Breaking the silence on sexual violence against men and boys

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Many people continue to find it frightening when they realize just how widespread sexual abuse and violence is in our society. What was long a taboo subject and could only be discussed in whispers is now spoken aloud at rallies and public gatherings, and is turned to the loudest possible volume on social media. 

According to Time Magazine, the groundbreaking anti-sexual assault and women’s empowerment movements #MeToo of 2017 and 2018’s Time’s Up upended the public conversation about women’s issues around the world, and elevated the global consciousness surrounding the obstacles women encounter in their daily lives, both personal and professional. The success of these two social movements continues to be the liberation of public discourse to include subjects and stories that were for far too long kept quiet.

Yet, as the terms sexual assault, sexual abuse, and sexual violence have permeated into national dialogue and every day conversations, there continues to be a veil of ignorance and denial to the fact that men and boys are victims as well. Often men are the neglected victims of all forms of sexual violence, including being abused as children.

Lenny Hayes, a tribal citizen of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, is a therapy practitioner with extensive training in mental and chemical health issues that impact the Two-Spirit and Native community.

Organized by Tulalip Tribes Children’s Advocacy Center and Northwest Indian Health Board, the Tulalip community was invited to a January 13th training hosted by Lenny Hayes to offer insight while shedding light on such a dark topic. The training’s title: A silent epidemic – sexual violence against men and boys.

Lenny, a citizen of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate in northeastern South Dakota, is a therapy practitioner with extensive training in mental and chemical health issues that impact the Two-Spirit and Native community. He has travelled nationally and locally presenting on issues that include historical and intergenerational trauma, violence of all forms, child welfare issues, and the rarely discussed topic that is the impact of sexual violence on men and boys.  

“There is a general misconception that men are immune from sexual violence, owing to gender stereotypes of women as delicate and therefore victims, while men are either the powerful protector or perpetrators of violence,” explained Lenny during the one-of-a-kind training seminar. “Traditional masculinity is inconsistent with the position of victimhood, leading many to believe a man simply cannot be a victim of sexual abuse.

“A boy or man sexually abused by a woman is often greeted by disbelief, denial, or trivializing. Society tells us that if any part of his experience felt good, then he was not abused. Or if he did not enjoy it, then he must be gay. While a boy or man sexually abused by another male is even more reluctant to come forward because of the stigma and extreme shame faced, both internally and externally, by admitting to being victimized.” 

A new study funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and published in May 2016 looked at the extent and impact of sexual and intimate partner violence against Native American victims. The study clearly shows that Native American men and boys suffer violence at alarmingly high rates. 

According to the NIJ study, more than 1.4 million Native American men have experienced violence in their lifetime. This includes:  

  • More than 1 in 4 (27.5%) who have experienced sexual violence
  • Roughly 2 in 5 (43.2%) who have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner
  • About 1 in 5 (18.6%) who have experienced stalking, and
  • Nearly 3 in 4 (73%) who have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner

These are startling and heartbreaking statistics that were reviewed and discussed in great detail during the training. Illustrating the depth and scope of this rampant issue, especially in Native communities and on reservations, the PBS documentary Predator on the Reservation was shown. The film details a Frontline and Wall Street Journal investigation into the decades-long failure to stop an Indian Health Service (IHS) doctor accused of sexually abusing Native boys for years, and examines how he moved from reservation to reservation despite warnings. 

A National Institute of Justice funded study shows that Native American men suffer violence at alarmingly high rates.

Training participants, many of whom were professional advocates and social workers employed by community engagement entities throughout Snohomish County, were offered plenty of time to properly process and ask questions for further understanding about the heavy subject matter.

“You all took a huge first step just by being here today and being open to education about  sexual violence against men and boys, the many mental health issues that impact them thereafter, and how healing is possible by breaking the silence,” offered Lenny at the conclusion of the training. “I hope that when you all leave here you remember that failure to address the suffering of male victims has profound consequences for the survivor, his family and his community. By breaking the silence and creating safe spaces for these stories to be told, healing can begin.”

Following the training, Tulalip tribal member and Community Health employee Rocio Hatch offered her thoughts. “In this community we don’t really talk about sexual abuse at all, let alone abuse towards men and boys,” she shared. “I was very uneducated in this topic and am just thankful to have participated here today. I’m excited to bring this knowledge back to my coworkers and, hopefully, start to have these necessary conversations and expand our outreach.”

