She Got Game: Women Tribal Members Featured in College Hoops Matchup

Tulalip tribal members Adiya Jones (left) and Kanoa Enick (right) are matched up for the first time as collegiate adversaries.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

They’ve grown up together on the Tulalip Reservation playing more games of rez ball than can be remembered. Years and years of dribbling, rebounding, and hearing the net swish has created countless memories on the hardwood, but an all-new memory was created for Tulalip tribal members Adiya Jones and Kanoa Enick when they matched up for the first time as collegiate adversaries.

In her second year playing for Skagit Valley Community College, Adiya has stepped up and taken the reigns as the team’s unquestioned leader. She is the primary playmaker on offense while also anchoring the team’s defense.

“Adiya is our best player and there’s a reason why. She has a high basketball I.Q., she’s so smooth with the ball, has a great shooting touch, and she’s a willing passer; making her a tremendous asset to our team,” beams Steve Epperson, Skagit’s Athletic Director and Women’s Basketball Coach. “Over the last few games she’s rebounded the heck out of the basketball as well.

“I’m really proud of her as a student, too, because she’s doing really well in school and making great progress towards her degree.”

Meanwhile, Kanoa recently decided to test her medal at Northwest Indian College (NWIC) by enrolling in Winter quarter. Her appetite for getting buckets still strong, she walked onto the women’s basketball team and is quickly showing promise.

“She adds another dimension to our team. Kanoa is a good hustle player, she’s very long and is able to contest shots on the perimeter,” states Matthew Santa Cruz, NWIC’s Women’s Basketball Coach. “She’s also able to take it to the hole, get fouled, and make her free-throws. That’s a real asset in this game.”

And so the stage was set for the two home-grown college athletes to face-off for the first-time ever.

The historical moment took place at the Lummi High School gym, the home court for NWIC, on Friday, December 5. Adiya shined while leading her team with 24-points, but it was Kanoa’s NWIC team taking the W in a 64-61 nail biter.

The following day, the two team’s played once again, this time in Mt. Vernon, giving Adiya’s Skagit squad the opportunity for payback. There were several Tulalip fans in the crowd who journeyed to watch the matchup. Skagit came away with a convincing 66-35 W the second time around, giving both Tulalip women a victory over the other.

Following their second matchup in as many days, Adiya and Kanoa reflected on this new experience.

“I was nervous and excited when I realized we were about to play against each other,” said Kanoa. “It doesn’t come off like we know each other on the court because we’re both so focused on the game. It was really cool to see Tulalips in the stands rooting for us.”

“It was definitely fun. It hit me when I was warming up for our first game; I was thinking ‘this is so weird I’m about to play Kanoa’,” smiled Adiya. “For the younger generation at home in Tulalip, I hope they see this and realize they can attend college and play ball, too. Get outside your comfort zone because, honestly, once you try it you’ll realize how exciting new opportunities are.”

New NWIC Manager brings fresh perspective and energy to Tulalip campus

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Photo courtesy of Colette Keith
Photo courtesy of Colette Keith

Northwest Indian College (NWIC) Tulalip campus has a new site manager, her name is Colette Keith. An enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of South Dakota, Colette left her position as an instructor and guidance counselor at Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College, located on tribal land in North Dakota, to relocate to the greater Seattle area and join the NWIC team.

Colette has a very unique professional background that has seen her successfully navigate University systems. She has worked for the University of Colorado (Denver), the University of North Dakota, the University of South Dakota and the University of Nebraska. Along with her experience working at a tribal college on a reservation, Colette’s higher education background makes for an ideal fit to manage the NWIC satellite campus located in Tulalip.

“I absolutely love the tribal college system,” confesses Colette. “When I found out about NWIC I was determined to become part of this college. It’s only been a few weeks, but I’m loving it here. Tribal colleges just have certain elements that reflect our indigenous lifestyles and make us feel safe and secure. Even though I’m far from my home reservation, working here on the Tulalip Reservation feels like I’m close to home.”

NWIC is part of the Tulalip community, as a college offering a variety of educational programs to meet academic, vocational and cultural needs. At Tulalip NWIC, students are encouraged to develop themselves, be proactive about their academic goal setting and achievement, and discover ways to contribute to their communities and families.

