Indians are everywhere

Northwest Coast Barbie doll, 2000. From 1992 to 2000, Native American Barbie modeled various looks, from “modern powwow” to “Eskimo,” that kept her tribal affiliation a mystery. The Northwest Coast Barbie was the first tribally specific doll. The Tlingit-influenced Barbie, complete with a chilkat robe, has long dark hair and tan skin, but she hasn’t lost her Barbie essence.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

It’s so strange that nearly all that can be named or sold has at some point been named or sold with an Indian word or image. If this seems normal, that’s because it has become normal. It started before the United States was colonized and continues today.

American Indian images are everywhere. From consumer products to Hollywood big screens to local high school, collegiate, and professional athletics mascots. American Indian names are everywhere too, from state (e.g. Alaska, Dakotas, Oklahoma), city (e.g. Seattle, Tacoma, Snohomish) and street names to the Tomahawk missile. And familiar historical events such as Pocahontas’s life, the Trail of Tears, and the Battle of Little Bighorn remain popular reference points in everyday conversation.

Americans, a major exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, highlights the ways in which American Indians have been part of the nation’s identity since time immemorial. It delves into the power of story, surrounds visitors with images, and invites them to begin a conversation about why this phenomenon exists.

Brave Eagle lunchbox and thermos, 1950s. Brave Eagle was one of the first television shows to feature an American Indian as the lead and hero. The half-hour episodes focused on the settlement of the West from the Native American perspective. The premiered in 1955 and ended in 1956.

The images accompanying this article are worth a closer look. What if they are not trivial? What if they are instead symbols of great power? What if the stories they tell reveal a buried history and a country forever fascinated, conflicted, and shaped by its relationship with American Indians? Pervasive, powerful, at times demeaning, the images, names, and stories reveal how we have been embedded in unexpected ways in the history, pop culture, and identity of the United States.

Indian Chief motorcycle, 1948. A classic, the Indian is considered the most stylish of mass-produced motorcycles. In 1897, American-made bicycles named Indian were sold overseas. The name stuck when the company sold its first motorcycles in 1902. It became a true brand, with a feathered headdress as the logo and the Indian Red as the signature color. In the 1930s, models could be customized with colors such as Mohawk Green, Seminole Cream, Navajo Blue, and Apache Gray.
This model’s fender ornament is an Indian figure with headdress, and the word Indian is written in stylish script on the tank. The company’s first advertising executive said, “No more popular or wealth-producing name could have been chosen.”
Though the Indian Motorcycle Company has changed hands many times, its name and distinctive logo have endured.

As American Indians, we are estimated to comprise just 1% of the entire U.S. population. Yet everywhere you go in the United States, you can see images of us. Why?

How is that Indians can be so present and so absent in American life? One reason is that the land of the free and home of the brave is still trying to come to grips with centuries of wildly mixed feelings about us. Are we the merciless Indian savages described in the Declaration of Independence or are we the noble Indians who strive to be stewards of the Earth? Domestic dependents granted special privileges by the U.S. government or sovereign nations free to govern ourselves?  The answer to both questions is somewhere between nether and both. 

Savage Arms bullet box, 1950. Things aren’t always what they seem. Savage Arms, whose guns are widely used in police department, is named after its founder, Arthur Savage.

We have been seen as both authentic and threatening, almost mythological yet deeply appealing. In present day America, citizens of all cultural backgrounds can surround themselves with dream catchers, have Pendleton accessories, and describe a football game as a trail of tears because they know that Indians are in the country’s DNA. They know we have shaped this nation from the beginning and have convinced themselves that the best way to honor us is by filling the void left by cultural genocide with cultural appropriation. 

Chicago Blackhawks infant onesie, 2016. How do you decide what sports team to cheer for? Well, in many cases you don’t. Your parents decide for you. They clothe you in adorable onesies and bibs form the hometown team. The onesies give way to T-shirts, hats, and family outings to games. Before you know it, you can’t remember a time when you weren’t a fan.
Similarly, you don’t choose the name. Team owners do. In 1926, Frederic McLaughlin decided to name his new hockey team after Chief Blackhawk, who sided with the British in the War of 1812. Why name a team after a leader who fought against the Americans? One reason is the American tradition of linking military might and fighting skill to American Indians.

The objects, images, and stories shown here are not just what they seem to be at the surface level. They are insistent reminders of larger truths and an empathic refusal to forget our shared history. 

Wild West tribal Lego set, 1997. The Tribal Chief figure, most recently knowns as the Lego Movie character Chief from the Old West, is part of the 1997 Lego System. The chief’s accessories include a headdress, a steed, a spear, an oval-patterned shield, a green bush, and a black snake. 

