Burke educators share cultural insights with Hibulb visitors

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

It was a much busier than normal morning for the Hibulb Cultural Center as many visitors, from young kids to elders, stopped in on April 5 to take advantage of a new opportunity to get up close and personal with cultural objects, artifacts and traditional items. Learning more about Tulalip and other tribes in the Pacific Northwest was made possible by the BurkeMobile and its helpful program educators.

BurkeMobile is a traveling program that brings Burke educators and real museum objects to learning environments across the state. Program participants are able to investigate the cultural heritage of local tribes through hands-on activities that stimulate curiosity and model new ways to learn. 

“BurkeMobile is our statewide outreach program. We travel all over the state visiting schools, communities, and public libraries to showcase natural history and culture programs,” explained Katharine Caning, Burke Mobile Manager. “This specific program we’ve brought to Hibulb is called Living Traditions. It’s about Native American cultural traditions in Washington State.”

A highly appreciated program created by Burke Museum, located on the University of Washington campus, BurkeMobile was created specifically to stimulate learning about accurate Native culture. The program has included Native voices in its creation, such as collaborating with Hibulb and adding a mock Hibulb Village with accompanying miniature longhouse and canoe display. 

“Part of this program is help teachers implement Since Time Immemorial curriculum in their classrooms,” continued Katharine. “A piece of that is having the learning material be more localized in order for students to learn about tribes living close to them. For example, when we reached out to Tulalip, Hibulb offered to build a model longhouse for us to display when we go to schools in this area.”

Over the two-hour window BurkeMobile was available, many Hibulb visitors, especially the youth, were engaged with the hands-on materials. They saw how cultural practices can grow and change over time from generation to generation and learned about the diverse, local Native culture. Burke educators were more than willing to answer any questions and offer insights into various subjects, just like they do when traveling to schools.

“One thing we always do is tell students whose ancestral lands they are on and what tribal cultural center is closest to them. We encourage them to learn more about tribes and ask questions to further their understanding,” shared Beatrice Garrard, BurkeMobile Education Assistant. “These traditions are ancient, in that they have been practiced since time immemorial, yet they have been adopted and are still ongoing today. Students learn that even though some of the objects look old, they were in fact created recently and these items are part of a still living tradition.”

For more information about the BurkeMobile, please contact (206) 543-5591 or email burked@uw.edu 

Darkness to Light, empowering people to take action against abuse

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

“Childhood sexual abuse is a topic a lot of people don’t want to talk about,” says Tulalip Child Advocacy Center Manager, Jade Carela. “A lot of people think if they don’t hear about it or think about it, it’s not happening. But the reality is, it’s happening. It’s happening on our reservation. It’s happening a lot. The silence is what keeps it going, not talking about it and not getting proper education about it.” 

Tulalip Family Advocacy, consisting of the Child Advocacy Center, beda?chelh, Legacy of Healing, Family Haven and the Tulalip Safe House, is bringing support, awareness and education to the community during the entire month of April to help prevent childhood abuse and sexual assault. Throughout the country, communities are either observing April as National Child Abuse Prevention Month or National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Family Advocacy, however, decided to dedicate the month to raising awareness to both causes by hosting several events to help survivors of sexual crimes heal, as well as inform local citizens about how to prevent childhood sexual assault from occurring and also how to respond and report when somebody opens up to you about sexual abuse.  

The first event of Family Advocacy’s month of awareness was the two-hour Darkness to Light training held at the Tulalip Administration building on April 10. Darkness to Light is a national non-profit organization that empowers adults to take action and prevent childhood sexual abuse. The organization created the Stewards of Children training, which features a video presentation that teaches participants the ‘5 Steps to Protecting Our Children’ – learn the facts, minimize opportunity, talk about it, recognize the signs and react responsibly. 

The video presentation, told through the voices of adults who were victims of childhood sexual assault, revealed some very shocking statistics. One in every 10 kids are sexually abused by the age of eighteen; 90% of childhood victims know their abuser – 30% are abused by family, 60% are by friends of family and trusted adults and 40% are committed by older children. And when and if reported to police, 66% of all sexual assault cases involved youth and 35% of those accounts happened to children ages eleven and younger. Children who are survivors of sexual crimes experience a lifetime of trauma which can often lead to anxiety, depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, defiance, teen pregnancy, promiscuity, eating disorders, self-inflicted harm and suicide. It is important to note that those statistics are based on incidents reported and many childhood sexual abuse incidents go unreported out of fear, shame and lack of support. 

“The Darkness to Light trainings equips community members with the knowledge of how to put measures in place to help prevent childhood sexual abuse and how to recognize the signs of childhood sexual abuse,” explains Sydney Gilbert, Tulalip Child Advocacy Center Forensic Interview Specialist. “You hear from a lot of survivors in this video, showing that it is possible to move forward if people have the support they need.”

