Quilting for Veterans

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

On a brisk, fall afternoon, seven Tulalip women gathered behind the Hibulb Cultural Center, a place where they often met over the past several months. Rae Anne Gobin, Lena Jones, Sherry Dick, Benita Rosen, Edith Johnny and Sara Andres continued the annual tradition of quilting blankets for Tulalip Veterans, making this their third consecutive year honoring those who served in the military. 

Each member of the quilting bee has created one quilt for the project every year with the goal of blanketing all of Tulalip’s veterans. As they arranged their quilts for a number of photos, the quilters all shared a certain excitement with one another as they admired each other’s final product. Ooh’s and ahh’s followed by compliments about color schemes and patterns were heard as each quilter proudly showcased her work to the group. Seven beautiful red, white and blue quilts were completed after months of hard work and the quilters couldn’t wait to gift them to seven lucky local veterans at the annual Hibulb Cultural Center Veterans Day event.

“This is our third year sewing quilts, bringing a total of twenty-one quilts,” expresses Tulalip Quilter, Rae Anne Gobin. “For 2018, the Tulalip Veteran Quilt group took the challenge of sewing the Hollow Star pattern by Krista Moser, who designed, taught and long-armed the quilts. The pattern was full of Y seams that presented challenges until we began to master them. Each one of us took the time to select our fabric and put our love in each of these quilts. We hope each recipient finds the quilt comforting.”

The Tulalip Veteran Quilt Project has been funded through the Tulalip Foundation since their first year. Around this time last year, the Foundation decided to honor the ladies for their loving efforts by selecting the group as their Giving Tuesday recipients. 

“Giving Tuesday is the response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” says Tulalip Foundation Executive Director, Nicole Sieminski. “It’s an idea of giving back to the community after all of the consumerism over Thanksgiving weekend. We chose the Tulalip Veterans Quilt Project this year and raised almost $1,700, covering all of the supplies for the quilting. We love supporting community driven projects. It’s always great to see the amazing work these ladies do and it’s such a great opportunity to support our veterans.”

  The ladies presented their quilts to Veterans Ronald Burns, Peter Henry Sr., David Fryberg Sr., Cyrus Williams and Leonard James in a moving moment during the museum’s Honoring Our Veterans event on November 11. Each veteran displayed youthful exuberance, joyful smiles and tears of happiness when accepting the beautiful blankets from their makers. Everybody in attendance of the event were wowed by the patterns of the quilts and gave both the quilters and the veterans a standing ovation after the gifting. Veterans Ernest Millholland and Wesley Charles Jr. were unfortunately unable to attend the event, but the Tulalip Honor Guards will be sure they receive their quilts on behalf of the ladies. 

“We enjoy doing this work and giving back to our community, making sure our veterans are recognized for protecting us and our country,” expresses Rae Anne. “We know our veterans put their lives on hold while serving and helped protect us to keep our freedom. We care for and love our Tulalip veterans and want to honor them for their service and let them know, you are not forgotten and will always be remembered.”

Annual Veteran’s Pow Wow

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

The first weekend of June marked the 27th Annual Tulalip Veterans Powwow. The extremely popular event welcomed hundreds of traditional dancers and singers to the Greg Williams Court to honor our veterans and celebrate Indigenous culture. The event kicked-off on June 1 and ended on the evening of June 3, as Natives of all ages and from across the Nation journeyed to Tulalip to participate in the powwow. 

“I came from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and am Blackfeet and Colville,” said Dave Madera. “I came to dance and sing.  It’s really positive, it feels good to get out on the floor and dance it’s really a celebration of our lives and uplifting our people through song and dance.”

The powwow featured a number of grand entries throughout the weekend, but the most popular was perhaps on the evening of June 2, as the entire gym was rocking to the beats provided by the many drum groups and the jingle of traditional regalia. 

“It’s about visiting with your family and friends and at the same time you’re sharing the culture,” said Russell McCloud (Puyallup/Yakima) “Song and dance brings everyone together. For the powwow it’s that drum, the drum brings everybody here. When they’re drumming and singing, everybody’s on the same beat and that unites all of us together.”

