growth and development. Taking affirmative action towards preventative health care will have a huge positive impact on a child’s health; this is why it is so important to teach kids healthy eating habits at an early age. By maximizing high nutrient foods and minimizing consumption of sugary/processed foods, we can help children develop essential healthy eating habits for a healthy future.”

Targeting the energetic and active audience of 3 to 5-year-old students, the TELA vendors came up with creative setups to make it easier for the easily intrigued minds to approach them. Many of the vendors brought different variations and very colorful handouts, poster boards and prizes. Enticing the kids to come up to the tables for prizes and delicious, organic snacks where they would then learn about making good health choices was a successful strategy.

Some of the kids may have been shy at first and hesitant to walk around the setup of booths, but with eye-catching displays they were able to come out of their shells and learn information they might not have known before.

Sheena Robinson attended the health fair with her kids because it offered them a chance to get out of the house to do hands-on activities.

“I liked the nutrition station because it taught my boys what healthy and unhealthy snacks look like,” Sheena said. “I try to teach them about these things at home, but I think sometimes it clicks more if it’s coming from somebody else and learning first-hand through interactive activities.”

ABC Curriculum promotes healing at Tulalip schools

 

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

During a recent visit from the Washington State Board of Education, Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary (QCT) provided an inside look at their ABC curriculum, an acronym for the new approach to the education system within the Tulalip community. ABC stands for the Academic instruction, Behavioral and social-emotional support and Culture based curriculum that the Marysville School District and the Tulalip Tribes have recently began implementing at the elementary.

QCT is one of few schools in Washington State that is integrating traditional Native teachings into school subjects such as music, art, language, math and history. The school often invites tribal members to help teach the children about the Tulalip culture. Each morning the school holds a fifteen-minute assembly where students perform traditional song and dance. QCT holds an annual cultural fair where tribal members are invited to share traditional foods as well as tribal history with the students. The elementary school also observes Tulalip Day every November and holds a fifth-grade potlatch at the end of each year. Most recently the school held a Billy Frank Jr. themed spirit week, honoring the man who dedicated his life to fighting for Native American fishing rights.

“We all had heroes growing up. I remember going to the library and spending all day reading about Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth and Jim Thorpe. You know growing up as Indian People, we don’t have a lot of Native heroes we can look up to, but Billy Frank Jr. is a true Coast Salish hero. He is someone we all look up to because of the amazing work he did for fisheries. Thank you for honoring him, he definitely deserves to be celebrated,” stated Tulalip Chairman Mel Sheldon.

The ABC curriculum puts emphasis on family and community, connections that are often strong in Native America. QCT makes an effort to communicate regularly with their student’s family members. The school also ensures the students stay up to par with the utilization of modern technology, both for research and to create documents. During a classroom walk-through the State Board of Education observed the curriculum in action during an art class as well as a writing class.

 

 

Representatives from the Tulalip Board of Directors, Marysville School District and QCT faculty spoke about cultural assimilation and the affect it left on Native communities. Each explaining to the Board of Educators that assimilation caused trauma that is still affecting the descendants of boarding school victims today, although the events occurred several generations prior. Families were broken and cultures were stripped during the ‘kill the Indian, save the man’ era.

“Our people were [originally] taught in a traditional way at the foot of our grandmothers, not in classrooms but out in nature. When the education system was forcibly put on us, it was done in way that stripped everything away from our children. It was done purposely to take away who we are as Indian People in a very painful way. That was our introduction to education. Since then we’ve had elders try to get this work, our voice and our story, into the public schools to try to heal. I believe we are continuing the work of our ancestors,” states Tulalip tribal member and QCT Instructor, Chelsea Craig.

The tribe, school district and Board of Educators are well aware and prepared for the hard work that will be required, and they started the healing process through the ABC curriculum.

1957: The first military observance of Memorial Day at Tulalip

Ray Moses

 

By Sherry Guydelkon, Tulalip News, May 23, 2007 

According to tribal elder Ray Moses, before 1957 there were no Memorial Day services at Tulalip cemeteries.

Many families did, however, observe the day by walking to one or both of the reservation cemeteries – Priest Point and Mission Beach – where they would pull weeds and lay flowers on their loved ones’ graves.

