Strengthening resiliency for our Tribal community

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

On Monday, May 11, and Tuesday, May 12, the Tulalip Resort Casino will host the Tulalip community as we come together to partake in the 3rd Annual Community Wellness Conference. The event, sponsored by the Tulalip Tribes Problem Gambling and Stop Smoking Programs, starts at 10:00 a.m. and ends at 6:00 p.m. on both days in the Orca Ballroom, with open registration starting at 9:00 a.m. This year’s conference will be a special occasion for all attendees, as we are invited to hear the motivational words and experience the remarkable talents of Native celebrities from across North America.

Highlighted by day one keynote speaker Gyasi Ross, author and storyteller, day two keynote speaker Vaughn Eagle Bear, comedian and actor, and a special performance by DJ crew A Tribe Called Red, the Community Wellness Conference will be sure to keep attendees engaged and interests peaked as we learn how to channel our energies into positive experiences.

“Our theme is strengthening resiliency for our tribal community,” explains Ashley Tiedeman, Smoking Cessation Specialist and co-coordinator of this year’s wellness conference. “This year all of our speakers will be talking about various ways of channeling our energy and efforts into positive and productive ways. It all goes back to expressing our emotions in a healthy way. Instead of using our emotions and energy in a negative way, our speakers will demonstrate how they create a positive experiences using various forms of expression through art and culture.”

Learning new methods of expressing our emotions and channeling our energies in new ways is often difficult, especially when being communicated to by outsiders. To alleviate this process and make it not only engaging but relatable as well for our community, all this year’s speakers and performers are Native.

“That’s the great thing about this year’s conference, too, is that we have these dynamic speakers, these interesting performers, all these great people that are coming to uplift our community, and they are all Native,” continued Tiedeman. “The community is going to be able to relate to everybody. The youth, because we want all students from 8th graders to high school especially to attend this conference, they will able to relate to these speakers and performers. I think that is what’s so special about this year’s conference.

“We’ve had youth say to us, ‘when the Tribes bring in these outside experts to speak to us, we don’t really get to express our thoughts and feelings. It’s more like we are being talked at’. That won’t be the case with this year’s Wellness Conference. The content will be engaging and relatable. Also, we will have talking circles to end our day one session. There will be an adult talking circle and a youth talking circle, to make each age group feel more comfortable giving voice to their thoughts and feelings. With our talking circles people get to share how they feel and engage with one another.”

A Tribe Called Red is a DJ crew who blend instrumental hip hop and dubstep-influenced dance music with elements of First Nations music, particularly vocal chanting and drumming. They will be performing on Tuesday, May 12, from 2:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. We are hoping to have as many youth as possible attend their performance and take in the very unique, electronic powwow music. Parents please bring in your middle school and high school students after they are finished with school on that day. Those who arrive promptly before 3:00 p.m. will receive a CD by A Tribe Called Red and can have it signed by the members of the group.

As additional incentives to get community members to come out and participate in strengthening our resiliency, each attendee will receive a gift bag full of goodies. A signed copy of Gyasi Ross’s book of stories and poems titled Don’t Know Much About Indians, a storytelling DVD by Roger Fernandez, and a CD from A Tribe Called Red are just some of the goodies.

Our very own Rediscovery Program will also be present during the conference. They will be providing each of us with hands-on experience, teaching us how to make two traditional types of medicine: lip balm and smudge kits.

“The idea behind this year’s conference is learning all these ways of channeling your energy, your emotions and feelings, but basically your energy through arts, activities and culture,” says Alison Bowen, Family Haven Program Manager and fellow co-coordinator of the conference. “We know everyone has a lot going on. It may be good stuff or bad stuff or just stuff you feel overwhelmed by. We want you to witness first-hand and learn about all these different ways of expressing what you are going through. Like aerial performance! How many people have ever seen an aerial performer? I’ve never seen one. It’s exciting to say we will have an aerial performer showcasing her abilities and that just might open someone’s eyes to possibilities they hadn’t previously considered.”

Mark your calendars and set a reminder so that you don’t miss out on what is sure to be an exciting and uplifting learning atmosphere for the Tulalip community. The 3rd Annual Wellness Conference is open to the entire Tulalip community, so long as they are 13 years or older.

“We want our tribal elders to be there. We want our tribal youth to be there,” said Tiedeman.

Hopefully the Orca Ballroom will be filled to capacity with our Tulalip tribal membership as we come together for two days full of Native speakers, presenters, and performers.

The following is the complete list of speakers, artists and performers who will be featured over the two-day Wellness Conference:

  • Gyasi Ross (Blackfeet Nation, Suquamish Nation). Author, lawyer, speaker and storyteller.
  • Tanaya Winder (Southern Ute, Pyramid Lake Paiute, and Duckwater Shoshone Nations. Performance poet and writer.
  • Red Eagle Soaring (multiple tribes represented Native youth theatre.
  • Matika Wilbur (Tulalip and Swinomish. Photographer, project 562.
  • Andrea Thompson (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa) .Cirque Artist.
  • Vaughn Eagle Bear (Rosebud Sioux, Colville Tribe). Comedian, actor and motivational speaker.
  • Roger Fernandez (Lower Elwha Band of Clallam Indians). Artist, storyteller and educator.
  • A Tribe Called Red (Grand River Mohawk, Nipissing First Nation, Cayuga First Nation). DJ crew, electric powwow.


