The gift of food and good health

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Tulalip’s own Diabetes Prevention Program is dedicated to making the community healthier by educating any and all motivated individuals who are willing to learn about nutritional awareness and healthy eating. With diabetes and obesity prevalence continuing to rise in Native communities throughout the United States, many families feel a need to change their eating habits, but just don’t know where to begin. 

Adjusting to a healthier lifestyle and diet can be an overwhelming task, therefore, the Diabetes Prevention Program has created The Gift of Food & Good Health, an all-new series of cooking classes offering guidance and hands-on instruction. Hosted every Tuesday at the Tulalip Dining Hall from 3:00pm to 4:30pm, these classes are uniquely created for our people to enjoy while learning about the many health benefits of our foods. The classes are open to tribal members, their families, and patients of the Tulalip Health System.

The latest class, occurring on Tuesday, September 18, communicated the importance spices and herbs can have in creating healthy meals. 

“Herbs and spices make food tastier while boosting your health,” shared Jessica Bluto, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator for the Tulalip Health Clinic. “We should all be cooking with herbs and spices regularly and, if possible, using several at a time.”

Herbs, like basil, are the leaves of a plant, while spices, like cinnamon, are usually made from the seeds, berries, bark, or roots of a plant. Both are used to flavor food, but research shows they’re chock-full of healthy compounds and may help prevent illness and disease.

Chef Brit (left) explains best cooking practices while preparing a nutritional meal.

Adding herbs and spices to your diet has another benefit, “Because they’re so flavorful, they make it easier to cut back on less healthy ingredients like salt, sugar, and added fat,” explained culinary chef Brit Reed. “Herbs and spices contain so much nutritional value, from cleaning out toxins in your blood to fighting inflammation to even lowering blood pressure. We’re all about promoting healthy foods habits that can really make a difference with a variety of health issues our people may be going through.”

Tulalip elder Marvin Jones attended the September 18 session as a first-timer. He enjoyed learning about the variety of health benefits herbs and spices can offer, even though he admitted to not enjoying the flavor of most of them.

“I don’t like the taste of most seasonings, but I’ll try to eat them and come up with a combination that works for me because I want to eat better,” said Marvin while going through the process of mincing garlic. “I want to learn to cook healthier foods and meals. These classes will help me with that.”

Tulalip elder Marvin Jones minces garlic during a class devoted to benefits of herbs and spices.

The exciting hands-on learning experience walked each class attendee through the food preparation process, to the large Dining Hall kitchen for cooking as group, and then back to the table where a grilled chicken and broccoli meal was enjoyed by all. The meal was made flavorful with the aid of garlic (anti-inflammatory), basil (digestive aid), ginger (nausea reducer), and thyme (antimicrobial), along with a variety of fruits and vegetables.

“The staff here have been so helpful in teaching me which foods to eat more of and how to make sense of a nutritional label,” shared Joyce Alexander, a Haida elder. Joyce routinely attends healthy cooking and food classes offered by the Diabetes Prevention Program. “I was diagnosed with border line Diabetes two years ago and was told by the doctors it could be reversed by changing the foods I eat. Since then, I’ve lost nearly 52 pounds just by changing my diet and staying away from processed foods. I’ve taken back control of my life and it feels great.”

The Gift of Food & Good Health series will continue next Tuesday with a class dedicated to tender, juicy steak. As always the Diabetes Prevention Program welcomes any community members interested in learning about the many health benefits of food. 

“There is so much information available about healthy eating and cooking skills, and we want to aid, however we can, in our people being comfortable applying these skills in their daily lives,” said Chef Brit. “This series of classes will cover a whole range of health benefits. And don’t worry if you can’t make them all. If you can make time to attend just one or two, we’d love to share a nutritious meal with you.”

To find out more information about The Gift of Food & Good Health series please contact Brit Reed, Diabetes Program Culinary Services Provider at 360-716-6594 or Veronica Leahy, Diabetes Program Coordinator at 360-716-5642.

RaeQuan Battle is living out his ‘Hoop Dreams’

RaeQuan Battle, photo courtesy of UW Athletics

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Seventeen-year-old RaeQuan Battle’s basketball journey is filled with tales of amazing athleticism, skyrocketing potential, and a relentless determination to get buckets. The teenage Tulalip tribal member has gone from rez ball regular to Marysville-Pilchuck stand out to a four-star prospect committed to play at the University of Washington.  

“Basketball is in my blood. Without it I don’t know where I’d be,” explains RaeQuan of the sport that has come to define his past, present and future. “Everyone in my family has played. Basketball has given me the opportunity to travel the country and, hopefully in the future, it’ll allow me to travel the world.”