Megan Boyer, lead family advocate for Legacy of Healing, added, “There’s an absolute need of education around the victimization of men and boys. It’s very prevalent, and in my job I’ve become aware of just how big an issue this is, but nobody talks about it. We all have a responsibility to let our boys and men know we believe them, it’s not their fault, and we appreciate them for having the strength to tell their story.”

Sexual violence is just as much a men’s issue as it is women’s, but the current structure for speaking about violence in any form often comes at the exclusion of men as victims. This constrained dialogue limits the opportunity for survivors to tell their stories and be included as critical resources and advocates. Fully recognizing male victims will not only bring much needed support and assistance, but create safe spaces for men to address the lifelong impacts of sexual violence as a whole, which benefits everyone.

Offered resources for further understanding:

To view the PBS film Predator on the Reservation documenting how an IHS doctor preyed on Native boys for decades, please visit:

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/predator-on-the-reservation/

To view the NIJ-funded study showing that Native American women and men suffer violence at alarmingly high rates, please visit:

https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/249822.pdf

Tulalip community celebrates ‘wellbriety’

Natosha Gobin, Tulalip tribal member.

By Kalvin Valdillez

“My name is Natosha Gobin. I’m coming up on three-and-a-half years of my second round of sobriety,” shared the Tulalip tribal member to approximately one hundred community members. “When I was 21, I quit drinking right after my 21st birthday and I was sober for eight years. I’ve been teaching our language for almost twenty years now and it took a lot for me to realize, this second time around, the disservice I was doing to my job by drinking. The more we learn and reconnect with our ancestors and reconnect with our way of life, the more we realize that addiction is not our way. I have to apologize to my nieces and my children for normalizing my addiction. We have normalized addiction within our communities. It’s time for us to have more gatherings like this and say, this is not our way.” 

Many happy tears were shed on the night of January 9th as people from all over Snohomish County gathered at the Hibulb Cultural Center. The celebration of sobriety, or wellbriety, has occurred every so often amongst the local recovery community at Tulalip for years. The gatherings took place namely at the Tulalip Resort Casino ballrooms and the Tulalip Dining Hall, and were hosted by passionate recovering addict and Tulalip tribal member, Helen Gobin-Henson. However, the wellbriety celebration is looking to become a staple event in 2020 as the Tulalip Problem Gambling program has adopted the wellbriety concept and will be hosting a celebratory dinner once a month throughout the year. 

“In the spirit of unity to support health and wellness, we want to create a safe space for the community to gather and support each other in recovery. Whether you have one day or fifty years, we want to recognize your efforts in maintaining your sobriety,” said Robin Johnson, Substance Use Disorder Professional and Problem Gambling Counselor, who is approaching twenty years of sobriety herself.

Problem Gambling enlisted Native American Grammy Award Winner, Star Nayea, to host the event, who shared that she is celebrating her sobriety of seventeen years. The program also looked for guidance from Helen Gobin-Henson who was in attendance to share her story and celebrate with the community. 

“There’s a lot of heart break when you’re recovering,” Helen tearfully admitted. “Keep fighting. Recovery works if you work it. I’m thankful for everyone, we praise you for coming together to honor your recovery. Stay safe and continue to walk with pride on the red road to recovery.”

Last year, the Problem Gambling program hosted a thirty-two-hour class at Tulalip called Recovery Coach Training. This course taught local recovering addicts, who were looking to help others, the essential tools on how to be supportive and help fellow addicts stay the course of sobriety. Six of those students who became certified recovery coaches were at the wellbriety dinner, cheering on their comrades in recovery, including Denise, a compulsive gambler who was caught embezzling money from her company in order to fuel her addiction. 

“One of the things I learned about recovery coaching is you have to meet the person where they are,” Denise explained. “If you say you’re in recovery, you’re in recovery. It doesn’t matter how much time you have; a year, a day or a minute. Being a part of the recovery coach community and being a part of the solution for somebody else is something I embrace. If you are in recovery and made the decision that you want to pass on that message of hope, recovery coaching is the way. Let me walk with you and tell you what I’ve done, what worked for me and what didn’t. Let’s take a look at who you are today, and what you need to wake up in the morning and realize you’re going to be okay.” 