During the video, the survivors recounted their attacks – who their abuser was, when the horrible act(s) occurred and how it altered their lives and interactions with others forever. More importantly, the victims detailed their life experiences after their assault, their struggles and how they worked through their trauma, showing other survivors that they can work towards healing and lead healthy and productive lives once addressing the incident. The video also covered the importance of helping your child establish personal boundaries with others, monitoring internet usage and listening for clues the child may be dropping, as kids tend to feel situations out before completely confiding in an adult. After the video, participants take part in an open discussion and are presented with a certificate for completing the Stewards of Children training. 

“This is one of the first classes I’ve been to that’s based on prevention,” states Tulalip tribal member, Toni Sheldon. “We’re done reacting, we need to be proactive. These are our kids, our future. We need to stop this cycle.”  

“I want this community to become more informed,” expressed Jade. “Typically, when we’re talking about childhood sexual abuse, we expect the child to disclose, to tell an adult. We expect the child to know when something bad is happening to them and that’s not right. We as the adults need to start taking the initiative. It needs to be put on us to take care of these children and start recognizing the signs. When we’re in public and notice someone is touching a child, not necessarily completely inappropriate, but you can tell that the child is uncomfortable with it; and not always expecting your children to hug family members because kids sense things differently than adults do and there might be a reason for that. And when a child is disclosing, a lot people aren’t properly educated on how to respond to that and sometimes it can make the child not want to disclose at all. So most of the time, children never do tell their story, they never tell what happened to them.

“These trainings are important because they teach us, as adults, to take back that accountability,” she continues. “It teaches us how to start recognizing different things within the community and the people we’re around. It teaches us how to stand up and say something. I want the victims to know that there are safe people in our community to talk to about abuse that has happened. There are people who will believe them and walk that path with them so they’re not alone.”

Family Advocacy is hosting a free movie night and discussion on Friday April 13 at the Mission Highlands Community Center from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. where they will be screening the movie Wind River.  Another Darkness to Light training will be held on Wednesday April 25, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Tulalip Administration building. National Child Abuse Prevention and Sexual Assault Awareness Month will wrap up with Helping Our Sisters Heal, a traditional-inspired gathering for the women of the community who are survivors of violence and sexual assault. This will be held Saturday, April 28, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Old Dining Hall. 

 For further information, please contact Sydney Gilbert at (360) 716-4097 and to report child sexual abuse please contact the proper authorities by referring to the list of community resources provided by the Tulalip Child Advocacy Center.  

 

__________________________________________________________

Community Resources for Responding to Child Sexual Abuse Tulalip and Snohomish County

Call the report abuse

Contact the CPS Program at 1-866-End-Harm or any Law Enforcement Agency at 911. You are not required to provided proof. Anyone who makes a good faith report based on reasonable grounds is immune from prosecution. If the abuse occurred within the past 72 hours, a medical evaluation by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner is available by going to the Emergency Department of your County Medical Center or going to the nearest child advocacy center. 

HELPLINES

  • DVS assault hotline 425-252-2873
  • 24-hour mental health crisis care line 800-584-3578
  • Darkness to Light helpline 1-866-FOR-LIGHT    (1-866-367-5444)

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Legal Help

  • Tulalip Office of Civil Legal Aid 360-716-4773
  • NW Justice Project 425-252-8515

Victim Advocacy

  • Tulalip Child Advocacy Center 360-716-5437
  • Legacy of Healing 360-716-4100

RESOURCES FOR HEALING

Treatment Providers

  • Tulalip Family Services 360-716-4400
  • Tulalip Youth and Family Wellness 360-716-4224
  • Catholic Community Services 360-651-2366

Support groups for survivors and for parents and families of children who have been abused

  • Providence Assault and Abuse Services 425-297-5782

WEBSITES FOR MORE INFORMATION ON CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE AND/OR TRAUMA

Child Advocacy Centers in Snohomish County

Feel free to call the center with any questions about where to find resources related to child sexual abuse. Contact the nearest CAC to set up an interview of abuse is reported: 

Tulalip Child Advocacy Center  360-716-5437  2321 Marine Dr., Tulalip, WA 98271

Dawson’s Place 425-789-3000   1509 California St   Everett, WA 98201  Dawsonplace.org

Tulalip Little League begins second season

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

The bases were loaded as young Tulalip tribal member, Jordan Bontempo, stepped up to the plate. “Alright guys, last hitter,” was heard from the pitching mound. As Jordan quickly fell behind in the count, he remained patient looking for a pitch in the middle of the strike zone and once he got it, he hammered it. A gapper in between left and center field resulted in an inside-the-park grand slam. As Jordan rounded third base he loudly exclaimed, “I love baseball” before sliding home.

Although this occurred at the end of practice and each hitter received a total of eight pitches before using the tee, ensuring everybody got on base, it doesn’t take away from the excitement the kids share for the second season of Tulalip Little League Baseball.  Last year, through the strong efforts of Tulalip tribal member, Marlin Fryberg Jr., Tulalip became the first Tribal Little League Division in the state of Washington. The process of establishing a little league is a very demanding task, so Marlin sought assistance from Tulalip tribal members Josh Fryberg and Shawn Sanchey; as well as a strong team of volunteers who serve as Tulalip Little League coaches and board members. Marlin, who was recently elected to the Tulalip Board of Directors, stepped down from his position as Tulalip Little League President this year, allowing Josh to serve as President and Shawn as Vice-President. 