Diabetes Care and Prevention implements mail-out program

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

When the Tulalip Tribes issued their Stay Home, Stay Safe mandate and the governmental entity placed many of its programs on hold and staff on furlough, due to the coronavirus, the Diabetes Care and Prevention program was among the few that momentarily halted all services. 

“One of the things you hear on the news is about the people who are at high-risk of contracting the virus, and they always mention diabetes,” said Veronica ‘Roni’ Leahy, Diabetes Care and Prevention Program Coordinator. “I started thinking about what was happening with our patients, what they must be going through, how they are feeling. They must be worried and scared.”

Although there has been a general decrease in the total number of Indigenous people diagnosed with the disease over recent years, Native communities still have an alarmingly high amount of people who are diabetics and pre-diabetics in comparison to any other race nationally. 

Diabetes, whether Type 1 or Type 2, is a complex disease that unfortunately, due to deviating from our traditional diets and the lack of access to healthy foods, has affected many of our loved ones and altered the way they live. Managing diabetes is not exactly a walk in the park, considering the amount of medication and insulin one must take in order to just eat a meal. If you are a diabetic and miscalculate the amount of insulin you need to take, or eat too much or too little, you can potentially be in life-threating danger if your blood sugar spikes or drops dramatically.

With the health of her patients in mind, Roni pleaded with management at the Tulalip Health Clinic, asking for clearance to come back and figure out a way to reach those patients living with diabetes. Receiving the okay to return, Roni immediately got to work by calling and checking-in on those diabetics who receive care through the program. Able to reach 121 out of 225 patients, Roni asked them a series of questions to get an understanding of how they were doing and what services they required amid the COVID outbreak. 

Like many Tribal programs and departments, the Diabetes Care and Prevention program was gearing up for an exciting 2020, aiming to reach more of the community who have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes by planning classes, field trips and a number of fun projects including a fitness expo, complete with exercise workshops and activities, in partnership with Youth Services. With those plans no longer in-play, Roni had to readjust her approach to reach those who needed the program’s resources and services. 

“Every month we send the patients a mailer to their homes; something that can provide them with information about COVID,” she explained. “The first one we sent had a thermometer, information on COVID-19 and safety guidelines. This way they know wearing masks are important; we sent them one set and in the next mail-out they’ll get another set of masks.”

In addition to reliable information, Roni is also making sure her patients have the necessary equipment to monitor their health, including blood pressure monitors, thermometers, spirometers and fingertip oximeters, in order to accurately report to their doctors during scheduled telehealth appointments. The program has also been working with other departments within the tribal health clinic that provides services to their diabetic clients. For example, optometry provided Roni with eye health information handouts and eye drops, while the in-house physical therapist offered resistance bands and exercises, so the diabetics can stay active safely from the comforts of their homes.

The mail-out program is a monthly initiative to help those living with diabetes navigate through these corona-times safely. The Diabetes Program also assembles themed-care packages that are sent to their clients quarterly. Last quarter, those diabetics who live on the reservation received a cold care package, filled with immune boosting essentials, at their doorstep. The care packages are hand-delivered by the Diabetes Program Admin Assistant, Brooke Morrison. And for those diabetics who do not live on the reservation, they are able to scoop one up at any time from the health clinic. The next care package will be a naturopathic kit. 

During Roni’s telephone assessment, she asks the patient if an emergency situation occurred, do they feel comfortable calling the clinic or the medics, whether it was a diabetic or corona related issue. Many of those patients voiced concern. 

“I want them to know that if they have worries or anxieties about calling the office for care because they’re afraid of getting sick, they can call us. A lot of people don’t want to call because they are afraid they’ll have to go to the hospital, and if they go to the hospital their family can’t be with them. That’s part of the conversation I have with them and let them know that you can talk to our nurses, to our clinic and they can help you. Maybe you don’t have to go to the hospital, but you do need to call somebody.”

When reaching out to her patients, Roni quickly learned that a phone call goes a long way. In fact, she recalled numerous phone conversations that resulted in tears. Many of her clients expressed fear about the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus, as well as loneliness caused by isolation. Roni shared that one gentleman told her that she was actually the first person to call and check on him since the pandemic began.

