Elbow grease: the cost effective, green cleaner

Denise Frakes of Blue Sky Services, gives tips on dumping toxic cleaners and using a little elbow grease for a safer, cleaner home. Photo/Niki Cleary, Tulalip News
Denise Frakes of Blue Sky Services, offers tips on dumping toxic cleaners and using a little elbow grease for a healthy, clean home. Photo/Niki Cleary, Tulalip News


By Niki Cleary, Tulalip News 


It’s easy to fall prey to the advertising. A sparkling home, the scent of a sea breeze drifting across the living room, not to mention the image of your bizarrely clean children and dogs frolicking as you take cookies from your spotless oven. The fact is, it’s a myth. The images are clever marketing. A play on our childhood memories and a lifetime of conditioning about how to properly complete domestic chores that hooks us into buying toxic cleaners that not only wreak havoc on our health, they actually make our house dirtier!

Denise Frakes has owned and operated cleaning companies for 24 years, she explained, “There’s a reason most of our fragrances are ‘seabreeze, mountain mist,’ all these things feed our [idea] of hearth and home, except they don’t. Our sense of smell is in the mid-part of the brain where our memories and emotions are. A lot of times it’s hard to let go of products we’re emotionally connected to.”

It helps if you first consider that most cleaning products designed for your home are pesticides.

“Anything that kills a living organism, is a pesticide,” Denise pointed out. “Be careful, we are living organisms. Have you ever cleaned your house and had this scratchy throat, a headache, or you just feel tired?”

It’s not just because you don’t like cleaning.

She went on, “Instead of feeling vitalized because we’ve done something physical, we don’t feel well. What happened? We’re mixing products all the time. Say I’m in the shower and use a product called ‘Kaboom’. I spray it, breathe it in, it gets on my skin. Then maybe I use my window cleaner with ammonia, and some of it also lands on me, the glass, and some on the acrylic floor. Now I’m in this tiny area, with poor ventilation and I’ve created a toxic gas.”

In addition to the concern of mixing chemicals, Denise said that one of the goals of cleaning is to leave no residue. Denise and her husband, the owner/operators of Blue Sky Services, employ a system that focuses on prevention then escalates to the use of what she calls ‘restorative’ cleaning products, things like bleach.

“Cleaning is not about adding on, it’s about removing. We start with residue free, or green cleaning, because when you’re done cleaning the only thing left should be the [surface]. ”

But cleaning products make life so much easier, right? I’ve seen the commercials, spray that stuff and little bubble cartoons come out of nowhere and leave behind sparkles and freshness. Turns out that’s not exactly accurate, most cleaning products leave behind a residue that attracts dirt if it’s not removed.

“The job of cleaners is to attract soil, so they leave behind a residue which makes things re-soil faster,” Denise explained.

Prevention is always better than cleaning, she pointed out. She pronounced that a good entry rug is the first line of defense. Taking off shoes as you enter the house is another strategy to keep dirt out.

“The premise of my cleaning is always, is there a way we can prevent a soil? If you have a commercial entrance rug and take off your shoes, you’ll minimize 76% of all soils that come in the door.”

When you do have to clean, the best ingredient is elbow grease, and plenty of it.

“We are masters of breaking surface tension in our cleaning company, because that’s where the cleaning happens,” Denise illustrated by wetting a cloth and scrubbing briskly.

“I use a two-towel method, microfiber cloths are great technology,” she added. “A good microfiber will gather 99% of the germs. They grab a hold of the soil, we don’t need to kill germs, just remove them. I clean with a microfiber, then buff dry with a terry cloth or other non-lint towel.”

Dish soap is one of the products Denise is fond of using. Because it’s excellent at breaking surface tension, is safe and a little can go a very long way.

“I use it in showers, counters and floors,” she said. “Because it’s high bubbling, you can use a really diluted product. It’s a great cleanser to use, then rinse and dry and it’s not in the air.”