“The kids are loving it,” says Shawn. “Baseball is kind of new out here. At first, there were some kids that were shy, didn’t want to play and wanted to go home. But when they caught their first ball, their eyes lit up like, this is amazing. So, it’s going pretty awesome so far. Last year we had three teams and this year we have eleven. More and more kids are coming out, so it’s improving.”

The little league consists of four divisions, based on age and experience, and include both boys and girls teams for Tee Ball – ages four to six, Rookies – ages seven to eight, Triple A -ages nine to eleven and Majors – ages ten to twelve. This year, the Tulalip Little League has announced they will also have a Challenger Division for the children of the community with special needs. Shawn expressed his excitement for the new division, noting that once Marysville Little League heard the news, they were inspired to begin a Challenger Division as well. 

This year, the young sluggers will be sporting red jerseys that feature the very popular and stylish ‘T’ logo that debuted last season. The season will consist of inter-league matchups as well as games against neighboring little league divisions, totaling approximately twenty games for each team. Sponsors for the 2018 Tulalip Little League include a few local tribal member-owned businesses as well as Rushmore Tax Service and Screen Printing Northwest. To add to the excitement, one lucky player of Tulalip Little League, picked at random, will get to throw the first pitch of a Mariners game this summer. 

“Tulalip Little League provides a lot of opportunities for the kids,” says Shawn. “I think having the Tulalip Little League is important because it opens up a new world for our youth. We were mainly about basketball, we’ve been getting really big into football too and now we’re adding baseball. It’s adding a whole new lifestyle that a lot of kids don’t know about. Way back in our history a lot of our people played baseball, so it’s getting back to our roots and that relationship with the game. It shows our youth how to be part of a team, it allows them to build relationships with the community and in many ways teaches them respect and that is very valuable to our kids.”

For more information please visit the Tulalip Little League website at www.TulalipLL.org

Tulalip celebrates the spectrum on World Autism Awareness Day

The Walk for Autism Awareness started on Totem Beach Road. Children, parents and
educators came together to support those affected by autism.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The eleventh annual World Autism Awareness Day took place on Monday, April 2, making for a ceremonious start to the month of April, recognized as autism awareness month. Autism-friendly events and educational activities take place all month to increase understanding and acceptance and foster worldwide support for an often misunderstood complex developmental disorder. 

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability with signs beginning to show during the early childhood years. Autism is not a single disorder; it is rather a wide range of complex disorders that affects children differently. Primarily, it affects children’s abilities to communicate and interact with others. There is no known cause for ASD, but its prevalence figures are on the rise. In fact, autism is one the fastest-growing serious developmental disabilities in the U.S.

As of 2016, the prevalence of autism is 1 in every 68 children in the United States, including 1 out of 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls. Approximately 100 individuals are diagnosed every day in the U.S., and it’s currently estimated there are more than 2 million people affected by autism in this country alone.

Creating an environment to support and learn more about the affliction, Tulalip Youth Services coordinated the Walk for Autism Awareness that took place on April 2. All families and children affected by autism were invited to participate, and were joined by a gathering of community supporters. 

“We wanted to raise awareness for our children and families affected by autism,” explains event co-coordinator, Shylee Burke, an Activities Specialist. “It’s important to educate our community that we have children with autism as our number of tribal members diagnosed with autism has continued to rise over the last ten years. We had lots of youth participate in the walk, including several with autism. Thank you to our community and all the people who joined us for the walk and showed their support.”

Board of Director, Bonnie Juneau, came out and showed her support by joining the eighty-person herd as they walked 1.5 miles on a route that started at the youth center, went to the marina, and then back to the youth center. 

“It was great to see all the community; the kids, the adults and even some elders joined in a common cause to walk for our children with challenges,” said Bonnie. “It was a beautiful day, the sun came out at the perfect time. The love, support and solidarity of the community is always great thing to see in Tulalip.” 

Autism awareness month is critical for promoting education and mindfulness in diagnosing young children and providing them with the resources they need. A variety of education-related materials, including flyers, pamphlets and medical specialist information was distributed before and after the walk.

The Walk for Autism Awareness was especially meaningful for those Tulalip community families for whom autism is ever-present in their lives. 

“April 2 means more than it ever did before. My son, Jared Parks II, was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder last year,” revealed Kristie Fryberg. “My baby boy has taught me so much in his little life. I love him so much and enjoy the unexpected every day!”

“This is something near and dear to my heart because my five-year-old son has autism,” added Jared Parks, Board of Director. “I walked for him, and to support all the kids who are on the spectrum.”