“We’re keeping really busy with diabetes education that keeps people active and on track with social distancing and keeping things sanitized. Our biggest concern is their safety and we want them to know that we’re here for them,” Roni expressed. “When it comes to diabetic care, sometimes it can be a lonely walk and filled with a lot of uncertainty. We want them to understand that they’re not alone. The mail-out program is a great way to keep interacting with our patients. One of the things people enjoy about our classes is that connection of being together as a group, so we still need to keep those relationships alive and growing and we do that by making sure they have everything they need at home.” 

For more information, please contact the Tulalip Diabetes Care and Prevention Program at (360) 716-5641.

Building Upon the Past, Visioning Into the Future: Celebrating sgʷi gʷi ?altxʷ 25th anniversary

Bird painting: Yatika Starr Fields (Osage/Cherokee/Creek). Diving Birds of Green Lake. 2016. Oil on canvas.
“As a new resident to the Seattle area I was searching for new ideas and inspirations for a painting. My work usually conveys movement and colors of various subject matter joining together to create a dynamic force. I knew I wanted to find something that is of Washington and the Seattle area. Using nature oriented objects and forms in most of my works I wanted to apply the same for what this new piece would be. I went running one afternoon around Green Lake in Seattle and was watching the diving birds that disappear and reappear while in search for food. Diving under the surface and into the depths of the water. I imagined the landscape below the surface with shadowy silhouettes of the diving birds, crossing over one another layered by the lakes aquatic plants. After imagining this scene and seeing these birds once again on Lake Union I decided I would paint this image out as my first paining living here in Seattle. Using oil paints, my preferred medium in the studio, this painting conveys a feeling of light coming through the surface as the water moves above, the birds joined in movement as they swim underneath the surface in search for food. Abstracted plants and forms convey a swift dance taking place below unseen by the passerby above.”

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Real NDN painting: Ka’ila Farrell-Smith (Klamath/Modoc). HÉYÓKA. 2014. Oil paint, wax crayon on canvas.
“This image emerged through processing the authenticity of what contemporary American Indian looks like and how it is perceived by Native and non-Native viewers. The painting HÉYÓKA tackles Indigenous identity through invoking multiple variables such as skin color, hair length (a visual quotation from the Boarding School eras), gender roles, authentic regalia, and speaking tribal languages. As the artist, I am taking a look at how post-assimilation policies have affected our collective Indigenous identities, primarily through understanding how pan-Indian tropes have played an important role in rebuilding Native Pride in the recent past. However, to continue on a true path of decolonization and re-Indigenization we need to begin the dire acts of reclaiming our specific Tribal cultures and memories (names of tribes in the headdress).
This portrait utilizes a conceptual irony by quoting the ‘Hollywood Injun’ through the text reel NDN, evoking a hybrid character, perhaps half-Tonto / half-Lone Ranger. However, the smirk on the characters scarred face, reveals a tension that is both of humor and confidence. Perhaps asking the viewer to take a look at their own preconceived content that is brought to this image. Are the blue circles in the headdress feathers, or corporate suits? Is this stereotype or contemporary Indigenous warrior? Can authentic forms of visual decolonization and indigenization occur through painting? HÉYÓKA is trickster, the sacred opposite whose empowerment comes by reflecting taboos within the culture. Through putting the mirror back onto the viewer (a negation of ‘eyes’ in the figure) this HÉYÓKA is now the one asking the questions.”

In the ancestral language of this land, Lushootseed, the phrase sgʷi gʷi ?altxʷ  means House of Welcome. More than just a name, the Longhouse Education and Cultural Center at Evergreen State College in Olympia being officially dubbed sgʷi gʷi ?altxʷ  gives credence to a reciprocal relationship that is both open hearted and open minded.

Created in 1995 as a public service center, the Longhouse’s mission is to promote Indigenous arts and cultures through education, cultural preservation, creative expression, and economic development.

In the beginning, the cultural center’s focus was on six local Puget Sound tribes and their ever-evolving artists. Today, the Longhouse collaborates with highly talented Indigenous artists throughout the Pacific Northwest region, across the nation, and distant lands spanning the globe. Through residency programs with master artists, culture bearers are inspired to develop their abilities while expanding their imaginative capacities in pursuit of creating entirely new boundaries for what defines ‘traditional’ and ‘contemporary’ designs.

“Art allows us to sing without a song, to give our true spirit into something we create out of something nature has given us,” explained Master artist Bruce Subiyay Miller (Skokomish). “Our people create with the natural elements of wood, plant fibers or native plants. Through these acts of creation, our culture continues to live today. That is important at a time when many of us have lost our languages, our customs, and many of the things we look upon as comprising a complete culture.

“We still have our artwork!” he added. “Through that, all the ancestors that lived on this Earth from the beginning of time in our tribal lineages, still exist as long as we have the art. That is what art means to me.”

