Governor Jay Inslee signs landmark bills, honors John McCoy

By Wade Sheldon, Tulalip News

A momentous day unfolded for the people of Tulalip and all Indigenous communities in Washington State as Governor Jay Inslee visited the Tulalip Resort Casino on March 19 to sign several new house bills. These bills not only enhance the recognition and education of the Native community but also allocate additional resources and aid to assist tribal communities grappling with the drug epidemic.

The occasion wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for one of Tulalip’s greatest champions of the people, the late John McCoy (lulilas). John loved his people and his country, and because of this, he served 20 years in the Air Force, became a computer programmer, and worked in U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s situation room in the white house. In 2002, he ran for Washington State Senate and won. There, he served ten years in the Washington House of Representatives after being appointed to the State Senate, representing the 38th Legislative District.  

One highlighted bill was No. 1879, Since Time Immemorial Curriculum, a testament to John’s dedication. This meticulously developed curriculum aims to teach about the Indigenous tribes of Washington State accurately. It marks the first instance of the Legislature incorporating Lushootseed language into State law. The bill explicitly acknowledges John McCoy’s tireless and visionary efforts in supporting student and educator learning about the history, culture, and government of federally recognized Indian tribes in the Pacific Northwest.

In 2005, John sponsored Substitute House Bill No. 1495 to compile comprehensive information on tribal history, culture, and government statewide. This initiative sought to integrate these vital aspects into the social studies curriculum, particularly in courses covering the history of Washington and the United States. Due to McCoy’s diligent efforts, the Legislature will pay tribute to him by naming the curriculum the John McCoy (lulilas) Since Time Immemorial Curriculum.

“In Washington D.C, he broke down barriers, built bridges, and educated tribals and non-tribals alike about the challenges faced in Indian Country,” said Tulalip Tribes Chairwoman Teri Gobin. “He had national recognition for being an innovative and visionary leader and bringing the Legislature forward not only for the tribe but also for the state of Washington and all of Indian Country. Our children are benefiting from what he has fought to bring to this State.”

“John sponsored the foundational Legislation that led to the teaching of the curriculum on tribal history, government, and culture in our schools,” Governor Jay Inslee said. “This is also the first time the Legislature will incorporate the Lushootseed language into law in the history of the State of Washington.”

“My dad fought for everyone, not just the people in Washington State but for all Indian Country,” John McCoy’s daughter Sheila Hillarie said. “He worked that bill to help his grandchildren. There were mostly plains Indians, and that was talked about in school when I was growing up. There was nothing about the coastal Natives. So, I feel that this Bill John McCoy (lulilas) Since Time Immemorial Curriculum will help educate the people on the culture and knowledge of tribes.” 

The legacy of John McCoy is a beacon of advocacy and progress for the Tulalip community and all Indigenous peoples across Washington State. His tireless dedication to education, culture, and tribal sovereignty has left an indelible mark on Legislation and learning. As we move forward, let us continue to honor his memory by embracing the rich heritage and wisdom of our native communities, ensuring a brighter future for generations to come.


  • House Bill No. 1879 – Relating to naming the curriculum used to inform students about tribal history, culture, and government after John McCoy (Lulilas). Primary Sponsor: Rep. Lekanoff
  • Third Substitute House Bill No. 1228 – Relating to building a multilingual, multiliterate Washington through dual and tribal language education. Primary Sponsor: Rep. Ortiz-Self
  • Engrossed Substitute House Bill No. 2019 – Relating to establishing a Native American apprentice assistance program. Primary Sponsor: Rep Steams
  • Substitute House Bill No. 2075 – Relating to licensing of Indian health care providers as establishments Primary Sponsor: Rep. Lekanoff
  • Substitute House Bill No. 2335 – Relating to state-tribal education compacts. Primary Sponsor: Rep. Santos
  • Substitute Senate Bill No. 6146 – Relating to tribal warrants. Primary Sponsor: Rep. Dhingra
  • Substitute Senate Bill No. 6186 – Relating to Disclosure of recipient information to the Washington state patrol for purposes of locating missing and murdered indigenous women and other missing and murdered indigenous persons. Primary Sponsor: Rep. Kauffman
  • Second Substitute House Bill No. 1877 – Relating to improving the Washington state behavioral health system for better coordination and recognition with the Indian behavioral health system. Primary Sponsor: Rep. Lekanoff
  • Substitute Senate Bill No. 6099 – Relating to creating tribal opioid prevention and treatment account. Primary Sponsor: Sen Dhingra

Acknowledgement, spoken into existence

By Micheal Rios

We acknowledge the original inhabitants of this place, the sduhubš, and their successors, the Tulalip Tribes. Since time immemorial, they have hunted, fished, gathered on, and taken care of these lands and waters. We respect their sovereignty, their right to self-determination and honor their sacred spiritual connection with these lands and waters. We will strive to be honest about our past mistakes and bring forth a future that includes their people, stories, and voices to form a more just and equitable society.

Those words are read aloud to begin Everett City Council meetings. Those words are the city’s official land acknowledgement. Those words were approved in 2021 after being developed by the Everett Diversity Advisory Board in partnership with the Tulalip Tribes. 

Now, those words have spoken into existence the permanent installation of Coast Salish imagery to adorn the outside of the Everett Municipal Building. Serving as a constant fixture to all those who pass by or enter the city’s primary office building that you are on Native land. 

“Our city lies on the historic land of the sduhubš people and their successors, the Tulalip Tribes, and as such, I believe it’s essential for us to pay respect to the original inhabitants of these lands,” said Cassie Franklin, Mayor of the City of Everett. “I’m proud to have James Madison create such a beautiful and impactful piece of art to honor Indigenous peoples and our ongoing commitment to acknowledge their connection to these lands.

“Previously, this building had no color nor any beauty to it, but now it has gorgeous reds and yellows that really bring the building to life, and is sure to catch the eye of our city’s residents and tourists when in the area,” she added.

Tulalip’s neighboring city to the south, Everett, is the seventh-largest city in all of Washington State by population, and it’s by far the largest city in Snohomish County. Established in 1890, the city of Everett is situated on a peninsula. Its city boundaries are designated by the Snohomish River to the east and the Salish Sea to the west.

In precolonial times, long before imaginary map borders, the land Everett was built upon was home to our Tulalip ancestors. As a sustenance-based people who thrived with the many offerings of the natural environment, they flourished in the ideal fishing and hunting location.

Tulalip culture bearer Tony Hatch offered further historical insight when speaking at the installations unveiling on February 22 to those in attendance. “Not too far from this very spot was a traditional village of our ancestors that we named our cultural center after, Hibulb. It’s precise location is what’s now known as Legion park. Hibulb was a central hub and primary village of the Snohomish people who we do our best to honor today.”

Following Tony’s words, a group of Tulalip citizens offered a traditional song to those Everett residents and city officials who gathered on the picturesque winter day. Those gathered were also treated to a taste of Tulalip fine dining in the form of Ryan’s REZ-ipes.

