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 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 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.

TELA students receive first diploma during Moving Up ceremony

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Family members gathered in the lobby of the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy to cheer on their kids as they completed the very first phase in their educational journey. On August 14, forty-two students graduated from the Early Head Start birth to three program and took a symbolic walk across a mini podium as they moved up from the Early Head Start side of the Academy to the Montessori and ECEAP side of the building.

The kids received certificates for completing Early Head Start along with cedar-carved pendant necklaces. Many of the students have been enrolled in the program since infancy and are ready to expand their knowledge as well as see what the big kids have been up to in Montessori. 

“My son will be going into Montessori, leaving the birth to three program,” says parent and Early Head Start teacher, Teresa Frane. “He’s been in the program since he was six-weeks old, he started right away. It’s been very emotional but very exciting at the same time watching him go through the whole Early Head Start process. My son has grown into this amazing little man because of Early Head Start. I especially love the cultural aspect because they do a lot of the drumming and get to learn about the canoes and the salmon. It was a very emotional day; I’m excited to see what the next two years brings him through this academy.”

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.”

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

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Tulalip Tribes Open Flagship Retail Cannabis Store

Remedy Tulalip aims to set a higher bar for retail cannabis and customer experience

TULALIP, WA—August 6, 2018 —The Tulalip Economic Development Corporation (TEDCO) is opening the doors to Remedy Tulalip, its flagship retail cannabis store, and among the first cannabis dispensaries in the United States to open on a reservation.  Remedy Tulalip joins the bustling retail sector in Quil Ceda Village, the Nation’s second federally-recognized city, and a consolidated borough of the Tulalip Tribes.

9226 34th Ave NE, Tulalip, WA 98271

Open to the Public: August 10th, 2018 9:00 AM-10PM

Regular Store Hours: Mon-Sun 9:00 AM-10:00 PM

Remedy Tulalip aspires to provide a curated cannabis experience designed for both the connoisseur and the tourist alike, with a focus on offering a unique, informative customer experience.  As one of only four tribes in Washington State in retail cannabis, Remedy Tulalip aims to be the top-performing retail store in Washington, and a symbol for the role that Indian Country will play in this rapidly expanding new industry.

“Indian Country is poised to become leaders in the emerging cannabis market,” says Les Parks, Tulalip Tribes Board of Directors.  “Three decades of experience in entertainment and hospitality, and an I-5 location, give Tulalip an advantage. We have built a cannabis retail model that brings the same level of engagement, knowledge, and professionalism that we offer at all our properties.  We are also partnering with emerging and affiliated Native American cannabis suppliers to help bring new values and voices to the forefront.”

Remedy Tulalip aims to be the busiest, most technology-driven retail cannabis store in the region with an interior design that integrates the unique natural and traditional aspects of Tulalip into the retail experience. The Remedy Tulalip model prioritizes staff engagement and education, a unique customer experience, and buying practices that reflect the value of diversity, sustainability, collaboration, and transparency.

  “We are lifting the industry by expecting and supporting excellence from all of our suppliers.  While much of the industry works from a bottom up model, we have intentionally flipped that to focus on high-quality and hand-curated products that reflect the Tulalip brand,”  said Jonathan Teeter, Assistant General Manager for Remedy Tulalip.












Special Needs Field Day a great time for all

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“My favorite part was everything!” exclaimed Braiden.

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

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

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

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

Keep drugs off our Rez: Youth participate in drug prevention walk

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States recorded 42,249 deaths in the year of 2016 due to opioid overdose, surpassing the amount of deaths caused by breast cancer which is estimated at 41,070 each year. Between July 2016 and September 2017, the amount of deaths by opioid overdose increased by thirty percent. The opioid epidemic is still escalating throughout the nation and has claimed more American lives in 2017 alone than the Vietnam War, which reported 58,220 causalities over the course of twenty years. Although the CDC has yet to officially release the 2017 statistics, the projected amount of deaths by heroin, prescription opioids and fentanyl is said to be close to 70,000 fatalities. 

The crisis is hard to ignore, especially when it’s happening within our own community. The Washington State Department of Health reports that approximately 3,000 deaths can be credited to drug overdose annually, which is thirty-one percent of all deaths statewide. Snohomish County, namely the Everett-Marysville-Tulalip area, sees perhaps one of the largest amounts of drug-related casualties in the state with around seven hundred deaths per year. 