One by one, community members stepped up to the open-microphone to share their personal story of sobriety. Some celebrating decades, some celebrating days – all equally met with rounds of applause that echoed throughout the cultural center halls. 

“I graduated from Drug Wellness Court. I was the very first one,” said Verle Smith. “I did have a minor relapse of sorts after I graduated, but I got the opportunity to step up to the plate and figure out what my next addiction was, and it was gambling. I’m thankful for Robin, Problem Gambling and Family Services for leading me back to the red road of recovery because on the 20th I will have one year and I’m extremely proud of that.”

“The main reason I came tonight was to celebrate my recovery – nine months!” said Tulalip tribal member Winona Keeline. “This is the first time I’ve been in recovery and I just wanted to see the community come together and celebrate their journey. What stood out to me the most was how many of our youth were here and seeing that we are capable of coming together to celebrate life in a good way and show the youth a new way for our people to live.” 

The Tulalip Youth Council offered the group a song and president, Kaiser Moses, followed up with some strong words to encourage people along their path of recovery. 

“Thank you for showing each other that support for sobriety and taking back control of your lives and protecting your time,” Kaiser expressed. “One thing that I still carry with me that my mom always told me when I was little is that alcohol and other substances are like snakes. She told me a story Raven Moses used to tell. There was once a guy who was walking up the mountain and it was really cold. There was a snake that was walking alongside him. The snake kept asking, ‘can you pick me up for warmth, it’s cold,’ and the guy kept refusing. But the snake was persistent and the guy eventually picked up the snake – and it bit him. The guy asked ‘why did you bite me?’ and the snake replied, ‘you knew I was a snake when you picked me up’. So, the moral is don’t pick up the snake or you will get bitten.” 

A lot of knowledge, encouragement, pride and laughter was shared throughout the night. Wrapping up the two-hour event was a round of karaoke and a sobriety countdown. Starting at fifty, the community counted backwards to present day, celebrating the amount of time clean each person attainted. 

“Tonight filled my heart,” Robin said. “The participants in our program worked hard, coming to group sessions every day and giving their all to their recovery, and it’s not acknowledged or celebrated nearly enough. They don’t know a lot of those people on the same path to recovery. This was a great opportunity for them to meet and share with each other. I wanted to show the community how hard our people are working to stay sober and allow them the opportunity to bring that education and knowledge back to the community, to heal the people from within.”

The Problem Gambling program is gearing up for a big year, beginning by hosting two upcoming Recovery Coach Trainings; one on January 18 and 19, the other on January 25 and 26. Both classes are held between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at the Tulalip Administration building. For further details, please contact Problem Gambling at (360) 716-4302.

Sticking to your resolutions with AnneCherise Jensen

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

If you spent this past holiday season reflecting on the last ten years while scarfing down a carb-loaded plate of leftovers and vowing to make personal changes after the last second of 2019 ticked, you are definitely not alone. Now more than ever, people nationwide are practicing better organization skills, picking up new hobbies, reading more books, setting higher goals and planning a brighter future. For many, the new calendar year marks a fresh start, and during this phase people take the time to give much-needed attention to certain areas of their life that they’ve been neglecting.

Perhaps the most shared new year resolution globally is the desire to better one’s health. And as a result, the produce sections at the local grocer are often overcrowded as are thousands of gyms across the country. But more often than not, as the weeks pass by, people start to give in to their old habits and give up on their goals of self-development and personal growth. Staying true to your resolution weeks down the road after the ‘new year, new me’ adage loses its luster is a difficult task to say the least. For this reason, AnneCherise Jensen of the Tulalip SNAP-Ed program took some time to offer a few tips and advice to those beginning their new health and fitness journey in 2020.

We made it to a new decade! Lets begin by talking about the importance of fueling up with proper nutrition and treating our bodies with respect.

Our bodies are a gift we’ve been given by the creator that carries our mental being; our spiritual side and physical side. It holds our heart, our mind, our love and compassion. Everything that we feel, do and think – it all stems from our body. In order for us to thrive as human individuals, we should respect our body and know that everything that we put into it is either feeding disease or fighting disease.