The enormous, metal fabricated art installation consists of bold red, striking yellow, and stout black colors is impossible to miss for pedestrians and commuters alike. But forged into the durable aluminum and medicine wheel colored pallet is a traditional teaching that has been passed down for generations.

“With this project, I wanted to pay respect to our culture as this region’s first people,” explained Tulalip’s own James Madison. “I tried to showcase our culture and who our people are, while paying respect to the Salish Sea through the blackfish, salmon, and our stories that have been passed on for generations.

“The salmon run that wraps around the building represents Sockeye,” he continued. “They used to be so abundant in our local waters, but now their runs are really short and even desolate in some places. It’s important that we continue to raise awareness of the dwindling salmon runs because their well-being is interconnected with the well-being of both blackfish and human populations. My grandpa, Frank Madison, always told me that it’s up to us to keep the blackfish and salmon alive because if they go away, then humans will go away as well.”

At the heart of this latest collaboration between a Washington State municipality and one of our talented artists is a respect for a cultural heritage that pre-dates the urban landscapes that have taken over Coast Salish territory. As the physical manifestation of a land acknowledgement and traditional teaching, James Madison’s latest creation serves as a reminder to respect the environment, engage in sustainable practices, and respect the Indigenous peoples who have called this land home since time immemorial.

Awakening the Language pt. II: Lushootseed Dept introduces new words for three-phrase challenge

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

“This is who we are and where we come from. Lushootseed is part of our culture, and we should be able to embrace it and share it with everyone,” expressed Lushootseed Language Warrior Michelle Myles. “It’s awakening the language. This initiative is keeping it awake, spreading it, and sharing it with everyone.”

Last September, the Tulalip Lushootseed language department embarked on an initiative that challenged the community to incorporate three words into their everyday vernacular: ʔi čəxʷ, t’igʷicid, and huyʔ, which translates to hello, thank you, and goodbye in English. 

For decades, the language department has done amazing work at both recovering the traditional sduhubš language and sharing that knowledge with the tribal community. With established partnerships with the Betty J. Early Learning Academy and the Marysville School District, the language department introduces Lushootseed to their membership at a young age, setting a strong foundation to build upon. As students progress through their academic career, Lushootseed courses are readily available, from pre-k all the way through college, for those who wish to sharpen their traditional linguistics and be a part of the language revitalization movement happening at Tulalip.

In the past, the department has come up with some impressive and innovative ideas to help spread the language community-wide. For example, the department regularly holds classes for the adults of the community and employees of the Tribe. They also host storytelling get-togethers aimed at getting the entire family unit speaking Lushootseed with each other. And on top of all of that, they developed an interactive, informative, and easy to navigate database that is jampacked with Lushootseed knowledge including the visual and audio pronunciations of hundreds of words and phrases.

What was nearly lost to assimilation efforts in the 1900’s is flourishing in 2024 thanks to the dedication and love that each Lushootseed warrior has for their ancestral language. Thanks to their hard work, it is nearly as common to hear a toddler speaking Lushootseed phrases as it is to hear a Tulalip elder speaking the same language. 

That being said, there are still numerous tribal members who are not quite as acquainted with the language as they’d like to be. There are several non-Natives, or other tribal members, throughout the reservation who would like to learn and utilize the language of the sduhubš as a sign of respect to the original inhabitants of this region. 

This initiative is the perfect place to start for newbies to the language. The idea is that by replacing three English words with their Lushootseed counterparts during your everyday conversations, you are more likely to grasp the meaning and pronunciation of the word. You’ll be all the more encouraged to use the phrases throughout your day; and every time you speak the language, you share it and inspire others to participate in the initiative. 

Known both as the Awakening the Language initiative or the three-phrase challenge, the project introduces three words and/or phrases to the community at a time. Throughout the fall and early winter season, the people became familiar with ʔi čəxʷ, t’igʷicid, and huyʔ. Many incorporated the phrases into their e-mails and professional interactions as soon as the initiative was announced. 

To keep the project fresh in everybody’s minds, the language department posted yard signs throughout the reservation, in highly visible areas, that displayed the Lushootseed words for hello, thank you, and goodbye. At the bottom of each yard sign were QR codes that the passengers of moving vehicles or those out for a walk could capture with their phone cameras. The QR code led them to the Tulalip Lushootseed website where they could learn more about the initiative and hear the pronunciation of each word. The signs did exactly what they were intended to – get the people talking. 

After the community spent close to four months with those initial phrases, the Lushootseed department introduced three new words to the people earlier this month. And if it ain’t broke, no need to fix it! The department is taking the same approach that was successful last fall. New signs are already posted all across the village in various neighborhoods and along high-traffic roadways. The new words areare ʔi (yes), xʷiʔ (no), and haʔɬ dadatu (good morning).

Brian Berry, the language department’s video producer/director, was instrumental in this getting this project started. He shared, “These are three things that everyone can say. It actually started here at the Lushootseed department. There are some signs here in the building that say, ‘English words we’re not going to use anymore’. That kind of got my brain spinning that we, as employees and tribal members, should replace these three phrases, using the Lushootseed ones instead of the English ones – just trying to get everyone to speak the language.”

This go-round we get a bonus word as red octagon signs, with the word gʷəƛ̕əlad, have been placed underneath stop signs all around Tulalip as well. Given it’s placement and shape, one could easily surmise they are Lushootseed stop signs, which is incredibly creative and entices people to learn the Lushootseed pronunciation of the word stop as soon as possible. And like the signs from the three-phrase challenge, the gʷəƛ̕əlad sign also has a QR code that people can follow to hear that pronunciation. 

As soon as the signs were posted, we shared an image of a gʷəƛ̕əlad sign to our Tulalip News Facebook which was met with great reception and many praised Tulalip for preserving their language and making it accessible to their people. 

Said Michelle, “This was something fresh we could work on to get the community speaking the language. We were looking for ways to get the language out there to share it, where it’s not in the classroom, not with a teacher, and it’s something you could use with family members and share it in that way.”

For more information about the initiative, the three phrases and how you can help spread the ancestral word, please visit

MAPping an alternative journey: New Mental Health Alternatives Program celebrates first graduate

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

November 9 was a historic day for Tulalip’s court system. We will have more on this big news in a few paragraphs, but first we want to introduce you to the court’s new alternative program that was implemented in October of 2022, which aims to assist tribal members involved with the courts and are in need of mental health care. 

The Mental Health Alternatives Program (MAP) is designed to reduce recidivism in misdemeanor cases by providing those who qualify with a detailed 12-month plan that includes mental health treatment, community give back hours, as well as frequent court appearances, peer support group participation and phone check-ins. 

According to the program’s literature, “MAP is a problem-solving approach to pending non-felony criminal cases, designed to hold offenders accountable and address underlying issues. The participants are connected to services that already exist in our community with the ultimate goal of keeping them from future criminal conduct. Participants have the opportunity to obtain services to address particular issues that may have contributed to criminal conduct, assisting them to achieve long term stability, become law-abiding citizens, and become successful family/community members.”