There are about sixty students currently enrolled at the Tulalip NWIC campus. Through partnerships and joint recruitments efforts with other education based programs Tulalip provides, Colette hopes to see the applicant and student enrollment numbers increase over the next several quarters.

“It’s really important that we network with all the community education stakeholders, from the Sylvan Learning Center to the Higher Education department and Teen Center staff to name a few,” says Colette on her immediate and long-term goals for expanding NWIC opportunities. “There are only two of us here, myself and Katie Lancaster-Jones, and for us to have a reach, to make some impact in this community, we need to network heavily with the education-oriented departments and programs.”

In addition to her responsibilities as the on-site manager, Colette plans on doubling as an NWIC instructor to impart knowledge she has collected from twenty years in University systems.

“I’ve taught for two years at my last tribal college and look forward to doing the same for NWIC,” affirms Colette. “Foundations in English will be the first course I oversee. It’s so vital for our tribal people to know how to write a proper paragraph and form their thoughts as clear sentences. The bridge is communication. We know that effective communication and transparent messages are so important for working in a professional setting, whether that’s on or off the reservation. After taking Foundations in English, students will be more confident in their writing and assured they are communicating effectively.”

Colette also plans on teaching a Public Speaking class after she is settled in. Motivating students and helping educate tribal communities is her passion and we look forward to NWIC benefiting from all she offers.

For more information about Tulalip NWIC or to set-up a meeting to discuss educational opportunities and degree programs, feel free to contact Colette directly at 360-594-4094 or by email

Northwest Indian College builds Lummi workforce, values tradition


BY TIM BALLEW II, Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald


For thousands of years, along the shorelines of the Salish Sea, the Lummi people have dug deep into the earth to harvest clams, oysters and mussels. We have set our reef nets between our canoes to catch salmon from the Salish Sea. For many of us, our most important education has been alongside our elders at the beach or on the water, learning firsthand by doing, and doing again, to understand the ways of our people and the history of our tribe.

But even as we hold fast to traditions, we’ve also embraced changing times, new technology and the advanced training that’s needed to support a productive shellfish harvest. What we’ve learned through the years is that a skilled workforce — and a bountiful harvest — are possible if we make the right investments in training and education.

In 1973, our tribe established the Lummi School of Aquaculture as a way to train a new generation of native technicians to staff the growing number of Indian-owned fish and shellfish hatcheries in the U.S. and Canada. From this single-purpose school, a foundation was built for what later became the Lummi Community College that gave Pacific Northwest natives the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree. In 1989, in recognition of the changing and growing needs of students, the community college became Northwest Indian College.

Today, the four-year college provides a high-quality post-secondary education for 1,064 students at our main campus on the Lummi reservation, plus six satellite campuses in Washington and Idaho. We offer bachelor and associate degrees, plus certificate programs in areas that include environmental science, tribal governance, native studies, hospitality and construction.

At the heart of the Northwest Indian College is the understanding that as native people, we must provide for all levels of learning within our own community. According to the American Indian College Fund, fewer than 13 percent of American Indian and Alaska native students earn a college degree, compared to 28 percent of other racial groups. The reasons for this are complex, ranging from poverty and low rates of high school graduation, to students’ perceptions that college is out of reach academically, too far from home, or not aligned with their values and culture. One answer to this challenge is to provide an education for native students on the reservation, where they can have the support of their community and the comforts of home.

At Lummi Nation, we know we have a responsibility to build our workforce and provide an education that is steeped in the values of our traditions and history. As a member of the larger community of Whatcom County and the Pacific Northwest, we’re also pleased to provide a degree to all students, regardless of whether they’re tribal members. We’ve done this, in part, by partnering with Western Washington University and Washington State University to provide an even broader learning experience for our students.

Our strong focus on education is why we’ve been able to grow a small school for hatchery technicians into a college that serves more than 1,000 people looking to further their education and careers. I would love to see the day when the college becomes Salish Sea University, flying a flag printed with the Lummi-invented reef net, where students from across the nation and world come to learn.