To celebrate the House of Welcome’s 25 years of groundbreaking work we examine an art exhibition that truly captures the essence of what it means to facilitate cross cultural exchange.  Building Upon the Past, Visioning Into the Future showcases cultural concepts and next level skillfulness from over 70 Indigenous artists with whom the Longhouse has built relationship, from the early days, right up to the present. Many of the featured artists have received a grant, taught a workshop, exhibited work, been an artist-in-residence, or otherwise participated in Longhouse programming. 

Curated by Longhouse staff members Erin Genia (Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate) and Linly Logan (Seneca), this one-of-a-kind exhibition features beautiful artistry from tribal members that call this land home. Local tribal representation include Squaxin Island, Skokomish, Puyallup and many other Coast Salish tribes. Tribes from across the nation are also represented, from Alaska to the Great Plains, and across the Pacific Rim, including Native Hawaiians and Maori artists from New Zealand.

Glass weavings 
Ho-Wan-Ut Old Peter (Skokomish). Glass Basket. 2015. 
Halisa Higheagle (Chehalis). Glass Basket. 2015. 
Wa x WupKaya Jack-lyn Smith (Skokomish). Salmon Gill Design Glass Basket. 2015. Glass.
*Made during a workshop with hot shop lead artist, Dan Friday (Lummi), as a partnership between the Museum of Glass and the Longhouse.

“This exhibition reflects the [twenty-five years] of building relationships with artists locally, regionally, nationally and internationally,” stated exhibition co-curator Erin Genia. “Each of the artists you see here in the show has in some way worked with the Longhouse through one of our programs. Native artists are using so many different methods for expressing themselves and we really wanted to display as many of those methods as possible. The result is we have close to ninety beautiful pieces of art, treasures really, that make up this exhibition.” 

Hat: Vickie Era Pankretz (Alutiiq/Sugpiag). AWIRNAQ – Alutiiq Hunting Hat. 2015. Spruce root, sea otter fur, dentalium shells, antique Russian trade beads, glass beads, imitation sea lion whiskers and suet, cloth straps.

The subjects and techniques exhibited by the Longhouse artists draw from a diverse range of stylistic traditions, which arise from cultural teachings, ancestral lineages, and each artist’s unique experience as Indigenous peoples. Works on display include paintings, drums, carvings, beadwork, photography, baskets, and jewelry. 

Glass vessels created using basket designs demonstrate the way traditional design can beautifully translate into new media. Other sculptural forms created in clay, bronze and wood, alongside two-dimensional prints, paintings and drawing spotlight the mastery of mediums that Longhouse artists are fluent in.

“As a curator of this exhibition it’s such an awe-inspiring experience to hear from the artists themselves as to the perspective and inspiration behind their artwork,” added fellow co-curator Linly Logan. “We have artists who are very traditional and roots oriented; artists who use the natural resources around them to showcase their creativeness. 

Wooden spindle: Andrea Wilbur-Sigo (Squaxin Island). New Beginnings. 2015. Maple.

“As Native and Indigenous people we’ve always used the resources around us,” he continued. “In a contemporary lifestyle in nature, we’ve continued to use the resources around us which now include materials other than natural materials. We’ve come full circle in our intent to build upon the past and vision into the future creatively and intellectually as Indigenous people.”

The House of Welcome graciously allowed Tulalip News staff a private tour of the exhibition so that we could share a glimpse of the amazingly creative and exceptional Native art with our local community. These artists are luminaries of their cultures, lighting the pathway back into the far reaches of history, and leading the way into the future with their creative vision.

Salish Sea Reflections: 2020 Canoe Journey cancelled, culture continues at Tulalip

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

“The first time I got out on the canoe and went outside of Tulalip Bay, I felt a deep connection not only with the water, but with the canoe,” expressed Tulalip tribal member and Canoe Puller, Monie Ordonia. “I felt my ancestor’s gratitude for me being on the water, the silence of serenity is palpable.  It was like an interconnection meditation for me. Every time my paddle digs into the water, it’s like a prayer for my people, the community, and for the water with all that live in it.”

The people of the Northwest have been enjoying beautiful sunrays during the late weeks of July. Although safely partaking in outdoor adventures may be a bit more challenging with the threat of contracting the coronavirus, many people are still finding ways to safely soak up some sun such as family bike rides, scenic car trips, or lounging out on the patio. It’s safe to say the sunshine has brightened up spirits across local Native tribes during a dark time period. And although it’s understandable that we all must make necessary adjustments to protect ourselves and our people, many can’t help but miss the yearly summertime journey across the Salish Sea.