The program is a joint partnership between three parties, the tribal court system of course, and also Tulalip Family Services which is where the participants go for both their mental health assessments and treatment throughout the duration of the program. The third party is a local manufacturing company called Bridgeways, a social enterprise that is dedicated to assisting people living with mental illnesses whether it’s in regard to gaining or maintaining employment, housing support, or through their therapeutic courts program. 

Bridgeways previously established two MAP programs at the Marysville and Everett municipal courts. And when the Tulalip court reached out to them about bringing a mental health focused program to the reservation, they were happy to lend their expertise. Now, with a trifecta of MAPs located in the heart of the Snohomish County region, Bridgeways is actively addressing an issue that may be the root of many reoffenders’ criminal behavior. 

Moreover, they are doing this work in a highly effective manner that is concurrent to their mission statement of ‘providing services that promote quality of life for individuals living with a mental health concern in a manner that facilitates growth, independence, and a sense of community.’ In fact, according to the Bridgeways website, and with data collected by their judges, 93% of their graduates have experienced a reduction of recidivism. 

Cathy Wheatcroft, Bridgeways Therapeutic Courts Program Manager, spoke about their partnership with the tribe, “Over a year and a half ago, Brian Kilgore, one of the prosecutors here, reached out to Bridgeways because we have Mental Health Alternatives Program courts in Marysville in Everett. And we’ve been doing MAP in those two courts – in Everett since 2014, and in Marysville since 2018. 

“A few similarities – they all have three phases and are designed to be about a year long. It’s always the same core team, not from court to court, but it is always the same defense attorney, same prosecutor, same judge. And our liaison Jessica Barker also [works closely with participants] so they know the participants pretty well, it’s not like new people always coming in and out. And all three have the peer support group that they are required to participate in. Some differences are Tulalip holds court weekly and Everett and Marysville hold court every other week. Tulalip also does random UAs, which I feel holds the participants more accountable. But we all do this to help people and to see all their successes, they’re doing the work and I get to witness it and I think that’s amazing.”

Bridgeways’ successful program served as the framework to Tulalip’s MAP program. Drawing inspiration from the Tulalip Healing to Wellness and Family Wellness Court programs, MAP also has a certain requirement of giveback hours where the participants must volunteer some of their time to working local events and gatherings. Community giveback hours has helped numerous people get reacclimated into the tribal community and reacquainted with the people over the years. 

With the MAP team supporting them along their 12-month journey, the participants set and define their life goals and immediately start working toward achieving them while in the program. Split into three, 4-month phases, the participants begin phase one with weekly court hearings, in phase two they attended bi-weekly court sessions, and in the final phase they meet with the judge on a monthly basis. If the participants follow their personalized plans that they put together with the MAP team, and remain in compliance each visit to the courthouse, they get to pick an item from a large basket of incentives to bring home. However, if they fall out of compliance, there are some sanctions that could range from an essay assigned by the judge to the termination from the program altogether. 

“MAP is specifically designed to help people who have special mental health needs,” explained Judge Joshua Heath. “As a part of the program, they have to take their meds, if they’re supposed to be taking medication. They have to go to their mental health appointments. If they’ve got a cooccurring substance abuse disorder, we’ll help with that also. The Mental Health Alternatives Program is less punitive, probably the least punitive out of our programs because we’re just trying to understand where people are coming from. And we want them to be able to live a lifestyle that’s crime-free. Ultimately, that’s the goal of the Mental Health Alternatives Program is to live a crime free lifestyle. We want to give them whatever the help it is that they need, whether it’s getting a job or finding certain kinds of skills, even life skills, how to do basic things around the house – laundry and cooking, and so on. We want people to be able to graduate from a program and be able to be successful.”

Now that you have an understanding about the MAP court program, we can get back to the headlining news. But first, we’d be remiss to mention that this is the only tribal court Mental Health Alternatives Program to ever exist, so far at least, throughout all of Native America. Alright, so with that being said, it’s time for the big news: this November, Tulalip tribal member Jason Joseph became the very first graduate of a tribal MAP court program in all of history!

After confirming that he remained compliant through the last leg of the program, Judge Heath handed Jason a certificate of completion before he wrapped him in an Eighth Generation blanket and embraced him in a hug. Jason wore a smile as he was cheered on by a packed courthouse. Tears filled his eyes as his parent’s beamed with pride and his mom graciously thanked the MAP team for assisting in her son’s life transformation. 

This was a momentous occasion for Jason, his family, the Tulalip MAP court program and its entire team, as it opens up a much-needed discussion about mental health within tribal nations. It also provides a new approach to addressing those mental health issues that many of our people are suffering from and have inherited from previous generations of trauma. Jason is the proof that cycles can be broken and that with the proper guidance and assistance, people living with a mental illness can turn their lives around and get set back on track in their own personal journey. 

Several tribal members opted into the program prior to Jason’s ceremony, and a handful of individuals who were already in the program shared their progress. Jason’s accomplishment was equally important for them to witness because they were able to see that the program does indeed work, and hopefully they were able to envision themselves in Jason’s moccs, receiving a certificate of their own in about a year or so. 

Jason shared, “It feels like it was a long time coming. It was like a yearlong process, but it was worthwhile. I learned a lot about myself and about people with mental health issues – what we need to do to get through the day, to get through life. This is important because tribal members with mental health issues have their own place to go to court now, and they can be represented openly and clearly in the right way.”

For additional details about the program, please contact the Tulalip tribal court system or MAP court liaison Jessica Barker. The following information was provided by the Tulalip Mental Health Alternatives Program: 

Mental Health Alternatives Program 


  • Only misdemeanor charges can be referred to MAP. Charges not eligible: DUI, sexual offense, serious violent offense, offense which defendant used a firearm 
  • Participant must be amenable to mental health and/or chemical dependency treatment as appropriate 
  • Participant must not have been deemed incompetent to assist in their own defense and must not pose a risk to the MAP team 
  • Willing to sign agreement to follow program requirements 

How to Refer:

Contact: MAP court liaison Jessica Barker 

  • Email: or 
  • Phone: 360-716-4718
  • Cell: 425-499-8051 

Contact: Wellness Court Manager 

  • Email: 
  • Phone: 360-716-4764 

Call of the Trumpeter: How a tribal veteran provides good, healing medicine to the community through Taps

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

There is a special moment that happens as Tulalip families say their goodbyes to their loved ones who served in the military. This moment is held as one of the highest honors that service men and women can receive when they are laid to rest. It’s both beautiful and bittersweet, and it’s the perfect way to send off tribal veterans to their next journey. Once a year, on the cusp of summer, all the families of those veterans who passed, including their brothers and sisters in arms, gather at the gravesites and once again recreate that moment of solace and honor to pay tribute to all of Tulalip’s fallen soldiers. 

  Tulalip tribal member and Marine veteran, David ‘Chip’ Fryberg Jr., plays a significant role in providing that moment of closure for families at the funerals for tribal veterans, and also at the tribe’s Memorial Day services. When the order is given, seven rifles, an eagle head staff, as well as the POW, Tulalip Tribes, Tulalip veterans, and the US flags are raised in the air for the 21-gun salute. At the same moment, Chip raises his brass horn up into the air, consisting of three valves and as shiny as ever. And as the second shot rings through the air, he begins to play Taps on the trumpet. 