Ruben Littlehead served as Master of Ceremonies during the powwow and Northern Cree provided loud, rhythmic drumbeats throughout the event as the host drum circle. This year featured a playground for the kids that overlooked Tulalip Bay as well as numerous vendors. 

The annual powwow continues to inspire a new generation of dancers as kids of all ages took to the floor to honor our vets and ancestors by showcasing their traditional dance skills. Adults and elders also joined in on the fun by dancing their hearts out and getting lost in the culture.

“I love everything about this powwow,” expressed young Tulalip tribal member, Jordan Power. “I come to dance for the people, share our culture and continue practicing our traditions.”

Quilting for Tulalip Veterans

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Over the past two months, seven Tulalip tribal members have been hard at work crafting quilts for the Veterans of Tulalip. The members of the quilting group are Sandra Swanson, Candy Hill-Wells, Lena Jones, Sara Andres, Benita Rosen, Sherry Dick and Rae Anne Gobin. In Native America, blankets hold a significant value to many tribal communities as they are associated with honor and respect. Blankets, including quilts, are traditionally gifted at various ceremonies such as potlatches, pow wows and graduations. Tulalip quilters have used their artwork to help strengthen their community for many generations by gifting them to honor their fellow tribal members.

“Tulalip Tribes had a group of quilters that gathered at the ‘Fudge ‘n Funnies’ quilt store in Marysville until the store had a fire and closed,” explains Quilter Rae Anne Gobin. “Since then, there hasn’t been a place for quilters to gather until the Hibulb Museum was built. In 2016, I attended a Star Quilt class at the museum, taught by Edith Johnny and Tisha Mclean.  It was then, the passion for quilting sparked once again.

“Outside of making quilts for family what else could I do?” Rae Anne pondered. “I thought about my grandmother, Christina Fryberg Williams, who belonged to the women’s sewing group housed at the basement of the old dining hall called the ‘thrift shop.’ I remember hanging out with my grandmother and cherished the quilt she gave me. Then, thinking of my dad, Ralph D. Jones Jr., serving in the Korean War as a combat Veteran. Wishing I could’ve made him a quilt to honor his service, but he passed before I really had the inspiration to sew. It was then, I introduced the idea of the Tulalip Veteran Quilt project to the quilters. To honor our Veterans for their service.”

The project is currently in its second year. Last year, the ladies made their first quilts with a traditional Native American design for the Veterans. This year, the group picked the House Divided pattern. The ladies continue to gather weekly to work on their quilts in preparation for the Annual Veterans Day Service at the Hibulb Cultural Center, where the quilters will present their finished projects to the Veterans.

“I think each one of us didn’t expect the response we received from the Veterans,” states Rae Anne, recalling the 2016 Veterans Day event. “We felt really good about making those and putting our love into the quilts, but we didn’t expect to get the emotion we seen out of the Veterans who got them last year. I think after getting the first year behind us, knowing what that meant to the Veterans, we wanted to continue doing this. Our purpose is to give back to our members who served our country – thanking them sincerely for their service because we care about them. There is a heartfelt emotion, love and words we cannot even express. That saying is true – the more you give, the more you get back.”

Veterans and Gold Star Mothers honored at Tulalip

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

In commemoration of Memorial Day, the Tulalip Tribes held memorial services at both Priest Point and Mission Beach cemeteries, to honor and remember the fallen soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice while fighting for this Nation’s freedom. The Tribe thanked the veterans, Gold Star Mothers and active duty members of the military for their service.

Tulalip Board member and Vietnam Veteran, Mel Sheldon, hosted the services and thanked the Honor Guards, veterans and families who prepared the cemetery for the memorial services.

“It’s heartfelt to see all the flags on bedsides of Veterans who served, especially for those who paid their life, the ultimate sacrifice,” Mel expressed.

Several Tulalip Veterans shared their experience with the community, recounting their days while on active duty. The services included roll call as well as a 21-gun salute at each cemetery. This year, the Tribe enlisted two Vietnam veterans as guest speakers for the memorial services.

Washington State Council President for the Vietnam Veterans of America, Francisco Ivarra, spoke to the Tulalip community about the important role of family during wartime.