In his junior year at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, RaeQuan dazzled opposing coaches and college scouts everywhere as he averaged 21.4 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. He was instrumental in guiding the Tomahawks to a 19-5 record, their first District title in over two decades, and a memorable trip to the Class 3A state regionals last winter.

Following his career year at M.P., the University of Washington’s recruiting team was again at his door with scholarship in hand. They convinced the 6-foot-5, 200 pound RaeQuan he’d be a perfect fit in the up-tempo style that features outstanding guard play. Plus, the idea of staying in state to remain close to his family and reservation was a huge perk.

“Being able to play the game I love at my dream school is amazing,” says the future Husky. “I was super excited to receive the offer, especially since the University of Washington had been with me since my sophomore year. They never switched up, they believed in me the whole way, and I really appreciate the coaching staff for that.”

Over the last several seasons, RaeQuan has continued to work on his basketball skills while playing on the national AAU circuit. He’s traveled the country playing for Seattle Rotary, a high-profiled team that competes as part of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League. With his height advantage and skill set both growing, so has his profile. Per ESPN’s composite rankings, he is listed as a four-star prospect and the No. 4 overall player in the state of Washington. 

The national attention has garnered him invite after invite to national tournaments and high profile basketball camps, where he can showcase his talents against the best high schoolers around. Such was the case during Labor Day weekend, when RaeQuan was invited by Jamal Crawford, NBA player and Seattle hoops legend, to participate in his Top 30 camp held at Rainier Beach High School.

“This camp means everything to me because it’s all about these kids and giving them perspective that’ll come in handy at the collegiate and pro levels,” admits eighteen-year NBA veteran Jamal Crawford. “I understand that basketball is everything for these kids. The player development coaches we have assisting are here to further develop skills and give knowledge. We want these kids to keep dreaming and to never cheat the game because I promise them if they truly love the game and give their all to it, the game will be good to them.”

During Top 30, RaeQuan not only hooped against some of the best basketball players in the state, but received important advice and training tips from several current NBA players who’ve come out of the greater Seattle area, such as Jamal, Isaiah Thomas, Nate Robinson, and Zach LaVine. 

“The group of high school players I competed against here, everyone had the mentality to just compete and play their best every scrimmage, every drill,” reflects the high-flying RaeQuan, who had a number of acrobatic dunks during the three-day camp. “I learned a lot from Jamal and Isaiah, too. They both emphasized just how hard you have to work, how you have to separate yourself all the time because you can be replaced at any moment. I will take these lessons and apply them to my own game for the remainder of high school, college, and the rest of my life.”

The combination of height, athleticism and scoring touch that has come to define RaeQuan’s game stood out, even in a gym full of Washington’s Top 30 high schoolers. Lead trainer and former men’s basketball coach at Evergreen State College, Arvin Mosley, points out “RaeQuan’s obviously explosive, but his ability to shoot the ball is what separates him. Yeah, he’s athletic and can dunk, but at the next level his shooting touch and range will prove even more valuable.”

Now, the high school senior looks forward to wrapping up his career at Marysville-Pilchuck and dreams of graduating with a state championship. With his Division 1 collegiate playing days only months away, RaeQuan will continue to sharpen his skills on and off the court in order to be a foundational player for the Dawgs of U.W. In his own words, “It’s all up from here.”

Tulalip Tribes purchases new fire truck for Fire District 15

Tulalip Bay Fire Department receives a much needed addition to its fleet 

TULALIP, Wash. – September 4, 2018–The Tulalip Tribes recently purchased and financed a new fire truck for Snohomish County Fire District 15, also known as Tulalip Bay Fire Station. Thanks to a strong partnership between Tulalip Bay Fire and Tulalip Tribes, the District has been able to purchase a new truck that will help to support the work and mission of the fire department. 

“The partnership between the Tulalip Tribes and the Fire District is very important for our community and firefighters,” says Fire Chief Ryan Shaughnessy. “When we went to the Tulalip Tribes, in need of help because our funding was limited, they were quick to provide a vital addition for our Fire Department, one that will benefit the entire community.” 

Snohomish County Fire District 15 contracts with the Tulalip Tribes for fire and emergency medical sservices across a large portion of the Tulalip reservation. The Fire District receives their budget from property taxes, the Tulalip Tribes, and EMS transports.

The new truck is a demonstration unit with only 7,000 miles on the odometer. The new engine has a larger capacity fire pump, which is a great improvement over other trucks previously owned by Fire District 15. The engine is physically larger than trucks in their current fleet. It has the ability to carry more equipment and includes more safety features that protect fire fighters. 

