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.

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.”