“I really love what our Honor Guard does, and I enjoy being a part of the tribute,” Chip stated. “The firing – bangs, the pops, and the smoke, it’s a great feeling and I feel it’s a good thing to do for the community, for Memorial Day. I went into the Marines in 1982 and got out in ’89. When I came home to the reservation, I got asked by my aunt Cookie to play Taps on Memorial Day. They borrowed a trumpet from somebody and asked me to play, and I’ve been doing it ever since.” 

Chip explained that originally, he didn’t know if he would be asked to return to perform during the Memorial Day services, but he continued to graciously except the call year after year. They say musicians are their own toughest critics, and throughout the ‘90’s, David claimed he wasn’t that good and thought somebody would eventually replace him. But he vividly remembers the moment he decided to take on the title with authority and dedicate more time to perfecting his craft.

He shared, “Every now and then, we volunteer to play for (non-tribal) spouses and some of our good friends who we were in the military force with. We don’t do as many as we used to, but I’m always more than happy to get my trumpet out and perform for our veterans. A highlight for me was the first time I played in Schaefer-Shipman Funeral Home. Shipman himself came up and said, ‘I’ve heard a lot of people play Taps and I have something to say to you’. I was listening and I thought he was going to yell at me or something. But he goes, ‘I just got one thing to say, you are the greatest in the nation’. That lit a fire under me – about how well I have to play and take care of that song. I’m glad to take care of it and honored to bring it out with the guys in the Honor Guard.”

That line of thinking, taking care of the song, exposes Chip’s Indigenous roots in a substantial way. Just like a traditional song passed down through the generations, Chip is responsible for practicing the ceremonial song and performing it with a good mind, heart, and spirit, as well as with honor, pride and respect for those veterans who transitioned to the other side. David does this not only with a tribal mindset, but also that of a vet who knows what these men and women may have encountered or been exposed to while stationed at bases all throughout the world, what they witnessed and experienced on the battlefield, the vigorous trainings they went through and the multiple sacrifices they made while defending the nation’s freedom. 

Said David, “Growing up, my grandmother Rose Fryberg had three pictures mounted on the wall, my two aunts and my dad. My dad was in his Marine Corps. uniform. When your dad is a Marine, you are kind of born a Marine. I just followed the tradition. After high school, I really didn’t want to go to college or deal with money issues – so I joined the Marines. I talked to the Army and the Navy, but I didn’t see myself as anything but a Marine. I chose to sign-up in November of ’81 and shipped out on January 27 of 1982.

“I went to San Diego, and I was a communications electronics tech. I fixed telephones and switchboards. I went to school for it for about nine months at Twentynine Palms. And then I went to Okinawa for two and a half years. I had a successful tour over there, went out into the field a lot. I reenlisted in Okinawa and did my last three and a half years at Camp Lejeune where I was a shipping and receiving NCO for communications electronics, which was a big deal.”

Early in his journey in the military, the Marines discovered that Chip had a background in music, and they encouraged him to try out for the Drum and Bugle Corps. at Twentynine Palms. And after playing the trombone all throughout middle school and high school, David was happy to learn he could continue to study and express his passion for music during his time spent at the southern California Marine base. 

“That was a really hard thing for me,” he recalled. “Not going to college meant giving up my trombone. I started playing trombone in the sixth grade in Vancouver, Washington at Jason Lee Junior High School, we were a stage band. We were also a marching band, and we did parades all the time. On top of that, I was actually a member of the Spartans Drum and Bugle Corps. through seventh, eighth, and ninth grade. In high school I joined the Columbia River High School band, and we were the show band of southwest Washington. I marched in – I don’t even know how many parades. Even though I grew up in Vancouver, I got to march in the Strawberry Festival because our Drum and Bugle Corps. would get invited – and that was always neat, seeing family.”

He continued, “I was quite the horn player when I was a kid, I could pick up a trumpet and play some crazy stuff. But I’ve always been able to pick up any brass instrument. I was able to pick it right back up when I was down at Twentynine Palms. I made the Drum and Bugle Corps., and they were like, ‘we know you’re going to be in comm. tech, but in case you rock out, you can come with us and be a lead soprano for the Marine Corps. Drum and Bugle Corps. So, if I didn’t pass my electronics course, I would’ve been a Drum and Bugle Corps. member at Twentynine Palms and could’ve switched over immediately to the Marine Corps. Drum and Bugle Corps., which is a big honor. But needless to say, I became an electronics tech and went overseas.”

Since returning to Tulalip, and after agreeing to play Taps on Memorial Day in ’89, Chip has created lifelong bonds with his fellow veterans as the official trumpeter of the Tulalip Honor Guard. And as a member of the Honor Guard, there have been many opportunities that David has received, that he wouldn’t have otherwise experienced. For example, last Veterans Day, Chip packed up his trumpet and jumped on an airplane to Washington D.C. with the Honor Guard to participate in a march with thousands of other Native American military veterans during the unveiling of the new monument at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. During this trip, Chip was able to reunite with some of his friends, fellow comrades who he served alongside with during the ‘80’s, and they spent the day catching up and reminiscing on their time in the service.

There have also been a handful of times when David’s fellow veterans and members of his family wondered if he would be able to perform Taps, or if he even felt up to the task, when the funeral services were held for one of his loved ones, his close friends and relatives. But in each of those instances, Chip felt that it was his responsibility to ensure they were sent off in a proper manner and in high honor, so he equipped his horn with the metal mouthpiece and took up his position with the Honor Guard during those final goodbyes. This was also the case with the man who inspired Chip to join the Marines in the first place, his father. 

“He was my inspiration,” he emotionally shared. “All I know is that lived by his picture and to me, he was the greatest Marine ever. That’s why I did everything I did, because I wanted to be like my dad. Last year, we lost my dad, last February 14. And a lot of people didn’t know if I’d be able to play. But it’s a lot different when your dad is not only your dad, but he’s also your brother, he’s also your best friend, and he knew everything what you went through. So, playing Taps at my dad’s funeral was something I had to do.”

After contracting the coronavirus, Chip was hospitalized and put on a respirator for a number of weeks. When he woke, he was faced with a hard decision of either giving up the trumpet after years of playing for tribal veterans, or restart from scratch and dedicate even more time to the instrument to rebuild the endurance of his lungs back up following the near-death respiratory infection. 

Chip withstood it all and came back determined as all hell to continue on as the Honor Guard’s trumpeter. Chip says he owed it all to his wife and daughter who not only encouraged him through the process but also kept him on schedule, waking him early everyday so he could practice his instrument following his late-night shifts in the table games department of the Tulalip Resort Casino. 

Although Chip was happy to share his story and to be featured in the syəcəb, he was quick to share the glory with his fellow Honor Guard members. He stated that it’s the comradery that he shares with those men and women of the Tulalip Honor Guard that keeps him coming back year after year. 