Chairwoman for the Tulalip Tribes, Marie Zackuse, understands the importance that this partnership provides to the reservation, “Working together as community partners to identify the needs of all those who live within the boundaries of the Tulalip Reservation is critical. The partnership between Snohomish County Fire District 15 and the Tulalip Tribes will help us to achieve our goals of safety and protecting our reservation.” 

Tulalip Tribes Board of Director and Fire Commissioner, Marlin Fryberg, says both entities “have helped supported each other now for decades, and will continue to build on this relationship, he said. “The services the fire district provides to the community is beneficial for the fire fighters, the taxpayers, and for tribal members.” 

The fire engine is now in daily use for emergency calls. 

EPIC Basketball Camp more than just hoops

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

A one-of-a-kind basketball camp was offered to the youth of the Tulalip Community during the week of August 13-17. The camp was brought together by a team led by Sharmane Joseph and Tulalip Community Health, with help from Tulalip Youth Services and the Tulalip Diabetes Care and Prevention Program. The camp taught local kids the fundamentals of the game and brought a number of guest speakers to talk with the youth about growing up Indigenous.

“It’s called EPIC Basketball Camp and stands for Explore, Pursue, Invest and Challenge,” says Sharmane. “It’s our first year and I’m part of the Community Health department and we wanted to show the community that we don’t work with just one age, we work with the entire community and we’re here for everyone. The first day we had about eighty-one participants and we opened it up at the Boys and Girls Club for the kids who don’t get to come to the youth center.”

During morning drills, the kids worked on their ball handling skills and their shooting techniques. The kids also listened to many keynote speakers throughout the week including Native American rapper Sten Joddi of Tattoo Muzik Group, Native Comedian Mylo Smith Jr. as well as Dereck Stonefish and the Reawakening Warriors and Patty Stonefish of the Arming Sisters group. 

“The kids learn about a variety of things from the guest speakers,” Sharmane explains. “Like Sten, he taught about cultural identity; Patty Stonefish taught self-defense; Dereck Stonefish and the Reawakening Warriors talked about the different things the men go through with abuse and connecting with each other; and Ryneldi Becenti, the first Native American woman to get drafted in the WNBA, had an amazing story about never giving up and building family support.”

Since the camp was split into two different groups, one at the Boys and Girls Club courts and the other at the Greg Williams court, Ryneldi instructed the kids at the youth center while Randy July Jr. ran his Elevate Your Game basketball camp at the Club. Randy had an impressive ball career at Haskell University with potential to play at a professional level. Randy went undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft but continued his journey with basketball by bringing both his experience and message to kids on reservations across the entire country. Ryneldi is in the same line of work and played professionally for the WNBA team Phoenix Mercury in 1997. 

“I’ve been here all week,” says Ryneldi. “I travel to all different reservations and do youth work. I enjoyed my time here in Tulalip. The kids were great, we did a lot of passing, dribbling, shooting drills, footwork and agility moves and then we scrimmaged in the afternoon. It’s been a lot of fun.”

After a week of basketball and motivational speeches, the kids received their own basketball designed with Coast Salish art by the Native American company, Trickster.

“I live in Everett and I love basketball,” says young camper Junior Parrish. “I learned a few new tricks on how to get my hops up. The speaker who stood out to me the most was the lady that taught us about self-protection. Learning about self-defense is really important and I think I could use that in real life. Every morning we’d run a few drills first and then we’d have some fun scrimmaging and playing king of the court later in the day. It was definitely a lot fun and felt good to get some runs in.”

Youth create LEGO robots during STEM week

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Located behind the Tulalip Boys and Girls Club, a group of young Tulalip summer school students occupied one classroom in each of the three Tulalip Education Department buildings during the week of August 6– 10. Separated by age, the kids intently worked behind laptops as they constructed a series of robots, programing them to move and perform tasks. The youth had so much fun in fact, they got lost in the LEGO robotics software and forgot they were in summer school learning about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). 

After two successful years of STEM ROBOTICS week, the Tutoring and Homework Support Program of the Education Department once again reached out to Kathy Collier and her team at Robotics.how.com to bring the fun, hands-on learning experience to the students of the summer school.

“They don’t even realize they’re inventing,” says Kathy. “They are taking part in what is called upper-level critical thinking but they’re having fun. They’ve learned two different physics principals this week and had a blast with it.”

The students are split into three groups based on which grade they will be entering at the beginning of the school year; kindergarten through second grade, third through fifth grade and sixth through twelfth grade. The students began each day with a new science experiment and assembled their bots in the afternoon. 