In line with her mildest means cleaning philosophy, Denise encourages the use of vacuums, especially those that use HEPA filters. HEPA filters remove very fine particles from the air.




“There’s a lot of stuff in our dust that isn’t healthy,” she explained. She urged people to consider opening their windows, both to let in fresh air and to remove moisture, an often forgotten danger to indoor air quality.

“When you live in a house it should be the safest, healthiest place, but most homes have 25% more contaminants than outside,” said Denise. “Air purifiers are great, but clean your filters on a regular basis and maintain them well. I recommend that every house has a hygrometer, a relative humidity measurement tool.”

Ideally, indoor air should contain 30-50% moisture, when it’s above 60% the humidity provides a perfect environment for dust mites and mold.

“If you’re cleaning or working in the kitchen or taking a shower, open a window and turn on the ventilation,” she encouraged. “The exhaust fans remove contaminants and the windows bring in fresh air.”

Quick review time: in order to reduce dependence on cleaning products you should practice prevention, use area rugs and stop dirt at the door. Next, clean early and often using the mildest means possible, preferably water and washcloths followed by drying to prevent water spots and dirt from settling into the droplets. If you have to use a cleaning product, make sure that you increase the ventilation and open the windows.

Remember, you should feel better, not worse, after cleaning. For more tips on green cleaning you can follow Denise’s blog at www.dfbluesky.com.

October is Farm to School Month

F2S Month Interior


By Elisha Smith, elishas@cfra.org, Center for Rural Affairs


October is National Farm to School month (#F2SMonth). “Farm to School” refers to schools serving local, farm-fresh foods ranging from fruits and veggies to honey and meat.
The more local foods we serve our kids, the better. One-third of U.S. children are obese or overweight, and only 2% of children get the recommended serving of fruits and vegetable each day. Farm to School programs increase students’ daily fruit and vegetable consumption significantly.  
Moreover, each dollar invested into Farm to School stimulates an additional $2.16 of local economic activity. In Maine, shifting 1% of consumer expenditures to direct purchasing of local products was shown to increase incomes of Maine farmers by as much as 5%.  And each new Farm to School job contributes to the creation of addition 1.67 jobs. 
Often schools incorporate curriculums that help students learn about nutrition, agriculture, science, math and the path that food takes from the farm to the table as well as creating experience-based learning opportunities by visiting farms and participating in gardening, recycling, and entrepreneurial programs.

The Farm to School concept is simple: bring tasty, nutritious food from the people who grow it to the school kids that want to eat it. The details involved in making this a reality can be daunting, however. With that in mind the Center for Rural Affairs has put together a Farm to School Month Starter Kit, guide and several other resources to help wade through all the complexities.  Visit http://www.cfra.org/f2s.

Tulalip’s WIC Program


Submitted by Erika Queen, WIC Nutrition Program, Karen I Fryberg Tulalip Health Clinic

Getting to the WIC office is easier than ever. No more paging WIC. The door just past the bathrooms is unlocked. Just come back to WIC and say “Hi!”

WIC gets money from the state and federal WIC budget and provides services to our local community. Women can get WIC services during pregnancy through baby’s first birthday so long as they are is breastfeeding.  If a woman is not breastfeeding, she can get WIC for six months, even after a miscarriage.  Infants and children can get WIC until their fifth birthday.  Call to see if your family qualifies – 360-716-5625.

WIC can help new moms even more

Tulalip Health Clinic WIC clients can now borrow high-quality electric breast pumps, without fees (ask for details).  If you, your family, or friends have questions about breastfeeding, call WIC at 360-716-5625.

WIC is offering painless iron tests

The WIC Program has recently offered a new option for all clinics to provide “no-poke” iron tests for most children and adults.  Not all WIC offices are providing no-poke iron tests.  Tulalip WIC is very happy to provide this painless test to our clients.

WIC started in order to prevent low iron in children. Common signs of low iron may include paleness, irritability, and tiredness.  In little ones, low iron can cause behavioral problems and developmental delays.  If untreated, problems may last into the school years.  For more information, search for “anemia” at kidshealth.org.