They would pack lunches and walk along the Tulalip road, said Ray, gathering wild flowers and greens for wreaths as they walked. People who lived along the road would often offer flowers from their yards. And everyone was careful to leave the cemeteries by three o’clock in the afternoon, because after that time spirits might come out.

 

Ray Moses, Korean War photo

 

By 1957, Ray had returned from the Korean War and was doing his best to stay a little drunk. Jobs for Indian men were hard to come by, and he had plenty of painful wartime memories to blot out.

Finally, his mother Marya Moses let him know that she was concerned that he would drink himself into an early grave. ‘You served your country well,” she said. “You’re a good person when you’re not drinking, but when you drink, you’re no dang good.”

Marya, who had been very supportive of the Tulalip soldiers who fought in Korea and had faithfully written to Tom Gobin, David and Butch Spencer, and others who served there, suggested that he do something useful for the vets.

Then Tom Gobin, who played several instruments, gave him a direction. He said, “If you can get a firing squad, I’ll blow the bugle.”

So Ray talked to Stan Schaefer, who, besides being Marysville’s funeral director, was a member of the VFW, about borrowing rifles one day a year. Stan said that Ray could borrow the Marysville VFW’s rifles, but that they would have to be returned by 11 a.m. for the town’s Memorial Day service.

So Tulalip’s observance was set for 10 a.m., and Ray began gathering his squad together. With a few veterans who became regulars and others that he recruited from the taverns, Ray had his first squad. “They were all willing,” said Ray, “but some of them were weaving a little.”

“I used to tease them,” he said, “and call them the F-Troup after the old comedy TV show. I called Kenny Williams “Dog Tag” and Larry Charley “Crazy Cat” after one of the Indians on the show. And I’d say, ‘Chests in, stomachs out” – the opposite of what they say in the Army. I’d get the guys laughing, sort of lighten things up.’

The only problem was that the rifles were left over from World War I and were defective. Sometimes the ammunition would go off and sometimes it wouldn’t.

“One of the guys asked me, what if my rifle doesn’t fire, what do I do?” Ray recalled. “I said, say bang.”

Regardless of the rifle problems, people were pleased with the bugle and the squad. “The old timers thanked us for honoring our warriors,” said Ray. “And they were warriors. They went off to fight, and they were starting to die at home – Doc Jones, Jack George, Steve Williams, Reuben Shelton, Elliott Brown…

“When our last World War I veteran, Ed Williams, died , I felt bad that there was no bugle there. So we started going to veterans’ funerals, too.”

Encouraged by the responses of the Tulalip families, the squad began traveling to veterans’ funerals at off-reservation communities that had no firing squads of their own – Arlington, Granite Falls, even Tacoma and Olympia. “We had no money and neither did the Tribe,” said Ray, “but George Reeves had a van and people would give us a little money for gas.”

When Clarence Hatch became the Tribes’ business manager in the early 1960s, he and Stan Jones, Sr., agreed that the firing squad should have new rifles, and they were purchased by the Tribes. By then, Tom Gobin had passed the bugle on to Bee Bop Moses, who played in the Marysville High School band. And Clarence even found a little money to pay him.

There was still the problem of buying ammunition, but that was resolved through negotiations with the Marysville VFW. The VFW promised to supply Tulalip’s firing squad with ammo if Ray would march with them in the Strawberry Festival parade. So, for several years, Ray marched for ammo.

Since the new rifles did not have to be returned by eleven o’clock, Memorial Day services could be scheduled for both reservation cemeteries – one at 10 a.m. and one at 11 a.m.

“When I started helping at funerals, I really didn’t know what I was doing,” Ray admits. “I had to change as I went along. I had to become more compassionate.

“I’m glad David Fryberg is continuing that work, and I’m glad the Tribe has the veterans’ program. I hope it will continue on.

“In the beginning, we were encouraged by the old timers and the Shaker people, and later on by the families. They’ve appreciated that we are honoring our warriors for their sacrifices.”

In addition to those who did not return from the wars, said Ray, there were those who were physically and emotionally injured and were never the same again – like Steve Williams who was shot in the leg and P.O.W. Jack George. Ray believes it is only right that the Tribes show our past vets the gratitude that they have earned.

 

A Gathering of Coast Salish peoples

 

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Western Washington Tribes and British Columbia First Nations of the Salish Sea came together to speak with one voice at the Tulalip Resort Casino’s Orca Ballroom on February 27.