Read more here:


NWIC Poetry students showcase work at Hibulb Cultural Center poetry series

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

NWIC student Ed Hill recites his poetry during the Hibulb Cultural Center's December poetry series. Students penned poems during a NWIC poetry class and recited for the first time to the public for the first time. Photo/ Bob Mitchell
NWIC student Ed Hill recites his poetry during the Hibulb Cultural Center’s December poetry series. Students penned poems during a NWIC poetry class and recited for the first time to the public for the first time.
Photo/ Bob Mitchell

Students in a Northwest Indian College poetry class had a chance to showcase their creative prowess during December’s Hibulb Cultural Center’s poetry series. The class, composed of novice and beginner poets, presented a collection of work created during the course to the public for the first time.

Professor Lynda Jensen, who teaches the class, is an avid writer and poet herself, encouraging students to create poetry with depth and emotional response.

“One of the exercises that we did in class was to make a list of 35 words we like. We would pass the list to someone else, and that person’s job was to turn the list into a poem,” said Jensen.  A poem by student Talon Arbuckle using the list of 35 words technique was performed during the event.

“I asked the students to give me a list of 35 words that they associate with themselves, with their personal identity. From these lists, I made a poem for each student. I read these poems to them at the event. That was one of my favorite parts of the evening, extolling and featuring them within poetry,” Jensen.

Students Ed Hill and Crystal Meachem, both newcomers to poetry, found inspiration in the structure of poetry. Hill’s poems focus on his connection to nature, and discovered poetry to be an inviting and inspiring form of communication. Meachem, who did not enjoy poetry at the start of the class, explored different forms of poetry to learn the deeper meanings embedded in style and word choice.

“As an enthusiastic optimist, Crystal enjoys the word search when creating something sublime. She said that when she writes poems, she lets the words flow out. Then she re-reads to see if it is sublime yet. If it isn’t she sits there, frustrated and confused, until she finds the right words to make the poem work perfectly,” said Jensen.

Novice writers Bobbi Jones and Marci Fryberg use poetry regularly as a way of self-expression. Jensen describes Frberg’s use of poetry as, “strong, inviting and eschew the exclusivity that poetry so often inflicts on readers. Her meanings are clear and her metaphors recognizable. A quiet and private person, Bobbi was uncertain about performing her poetry in public. She gave me permission to read two of her poems. After I finished reading her poem “Howling,” an appreciative hush fell over the room. Bobbi writes powerful personal poetry,” explained Jensen.

Other students use poetry as a mean of healing. Student Katie Longstreet used the skills she learned in class to write poetry as a way to process difficult emotions, drawing inspiration from strength and courage. She shared several poems that focus on the isolation individuals who endure trauma experience.

While poetry for many of the students became a way to communicate emotions and thoughts that could not be described otherwise, student Talon Arbuckle found a comedic undertone while developing his poetry.

“Talon discovered his interest in poetry on the first day of class. He shared several poems that he wrote, including one that was a response to an assignment that students write a poem as if they were someone else. Talon decided to write a poem as if he were Mike Tyson. He used only published quotes from Tyson. The poem was powerful and very well received,” said Jensen.

“The evening was full of emotion, support, beauty and laughter. It was the perfect capstone for our course,” Jensen said. “We are grateful to the Hibulb Cultural Center for hosting the event. We plan to create a chapbook with the poems we performed that night. We will make these available to the community when they are complete.”

The Hibulb Cultural Center hosts a monthly poetry series featuring local artists. For more information on the poetry series, please visit the Hibulb’s website at

For more information on Northwest Indian College’s poetry classes, please visit their website at


Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402;

Lushootseed 101 offered at Northwest Indian College

Lushootseed 101 offered at Northwest Indian College through Winter, January 7 through March 27.

Classes are Monday-Thursday (with an online lesson on Fridays) at the Tulalip Administration Building Room 263 – 3:30-4:20

This is a great opportunity for anyone working with our youth to become familiar with the language and help expose our youth to the hearing it spoken within the community!


NWIC Winter Quarter Flyer

Students’ work featured at Longhouse Gallery

Northwest Indian College Tulalip campus student Monica McAlister discusses her glass mosaic piece featuring a fused glass hummingbird to Northwest Indian College Art Classes exhibit guests. The exhibit is available until August at the Peninsula College's Lonhouse Art Gallery.Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News
Northwest Indian College Tulalip campus student Monica McAlister discusses her glass mosaic piece featuring a fused glass hummingbird to Northwest Indian College Art Classes exhibit guests. The exhibit is available until August at the Peninsula College’s Lonhouse Art Gallery.
Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

PORT ANGELES – Student artwork from the Northwest Indian College Tulalip Campus traveled 96 miles to the Longhouse Art Gallery at Peninsula College for a first-time exhibit. Northwest Indian College Art Classes is a compilation of the work of a dozen students and art instructor Bob Mitchell, which features art produced during NWIC’s winter quarter.