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 Contact Micheal Rios,



“Caucasians” T-shirt That Mocks Cleveland Indians’ Wahoo a Best-Seller

 Brian Kirby of Shelf Life Clothing in Cleveland designed the "Caucasians" logo T-shirt.
Brian Kirby of Shelf Life Clothing in Cleveland designed the “Caucasians” logo T-shirt.


Source: Indian Country Today, 8/4/14


A new sports-logo T-shirt has become a hot seller in Canada and parts of the United States.

The words “Caucasians” with the image of a grinning caricature (reminiscent of the Indians’ Chief Wahoo) across the front hints at how offensive Native mascots on professional sports teams can be. The Toronto Star reported that it is a “hot fashion item” in the Ontario First Nations community.

“People’s reaction has been all positive and they see the humour in it both on and off the reserve,” Tracy Bomberry, Six Nations of the the Grand River, told the Star.

Her inspiration to wear the shirt came after learning that Ojibwa singer Ian Campeau, aka, DJ NDN of A Tribe Called Red was accused of being a “racist hypocrite” for wearing one, the paper said.

Campeau from A Tribe Called Red wears the "Caucasians" T-shirt.  (
Campeau from A Tribe Called Red wears the “Caucasians” T-shirt. (


According to MetroNews.Ca, an email was sent anonymously to Westfest, a popular music festival in Ottawa, Canada, where Tribe Called Red was scheduled to perform. The individual who sent the email threatened to boycott the concert because Campeau was spotted wearing the T-shirt.

“I thought how hypocritical that he would be accused of racism for wearing a shirt that turns the tables in a satirical way of how our image as native people has been misappropriated by the Cleveland Indians, Washington Redskins and the like,” Bomberry said.

Campeau, his band, and staff members of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), including First Nations Chief, Shawn Atleo, filed a lawsuit to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario claiming that the Amateaur football team, the Nepean Redskins, use of the R-word was racially discriminatory, and sought to quell its use. The tribunal dismissed the complaint in March, but the team changed its name to the Nepean Eagles.

Brian Kirby of Shelf Life Clothing in Cleveland said that the interest in the T-shirt “skyrocketed” after the Campeau controversy. “We have been selling a modest amount of shirts to Canada for years … but nothing like the volume of the last month,” Kirby told QMI Agency in an email interview Tuesday. “We are a mom and pop business, working day and night to make sure everyone who wants a shirt gets one.”

RELATED: Cleveland Indians Slowly Phasing out Chief Wahoo

Kirby noticed the cultural effect of the Chief Wahoo logo in the Native community after moving to Cleveland from New York. He said that the overall interpretation of the shirt shifts. “Interpretation of the shirt ranges from a ‘reverse racism,’ ‘see how YOU like it’ intent, to a ‘see, I’m white and it doesn’t bother me to be caricatured!’ attitude,” Kirby told the Star.



Is This Shirt ‘Racist’? A Tribe Called Red Threatened With Boycott

Photo by Pat Bolduc, courtesy A Tribe Called RedIan Campeau, aka Deejay NDN, wears a shirt that an irony-impaired critic has called 'racist.
Photo by Pat Bolduc, courtesy A Tribe Called Red
Ian Campeau, aka Deejay NDN, wears a shirt that an irony-impaired critic has called ‘racist.



Indian Country Today



Ian Campeau, better known as Deejay NDN of A Tribe Called Red, is an outspoken cultural critic, both as official mouthpiece of the DJ trio and a twitter provocateur. Campeau was instrumental in getting the Nepean Redskins football club to change its name (they’re now the Nepean Eagles), and sports mascots is one of his favorite topics to discuss.

It has to be a sign that you’re being heard when an irony-impaired curmudgeon calls for a boycott.

RELATED: 15 Twitter Accounts Every Native Should Follow

In a recent Instagram post, Campeau shared a note apparently written to the organizers of Westfest, a music and arts festival taking place June 13-15 in Ottawa’s Westboro Village. A Tribe Called Red is scheduled to play the final concert Sunday night.

“So we’re supposed to play Westfest next Sunday,” Campeau wrote. “The organizers have been receiving thinly-veiled threatening emails in protest to me performing. Here’s one of them. This is my hometown. So disappointing.”

Here’s the image of the letter, in which a critic complains, anonymously that the group is “divisive” and that Campeau is a “racist hypocrite” who wears a “racist t-shirt”:

A letter calling for a boycott of Westfest over A Tribe Called Red's "racism."


A letter calling for a boycott of Westfest over A Tribe Called Red’s “racism.”


We’ve seen Campeau in a few different ironic t-shirts over the years, but the one that this individual is referring to is likely the “Caucasians” design (sold by Shelf Life Clothing), featuring a white version of the Cleveland Indians’ controversial Chief Wahoo mascot. Campeau wears the shirt in some frequently-used publicity photos:

 A Tribe Called Red (left to right): DJ Bear Witness, DJ Shub, Deejay NDN (Ian Campeau). Photo by Pat Bolduc.
A Tribe Called Red (left to right): DJ Bear Witness, DJ Shub, Deejay NDN (Ian Campeau). Photo by Pat Bolduc.