As one voice, the tribal leaders, activists, and caretakers of the environment spoke for the continued protection of the land and waters of our aboriginal homeland and the preservation of our culture. As brothers and sisters, they shared their culture and concerns for the endangered eco-region, and continued their dialogue on the need for strengthened environmental policies and practices in our ancestral homelands.

These Coast Salish ancestral homelands, the Salish Sea and its people continue to face detrimental damages to the environment and resources based on the pollution based economy, and they will continue to move on co-management and co-decision making on the Salish Sea. The agenda for the 2017 gathering was to discuss:

  • Aboriginal and Treaty Rights at Risk
  • Resource and Environmental Challenges
  • Laws, Policy and Regulation
  • Coast Salish 21st Century Nations and Tribes
  • Federal, State and Tribal Dispute Resolution
  • Decision making, uniform consent

Following the day’s seminars and presentations, attendees were treated to an evening filled with traditional song and dance. The next generation of Tulalip drummers, singers, and dancers opened, led by cultural specialist Chelsea Craig.

 

Tulalip drummers and singers

 

Succeeding the young and spirited Tulalip group was one of the top Native dance groups on the west coast, Git-Hoan.

“We are Git-Hoan, the People of the Salmon. We are a makeup of Tsimshian, Haida, and Tlingit people from southeast Alaska and are proud to be in your territory to sing and dance for you,” stated group creator David Boxley, a renowned Tsimshian artist and carver. “What a beautiful place to dance. Thank you for allowing us to be here.

“This dance group has been in existence since 1996. We use a lot of masks to tell our stories. All of our tribes, including [Tulalip], at one time danced with masks and this form of expression is coming back strong over the last decade. The songs and dances you are about to see are old in their origins, but relatively new in their make-up. Missionaries were very successful with our people. We are trying to change that by [revitalizing our culture] like how it was before the missionaries. We are proud of the fact we try really, really hard to look like the old days, with the masks and telling the stories like our people once did.”

 

 

Git-Hoan performed for nearly an hour to the marvel of gathering attendees. Included in their selection of dances was a brand new song debuted for the Coast Salish occasion.

“We are the People of the Salmon, and so are you. We are all People of the Salmon,” explained Boxley. “Historically, our ancestors’ lives depended on the salmon. The next song we are going to show is a brand new song that shows our pride in being People of the Salmon .We dedicate this song to all of you.”

With the conclusion of the day’s events, Board of Director Theresa Sheldon shared her amazement in watching the performances by several Coast Salish tribes.

“It’s always a blessing to see our young students singing our ancestors songs, especially for this Coast Salish Gathering. A gathering that’s all about our Mother Earth and how we can work together on protecting our waterways. It was truly a delight to witness the Alaskan group perform their traditional mask dances. They had the most amazing raven dance, with the mosquito ancestor dance, and the supernatural eagle dance. It’s truly an honor when our relatives bring out their masks to share with us. Sharing our songs and dances together is the way of our people. I’m so thankful to the parents and teachers who help our young ones embrace this.”

Music Therapy Offers Healing to Tulalip-Marysville Community

 

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

The Snohomish County Music Project is using music as a tool to strengthen the Tulalip and Marysville community. With over fifteen programs, the Music Project has dedicated their time to improving the mental well being of Snohomish County community members through music therapy.  The Marysville School District originally reached out to the Snohomish County Music project when looking for alternative therapy for children who have experienced trauma in their young lives. Music Therapy is now offered to many schools in the Marysville School District including, Marysville-Pilchuck, Quil Ceda Elementary, and Marysville Arts and Technology.

 

 

Quil Ceda Elementary student, Oliver walked into a spare room of his school’s library wearing a visibly huge smile. As he took his seat, Music Therapist Victoria Fansler handed him a stack of cards. Each card displayed a cartoon making facial expressions with the corresponding emotion (i.e. happy or sad) written in text beneath the cartoon face. As his instructor retrieved her guitar from its case, Oliver examined the cards. Once he picked two cards out of the deck, Victoria began strumming her guitar to an interactive welcoming song between teacher and student, pausing only for Oliver to respond to questions within Victoria’s lyrics. When her song reached the question ‘how are you feeling today?’ he revealed the cards he had chosen, excited, because he was in Music Therapy class and upset because his aunt postponed her visit with him until the weekend.