WIC still gives checks for healthy foods

These checks are to provide fresh produce, milk (lactose-free & soy are available), whole grains, and more. Getting WIC is based on income.  Almost all families/children participating in these programs can get WIC:

  • TANF
  • Commodities/Basic Food
  • Apple Health
  • Infants/children up to age 5 who are placed in the care of others by a court (through the state or beda?chelh)
  • Other families who meet our income guidelines (call for details)


Sydney Costello and Erika Queen are honored to partner with the Tulalip community in promoting healthy, happy families for years to come.
Sydney Costello and Erika Queen are honored to partner with the Tulalip community in promoting healthy, happy families for years to come.


Meet the staff

Erika Queen has been working with moms and babies for nearly ten years, in WIC for almost 5 years. She started with Tulalip’s WIC program in December 2014. Erika is a Health Educator and served in the US Navy before working with WIC.  She loves working with moms and babies as well as providing families with understandable information about health and wellness. While not at work, Erika can be found volunteering with Search and Rescue, doing anything “DIY,” becoming more familiar with traditional cooking & other traditional health practices, and spending time outside with her husband, Brian, and their two pit bulls, Jessi & Bella.

Sydney Costello has been working as a WIC dietitian since 2001 in Snohomish County. She enjoys the relationships that she has built with families through pregnancy, into breastfeeding and infancy, then into the preschool years. Sydney’s time with Tulalip’s WIC program began in June 2015! Sydney’s husband, Geno, and her daughters Irene (9) & Stevie (7) keep her busy. Geno loves basketball & will coach Irene’s team in the fall. Irene will play soccer with Stevie this fall too! Sydney volunteers with La Leche League of Marysville, MOMS Club of Arlington/Stanwood, North Sound Dietetics Association, and Kent Prairie Elementary PTA.

Erika and Sydney are long-time Western Washington residents who look forward to getting to know everyone here in Tulalip better. They would like to thank Della and Sara for their many years of service, and feel honored to partner with the Tulalip community in promoting healthy, happy families for years to come.


In accordance with Federal law and Department of Agriculture (USDA) policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call toll free (866) 632-9992 (Voice). Individuals who are hearing impaired or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Washington WIC does not discriminate.



Wisdom Warriors find strength and balance in yoga

Photo/Micheal Rios
Photo/Micheal Rios


By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

It’s a gorgeous, warm summer morning on Thursday, July 23. The Tulalip Wisdom Warriors are sitting only mere feet away from the calm, chilled waters of Tulalip Bay. They marvel at the magnificent world in front of them; the gentle rays of sunshine, the beautiful sky, the flagrant ocean breeze that blows ever so softly against their skin, the soft crunch of dried grass beneath their shoes. It’s the perfect day and relaxing setting for them to experience the happiness, confidence, and mental sharpness that are direct results of practicing Anusara chair yoga.

“What I’d like to encourage today is people really listening to their body, to know what your body’s capabilities are,” explains second year UW medical student and Karen I Fryberg Tulalip Health Clinic volunteer Autumn Walker. “You know what injuries you have and what limitations you have with your body, so when we are doing today’s yoga class I want you to use that inner mind to listen to your body and say ‘I know I can only go this far with this pose because of my limited ability with my spine’ or ‘I’ve already had an injury with this leg so I’m going to go easy on this side.’ If you have any questions at all let me know.”

And so the class begins.

It is the monthly Wisdom Warrior Provider Class and for this class, an open invitation was sent out to anyone who would like to attend and share in this new experience of learning Anusara chair yoga. For the Wisdom Warriors, the monthly provider class has become a tradition of gaining new experiences that bring them together every month, to chit-chat, catch up on current events, and gets them outside, off the couch and away from the TV.


