Cultural fair celebrates diversity at QCT Elementary

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Students of Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary, along with their families, were captivated by the richness of Native American song and dance during the Cultural Fair held on the evening of April 24th. In collaboration with Marysville School District (MSD) Indian Education, Tulalip Youth Services and school staff, the Cultural Fair celebrated the wonderfully diverse community that is the Tulalip/Marysville area. 

Over a hundred participants filled the elementary multi-purpose room where a hearty dinner was enjoyed by all. Following the meal, there was a variety of family-friendly activities to engage in. Interactive booths and presentations represented several cultures from around the world, including Tulalip, Guam, the Philippines and the United Kingdom.

“It’s always nice to learn about other cultures because it creates a better understanding between people,” shared QCT Teacher, Ms. Sablan. Along with her daughter, the duo were presenters of the Guam station. “I taught on Guam for six years and during that time I loved learning about the culture. While there I married and had a daughter who is Pacific Islander. My passion for embracing vibrant culture was the reason I became an educator at Tulalip after attending a Salmon Ceremony years ago.”

As fair goers made their way around the room they gained insights into other cultures and traditions. Of course, the variety of Native cultural stations was the most popular. There was dreamcatcher making under the guidance of experienced staff members and even a fry bread station manned by Chelsea Craig and her daughter Kamaya. 

With the weather cooperating, many people wound up outside after hearing the call of the Native round-drum. Terrance Sabbas, Native Liaison for MSD, led a series of round-drum songs that held the attention of everyone young and old. Several young girls, dressed in their powwow regalia, shared their dance skills to the rhythmic beats of the drum. 

“It means a lot for our kids to have pride in who they are and where they come from,” said Terrance. “When different tribes come together to celebrate with song and dance it’s even more special. Seeing youth who have the confidence to share their dances is awesome. To know they have that within themselves and are willing to share that with our community is inspiring.”

The musical jam session continued with a variety of hand-drum songs led by Ray Fryberg.

The Cultural Fair was a success in putting a spotlight on the richness of a diverse community; knowledge was gained and shared. For those with a strong understanding of historical context, the fact that so many were able to participate in traditional song and dance is a testament to the strong Native spirit.

“When the boarding school was here, our songs, our dances and all our ceremonies were prohibited by law. It was the aim of the government to assimilate the Indians into American society. For many years our people couldn’t speak their language or sing their songs for fear of punishment,” explained Ray Fryberg, Executive Director of Natural Resources. “It’s important for us to know who we are and where we come from, to retain the parts of our culture that make us unique. The boarding school era sought to take all that away from us, but we endured.

“Now, we have our own schools where we can teach our culture to the young ones; it gives them a cultural identity and builds up their self-esteem. The drum has a voice that calls to our people; it has its own good medicine. You can see how much the children love learning their culture. Our songs and dances are an expression of the inner spirit and that’s the one thing that can’t be taken away from us.”

Holiday Party for Special Guests

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

During the evening of Tuesday, December 12, the Tulalip Youth Center came alive with the sounds of holiday music and children’s laughter. The festive atmosphere was the result of a joint effort by Youth Services and Leah’s Dream Foundation to host an early Christmas party for Native students with specials needs and their families.

“So thankful for the many people who worked hard to put this event on for our Native youth with disabilities,” said Amy Sheldon, a longtime officer of the Special Education Parent Advisory Council. “It’s these amazing people who support our kids [and have a] passion for change. As we continue to work hard we can make a difference.

“Thank you so much Jessica Ellen Bustad and Joe Boon for your continued support. Monica Holmes, you and your family rock. Thank you to Denise Hatch-Anderson and Malory Simpson, you mean the world to us. Bonnie and Bryce Juneau, we love you both so much for bringing so much joy to these kids’ eyes. Theresa Sheldon and Mel Sheldon thank you for coming and supporting our youth and always supporting Leah’s Dream Foundation.”

The evening’s holiday cheer included many fun activities and craft making, like creating hand-made ornaments for Christmas trees and making ginger bread houses. Even Mr. and Mrs. Clause made a surprise appearance to take photos with their spirited guests.