This warm-up exercise allows the student to express their emotions and presents them with the opportunity to explain why they are feeling those emotions. Victoria begins each of her sessions with this exercise as the majority of her students from the Marysville and Tulalip community happily sing along. At the end of each session she remixes the welcome song to recap the session and say ‘goodbye until next week’.

Tulalip Cares Charitable Contributions recently funded Victoria’s music therapy program through the Snohomish County Music Project. She is currently working full time in the Tulalip-Marysville community helping students work through traumatic life events by using music as an instrument of healing.

Countless studies have shown that music therapy has assisted many victims of trauma. While focusing on music individuals are able to relax, therefore reducing stress and anxiety levels. Music therapy provides an outlet for individuals to express their emotions creatively.

Victoria also provides services to the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy once a week and works primarily with students who are currently, or have previously been, involved with Child Protective Services or beda?chelh.  In cases of neglect, children are sometimes unaware of social cues, such as facial expressions and vocal tones. For this reason, Victoria incorporates mirroring into her lesson plans, to help the children at the academy recognize emotions that others display.

 

 

In elementary schools, Victoria teaches the children how to express their emotions through music. Oliver, for example, is a huge Eminem fan. In his individual session Oliver wrote down and illustrated everything that makes him feel safe as well as his fears. While working on the assignment a Bluetooth speaker played a cover, performed by kid YouTube sensation Sparsh Shah, of Eminem’s ‘Not Afraid’. Oliver is familiar with the Eminem song and because of the tools music therapy has provided him, he was able to write his own lyrics to the track. Oliver said that those particular lyrics that he wrote are in memory of his little brother who passed away when they were both at a young age.

Aside from her acoustic guitar, Victoria uses a variety of instruments in her sessions including a melodica. The free-reed instrument is essentially a keyboard that requires users to blow air into it for sound output, much like a wind instrument.

“A lot of people suggest meditation and focused breathing for children with trauma, but I found that sometimes it can be hard trying to convince kids that sitting still and breathing quietly will help them feel better. The Melodica is really engaging, if you hold a long exhale breath it makes a really pleasant sound that lets you explore the keys and get creative while playing it. This helps build self-awareness so the kids can feel comfortable self-expressing musically and recognizing what tools they already have within themselves,” Victoria states.

Another instrument that assists with trauma recovery is the drum.  Victoria explains, “We use a lot of rhythm because we know, neurologically, what trauma does to the brain. For example, when we have a flashback and trauma is overtaking the mind and body, the part of the brain that tells you what time and place you’re in, basically shuts off. With rhythm and drumbeats it forces us to engage in the present moment, our brains can’t help but track how fast the beat is going. We call that entrainment. It keeps us from being stuck in the past with our traumatic memories and how they might make us feel. Through entrainment we help our clients realize that although a traumatic event occurred, it is in the past and it is not going to hijack their brain at any given moment anymore.”

The Snohomish Music Project offers a variety of programs countywide including music therapy services for infants, children, teens, Veterans suffering with posttraumatic stress disorder, as well as senior citizens suffering with memory-related illnesses. The non-profit’s headquarters is located at the Everett Mall and hosts live music performances weekly.  Since 2010 the Snohomish County Project, previously known as the Everett Symphony, has refocused their time and energy to help heal and strengthen communities.

“Rather than using music as tool to provide performances, we have transformed and provide a way to use music as a tool to help community members thrive and to help make impactful changes in the community. We are able to help individuals better themselves and they in turn become positive contributors to our community,” states Snohomish County Music Project Director, Vasheti Quiros.

Victoria is making a positive impact in the community through music therapy and because of its popularity and high demand, (she has over twenty kids on a waiting list at the early learning academy) Victoria hopes to expand her program and open services to the entire Tulalip community.  She currently is in talks with Youth Services about hiring youth of the community, with hopes of training them to become music therapists.

For additional information about the Snohomish County Music Project please visit their website www.scmusicproject.org

Tulalip Child Advocacy Center receives accreditation

Jade Carela, Legacy of Healing Child Advocacy Center Manager proudly shows the departments accreditation award from the National Children’s Alliance.

 

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

The National Children’s Alliance (NCA) is the accrediting body for Child Advocacy Centers nationwide. Child Advocacy Centers, often referred to as CACs, conduct forensic interviews as well as provide therapy and assistance to the victims of child sexual abuse and their non-offending family members. In order for a CAC to earn accreditation, the center must pass an extensive application process as well as an on-site review process.