He exclaimed, “The song I play, I have a lot of respect for it and it’s an honor to play it. The Honor Guard is a team, and I’m really glad when we get together. It’s an honor to play Taps during the 21-gun salute. When we put it all together – that’s one pretty good package. I like to focus on being a part of the Honor Guard, it’s special and I like being a part of that special tribute. We all pitch-in and what we convey is what’s on our hearts – and we really mean that. We pay tribute to our fallen comrades and we’re glad to do it.”

Upon reading the first few paragraphs of this feature, you may have thought this story was about a local bugler, a trumpeter who plays at the funerals of Tulalip veterans and at the Tribe’s Memorial Day services. And sure, that is a large aspect of Chip’s journey and the services he provides today. However, this story is much bigger. It is the story about a man of dedication – whether it’s to his instrument, his community, his family, his fellow veterans, his culture, his country, Chip has laid it all on the line multiple times throughout his life for the values he believes in and for the people he loves. 

Through the ups and downs, Chip always returned to his love for music. And through the performance of his trumpet, he has been able to spread love and good healing medicine to those in need from the community as their loved ones enter the spirit world. 

Chip shared, “To my fellow veterans and the Tulalip Honor Guard, I’d like to thank everyone for answering the call and carrying yourselves the way you do. It’s heartwarming to see us come together to pay tribute to our veterans, we recently did a couple of funerals together for David Spencer and Pat Elliott. We love doing this for our fallen comrades and I love doing my part in what we do. I couldn’t do it without you guys. I’ve heard a lot of great stories over the years, and I can’t emphasize how grateful I am to each and every one of you for your service. Happy Veterans Day.”

Everett Municipal Building receives Coast Salish makeover

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Tulalip’s neighboring city to the south, Everett, is the seventh-largest city in all of Washington State by population, and it’s by far the largest city in Snohomish County. Established in 1890, the city of Everett is situated on a peninsula. Its city boundaries are designated by the Snohomish River to the east and the Salish Sea to the west.

In precolonial times, long before imaginary map borders, the land Everett was built upon was home to our Tulalip ancestors. As a sustenance people who lived off the land and natural environment, they flourished in the ideal fishing location. But that was then. And this is now.

To live in the now is to recognize and embrace the many ways modern Tulalip people have adapted while continuing to flourish well into the 21st century. One such way is evident through our boundary-redefining, limit-pushing artists who refuse to placate a binary system that deems their work traditional or non-traditional. Instead, they embrace challenges to create visionary works of art as they routinely use the latest technologies available in order to manifest their inspired visions via a multitude of mediums.

The latest example comes from a truly vibrant collaborative effort between the city of Everett and Tulalip master carver, James Madison. The Everett Mayor’s office desired an artist’s touch to remake the outside of the Everett Municipal Building, located at the intersection of Wetmore Avenue and Wall Street. After a call went out for artists, James was rewarded with the job.

His vision for the project, titled Save Our Salish Sea, was unveiled in late October. Taken together, this enormous metal fabrication installation made up of bold red, yellow, and black colors is impossible to miss for pedestrians and commuters alike. But forged into the durable aluminum and medicine wheel colored pallet is a traditional teaching that has been passed down from one Tulalip generation to the next.

“With this project, I wanted to pay respect to our culture as this region’s first people,” explained James. “I tried to showcase our culture and who our people are, while paying respect to the Salish Sea through the blackfish, salmon, and our stories that have been passed on for generations.

“The salmon run that wraps around the building represents Sockeye,” he continued. “They used to be so abundant in our local waters, but now their runs are really short and even desolate in some places. It’s important that we continue to raise awareness of the dwindling salmon runs because their well-being is interconnected with the well-being of both blackfish and human populations. My grandpa always told me that it’s up to us to keep the blackfish and salmon alive because if they go away, then humans will go away as well.”

At the heart of this latest collaboration between a local city and one of our artists is a respect for the cultural heritage that pre-dates the urban landscapes that have taken over Coast Salish territory. 

By adorning municipal buildings, ferry terminals, college campuses, and other widely visited public spaces with Tulalip art embedded with iconic cultural imagery, local municipalitiesare finally moving in a positive direction to help preserve the vibrant traditions, intricate artistry, and spiritual symbolism that define our Native culture.

Tulalip gathers to recognize and remember lost loved ones on MMIWP National Day of Awareness

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

“When we gather and do this work together, we protect each other,” said Tulalip elder, Don ‘Penoke’ Hatch. “We need to care for each other a little bit more today than we did yesterday. We got to take care of each other, take care of ourselves, take care of our children, and make sure we don’t lose anybody again. I want us all to be more dedicated in how we take care of each other. We are a cultured people and we got to carry it on that way, carry on the love that we have for each other. We don’t want to lose anyone else, because one is one too many.”

The parking lot of the Tulalip Gathering Hall was packed full on the evening of May 5. So much so, that people were parking along Totem Beach Road and the Tulalip Health Clinic to attend an immensely important gathering. As community members walked into the entrance of the hall, they received a black t-shirt that featured a Native designed logo on the front that read ‘Tulalip MMIWP Healing’. The back of the shirts, in large capitalized red font, displayed the message ‘SAY THEIR NAMES’. 

A collaboration between the Tribe, the Tulalip Police Department (TPD), and the Tulalip Education Division, the MMIWP Day of Recognition and Healing event brought together hundreds of Tulalip citizens, as well as a number of Indigenous people from surrounding tribes including Lummi and Lower Elwha. After collecting their t-shirts, each person received a candle and were invited to indulge in a buffet-style dinner while the open remarks and prayers took place. 

Nationally, May 5 is dedicated to raising awareness about the Missing Indigenous Women and People (MMIW/P) epidemic that continues to spread throughout Native America. Every day, more of our relatives are reported missing, and many of those individuals have yet to be found. Additionally, the rate at which Native people are murdered in the US is higher than any other ethnicity.

Addressing the packed room of the Gathering Hall, TPD Program Manager and local MMIWP Liaison, Anita Matta, shared a few statistics, “Indigenous people make up 17% of missing people in Washington state, but we only are 1.6% of the state’s population. At 84.3%, more than 4 out 5 Indigenous women have experienced violence.”

Overwhelmed by that information, Anita could not hold back tears as she informed the people she could not continue reading the statistics. 

Tulalip Events Manager, Malory Simpson, presented the rest of the statistics while standing by Anita’s side. She said, “55.5% of Indigenous women have been physically abused by their intimate partners. 40% of sex trafficking victims are American Indian/Alaskan Native women. 56.1% of Indigenous women experience sexual violence. 48.8% of Indigenous women have been stalked in their lifetime. Murder is the third leading cause of death for Indigenous women – ten times higher than all other ethnicities. As compared to Caucasian women, Indigenous women are 1.7 times more likely to experience violence, two times more likely to be raped, and have a three times higher murder rate. Out of the reported cases [for MMIW], 4,089 were 0-17 years old, and 1,398 were over 18 years old. There have been 5,487 incidences, and 658 cases are still open from the end of 2022. Washington state has one of the highest numbers of reported cases, with 57 open cases.” 