“When we talk about a veteran we have to include his wife, girlfriend and family. It has to be inclusive, because when a Veteran comes home from war, combat and foreign lands, they are not the same person,” said Francisco. “For those of us who served, war will always be with us for the rest of our lives. That war filters down to our families. What we are feeling, going through and experiencing, so are our families. We fought the battle, but when we come home, they are also fighting the battle.”

President of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association, John Shafer, served alongside Mel during Vietnam. John shared that there were over 42,000 aviators during the Vietnam War and made sure to take a moment to pay respect to Raymond Moses, a Tulalip Veteran who recently was laid to rest.

John also thanked the Tulalip Veterans and community members stating, “It is an honor to be here today with the Tulalip families and Veterans. [In the military,] Native American men and women have the highest participation role, in history.  The Tulalip families stepped up for our country and I thank each of you for your service.”

 

Hundreds attend Tulalip Veterans Pow Wow

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By  Mara Hill, Tulalip News 

The vibrancy of color and beauty in Native American regalia and the sound of drums is enough to give you goose bumps throughout your body, and a shiver down your spine. The intensity of the drum beat matches the heartbeat of the bystanders as they watch 15 drum groups and hundreds of dancers compete in the Annual Veterans Pow Wow. The dancing, round drums, and singing can give the sensation of being in a meditative state of mind.  Attendees travel long distances to be a part of this pow wow, to not only honor our veterans, but to meet and connect with other communities and tribes.

The Veterans Pow Wow was held June 5-7 in the Don Hatch Youth Center.

 

 

Contact Mara Hill, award@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

Women Marines Association’s WA-3 North Sound Chapter will host Alfie Alvardo-Ramos, May 2

Source: Press Release, Women Marines Assocation WA-3 North Sound

MARYSVILLE – On May 2, the Women Marines Association’s WA-3 North Sound Chapter will host the Lourdes “Alfie” Alvarado-Ramos, Director of Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs at the Marysville Village Inn Restaurant, located off  I-5 exit 199 .

The event will be held at 12:30 and will feature resource information for male and female veterans located in Washington.

For more information contact president of the chapter, Karen Wheeler at 425-744-4511. RSVP by April, 27, 2015 at WA3@womenmarines.org.

“Veterans have earned the rights they have through their heavily structured, sometimes difficult, often grinding military service- whether he or she served in the Washington DC office at the Commandant or at Camp Lejeune (Jacksonville, NC) in the kitchen; whether during peacetime or by going to war zones such as the sands in the Philippines, freezing temperatures in Korea, the jungles of Vietnam, the desert in the Persian Gulf or through these two current blistering wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is much out there for you, our veteran!”

“Washington Dept. of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) offers some very important programs including education, training, employment, claims assistance, and psychological counseling for military related issues (traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, couples counseling, suicide prevention or just plain how to cope with what’s happening day to day). Our WDVA also provides valuable information on housing, whether getting off the streets or needing elder care, including Veterans Homes and Fisher House. Come Join us! Lean what the State of Washington has to offer you, and met Alfie.”

 

New VA Facility In Seattle Will Focus On Mental Health And Research

By PATRICIA MURPHY & LISA BROOKS, KUOW

 

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VA Puget Sound broke ground on a new mental health and research facility Wednesday.

It’s the first new structure on the VA’s Seattle campus since 1988.

At the groundbreaking, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray said it’s an encouraging step toward serving the growing number of veterans who need care.

“Our country has fallen short of its solemn responsibility. But I am very proud that when this center opens, more of our veterans in Washington state will have access to the quality mental health care that they so deeply deserve,” Murray said.

Murray said 22,000 vets sought treatment locally for mental health issues last year. That’s an 8 percent increase from the year before.

The new structure is expected to be completed in 2017 and will hold several hundred staff members and researchers. That includes more doctors to see more patients.

Veterans Gather to Honor One Another in Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Celebration

 

Retiring of the flags is performed by veterans during the, Sunday, March 29, 2015, Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Celebration held at the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club. (Tulalip News Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil)

Retiring of the flags is performed by veterans during the, Sunday, March 29, 2015, Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Celebration held at the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club. (Tulalip News Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil)

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

TULALIP – A celebration was held today at the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club to mark the national ‘Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.’