“There was a grandma whose grandchild had been sexually abused. She told the prosecutor that her granddaughter had been repeatedly traumatized by all the questioning she had to go through in order to get to the actual case in court. The prosecutor on the case thought, oh my God, that’s probably true. He started the first CAC ever with a team comprised of law enforcement, CPS [child protective services] and criminal justice members, ensuring everyone was on the same page and the child would not have to retell their horrific stories over and over,” states Jade Carela, Legacy of Healing Child Advocacy Center Manager.

The Tulalip CAC has a multi-disciplinary team that includes members of the Tulalip Police Detectives, CPS, beda?chelh, the Tulalip domestic violence and sexual assault prosecutor, and FBI detectives as well as the child advocate.

The NCA regularly updates their policies and procedures and requires a re-accreditation process every five years for each CAC. The accreditation holds centers to a higher standard and indicates exceptional service and a quality center.

The accreditation process often requires over a year’s worth of preparation. However, under the direction of Jade, Tulalip now has the only accredited CAC on a reservation, in Washington State. The enormous task was accomplished in an impressive three short months. When a CAC receives accreditation, they have achieved the highest level of recognition with the NCA.

The Tulalip CAC offers innocent children victims of sexual abuse a chance to heal. The recent accreditation shows the strong effort the Tribe is making to ensure that the victims receive the best possible care, as well as justice and assistance through the entire court process.

For additional information on the accreditation of the Tulalip Legacy of Healing Child Advocacy Center please contact (360) 716-5437.

Ball is Life for RaeQuan Battle

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

When RaeQuan Battle was in the third grade he was recruited by Cyrus “Bubba” Hatch to play in a basketball tournament at Lummi. At the time, young RaeQuan hadn’t really given basketball much thought, because his favorite sport was football. RaeQuan accepted the invitation and not only did his team win the championship, but he was presented with the Most Valuable Player award, resulting in a new love for the game.

Now a sophomore at Marysville Pilchuck High School (MP), Battle devotes the majority of his time to perfecting his basketball skills and focusing on his grades. He advises young hoopers to put down their smart phones and pay attention during class because at the young age of fifteen, he is aware of the opportunities a good education can offer.

College will begin in a short couple of years for RaeQuan. This is something he is well-aware of and has already started thinking of where he would like to attend. He states, “I would want to play [college basketball] for Kentucky, but I’m looking [into] the University of Washington. A lot of my family members love UW, so that’s a school I would have to consider.”

 

Family is indeed of great importance to him, citing his grandfather, Hank Williams, as his biggest inspiration. Every time Battle suits up for a game, he puts on a jersey with the number twenty-one on display. He chose twenty-one because it is his mother’s favorite number. A few of his relatives also wore that number when playing for MP.

The basketball season for MP recently concluded with an appearance in the playoffs as RaeQuan’s squad battled for a shot at State. Standing at six-foot, four-inches Battle towers over most of his teammates as well as the competition. He is effective on both ends of the floor often getting buckets and grabbing boards. His favorite position to play is small forward, a position that is played by NBA stars such as Kevin Durant and Lebron James. His height advantage, paired with his skill, gives him the versatility to play any spot on the floor, and MP utilized him in every position throughout their season.

Battle states that basketball has given him a strong work ethic and has taught him many valuable lessons that he can apply on and off the court. “The biggest thing I’ve learned is how to stay humble. When I first started playing I used to get benched because I didn’t have the right attitude. If you want to improve your game or get anything productive accomplished, you have to remain humble and focused,” he states.

Now that the basketball season is over RaeQuan will participate in some extra-curricular activities including driver’s education and track, but the majority of his time will be spent studying. However, he vows to continue to get in the gym and work on his game during the off-season as he continues to follow his dream of playing in the NBA.

 

Start small, aim high: Biddy Ball

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The Tulalip Youth Services mission is to serve all youth by utilizing recreational and educational programs. That mission was put to service on Saturday, February 11, in the form of a Biddy Ball tournament.

“2017 Biddy Ball was family fun for everyone, and Tulalip Youth Services wants to thank all of the families, participants and volunteers for helping make this a day to remember for all of the youth that participated,” stated Josh Fryberg, Youth Services Coordinator. “Youth Services is looking forward to many more great programs for 2017.”