The support-based event gave the Holmes family an opportunity to participate in their first ever Autism Awareness Walk. Monica and Eric Holmes are parents to four children affected by autism, ranging in age from 20 down to 9. 

“It was heartening to see so many community members come out to support our youth with autism,” shared Eric, who also works for a non-profit dedicated to special needs adults. “As a parent of children on the spectrum, I’ve learned that individuals with autism are as unique in their needs and desires as individuals without autism. Autism is a spectrum, so learning and teaching, working with and loving them is not a one size fits all prescription. I am grateful for what my boys have taught me, which is more patience, humility and gratitude for all that I have been blessed with.”

“With four children affected by autism, doing large scale events in the community is often difficult for us. Even a walk to honor and bring awareness to the very issues our kids are struggling with cuts right to the heart of the challenges associated with living with autism,” explained Monica, Prevention Specialist for Community Health.

“Sensory challenges like bright lights, loud noises, crowds, multiple activities going on at once, transitions from one locale to the next, affect them immensely,” she continued. “I believe the lessons learned today will go a long way in bringing improved support and resources, less bullying and more understanding of kids on the spectrum and the families that love them.”

Following the leisurely stroll surrounded by family and friends united in a common goal, the group continued to be support one another by doing a fun activity that meant signing each other’s t-shirts to remember the day. This was a highlight to many of the kids, who eagerly wrote their names in bright and bold colors on one t-shirt after another. 

Ten-year-old Josh Holmes, who has autism, said “my favorite part of the day was when lots of people signed my autism awareness t-shirt. I got 10 signatures all over it.”

“I liked the walk because we got to see so many people who waved and honked at us while we were walking,” added younger brother Isaiah Holmes, who also is diagnosed with autism. “It made me happy to get lots of people to sign my shirt all over. And I got to ride in an ATV for some of the walk.”

The event turned out better than expected with so many joining in to show support and help spread awareness. It’s only part of a new initiative to implement programs to support all children with autism. In addition, it raises the idea of promoting acceptance and inclusion among everyone.

Supporters consistently say that improving public understanding of autism is their top priority. Better understanding of autism improves lives, increasing the chances of an early diagnosis and support, lowering incidents of bullying at school, and teaches invaluable lessons about embracing differences. As the saying goes, “Why fit in when you can stand out?”

Canoe cleaning opens practice season 

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

For nearly thirty years, tribal nations of the Pacific Northwest participate in a gathering during the late months of every summer known as Tribal Canoe Journeys. Originally inspired by the ‘Paddle to Seattle’ of 1989, tribes of Washington State, along with bands from British Columbia, take turns hosting the Canoe Journey on their reservations each year. The participants navigate the open waters in traditional cedar canoes, traveling from tribe to tribe until reaching the host’s reservation, where an entire week of traditional song and dance takes place. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Native Americans and First Nations people proudly pull in the annual Journey, representing their tribes and sharing songs, dances and stories along the way. As you may have noticed, 2018 appears to be flying by as it’s already springtime, which means that this year’s Canoe Journey, the Power Paddle to Puyallup, is right around the corner.

In preparation for this summer’s Journey, the Tulalip Rediscovery Program, the Tulalip Canoe Family and multiple community members met at the Tulalip Veterans Park on the evening of April 2, for the annual Canoe Cleaning Ceremony. 

Andrew Gobin, Tulalip Rediscovery Program

“Today we washed up the canoes, getting them ready for the season and spending a little time with them,” says Andrew Gobin of the Tulalip Rediscovery Program. “This weekend we woke them up, brought them all out and had them brushed off for the year. Then today, we cleaned them up so they’re all ready to go. We got out all the marks and everything from last year so they look nice. It’s more than just cleaning the canoes, people learn to care for the canoes in this way. They get a feel for the canoe, they get to know her a little more personally.”

The three family canoes, Little Sister, Big Sister and Big Brother were cleansed and blessed as participants, ranging from youth to elders, gave the sacred canoes a full detail. Among the many community members were Tulalip Youth Council Chairwoman, JLynn Joseph, who stated she attended the event in support of the Tulalip Canoe Family as well as a representative for the Youth Council. Tulalip tribal member and frequent Canoe Journey puller, Monie Ordonia, also participated in the cleansing.

“I really love Canoe Journey,” Monie states. “I feel it’s an honor to be able to wash and clean all the canoes and treat them as sacred as they are. It was fun, I really enjoyed it. When I’m wiping the canoes down, I like to be in a prayerful field of saying, I honor you and I love you for taking care of us on the water.”

Now that the cleaning ceremony has concluded, the canoes are ready to launch into Tulalip Bay, so that this year’s pullers can get reacquainted with the open waters and rebuild strength and stamina for those long days of pulling in the sun. The Rediscovery Program is in the process of planning weekend-day trips along the coast, once the pullers are ready for longer trips on the water.

“It’s a basic teaching; you take care of the canoe, the canoe will take care of you,” expresses Andrew about the ceremony. “Cleaning the canoe and learning to care for the canoe translates to something deeper. When you take the canoe on the water and get into rough seas, she’ll carry you through wherever you need to go.”

