Bump, Set, Spike… it’s Senior Night

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The Francy J. Sheldon gymnasium was packed full of family and friends as the Tulalip Heritage Lady Hawks (5-6) hosted the Orcas Christian Saints (5-3) on Tuesday, October 17. This game doubled as Senior Night, so the evening’s contest meant a little something extra for the eight seniors on the team.

Prior to the volleyball match, there was a ceremony to honor the Lady Hawks seniors. Kimberly Smoley, Jessica Damita, Nissie Jones, Rosealynne Williams, Keryn Parks, Shaunte Moses, Eddie Reeves, and Deandra Grant were all given a bouquet of roses from Principal Shelly Lacy before greeting their families on the court for a photograph opportunity.

In the match’s 1st game, both teams were playing with lots of energy and communicating effectively. Heritage jumped out to an early 8-4 lead, but the Saints fought back and tied it up at 18-18. The Lady Hawks trailed for the first time at 20-22, but after a timeout they regrouped and earned victory in a hard fought 28-26 opening game.

The 2nd game started out competitive, tied 7-7, before the Lady Hawks found their groove and took a 17-10 lead. Heritage did a great job all match of setting up senior captains, Keryn and Deandra, for point-earning spikes, and won the game 25-16.

The 3rd game ended up being the most lopsided as the Lady Hawks dominated at the net with several key blocks and spikes that took the fight out of the Saints. Seniors on the team got plenty of reps down the stretch and celebrated with a 25-9 win, taking the match W 3 games to 0.

With the win the Lady Hawks record moved to (6-6) and assures them a spot in the upcoming District Tournament that starts on Wednesday, October 25. Time and location to be determined after Heritage wraps up their final two regular season games.

Cultural Gatherings brings Lushootseed language to ELA families

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

At the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy, the Lushootseed Language Department and the Rediscovery Program teamed up to bring Family Cultural Gatherings to the young students of the Academy and their families. The gatherings are held at the Academy every Tuesday and alternate between a one-hour class at 12:00 p.m. and a two-hour class at 5:00 p.m. weekly. Families can learn traditional Tulalip Lushootseed Language by means of storytelling, song and interactive lessons.

“We really want to build that connection between our language and culture back to the families so that they can really have a feeling of what the kids are learning in school,” explains Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy Director, Sheryl Fryberg. “We want to share that value; I think that the Lushootseed Department does a really great job of sharing that value. We want our families to have an opportunity to learn Lushootseed too, with our kids.”

The revitalized traditional Coast Salish language is currently offered at all levels by the Lushootseed Language Department. The language is being spoken to and utilized by students at the Early Learning Academy,

Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary and Tulalip Heritage High School. The Language Department also offers Lushootseed 101, a college course through Northwest Indian College, to the employees of the Tulalip Tribes. This past summer, the Annual Lushootseed Language Camp was a huge success as over one hundred and sixty youth participated in the week-long language camp.

The Academy wanted to bring this experience to the parents and siblings of their students, and the Cultural Gatherings presents the perfect opportunity for students to practice the language outside of the classroom. During the Cultural Gatherings, parents and students learn words, phrases and songs alongside one another.  A meal is prepared by the Academy for the participants and each gathering begins with a joint prayer, in Lushootseed, to bless the food. The Language Department creates a fun learning experience for the families with book readings, flash cards, and songs as well as arts and crafts. Many students are familiar with the words and often assist their parents with pronunciation.

Lushootseed Language Teacher, Natasha Gobin, encourages families to attend the gatherings.

“It’s encouraged for each family to attend at least one of the classes we offer,” states Lushootseed Language Teacher, Natasha Gobin. “We’re trying to teach the families what the kids are learning in school because we know that when the kids go home, they’re trying to get their parents to learn [the language] with them. If they point out any of the animals and are saying the words in Lushootseed to their parents, quite often the parents are like ‘I have no idea what you’re saying’, so we’re trying encourage the families to engage in that learning and make it relevant in the home which in turn empowers the kids when they start using the language.”