“It was one of those things that was hard to believe,” expressed Tulalip Canoe Family Skipper, Andrew Gobin. “We were getting our canoes ready, we set the practice schedule and we were all planned for journey. We we’re ready to go and all this happened.”

If it were not for the coronavirus, many Natives would be in a cedar dugout canoe this very moment, coasting through the Salish waters and pulling in unison with their canoe family, perhaps offering a traditional song to the sea while enroute to Nanaimo B.C., visiting with different tribes and creating lifelong friendships along the way. 

During a colonial celebration, Washington State’s 100th centennial in 1989, Quinault tribal member Emmett Oliver organized an historic moment-in-time, famously known as the ‘Paddle to Seattle’, by calling upon a number of fellow Northwest Treaty Tribes and First Nations bands to participate in a traditional canoe pull into Elliot Bay.

 The Paddle to Seattle sparked a cultural revitalization. Once experiencing the medicine offered by the sacred waters, as well as feeling the power of unity amongst coastal Nations, tribal leaders planned the first Tribal Canoe Journey in 1993 with the paddle to Bella Bella. And each summer since, Canoe Journey has been hosted at different villages, helping tribal members reconnect with both their people and ancestral lifeways, while also providing its participants with a lifetime’s worth of memories and healing.

“The first time I did Canoe Journey, there were only ten pullers with our Skipper,” Monie reflected. “No relief pullers, and we didn’t use our support boat to tow us at any time.  It was just us pulling to Swinomish. It was a long 10+ hour pull. We were making our final turn to pull up the river to land on Swinomish grounds, we started singing a tribal song and an energy of renewal just came over all of us. We were pulling strong and hard. As soon as we got near the bridge that takes you onto Swinomish land, I became very emotional. 

“I couldn’t sing anymore and my eyes were full of tears,” she continued. “My sister Muffy had been the only one of my family who ever done canoe pulling, and she had just passed away in December of 2015.  She was the one who inspired me to pull canoe. My grandmother Dora Hilliare Wyakes is buried in Swinomish, so to see that we were pulling up to the bridge that leads to the cemetery where my grandmother was laid to rest, it made me feel like I was honoring both my grandmother and my sister Muffy.”

From ’93 until present day there have only been two instances when the Tribal Canoe Journey celebration did not occur, a hiatus in 2015 after no Tribal Nation volunteered for hosting duties, though several tribes did hold small gatherings that year, allowing the canoes the opportunity to still travel the waters. The second instance is this year.

“Before our Tribe even closed, Nanaimo already canceled journey,” explained Andrew. “I thought, like a lot of people, that COVID was just going to be a lot of hype and that it would pass. I was a strong proponent of keeping plans in place and coming up with secondary plans in case journey started up again.”

For Tulalip, Canoe Journey season begins long before their canoes leave the Tulalip Bay shores and extend far past the last song at protocol. In fact, many tribal members dedicate their time months in advance, preparing for journey by harvesting traditional plants and making salves, oils, balms and herbal blends to gift to other tribes during the near month-long experience. The canoe journey participants also take time to practice their traditional songs and dances so when it’s Tulalip’s turn at protocol, their voices are strong and each dance precise, providing medicine while proudly representing the sduhubš way of life. 

With the absence of this year’s event, many Tulalip canoe family members continued with the work that goes into preparing for journey by harvesting traditional plants and foods within their households and gifting those medicines to local elders as opposed to neighboring tribes. Tulalip singers, dancers and pullers are also staying connected via social media, sharing songs, updates and stories online. Andrew extended his many thanks to the crew who have taken it upon themselves to give back to the community such as Thomas Williams and Dean Pablo. 

“I see a lot of people from the canoe family gathering, using this time to harvest, taking advantage of slowing down and taking part in those traditional practices,” Andrew said. “Some of the people on Canoe Journey are turning back to fishing as way to feed their family and their community. People are smoking fish and giving it to our elders. And some of the younger ones are using social media to stay connected this year. The gifts of our people are coming back into the community during this time. When we prepare for Canoe Journey we gather those things and we give them out when we travel. Since we can’t travel, people are taking it on themselves to put it back in their own community.” 

Another tradition of the canoe family is a ceremony that takes place at the beginning of Spring where they formally wake the family canoes, Big Brother and Big Sister, by cleansing and singing songs in their honor, as the canoes are living spirits that come from sacred cedar. The canoes are then taken out on the water twice-a-week until Canoe Journey in order to build up the endurance of the canoes and its pullers. 