“K through second graders are doing science experiments in inertia, centrifugal force, momentum, stored energy and they use the Lego WeDo Robots,” explains Kathy. “They are doing simple coding, they can actually explain to you the function of each LEGO piece, interpreting the software language at a kid level. The third through fifth grade kids are using the EV3 Robots, that’s the latest version of LEGO robots, which is actually being used at MIT. First year college students in engineering have a course where they explore all kinds of principals using the EV3 robot. It’s a very sophisticated little machine. And the sixth through twelfth are teaching their robots. They built a custom obstacle course and have to program the robots to make a decision at each turn like forward, right or left.”

Through a set of commands on their laptop, the kids are able to control their bots. While the older kids created one spider-bot that they worked with throughout the week, coding it to make directional choices, both younger groups assembled a number of robots. The youngest group built lions, monkeys and airplane robots and the third through fifth grade students invented both rolling EV3 robots as well as a dog robot. 

 “This entire week we’ve made a bunch of different little LEGO robots and took them apart because that was our practice for programing, it’s been a lot of fun,” said Alexis Bowen while putting the finishing touches on her bot.

“We learned how to build robots!” young Jala Jimenez enthusiastically expressed. “The airplane one was fun. We put the human LEGO in it and made the propeller spin. We did a lion yesterday, that was the most fun. I learned how to make it move on the computer, it was good and easy. Oh and you can record your own sounds like a roar for your lion. After the lion we built a drumming monkey and he drummed on some cups.”

Tulalip Youth Employment worker, Quintin Yon-Wagner, attended the camp to assist the Robotics.how.com team during STEM week. Quintin, who will be a freshman this year, also built a spider-bot and used it to race his fellow peers through an obstacle course comprised of text books and wastebaskets. 

“This past week has been amazing because we’ve learned so much,” states Quintin. “Starting with programming the computer and learning how the Bluetooth connects with the robots that we made out of LEGOS. The building process takes some time but the benefits that the students take away and how much you learn about programing is amazing. But this isn’t just about programming, it expands on different, new ideas like artificial intelligence and machine learning.

“My favorite part has been building my robot and programming it to move its way through an obstacle course, knowing where and when to turn at the exact time and angle,” he continues. “We actually got it through a huge obstacle course and it was a huge accomplishment. I’ve made great friends and connections this week. This all can help you get different types of jobs or into a good college. Learning about STEM can ultimately lead to a new career path for your future.”

For additional details please contact the Tulalip Tutoring and Homework Support Program at (360) 716-4646.

Tulalip opens high-end retail cannabis shop

Remedy Tulalip is one of the first cannabis dispensaries to open on a reservation in the U.S

Tulalip Tribes Vice Chairwoman Teri Gobin and Tribal Council Members Les and Jared Parks cut the ribbon at the Remedy Tulalip soft opening.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

“Today is the big day. We’ve been waiting for this day for many, many years,” said Tulalip Board of Director, Les Parks, as he addressed a large crowd at the Remedy Tulalip Grand Opening on August 9. “I’ve been challenged as a Board of Director for the last three years to get this door open. Today we’re finally there, there’s so many good things that are going to come out of this.”

The Tulalip Tribes held a ribbon cutting ceremony and soft opening for the new recreational marijuana dispensary located in Quil Ceda Village at the old Key Bank. Remedy Tulalip is the tribe’s flagship cannabis store that was long rumored since Washington State voters passed bill I-502, legalizing the use of recreational marijuana for citizens ages twenty-one and older, back in 2012. Word was, the Tribe set their sights on the Key Bank location nearly two years ago, which kept community members debating if and when the store would open. 

“We were very deliberate in our negotiations with the state of Washington in getting this place open,” says Les. “We wanted it done our way, and it took a long time for us to get there.”

The Tribe believes it will be well worth the wait and plans on Remedy generating plenty of revenue because of its prime location near the Tulalip Resort Casino, the Seattle Premium Outlets, Walmart and Home Depot, which is sure to attract a number of cannabis enthusiasts, from locals running errands to high rollers at the casino. 

“Remedy Tulalip is one of the first stores to open on a reservation,” stated Remedy Tulalip Assistant General Manager, Jonathan Teeters. “We are also one of the first who have this sort of location, many of the others are tucked away or are smaller shops. We have the opportunity to succeed immensely and we planned for it. That’s one of the reasons we’re one of the most technologically advanced stores in the state. We employ seventy plus people and I’m very optimistic that this going to turn into quite the endeavor for the tribe.”