The next gathering will be held on Tuesday, October 25 at 12:00 p.m. for more information please contact the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy at (360) 716-4250.

The Curtain Closes on Tulalip Bay Restaurant, But Not Without a New Act


TulaBene Pastaria + Chophouse to Make Its Debut at Tulalip Resort Casino

Tulalip, Washington —- After many encores, the Tulalip Resort Casino culinary team realized that their beloved Tulalip Bay Restaurant is ready for a new act. Like a long running award-winning Broadway play, Tulalip Bay witnessed talented artistry, acclaimed culinary shows, and memorable waitstaff star performances during it’s 13-year run. As the culinary curtains for Tulalip Bay Restaurant comes to its final close on Saturday, October 28, 2017, a new and exciting production is being rehearsed by way of TulaBene Pastaria + Chophouse, which is slated to open in spring of 2018.

TulaBene Pastaria + Chop House will take diners on an unexpected culinary experience where ethereal steaks and curated Italian-inspired dishes come together from the hands and soul of Tulalip Resort Casino’s Chef Jeremy Taisey. A new bar will be added to the restaurant featuring a varied selection of handcrafted cocktails and an extensive wine list.

“TulaBene will be an inviting dining spot that will encourage guests to ‘come-as-you-are’ and to order family style meals, creating memorable dinners with friends and family. We plan on working closely with local farmers with an attention to create our own house-made products, and each guest will be the director of their experience,” Chef Taisey shares.

For more information about Tulalip Resort Casino’s extensive dining options, visit www.tulalipresort.com.

Tulalip Community Celebrates First Week of Unity Month

 

 

“What’s the day without a little night?

I’m just trying to shed a little light

It can be hard, it can be so hard

But you got to live right now

You got everything to give right now”

-Logic

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention recently reported that suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States with an estimated 44,193 deaths by suicide per year; for every suicide there are about twenty-five attempts. In the state of Washington, suicide is the eighth leading cause of death with 1,137 suicides each year. Suicide is the first leading cause of death among the youth in this state, ages ten through fourteen; and second leading cause of death for Washingtonians ages fifteen through thirty-four. In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report showing the highest suicide rate in the country was amongst the young adults of the Native American community. For the age group of fifteen through thirty-four, Native America reported 1.5 times more deaths annually than the national average, with 19.5 deaths per 100,000 population; however, CDC noted that those statistics may be underreported by approximately thirty percent.

As suicide and suicide attempts are escalating in Native communities, tribes continue to search for a way to reach their young members. Suicide is a topic that many are not comfortable discussing. Whether it’s because of a lost loved one or even personal attempts and thoughts, the stigma around suicide often prevents people from having an open conversation about the risks, factors, and signs; let alone the pain, anger and grief that suicide causes.

Tulalip Youth Services is well-aware of the suicide crisis as the community has been personally affected over recent years. Youth Services often holds open-forums for the young adults of the community, creating a safe space where teens can open up to their peers to speak honestly about suicide. Last year, Youth Services hosted the first annual Tulalip-Marysville Unity Month, better known as #TMUnityMonth in the social media realm, to promote awareness about issues such as bullying, domestic violence, substance abuse and suicide within the two communities. Youth Services dedicates an entire week to each of these issues during the month of October and plans events and activities based on the topic to bring awareness, resources and education to the community.

The second annual Unity Month started with Life is Sacred week, focused on suicide prevention. Four, three-step suicide prevention trainings, taught by the Tulalip Crisis Response Team, were held for the community throughout the week. Training attendees were taught how to spot warning signs and how to respond when dealing with someone who is suicidal. The three-step suicide prevention class is taught nationally and upon successful completion, students are awarded a certificate by the QPR Institute. Both the institute and the trainings are named after the three-steps in the prevention: question, persuade and refer.