Photo/Micheal Rios
Photo/Micheal Rios


Taking full advantage of the picturesque summer day, Walker and Veronica Leahy, the  Tulalip health clinic Diabetes Care and Prevention Program Manager, decided to have their monthly provider class just below the Kenny Moses building, on the edge of Tulalip Bay. They came up with the idea of teaching the Wisdom Warriors chair yoga as a means of creating accessible paths to wellness for those who could not benefit from traditional physical activities due to age and/or limiting physical conditions.

“Roni and I were talking about how the community has been encouraging a lot of the members of the Diabetes Prevention Program, the Wisdom Warriors, to do walking as exercise,” said Walker. “When you walk without using other wellness strategies sometimes that can lead to injury. For example, if you’re walking without stretching or not being mindful of your body then that can lead to injury. Since we want our Wisdom Warriors to be able to use their bodies for a long time and walking pain-free, we wanted to setup some programming for them that would support that health and wellness.

“I’m familiar with yoga. I’ve been practicing yoga for almost ten years, and it’s helped me a lot with the pain I’ve been having, keeping my muscles healthy and strengthened, and it also provides me with awareness of my body as I’m using it. So when I’m exercising in ways that’s not yoga, I know better how to take care of myself. I was hoping to share that with the individuals today; to teach them a little bit about how to be mindful about what their body needs and wants, to respect the injuries that they have, to accept themselves for that without judgement, and to practice a little bit of stretching.”

It is no secret that America (and most of the world for that matter) is faced with a health crisis.  The U.S. Surgeon General states that “25 percent of all adults, approximately 50 million, are not active at all through some form of exercise or physical activity.”  If you number yourself in this sedentary group or your physical fitness activity is limited because of various physical conditions, then you belong to a large population underserved by innovative means of exercise, like chair yoga exercise programs.

“Props like a chair and towel are used as support as we gain more of an awareness of our body while recognizing and accepting limitations. For example, if you don’t have that hip flexibility that you once had, then you can use a chair to get into a better position for your own body’s needs. You can custom use the props depending on your body’s needs, so the practice becomes individualized, where you’re not saying everyone has to be a certain way,” continued Walker. “Some of the people who came today have varying limitations. One person has had hip surgery, so she needed a different modification so she could adapt the practice to what’s best for her and what her body needs, not just saying I need to do this because everyone else is doing it. She was able to listen to her body and modify the poses to fit her body’s needs.”


Photo/Micheal Rios
Photo/Micheal Rios


Chair yoga offers the ability to improve your health through an amazing form of adaptive exercise.  You are supported by a chair, so you can receive yoga’s healing and restorative benefits that have been known for thousands of years. Yoga relaxes your body and mind, improves your musculoskeletal fitness and flexibility, and elevates your overall health and well-being. The Wisdom Warrior chair yoga participants were full-on recipients of the mind and body relaxation benefits.

“This was the most perfect setting for relaxing that I’ve felt in a long time,” said Mabel Norris, a Haida tribal member elder from Hydaburg, Alaska who is a regular at the Wisdom Warrior events. “The thing is I find that my balance isn’t quite as strong as it once was, but I was pleasantly surprised I had some and was able do the stretches.”

You are invited to join Wisdom Warriors and start your path to better health, with the support of your community. Class locations can vary. Please call 360-716-5642 or go to the Tulalip Health Clinic for more information.


Contact Micheal Rios, mrios@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov





Tulalip health clinic offers diabetes-cooking class

Photo/Micheal Rios

Garlic stalks were harvested from the Wellness Garden and used to create herbal garlic braids for home cooking.


by Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

On Thursday, July 16, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. the staff of the Tulalip’s Diabetes Care and Prevention Program hosted a diabetes cooking class. The purpose of this class was to learn and talk about the health benefits associated with garlic, onions and sugar free, wild berry jams. To make the class an enjoyable, hands-on learning experience, the participants did some gardening in order to create practical applications for the harvested foods with the assistance of the Wisdom Warriors and some community youngsters.