“Many of us, both parents and children with special needs were deeply touched by the words in [Scott Ballenger’s] prayer and felt grateful for the support of Leah’s Dream Foundation and the Tulalip Tribes for recognizing our struggles and creating an event specially designed to include and meet our diverse needs,” praised Monica Holmes, mother of four special needs children. “Moreover, [this event] created a place for us to have fun and meet other families with similar challenges.”

The prayer to which Monica mentions above was offered by Scott Ballenger, Marysville YMCA Diverse Abilities Trainer /Coordinator. Scott’s prayer was one of inclusion and was as follows:

“I say a prayer of inclusion. I pray not to be isolated during this holiday season. I pray for the resources that I need to be included in family and community activities. I may need some help when I wake up in the morning. I may need some help getting bathed and dressed and fed. I may need a little extra time.

“Be patient with me if I seem anxious, depressed, or distracted. Living with disability is not easy. I still want to be included. I want to show you what I can do. I want to help. Let me show you how capable I am. I’m an asset to my community.

“The differences are what make us human. I pray that you accept my diversity as a necessary part of our community. Accept and advocate for my place in our community. Accept me and my prayer will be answered. Amen.”

New backpacks, fresh supplies

BackpackDist2014 from Tulalip News on Vimeo.

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

TULALIP – The annual Tulalip Tribes Youth Services backpack distribution kicked off the farewell to summer as hundreds of Tulalip youth attended a block party held on Tuesday, August 26, at the Don Hatch Jr. Youth Center.

The annual event, held at the Quil Ceda & Tulalip Elementary School in the past, was held for the first time at the youth center, which accommodated space for a large lunch, education booths, backpack distribution, and the highlight of the event: games and carnival-like activities.

Tulalip tribal youth and other Native youth, Pre-K through 12th grade enrolled in the Marysville School District, were provided a backpack filled with basic school supplies required by grade, which helps to lessen the back-to-school cost experienced by parents.

Tulalip Tribes Youth Services distributed over 1,400 backpacks during the event. Youth not present at the block party to receive a backpack may contact the Youth Services Department at 360-716-4902 to collect their backpack.

 

Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402; bmontreuil@tulalipnews.com

 

Youth become government employees though summer program

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Fifteen-year-old Tulalip tribal member Demery Johnson, in her second year participating in the Tulalip Tribes Youth Employment Program, says her position in Tulalip Probation is helping her gain work skills she hopes to use in business administration one day. Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Fifteen-year-old Tulalip tribal member Demery Johnson, in her second year participating in the Tulalip Tribes Youth Employment Program, says her position in Tulalip Probation is helping her gain work skills she hopes to use in business administration one day.
Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

TULALIP – Each year Tulalip youth, 14 -18 years old, have a chance to gain work experience before graduation through the Tulalip Tribes Youth Employment Program. The program, funded by the Tulalip Tribes Youth Services Department, is designed to provide Native youth with a positive work experience to foster future growth.

This year funding was available originally for 70 positions with a stipulation that youth applying attend a three-day orientation and meet a 2.0 GPA standard. After receiving additional funding allocated by the Tulalip Board of Directors, the GPA restriction was removed and 30 additional positions added. The program, at the time of this article, had 75 youth employed.
“The most important role of this program in the community is that we are showing our youth that work and dedication is important. Starting work at a young age is a good thing, then they they turn 18, they are more prepared to get a job and be successful employees,” said Jessica Bustad, Tulalip Youth Services Education Coordinator.
The goal of the program she says “is to have youth gain skills, confidence and knowledge that they can use to obtain a full time job in the future.” This essentially puts youth who participate in the program ahead of their peers when applying for future jobs. These youth will have already established critical job skills that ensure success, such as abiding by professional standards, keeping confidentiality, and time management.
In fact, the Tribe has hired youth who have participated in the program said Bustad, due to the youth’s excellent work while in the program. “There have been several throughout the years and it is an awesome thing to see. Two years ago we had an 18-year-old start the Youth Employment Program and resign from it because she applied and received a regular position with the department she was assigned to.”
Youth are treated like regular employees, which means they are required to work a typical 40-hour workweek, a task that may seem daunting for those who are suddenly required to conduct themselves in a professional manner in a government setting, such as the Tulalip Tribes. However, many youth relish in the opportunity to be responsible. Demery Johnson is one of them.