Crisis Response Team member, Yvonne Ito, explains the three steps stating, “Q is the question and the question is, are you planning on harming yourself, do you plan on killing yourself? People might not want to ask that question because they might not want hear the answer and are afraid of what the response will be. P – persuade someone to get help and R is refer them to the appropriate resource.”

Yvonne addressed the class during one of the trainings, asking “if someone told you they were going to harm themselves, where would you tell them to go?”

To which a youth, who wishes to be unnamed, answered, “I would refer them to the Community Health Department and get them in touch with some counselors. Obviously there’s the suicide hotline and get them support rather than telling them what they need to do and what they can’t do. Just letting them know that they have people who want them here and will listen to them. And also that they have me, that I’m always here to talk to and that I care.”

“Does anybody happen to know the suicide hotline number?” asked Yvonne. A group of young ladies answered, nearly in unison, “1-800-273-8255” before one of their peers added “you only know that because of the song.”

This year hip-hop artist Logic released a song titled 1-800-273-8255, the national suicide number. The song itself is told from three different perspectives; someone who is contemplating suicide, a friend offering words of encouragement and someone who is reflecting on a failed suicide attempt.

The unnamed student expressed that the song is extremely important in helping reach today’s youth stating, “I think that just the song’s title alone will save a lot of lives – I hope it does. It sheds a little light on a dark subject – you don’t have to listen to the song, or even be a fan of it, to save yours, a friend or anybody’s life, you just have to know the name.”

Frustrations were expressed, feelings were confessed and many tears were shed throughout the course of the four QPR trainings. Attendees were provided with plenty of resources and are now better equipped with the knowledge of how to prevent someone from committing suicide.

“The QPR trainings are important to our community, in particular, because we as Native Americans have higher rates of suicide in our community, with this training it can help us combat that,” expressed Youth Advocate, Deyamonta Diaz. “It’s not a cure-all but it does help for regular unlicensed folks, such as many of us community members, to help prevent and even talk with someone about suicide. The trainings also help bring awareness to some education around the topic of suicide in general.

“I think the youth responded well to the QPR’s in the fact that they were able to address any feelings that they had towards the notion of suicide; and [the trainings] also empowered other youth to feel like they now know preventative measures,” he continues. “The biggest takeaway that the community learned from the sessions are that suicide is preventable by anyone, not just mental health professionals; and that if anyone is in need of help – me, you, or anyone in the community can help them out. I think we are all aware that suicide has impacted our community recently but we can tackle this issue and help heal our people.”

The community showed up in large numbers to conclude Life is Sacred week with the Say Something Color Run/Walk. Color-runners, accompanied by a Tulalip Police Department and Tulalip Fire Department escort, traveled the distance from the old Boom City site to the Don Hatch Youth Center on the evening of Saturday October, 7. Youth Service team members excitedly waited to cover runners with multi-colored powder chalk at multiple check-points. Upon reaching the finish line, runners were treated to pizza and a live DJ as community members celebrated a successful first week of Unity Month.

Exploring Healthy Boundaries With the Help of Horses

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News.  Photos courtesy of Monica Holmes

The horse was a major part of Native American history and still plays a vital role in enabling Native youth to connect to their heritage of being caretakers of Mother Earth and all her animals. A new form of spiritual healing can also be derived from individuals and their interaction with the majestic horse, called equine therapy.

Using horses in a therapeutic setting offers youth clear opportunities to learn about themselves and others in an effective way. This is why on October 6 the Girl’s Talking Circle took a trip to Cedar Groves Stables in Stanwood, WA for a fun-filled, therapeutic afternoon.

“Our trip to Cedar Groves Stables was for an ‘Exploring Healthy Boundaries’ workshop with the goal to enlighten the youth about their own inherent boundaries and the need to adjust those boundaries based on the people they encounter along their journey,” explained event coordinator and para-pro Monica Holmes. “We did many exercises individually and with one another that illustrated each person’s ability to tap into their own gut instinct to determine where they position themselves, how they behave around others, and how they may need to regulate their emotional output.”