Canoe Practice begins at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday April 4, at the Tulalip Marina and will continue every Monday and Wednesday until the Power Paddle to Puyallup begins this summer. For further details, please contact the Tulalip Rediscovery Program at (360) 716-2635.  

Tulalips take their stories, courage and advocacy to Capital Hill

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

When the Tulalip Tribes Board of Directors passed a motion to support the March for Our Lives event in Washington, D.C., they followed through by sending a delegation of twenty individuals to support the Tribe’s national efforts to stop gun violence, specifically to put an end to mass shootings.

The Tulalip delegation was comprised of those most affected by the Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooting; the families of victims and survivors, along with a support group of community members. With a heartfelt message that could only come from those who have known great loss and tragedy created by gun violence, this normally private and reserved group visited Capitol Hill and advocated for gun-law reform.

When it comes to potentially saving innocent lives, the silence was broken so that the families could speak their truth, giving voice to those who couldn’t be there in person, but were undoubtedly there in spirit.

Mothers of MPHS shooting victims, Lahneen Fryberg, Lavina Phillips and Denise Hatch-Anderson shared their stories and experience with gun violence, then advocated for stronger gun legislation to representative Suzan DelBene, U.S. Congresswoman representing Washington’s 1st District. Then they spoke with the office of Rick Larsen, U.S. Representative for Washington’s 2nd congressional district.

Next up was the office of senior U.S. Senator from Washington, Patty Murray. Then they met with legislative aides to Maria Cantwell, junior U.S. Senator from Washington.

“Gun violence is a topic of national concern. Our entire community was devastated in varying ways, whether you were directly or indirectly effected by the Marysville-Pilchuck shooting, it hurt deeply,” said Deborah Parker, who coordinated the day on Capitol Hill. “The families most affected by gun violence were able to speak out against the violence occurring nationwide.

“For many of the families who lost a loved one, the sentiment was consistent – it felt like it happened yesterday. The pain was real and the hurt pervasive. Our families who have suffered the greatest loss of their lives have a powerful voice and should never be silenced. As difficult and painful as it was for our families to bring forward their devastating memories, they did it. They spoke eloquently and candidly to U.S. government representatives about their experience with gun violence while offering policy solutions.”

Keeping their momentum, the Tulalip delegation made their way to the set of “The American Indians’ Truths” radio show for WPFW-FM hosted by Jay Winter Nightwolf. Again, the families shared their truth. Speaking on her experience was Keryn Parks, a seventeen-year-old student who was forced to bare witness to the MPHS shooting.

“I was hesitant to even speak and share my story,” expressed Keryn. “Nothing happened to me physically and I do feel tons of guilt that nothing did. Maybe one of these moms would have their baby still with them if I sat somewhere else. It was a huge weight off my chest to speak and let everyone know how I feel for them. These mommas need all the loving, healing words they can take.

“As a group, we were so strong and powerful anywhere we went today, and that was felt by everyone who listened to us. It was a day of reopening wounds none of us wanted or even thought we were going to reopen. It was powerful and real. Above all else it was healing.”

The final destination on their Capital Hill visit was to the Embassy of Tribal Nations. Though it was the last stop, it may have been the most impactful as the three moms, Lahneen, Lavina and Denise, shared details of their experience they had never shared before. Tears flowed from everyone in the room who sat in absolute awe of what was being said.

In attendance was Jackie Pata, Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians. She stated afterwards, “My life has been forever changed by these Tulalip families. They have exhibited so much courage and strength to come forward and share their story. I will not forget them in the work I do.”

“Being there, with the families, was powerful and extremely healing,” said Matt Remle, who accompanied the families and supported them with his spiritual leadership. “Privately, over the years, I have shed many tears over what happened, but this was perhaps the first time that I was able to be with others and openly cry. Mostly what I took away from them is their bravery and courage. I don’t know much, but I do know that we simply need more love and compassion for each other, to support and give of ourselves to help others. That’s not politics, that’s living how we were meant to be.”

Being an effective advocate for legislative change, such as laws that can make a significant impact at reducing gun violence and putting an end to mass shootings, requires building strong relationships with our members of Congress and their staff members. It is important to use every opportunity to reach out and maintain these relationships. The Tulalip delegation did an admirable job honoring their loved ones lost to gun violence, while advocating for gun law reform.

“This Capitol Hill trip was for those families to voice their concerns and find healing in the process,” added Deborah Parker when the day’s itinerary came to an end. “It was a blessing to witness the transformation of everyone who took this journey. The mothers, and their support network, stood together for their truth while seeking justice. None of us would ever want this type of violence to happen to anyone else. It was clear, gun violence must stop.”

March for Our Lives

By Micheal Rios

During the chilly spring morning of Saturday, March 24, a wave of warmth came over a group of twenty Tulalip community members as they navigated the streets of Washington, D.C. to join in the March for Our Lives. Reaching their destination, 12th and Pennsylvania, the group found their wave of warmth connect with a powerful tide of uncompromising encouragement and spiritual healing.