Despite being only 15, and in her second year working in the program, she chose to work in the Tulalip Tribes Probation Department at the Tulalip Tribal Court, a position that requires strict confidentiality and professionalism.
“I chose this department because I wanted to get a more business feel,” said Johnson who worked last year at the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club and plans to open her own bakery one day. “I wanted to be able to put on my resume that I have worked in a professional environment. I have learned how probation works and how the court operates.”
Although a court house and a probation department may seem like high-risk positions to have youth work, Bustad explains the Tribe’s youth services education staff decide job placements based on surveys youth fill out that ask questions such as what their interests are.
“We provide the youth with a survey and look at what requests we have for youth. We try to place youth where they will be successful and interested. This can also be a challenge if we do not receive youth worker requests from departments that youth wish to work at,” said Bustad.
“This program helps in many different ways,” said Bustad. “Supervisors and co-workers provide youth with training and other learning opportunities within the departments. This program is teaching them good work ethics and how to communicate properly with others in the workforce.”
“This program benefits me and other youth in a way that we can actually experience what the real world is like and be put into real world situations and actually experience them with a little bit of training wheels instead of just being put into them without any guidance,” said Johnson, whose job duties include office tasks, such as answering phones, greeting clients, taking messages, and filing and data input. Her position in probation teaches her how court cases are processed and how to interact with clients in addition to how a probation department supervises clients during criminal proceedings
“What I like most about the probation department is that I am not treated like a child. I am treated like an equal. I thought it would be boring but what surprised me was going into court and seeing how it works. I am glad to be here and gain this experience. I would encourage everyone to participate,” said Johnson.“The GPA requirement wasn’t a problem for me. A 2.0 is a C-, and having a GPA requirement is a good thing. Last year there were many kids who didn’t want to work, and this is actually achieving a goal. They are hanging a paycheck in front of you saying you have to be able to at least get this, and it is doable. I think that it is a great thing to do. Just like making them take a drug test, which is perfectly normal, it is what you would do in the real world. It shows you that you have to actually work to get stuff in the real world. I don’t see what would hold anybody back. Other than amusement parks, I would be just sitting at home. There is nothing to lose, you get paid and you get experience.”

 

Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402; bmontreuil@tulalipnews.com

 

 

Tulalip skateboarders get a say in design plans for new skatepark

Tulalip skateboarders gather after a meeting held on May 15, with Seattle's Grindline lead designer Micah Shapiro, on design ideas for new Tulalip skatepark. Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Tulalip skateboarders gather after a meeting held on May 15, with Seattle’s Grindline lead designer Micah Shapiro, on design ideas for new Tulalip skatepark.
Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

TULALIP – Skaters and longboarders had reason to celebrate on May 3, when the Tulalip Board of Directors made a motion to approve funding to build a skate park in Tulalip during a regular board meeting.

Tulalip Skate Park, the unofficial name the park is being called currently, will join a number of skateparks being built on reservations across Indian country, such as recently opened Port Gamble S’Klallam and Lummi Skatepark, opened in April.

A community meeting was held on May 15, at the Tulalip Don Hatch Youth Center, to discuss design ideas, site location, and park size. In attendance were nearly 20 Tulalip youth, including Tulalip Board of Directors, Marlin Fryberg Jr., Deborah Parker, Les Parks, Theresa Sheldon, Marie Zackuse and Tulalip Interim General Manager Misty Napeahi. Micah Shapiro, lead designer for Seattle concrete skatepark design and construction company, Grindline, was also in attendance.

Tulalip skateboarders show off their skills in possibly location for new Tulalip Skatepark during meeting held on May 15, with Seattle's Grindline. Photo/ Brandi n. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Tulalip skateboarders show off their skills in possibly location for new Tulalip Skatepark during meeting held on May 15, with Seattle’s Grindline.
Photo/ Brandi n. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Grindline, who built the Port Gamble S’Klallam Skatepark, creates progressive and engaging skateparks with a design philosophy that each skatepark be tailored to its users and existing surroundings, and welcomes community engagement during the design process.

“I want to support the youth and this Board of Directors wants to support the youth,” said Tulalip vice-chairman Les Parks, to the youth in attendance. “You’ve been asking for a skatepark. There has always been a reason why we can’t make it happen, but this year it is going to happen. September 1 is our deadline that we are going to impose upon ourselves.”