Biddy Ball provides a great tool for developing our youth in the sport of basketball while helping children to gain knowledge, skills and competencies that are an important part of a global, multicultural society.

To assist in its mission, Youth Services provided the venue, healthy snacks/drinks and all the modified equipment necessary to fit the young athletes. From the size of the balls, the height of the rims, to the size of the courts, everything about Biddy Ball is slightly modified to permit the young and highly spirited players to learn the fundamentals of the game while indirectly improving a wide range of cognitive and social skills.

Approximately forty mini-hoopers attended, falling under one of three age groups: 3-4 years old, 5-6 years old, and 7-10 years old. Concluding the 1:00pm – 5:00pm event, was an awards ceremony in which each and every participant received a commemorative t-shirt, medallion and trophy for all their hard work.

“Thanks everyone for coming out and bringing your little ballers!,” said Sheena Robinson, Youth Services Activities Specialist. “I enjoyed every little bit of it. The faces when they got their prizes was priceless.”

 

 

New colonizer in chief, same fight to protect our treaty rights

Indigenous women were at the forefront of Seattle’s Women’s March on January 21, 2017.

 

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Donald Trump is President. For many in the Pacific Northwest and throughout Indian Country that is a gut-wrenching fact that will take some time to fully process. But it is a fact of life and we must adapt to a changing political climate like we have always done.

Local Lakota Activist and Marysville School District educator Matt Remle summed it up best when he released the following statement via Facebook on Inauguration Day. “People keep asking how we’re preparing for Trump. I keep responding ‘same way we prepare for any new colonizer in chief.’ Today is the same as yesterday as we continue to protect our lands, protect our water, protect our treaty rights, and fight for our children and future generations. #NoDAPL #BattleforMotherEarth.”

And that’s just it, we as Native people have always been fighting to protect our lands, water, treaty rights and future generations. There’s never been a pause to our fight, no one has ever said let’s take a break from resisting Western assimilation because of whoever happened to be in a local, state, or federal office. We honor our ancestors for their gifts of teachings to be strong, resilient and compassionate every day with every breath we take, just by being able to say we have endured and we are still here.

Now, Donald Trump is President and seemingly by the hour we are getting updates as to how he plans on weakening our treaty rights and depleting our resources. From signing executive orders to revive the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, to freezing Environmental Protection Agency grants and contracts, to potentially eliminating the Violence Against Women Act, there have been no shortages of offensive and egregious legislative actions being aimed at the tribes by the Trump Administration.

However, none of this should come as any shock or surprise. It’s all been completely in line with who we know him to be and what we know him to stand for. If anything, it’s surprising to see a President follow through on several key promises he made during his campaign as quickly as Trump is.

The moment Trump took office and became the 45th President, the White House website received a digital makeover to reflect the values and missions of the Trump Administration. As a result, White House policies on several high-stake issues were no longer available. One such issue was climate change, an issue that is critically important to the health of the world, but not so important to our President who routinely refers to climate change as “a hoax”.

What took the place of climate change policy is what’s titled An America First Energy Plan. The plan in its entirety is posted at the end of this article. There are some fascinating remarks made within this energy plan, such as “President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule.”  Then there is this statement as well, “The Trump Administration will embrace the shale oil and gas revolution to bring jobs and prosperity to millions of Americans. We must take advantage of the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, especially those on federal lands that the American people own.

“Trump’s plan is not a surprise – it’s consistent with what he has said throughout the campaign – a no holds barred approach to development of oil, natural gas, and coal, especially on federal lands and under federal waters,” says Libby Nelson, Tulalip Tribes Natural Resources Environmental Policy Analyst. “Climate change policy is seen as ‘harmful’ and there is no mention of ‘renewable energy’ (e.g., wind, solar) in Trump’s energy plan. Lifting environmental regulations, weakening the EPA, and increasing drilling may lead to more jobs and more revenue in the short term, but at what cost? At the cost of healthy, functioning and yes, economically valuable natural ecosystems that we need to sustain us long after the ‘shale oil revolution’. We will need to watch carefully as this new administration begins to translate its energy policy to proposed actions on the ground, and be prepared to act on behalf of the environment and tribal interests.”