Horse and human encounters provide opportunities for learning about relationships and further understanding about boundaries. Once the girls transitioned inside the stables and began interacting with the herd of horses, they found themselves using the personal boundary skills they just learned and adjusting to the horses’ needs.

“I learned horses sometimes feel trapped or unsafe, so they tell us to back off by moving their heads and trying to get away,” beamed 11-year-old tribal member, Tieriana McLean. “When we humans did boundary work we learned that we sometimes flinch or feel stressed or react and that means we were setting our own boundaries with others.”

Horses, much like people, are social creatures and require mutual trust and respect in order to engage in a productive relationship. If a horse is acting stubborn or defiant, then it can often be understood as a lack of engagement and thoughtfulness on the part of the person.

“I liked learning about how you need to calm yourself around the horses, so they’ll learn to trust you and won’t hurt you,” remarked 14-year-old Ariyah Guardipee (Salish Kootenai).

For the girls, making a connection with a horse required self-awareness in order to produce positive intentions, while also reading the emotional output of the horse. Once a balance has been reached, the girls were able to approach the horses and establish a bond. How much space to give a certain horse and when or if they could reciprocate attention or affection is a learned skill they showcased brilliantly.

“Rather than shying away from them or feeling overwhelmed by the horses’ size, the girls were zoned into reading the horses individually,” added Monica. “They adjusted their interactions accordingly, so the horse was on the receiving end of the time and attention it wanted and needed. Miraculously, each girl walked away with a deeper connection to the horses, each other and themselves.”

Volunteer chaperone and tribal member, Darkfeather Ancheta, jumped at the opportunity to attend the workshop with the Girls Talking Circle. She witnessed first-hand the girls learn personal boundary skills and then use them to develop bonds with the horses. “It was very powerful! The girls’ energy and moods changed instantly around the horses. To watch them react, learn, and respond the way they did was so amazing. This program can change lives for the better,” stated Darkfeather.

The connection established with these equine companions brought out the hidden inner strength and courage of each and every youth participant. Overcoming doubts and developing confidence are only a couple of supplemental results they also enjoyed from their time at the Stables.

Activities that teach skills ‘outside of the box’ are vital to programs like the Girls Talking Circle for developing healthy, well-rounded individuals and groups of youth in our community. These are experiences the youth and those adults who are privileged enough to work with them won’t soon forget.

TULALIP VIES TO BE HOME TO AMAZON’S “HQ2”

Tulalip offers Amazon sites in the first tribally chartered city in the United States
Tulalip is participating in this regional proposal with Snohomish and King County

 

TULALIP, WASHINGTON – Tulalip Tribes have partnered with regional leaders to persuade Amazon to build “HQ2” in Washington State. The Tulalip Tribes are offering large sites in Quil Ceda Village, the first tribally chartered city in the United States, as part of the joint bid announced on Thursday.

Tulalip Tribes leadership is confident Quil Ceda Village is a prime location for Amazon. It boasts buildable and appropriately zoned land, with a full suite of utilities and a location easily accessible to I-5. The Tulalip Tribe has also worked extensively with County and State officials to increase transportation capacity in the region.

“Amazon has proven themselves as forward thinking and the areas where they do business flourish,” said Marie Zackuse, Tribal Chairwoman. “We feel strongly that Amazon’s commitment to job growth, talent retention and their generous philanthropic culture aligns with Tulalip’s philosophy of looking forward, not only for our success, but for the success of our neighboring communities. “Amazon has been touted as ‘the world’s most customer centric company,’ and that generous focus on the long-term relationship with people, rather than short term profits, fits right in with our style of business, Zackuse continued.

“The Tulalip Tribes believe we all benefit when innovative companies make their home in our communities, Zackuse said. There are a wealth of positives for everyone involved that will occur from Amazon locating their second headquarters in our region, and this is why Tulalip is participating in this regional proposal with Snohomish and King County.

“Our teams are ready, the real estate is ready, and all that is left is a business that would best complement our ideals and our economy. We strongly believe, with Amazon, we’ve found that.”