The youth-led and student organized March for Our Lives isn’t an anti-gun rally. It is an anti-gun violence and pro-gun law reform rally participated in by hundreds of thousands of students, teachers and families who marched in front of the U.S. Capital Building. Marchers demanded their lives and safety become a priority by passing legislation and school safety measures that make a significant impact on ending gun violence and mass shootings, especially in schools.

According to its mission statement, March for Our Lives is led by students across the country who will no longer risk their lives waiting for someone else to take action to stop the epidemic of mass school shootings that has become all too familiar. In the tragic wake of the seventeen lives brutally cut short at a Florida high school, the time is now to talk about gun law reform.

School safety is not a political issue. There cannot be two sides to doing everything in our power to ensure the lives and futures of children who are at risk of dying when they should be learning, playing, and growing. The mission and focus of March for Our Lives is to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address these gun issues. No special interest group, no political agenda is more critical than timely passage of legislation to effectively address the gun violence issues that are rampant in our country.

With over 600 sister marches taking place nationwide and millions estimated to have participated, the collective voice of the March for Our Lives movement was received loud and clear. More importantly, for the Tulalip group in D.C., the march yielded an opportunity to have the voice of victims and survivors of the Marysville Pilchuck High School shooting be heard.

Lahneen Fryberg, Denise Hatch-Anderson and Lavina Phillips, mothers of Marysville Pilchuck shooting victims, showed great strength by giving voice to their children during March for Our Lives.

Lahneen Fryberg, mother of MPHS shooting victim Andrew Fryberg, attended the march with her three daughters, Tanisha, Josephine, and Leila.

“My Andrew, along with many others taken too soon by gun violence, will have a voice today!” said Lahneen prior to the march. She shared her son’s story with a news crew where she repeatedly stated she was accompanied in the march by her angel, Andrew, and that her family couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be in D.C. to honor him.

Lavina Phillips, mother of MPHS shooting victim Shaylee Chuckulnaskit, made the D.C. trip with her children, Shania, Chaska, Keenan and Caleb. March for Our Lives was even more impactful for Lavina as it came just two day before Shaylee’s 18th birthday.

“Super blessed to be able to attend the March for Our Lives event,” said Lavina. “I was surprised when asked to attend. The dates they gave me, what it was for, then knowing Shay’s birthday is on March 26th. I took it all in as a sign from my girl…she wanted us to go, represent and celebrate her life on her birthday. I’m very thankful for everybody that was here with us and stood with us. It was a very emotional few days, but sometimes you have to let it out. Tried my hardest to hold it in because that’s what I do, but when you can’t stop the tears you have to let them flow. This whole experience was healing for my family and I’ve very proud of my daughter, Shania, for telling her story at the march. She talked to so many reporters, she wouldn’t let her sister be forgotten.”

For Denise Hatch-Anderson, mother of MPHS survivor Nate Hatch, she went through a gauntlet of emotions being her child survived the shooting, but is forever changed as a result. Surrounded by parents like herself at the march, Denise found strength and a new understanding that she isn’t alone as a parent of a mass shooting survivor.

“This whole experience has been overwhelming with emotions, but as a mother of a survivor of a school shooting, I walked away not feeling so alone in this situation,” reflected Denise on her march experience. “I had the opportunity to meet other mothers of survivors and I received some answers to question I’ve longed to ask another. My heart broke again telling the story, but in the end I grew stronger from this trip. I healed in ways I needed to and now that my son is in a place of healing I feel like this journey has made us both spiritually stronger. I can’t thank the Tribe enough, especially Theresa Sheldon for never giving up on us moms and families effected by 10-24-14.  The pain will always be there among us all, but we get stronger everyday with the help of others.”

Seventeen-year-old Keryn Parks was in the cafeteria, sitting at the ill-fated table that was center to the MPHS shooting. Keryn participated in March for Our Lives in honor of her lost loves ones and to advocate for gun law reform to prevent more school shootings from occurring.

“The March for Our Lives meant a lot to me because it not only recognizes my friends and family I lost on 10/24/14, but also all the other people that have been taken from their families due to gun violence,” stated Keryn after an emotional day marching in front of the Capital Building. “The emotion and feeling from walking in the march was surreal…. I know our angels were with us every step of the way. It was such a great experience. It was heartwarming, but also so devastating.

“Our community and these families traveled all this way because they have been grieving for three and a half years. Throughout those years, shootings have occurred in schools, concerts, malls, corner stores, and clubs, everywhere really; these shootings have become normal. It hurts to know that our country hasn’t done anything to help these families heal, or these children and students around the nation feel safe, and not have to worry if someone might have a firearm. It is terrifying, but it’s the truth.”