So we will continue to watch and listen carefully as Trump continues to follow through on promises he made on his campaign trail because he did make these promises, but many didn’t listen. Now he’s doing exactly what he promised to do and there are a lot of progressives, our so-called allies, who are complicit in the legislation for policies like the pipelines going forward.

“I honestly believe that this monumental loss of faith in DC is a step in the right direction. No matter the President or who was Senator or Congressperson, DC has always been an obstacle, not an aid to our communities,” stated Native activist and renowned speaker Gyasi Ross via Facebook. “Our solutions are at home. Simple. That is shown by the fact that we have a home, a homeland – our communities were supposed to have been wiped out. Physically. Genocide. Extermination. But we weren’t wiped out and because of that we’re still able to improve, evolve and grow. Of course we can point to dysfunction, but that’s normal. That’s growing pains. We’re learning how to love ourselves again, to believe in ourselves again, to trust us and our own brilliance and spirituality. When we learn that fully, the solutions will be self-evident.

“Our solutions are not in DC and they never have been. If the cavalry was coming, they would have come a long time ago. Marshall would have stopped the Trail of Tears; Obama would have stopped DAPL. Neither one did. It was the thousands of organizers on the ground who did. No saviors. The only meaningful transformation or revolution that will really improve life for our communities will come from our communities, not an outside savior or great white father.”

Indeed, there must be a transformation and necessary resistance to defend against the likes of the Trump Administration and all other levels of government and establishment that seek to exploit the Earth and weaken our treaty rights. That resistance has been ongoing for the Tulalip Tribes because, again, organizations of all sorts have sought to lay claim to our lands, waters, and way of life long before Trump.

“The Tulalip Tribes has been legally fighting against any coal, oil, pipeline, or anything else that will ruin our Mother Earth and negatively impact our fresh water, our air quality, and our salt water,” says Theresa Sheldon, Tulalip Board of Director. “We will continue to oppose any policy or legislation that may make it easier for the federal government to exploit our lands and our way of life.

“As we go into a Republican Presidency with a Republican Congress, please do not lose faith. Treaty rights are not party based. The Point Elliott Treaty does not belong in the republican camp or democrat camp. Our issues are independent from party, but based in the fact that treaties are the Supreme Law of the Land as stated in the U.S. Constitution. We will continue to work with this new administration to educate them on our rights and we will fight hard to protect our rights as the Indigenous peoples of this country. May we stand together and support each other. Do not get distracted with the noise and rhetoric of two parties, but find balance in our teachings and in our way of life as our ancestors have always done.”

 

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Within minutes of Donald Trump’s swearing in as 45th president of the Unites States, the pages on climate change, previously found on whitehouse.org, went dark. They were replaced with the following on a page dedicated to an energy plan. 

An America First Energy Plan

Energy is an essential part of American life and a staple of the world economy. The Trump Administration is committed to energy policies that lower costs for hardworking Americans and maximize the use of American resources, freeing us from dependence on foreign oil.

For too long, we’ve been held back by burdensome regulations on our energy industry. President Trump is committed to eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule. Lifting these restrictions will greatly help American workers, increasing wages by more than $30 billion over the next 7 years.

Sound energy policy begins with the recognition that we have vast untapped domestic energy reserves right here in America. The Trump Administration will embrace the shale oil and gas revolution to bring jobs and prosperity to millions of Americans. We must take advantage of the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, especially those on federal lands that the American people own. We will use the revenues from energy production to rebuild our roads, schools, bridges and public infrastructure. Less expensive energy will be a big boost to American agriculture, as well.

The Trump Administration is also committed to clean coal technology, and to reviving America’s coal industry, which has been hurting for too long.

In addition to being good for our economy, boosting domestic energy production is in America’s national security interest. President Trump is committed to achieving energy independence from the OPEC cartel and any nations hostile to our interests. At the same time, we will work with our Gulf allies to develop a positive energy relationship as part of our anti-terrorism strategy.

Lastly, our need for energy must go hand-in-hand with responsible stewardship of the environment. Protecting clean air and clean water, conserving our natural habitats, and preserving our natural reserves and resources will remain a high priority. President Trump will refocus the EPA on its essential mission of protecting our air and water.

A brighter future depends on energy policies that stimulate our economy, ensure our security, and protect our health. Under the Trump Administration’s energy policies, that future can become a reality.

 

 

 

Contact Micheal Rios at mrios@tulalipnews-nsn.gov