Two sites are being considered for the park’s location, the grassy area in front of the youth center’s council room parking area and across the street from the Greg Williams Court, by the Tribe’s old finance building area. Youth favored the site across the street from the Greg Williams Court due to parking, length of skatepark use, elimination of possible beach erosion, and the incorporation of natural elements into final design ideas.

Seattle's Grindline lead designer Micah Shapiro talks with Tulalip skateboarders on May 15 about conceptual design ideas for new Tulalip Skatepark. Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Seattle’s Grindline lead designer Micah Shapiro talks with Tulalip skateboarders on May 15 about conceptual design ideas for new Tulalip Skatepark.
Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Youth presented conceptual ideas along with concerns about park use, amenities, size and safety. Youth advocated for onsite security to eliminate potential drug use or selling in the area by visitors.

Size of the park was another concern for youth, who toured local parks for ideas. The requested 10,000 to 12,000 square feet would allow for a variety of skating elements in one structure, and cost up to $400,000.

“There are a lot of possibilities that you can do with a skate park,” said Shapiro, during his presentation of finished Grindline skateparks. “What we are doing is getting community input through community outreach. The things that need to be considered when you’re designing a skatepark are flow and who the users will be. You have to look at how elements are related to each other; because you are looking at the environment you are designing in. Places to watch are parking lot access; utilities such as restrooms and lights, adjacent uses and impacts near the park. All that has to be considered.”

Tulalip skateboarders listen to budget concerns in a meeting held on May 15, about the newly approved Tulalip Skatepark. Photo courtesy / Ty Juvinel

Tulalip skateboarders listen to budget concerns in a meeting held on May 15, about the newly approved Tulalip Skatepark.
Photo courtesy / Ty Juvinel

“It will come down to budget,” said Tulalip Board Member Marlin Fryberg Jr., about park amenities, such as a request for a roof over the skatepark. “We will have to come up with different options and designs and then go from there. We are not ruling out roof, but that may have to be in phase two of the project.

A final design plan is still being drafted and will include size, location, budget, and skatepark amenities. A budget will be presented once the final design is complete.

For more information on the next community skatepark meeting please contact, Tulalip Youth Services at 360-716-4909.

 

Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402; bmontreuil@tulalipnews.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don Hatch Youth Center open to spring break activities for Tulalip youth

The ribbon was cut on April 7, 2014,  by Tulalip Tribes General Manager Sheryl Fryberg and former Tulalip Board member Don Hatch Jr., which the center is named after, to mark the official opening of the new center that will provide youth, 13-17 years old, a positive environment to hang out in. Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

The ribbon was cut on April 7, 2014, by Tulalip Tribes General Manager Sheryl Fryberg and former Tulalip Board member Don Hatch Jr., which the center is named after, to mark the official opening of the new center that will provide youth, 13-17 years old, a positive environment to hang out in.
Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

by Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

TULALIP, WA. – Tulalip youth, 13 to 17 years old, now have a building to call their own with the opening of the Tulalip Don Hatch Youth Center.

A ribbon cutting ceremony held on Monday, April 7, coincided with the first day of spring break for Tulalip youth, and marks the official opening of the center that was designed with this age group in mind.

Amenities in the center include a new basketball court, game room, work out room, and large commons area for studying or visiting.

For questions about the Don Hatch Youth Center, please contact Tulalip Youth Services at 360-716-4909.

 

Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402; bmontreuil@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

 

 

Tulalip Don Hatch Youth Center opening ceremony from Brandi Montreuil on Vimeo.

Above the new basketball court in the Don Hatch Youth Center gym hangs the former basketball middle court emblem which previously used to be where the new youth center sits. Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Above the new basketball court in the Don Hatch Youth Center gym hangs the former basketball middle court emblem which previously used to be where the new youth center sits.
Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

 

The new Don Hatch Youth Center's gym still displays on the walls cutouts of the former basketball court flooring that new center's basketball court replaced. Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

The new Don Hatch Youth Center’s gym still displays on the walls cutouts of the former basketball court flooring that new center’s basketball court replaced.
Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

 

Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

 

Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

 

The Don Hatch Youth Center will be available to Tulalip youth, 13-17 years old. Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

The Don Hatch Youth Center will be available to Tulalip youth, 13-17 years old.
Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