Also the truth, the sun shined onto March for Our Lives supporters who gathered with a unifying mission to end gun violence and prevent school shootings. The Tulalip group showed such fierce strength and determination by giving voice to the victims of the MPHS shooting, not allowing their loved ones to be forgotten.

As sprits soared and healing found the hearts of those who needed it, each step taken in the march was a reminder that the truth cannot be silenced. Gun violence and school shootings are preventable. Those in power who are disbelievers in that sentiment just needed to look out their Capital Hill office windows, onto the hundreds of thousands of who demonstrated how powerful the people are when working together with common goals.

“What was beautiful to see from the youth is that they have been able to connect the dots between all the various forms of violence and not placing any sort of value hierarchy on those experiences,” said Matt Remle, Native Liaison for Marysville School District, who supported the mothers and the families during the March for Our Lives. “Their movement isn’t just about school shootings, but about addressing all forms of violence and abuse. That’s powerful. Sharing in such a truly historic occasion was good medicine for all our spirits.”

Be Like Billy: Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary Celebrates Billy Frank Jr.

“I don’t believe in magic. I believe in the sun and the stars, the water, the tides, the floods, the owls, the hawks flying, the river running, the wind talking. They’re measurements. They tell us how healthy things are. How healthy we are. Because we and they are the same. That’s what I believe in.”

– Billy Frank Jr.

 

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Billy Frank Jr. is a hero, especially to Northwest Indigenous tribes. Hailing from Nisqually, Billy learned at a young age that salmon are integral to the Coast Salish traditional way of life. At 14, he was arrested for seine fishing in non-reservation waters of the Nisqually River. Billy knew his arrest was in violation of his treaty rights and that experience marked the beginning of his active advocacy for tribal fishing rights. He understood that the treaties signed by the United States Government and Washington State tribes guaranteed his people the right to fish the same waters his ancestors did since time immemorial.

The state of Washington attempted to deny, restrict and regulate where and how Native Americans were fishing during the sixties and seventies, an era known as the ‘fish wars’. During this time Billy organized ‘fish-ins’ or gatherings where Natives exercised their fishing rights. Natives were arrested and many times beaten during the fish wars. Billy was arrested for civil disobedience on more than fifty occasions.

The arrests led to lawsuits which in turn helped lead to the Boldt Decision, a federal case between the United States and Washington State which reaffirmed the tribes’ right to fish. After the Boldt Decision and up until his passing in 2014, Billy focused on protecting the environment and preserving the salmon habitat for future generations. He received several accolades for his activism for treaty rights as well as his advocacy for environmental protection, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“Did you know that Billy Frank Jr. was arrested more than fifty times for fishing?” asked a Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary student. “That’s a bad reason to go to jail. It’s really bad.”

Throughout the nation, during the first week of March, students participate in a Dr. Seuss inspired spirit week. The students of QCT, however, participate in a spirit week which honors the northwest Native American hero Billy Frank Jr. by teaching about, and therefore continuing, his legacy.

“Honestly, the inspiration came from my grandpa, who is in heaven. He guided me to this work last year,” says QCT Cultural Specialist and Tulalip tribal member, Chelsea Craig. “When the state acknowledged his birthday (March 9) as Billy Frank Jr. Day, I thought, well if we can study Dr. Seuss for an entire week, then we can certainly celebrate Billy Frank.”

During Billy Frank Jr. Spirit Week, the students had a blast making arts and crafts, learning new songs and participating in themed days all while preparing for a community cultural celebration on Billy Frank Jr. Day. Themes included Salmon Day where students made a collaborative art piece, the length of the school’s entrance to the gym, displaying multi-colored paper cutout salmon swimming upstream; as well as Water is Life Day in which the students were encouraged to wear blue to show support of protecting our waters. The students also celebrated Twin Day and Tell Your Story Day.

QCT begins each day with a morning assembly. During spirit week, students learned about Billy together during the assembly. The students were even treated to the award winning Billy Frank Jr. cartoon, σčəδαδξʷ, which is a fun animation based around his voice from a recorded interview about the lifecycle of salmon.

Throughout the spirit week, Tulalip tribal leaders spoke to the kids about treaty rights, environmental protection and also shared stories of Billy. Guest speakers included Patti Gobin, Deborah Parker, and Inez Bill as well as Glen Gobin and Ray Fryberg.

“Billy said the next big battle is protecting the environment because the salmon need a place to come back to. I’m really happy that the school is sharing the efforts of Billy Frank Jr. and what he stood for because he was a great man and a great example of a true leader for the Indian People,” shared Ray.

On Billy Frank Jr. Day, the morning assembly was extended to two-hours and the students showcased everything they learned about Billy for the community. The students were featured in class presentations as well as a video presentation where the kids emotionally boasted, ‘I am Billy Frank Jr.!’ at the end. The Tulalip community joined QCT in traditional song and dance to conclude the ceremony and QCT’s second annual Billy Frank Jr. Spirit Week.