For more information, visit www.tulaliptribes-nsn.gov.

Paint and Sip brings out inner artist for Girl’s Talking Circle

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News; photos courtesy of event coordinator and para-pro, Monica Holmes 

On the afternoon of Friday, September 29, the popular Paint and Sip experience came to Tulalip’s own Girl’s Talking Circle. Eight aspiring young ladies had the unique opportunity to create their own masterpiece on canvas while sipping sparkling cider and enjoying fancy snacks.

The Paint and Sip activity provided both our youth Girl’s Talking Circle and their family members with an opportunity to explore their creative side. They learned to hone their artistic skills, like utilizing color for effect, balancing light and dark, adding shapes, dimension and perspective, and taking risks to personalize art in order to make it their own.

Hosted by Tulalip Youth Services and Behavioral Health’s MSPI Program, and held at the Kenny Moses Building, Paint and Sip was a creative way of engaging with female youth ages 11-18+. The mother, aunties, grandmas or female guardians of participating youth were also invited to participate. There ended up being two pairs of mother/daughter duos attending.

“One mother-daughter duo in particular really exemplified unity and support,” explains event coordinator and para-pro Monica Holmes. “Amy and Kelsey Sheldon reached out to us early on to see if we could create an inclusive activity that Kelsey could participate in. Kelsey has Autism and rarely has opportunities to interact with other young women her age with or without disabilities.

“Understanding the challenges Kelsey might face in groups, we felt including her mother Amy would be an important first step into helping Kelsey feel at ease in a group of new people. Sitting beside one another and working together on an art project helped to focus her attention to the task at hand. The finished product both mother and daughter created and the positive experiences they had, proves that kids with challenges and disabilities can benefit from more inclusion in community sponsored activities. MSPI (Methamphetamine Suicide Prevention Initiative) is working to push forward with even more tailored inclusive activities in which all youth can gain skills, camaraderie and connection to their heritage and community.”

For most of the girls Paint and Sip provided the opportunity to showcase their artistic talents on canvas for the very first time. Under the guidance of art instructor Irina Johnson from Vine and Palette, everyone painted their own rendition of sea turtles swimming in the ocean under a bright summer sun.

“Art teaches you to look at nature and everything around you through different eyes,” says artist Irina on the importance of experiencing art. “You look for details, texture, and color in a way that makes you appreciate all those things you generally ignore and take for granted. For example, how many colors can you spot in a leaf when the sun is setting, or what are all the textures in a tree branch, or the intricate details in a single blade of grass. All these little things add up to a greater awareness of our world and our reality. In this sense, art makes us appreciate life that much more.”

An eloquent description for sure, but for 11-year-old Tieriana McLean she puts it much simpler, “I came here because I just like painting.” What more need be said?

The Girl’s Talking Circle meets every Friday from 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. at the Tulalip Youth Center.  They do hands-on arts and crafts, explore cultural identity, focus on personal, team and community building, have speakers from the Tribe teach their wisdom, and go on fieldtrips to explore, learn and grow.

For more information about the Girl’s Talking Circle please contact Monica Holmes at 360-631-3406 or email: mholmes@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

Ray Sheldon Jr. looks to bring fresh perspective to Marysville School District

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

The Marysville School District (MSD) is comprised of twenty-two schools including ten elementary, four middle and eight high schools.  The majority of Tulalip students attend schools within MSD as the entire reservation is under the school district. Tulalip is home to Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary School, 10th Street Middle School, Tulalip Heritage High and Marysville Arts and Technology High School. MSD is split into five separate districts based on location, the Tulalip reservation is within and accounts for a large portion of District One. A representative from each district is elected by the community to serve on the school board every four years.