“I really enjoy practice,” Monie stated. “Getting out on the water as well as the comradery that goes with it. When you practice with mostly the same people every week, they truly become your canoe family.  You pull together and sing songs. You encourage each other, so when journey actually begins there is a sense of teamwork, because not one person can pull the canoe by themselves. There is  something about sharing your energy on the water in the sacred canoe.”

Though the annual summertime paddle offers healing in many ways, whether it’s pulling on the water, camping and visiting with people from other tribes, or proudly representing your Nation during protocol, many will agree that coming together as a people and forging bonds based on Indigenous culture is one, if not thee, most important aspects of Tribal Canoe Journeys.

“My favorite part of the journey is that togetherness,” said Andrew. “When we leave Tulalip and travel, we all help each other. We don’t leave anybody behind. If someone needs help, everyone is helping. Everyone is looking out for each other and it really reminds us of the best part of our community and what it means to come together. 

“The time on the water, every day is a different adventure.  It could be the same crew, same canoe, same paddle, but there’s different jokes and things that happen. Last year, one of the canoes jumped a wave, now those people who were on that canoe all joke about that, they have that unique story they get to reflect on. It’s all about building that community trust and accountability. When we camp and hold circle, everyone is equal, everyone is accountable, everyone has the same responsibilities. Big Shot (Cyrus James) would say, to uphold one another, to care for one another.”

Recently, Nanaimo officially passed the torch to the Tla’amin Nation who plans on hosting the 2021 Canoe Journey festivities in their homeland of Powell River B.C. For more updates, be sure to follow the ‘Tribal Canoe Journeys’ and the ‘Tulalip Canoes’ Facebook pages. 

10,000 Masks

Justin England, Marysville UniFirst Branch Manager and Ashlynn Danielson, Tulalip Tribes Emergency Preparedness Manager.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Masks seem to be at the center of many heated debates in today’s society. Conspiracy or not, the Tulalip Tribes passed a ‘no mask, no service’ resolution at the beginning of July, requiring individuals to wear masks in all public spaces within the Tulalip reservation, including tribal establishments, gaming and government, as well as at local businesses. The decision was made in response to a recent rise in COVID-19 cases on the reservation after a long period with zero reported cases after the initial outbreak, as the Tribe acted swiftly to prevent the virus from spreading any further. 

“I think right now with COVID-19 being as serious as it is, social distancing and the proper PPE (personal protective equipment) are important,” expressed Marysville UniFirst Branch Manager, Justin England. “I think if everyone has enough PPE then they can stay safe and keep their families safe.”

UniFirst is a nationwide corporation that specializes in providing uniforms and safety gear for businesses at 260 locations. With cases spiking throughout the entire country, UniFirst began a corporate initiative to assist business owners during the global pandemic.

“We’re taking part in a company-wide initiative, partnering with businesses in our local communities across the country,” explained Justin. “UniFirst is donating 10,000 masks in a lot of communities. I was approached by someone at our corporate office asking if we’d like to be a part of this with our community and I said I’d love to. When they asked who I’d like to partner with, being in Marysville, my first thought was the Tulalip Tribes. That’s when I reached out, hashed out the details, partnered up and made this happen.”

On the afternoon of July 22, Justin hand-delivered several boxes filled with blue surgical masks to the Tulalip Tribes Office of Emergency Management team at the Tulalip Administration building. 

A misunderstanding occurred when UniFirst revealed they would be distributing the masks to the Tribe as a local news team announced that Tulalip was handing out masks to the public. The announcement sent many on a course headed to the Tribe’s admin building. And though explaining the kerfuffle to them, Tulalip’s Emergency Preparedness Manager, Ashlynn Danielson still provided those who made the journey to the rez with one mask each for their troubles. The majority, save for the few handed out that afternoon, will be distributed to business establishments throughout Tulalip and Quil Ceda Village.

“The thought concept behind these masks were to support our local businesses, the smaller mom and pop shops,” Ashlynn stated. “They can reach out and we can provide them with masks to have on-hand. In the event that their patrons come in and either forgot their masks or don’t own a mask, the company can provide them with a free mask and still do business with them.”

“We’re also planning to give the Tulalip police officers masks,” she continued. “As the officers come in contact with civilians who aren’t wearing a mask, they could ask them if they’d like to have a mask and request that they wear one, and also expand on why it’s important to wear masks.”

The Center for Disease Control recently issued a press release urging Americans to wear face masks to slow the spread of the virus throughout the Nation. There are some, however, who feel that governmental entities that mandate its citizens to wear a mask is a violation of their constitutional rights and t refuse to wear one. 