Seven Tulalip tribal members were recognized throughout the gathering including the one open case of Mary Johnson-Davis, as well as individuals who were murdered, and whose family has yet to receive justice, such as Kyle Van Jones Tran and Cecil Lacy Jr. Family photos of each of those tribal members were highlighted in a slideshow that was displayed on five large projector screens and played on a loop throughout the evening. 

Tribal members Sarah Hart and Monie Ordonia were honored and recognized for their work during the event. Sarah and Monie dedicated their time to raise awareness for the MMIWP epidemic by placing red dresses and shirts in highly visible areas throughout the reservation. Red dresses are used as the national symbol to raise awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Each dress is hung upright to give the illusion that someone is wearing it, but the woman whom it belongs to is missing. Sarah and Monie painted the names of those Tribal members who fell victim to the epidemic on each article of clothing that they hung up. 

Said Sarah, “It’s been a busy, heavy week hanging up dresses. A few years ago, I knew that I had to do something. I felt there wasn’t enough being done. I had to get the attention of people. I wanted to advocate for our community and for our families. I wanted to educate. Congratulations Tulalip for making the first step in acknowledging our missing women, brothers, sisters, and our girls. Our next step is being proactive – how do we teach our young girls how to protect themselves? We need to put things in motion to protect our women, our girls, and our young boys. There’s a lot of work to be done.”

Monie added, “MMIWP is not to just honor our fallen loved ones, but also to be the protectors of them. If one of my cousins, one of my nieces, or one of my nephews are being abused, am I going to be quiet or am I going to be the strength, the voice for them when they have no voice? You have the power and strength to be the change you want to see in this epidemic of losing our loved ones. The more we make people aware, the more they can’t get away with it. It takes one person to make a difference.”

To follow up those powerful messages, Sarah and Monie conjured up another powerful moment by inviting all the ladies in attendance up to the floor. After forming a circle at the center of the Gathering Hall, they sang the Women’s Warrior song and on the last verse, they all put a fist in the air to honor those lives lost and those who are missing. 

If you follow Tulalip News on Facebook, you may have recently noticed that as soon as person is reported missing from Tulalip, a detailed flyer with that person’s picture, age, height, weight and their last known location is immediately posted. That quick response has helped locate several people over the past few months. And the reason for this expediate release of information is thanks to a Tribal Community Response plan, in which Tulalip is the first tribe in the state of Washington to implement into their community. 

TPD Chief of Police, Chris Sutter, explained, “The purpose of that plan is to bring together, in our coordinated way, all the resources to help families through victim services. To get the word out timely through media, to use community resources effectively, and also to coordinate with law enforcement. We’re proud to work with our US Attorney’s Office on this important mission of bringing our loved ones and missing and murdered people home. We also want to recognize the FBI, and our partnership in working closely with investigators, analysts, victim services and advocates, we’re in this all together. We work very closely with the Attorney General’s office in Washington State to coordinate our efforts, we’re on a taskforce with them. We want to emphasize that we’re working really hard to try to bring justice and to bring in our current open case, Mary Davis-Johnson, home to her loved ones. We won’t give up until that job is done, until that mission’s complete. Through the coordinated Tribal Community Response plan, when we do have a missing person, I want you to know that we take it very seriously. We activate our team very quickly and we have been highly successful in getting the word out and locating people very quickly.”

Families of those missing or murdered bravely paid tribute by sharing their loved one’s stories and recounting happy memories spent together. The tears were flowing as the people listened and shared the pain, grief, anger, and heartbreak with the families. 

Gerry Davis, sister of missing Tribal member Mary Davis-Johnson, shared, “We want to send love to the families of Sophia Solomon, Jessica Jones, Cecil Lacy Jr., Kyle Van Jones Tran, and Bridgette Simpson. You are all our family. We know all of your pain. We accept you as our family because we are going through the same thing. Some may be murdered, but there’s a lot of people missing, and our sister is one who is missing. Our hearts go out to all of you. And I wish that everybody out there gets peace. We love you all.”

Through tears and sorrow, Nona Davis also shared, “I’m Mary’s older sister, we thank you all for coming out here and being with us. It will be three years in November since our sister’s been gone. I love seeing all the pictures of Mary, you can see how much she loved her family and loved life. If you have any information at all, please call it in. Our family is hurting really bad.”

After each family and a number of guest speakers shared a few words, the tables placed at the center of the Gathering Hall were removed. The people created a big circle and were asked to light their candles. As they raised their candles in the air and shared silent prayers, the sound of drums reverberated through the hall as the West Shore Canoe Family led the people in a song dedicated to all the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. The song is composed by Antone George (Lummi) and contains the lyrics:

Every night and every day I pray, pray for you, I love and miss you. Sister, come home

The night ended with a coastal jam as the sduhubš people engaged in song and dance and utilized the medicine of their culture to uplift the people and start the healing process after a heavy night of raw emotion.

TPD has a dedicated tip line for any information on Mary Davis-Johnson’s disappearance or whereabouts. That number is (360) 716-5918. The FBI and the Tulalip Tribes have offered a $10,000 and a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for Mary’s disappearance. 

Festival of Trees raises a record $1.6 million for Providence Children’s Services

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Extravagantly festive Christmas trees and wreaths adorned the Orca Ballroom at the Tulalip Resort Casino during the 37th annual Festival of Trees. The multi-day holiday fundraiser kicked off November 3rd with a free community day and teddy bear celebration. Opportunities to give generously via an online auction accompanied the much anticipated, excitement-filled Holiday Gala and Live Auction held in-person on December 2nd

Each year, thousands of community members take part in the Festival of Trees – including volunteers, sponsors, and attendees – to raise funds for Children’s Services at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett. For more than three decades, Providence Children’s Center has been providing comprehensive, family-oriented care and highly specialized therapies; such as physical, occupational, speech and feeding therapy for children with a wide variety of special needs.

“Knowing this is one of the largest charitable events for Snohomish County, it is appropriate for us to host and participate with good will and sharing the opportunity to help all children in need,” explained Marilyn Sheldon, manager of Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund, on the importance of hosting the Festival and being the presenting sponsor. “We recognize that over 50% of Tulalip’s population is 0-24 years of age and Providence is our local hospital for care most tribal members use for emergency situations and other needs. Also, this event brings many people to our facilities for the week and encourages them to come back and host their own business/charity event at our venue.”

A highlight of the holiday season, the Festival of Trees provides opportunities for local families and organizations to make a significant contribution to benefit their community neighbors. Not to mention the festive, memory making opportunities for those seeking a post-Covid experience in a heart-warming atmosphere. Whether it’s a decadent black-tie gala or afternoon with cookies and Santa, the Festival’s variety of events offer holiday cheer for all.

The tremendously decorated Christmas trees won’t soon be forgotten as their specialized themes like ‘Gnomes for the Holidays’ and ‘Walking in a Winter Wonderland’ to ‘Baby’s First Christmas’ and ‘Reindeer Games’ capture the imagination.