For the past eight years, Chris Nations has been the MSD District One Board of Director and is up for re-election this year. Tulalip tribal member, Ray Sheldon Jr. is challenging Chris for the District One seat and is progressively gaining more support as the election day of November 7 draws near. Ray has been actively involved within his community, coaching little league baseball for nearly thirty-five years. He also is a strong supporter for special needs children, volunteering his time to numerous non-profits including Leah’s Dream Foundation, an organization, founded by Tulalip member Deanna Sheldon, which assists local students with autism by raising funds, planning events and providing support to both parents and students.

“I’m an advocate for special needs and the kids that need care because I have four grandkids who are categorized as special needs,” Ray explains. “I don’t think the school district spends enough money for these people and kind of shoves them in the corner, which bothers me big time. I think we need to help those special needs children. Special needs doesn’t necessarily mean they’re stuck in a wheel chair, special needs are also the kids who have trouble reading or with dialect or anything else. The school doesn’t pay enough attention to them and we should start teaching and spending time with them.

“Budget-wise I feel they [MSD] just work for higher education,” he continues. “Those early years are really important. We should start in the beginning [of their education] and have therapists who are able to help these children. I think there really needs to be change with special needs education. It’s not just tribal children, its non-tribal too. We need representation for these children. We’re not getting it. We’re not getting it from Chris Nations, so we need to make a change so someone is there to represent our children.”

Former MSD board member, Don ‘Penoke’ Hatch, not only endorses Ray, but has been the main source of inspiration, providing the candidate with advice and encouragement throughout the race. In previous years, while Penoke served for MSD, community members voted only for their district representative; now community members can vote for all five district representatives. Ray believes that this procedure is flawed because it allows candidates to campaign outside of their district, therefore leaving many of the districts’ needs unattended when the candidate takes office.

“Don Hatch used to be on the school board. Years ago we used to visit on Saturday mornings, when he was a school board member, and he told me ‘when it’s time, you should take over because you care so much about the kids.’ He mentioned that he was getting up there in age but is still so passionate about it. I told him last spring that I really wanted to run this year. They changed the rules about district voting just before he left, so he told me it’d be an uphill battle. And it is an uphill battle, but he’s helping as much as he can. He’s inspired me to keep going and makes suggestions about where I can visit and help. My goal, if I get on, would be to make District One always a tribal district. That’s the way it should be. District One is a big district and since we’re a sovereign nation we should have that seat no matter what.”

During the 2016-2017 school year, MSD had just over 11,000 students attending their schools. Of those 11,000 students, six hundred and ninety-six were Native American and 1,749 students were special needs children. Over the course of recent years, MSD has slowly seen a decrease in attendance.

“We’re having a lot of children who are now leaving the school district and going to private schools,” Ray states. “I think sometimes they leave the school district because they’re not paid attention to, other than they’re just a number. Our future is really important, it’s important to have our children educated. It will be a better community and they’ll be great parents – that’s the whole dream. They can do it; they just need someone to make them understand that they can do it. This is the first year I coached the tribal baseball team, they just needed the confidence. I supplied that and they did really well, we only lost one game. All they lack is confidence and once you give them the confidence, they can do it. I think the teachers out here do their best because moneywise they can’t hire extra help. If we can better educate our people, maybe some of our issues will go away that we have in the community. I really think we need a Voc-Tech school in our high school area so the lower-tested kids can understand and learn a trade, like we do here with TERO.”

“There’s five districts, they meet a couple times each month and what bothers me the most is I’ve been to a few meetings and some of these members they’ll sit there and look at their watch and figure ‘we spent two hours here so it’s time to go’,” he expresses. “There are over 10,00 kids in the school district, you’d think they would push and put a little more effort into the schools and be able to help the Superintendent and give her the direction of where to go and how to help. I’d like to make them more accountable. What’s a little more disturbing is that a few years ago, it was up to nearly 12,000 students within the school district. They’re slowly dropping off because all these kids are also going to private schools where the curriculum is a little harder and they’re being pushed. They’re all treated like students, not the bottom third. That’s what I get a little frustrated with, they need to spend the time, whether its three or four hours, they need to have some sort of accountability to the kids. 10,000 – if you looked at it as if the Tribe used that same model, we’d be in trouble.”