“Our garlic and onion crops were substantial this year, so we decided to offer a class structured around the harvest,” describes Veronica “Roni” Leahy, Diabetes Program Coordinator, of the bountiful produce found in the Wellness Garden, located behind the Tulalip health clinic. “Garlic is low in calories and very rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6 and manganese. For this reason, garlic is known to boost the function of the immune system and reduce the severity of common illnesses, like the flu and common cold. Other health benefits include relieving arthritic pain and assisting in lowering blood sugar levels for people with diabetes.”



Garlic is a wonderful seasoning to add aroma, taste and added nutrition to your dishes. To make use of its multi-purpose value, class participants were shown how to harvest the garlic, along with other herbs, from the Wellness Garden and then used them to make garlic braids. Braiding the garlic with herbs allows the garlic sufficient time to dry and be readily used at home in a variety of meals.

Around midday, the class took a timeout in order to relish on a healthy lunch of pita bread sandwiches, some smoked salmon compliments of Marvin Jones, and a bounty of fruits and vegetables while enjoying the 80-degree weather and sunshine.

Following the lunch break, the class participated in making sugar free, wild berry jam mixed with chia seeds. Many people are familiar with local berries, but not so familiar with chia seeds. The combination of protein, fiber, and the gelling action of chia seeds when mixed with liquids all contribute to their easy to use benefits.




“Chia seeds, like flaxseeds, are very high in omega 3 fatty acids, and they contain no gluten or grains for those who are on a gluten free diet,” explains Leahy. “Because of their high fiber content, chia seeds have the added health benefits of helping to reduce inflammation, enhancing cognitive performance, and lowering high cholesterol. Also, adding chia seeds to smoothies or yogurt can give people the feeling of being full and satisfied, which helps lower food cravings between meals.”

The joys of gardening can reap great benefits, from tasty, healthy vegetables to just enjoying the outdoors. Pride in cooking with food you helped to grow and harvest counts also. Combine these benefits with proper nutritional education and you have an enjoyable experience that can last a lifetime. For those who missed on this session, there will be future gardening and cooking classes offered. Keep a look out in future articles or ‘like’ our Tulalip News facebook page to stay in the loop.




All photos by Micheal Rios

Contact Micheal Rios, mrios@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

When tragedy struck, Washington state boy found healing in a canoe

Hamilton Seymour, 15, of Bellingham, Wash., introduced first lady Michelle Obama at the first White House Tribal Youth Gathering in Washington, D.C., on July 9, 2015.ROB HOTAKAINEN — McClatchy
Hamilton Seymour, 15, of Bellingham, Wash., introduced first lady Michelle Obama at the first White House Tribal Youth Gathering in Washington, D.C., on July 9, 2015.




WASHINGTON — After losing his father to suicide in 2012, teenager Hamilton Seymour said he wanted to find something positive in his life: He found healing by paddling his canoe.

“It’s my personal outlet,” said Seymour, a 15-year-old member of the  Nooksack Indian Tribe from Bellingham, Wash. “It’s where I can get away, even if I’m with people.”

Convinced that exercise is “a stress reliever” and the key to improving mental health, Seymour now is pushing other members of his tribe to deal with grief and celebrate their culture by carving canoes and singing traditional Native songs as they paddle their way to fitness. His efforts are gaining attention.

After Seymour won a national award earlier this year from the  Center for Native American Youth, he found the spotlight on Thursday at the first White House Tribal Youth Gathering, when he was picked to introduce  first lady Michelle Obama before her speech to the group.

“It was just surreal,” said Seymour.




An official in the first lady’s office said Seymour was chosen because his story served as a “source of inspiration” for other Indian youths. But Seymour speculated that there was another reason.

“I’ve been told they did a background check and they looked at our social media,” he said. “And I luckily only have Facebook and I don’t post anything vulgar, inappropriate or like just stupid stuff people post these days.”

Seymour was one of five Indian youths from across the nation cited as a 2015 “champion for change” by the Center for Native American Youth, an award that recognizes youths who are making a difference in their communities. Center officials noted that while most adults are uncomfortable talking about such issues as sexual abuse and suicide, Indian youth leaders are tackling the issues head on.

