Girls Group Spreads Warmth This Winter

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

On the afternoon of November 3, the Girls Talking Circle collaborated with Community Health and Youth Services staff to make no-sew fleece blankets for various groups in the community. These blankets were personalized with all the great fleece patterns and colors available in what turned out to be a quick and easy project that benefited everyone involved.

“Each girl had an opportunity to choose whether they wanted to make a blanket for an infant or elder in our community,” explained event coordinator and para-pro, Monica Holmes. “The girls were given a packet with detailed instructions, selected their desired fabrics for the blankets front and back, then used math skills and hand-eye coordination to measure and cut the fabric to the desired size. After that they carefully tied the fabric together into a blanket.

“It was a really easy no-sew project, but it introduced the girls to not only the idea of community service and giving back to others, it also introduced them to some basic life skills that they can take forward with them.”

Anna Foldesi from the Early Learning Academy helped support the blanket making event by bringing in extra supplies and fleece fabric, plus donating several pre-made and partially made blankets. Anna moonlights as a weekend seamstress and used her expertise to provide additional guidance to the youth as the event went along. Cierra Shay of Youth Services and Heather Duncan also volunteered their time to assist the girls complete as many blankets and individual projects as possible.

In the Tulalip spirit of making one to giveaway and one to keep, the youth and volunteers made either a baby blanket to gift to a community infant or a lap blanket to gift to an elder. Taking the craft making one step further, some of the girls added bags of rice to the inside of a blanket to create a weighted lap pad for specials needs children. For these children, the deep pressure offered by a weighted lap pad can provide emotional and nervous system regulation.

“The infant blankets, elder lap pads and weighted lap/shoulder pads for special needs children will be distributed locally by Community Health. Suzanne Carson and her team will distribute blankets to infants and elders on their rounds to visit them in-home or at Providence Hospital,” added Monica. “Special needs weighted lap pads will be taken to each elementary in our district and donated to the self-contained classrooms.”

During the two-hour event, the Girls Talking Circle worked together to tie blankets for a  great cause, socialized, and witnessed how a couple hours of hard work can make a big difference.

“I come to [Girls Talking Circle] because it’s just really fun,” smiled 11-year-old tribal member, Tieriana McLean. “I made a baby blanket to gift and a pillow for myself. I made a pillow because nobody else made one and it’ll go good with my blankets at home.”

The Girls Talking Circle is hosted at the Tulalip Teen Center every Friday from 2pm-4pm. Most of their activities occur on-site, with the occasional field trip taking them off Reservation for new experiences. Additionally, Girls Talking Circle gives participants an opportunity to talk about real life issues and work through solutions together in group, with a trained, professional adult moderator in Monica Holmes.

Please contact Monica at 360-631-3406 or for more information.

Tulalip Mountain Camp 2017

By Libby Nelson, Senior Environmental Policy Analyst, Treaty Rights Office, Tulalip Tribes Natural Resources Depoartment 


Mountain Camp 2017 kicked off with Kelly Moses storytelling and preparing the kids for their mountain journey, in the longhouse around a fire.

The kids backpacked the first three days into Barlclay Lake where they explored, hiked and stayed cool swimming

With guides Ross Fenton and Matthew Moses, the group then went to swədaʔx̌ali, our co-stewardship area in the Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, where they participated in our huckleberry restoration work. The kids joined Chelsea Craig, Patti Gobin and Melissa Gobin in cedar weaving and making cedar headbands.  Natural Resources Department staff members Ryan Miller, Daryl Williams, Ross Fenton, Matthew Moses, and Zach Lamebull talked with the youth about careers in natural resources.

It was hot at 5,000 feet, but nights were just right and skies were starry.  Michelle Myles from the Lushootseed Department and I spent Thursday night at camp, with Michelle telling stories under the stars before bed.  As before, kids learned to set up tents, carry their own gear, cook in the wilderness, conserve water, and support each other, and about their mountain culture.  Once again, Inez Bill helped contribute to the program with her ideas and feedback on our curriculum.

For the first time this year, we ended camp with a river trip. Kids got a lesson in kayaking and suited up for a three-hour downriver trip starting at the bridge in Skykomish.  We contracted with Outdoor Adventure Company of Index, and the kids seemed to love it!

Tulalip community celebrate National Night Out

“Let’s continue to help bring our youth and community together in a good way.”

– Josh Fryberg, Youth Services Coordinator

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

On the sizzling summer evening of Tuesday, August 1, Tulalip citizens of all ages and their neighbors came out to meet the police officers who have sworn an oath to protect and serve the community. The occasion was the 34th Annual National Night Out, free to all and held in the Tulalip Youth Center parking lot.