Over recent years, the Tulalip Tribes has fought back strongly against the opioid epidemic, implementing several programs, departments, forums, and events as well as the wellness court system. The tribe has been actively dedicated to healing their people who are battling with addiction and continue searching for a solution to the crisis. Most recently, during the mid-morning of July 26, the Tulalip 477/TANF department organized a walk against drugs with their Summer Youth Community Service program, comprised of thirty local kids between the ages of eleven and thirteen who wanted to spread awareness for those struggling and help bring an end to drug addiction. 

“We worked on our signs all day yesterday, just for the walk today,” says community service participant, Stanley Nguyen. “We walked from the old school all the way up to [the Tulalip Administration Building] and we’re trying to stop drug abuse and get drugs off the rez because they can kill people.”

Drivers emphatically honked their horns for the kids as they proudly displayed their handmade posters during the prevention walk. Their signs displayed a variety of strong messages such as ‘your family needs you’ and ‘heal the hurt, don’t hide the pain,’ attempting to spread their words to local addicts. A few kids also used their signs to urge any drug distributors to ‘stop selling drugs to my people’ and to ‘keep drugs off our rez!’

“My sign says, drugs equal death so stop!” expressed young Taleen Enick. “I felt people needed to know to stop doing drugs, it can harm them and they can probably die from it. If they keep doing it, they can overdose. That’s why I want people to know we need to keep drugs off our rez and that we need to help our people to stop doing drugs.”

The six-week community service program helps kids prepare for the Tulalip Youth Services Summer Youth Employment Program which is open to kids between the age of fourteen and eighteen. Throughout the community service course, the young adults learn about their treaty rights, Tulalip’s history and future, bullying prevention, suicide prevention, drug and alcohol prevention, healthy habits and financial education. The program is currently in its second year and dedicates every Thursday to a community service activity such as beach clean-ups and the prevention walk.

“There’s a lot of people driving by, hopefully it gives addicts some hope that live around here,” says TANF Case Manager, Danielle Hill. “The kids all created their own posters and a lot of them had some good words to share. We’re hoping this helps them steer clear from drugs and alcohol in the future especially when they’re dealing with peer pressure.”

The kids ended the prevention walk at the newly constructed walkway below the Tulalip Admin Building and held their posters up high for passersby to see while on their daily commute. The youth posted up through the lunch hour, waiving their signs and received great response from the tribal employees on their way to appease their appetites. 

 “I think our message will help people, I really do,” says Taleen. “If they see our signs today, maybe they’ll be inspired to reach out and help somebody they know who’s been using drugs. What I liked best about today was all the people honking. That shows that they care as well and are doing their part to help out too.”

Teen CERT prepares youth for disaster, teaches cultural resiliency

Photo courtesy of Chelsea Treboniak, CriticalOps-Simplify Your Life

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

The first ever tribal Teen Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training was held in Tulalip during the week of July 16-20. The Tulalip Office of Emergency Management reached out to the Federal Emergency Management Institute (FEMA), Critical Ops and Tulalip Youth Services to bring the trainings to the community. Teen CERT teaches the younger generation how to be adequately prepared for when a disaster strikes so they can help assist the elders, children, injured adults and expectant mothers while the professionals make their way to the reservation. Forty young adults attended the week-long training, thirty-four participants from Tulalip as well as six participants from the Quinault Indian Nation. 

As the saying goes, disaster is waiting to happen. Around the globe people are experiencing natural disasters at an alarming rate such as wildfires, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes and a variety of storms (rain, wind, snow, thunder). In fact, according to a study conducted by the Environmental Defense Fund, many of these occurrences are happening due to climate change caused by mankind and shouldn’t be considered ‘natural’ disasters at all. In the United States alone, three hundred and sixty-two deaths were attributed to extreme weather and climate disasters in 2017. Over the past few years, the state of Washington has also seen its fair share of climate disasters including the Oso landslide, springtime snow storms, summertime wildfires and the fall/winter windstorms. 