Tulalip and Marysville community members who are not registered to vote in Snohomish County must do so online or in person at any Washington Department of Licensing office by October 9, in order to be eligible to vote for Ray during the upcoming election. Ballots will be mailed out to registered Snohomish County voters by October 25, and must be filled out and mailed by 8:00 p.m. on November 7.

“The reason I’m trying to get involved now is because for the past eight years the representative who’s in our district now hasn’t done anything for the tribal children – at all. So, we need a change quick,” urges Ray. “When he needs help, he never comes here to ask, this is where I would like the help. I think it’s really important that we need to make a change but I can’t do it myself. You can’t do it by yourself either. It needs to be done together so that we can get in there and let them know where they’ve been dropping the ball; and that they also need to worry about us. If we can get a tribal person on there who can help push and get the Tribe back involved with school, things will happen for the better.”

For additional information please visit the ‘Ray Sheldon Jr. Candidate for MSD #25 District 1 Director’ Facebook page.

Hibulb Cultural Center Hosts 5th Annual Film Festival

Larry Campbell Sr. (Swinomish) and Tracy Rector (Seminole/Choctaw)
accept lifetime achievement awards at the Film Festival for their work in cultural sharing and filmmaking.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Local filmmakers, cinephiles, culturalists and food fanatics gathered at the Hibulb Cultural Center on Saturday September 23, to attend the Center’s annual Film Festival. Every year the festival has a new theme and filmmakers are encouraged to submit a project correlating to the theme, however, all projects are welcome. The Cultural Center chose First Foods: Feeding our Spirits as the theme for this year’s festival.

Celebrating its fifth year, the festival featured a showing of several Indigenous films, a presentation by the Rediscovery Program and a story presented in Lushootseed by Natosha Gobin. Awards were presented to filmmakers in attendance as well as lifetime achievement awards to Swinomish elder Larry Campbell Sr. and Longhouse Media Director and Seminole/Choctaw tribal member Tracy Rector for their work in cultural sharing and filmmaking.

Language teacher Natosha Gobin tells a story in Lushootseed.

The Rediscovery Program shared the history of traditional Tulalip ancestral foods and a food tasting which included hawthorn horsetail peppermint tea, basil stinging nettle pesto, deer and elk meat, as well as mixed berries comprised of salal berries and mountain huckleberries. The Rediscovery Program also showcased a traditional bentwood box used for cooking. Inside the box were a variety of traditional foods, including mussels, oysters, clams, salmon, elk meat, berries and herbs; as well as cooking necessities such as cedar-woven food storage baskets, cooking rocks and utensils.

“It’s truly a blessing to be able to be one with our environment,” expresses Rediscovery Program Coordinator, Inez Bill. “We need to share that with our young people so they know that the lifeways of our people is very important to who we are. We need to see that continues to our grandchildren’s grandchildren. What’s important to know and remember is that our ancestors were one with their environment; and being one with the environment, they had a key identity with the resources. These natural resources provided for all of the needs for our people; it provided shelter, tools, transportation to go from one area to another. This relationship with the natural environment also meant that they respected the environment, they had teachings and values that they lived by. They had a spiritual connection that they followed daily.

“The spiritual connection, the teachings and the values were in all the lifeways of our people,” she continues. “Whether it was hunting, fishing or gathering it was done in a proper manner – with the rituals, making the baskets, carvings and all of the different teachings that took place. We had people that were so keen to the native plants that they were able to provide the medicine that was needed to help our people live. There were no hospitals; there was no fast food outside the reservation like there are now. Our people were a lot healthier than they are today. As our people adapted to the changing world, our bodies were not accustomed to these drastic changes and it’s not always in the best interest for our health. We need to do the best we can to continue to keep some of these foods, not for ourselves, but for the future generations. Because we know that when we eat our native foods we’re not only nourishing our bodies, we’re nourishing our spirits.”

Rediscovery Program Coordinator, Inez Bill.