Tulalip Police Chief Carlos Echevarria greeted community members with a warm smile and a slice of public safety insight during the community-building event.

“The purpose of National Night Out is for the local community and law enforcement to come together against crime. Law enforcement cannot fight crime alone, we must have community support moving forward,” stated Chief Echevarria. “Under the body armor and police uniform, law enforcement officers exist as real people. Positive interactions and open conversation allows for the human side of policing to shine through and from this foundation trust is gained.”

National Night Out has been an annual occurrence since its inception in 1984. The ultimate goal is to promote police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. Enhancing the relationship between the community’s youth and law enforcement goes a long way to bringing back a true sense of community. It also provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.

In light of it occurring on one of the hottest days of the year, dozens of families took part in the National Night Out mingling. While enjoying tasty hot dogs, green salads, and sugar treats, community members strolled through the informative safety demonstration tables. There were games and activities for the young ones to partake in, giving parents and guardians the perfect opportunity to connect with emergency personnel.

“We, along with a lot of other families, really enjoyed National Night Out. I saw a lot of smiles from the youth and community along with great information that was being provided to the people,” said Josh Fryberg, Youth Services Coordinator, who attended the evening’s activity with his family. “We want to thank Carlos and TPD for all of the work that they do for the Tulalip Tribes and community members. We’ve created a great partnership with TPD here at Youth Services with ‘pop with a cop’. It has been a great time for the youth and staff to get to know numerous TPD police officers. Let’s continue to help bring our youth and community together in a good way.”

Youth could be seen interacting with all levels of law enforcement. From meeting and petting the unit’s K9 officer, taking pics with officers for the always active social media accounts, to the youngest among them requesting a hug with a real life superhero.

Chief Echevarria says his favorite moment from National Night Out “was when a 4-year-old young lady asked me for a hug. When I kneeled down and gave her a hug then another child requested a hug as well. This type of interaction with our youth and community definitely makes us, Tulalip, unique. Very proud moment as Chief!”

iheart Tulalip

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

During the first week of August, members of the Marysville Grove Church brought their outreach work to the Tulalip community. Every summer the church spends five days in each of its surrounding communities, including Tulalip, Lake Stevens, Everett and Stanwood, providing beautification services to specific worksites within those communities.

Established in 2011, the volunteer-based outreach campaign is known as iheart. In previous years, iheart worked in various areas throughout the Tulalip reservation, revamping local buildings, ball fields, schools as well as the Boys and Girls Club. This year, volunteers dedicated all of their efforts to remodel one building.

“Our site this year is at the Legacy of Healing,” states iheart Site Leader, Moyia Rossnagle. “Our project for this building is to give it a face lift; fresh paint, fresh deck stain, fix up the lines in the parking lot, plant flowers and prune the landscaping to make it more welcoming and more inviting for the women and children who are in crisis when they come here.“

Hundreds of Grove Church members of all ages volunteer their time to the local mission trips each summer. Parents who volunteer in iheart are encouraged to bring along their children to participate as well. Kids of the church, between the fourth and eighth grade, volunteer to work at the Kid’s Block Party, held towards the end of each iheart week.  This year, the Block Party took place at the Tulalip Boys and Girls Club.

On the hazy warm summer day of August 3, the youth of the community experienced a fun-filled day, enjoying the many activities at the Block Party including super-soaker races, bouncy houses, carnival games, manicures and face painting.

“My favorite is the bouncy houses and the water balloons. The water is so fun because it’s too hot. I like everything here, its so fun,” exclaimed Tulalip tribal member, Sylus Edwards.

In it’s sixth summer, the iheart project continues to unite communities through their outreach services.

“Everyone here is a volunteer and donates their time because they want to give back to the communities and they want to serve other people,” explains Moyia. “It feels good to do that and it’s been such a rewarding week. We’ve met some really neat people; we’ve gotten to know the women who work here and made some new friends, it’s just been such a great week.”

For further details about the Grove Church and their iheart outreach campaign, please visit their website www.Grove.Church

Bringing youth and community together in a good way

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, Tulalip Youth Services hosted Special Needs Field Day at the Don Hatch Youth Center. The July 29 event catered to children from the Tulalip community with learning and physical disabilities. The kids and their families were treated to an afternoon of fun activities including arts and crafts, face painting and bouncy houses; as well as friendly competition during a game of kickball.

“We wanted to create something specifically for the special needs students that wouldn’t overstimulate them,” states Tulalip Youth Services Education Coordinator, Jessica Bustad. “The idea actually came from a conversation we had at a parent meeting, talking about all the tribal events we have. They’re too over stimulating for some of our special needs students. We wanted to do something more low-key that still allows them to have fun and invite their favorite people with them.”