During an elegant gala, the dazzling Christmas trees and wreaths were sold to the highest bidders during a frenetic live auction that saw auctioneer Mark Schenfeld’s contagious energy get table after table to lift bidding paddles. Of course, all proceeds raised at Festival of Trees goes directly to Providence to aid, invest in, and expand programs and infrastructure related to Children’s Services. 

The Children’s Services Fund is designed to provide a full spectrum of support for services that benefit children at Providence. Funding supports programs and services such as Pediatrics, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Children’s Center, Boyden Family Autism Center, and Camp Prov, a summer camp for children with special needs. Several of the trees lining the Orca Ballroom were reserved to be put on display throughout the Children’s Center as a special treat for hospitalized kids this holiday season.

“For nearly four decades, funds raised from this annual event have touched countless lives and spanned generations,” stated Festival Chairs, Tom and Kiersti Lane. “Tonight, while we are all celebrating and reigniting Festival traditions, let us pause to reflect and remember the reason we are all here. Your gift tonight will help provide health, hope and happiness for the babies and children in our community who need it most.”

Because of the great generosity of various donors, sponsors and an estimated 530 gala attendees, this year’s Festival of Trees raised a record-breaking $1.6 million. This enormous amount of financial support allows Providence to continue growing and expanding specialized therapies, equipment and educational classes that make miracles happen for children and families every day.

In attendance at the history making fundraiser were two first time Tulalip attendees, Vanessa Flores and Amaya Hernandez. 

  “It was nice to dress up and wear my fancy Air Force Ones,” shared 14-year-old Amaya. “I had a lot of fun being here and listening to all the conversations. I think it’s important for us to host events like this because our Resort is really nice and it’s good for people not from here to see just how nice it is.”

“It’s so important for Tulalip Tribes to give back to the greater community and local charities,” added Vanessa, Quil Ceda Village operations manager. “Providence could host their Festival anywhere, but they choose Tulalip because it’s centrally located in Snohomish County and guarantees a great, friendly staffed event that everyone can feel safe at. Everyone was so kind and giving for a cause close to all our hearts. This is probably the best event I’ve ever attended at our Resort.”

For two decades now, Tulalip has been an important partner to Providence in the Northwest Washington Region by helping provide critical funding and support needed to care for the health of our growing community. Contributions made by Tulalip to Providence General Foundation since 2002 have totaled close to one million dollars. For their dedication to the Festival of Trees, the Tulalip Tribes were honored with the Spirit of Festival Award during 2018’s Festival.

“The lives of thousands of children, that includes Tulalip tribal children, will be helped thanks to the generosity received from the Festival of Trees fundraising efforts,” said Board of Director Mel Sheldon, seventeen-year member of the Providence General Foundation. “We are very fortunate to have a relationship with Providence Medical Center and to support such an amazing opportunity that really looks at the bigger picture. We all want to do our part to create a sustainable and healthy community.”

One of Snohomish County’s largest and most well attended holiday events, the Festival of Trees has been a beloved community tradition for 37 years. The annual outpouring of community spirit, combined with such a magical setting, delivers a wonderful event that unites so many during the holiday season.

Bolt Creek Fire takes over Tulalip owned parcels

By Shaelyn Smead; photos courtesy of Natosha Gobin, John Carlson, and Lindsay Ross

All over Washington state, people have heard about the devastating Bolt Creek Fire that started on September 10 at 5:00 a.m. in Skykomish. As of September 13 at 5:15 a.m., a devastating 9,440 acres have been burned, with only a 5% containment on the fire. The fire stretches from Skykomish to Halford, and is leaving people in surrounding cities to evacuate their homes. With wildfires being so scarce in Western Washington, it is leaving plenty of Washington residents alarmed, and scared about the outcome of such a large fire. 

Within the same area as the fire, there are two properties that Tulalip owns. These properties are typically called the Grotto Lake parcel and the Eagle Creek parcel. The properties were originally bought by Tulalip back in October 2019 in efforts to allow a safe and sacred area for tribal members to harvest berries, pull cedar, camp, hike, hunt, collect resources for cultural arts, and hold cultural practices. It was an enticing piece of land because of its proximity to Tulalip and its relation to our Coast Salish ancestors. Along with that, because of the drastic levels of elevations, the parcels’ vegetation grew many different variations of natural resources that tribal members could collect and utilize. 

Director of Treaty Rights and Government Affairs, Ryan Miller, described the properties stretching to about 1000 acres. He said approximately 50% of each property has already succumbed to the devastation of the fire. 

When news broke out about the fire, and the threat it does to our cultural practices, it left some tribal members is disarray. The thought of this land not being accessible for any sacred works anymore is heartbreaking for Tulalip and many are left wondering what will become of it. 

Natosha Gobin and family were harvesting berries at one of the Tulalip properties the night before the fire.

The night before the start of the fire, Tulalip Tribal member Natosha Gobin and her family just happened to be on one of the Tulalip properties harvesting berries. “We went about four or five times this year. This time around, we left the peak at 7:30 p.m. Our hopes were to get up early and head back the next morning because the berries were plentiful. We were so excited to finally be introduced to the space, it felt so healing to be up there. This fire is so heartbreaking,” Natosha said. Luckily her family had a change of plans, and did not go back up the mountain the next morning and none of her family risked any danger of the fire.  

One major change that some tribal members have noticed and attested to is the abundance of trees that have grown over the years. Along with that, the road is really rough making the properties difficult to get to. Something that is later found to be a difficult realization for the firefighters involved. 

The Tulalip Fire Department has been one of the many resources that has been supporting efforts towards battling wildfires in the Pacific Northwest. Currently the department has two task forces stationed out. One of which consists of three members that are located in Oregon taking on the Cedar Creek Fire, just a mere three days before the start of the Bolt Creek Fire. One of the members is John Carlson, who has been with the department for six years. Cedar Creek Fire makes for his first experience with a wildfire.

John spoke about the wildfires and how they are so different in perspective to structure fires in the Tulalip area, “With structure fires, we’re usually well-trained and know the area very well, versus on a landscape, we’re fighting the larger grassland, sagebrush, larger timber, and heavy terrain. We also mainly work off brush trucks when dealing with wildfires, and a problem we face is water supply. We do have a water tender in our strike team, but if it runs out, we have to get resourceful with our water supply. Being up in the terrain we can’t directly connect to a fire hydrant, so sometimes we find ourselves syphoning from pools, streams, lakes, etc. Anything with 100 gallons of water can make a huge difference,” he said. 

When news broke out about the Bolt Creek Fire, the three-man crew had already gotten settled in with the team in Oregon. “This is the first time I’ve been deployed and there was a fire of this magnitude near our home,” John said.  “A lot of us we wondering if we would get redirected back. But with the resources that we have sent up to Bolt Creek, we felt confident in the team’s ability. Much like a lot of fire departments, every summer during peak season our department gets stretched in different directions. But as much we appreciate and are glad to be helping take care of members down here, it is hard when we know our home isn’t safe.” 

Tulalip Bay Firefighter Austin Panek and Tender 60.