Due to the unpopularity of the conflict, veterans returning home were often forgotten and abused, suffering years of post stress disorder. In 2011, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution to provide Vietnam veterans a proper welcome home.  March 30, the day all U.S. troops and support-troops withdrew from Vietnam, was designated a national day of welcome. The resolution authored by North Carolina senator Richard Burr called the resolution, “a day to give our Vietnam veterans a warm, long-overdue welcome home.”

A friendship round dance is performed by attendees to the, Sunday, March 29, 2015, Welcome Home Vietnam Celebration held at the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club. (Tulalip News Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil)

A friendship round dance is performed by attendees to the, Sunday, March 29, 2015, Welcome Home Vietnam Celebration held at the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club. (Tulalip News Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil)

On March 30, 1973, all U.S. troops withdrew from Vietnam under the terms of the Treaty of Paris. More than 58,000 members of the United States Armed Forces had lost their lives while more than 300,000 were wounded during the conflict.

Today veterans in the Tulalip community came together to celebrate all the veterans who returned home and to honor those who lost their lives serving their country.

Veterans of the Tulalip community perform a song for veterans during the, Sunday, March 29, 2015, Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Celebration held at the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club. (Tulalip News Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil)

Veterans of the Tulalip community perform a song for veterans during the, Sunday, March 29, 2015, Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Celebration held at the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club. (Tulalip News Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil)

The celebration was organized by Tulalip veteran Andy James who served in the Marines during the conflict. The event featured a potluck style meal and small pow wow.

Thank you to all those who have served. We honor your sacrifice and welcome you home.

 

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

Cherokee veterans gain care options

New agreement links tribal service to VA health system

By Anita Reding, Muskogee Phoenix Staff Writer

Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., left, and Principal Chief Bill John Baker sign the reimbursement agreement Friday. Next to Baker is James Floyd, the director of the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center. Watching from behind are Gayla Stewart, left, the victim witness coordinator for the regional U.S. Attorney’s Office; Dr. Ricky Robinson, the director of the Cherokee Veterans Center; Vickie Hanvey, the Cherokee Nation self-governance administrator; Jacque Secondine Hensley, the Native American liaison for Gov. Mary Fallin; Connie Davis, the executive director of Cherokee Nation Health Services; Tribal Council Speaker Tina Glory-Jordan; Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden; and John Alley and Bunner Gray, Indian health liaisons for the VA center.

Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., left, and Principal Chief Bill John Baker sign the reimbursement agreement Friday. Next to Baker is James Floyd, the director of the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center. Watching from behind are Gayla Stewart, left, the victim witness coordinator for the regional U.S. Attorney’s Office; Dr. Ricky Robinson, the director of the Cherokee Veterans Center; Vickie Hanvey, the Cherokee Nation self-governance administrator; Jacque Secondine Hensley, the Native American liaison for Gov. Mary Fallin; Connie Davis, the executive director of Cherokee Nation Health Services; Tribal Council Speaker Tina Glory-Jordan; Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden; and John Alley and Bunner Gray, Indian health liaisons for the VA center.

TAHLEQUAH — Veterans who are members of the Cherokee Nation can now choose from several locations to receive health care.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker signed a reimbursement agreement with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on Friday.

The Cherokee Nation is one of several tribes that have contracts with the VA, said James Floyd, director of the Jack C. Montgomery VA Medical Center in Muskogee.

The contract allows the tribe to be reimbursed by the VA for services rendered to Native American veterans using Cherokee Nation health centers for primary care. The contract also allows the Cherokee Nation and the VA to share patient information and charts. The VA will provide medication for veterans.

Now that the contract has been signed with the Cherokee Nation, veterans’ care can be tied to the VA system, Floyd said.

The contract will make it possible for veterans with the Cherokee Nation to receive vital services and not have to travel as far as they have been, said Baker.

“I think it’s a win, win, win for the veterans, for the Cherokee Nation and for the VA hospital,” Baker said.