Memorable season comes to a close for Tulalip Hawks

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

The (21-6) Tulalip Heritage Hawks basketball team earned their spot in the State Tournament after a strong postseason showing, culminating with a convincing 66-57 win over Pope John Paul II in the Regional round. The victory propelled Tulalip to Top 12 status among all division 1B schools in Washington and gave them the #11 seed at State.

Spokane Arena was home to the deciding tournament, where the winner would be crowned Washington State 1B Champions. For the Tulalip Hawks, their path to glory began with an all too familiar foe, the Lions from Cedar Park Christian. During the regular season and subsequent postseason games, the Hawks and Cedar Park had played each other four times, with the Hawks losing each of those games by an average margin of 21 points.

And so the Tulalip boys and their coaching staff took to the Spokane Arena court on February 28th looking to upset the #3 ranked Cedar Park in the 1st round of State.

Heritage started the game playing a zone defense in the hopes of keeping Cedar Park from the rim and attacking the hoop. Cedar Park countered that defense by shooting red hot from outside, to the tune of making five 3-pointers in the opening minutes. Midway through the 1st quarter the Hawks trailed 3-18.

When the Hawks went to a man-to-man defense to close out on shooters and not give up uncontested jumpers, Cedar Park countered by playing through their bigs in the post. After only scoring 6 points in the 1st quarter, Tulalip’s offense got going in the 2nd, led by senior guard Josh Iukes. The boys scored 20 points in the 2nd, but were unable to slow down Cedar Park on the defensive end. At halftime the Hawks trailed 26-49.

After trailing by as much as 30 points, 28-58, the Hawks would rally in the 4th quarter, but it wouldn’t be enough as they lost 72-88. There’s no shame in getting beat to a team that’s simply bigger and better. The Hawks kept their heads held high and kept firing away even after going down big. Sophomore guard Josh Miranda showcased the fighting spirit well as he entered the game late in the 1st half and from the point on made six 3-pointers, including a half-court buzzer beater, to lead his team with 18 points. Paul Shay, Jr. scored 17 points, and Samuel Fryberg added 13 points.

Tulalip finished the season with a (21-7) record, the 21 Ws being the most since the 2013-2014 season, a well-earned showing at State, and made many exciting memories during the season for their graduating senior players.

Heritage Hawks come up clutch with 66-57 win at Regionals

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

In the biggest game of the season, with a trip to State on the line, the Heritage Hawks overcame an early deficit, managed their foul trouble, and rode the flaming hot-hand of Jr. Shay for an emphatic victory.

The game was played on a neutral site, Jackson High School in Mill Creek, on Saturday, February 24 between the Tulalip Heritage Hawks and the Eagles from Pope John Paul II. These two team previously played two weeks prior, with the Hawks earning a hard fought 50-44 W.

During the 1st quarter, the Hawks came out lethargic and found themselves in an early 2-8 hole. After making a couple substitutions to shore up the defense, Tulalip got engaged on both ends of the floor and tied the game at 10-10.

Trailing 15-18 entering the 2nd quarter, Hawks senior guard Jr. Shay started to make his imprint on the game in a big way. Jr. bailed out back-to-back possessions late in the shot clock by knocking down 3-pointers. The outside shooting was contagious as Josh Iukes and Alonzo Jones both got buckets from perimeter shooting as well. At halftime Tulalip led 31-28.

In the 3rd quarter, with the score tied at 36-36, center Rodney Barber picked up his 4th foul, sending him to the bench. As a team, Heritage collected its 7th team foul with 1:15 remaining, meaning their opponent would be in a bonus free-throw situation for the remainder of the 3rd and entire 4th quarters. For their part, the Hawks navigated their foul trouble admirably by playing straight-up defense and contesting jump shots without fouling.

The game turned when Jr. Shay knocked down his fourth 3-pointer of the game, followed by Josh Iukes and Isaac Comenote both connecting on 3-pointers of their own. The offensive spurt put Tulalip ahead 49-39.

Down the stretch of the 4th quarter, Jr. Shay hit two more 3-pointers, giving him a season-high six 3-pointers made in the game. The Eagles from Pope John Paul II intentionally fouled to slow the game down, but the Hawks were hitting their free-throws to keep their lead in the double digits. When the final buzzer sounded, Heritage came away with the 66-57 win.

Jr. Shay led all scorers with 27 points, Alonzo had 13 points and team high 8 rebounds, and Josh Iukes added 12 points and 3 steals.

“My team was drive-and-kicking me the ball a lot because I was getting open, and I executed with six 3-pointers,” Jr. Shay stated with lots of energy following the W. “Me and Isaac were knocking down threes right off the bat and the team did a good job of riding the hot hand. If it wasn’t for the hustle of the guys down low, Rodney, Sammy, and Nashone getting into position and then kicking the ball back out to the guards, we wouldn’t have the outside shooting setup like we did.

“Honestly, as a senior today knowing this could be my final high school game, I had to take over at times because I wasn’t ready to go home. Now, we’re moving on to the Dome, to the State Tournament in Spokane. We’re going to try to make something special happen now.”