Where is a good place to start for those who are setting out on their first quest for overall better health?

A first good step is to start cutting out the bad foods. Think about the most-unhealthy things that you’re consuming and try to taper away from those foods and drinks. If you’re ordering really sugary beverages every day, that have about ten pumps of syrup, work on slowly reducing it down to two pumps or learn how to make your own syrups. This past weekend I made a homemade elderberry syrup and added it to sparkling water; it was sweet, tasty and still really healthy.

Also, try to cut back from the unhealthy foods like salts and fat and slowly supplement the bad foods with healthy foods. If you’re eating one serving of fruits or vegetables a day, try to up it two.

Any tips on how to incorporate more greens and fruits into your everyday diet?

Don’t be lazy and cook, number one rule. Meal prep ahead of time, buy vegetables and don’t let them sit in your fridge. Cut them up in half and roast them and have them ready to go for the week. Same with fruit. Have those foods around and available in your house, and learn how to utilize them; prepare snack trays for the kids after school, add more veggies to your everyday foods. Like with your pasta, you can add mushrooms, onions, peppers, garlic. You can cook big batch dinners, just throw all your vegetables into your crock pots or Instapots. 

Find out what foods your family enjoys and stick to those so that way you’re not wasting your money on food your family is not going to eat. Start with the foods you know people are going to like, find easy recipes that are going to help you make those foods manageable so they actually fit into your diet and then slowly branch off that and try new foods as you go.

With the popularity of the Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat burger on the rise, many are experimenting with meatless meals. Any advice for people curious about switching to a plant-based diet?

If you’re going meatless, avoid the meatless burgers at fast food restaurants. Those are full of artificial hormones. The food at fast food establishments, especially McDonalds and Burger King, contain some of the highest carcinogens, or cancer causing agents. They also cause a lot of inflammation as well. 

It honestly depends on how much protein you need. There are a lot of good plant substitutes for proteins, especially beans, legumes, almonds. As long as you’re getting adequate amounts of protein, that’s great. But I would highly discourage you from eating the vegetarian burgers from the fast food joints.

A lot of people, especially Natives, are in fact returning to the diets of their ancestors; wild game, native plants and fish. What are your thoughts on the traditional diet?

I think going back to the traditional diet is amazing, it’s something that I’ve been practicing myself. Over the winter break I harvested four different kinds of mushrooms and a couple different types of trees and am learning how to make medicine with it. Nature is jam-packed with more medicine than we can ever imagine. I always recommend making your own teas, going and getting cedar from your backyard, letting it dry overnight and making a tea with it. You can do that with pine needles as well. Once the nettles start coming out in a couple weeks, you can make nettle tea. There’s always something you can forage at any given time of the year.  

Many health experts encourage people to increase their daily water intake. Why is it important to stay hydrated?

We’re living in a society now where sugary beverages are all around us and it really can be the enemy of our health. Water is good not only for our bodies but for all of our metabolic functions. It helps us digest food, stay awake, stay energized, build muscle mass and rid toxins from our body. As good stewards of the earth, we want to try to avoid plastics as much as we can. Today, we are finding so many chemicals in our water – fluoride, mercury, plastic. So it’s always good for our health to carry a reusable water bottle and have a good water filtration system. For flavor, I like to infuse natural fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, raspberries and strawberries. Frozen fruits are fun, cheaper and add an icy texture. Fruits and vegetables naturally contain a lot of water in them so the more fruits and vegetables you eat; the more water content you’re getting. Try to carry your water bottle with you every day and make it a goal to drink 16-32 oz. of water a day. 

Some people are finding it easier to stick to healthy meal plans by including a cheat day once a week. Should people plan out their cheat days in order to see more success?

It really depends on where you’re at with your personal relationship with food. A lot of people are dealing with food disorders and may overeat and over indulge. Or you might be the total opposite and suffer from anorexia. You have to find the right balance and know your relationship with food. If you can control it, give yourself a cheat day where you have a little more forgiveness for yourself and leniency. On the weekends, I’ll eat two servings of pasta and have some desserts those days. It’s always good to not only feed your body, but feed your spirit because you also want to be able to have those foods that make you happy, so its finding that right balance between the good, the bad and healthy moderation.