“When the windstorms come in September, October, November and trees topple over, we are disconnected from Marysville and other neighboring cities,” says Ashlynn Danielson, Tulalip Emergency Preparedness Manager. “We have a few ideas of how to create access, move brush and trees off the road but in the meantime we want to self-preserve and have a shelter in place. FEMA has not provided onsite trainers in Indian Country for a Teen CERT. Tribal Teen CERT has been asked about but has not been a project of this scale. We are kind of the showcase piece which makes everything very exciting.” 

Teen CERT is offered to youth across the nation in a number of communities and teaches students how to react and respond in emergency situations. The trainings cover everything from fire safety, medical operation and triage, team organization, utility control, damage assessment as well as search and rescue. 

“Just the thought of being there for my community in a time of need seems something like I could be really good at because I want to help,” expresses young Tulalip tribal member, Evalea Cortez. “I love learning something new. Eventually our parents and all the adults won’t be around forever and if there’s a disaster they’ll be busy helping out others so why not get the training to help them out. I feel like CERT really shows how important it is to be involved with your community and look out for each other.” 

The kids had a blast throughout the week and learned how to properly suppress small fires using an extinguisher and participated in an earthquake emergency drill. The Greg Williams Court appeared to be turned upside after a big quake. A few students were given roles and had to act as though they were at the gym when the earthquake occurred which resulted in a certain injury. The other CERT trainees waited outside and entered the gym after the earthquake and it was their job to correctly assess their classmate’s injuries and treat any immediate lesions until the medical and emergency response teams arrived. The students had also learned how to apply makeup to make it look as though they had a number of injuries, such as cuts and bruises. Kids then learned how to inspect their neighborhoods for extensive damage and how to fill out full detailed reports for the proper authorities.

The Tulalip Office of Emergency Management offers CERT Trainings twice a year to the adults of the community. CERT trainings are highly interactive and require over twenty hours of class participation. Because Teen CERT required forty participants, Tulalip reached out to other tribes to complete their enrollment requirement. Six members of the Quinault Indian Nation accepted Tulalip’s invitation and journeyed north for a week of fun, hands-on safety experience.

“I thought it would be interesting to learn about the first response trainings and get certified for CERT,” says Quinault member, Johnny Law. “I think it’s important because it helps you feel more attached to the land, to our land, and know how to take care of it and our people when a disaster happens. I hope to bring a better understanding to where I’m from just in case there’s an earthquake or tsunami because that would devastate everything down there.”

Tulalip also incorporated another training within the CERT classes that focused on cultural resiliency, teaching the kids the importance of traditional and family values. Jay LaPlante, FEMA Tribal Relation Specialist taught the kids about the medicine wheel and the importance of self-care and community involvement.

“CERT itself is a three-day training and focuses on emergency response,” says Jay. “The reason I added the two-day cultural resiliency wellness training is because our people learn best when we have some type of relationship established. This training helps break down barriers, get to know themselves a little better and get centered with their own values. We always try to connect what we do today with what our ancestors wanted for us and also with the future generations. So we want to make sure these young people know that their ancestors were thinking about them hundreds of years ago so they can connect with what their ancestors wanted and live by those values.”

“We learned about the medicine wheel today,” states Tulalip tribal member, Kaiser Moses. “So that’s spiritual, mental, physical and emotional and that’s really important to factor into your daily life. They teach you fundamental things like how to take care of yourself and your neighbors. I signed up for CERT because I want to learn how to react in an emergency. I feel like after this training, I’ll be more prepared in the event of an emergency and that’s really reassuring.”

All forty students completed the trainings and are now certified CERT members. The Tulalip Office Emergency Management hopes to continue to offer Teen CERT after a successful first year and inspire other tribes to bring the trainings to the youth of their communities. 

“As Native people we are very resilient, very community based and likeminded,” says Ashlynn. “The importance of bringing Teen CERT and the cultural resiliency trainings to the reservation is because it helps us self-identify with our culture. Ultimately, we want them to be able to provide for each other and their families and know where to go in the event of an emergency and how to get to those critical supplies. At the end of the day, our end goal is that we can take all of our information and replicate it for other tribes and help all of the tribal nations become more resilient.”

The Tulalip Office of Emergency Management will continue hosting their regularly scheduled CERT trainings, the next one held this upcoming fall.  For further details, please contact the Office of Emergency Management at (360) 716-4006.