Upon stepping into the store, your eyes are immediately drawn upwards to the artwork along the inside of the building’s corners which showcases an orca swimming in the Salish Sea, Big Foot walking amongst the trees and the Cascade mountain range. Another thing you may notice is the number of staff, or cannabis concierge, who are available to help you find the perfect strain. The concierge in red shirts work the retail floor and are equipped with iPads. These team members typically have prior experience in the marijuana industry and are very knowledgeable about the products offered at Remedy Tulalip. The concierge in green shirts assist guests from behind the counters, retrieving their orders from the inventory room as well as taking their payments.

“If you walk into most dispensaries in Washington State there’s really only one or two type of workers, there’s the budtender behind the counter waiting to take your order and sometimes there’s the manager,” Jonathan says. “The cannabis industry hasn’t really created a lot of opportunity for people to gain experience and move up because it’s been managed by the people who started and founded it. We’re taking a different approach here, we recognize that as a wholly-owned tribal entity, part of our major responsibility is to create economic opportunity in the form of jobs here on the reservation both for tribal members and others in this community. Not just any jobs, but well-paying jobs and ones that leave them more empowered and ready to move on to something bigger and better and hopefully take some of the experience they learned here and pass that forward.”

The new recreational pot shop will work with local companies to provide a variety of cannabis products including flower, oil, edibles and wax. The store also offers an assortment of glass and CBD products as well as a membership program.

“As a flagship store for the Tulalip Tribes, we recognize that we are in charge of making sure the products that folks find in the store meet the experience that they expect and the brand expectations that come with the Tulalip name. This going to be your top-of-the-line stop for cannabis,” Jonathan explains. “When you come here you’re going to see things you haven’t seen on other shelves, a lot of things from small craft growers, producers and processers. Part of our mission is to make sure that we use our economic influence to help not only small producers and processers, but especially those that are Native-owned and Native-affiliated. This is a Native movement and we want to celebrate that.”

The Tribe has big plans in the future for Remedy Tulalip which may include expansion stores along I-5. Tulalip also intends on exploring the many benefits the plant can offer medicinally, to help heal their people and combat the opioid crisis. 

“Opening a retail shop is really just the tip of the iceberg for the Tulalip Tribes,” Jonathan explains. “Under the company Traditional Biologics, we have plans to open not only a few other cannabis dispensaries here on the reservation but also other companies in cultivation and manufacturing. Eventually we have our eyes set on making an impact when it comes to reminding people that cannabis is medicine. There’s an epidemic facing this country, and certainly here, the opioid epidemic. The folks who really pushed to have cannabis become part of this reservation were forward thinking enough to know that cannabis is actually something that is proving to have a very positive effect on communities that are ravaged by opioids. In many cases CBD has proven to break the addictive pathways in the brain. It’s a natural product that we can grow with the love and spirit that it’s intended.” 

Remedy Tulalip is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. For more information, visit www.RemedyTulalip.com.

Poise under pressure: Malana Richwine crowned Miss Regal Majesty

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Malana Richwine recalls watching her big sister Martelle transform into a beautiful princess as she captivated runway and stage judges alike while competing in national beauty pageants. For nine-year-old Malana, the moment her sister won National Cover Girl and received a dazzling tiara, she was inspired to compete in pageantry. Like little girls everywhere, she dreamed of being a princess. 

After a series of discussions with her parents to prove she was committed to everything pageantry required, they were convinced this was the path for their youngest daughter. Following in her sister’s footsteps, the bold, young Tulalip tribal member set out into the competitive world of beauty pageants under the banner Miss Tulalip. 

“Because Tulalip is my tribe, it’s where I’m growing up, and it’s my community,” says Malana on why she chose to be Miss Tulalip.

In the beginning, it was all about practice, practice, and more practice. Malana had to rehearse every routine, every stage queue, and, yes, even every hair flip until it became muscle memory. Because in pageants, just one misstep, missed mark, or misspoke word on stage can be the difference between placing high or being at the bottom.

  “Pageantry is no different from any other program you put your child into,” explains Malana’s mother, Nickie Richwine. “Gymnastics, Little League, basketball, it all requires money, commitment, practice and lots of hard work on the part of the kids. Malana showed us her dedication by putting the time in to get prepared for a competition she had never done before.”

After months of training with a coach, Malana learned how to strut across a stage with style, keep her poise under pressure and speak into a microphone before crowds of people without faltering. With her personal introduction and stage routines fine-tuned to maximize her sparkling eyes and bubbly personality, Malana was ready to hit the big stage and put her skills to the test. 