Pieces included glass mosaics, basketry, beading, and handmade jewelry using various art mediums. The exhibit’s centerpiece is a large story pole made with fused glass, featuring students’ Native American culture using animal designs.

On June 5, the Peninsula College held a VIP opening, welcoming local guests and students.

“The class has really expanded,” said Bob Mitchell, who began teaching art at the Tulalip campus five years ago. “We are doing glass fusing and jewelry. I can look over in class and see basket weaving and

Northwest Indian College Art Classes exhibit shown at Peninsula College's Longhouse Art Gallery features a large fused glass story pole. Each panel was designed by NWIC student and reflects the Native American culture of each student. Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News
Northwest Indian College Art Classes exhibit shown at Peninsula College’s Longhouse Art Gallery features a large fused glass story pole. Each panel was designed by NWIC student and reflects the Native American culture of each student.
Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

people passing on those skills to other people. The class is pretty student directed and the story pole is a good example of that. I came in with the idea and the frame, and we started thinking about how we could incorporate it into class. We gave everybody a panel and decided to do a theme and let everybody interpret it based on their culture. The student directive was they wanted to use traditional colors red, black, yellow, and white. We fused it and we finished with mosaic triangles that are a representation of bear claws from Tulalip.”

The story pole’s success means that future classes will be designing their own story poles. “The students bring a lot to the class with their skills. I feel very honored a lot of the time being in the class working alongside them. We need to show off what they are doing, so this is pretty impressive,” explained Mitchell.

Current NWIC Tulalip campus student Monica McAlister, whose work in the exhibit includes basketry and glass mosaics, said working on the exhibit and class project helped to keep her connected to her Yurok culture.

“Being at NWIC is like a home away from home. It connects you to culture and with people that support you. It is really uplifting to be able to get that sense of community, which for me was lacking for a long time because I am not from here. I took Bob’s class in 2012 and I fell in love with glass art. Art is such a big part of my life now and it makes me happy, and this all started because of NWIC.”

The Peninsula College Longhouse Art Gallery will be showing the original artwork of Bob Mitchell and students from NWIC now through August. The exhibit features NWIC Tulalip campus students Monica McAlister, Louis Michell, Denise Michell, Ed Hill, Shirley Jack, Alicia Horne, Sarah Andres, Teesha Osias, Annette Napeahi, Raven Hunter, Tatiana Crawford, Mark Hansen, and John Martin.

For more information on the exhibit please visit


Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402;


9th Annual Vine Deloria, Jr. Indigenous Studies Symposium

Event Date:  July 10, 2014 – 8:00am – July 12, 2014 – 2:00pm

Since 2006, Northwest Indian College (NWIC) has honored the life and work of one of Indian Country’s most recognized and respected leaders by hosting the Annual Vine Deloria, Jr. Indigenous Studies Symposium.


In his lifetime Deloria, a Sioux scholar, was an advocate for tribal sovereignty, Executive Director for the National Congress of American Indians, a professor, an activist for social justice, a critic of western science and society, a champion of Indigenous values, and wrote nearly 25 books and 200 published articles.

The purpose of the symposium is celebrate and continue Deloria’s work by bringing together Native and non-native scholars, tribal elders, traditionalists, and others who are interested in honoring the causes Deloria devoted his life to, and building upon the foundation he and others helped build.

The symposium is organized as a series of intellectually driven panels – no workshop-type presentations. Individual presentations may be formal or informal, but in keeping with the spirit of Deloria, there will be no PowerPoint or other electronic presentations.

Bobby Bridger will be delivering the Vine Deloria, Jr. address at the 9th annual symposium. Past keynote speakers have included Billy Frank, Jr., Hank Adams, Oren Lyons, Suzan Shown Harjo, Tom Holms, and Hennrietta Mann.

Registration costs $150, which will cover continental breakfasts and lunches each day of the event and a celebratory salmon dinner.