The Tulalip Office of Emergency Management will be distributing the masks to local businesses in the near future. To stay updated on all the latest COVID-19 info, please follow Tulalip News on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or visit the Tulalip Coronavirus Response website. 

“We are in unknown territories,” admits Ashlynn. “COVID-19 is not something you plan for; it didn’t exist. Knowing that we have groups coming together and that our tribal membership and community members are listening about wearing masks, recognizing that what we’re telling them is true – you need to mask, it helps protect everyone, you and your loved ones – I would say that this donation really warms my heart.”

The Importance of Exercise + 12 simple ways to get more physical activity

Yoga Pose Seilavena Williams / Photo by AnneCherise Jensen

Submitted by Tulalip Tribes SNAP-Ed Coordinator, AnneCherise Jensen.

Did you know the U.S. spends $117 Billion dollars in annual health care costs associated with inadequate physical activity? According to the CDC, only half of adults get the physical activity needed to help reduce and prevent chronic diseases. Believe it or not, getting enough physical activity could prevent 1 in 10 premature deaths. More and more research suggests that living an active lifestyle can help prevent certain types of diseases like Heart Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Not only that, but physical activity helps boost the feel good hormones in our brain, helping us feel more content and happy.  

The CDC recommends individuals should get at least 150 minutes a week of brisk physical activity and at least two days a week of muscle strengthening activities. Though, it can be hard getting in the habit of being active, when you start small, you can slowly build yourself up to more challenging activities. Here are some tips on how to incorporate a more active and healthy lifestyle, so you and your family can live your healthiest and happiest life.

Evening and Morning Walks: Start and end your day with a brisk walk. Getting small doses of physical activity at the beginning of the day, helps wake you up and feel more alert. Taking walks in the evening is a great way to burn off the post dinner calories and enjoy the late summer sunsets. If you feel up to it, try jogging to build cardio and lung capacity. 

Family Bike Rides:  If you have a few bikes on hand, try planning a family bike outing in your local neighborhood. Riding bikes is a fun and exciting physical activity kids are eager to participate in. To be safe, make sure to wear a helmet and stay in the bikelane  or on the sidewalk. Gardening: Gardening, weeding and spending time in the yard is a great way to increase physical activity throughout the day. Not only does this get you moving, but allows you to connect with nature, while learning more about plants and food. Gardening also has been known to be therapeutic and relaxing to many individuals. If you don’t know how to garden, there are hundreds of books and youtube videos that can help point you in the right direction. 

Stretching / Yoga: Stretching is one of the best forms of exercise. Stretching keeps the muscles strong, healthy and flexible. Without stretching, muscles would shorten and become tight. Other known benefits of stretching include: improved posture, decreased neck and back pain, increased blood flow, a deeper and more peaceful nights sleep, mental clarity and stress reduction. Create a safe space in your home where you can spend 15-30 minutes stretching a day. 

Hiking: Hiking is one of the best forms of exercise you can do for your body, especially in the summer months when the mountain trails are accessible. Not only do you get a great cardio exercise, but also a bone and muscle strengthening exercise. For more information on hiking ideas + safety, check out WTA.ORG.

At home workout station: You don’t need a ton of space to be able to get in a good workout. Try creating an at home work out station in your backyard or garage. Start by collecting affordable equipment like a jump rope, resistance bands, and small weights. If you don’t have equipment, you can improvise and use canned goods, filled water bottles, or even tools as weights. Practice stretching in place, getting repetitions of squats, sits ups, jumping jacks, and knee kicks.  Be sure to check out online fitness videos or smart phone apps for professional workout routines. 

Foraging / Harvesting: Participating in foraging and harvesting is a great way to connect with culture, nature, plants and the human spirit. The outdoors have so much to offer, and learning cultural traditions is a great way to stay moving while getting more physical activity. Not only is this challenging for the body, but for the mind as well. 

Home Improvement Projects: Accomplishing tasks around the house is a terrific way to stay moving and motivated throughout the year. Home improvement projects can vary from a wide variety of tasks, including yard work, carpentry, landscaping, building, and fixing up the house. Many of these projects require the use of muscle, strength and skill – all good for the body and the mind. 

Outdoor games with kids: Children love interactive engagement with parents/adults. This is a great opportunity to squeeze in both physical activity and quality family time. Try classic games like tag, frisby, and sharks and minnows. Check out the local basketball court and go shoot some hoops. On a real hot summer day, organize a water balloon fight for both parents and kids to enjoy. 