 

The Don Hatch Youth Center ribbon cutting ceremony, held on April 7, 2014, included a packed day of fun activities for Tulalip youth, including a visit from the Bubble Man, Garry Golightly. Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

The Don Hatch Youth Center ribbon cutting ceremony, held on April 7, 2014, included a packed day of fun activities for Tulalip youth, including a visit from the Bubble Man, Garry Golightly.
Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

 

Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

 

Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A modern day father, Josh Fryberg

by Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Tulalip tribal member Josh Fryberg works with hundreds of youth through Tulalip Youth Services. As the athletics directors he encourages kids to respect themselves and others.Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil

Tulalip tribal member Josh Fryberg works with hundreds of youth through Tulalip Youth Services. As the athletics directors he encourages kids to respect themselves and others.
Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil

TULALIP, Wash., – He may not have a cape, fly at death defying heights, or have a special power, but Tulalip tribal member Josh Fryberg is still a hero to his four girls. And for the hundreds of youth that have passed through the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club and Tulalip Youth Services, he is a mentor, coach, and advocate.

Fryberg entered the elite club of fatherhood at a young age. He was 19 and had a reputation as a party boy, but when his oldest, Lillyannah was born, he made a decision to quit that way of life and work to secure a future for his child.

Fresh out of high school with a family to support, he took a job at the Tulalip casino and quickly added a second job at the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club. Working 16-hour days meant he missed out on his daughter’s developmental milestones, but he was committed to providing for his family, and committed to being a mentor to the hundreds of kids he worked with at the club.

After a few years, his two jobs turned into one. He became the Teen Program Director at the club and was able to spend more time with his family. During this time, his daughters Julianna and Kyla were born and he became a foster parent to his younger brother and nephew. He soon realized that his brood didn’t just include his own children, but the hundreds of kids he worked with on a daily basis.

“A lot of the kids I work with, I kind of think of them as my kids too. I mentor them, I talk to them about the epidemic of drugs and alcohol out here. This epidemic is affecting a lot of kids that I am not even working with yet. But the main thing I tell the kids is, don’t be afraid to be yourself,” said Fryberg, who encourages youth to set goals for themselves to show them positive attitudes and commitment to goals will help them achieve their dreams.

His own goal as a father has been to provide his children with the tools they need to succeed, including teaching them respect for themselves and for others.

“Not every kid is going to be the same; every kid is going to like something different. I encourage them to do the best at what they want to do. If it is sports or arts, give it 100 percent and do their best.”

After working with the club for five years, Fryberg took a position as the Athletics Director at Tulalip Youth Services, where he continued working with youth. During this time he and his wife Danielle added another daughter, Maliyah, to their expanding family.

Through his new position, he had the opportunity to reach out to older youth and mentor them about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. As the athletics director he used sports to teach responsibility, commitment to goals, and respect.

“I teach all my youth that believing is achieving. Hard work will pay off and teamwork makes dream work. You are never alone. Don’t be afraid to be yourself and treat others the way you would like to be treated. Always respect your elders because they helped bring us to where we are today.”

The best support he offers to older youth who are becoming fathers, are lessons he learned.

“It’s a lot of responsibility to be a father. You have to provide for your family, mentally, physically, emotionally and financially. It is a full time job being a father. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, because someone is always willing to help you out. That was one of the hardest things I had a problem with when I was younger. I didn’t want to ask anybody anything. I wanted to show everybody I could do it on my own, and come to find out later, there is a lot of people that are willing to help you out as a young parent, and the Tribe has a lot of programs to.”

While every father knows fatherhood isn’t the easiest job in the world and at times can test every ounce of patience you have, it is still the most rewarding thing life has to offer.

“My favorite memories of my daughters are when I saw them born, their first steps, first day at school, and just watching them become who they are going to be. Working with kids is a 24-hour job, so I missed out on a lot of things with my girls when they were little, but I’ve never regretted it. I couldn’t have done it without my wife.”

Now a seasoned father with his own battle tales, Fryberg says nothing can prepare you fatherhood, but a little advice can go a long way.

“Don’t give up on your dreams or your education. Find your passion and what kind of work you want to do, because if you are not happy with your job it will affect your whole life. And buy diapers and wipes in advance.”