Hotels fill up fast during the summer, so book your reservation soon. Small blocks have been reserved for symposium attendees at the Silver Reef Casino (five minutes from NWIC’s campus) and the Hampton Inn (ten minutes away). The Silver Reef can be reached at (360) 383-0777 and the Hampton Inn at (360) 676-7700. To receive a special rate, be sure to say you are with the Vine Deloria Symposium when you book.

For more information or to register, contact Angel Jefferson at (360) 392-4287 or

American Indian College Fund President Has Lifetime of Preparation for Challenges

December 1, 2013
By Helen Hu

Days before the government shutdown ended in October, Cheryl Crazy Bull calmly recounted some of the steps already taken by tribal colleges to cope with funding cuts.

“Over the years, they’ve never had enough [resources],” says Crazy Bull, who became president of the American Indian College Fund last year. “They operate with frugality and worst-case-scenario behavior.”

Cheryl Crazy Bull was president of Northwest Indian College near Bellingham, Wash., for nearly 10 years before joining the American Indian College Fund.
Cheryl Crazy Bull was president of Northwest Indian College near Bellingham, Wash., for nearly 10 years before joining the American Indian College Fund.

Crazy Bull knows this firsthand. She was president of Northwest Indian College near Bellingham, Wash., for nearly 10 years before joining the college fund.

“I remember as college president literally looking at cash flow every day to see what bills we could pay,” she recalls.

Crazy Bull, 58, who takes to heart her Lakota name, which means “They depend on her,” brings to her latest job persistence, business know-how, passion for the tribal college’s mission, and a willingness to take on unfamiliar challenges.

Growing up on the Rosebud reservation in South Dakota, Crazy Bull was one of five children. Her parents ran a grocery store until her father joined the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Her parents, whom she describes as “well-educated public servants,” stressed education. But it took Crazy Bull a couple of tries to get on the right track.

She first enrolled at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. — and left after one quarter. Academics weren’t a problem, but she had a sheltered life and the social scene was a “huge shock,” Crazy Bull says.

She transferred twice — to Northern State University in Aberdeen, S.D., then finally settling in at the University of South Dakota, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business management. She later earned a master’s degree in education administration from South Dakota State University.

After graduating, Crazy Bull taught business and Native studies and held administrative positions at Sinte Gleska University, the tribal college that serves Rosebud. After 15 years at the school, she left to oversee an agency that assisted local home-based businesses, including auto mechanics, quilting and food catering.

At this point, Crazy Bull was the single parent of three children and did some consulting on the side to help support her family.

Crazy Bull then became the equivalent of a superintendent at St. Francis Indian School, which enrolled Rosebud children in kindergarten through 12th grade.

After nearly five years at the school, Crazy Bull moved to the northwest to be near her daughter and take a post that she had always wanted — president of a tribal college.

While at Northwest Indian College, she resolved issues with financing and accreditation before taking the school from a two-year to a four-year institution, something she said the community wanted badly. The college had to identify and recruit students who wanted to get their bachelor’s degrees, ensure the facility had the requisite advanced degrees, and build its curriculum and facilities. Much of the campus was rebuilt.

Crazy Bull was new to many of the tasks.

“I find myself in situations where I don’t know anything, but something needs to be done,” she says.

Sharon Kinley, director of the college’s Coast Salish Institute, which Crazy Bull established, says she brought a good mix to the school. “[Crazy Bull] is a visionary, but not just that, she has the practical, deliberate background with which visions become real,” says Kinley.

After almost 10 years at Northwest, Crazy Bull felt she should move on. She was appointed president of the American Indian College Fund, based in Denver, after her predecessor retired.

Crazy Bull’s accomplishments at Northwest helped her get the job, says Dr. Elmer Guy, chairman of the College Fund’s board of trustees.

But Crazy Bull has more mountains to climb in heading an organization that gives financial support to the nation’s 37 tribal colleges and to students who come from more than 250 tribes around the country.

The college fund is pushing for legislation to fully fund the schools, which are authorized to receive $8,000 per student per year but get more like $5,500.

Next year, to mark its 25th anniversary, the college fund will mount a $25 million fundraising campaign that Crazy Bull wants to follow with a bigger campaign for scholarships and endowments.

When she is not working on behalf of the college fund, Crazy Bull makes quilts as gifts and for traditional ceremonies. She also writes poems, stories and essays and is currently writing her memoirs.