“I’ve been practicing and working really hard. Preparing for pageants and going on stage has made me confident,” admits Malana. “I know that anything is possible if I put my mind to it and try my best. I have my mom and dad, my sisters, my coach Jeremy, and so many people back home supporting me.”

Having a dedicated support system has been a reciprocal relationship, with Malana and her family giving back to the community. For example, on weekends she volunteers at local non-profit Leah’s Dream Foundation, which helps support families who have children with autism and other special needs. She’s also dedicated time at Volunteers of America collecting and sorting foods for families in need, and local charitable events like the 5k for the Fallen and the Walk for Autism. 

In August 2017 (Tacoma), November 2017 (Anaheim, California) and March 2018 (Lynnwood), Malana’s confidence soared as she competed in three preliminary pageants. In each of them she wowed the judges in a variety of categories, even surprising herself with how well she performed on the microphone. Most importantly, Malana received high enough marks in all competitions to qualify for her first national pageant, Regal Majesty. 

Beauty pageants aren’t cheap. Fees for preliminary or local contests range from $25 to $95. State level pageants run $150 to $300, and once one gets to the national level, competitors can expect to pay $400 to $1,000 (not including travel and accommodations) just to take part in the basic competitions. These include bonding parties, such as Disney and neon parties, photo portfolios, an interview, photogenic rating, plus formal and theme wear competitions. 

The wardrobe alone can run $400 to $800, depending on whether mom is a clever seamstress. Because the Richwines don’t have money to burn, Nickie has become a whiz at pulling together outfits by adding a ruffle here and some beading there. She also utilizes valuable Tulalip resources, like leaning on Karen Fryberg as a custom wardrobe designer.

To pay for the Regal Majesty pageant experience, momma bear Nickie raised $3,000 in less than five months by holding garage sales, car washes, and 50/50 raffles like a madwoman.

The Regal Majesty National Pageant took place in Seaside, Oregon during July 29-31. All told, 41 contestants including teen, pre-teen, and adult contestants were introduced as the three-day pageant opened. Based on their modeling, confidence, style, and overall grooming, only a handful would be selected to wear the highly coveted Regal Majesty crowns.

Malana competed in seven competitions, having to change wardrobes and remake her hair and makeup on the fly in the short window between events. She showcased a hip, creative, and trendy style the entire time, all while never breaking eye-contact and a beaming smile towards the judges.

“I was really nervous before my first event. I had a nervous attack backstage going ‘oh my god, oh my god I can’t do this’ and had really bad butterflies in my stomach,” describes the animated, soon-to-be 4th grader. “But once I got on stage and could hear my family and friends cheering me on, I felt much better and was able to just have fun.” 

Having fun came easy and her swagger was palpable as each competition came and went. In a group full of deserving youngsters, Malana’s stage game stood out. During the Regal Majesty crowing ceremony, many in the crowd could be overheard talking about Malana as the favorite in her age division.

After the 1st and 2nd runners-up were announced, leaving only the radiating little girl who not so long ago dreamt of being a princess like her big sister, Malana was overcome with emotion and cried tears of joy while being crowned a petite national champion and Miss Regal Majesty. 

“When I realized I won, I was so happy that I couldn’t stop crying. So happy because I did my best, listened to my coach and my mom, and won a national title,” reflects Malana while wearing a dazzling tiara and sash signifying her as Miss Regal Majesty. “Having confidence in myself and smiling, and being focused were the keys to winning. I got to travel with my family and make a bunch of new friends, too.”

  Monica Berginc, national director and owner of Regal Majesty, shares “Malana is so happy and positive. She’s simply amazing! She’s such a hard worker and has participated in so many community service events. In this pageant, we really focus on family, community service, and being positive role models, all of which Malana embodies beautifully.”

Looking forward, Malana is already envisioning herself winning another crown as she’ll be competing for a state title in the upcoming National American Miss pageant.

For the Richwines, competing in pageants has forged a strong bond among mother and daughters. 

“The pressure is tremendous,” says Nickie, “but it’s so cool looking at the pictures and video to remember that feeling of being together and supporting each other. Not many moms have that kind of experience with their daughters. It’s a great feeling to watch their strength and confidence grow. Knowing I play a part in that by supporting and encouraging them to follow their dreams is so fulfilling as a mom.”

Luau-themed lunch brings elders and youth together

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

“Okay, I want everybody to find a partner and create a secret handshake,” instructed DJ Monie Ordonia to a large crowd of elders and youth at the Tulalip Senior Center. “Once you’ve done your handshake, you can come up front and we’ll vote on whose is the best.”