 

Following the presentation by the Rediscovery Program, festival attendees were treated to a viewing of eight films.

“We have categories in animation, documentaries long and short, feature films long and short, anti-bullying and experimental films,” explains Hibulb Cultural Center Education Curator and Film Festival Organizer, Lena Jones. “We have youth categories for animation, documentaries, feature films, anti-bullying, and experimental also. We have a section specific to Tulalip members in all those categories as well.”

Navajo Filmmaker Kody Dayish submitted three films for this year’s event. In his film The Beginning, a Navajo elder explains the heritage and traditions of the Navajo people to his grandson through traditional song. Kody also tackled serious issues such as bullying in schools and suicide during his three-minute film, Spared. For his third submission, Goodbye, a Navajo elder returns to her childhood home and is hit with a wave of nostalgia as she reminisces of young love in a music video-style film featuring music by Navajo band, Our Last Chants.

The Hibulb Cultural Center Film Festival also screened the short animation film, σčəδαδξʷ. The film’s name is in the traditional Lushootseed language, meaning salmon. The animation explains the importance of salmon to Coastal Natives while depicting the salmon’s lifecycle. The main character is the late Billy Frank Jr. and is told entirely in his voice, as the cartoon was built from one of his speeches.

“When I first saw [σčəδαδξʷ] I was at home reviewing all the films and I just cried,” states Swinomish tribal member and Hibulb Cultural Center Film Festival Judge, Robin Carneen. “Billy Frank Jr. was such a hero in our Northwest area because he was such a fighter for the rights of the people – treaty rights, our right to fish. He was on the ground to the day that he passed. That is such a powerful film. And to mix it as an animated film, it’s going to reach even younger generations. I grew up watching cartoons, not a lot of educational purpose to them except maybe for entertainment value and not necessarily always a good message. Later as an adult and watching animation, you think ‘wow all that was going into my brain?’ You see how much of an influence animation, films and TV are. To see Billy Frank again – he’s immortalized. His message is immortalized now, for all of us and all the generations yet to come so that we don’t quit fighting. This film is going to be our inspiration to make sure that fight keeps happening for generations to come.”

Tulalip tribal member, David Spencer Sr., presented his film, Waiting for Blackberries, which displayed clay Stick Indians chanting a traditional song to help ripen blackberries during the upcoming spring season. David was inspired to create the film when recalling advice from his grandmother to respect the berries, stating, “if you don’t show the berries respect, they will whip you with their thorny vines.”

The main screening, Maiden of Deception Pass: Guardian of her Samish People, was held in the Hibulb longhouse. The twenty-minute documentary highlighted the traditional story of Ko-kwal-alwoot, a young Samish woman who married a sea spirit in order to save her people from famine; and the erection of her story pole at Deception Pass in 1983. Filmmakers of the documentary include Jason Ticknor, Lou Karsen and Tracy Rector. Two international films, Hani’s Barbershop and Closer, were also shown to close out the festival.

“What I like about the Native films is that it’s really important that we’re preserving and documenting our culture,” says Robin. “When I see the language show up in the films, I get so excited to see and hear the language. That’s what I like about the films that are coming in from our area. The films are all so different but they’re all so important. The mix of people that we have, including the many generations, I think that all of the storytelling is great. Especially with all the modern technology, to mix the two together because it’s going to reach everybody on some level.”

The fifth Annual Hibulb Cultural Center Film Festival was a success as movie buffs from the Pacific Northwest, including Canada and Oregon, traveled to Tulalip for an afternoon of culture and movies. The event continues to generate interest as several young tribal members attended. Lena hopes to inspire indigenous youth to pick up a camera and start shooting.

“I encourage young people to become involved in filmmaking,” she states. “Films can impact people. We have such a strong, beautiful culture; and we have a belief that young people can reflect our ancestral values in film work because of their experience living in the culture. Plus, filmmaking is enjoyable!”

For additional information about the Annual Hibulb Cultural Center Film Festival please contact the museum at (360) 716-2600.