Lushootseed Camp, week two: more youth, more culture

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News; Photos by Micheal Rios & Natosha Gobin

During week one of the 23rd Annual Lushootseed Day Camp, there were 58 youth participants. Engagement and overall involvement increased significantly during week two, as 72 Children of the Salmon contributed to the cultural sharing and commitment to Lushootseed.

“It makes my heart happy seeing so many of our young ones learning our traditional language,” boasts Michele Balagot, Lushootseed Manager. “It is amazing to witness the amount of participation and community involvement we receive each year.”

From Monday July 16 to Friday July 20, the Kenny Moses Building was home to the children learning traditional teachings, listening to storytelling by elders, and using their creative minds to create and paint an assortment of giveaway items. It’s a time that Tulalip children, families and community look forward to as it provides them an opportunity to immerse themselves in Lushootseed and the rich culture of the Coast Salish people.

Open to children age five to twelve who want to learn about their culture and the language of their ancestors, Lushootseed Camp provides invaluable traditional teachings through art, songs, technology, weaving and storytelling. Each year the Lushootseed Department teams up with Cultural Resources, along with a select number of vital community volunteers, to hold two one-week day camps in the summer. 

“So proud of my fellow Language Warriors for putting together some amazing lessons, proud of our volunteers for stepping up to help us along the way, and proud of our community who supported our efforts by allowing their kids to participate,” said Language Warrior Natosha Gobin. “Most importantly, we are so proud of our youth, about 130 total, who rised up over the past two weeks. They learned so many traditional teachings and are eager to keep them alive.”

With a high turnout in camp participation came an equally impressive turnout in community volunteers who assisted Lushootseed staff to coordinate daily camp activities. There were 15 volunteers readily available on a daily basis to help camp run smoothly.

Throughout the duration of camp, the children participated in seven different daily stations or activities. The following list is what each child accomplished throughout the week:

  • Art – Succulents, clam shell rattles, clam shell succulent holders.
  • Weaving – God’s Eye, bracelets.
  • Songs – Paddle Song, Berry Picking Song, Welcome Song, Kenny Moses’ Arrival Song, Martha Lamont’s huyəxw st’ilib 
  • Traditional Teachings – Canoes, Canoe Journey protocol
  • Language – Lushootseed alphabet, canoe terms.
  • Technology – children learned and practiced Lushootseed materials related their final performance using handheld games on Tablets created by Dave Sienko.

Every station and daily lesson incorporated various Canoe Journey teachings and protocol verbiage. With the annual tribal Canoe Journey going on now, it made for an ideal time to teach the youngsters about the tradition.

“We wanted to take this opportunity to give our young ones as much teachings as possible,” explained Language Warrior Roselle Fryberg. “It was really important to us to teach them about hosting a potlatch and coming together as a community. For our mini Canoe Journey, each child plays a role. We have fisherman, berry pickers, tribal leaders hosting Canoe Journey, and several canoes representing visiting tribes. 

“We also talked about how grateful we are that they are here to carry on these traditions of singing, dancing, and speaking their ancestral language. One day, all these teachings will be on their shoulders to carry on and pass to the next generation,” added Roselle. 

The closing ceremony for week two’s camp took place on Friday, July 20 at the Kenny Moses Building. The joyous, young play-performers made their theatrical debut to a large community attendance, as family and friends came out in droves to show their support.

Most of the children beamed with joy as they performed their roles in the closing ceremony, while some caught the shy bug being in front of such a large audience. There were several Lushootseed songs everyone was able to sing along together, giving family and friends plenty of opportunities to capture such precious moments on photos or video. 

“We would like to thank the children for all of their hard work and efforts,” proclaimed Natosha Gobin during the play’s opening. “They attended camp for just one week and learned so much about their culture, traditions, language, and more. They do not hesitate to step up and share their teachings. 

“We thank you, the parents, for joining us to celebrate the work the children have accomplished this week. Your presence here for the children will encourage their learning of their culture and traditional language.”

Lushootseed Camp Language Warriors.

After the youth performed their rendition of “Mini Canoe Journey” and the ceremonial witnesses had shared a few words, there was a giveaway. The camp participants gave their handmade crafts created during the past week to each and every audience member; sharing in a final act of memory making with their peers, before filling their bellies with a salmon lunch.