Immediately kids sprung from their seats in search of an elder, someone to create a super-secret and super-cool handshake with. Some were a simple, yet firm handshake. Others were complex and even involved a little choreography. The important thing to note is the youth’s display of respect, how quickly they responded so their elders wouldn’t have to leave their chairs and also how they introduced themselves by explaining their lineage so the elders could identify their family. This was all showcased during the first activity of the Hawaiian Paradise event hosted by the Tulalip Problem Gambling program on August 7. 

The luau-themed luncheon united youth and elders alike in an afternoon of fun, which included a dance group competition. The kids continued to show respect to their elders throughout the day by happily plating and delivering a delicious Hawaiian meal catered by Ryan’s Rez-ipes. 

Nadene Foster and granddaughter Kailani Carpenter-Cox attended the event together and were incidentally paired up during the handshake competition. The ladies won the competition, garnering the most applause from the crowd. 

“It’s important to bring our youth and elders together to hang out with each other,” says Nadene.

“It’s fun just to be together and celebrate,” adds Kailani. “All the elders are awesome. I like how all the kids participated in all of the activities. My favorite was creating a handshake with my grandma.”

The event not only brought youth and elders together, it also shed light on problem gambling and how it can affect your family and community. The youth and elders listed many of the ways gambling addiction can become an issue such as depression, boredom, anxiety and the loss of a family member. The group also took the time to brainstorm other activities people can try instead of gambling, like hiking, exercising, writing, and watching movies as well as attending family and cultural events. 

Deyamonta Diaz and Rachel Steeve of Tulalip Youth Services transported two vans filled with kids from the youth center to Hawaiian Paradise. And just for a brief moment, with the amazing weather paired with the food and décor, one could almost trick themselves into thinking they were actually on one of the beautiful Hawaiian Islands. 

“We attended this last year and we had quite a few kids too,” states Rachel. “It’s important for the kids to sit among their elders because they can teach the youth so many things. They have all of our knowledge and are the only people who can pass it on. And these youth will get the chance to pass on that same knowledge in the future. It reminds kids a lot about respect and taking care of our elders. All the kids prepared plates and brought food and refreshments to the elders, so it teaches them the importance of taking care of our elders because they took care of us at one point.

“It’s really good to see them having fun and interacting with each other,” she continues. “Just walking around the room you can see the smiles and feel the positive energy radiating from everybody. The dance competition was fun, the food was wonderful and it was nice to bring enlightenment to the issues of problem gambling in a fun way that the elders could teach and the youth can grasp.”

For further information regarding gambling addiction, please contact the Tulalip Problem Gambling program at (360) 716-4304. 

National Night Out: Tulalip joins in community-police partnership building event

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

It was a gorgeous afternoon, clear skies and just a little over eighty degrees, on August 7. The tide was high and the waters of Tulalip Bay appeared more blue than usual, providing a spectacular view for the Tulalip community as they gathered to celebrate the 35th Annual National Night Out with the Tulalip Police Department (TPD). Held in the Tulalip Youth Services parking lot, the event attracted several families of many generations who they came to have a good time and thank local law officials for protecting the community. 

“National Night Out is an annual event that most law enforcement agencies throughout the United States hold for their communities, typically in the month of August,” explains Tulalip Interim Chief Sherman Pruitt. “The police department and other tribal departments come together to provide resources, that way people can see the services that are offered and provided to them within their community. It’s always a great time. The kids come out, we have jumpies, we have our K-9 officer, we have the police vehicle that kids can go in and out of. Just spending that time so they can see the police officers in a different, positive light.”

That summertime barbeque aroma filled the air while officers grilled up hot dogs for their guests. Attendees visited the many stations at the event, learning about services offered at programs like the Tulalip Child Advocacy Center, the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy and the Legacy of Healing. The Tulalip Office of Emergency Management was also in attendance and provided local citizens with safety information, as was the Tulalip Lions Club who donated numerous books to the youth.

The Tulalip Bay Fire Department was sure to make an appearance at National Night Out to re-spark an old on-the-court basketball rivalry between the two emergency response teams. This year, however, the Fire Department and TPD decided to mix things up, literally, by creating teams consisting of players from both departments on each team. A terrific display of camaraderie as Chief Pruitt passed the ball to Tulalip Bay Fire Department Chief Shaughnessy, exclaiming, ‘hit that Ryan!’

“We’re here to show our support for our local law enforcement and also be here for the community,” says Chief Shaughnessy. “It’s a fun night; the community gets to see their firefighters and their police officers and get in touch with them when it’s not a 9-1-1 call. It’s a great night for everybody to meet up, play some basketball, do some BBQ-ing and see the fire trucks and police cars. We appreciate TPD extending the invitation to us, we’re glad to be here.”