The agreement with the Cherokee Nation provides health care at W.W. Hastings Hospital and eight clinics. The Cherokee Nation also is planning to build a hospital in Bartlesville, Baker said.

The initial users who can benefit from the contract total 4,500, and that number could easily increase by 1,000, Floyd said.

There are 37,000 users at the Muskogee medical center, and Native Americans are the second highest population group, he said.

“This helps us to grow as a system and to grow from within the tribe as well,” Floyd said.

Some veterans who are members of the Cherokee Nation have not used services at the VA, and this offers them an opportunity to be a part of the VA, he said.

“We are excited to partner with the Cherokee Nation in providing health care to our American Indian veterans,” Floyd said. “This agreement will allow for better coordination of care, allows tribes and IHS (Indian Health Service) to expand care for their users, shortens wait times for medical care and increases access at VA facilities for all veterans.”

Debra Wilson of Briggs is a member of an advisory committee with the VA. Many Native American veterans will be more comfortable receiving medical care at Cherokee Nation facilities, she said.

“This is something we have looked forward to for a really long time,” said Wilson, one of several veterans who witnessed the signing of the agreement.

Don Stroud of Tahlequah said he uses the Cherokee Nation Health System, and the funding that will be provided by the contract will benefit the veterans initially, “but it’s also going to impact the care that’s available for all the patients in the health system.”

“The less money spent on us, the more money available to treat that next little kid that comes in and needs the care, or the next one of our elders that comes in and needs some medication,” he said.

The funds will be there to help them because another source of funding will be available, which will equal things out, he said.

Tulalip marks first Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day with potluck celebration

 

Veterans from all military branches supported each other during the first Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans celebration, organized by Tulalip veteran marine Andy James. Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Veterans from all military branches supported each other during the first Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans celebration, organized by Tulalip veteran marine Andy James.
Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

by Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

TULALIP – U.S. Vietnam veterans have been home for more than 40 years, but due to anti-war sentiment with the American public, returning soldiers quietly rejoined their communities without receiving a national welcome home.

In 2011, the U.S. Senate, decided to change this. The Senate unanimously passed a resolution to provide Vietnam veterans a chance to be properly welcomed home by designating March 30, Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day. The designated day marks the final withdrawal of all combat and combat-support troops from Vietnam on March 29, 1973.

Welcome-Home-Vietnam-Vets-Celebration

Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Although veteran organizations across the nation have been celebrating the day since its passing, only three states, California, Oregon, and Washington, have recognized the day officially, including flying the POW/MIA flag in addition to the U.S. flag and state flags on all government buildings.

Last year Governor Jay Inslee deemed March 30 for Washington State after Rep. Norm Jackson (Yakima) (R) introduced 2013 House Bill 1319 on January 23, 2013.  The bill passed 97 to 0 in the House and again passed 48 to 0 in the Senate and was signed by Gov. Inslee on March 29, 2013.

This year, Tulalip hosted their first annual Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans celebration in honor of their fellow veterans. Attendees included tribal and non-tribal veterans who gathered at the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club to mark the official homecoming.

Tulalip veteran Andy Jones, pictured in cedar hat, served during the Vietnam Conflict with the Marines, organized the celebration. Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Tulalip veteran Andy James, pictured in cedar hat, served during the Vietnam Conflict with the Marines, organized the celebration.
Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Tulalip veteran and tribal member Andy James, who served with the Marines during the Vietnam conflict, organized the event.

“I am extremely thankful and grateful for my elders, particularly the ones who put on uniforms in defense of this country before I did. We have one here today that did,” said James, referring to Tulalip tribal member and Korean War veteran Ray Moses (Te-at-mus).

“I wanted to do something to mark this day, so I organized a potluck,” continued James. “I am thankful for every veteran, and we realize it was all for the cause.  We did what we had to to defend our country, and I am glad to celebrate this day and welcome home my fellow veterans.”

 

Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-9135402; bmontreuil@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

 

Traditional Southern Grass dancer Jeff Brown danced for visiting veterans during the Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Traditional Southern Grass dancer Jeff Brown danced for visiting veterans during the Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day.
Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News