Cleaning & Organization Projects: Cleaning and organizing your home is a great way to stay active.  Not only that, but it can help ease feelings of depression and anxiety. Having a clean space is a key to inviting a happy, peaceful and calm atmosphere into the home. 

Take the Stairs: When you get the opportunity, always take the stairs. A few flights of stairs may not seem like a lot of physical activity at first, but doing this often will add up to great results. Doing so will help you burn more calories throughout the day, while building lung capacity, strengthening your bones and stimulating muscle growth! 

Make Screen Time an Active Time: When family TV time comes along, get creative and turn lazy time into active time. Have a contest to see who can do the most push-ups or jumping jacks during a commercial break. Older kids and adults can stretch, practice yoga or lift weights while watching TV. 

Know there are many other forms of physical activity you can do to help keep active. These are just a few common ideas to help get your fitness journey started. Know that ultimately, you are in control of your body and capable of doing amazing things! 

**This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP.  This institution is an equal opportunity provider.


Tulalip Legacy of Healing and Child Advocacy Center are here for you

Jade Carela (center) and the Child Advocacy Center advocates, Sydney Gilbert (left) and Megan Boyer (right), hosting a 2019 National Child Abuse Prevention Month and National Sexual Abuse Awareness Month panel at the Tulalip Administration building.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

“I really want people to know that they can reach out in any capacity at any time,” said Tulalip Legacy of Healing and Child Advocacy Center Manager, Jade Carela. “And remind people that though things might be slowed down and we might be doing things a little differently, we’re still here for you.”

For years the Tulalip Legacy of Healing (LOH) and Child Advocacy Center (CAC) have represented safety, healing, hope and new beginnings for many Tribal members looking to escape sexually abusive or violent relationships. Typically, the LOH and CAC staff are busy year-round raising awareness for the victims of DV and survivors of sexual assault. 

For instance, April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and that month alone is jam-packed with a number of seminars, panels and classes aimed to provide a safe space for victims to speak, express their emotions and begin the healing process. The month also is held in part to educate the community about what sexual assault is, how often it occurs and how to identify warning signs. But with the presence of the pandemic, the LOH and CAC team was met with a number of challenges that they were forced to quickly overcome in order to ensure their clients, and anybody in need of their services, could access them.

“When COVID first happened, we moved everything to tele,” Jade explained. “Tele just means that we’re providing that service from home. And the therapists are also doing mental health services from home. We really don’t see anybody in-person anymore. I took on our lead advocate’s phone, so we still respond to emergencies and anything that comes up.”

Last month, Tulalip Child Advocate, Sydney Gilbert, hand-delivered fliers to businesses located on the reservation out of concern that people, especially children, are less likely to report due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re really trying to focus on the fact that we have to rely on everyone, on each other, right now to look out for the safety of kids,” Sydney stated. “Because they are not with their teachers on a regular basis, they’re not with other kids, they aren’t even with other family members who they can disclose that information to. There are a lot of kids stuck at home with their abuser, with no access to a mandated reporter, no way to escape that environment that they’re in.”

A decision was recently made to close the Tulalip Legacy of Healing Safe House indefinitely, but Jade wants to ensure the community the LOH department still has plenty of resources and can help direct individuals seeking refuge to a nearby shelter or safe house. 

“The Legacy of Healing is still there; we just don’t have a safe house anymore, but we have other places that we know of where there are shelters,” said Jade. “If you are Native, we work with a place in Seattle that provides assistance when it comes to needing a hotel or things like that. Even though we don’t have our safe house, there’s other Native safe houses within Washington State that we have a good relationship with, and there’s also other shelters that we have good relationships with. We still have the advocate and attorney right now who’s able to help with our cases.” 

In addition to passing out informational fliers, the Tulalip LOH and CAC recently launched their Facebook page where they plan to share various articles and educational pieces surrounding heavy topics such as domestic violence and sexual abuse. 

“This information is important because the abuse is still happening, whether we’re seeing it or not,” said Jade. “We need to be there for them, even if it’s just one child or one adult that comes forward with something that’s been going on. They need that support, they need someone there, and they need a service that’s going to be thinking of their best interest while going through this process. We’re always here, so reach out. We can be on the court calls with you and connect you with the attorneys. We can talk with you, we can offer other resources to you, we are here for you.”

For more information, please contact the Tulalip Legacy of Healing at (360) 716-4100 or the Tulalip Child Advocacy Center at (360) 716-KIDS (5437), and be sure to also give their new Facebook page a follow.