What are a few fun ways to stay active during these winter months?

If you’re into snow sports, there’s snowboarding and skiing. You can also go snowshoeing as well up in the mountains. We are getting a lot of rain and it’s kind of yucky to be outside, but there’s always the gym. Right now is a great time to go to the gym because you can get a lot of people motivated in your family to go with you. Do some simple chair yoga and desk exercises. Hiking is really fun too. Some trails are open like Lake 22, Heather Lake, those are local. And just take time to walk at the beach and get outside on those days when we have a bit of good weather.

Any last pieces of advice or words of encouragement for those working to attain a healthier lifestyle and stay true to their goals?

Know that we’re all human. We all have those days where you’re literally driving for half the day and all you can do is go to a drive thru. Just get back on track the next day and give yourself forgiveness and grace because we all have days we mess up, but don’t let that discourage you. It’s okay. Don’t be hard on yourself, just try better the next day.

We have to find strategies that work for us and get together as a community, with our family and friends to overcome the easy convenience foods that like to feed disease. We need to go out into nature and reconnect with those foods and work as a team to eat healthier foods. 

Tulalip SNAP-Ed regularly hosts a number of classes throughout the year, such as the Eat Smart, Be Healthy course. To stay updated on their upcoming events and classes, be sure to like the Tulalip Food & Nutrition Education Facebook page. And for additional details, please contact the SNAP-Ed program directly at (360) 716-5632. 

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Warrior’s Stew

Budget-friendly recipe. A special stew that celebrates the return of successful hunters, this can be made with venison or beef. Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 pound venison or beef stew meat cut into large chunks
  • 2 Medium onions diced
  • 8 cups Water
  • 6 Cloves garlic minced, or 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon fresh or dried rosemary minced
  • 1teaspoon Paprika
  • 1teaspoon Salt
  • 3 Tomatoes seeded and diced, or 1 ½ (15 oz.) cans low-sodium diced tomatoes
  • 1 Bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 2 Medium potatoes diced
  • 2 Carrots sliced thickly, or ½ cup baby carrots
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen okra
  • 1 cup Fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 stalk celery chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Parsley chopped
  • 2 teaspoons Ground black pepper
  • ½ jalapeño chile seeded and minced
  • Lemon Wedges

Directions

  • In a heavy soup pot, combine the meat, onions, water, garlic, rosemary, paprika and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to very low, cover and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours. 
  • Stir in vegetables, parsley, chile and black pepper. Simmer, partially covered for 1 hour, or until meat is tender. If using frozen okra and/or corn, add to the pot during the last 15 minutes. 
  • Squeeze lemon wedges over stew before serving. Serve with Whole Wheat Fry Bread or whole wheat bread. 

Nutrition Info and more

Serving size: 2 cups. Total calories: 275 Total fat: 9.1 g Saturated fat: 3.3 g Carbohydrates: 25.9 g Protein: 24 g Fiber: 5.9 g Sodium: 580 mg

Publication:  Young, Indigenous, and Healthy: Recipes Inspired by Native Youth Author: Leah’s Pantry; Source: Leah’s Pantry

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Frittata

Budget-friendly recipe. Make this on a Sunday so you can heat up leftovers for an easy breakfast throughout the week. Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds Seasonal vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, turnips or bell peppers
  • 2 Medium onions
  • 4 ounces Low-fat cheddar cheese
  • 12 Medium eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Dried dill, thyme, or oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Ground black pepper
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 8 ounces Mushrooms optional
  • ¼ cup Fresh parsley, thyme, or basil

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  • Rinse and cut seasonal veggies evenly into small pieces. Peel, rinse, and dice onions. If using, slice mushrooms and rinse and chop fresh herbs. 
  • Grate cheddar cheese. 
  • Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add seasonal veggies to boiling water. Briefly boil, about 30 seconds. Using a colander, drain the veggies. 
  • In a large bowl, whip eggs with a fork until well blended. Whisk in dried herbs. Set aside. 
  • Coat medium skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. If using mushrooms, add now. Add boiled seasonal veggies. Continue cooking until soft and some of their juices have evaporated, about 5 minutes more. 
  • Coat 9-by-13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. 
  • Layer ingredients in the baking dish in the following order: veggie mixture, egg mixture, cheese, salt, and pepper. 
  • Bake until eggs are firm and cheese is melted, about 35 minutes. A thermometer inserted in the middle should read 160°F. 
  • If using, garnish with chopped fresh herbs. 
  • Cut into 8 equal-sized portions. 

Nutrition Info and more

Serving size: 1 slice. Total calories: 160 Total fats: 7 g Saturated fat: 3 g Carbohydrates: 7 g Protein: 13 g Fiber: 3 g Sodium: 350 mg

Author: Arthur Birnbaum; Source: Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters

Careers in the construction industry are booming, TVTC can be your entry point to a better tomorrow

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Educators, parents and others often place strong emphasis on college preparation and earning an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree by traditional means. But that lengthy and expensive route often means accruing a ton of debt just to enter a highly competitive job market. College degrees may be the preferred goal for many, however there are a growing number of students who see a more hands-on future for themselves. For these individuals, unafraid of getting their hands dirty and learning the true meaning behind a hard day’s work, there is an abundance of opportunity within the construction industry.

Whether it be laborer, carpenter, ironworker, electrician or heavy equipment operator, there are countless positions available for work and advancement within the trades, especially for sought after minorities like Native Americans and women. A major access point for entry into these desirable career paths for tribal citizens and their families continues to be Tulalip’s own TERO Vocational Training Center (TVTC).

“Not everybody wants to be a doctor or lawyer. Not everybody wants a desk job. I’m a lifetime fisherman that started a construction company when it became apparent we could no longer sustain ourselves simply by living off the land,” said Tulalip Vice-Chairman Glen Gobin. “Some want to be outside working with their hands. That’s what brings people to our training program, it gives them an opportunity to get exposure to all the different trades, learn how to function on a job site and how to get work. Graduates of TVTC enter a section of the workforce that is in high demand.”

In fact, a quick glance around the greater Seattle area and onlookers are sure to see more cranes than they can count. Along the I-5 corridor, from Tacoma to Everett, construction projects are booming and many on-site jobs continue to go unfilled. While other career pathways may be oversaturated and hard to come by, those within construction trades are thriving. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, open construction positions are expected to increase by more than 700,000 jobs nationally through 2028, a faster growth than any other occupation. In Washington State alone, there are nearly 3,000 unfilled construction jobs that pay much more than the average state wage. 

Brighter horizons and prospects galore were among the reasons so many gathered to celebrate the TVTC autumn cohort’s achievement on a December morning at the Tulalip Resort’s orca ballroom. Fifteen students (including eight Tulalip tribal members and three women) were honored with a graduation banquet for their commitment to building a better future. Nearly 200 guests attended, including trade union representatives, several construction employers, and many cheerful family members.

“Our TVTC program is 100% supported by grant funds,” explained TERO director Summer Hammons. “Our TVTC graduates earned various certifications and college credits, while learning many skills that will undoubtedly make an impact on their future. We thank the Tulalip Tribes, Washington State Department of Transportation, Sound Transit, and the Tulalip Cares charitable fund for always supporting us. These organizations and community partners are ensuring our future leaders have viable career paths.”

TVTC is the first and only state and nationally recognized Native American pre-apprenticeship program in the entire country. The program is accredited through South Seattle Community College and Renton Technical College, while all the in-class, hands-on curriculum has been formally approved by the Washington State Apprentice and Training Council.

The sixteen-week program provides 501-hours of hands-on instruction, strength building exercises, and construction skills that can last a lifetime. In addition, students are trained and awarded certifications in flagging, first aid/CPR, industrial fork lift and scissor lift, 40-hour HAZWOPER, and OSHA 10-hour safety. 

Homegrown Tulalip citizen Demitri Jones opted to retake the class after not being able to complete it his first time around.  To jumpstart an all-new career path as a carpenter, he had to grit and grind. He maintained his full-time position as a security officer working the dreaded graveyard shift, while sacrificing convenience and lots of sleep to take the TVTC class during the day.

“My biggest takeaway is learning the benefits of hard work and dedication,” reflected Demitri. “My advice to those who already have a job but are interested in taking the class, if you really want it then make it happen. Creating a routine was so important, but knowing in the end it’ll all be worth it kept me going.” 

His instructors noted he was the first in his class to gain employment. “I’m a carpenter’s apprentice right now and looking forward to journeying out, becoming a foreman or even superintendent,” added the ambitious 26-year-old.

Along with gaining a wide-range of new employment opportunities via the trades, seven diligent students took advantage of the educational aspect and earned their high school diploma.

Three hardworking ladies were among the graduates, Carla Yates (Haida), Cheyenne Frye (Arikara) and Shelbi Strom (Quinault). Each wanted to acquire a new skillset while creating a pathway to a better and brighter future.

“I really liked the class. I met some really cool people and learned so many new skills that I would have never been exposed to if I didn’t try it out,” said 20-year-old Cheyenne. Originally from North Dakota, her family relocated to the area so her mom could take the TVTC program. After graduating and seeing all the opportunity now available to her, she convinced her daughter to follow suit.

“I had zero experience with construction tools, like the nail gun and different saws. All of that was pretty intimidating at first, but after I learned to use them properly it became a lot of fun using them to complete projects,” admitted Cheyenne. “Both my parents have jobs as plumbers on the new casino project now. Hopefully I can join an electricians’ or sheet metal union and get work on that project, too.”

With hundreds of skilled-trade workers retiring every day across the state, the construction industry is in need of the next generation workforce to help build an ever-growing Snohomish County and surrounding Puget Sound communities. In the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area alone, construction employment increased by 6,400 jobs between March 2018 and March 2019, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. These are well-paying jobs that are available to people straight out of high school. It takes some grit for sure, but for those folks with a strong work ethic and can-do attitude, they can find themselves running a construction company of their own someday.

“When our student graduates go out into the world of construction, they can compete on equal footing with anybody,” declared TVTC instructor Mark Newland during the graduation ceremony. “We’re gaining traction with union companies and construction employers all over the region. 

“I just can’t say enough about this class,” he continued. “From day one, they were engaged, helping each other out, and understood what they had to gain by putting their nose to the grindstone. Really amazing stuff! They’ve given me so much as their instructor and I wish them all the best.”

Those interested in being among the next available TVTC cohort or would like more information about the program, please call (360) 716-4760 or email Ltelford@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov 

Charles James II (1941 – 2019)

Charles Michael “Chuck” James II Sept. 29, 1941 – Dec. 29, 2019 Charles James was born on September 29, 1941 to Charles and Marjorie James. He passed away on December 29, 2019 surrounded by his loving family. He married the love of his life, Illene, in 1961 and shared 58 years together. Chuck worked for Bethlehem Steel until retirement in 2001; then went on to be the Chief Operating Officer of the Tulalip Resort Casino, his last position was a Tulalip Tribes Board Member. He loved sports. He and his wife have been Seahawks ticket holders since 1976. Chuck played and coached both basketball and baseball. He was a man of steel with his firm handshake, who could still do jump shots in his 70’s. He believed team sports taught life skills, working together to achieve goals and sharing in successes was winning. He was preceded in death by his great-grandson, Marcellus A. Chavez. He is survived by wife, Illene G. (Hatch) James; son, Charles James III; daughter, Charlene James (Ramon Johnny); grandchildren, Tristan James, Madison Johnny (Dennis), Lee Johnny, Maya Johnny-Chavez (Marcel); great-grandchildren, Annabell Lee Johnny, Maryanna Chavez; brothers, Leonard James and Mark James; many nieces and nephews he loved. Recitation of the Rosary was held Thursday, January 2, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. at Tulalip Gym. Funeral services will be Friday, January 3, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at the Tulalip Gym with burial to follow at the Mission Beach Cemetery.

Brenda Moses (1961 – 2019)

Brenda Moses, 58 of Tulalip, Washington passed away December 23, 2019. She was born November 8, 1961 in Everett, Washington to Alvin and Clarice Moses Sr. She worked at the Bingo Parlor and then at the casino as a table game dealer and pit boss. She enjoyed camping, going to the mountains and enjoyed family gatherings. She like to go blueberry and blackberry picking as well as boating. She was preceded in death by her father, Alvin Moses Sr.; brother, Alvin Moses Jr.; granddaughter, Adrea Elliott; grandson, Michael (Her baby) Brown III and uncle, Delbert Moses, and nephew, Jason Lee Moses. She is survived by her soulmate of 36 years, Tommy; four daughters, Athena (Rob), Aimee, Ateesha (Issac), her baby, Bridget (Nate); her mother, Clarice Moses; sister, Naomi; brother, Brian; grandchildren, Tianna, Alieja, Kyliah, Desean, Kiera, Kathryn, Makhaio, Miniyah; great granddaughter, Aaliyah-Camari; auntie Irene, Charlene, Janice; uncle Neil, as well as other aunties, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins. The most important thing to her was spending time with her grandchildren. A visitation will be held Monday, December 30, 2019 at 1:00 pm at Schaefer-Shipman with an Interfaith Service at 6:00 pm at the Tulalip Gym. Funeral Services will be held Tuesday at 10:00 am at the Tulalip Gym with burial to follow at Mission Beach Cemetery.

10 Facts You Need to Know About Tribal Treaty Rights

By Ryan Miller, Environmental Liaison- Program Manager, Tulalip Tribes Treaty Rights Office

  1. In the 1850s, territorial governor Isaac Stevens had a mandate to secure title to Indian lands in the Washington territory. Indian tribes entered into treaties that ceded millions of acres of land while reserving Reservation homelands and securing rights central to maintaining a tribal way of life and culture
    • Sovereign Indian tribes pre-existed the United States and the State of Washington. The treaties entered into between the United States, and Indian tribes were contracts between sovereign nations.  
  2. In treaties, such as the Point Elliot Treaty of 1855, tribes retained reservation lands and reserved hunting, fishing, and gathering rights off-reservation lands and waters in areas they had always used over broad areas of Washington State.  
    • In exchange for ceding land, tribes received a guarantee of protection for their inherent right to self-governance and self-determination as well as the right to fish in all Usual and Accustomed grounds; and to hunt and gather on all open and unclaimed lands.
  3. Treaty Rights reserve inherent sovereign rights of tribes-they are not rights given to tribes by the government, but rights that tribes have always possessed and reserved in the treaties.
    • SCOTUS in Worcester v Georgia stated that Indian tribes are “distinct, independent political communities, retaining their original natural rights as the undisputed possessors of the soil, since time immemorial.” Treaties made with tribes uphold their “original natural rights.”
  4. The exercise of treaty rights was and continues to be fundamental to the tribes’ culture and way of life, helping to explain why the tribes’ ancestors explicitly reserved them in the treaties.
    • Tribes could not then and cannot now imagine a life without access to the natural resources they have depended on since time immemorial. 
  5. Treaty Rights include off-reservation fishing rights within the Tribes Usual and Accustomed fishing grounds and are based on where tribes fished during pre-treaty times.
    • Fishing is essential to the culture of Coast Salish treaty tribes. The 1974 “Boldt Decision” included several proceedings involving tribal elders and other expert witnesses that established where tribes fished before and during treaty times. This formed the basis for the designation of their “Usual and Accustomed” fishing areas that tribes reserved in the treaties.
  6. Treaty Rights include access to resources on public and unoccupied lands like the National Forests and State timberlands.
    • Like fishing, the right to continue to hunt and gather on off-reservation lands was an essential element of the bargain that Tribes struck in negotiating the treaties.
  7. The Federal Government has a trust responsibility to protect the sovereign status of Indian tribes and honor the promises outlined in the treaties. 
    • When the U.S. signed treaties with tribes, the U.S. assumed legal obligations to protect tribal treaty rights and the resources on which those treaty rights depend.
  8. Treaty Rights are not restricted to specific species like fish or berries but cover all available natural resources, which were all critical to maintaining tribal lifeways.
    • Since time immemorial, tribes have made use of the plethora of resources available to them to thrive in their environments, developing complex cultures, relationships, trade routes, and communities. 
  9. Treaty Rights are property rights that exist over the whole of the landscape.
    • Treaty Rights are not limited to reservations. They are property rights that extend over all the lands under the treaty. 
  10. Treaties made between the Federal Government and tribes are the “Supreme Law of the Land,” meaning they supersede other laws, including those made by State Governments. 

No state or local government law can interfere with tribal self-governance or diminish the rights protected by federal treaties.