During Special Needs Field Day, youth enjoyed lunch at the Greg Williams Court with their families and participated in an interactive music circle with Victoria Fansler, Music Therapist for the Snohomish County Music Project. Victoria helps the youth of the Tulalip community work through traumatic life events by using music as an instrument of healing. Numerous kids joined Victoria in song by both singing and playing along with an instrument, among them was Tulalip tribal member Tyler Fryberg.

“I’m really excited that there is stuff for those kids with special needs to do,” exclaimed Tyler.

Tyler is an inspiration and role model to the Tulalip community, especially to those with special needs. A track and field athlete, Tyler carried the torch and participated in the 2013 Special Olympics Summer State Tournament.

“We are so excited that our community has the doors open for kids with special needs,” states Tyler’s mother, Mignonne Bedient. “Not only for the kids but for the parents also. We’ve had a few meetings and they have offered so much support for us. I truly believe we would not get the support outside of this community that we get here. Tyler has moved mountains and he has many more mountains to move, he’s so excited that there is a group here.”

The event was organized by Youth Services’ new Special Needs Advocate, Joe Boon. While researching for Special Needs Field Day, he discovered that activities with high sensory involvement were popular amongst children with disabilities.

“I started researching what we can bring to this event that gets them to tap into all their sensory needs,” Joe explains. “I wanted to give a feel for other tribal events that happen out here but more low-key, so it’s not off-putting for kids with severe sensory issues. I was researching other fun interactive things we can do and I found that with gold panning, they would be able to touch and find all kinds of [rocks and minerals], it turned out to be a huge success!”

A DJ played a variety of popular contemporary songs while the kids jumped about the bouncy houses and ran around the bases of the Alpheus ‘Gunny’ Jones Sr. Ball Field during the kickball match.

“The main objective is we just want the youth interacting with each other, the staff and the volunteers,” states Youth Services Activities Coordinator, Josh Fryberg. “At the end of the day, it’s all about having fun and just letting them be themselves.”

“Tulalip Youth Services would like to thank the parent committee, staff, volunteers and all of the youth and families who attended,” Josh continues. “Our hands go up to each and every one of you. The food was great; along with all of the arts, crafts, bouncy houses and of course the kickball game, which ended with a tie. Everyone was a winner and showed great sportsmanship. We would like to thank Joe Boone, Jessica Bustad and an extra special thank you to Jai Holmes. He is a 100% volunteer here at the Youth Services department and also attends MP as a student full time. He does an amazing job. Once again, we would like to thank everyone that attended and everyone who made this day possible. Let’s continue to bring our youth and community together in a good way.”

For additional information please contact Tulalip Youth Services Special Needs Advocate, Joe Boon, at (360) 716-4912.

Super Seine: Tulalip Celebrates Culture at Spee-Bi-Dah

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Once a year during the summertime, Tulalip tribal members celebrate the Annual Spee-Bi-Dah beach potlatch. The gathering allows tribal members the opportunity to socialize with friends and family while enjoying foods that are caught and prepared traditionally such as salmon, shrimp, crab and clams. Tribal members utilize seine nets to capture the seafood and a traditional clambake follows.

“That’s how our ancestors gathered when they fished; they held a potlatch and shared the food,” explains Tulalip tribal member, Mona Ordonia. “Our ancestors actually used to harvest nettles and make nets out of the nettle stems, way back in the day.  I harvested nettle myself and made some rope out of it, which was actually a special experience because now I understand how strong the ropes were. They are a lot stronger than some of the rope today, and that’s what our ancestors used before the modern nets.”

The skies were clear, providing beautiful weather for the July 8 beach event as many young tribal members seized the opportunity to splash about the water. Spee-Bi-Dah continues to unite multiple generations while honoring Tulalip’s culture and traditional way of life.

“I look forward to Spee-Bi-Dah every year because it’s such a great gathering,” Mona expresses. “And to also experience [seining]. That’s like bringing history to today’s experience, a way of not forgetting that’s how we did it back in the day. To be able to come together and share that experience, especially with the children, so that they can see that’s how we always did it. And to help; I like helping shuck the crab for everybody and I also like watching Tony [Hatch] cook the clams and shrimp on the pit, that’s so awesome to me.”

Tulalip Events Manager Robert Watson said the event wouldn’t be possible without the Tulalip Charitable Fund. “We’re so grateful that every year the Tulalip Charity fund donates money for us to put on the Spee-Bi-Dah event.”