TPD officers gave the youth an up close look at their squad cars, showing them all of the cameras and gadgets they use while on the job. Officers were seen socializing with community members and laughter could be heard from all directions of the parking lot. 

“It was a great turnout,” states TPD Officer, Aissa Thompson. “Everyone brought their families and I enjoy meeting new people. It’s good getting acquainted with the community you don’t always get a chance to interact with on a day-to-day basis. It was great playing basketball with a few of the girls from the community as well. I appreciate everybody coming out.”

As young Tulalip tribal member Kaiser Moses visited each booth, he took a moment to take in all of the good vibes his fellow community members seemed to be exuding. 

“I like to see everybody talking, having fun and getting to know each other a little more,” he expressed. “It’s really important for the law enforcement and community to get together and talk because that’s what makes a strong bond. It’s important to have good communication between the law enforcement and the community because the law enforcement is what protects the community. And you don’t want the community to be afraid of the law enforcement, you want them to be like friends.”

  Another successful National Night Out is in the books for TPD as this year’s event was a smash yet again, strengthening the relationship between the community and the police force that much more. 

“My favorite part is the kids,” says Chief Pruitt. “Seeing them come over to see us and ask questions, because they’ve got an abundance of questions to ask, regarding law enforcement and showing an interest in that. Some of them even expressed that they want to be police officers when they grow up and I love to hear that.”

Special Needs Field Day a great time for all

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

There was no shortage of laughter and joy on the sunny afternoon of July 29, as the Tulalip community gathered for the second annual Special Needs Field Day held at the Kenny Moses Building. The summertime event, hosted by Tulalip Youth Services, caters to the local children of Tulalip who are living with learning or physical disabilities, providing a fun-filled day for the kids and their families. 

The community turned out in large numbers as around seventy people showed up for the field day event to create everlasting memories as well as an assortment of crafts such as slime and glitter bottles. Two big bouncy houses were setup next to the longhouse overlooking Tulalip Bay. The kids enjoyed snow cones as they posed for caricature portraits and received henna tattoos and face paintings. 

The fan favorite gold-panning station returned, which is a hands-on experience that allows the special needs children to explore and engage in sensory play that is both fun and not too overstimulating for them. This year, Youth Services added a new activity, a foam pit, which easily became the new favorite amongst the kids as they enjoyed escaping from view of their peers, popping in and out of the bubbles during hide-and-seek. 

“This year really came together because I wanted to build off of what we did last year,” says Youth Services Special Needs Advocate, Joe Boon. “We added a foam pit. The kids can go in and run around in a bunch of soapy foam and they love it. Some of them come out and are just soaked and covered in bubbles, it’s great. A lot of the activities they are doing requires them to work with their hands and that helps with that fine motor skill need that they have. All of the activities we planned are related to sensory and their needs.”

Upon arriving to Special Needs Field Day, young Chris Ring was ecstatic to see some of his friends and counselors at the event. 

“Mom, mom look who it is, you’re not going to believe it,” he happily exclaimed when seeing one of his friends. “I can’t believe he’s here, this is going to be so good.”

“Bringing the community together for Special Needs Field Day is very important,” states Chris’ mom, Katrina Ring. “It helps the kids feel embraced and the sensory play teaches them in a fun and comfortable environment. It’s very open and inviting for them because they just want to have fun like everyone else.”

 Fresh off an undefeated season with the Battle Creek PGA Jr. League, young tribal members and brothers Braiden and Brodie Kane were in attendance. Decked out in face paintings and tattoos, the brothers visited every station throughout the day.

“My favorite part was everything!” exclaimed Braiden.

“Yeah, I had fun,” adds Brodie. “I got a snow cone, I went and jumped around in the Mickey Mouse bouncy, but the mining was the best. I found a bunch of different jewels, coins, crystals – all kinds of stuff!”

After an exciting day, the kids were tired out as they said goodbye to their pals and began to journey home.

“Hopefully tired enough for a nap on the ride home,” joked Braiden and Brodie’s mom, Dinesha Kane. “It was a good day, for real though. I want to thank Amy [Sheldon], Joe, Youth Services and Leah’s Dream Foundation. Everyone volunteers their time to these youth and the kids have a blast. These events are special to the community because it brings us together as a tribe, as a people. Our kids get to know each other, they get to meet new friends and see their cousins and family and it’s just a great time for everyone.” 

For additional information, including upcoming special needs youth events, please contact Joe Boon at (360) 716-4912.