Seymour, whose parents divorced when he was 6 years old, said he didn’t want to discuss specifics of his father’s suicide. But he said the act of violence leaves survivors suffering.

Growing up, he said, he has learned that “you only get out of this world what you put in,” but he said he doesn’t want to judge others who struggle. He said many Indian kids are growing up in homes where parents are fighting and the children aren’t getting enough sleep or food.

“High school’s tricky,” he said. “You never really know what someone’s going through.”


Seymour said his application for the award focused on keeping culture alive through traditional sports. As part of his project, he has lined up 11 other teens to help him paddle canoes in races.

“What paddling is doing for us is getting us stronger – obviously physically, but also mentally, spiritually and emotionally,” he said. “It’s just beautiful.”

Seymour said paddling comes naturally to him, with the tradition strong on both sides of his family.

He said his father, a Canadian Indian who was in his early 30s when he committed suicide, was a champion paddler.

“He was a phenomenal man, and I’d like to carry out his name and his spirit through paddling. . . . I feel like paddling is only one of the few things that I have left of him,” Seymour said.

Some of Seymour’s friends from Bellingham, who are also in the nation’s capital this week as part of various tribal youth events, said Seymour has come a long way.

“I’ve known Hammi my whole life – he’s our baby,” said Sarah Scott, 21, a mentor for the Lummi Nation’s tribal youth recreation program. “In the last year, he’s just blossomed into this natural leader on a national platform, and to me that is just so inspiring.”


William Lucero, 18, another member of the Lummi Nation, said it was remarkable to watch Seymour get a hug from the first lady.

“I was jealous,” he said. “It’s so cool.”

Seymour, who will be a junior at Mount Baker High School in Deming, Wash., this fall, said it was a “once-in-a-lifetime experience” to share the stage with Michelle Obama.

“I didn’t know she was that tall,” he said.

When an announcer called his name, saying it was time to introduce the first lady of the United States, Seymour said he temporarily lost his breath.

“I took one step and I felt all the oxygen just leave my body,” he said. “I got told to take three deep breaths. I did that, but my heart was pumping. It was just so great.”

Seymour figures his life is looking pretty bright, too.

“I can’t tell the future, but I’m really hoping, and I really feel like it’s going to be great,” he said.


Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2015/07/10/3910390_when-tragedy-struck-washington.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy

Troubling trends in depression and suicide among youth

Healthy Youth Survey shows many county students are at risk

Source: The Healthy Youth Survey
SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. – As students wrap up their school years and head into summer, new data shows that parents and community members should be aware of signs to look for if someone is in crisis and where to go for help. An increasing number of Snohomish County teens say they feel sad or hopeless, have thoughts of suicide, or have attempted suicide.
The latest release of the 2014 Healthy Youth Survey data focuses on issues surrounding mental well-being, social support and risks of unintentional injuries. All fourteen school districts in Snohomish County participated in the surveys distributed last October, adding up to 11,852 sixth, eighth, tenth, and twelfth graders whose answers shed some light around the health of our youth.
“Since the school year started in September, we have lost 13 students to suicide, ranging in age from 12 to 19 years old,” said Dr. Gary Goldbaum, health officer and director for the Snohomish Health District. “That sobering fact, combined with responses from the students, demonstrates a real need for this community to come together and show our youth that they matter.” 
The main takeaways for Snohomish County youth are:
·         More students say depression significantly affects their daily activities. Youth were asked if they have ever felt so sad or hopeless every day for more than two weeks in a row that they stopped usual activities. While 6th graders were not asked, 28.2 percent of 8th graders, 36.3 percent of 10th graders, and 35.8 percent of 12th graders said that applied to them within the past year.
·         Suicide planning and attempts continue to rise. There has been little to no improvement since 2008 in the number of youth who have seriously considered attempting suicide, have made a suicide plan, or who attempted suicide. Statistics for 6th graders have stayed relatively unchanged, with 15.9 percent saying they have seriously thought about it in 2008, compared to 16.2 percent in 2014. However, the numbers have increased by 3 to 4 percent in all other grades for the same time period. 
·         Sophomores at slightly higher risk. In 2014, 1 out of 10 sophomores admitted to attempting suicide, 21 percent had seriously considered suicide, and almost 18 percent had planned out how they might do so. This compares to 4.8 percent of 6thgraders, 8.8 percent of 8th graders, and 8.2 percent of seniors who had attempted suicide.
·         Youth are in need of adults they can turn to for help. Nearly 1 in 5 students report that they do not have a parent or trusted adult that they feel comfortable confiding in or asking for help from. Among high school students, about 80 percent of teens felt they could seek help from a parent, compared to 86 percent of 6th graders. Only 70 percent of 10th graders had an adult in their life, other than a parent, that they could turn to in a crisis.
“These results are quite distressing, but there are strategies to help our youth,” said Dr. Goldbaum. “Most important is getting young people to ask for help if they need it, and for the adults around them to be engaged, aware and listening. Our students need to know there is hope and something to look forward to. We all play a role in preventing suicide.”
If you or someone you know feels hopeless or contemplates suicide, there are numerous resources available in our community. Visit the Health District’s Youth Suicide Prevention page for a list of sites, phone numbers and apps available 24/7.
Suicide prevention—for both youth and adults—was one of the top three priority areas identified in the Community Health Improvement Plan. The plan lays out a number of objectives and strategies to be accomplished by the end of 2019. Individuals or groups interested in joining an action team working on one of the priorities, please contact us at 425.339.8650 or healthstats@snohd.org.
The Health District has prepared facts sheets on the depression and suicide data, as well as students’ unintentional injury risks. Each one features the most relevant questions and data for students in our county, as well as suggestions for what parents, schools, community groups, and government leaders can do moving forward. To view all of the fact sheets, visit www.snohd.org/Records-Reports/Data-Reports.  
The Healthy Youth Survey is completed every two years and asks a variety of questions about substance use, safety behaviors, diet, physical and mental well-being, and school atmosphere.
To learn more, visit www.askhys.net.

Living Wise and Living Strong

Wisdom Warriors perform their newly-learned chair walking exercise.Photo/Micheal Rios
Wisdom Warriors perform their newly-learned chair walking exercise.
Photo/Micheal Rios


By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News


Tribal elders from several different tribes have joined together to promote healthy lifestyles. These participants earned their medicine pouches and meet on a monthly basis, sometimes weekly, to maintain their goals and support each other with health goals to keep them living strong. Sponsored by Tulalip’s Diabetes Care and Prevention Program, this program and these tribal elders who make it possible are affectionately known as the Wisdom Warriors.

The Wisdom Warriors program was created as a means to successfully link Native American elders with services and information on aging in a healthy and positive way. This valuable program ensures services to elders with a focused outreach method that centers on using culturally appropriate materials and a culturally relevant approach to make services available and effective. The goal is to provide an ongoing, incentive driven program that provides elders with the education, the support and the tools to make healthy choices resulting in lifestyles that promote self-care and longevity.


Wisdom Warriors held their monthy provider class in Jennings Memorial Park, where they learned new exercises that promote healthy living. Photo/Micheal Rios
Wisdom Warriors held their monthy provider class in Jennings Memorial Park, where they learned new exercises that promote healthy living.
Photo/Micheal Rios


During the spectacularly warm and sunny afternoon of Tuesday, June 23, the Tulalip Wisdom Warriors held their monthly provider class at the demonstration gardens located within Jennings Memorial Park in Marysville. They were joined by the Tulalip Health Clinic’s very own Dr. Kimberly Kardonsky, clinical specialist in Family Medicine, who spent valuable time with the Wisdom Warriors to discuss and actually perform exercise.