Of course with the Bolt Creek Fire being a prominent fire in our area, and the risk it brings to the Tulalip owned properties, an additional two Tulalip firefighters have been sent to Skykomish, Paramedic Lindsay Ross and firefighter Austin Panek left early this week to help Sky Valley Fire Department. Amongst them are the other 20+ fire departments and private fire companies that include North Ridge Fire, American Fire, Zigzag Hotshots, and Patrick Environmental, making up for more than 317 personnel that have opted in for fighting this fire.  

Lindsay has been with the fire department for six years, but has an extensive 10-year  career working as a wildland firefighter. This is her first time working as a line medic, and her role is to help work with the crews onsite to ensure their safety, help with any medical care, and help with the falling rocks in the area.

Tulalip Bay Fire Paramedic Lindsay Ross.

Lindsay explained that even though wildfires of this magnitude are rare in Western Washington, it is something that should be expected for the future. “When fires do take off over here, there’s usually a lot of old debris and old trees that are likely dried up and when it builds up over time, a fire is able to take off easier. There is definitely some prescribe burns that the state will do to try and thin out the forest a little so it doesn’t happen as often. But with the summers getting hotter every year and with having lower humidity, I think a fire like this in our area has been overdue for a while.” 

Hearing from wildfire experts like Lindsay, we learned that even though wet and rainy springs and early summers seem like they would help decrease the risk of wildfires, that isn’t always the case. 

“Rain during that time of the year does make fire danger go lower, but it also will make more sagebrush and longer grasses, that eventually will dry up in the summer and turn into fuel for the fires,” said John. “The more that grows in the spring and early summer, the heavier potential fire fuel load it creates, and the bigger the fire can get. Something we noticed this year was that we had a lot more fire fuels from Spring than I think in years’ past.” 

What is most difficult about Bolt Creek Fire is the heavy terrain that exists in the area. “With the heavy forestry and it being hillside, we have a more difficult time accessing the spots that are burning hot,” said Lindsay. “And with no accessible roads in most spots, heavy equipment cannot be easily moved around.” 

Between hot summers, lower humidity, and lots of drier vegetation and debris, another factor for this fire is the amount of wind that picked up in the area. Local fire departments refer to the ‘Witching Hour’ that falls between 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. During this time, wind begins to pick up and is at its heaviest, making this the most dangerous part of any day. Knowing that wind can be so unpredictable with how fast it goes and in which direction, can lead to a lot of variations of disaster. The Bolt Creek Fire had around 30-40 mph winds, which ultimately made for its drastic escalation.

“The reality of this fire is that its burning really close to our backyard”, said Tulalip Fire Chief Ryan Shaughnessy. “There’s people that have family and friends in the area and that we’re concerned about. But we’re working hard and wish for the best outcome by everyone.” 

The Bolt Creek Fire did receive some water and fire retardant dropping from planes flying above. A typical resource used for fires in heavy terrain. Along with that, many firefighters have been working to diminish the terrain and have been putting a dirt dozer line bordering the fire in hopes to create a stopping point. Any houses around the area have also received some treatment and precautionary actions in case the fire continues to spread. 

Ryan spoke about the awareness of the risk of wildfires and the new potential for them in our area, “This is our first time dealing with a westside fire, but with that being said, we did understand that there was a risk of one in our future. We preemptively have been working with other tribes, and collected burn plan ideas to help mitigate future fires. That’s why, if you went up to the properties, you’d see some of the trees had already been cut. We also applied for a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant of 1.3 million dollars earlier this year. This funding will help us work with partners in the Snohomish Basin and understand more of the interaction between climate change and water and it’s impacts on forestry and likeliness of fire in the basin,” he stated.

With the powerfulness of the fire, it’s easy to see that these thoughts and actions taken by Tulalip were in the right direction in understanding the risks of westside fires. “Now that the fire has happened, it’s even more of a reason for us to understand and gain a better grasp on our forestry, and the FEMA grant will help inform us for the future,” Ryan said.  

Understanding fires in our area and the reality of potential for them, there are definitely steps that can be taken by citizens to help mitigate it. 

“First is knowing that fires have the potential to happen anywhere,” said Lindsay. “People have to be cautious about having fires outside, lighting off fireworks, making sure you have water and mostly listening and respecting burn bans when they are in effect. People never think it’s going to happen to them until it does.” 

As terrifying and devastating as wildfires can be, they do have the opportunity to act as a natural rebirthing for wildlife and vegetation. So far, Ryan has stated that there are plans for replantation in the affected area, and that they plan to work with the Forest Service and Department of Natural Resources in order to create a better plan of action, and get as much fuel load off the forest.

Along with that, he said that tribal members should expect some berry regrowth by next spring, and even though trees take a much longer time to grow to their mature state, Ryan said that we should expect tree shoots by next year. He also spoke about the hunting opportunities that the area will bring. “Deer love to eat young shoots and with the area being more open, hunters will be able to spot deer a little easier,” he said. 

At the moment, the fire is still unpredictable, but firefighters are hoping to button everything up soon. The good news is that the fire doesn’t contain large flames at the moment, making the likeliness for it to spread, lower. 

Thank you to the Tulalip Fire Department and all participating fire departments for your efforts.

BOD members place first bets at Sportsbook

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

The Tulalip Gaming Organization held the soft opening for their new sports betting venue, Sportsbook, on the afternoon of September 6. In partnership with Draft Kings, Tulalip is bringing Sportsbook to both of their gambling establishments at the Tulalip Resort Casino and the Quil Ceda Creek Casino. 

“Sports betting is new to Washington,” explained Sportsbook Supervisor Paola Hurtado. “I know there are several casinos that have opened but we are with Draft Kings. Draft Kings have different odds and there are different options of wagering. With us, you are able to bet on a lot of type of sports. Right now, we have MLB, NBA, WNBA, MLS, MMA, fights, and many more. Our guests are really excited for sports betting, now they don’t have to drive all the way out to Angels of the Wind or Snoqualmie, all they have to do is drive up the road.”

Sportsbook features a ginormous tv screen that can play multiple games, matches, and competitions in real time. Bettors can grab a seat in one of the venues comfy recliners and follow the results of their wagers live. 

Placing the very first bets at Sportsbook were none other than Tulalip BOD members Hazen Shopbell and Marie Zackuse, as well as Chairwoman Teri Gobin. 

Said Teri, “I bet on the Seahawks for $10, the Mariners for $100, and the Storm for $100. It’s really exciting that we are finally opening up our sports betting venue, both here (TRC) and at the Q. We have this big screen, it’s one of the largest in Washington State at this time, and we’re really excited. This has been a long time coming and it’s with one of the premier sports betting organizations in the United States. Our partnership with Draft Kings is really good and is what is really key to what is going to make this a success.”

The kiosks at Sportbook will be available 24/7 following the venue’s grand opening, which is tentatively scheduled for September 20. And according to Chairwoman Gobin there may or may not be some big stars in attendance to help celebrate the grand opening with the people. 

“We were a little slow to get ours up and running, but we wanted to do it the Tulalip way and make it a grand event,” Teri expressed. “I’m so excited and can’t wait for everybody to try it out.”

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