The exercise discussion was all encompassing, covering topics from why people exercise, why people don’t exercise, countering excuses people come up with to not exercise, and learning chair exercises that anyone can do from home without needing any special equipment. Dr. Kardonsky and the Wisdom Warriors talked about what exercise looks like, what a pedometer is used for, and then discussed the many health benefits of proper exercise. Everyone agreed that exercise for elders is a mood booster, increases energy, decreases disability and hospitalizations, and overall increases health.

Following their discussion on exercise, Dr. Kardonsky led the Wisdom Warriors in several exercises that were performed while sitting in their chairs for a full minute at a time. Sit-down exercises included arm raises, chair walking and leg raises.

“Sometimes people tell me, ‘I don’t feel so steady on my feet’ or ‘I’m worried I’m going to fall’, so these are exercises you can do while sitting, while watching TV even,” says Dr. Kardonsky to the group of exercising Wisdom Warriors. “Some people think you can’t build up a sweat while sitting down, but yes you can. There are different kinds of exercises. There’s the cardio kinds that get your blood and heart pumping. There’s strength, where you build up muscle. And then there’s flexibility and balance, things like stretching or yoga or Tai Chi. All of those different kinds of exercising have a role and I think as long as you are getting some of each your overall health will greatly benefit.

“You can talk to a hundred different health care providers and you’ll probably get a hundred different ideas, but my thought is getting some exercise in every day or close to every day is really important. Even if you haven’t exercised in a long time it’s not too late to be physically active and you will benefit greatly from that. Whether it’s going for a walk with a friend where you can catch up or doing some bursts of exercise while you watching your favorite show or working in your garden…it’s all exercise that will promote a healthier lifestyle.”

After the series of sit-down exercises, the Wisdom Warriors replenished their bodies with a healthy and energy filled lunch consisting of an assortment of fruits, coleslaw and turkey and chicken sandwiches.

Every elder who becomes a participant in the Wisdom Warrior program is committed to living a healthier lifestyle. The number of participants continues to grow as more tribal elders come together to prioritize health and wellness.

You are invited to join Wisdom Warriors and start your path to better health, with the support of your community. Class locations can vary. Please call 360-716-5642 or go to the Tulalip Health Clinic for more information.


Contact Micheal Rios, mrios@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

The Power of Play



All children, regardless of age or ability, need time to play every day. Parents and caregivers should provide opportunities for play in a safe and age-appropriate environment.

Children are interested in learning about the world around them.  They can explore their world through play, practice new skills, and expand their imagination. Playing with your child is not only fun, but it’s one of the most important ways you can help nurture your child’s development.

To maximize the benefits of play, keep these things in mind:

Safety first: Make sure toys don’t have small parts that fit into your child’s mouth that could be a choking hazard.

Follow their lead: Watch your child and see what kind of activities interest them and do what they want. Let your child determine how and what to play.

Play with your child: You are their favorite toy! Get down on their level and let them crawl on you, or play blocks, do a puzzle or sing and dance.Repeat and Repeat again: Children love to do things with repetition. They may want to play with the same toy or activity again and again, and it’s beneficial because some children like the sense of knowing what to expect. It provides them a sense of security and control.

Songs and Rhymes: Children enjoy songs – especially those with hand motions. Words are easier to learn when they rhyme or are put to music. Encourage your child to sing with you.

Hands-On Learning: Using hands and fingers to push buttons or open boxes helps children learn about how the world works. Many children also like to paint with their fingers, use play dough and play with sand.

Involve friends: Having fun with peers is an important way for children to learn social skills like sharing, taking turns, and resolving conflicts. Invite friends to your home or meet at a park.


ChildStrive (formerly known as Little Red School House) has been partnering with Tulalip families for more than 30 years.  For more information about your child’s childhood development contact Courtney Miller at ChildStrive at (425) 353-5656 x7145 or Courtney.Miller@ChildStrive.org.  More information about ChildStrive can be found on our website at www.ChildStrive.org


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, mrios@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov