Battle on the hardwood

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

On Monday, December 4, Francy J. Sheldon gymnasium was the place to be to witness the latest iteration of rez ball. It was an all-tribal affair as your local Heritage Hawks basketball teams hosted the Muckleshoot Kings in an early season battle on the hardwood.

First up, was the Lady Hawks, coached by Sabrina Moses. 

“A lot of my girls are brand new, so we’ve been working a lot on fundamentals in practice,” said coach Sabrina. “Until our return players from last year are able to play, it’ll be a lot of fundamentals and working on the basics of the game.

“Entering tonight’s game, we only have six players, which is a challenge of its own; making sure we prioritize staying out of foul trouble and knowing when to run and when to be patient in order to have energy throughout the entire game with only one sub is huge,” she added.

It would be an uphill battle for the shorthanded Lady Hawks against a more experienced team from Muckleshoot. Tulalip trailed 0-13 midway through the opening quarter when junior guard Audrielle McLean put her home team on the board with a transition layup. With Muckleshoot effectively playing a full-court press, the Lady Hawks would gain much experience dribbling and passing while being constantly pressured by defenders. 

At halftime, Tulalip trailed 8-31. Audrielle accounted for all 8 points, doing her best to capitalize on her stellar on-ball defense to come up with steals that she could then turn into transition buckets before Muckleshoot could set their defense.

In the 2nd half, Lilly Jefferson swished in a few free throws, while Isabelle Jefferson added a 15-foot bank shot that drew applause from the home crowd. However, Muckleshoot continued their bucket getting barrage from all areas of the court and ran away with the W. Tulalip lost 19-57, but not to be forgotten is the defensive effort by the shorthanded squad led by Audrielle jumping one passing lane after another for a double-digit number of steals.

“It’s hard to explain, but when I was out there, I could just see their passes coming and I’d try to tip them to myself to create offense,” said Audrielle post-game. She finished the game with a double-double, amassing 15 points and 10+ steals. 

“Playing iron five style is hard, and I was dealing with leg cramps a little bit, but I was still able to score on them. I can be better because I missed like half my layups, and I know I’m going to hear about that later from my dad,” she added with a smile.

Following the Lady Hawks game, community members continued to pile into the gym’s bleachers for a basketball nightcap. Heritage’s boys team entered the game (1-1), having smacked Darrington 73-26 before losing a 50-52 nail-biter to Concrete. Like their female counterparts, the boys were missing several key players from last year due to injury or not yet being eligible. With freshman phenom J.J. Gray at the helm, there was hope Tulalip could pull off an upset victory over Muckleshoot.

In the 1st quarter, Tulalip was playing their patented run and gun style. The boys were attacking the rim for point-blank shots or kicking out to a wide-open teammate to attempt a 3-pointer. Meanwhile, Muckleshoot, as the larger team, played to their strength and were determined to get post-ups whenever possible and crash the boards for putbacks. The back and forth quarter ended with Tulalip trailing 14-18.

In the 2nd quarter, the game tightened up for the Hawks. Layups were missed and jump shots bricked, while Muckleshoot continued to punish the home team inside. The Hawks would only muster 5 points, all scored by J.J., enroute to a 22-35 halftime deficit. 

The Hawks came out flat to begin the 2nd half. They struggled to box out and grab defensive rebounds, which Muckleshoot continued to capitalize on timely offensive boards. Tulalip trailed by their largest margin of the young season, 30-50, before their offense finally got into gear. Over the quarter’s last three minutes, Hazen, James and Damon each knocked down a long-range jumper that got the crowd pumped up for a comeback. Tulalip finished the 3rd quarter on an 8-0 run, but still trailed 38-50.

Entering the 4th quarter, coach Shawn Sanchey reiterated to his boys the need to box out and secure defensive rebounds; they couldn’t afford to give Muckleshoot extra possessions if they were going to come back. 

On this evening, Muckleshoot was simply the better team and secured their victory with a consistent offense approach of taking advantage of their size advantage. Tulalip lost the inter-tribal battle, 52-71. Freshman guard J.J. led the Hawks in scoring with 19 points. James added 11 points and Tokala Black Tomahawk chipped in 10 points.

‘Lights & Ice’ Returns with Festive Flair

 By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

The largest holiday lights display in Washington State is back! And there are even more lights than last year, twice as many to be exact. Quil Ceda Village’s massive luminescent lagoon is made up of a whopping six million holiday lights that brighten the winter sky every evening now through January 15, 2024.

Viewing of all the seasonal displays that adorn Tulalip Resort Casino, Tulalip Bingo, and Quil Ceda Village retail center is free and open to the general public.

“We launched this grand event in 2022 and it became an instant favorite with visitors. It is bigger and even more spectacular this year. We encourage folks to add this tradition to their ‘must do’ experiences this holiday season,” said Kevin Jones, general manager for Quil Ceda Village. 

Completing the makeshift winter wonderland is a 40’ x 80’ outdoor ice rink that became a hit for Tulalip families last year in search of a new holiday tradition. A year ago, Tulalip elder Denise Hatch-Anderson brought her then-nine-year-old granddaughter Barbara to the rink. The young culture bearer took a tumble a plenty while learning how to balance and shift her weight around on ice skates, but she was determined to learn and learn she did.

Now, a full year later, Denise again brought Barbara. Accompanying them this time was 12-year-old Francis. While their elder looked on, the two energetic ice skaters went around and around the oval-shaped rink while some of their favorite tunes played over the speaker system. They still tumbled now and then, but each time they went down with a laugh and rose up with a smile.

“I love seeing Tulalip create these events for our families to come together and have a good time. Having an ice rink here makes it possible for my grandchildren, and I’m sure many others, to have the opportunity to actually learn to ice skate and see how much fun it can be. Barbara kept asking ‘Is it back yet? Is it back yet?’ She was so excited to skate again that Francis decided to come see what it was all about. He took right to it, and, for me, when he started pow-wow dancing on the ice, that was everything,” beamed grandma Denise. 

Off the rink, there was a variety of locally-sourced grub available from Tulalip-owned vendors like Ryan’s REZ-ipes, Kirk’s Smoked Salmon, and Jared’s CORNer. These vendors and more will be a fixture outside the rink area located next to the QCV amphitheater. 

Appearances by Mr. and Mrs. Clause will occur every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday between 4pm – 8pm through December 23rd. For more information about hours of operation for the skating rink, food vendors, and special guest appearances, please visit

‘Lights & Ice’ is a family-friendly environment with picturesque backdrops perfect for holiday cards, social media posts, and memory-making excursions. Such was the case for local expert ice skater Dana Posey and his family troop he brought to the rink. While his three granddaughters braved the ice, using the assistance of a bright orange helper device when needed, Dana skated frontwards, backwards and in circles around them while offering enthusiastic pointers. 

“We have a growing hockey community here in Tulalip. From fans of the Everett Silvertips to newcomers to the game since the arrival of the Seattle Kraken, more and more people are getting interested in hockey,” said Dana. “Having a rink allows for our kids to get out and experience life on the ice. And I’ll tell ya, ice skating is great exercise.” 

Drone photo courtesy John C. Storbeck

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to experience ‘Lights & Ice’, even if it’s just to take in the breathtaking, dazzling display of six million holiday lights. 

Drug distribution now a felony at Tulalip

By Kalvin Valdillez

At a recent Tulalip Board of Directors meeting, the Board officially made an amendment to the Tribe’s code of law, upgrading drug distribution from a misdemeanor to a felony. This process has been in motion for the better half of the past year and comes on the heels of the Tribe’s state of emergency declaration as the fentanyl crisis continues to plague and bring heartbreak to the tribal community.

On a national level, there were over 106,000 drug related deaths in 2021 according to the latest research by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH). Over 70,000 of those deaths can be attributed to overdose of synthetic opioids, namely fentanyl, which doubled from 2020. A provisional study by the CDC, released this past June, shows that more than 2/3 of the 107,081 drug overdose deaths reported in 2022 involved illicitly manufactured fentanyl pills. 

Native communities have been hit the hardest by the opioid epidemic and unfortunately there are some staggering statistics to prove this. Last year, the CDC reported that the American Indian and Alaska Native population had the highest drug overdose death rates in both 2020 and 2021, at rates of 42.5 and 56.6 deaths per 100,000 persons. And data compiled by the Washington State Department of Health shows that there were over 120 AI/AN opioid overdose deaths per 100,000 population statewide in 2022, as opposed to approximately 30 deaths per 100,000 for non-Natives. 

We are in the midst of a fentanyl crisis and every day more and more Tulalip families are affected by the epidemic. It’s hard to overlook the fact that this is a huge problem in Native America and it’s taking our relatives by the dozens. 

This next piece of information that we are sharing is not meant to discredit the lives of these individuals or their families, nor is it meant to reduce their existence to a number. Rather, we hope it helps raise awareness about the growing fentanyl issue on the reservation. Since 2017, there have been 63 deaths by drug overdose at Tulalip. 63 lives cut short due to drugs that are brought onto the reservation and are being distributed to tribal members at an all-time high.

With the new amendment, the Tribe’s aim is to make drugs like methamphetamine, heroin, and fentanyl harder to obtain and riskier to distribute. Up until this point, drug dealers only faced up to a year in prison if caught with intent to sell. Now, the Tribe’s court system is able to ration out harsher sanctions to drug dealers, such as lengthy prison sentences, starting at three years and depending on their case. Additionally, the amendment addresses how much fentanyl is considered as ‘intent to sell’ in both pill and powder forms. And it also enables the court to hold booked dealers without bail until they are scheduled to appear before a judge. 

The code amendment was a collaboration between the Tribe’s Treaty Rights Office, Tulalip Tribal Court, and the Tulalip Police Department. Over the past year, you may have noticed that TPD has been sharing media releases after each of their major drug busts. Thousands of fentanyl pills have been recovered after TPD established a drug task force, however, because their crime was classified as a misdemeanor, those offenders were able to quickly post bail. And in some cases, after their release, they went right back to distributing to the Tulalip community. 

We were unable to connect with Tulalip Chief of Police, Chris Sutter, at the time of this article, however, he has been leading a team dedicated to getting drugs off the rez, which has resulted in multiple arrests and the confiscation of innumerable harmful drugs and weapons. We can only expect that TPD will continue their investigations and subsequent drug busts, with a bit of relief, knowing that those major dealers will now be off the streets for a longer period of time. 

“Drug dealing is proved in one of two ways,” said Tulalip Prosecutor, Brian Kilgore. “There’s possession with intent to distribute, or there’s actual distribution, that’s one way. And way two is, if there’s enough volume that you have per se drug dealing. Which is to say anybody with ‘x’ amount of drugs, it’s more than personal use, so we expect it’s being used for sale. We have per se for methamphetamine and heroin, but the drug code was written before fentanyl was a thing, at least on the streets, so there were no per se amounts for fentanyl. And that’s honestly all we see today. I cannot tell you the last time I saw heroin in a police report, it’s been months. The Board settled on 50 pills or six grams of powder. This is important because it’s going to allow us to bring the appropriate level of accountability to the people who are selling the poison that is responsible for deaths out here.” 

Though they now have the option to send drug dealers to prison, Brian stated that it will be exercised on a case-by-case basis, while noting that some past dealers turned their lives around with the help of the Tribe’s healing to wellness court and other local resources. 

Brian explained, “It changes the game dramatically if you’re looking at a max of three, six, or nine years. But I don’t want folks to think every drug dealer is going to go away for years. That is not what this means. Drug dealing exists on a spectrum; you have the user dealer all the way up to the guy who’s not using and is just profiting off people’s misery. We’re still going to see people getting sentenced to less than three years for drug dealing or who are offered Wellness Court when it’s appropriate. And there are the ones who are on the farthest end of the spectrum, doing the most damage in the community, that’s where you’re going to see prosecutors exercising their discretion to request long sentences.”

Throughout the years, the Tribe has been active in helping their membership find sobriety with multiple programs and resources such as the Healing Lodge, the Quil Ceda Creek Counseling Center, the Healing to Wellness Court, and the Tulalip Recovery Resource Center. And through these programs, recovering addicts built a beautiful and supportive community together. 

However, there are still a lot of tribal members who are in the thick of their addiction. And though it may be generational trauma that plays a major role in their battle with addiction, another main reason is that it is simply easily accessible. And as TPD continues its street sweeping of drug pushers, the effect of this amendment should become noticeable as the Tribe continues to help its membership begin their journey on the road to recovery, with a little breathing room, so to speak. 

Summer Hammons, Legislative Policy Analyst for Tulalip’s Treaty Rights & Government Affairs Office explained that since the establishment of an opioid task force, members of the Board have attended both state and national opioid summits in recent months and are finding ways to combat the drug epidemic at Tulalip. And the Treaty Rights Office has also spoke with several other tribal nations about how they are tackling the opioid and fentanyl issue. This code amendment looks to be a promising start to getting fentanyl and other harmful substances off the reservation.

“It’s really important to me because I have family members that are addicted,” Summer expressed. “I grew up in a cycle of hard drug addiction, so I really want to see a future without trauma for our young ones. We need to start having real solutions that support the families and the support the community needs. This is a good step in the right direction and towards cleaning up the reservation.”

Navigating challenges and shaping the future: Eliza Davis joins Marysville School Board

By Wade Sheldon, Tulalip News

 On a momentous Thursday, November 30, a modest yet meaningful gathering of family, friends, and fellow tribal members offered their support as Tulalip tribal member Eliza Davis was sworn in for her newly appointed position on the Marysville School Board.

Eliza faced a challenging setback in a closely contested race, losing the primary by a mere 20 votes. However, fueled by a united effort from the Tulalip community and voters of Snohomish County, Davis made a remarkable comeback, securing victory with a lead of 671 votes and a total of 7,400 votes cast in her favor. With this triumph, Eliza Davis now joins an esteemed group of Tulalip tribal members who have had the honor of holding a position on the Marysville School Board.

  Amid the anticipation of a promising future, Eliza assumes her role on the Board, stepping into a term riddled with challenges for the school district. The situation is underscored by a significant budget shortfall of $10.8 million, as reported by the Everett Herald. Their reporting delves into the potential consequences, including discussions on merging schools, downsizing counseling staff to meet minimum state requirements, and possibly closing the Marysville Pilchuck High School pool. State advisers have recommended that the district make monthly cuts of $1 million, highlighting the gravity of the school district’s financial predicament.

You were elected during a tough time for the school district; where do you see yourself navigating the challenges the school district faces in the next couple of months?

I had some reservations about that because it is a scary time for MSD. If we can’t figure out the financial part, the next step would be the dissolution of MSD.  I plan to get in there and learn about their discussions with the deficit. I also plan to bring outside-the-box ideas. For example, some school districts have foundations, but MSD doesn’t. That’s an opportunity to bring in more funding. 

We got into this position because our voters didn’t pass a levy two years in a row. Also, the formula for funding schools is outdated. The levy system is not equitable when looking at different areas, socioeconomic classes, statuses, and taxes coming into certain areas.  We need to advocate for that. I will investigate my opportunities to be that person who gets to advocate at the state level. I will get in there, learn everything, and use my strengths to move us forward.

How vital is Tulalip’s representation in the Marysville School District?

I think it’s crucial because if we pay attention to the state of MSD, when I left in 2017, we had over 1200 tribal students, and now we only have around 700 students. Many of our students are leaving the district, which tells me the district is failing our kids. We are a large portion of that population, and our students have been underrepresented for too long. So, having a voice for our kids is enormous. 

What made you decide to run for the school board?

Tulalip Tribes asked me to run. But I feel it’s always been a calling to be in education. I have been in education for many years as a language teacher and a Native American liaison. I worked for the tribe as a custodial manager and then in my current position as the director of general services. I miss that work in education. 

Having been a liaison for the school for so many years, what skill sets from that job will you bring to the school board?

My job was to be an advocate for our students and families. I understand the systems in place with MSD and our students’ rights. Also, I know what the teachers and staff need and go through. I will weigh all that knowledge in any decision we make as a board. 

What was it like to be surrounded by your family and community the night you took your oath?

I knew people would show up. That’s what we do as a Tulalip community. We show up for our people. I am so grateful for my family, support system, and community that believe in me and support this role I am about to embark on. It felt amazing; I was overwhelmed with so much gratitude and blessed. I am much more at ease knowing I have such a sound support system. 

What does being on the school board mean amongst other past tribal members like Chuck James, Marjorie James, Wendy Fryberg, and Don ‘Penoke’ Hatch? 

My grandfather Francis Sheldon has a Marysville school district gym named after him, The Francis J. Sheldon Gym. It makes me feel proud to follow in my grandfather’s footsteps. He wasn’t on the school board, but he was a strong advocate for all education. I have had conversations with Penoke as he is mentoring me about actions and steps I should take and the support system I should bring to help make good decisions. It means a lot because we continue the work needed for our kids and all kids in the district. 

How does representing the Tulalip people on the Marysville School Board feel? 

I feel happy and proud to be a Tulalip woman. I also feel so glad to be a part of the education system again. That work is so meaningful. Sometimes, when you’re doing the day-to-day grinds, it doesn’t always feel significant, but when you can be a part of this work and shape the future for students, that means something, and I take that very seriously. I will not be afraid to be the only no or yes vote if the decision being made is not the right one, or is the right one. I am going to be strong. Penoke said, “Don’t back down. Speak your voice. You have a whole community behind you.” 

What else do you want the people to know?

I cannot stress the importance of our community aunties, uncles, grandmas, grandpas, big brothers, sisters, moms, and dads being good educational partners. In my years working in education, I strived for families to build their capacities as partners in education. That means being involved, volunteering with the school, keeping in constant contact with your child’s teacher, addressing concerns as they come forward, reinforcing all the lessons at home, and finding ways to be involved with the school with your kid. Do what you can to be a partner in education. We must have families participating for success in that system. We need all hands on deck to ensure our kids get what they need. 

* Everett Herald, ‘At tense meeting, Marysville school stare down drastic cuts to sports, more’, Wednesday, November 29, 2023,

Fusing Traditions: Culture + Glass

Matriarch (Friday & Singletary)

By Micheal Rios; photos courtesy Stonington Gallery

As November ends, we wanted to offer one more in-depth article in recognition of Native American Heritage Month. Because our people span the color spectrum, it seemed fitting to close out this annual series with a topic that provides stunning, tradition-filled imagery that is as vibrant as our collective culture is. Enter the realm of glass art.

In the vast landscape of artistic expression, the continued evolution of Native artists compels the creative eye to imagine never-before-seen masterpieces that can only be achieved by embracing new technologies and new mediums. Within the realm of glass art, Native creatives are becoming increasingly recognized for their dynamic fusion of tradition and innovation.

Entuk (Skyriver)

Traditionally rooted in naturally harvested materials like cedar, seashell and leather hide, recent access into the glass realm represents not just a departure from the norm but a transformative journey that symbolizes cultural preservation and the collaborative spirit.

“I kind of came into glass by proxy of being in Seattle when I was a mechanic and tow truck driver. One day I walked into a glass factory and that was it for me. I just knew the course of my life would change after that,” shared artist Dan Friday (Lummi). “You kind of get lost in the process, and that’s what I like about glass is sometimes just going through the motions is what opens your eyes to what is possible. I feel like if you just spend enough time with the material, it will show you what’s available through it.

Elderberry basket (Singletary)
Anchor with rope (Friday)

“I’m a master of none, but I try and use all the techniques that I’ve learned,” he continued. “My great-grandfather Joseph Hillaire carved story poles that depicted a traditional story. [Carrying on that legacy], I tell stories that depict the resurgence of Coast Salish culture through my work with glass. As artists, we want to study the work of our ancestors and draw inspiration from them, not just replicate their work. I’m trying to tell my stories in glass, to tell my family stories in this modern medium so they can continue to be seen and appreciated.” 

For millennia, our art has served as an expressive storyteller, weaving tales of cultural heritage through mediums like story poles, basketry, and all forms of regalia making. However, a new chapter is unfolding before us as boundary-pushing artists explore the possibilities of fusing culture and glass with the help of a 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit furnace. 

Hold Fast (Skyriver)

This shift isn’t a rejection of tradition, instead, it’s a harmonious blend of the old and the new. Glass, with its flexibility and luminosity, provides an exciting canvas for artists to narrate their cultural stories with a modern twist.

One striking aspect of this evolution is the deliberate mixing of Salish symbols and Native iconography into the glass medium. Artists draw inspiration from their cultural roots, infusing their creations with symbols representing animals, spirits, and classic Coast Salish formline. The result is a visually captivating artwork that carries a thoughtful cultural significance, forming a bridge between the traditions of our ancestors and the present generation’s unrestricted freedom to express culture in most creative ways.

Two Ravens pole (Singletary)

“I always say that Native culture has a defining historical connection to glass because it came to us through trade beads,” explained artist Preston Singletary (Tlingit). “Glass was something that was special to our ancestors who traded for glass beads or glass shards. Eventually, it was adopted into the culture and used for ornamentation, trade, and other creative means.

“I like the idea of glass having a sense of permanence, but it’s also very fragile, “he continued. Preston is renowned for his unique style of carving glass through sandblasting, which he uses to reveal layers of color and meaning. “When I work with the material of glass, I feel like it brings this new dimension to Indigenous art. It really has an opportunity to draw people in and show them aspects of our culture previously unseen in the contemporary art world.”

Humpback whale (Singletary & Skyriver)

The journey into glass art has been made possible through educational programs, workshops, and collaborative initiatives. Exposure to glassblowing techniques and working with non-Native artists, like Dale Chihuly and his apprentices, has empowered Native American artists to explore new creative horizons. These collaborations serve as crucibles of molten ideas, where traditional knowledge converges with modern innovation.

An admirable aspect of this evolution is the commitment to cultural preservation. Native glass artists, while embracing the newness of glass as a medium, remain committed to celebrating and preserving their cultural heritage. Each stunning piece becomes a flame-cut canvas for storytelling and a luminescent tribute to our surroundings. 

Glass feather (Friday)

“I was born in a house with no water and no electricity on Lopez Island. My childhood was a lot of being out in the woods and playing near the water,” said artist Raven Skyriver (Tlingit). 

“I draw on those experiences as a young kid still to this day as inspiration. My work is almost exclusively derived from the marine ecosystem. I attempt to place the creatures back in their environment by capturing the fluid nature of molten glass and transferring it into the perceived weightlessness of a swimming creature. I always strive to imbue the work with a hint of life.”

As these glass creations find homes in galleries, museums, and the broader art market, a new chapter in the narrative of Indigenous artistry is written. Authored by Native American artists unafraid of accessing their skills of adaptability passed down from generations of cultural creatives who embraced the new to pass down the old. 

Festive finds and entrepreneurial spirit at Native bazaar

By Wade Sheldon, Tulalip News; photos courtesy of Tammy Taylor 

As the holiday season unfolds, the vibrant spirit of festive cheer found a welcoming home at the annual Tulalip Holiday Native Bazaar on November 17 and 18. Hosted by Tammy Taylor, this lively event provided a bustling marketplace for the talented artisans, crafters, and food vendors of the Tulalip community. 

Throughout the weekend, attendees perused an array of meticulously crafted products, including cozy wool hats and skirts, intricate cedar regalia and baskets, savory smoked salmon, resonant drums, and festive Christmas ornaments. 

Among the myriad of handmade treasures, the bazaar offered more than traditional crafts. For those seeking a glimpse into the mystical realm, tribal member Emmarie Davis, provided tarot readings, adding a touch of spiritual insight to the festive atmosphere. 

For those with a passion for fashion, tribal member Gio Sohappy showcased the latest Jordan sneakers, and Josh Fryberg introduced his distinctive clothing line, Skyn Style. 

Photo courtesy of Josh Fryberg

“We have been making our custom designs, and they have been selling out quickly,” said Josh. “We have some new customs coming out soon with all new styles available. Our family also makes smoked amazing salmon candy.” 

Josh continued, “It was great seeing all the vendors at the Bazaar. Let’s continue to grow and expand our businesses together and show our youth and community that anything is possible with hard work and dedication. I also want to thank Tammy, Lance Taylor, and all the staff who helped make the Bazaar happen. I look forward to seeing everyone at the next event.”

There will be another chance to do Christmas shopping at the Holiday Native Bazaar on December 8-9 at the Tulalip Gathering Hall, 7512 Totem Breach Rd. Contact Tammy Taylor at 425-501-4141 for more information. 

Spectacular Vernacular: Traditional Coast Salish languages are the highlight of Hibulb’s latest exhibit

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

With the sudden drop in temperature, many are looking for some fun indoor activities that they can enjoy with their friends and families as we approach winter. You are definitely going to want to add the Hibulb Cultural Center (HCC) to your list of places to visit soon. 

We understand that with its beautiful carvings of canoes and welcome poles, it’s informative main gallery that shares the rich history of the Tulalip people, the moving tribute to the tribe’s service men and women, the traditional cedar longhouse experience, and the impressive gift shop, the award-winning cultural center may already be on that list. If this is the case for you, we suggest circling it, hitting it with a double underline and exclamation point, or simply moving it higher on the list because you are not going to want to miss their new exhibit.  

Over the years, the HCC has built a reputation for putting together unique, informative, and interactive exhibits such as The Power of Words, Interwoven History: Coast Salish Wool, Tulalip Indian Fair, Vibrant Beauty: Colors of our Collection, Roots of Wisdom, and Coast Salish Canoes. The new exhibit, tabtabəb, follows their signature formula of culture and knowledge sharing and is guaranteed to engage everyone from youth to elders. tabtabəb is sure to have folks talking for days, not only in the traditional languages but also about the exquisite curation of the new exhibit. 

“The goal of the exhibit is to make the language accessible,” explained Mytyl Hernandez, HCC Museum Manger. “We use the language as much as we can, in all the videos, displays and visually too, so people can see it. And even with the name tabtabəb, which the Lushootseed department helped us find. We wanted a word that anybody could look at and give it a go at saying it. Because our languages have so many different characters, more than any other language that we speak, we wanted to make sure people could look at it and get a good sense of how to say it.” 

Upon stepping into the featured gallery, your eyes are immediately drawn to a circular wall that is covered in Salishan words and phrases. All around the exhibit you will see words with various diacritics, letters, and symbols that are specific to the languages of the original caretakers of this region. Very early in the tabtabəb journey, museum guests are informed that there are 23 total languages across all of the Coast Salish tribes. This exhibit focuses on six of those dialects – Klallam, Twana, Nooksack, Northern Straits, Northern Lushootseed, and Southern Lushootseed. 

The idea behind tabtabəb was originally concepted this past July by Mytyl and her team at HCC. After contacting several other tribes, the cultural center quickly gathered information, resources, and artifacts that highlight the languages of each tribe. The result is a collaborative educational and entertaining effort that showcases the words, stories, and the history of those local languages that were once outlawed and almost lost during this country’s era of assimilation.

Said Mytyl, “We are featuring six Coast Salish language groups; because we all really spoke different languages and the most common was Northern and Southern Lushootseed. We were able to form really nice relationships with S’Klallam Jamestown, Nooksack, Upper Skagit, and Puyallup. We worked with all of the tribes, sharing information, letting them know what we wanted to display and how we wanted to display it. We requested pictures and information. We wanted to make sure that their information was portrayed in the most respectful and accurate way possible.”

In addition to the intertribal partnerships, HCC also worked closely with the Tulalip Lushootseed department and the tribe’s TDS crew. When making your way through the exhibit, you will notice that there are a number of digital kiosks in between each section of tabtabəb. These interactive screens include numerous games and stories. They also provide the proper pronunciation of several of the items that are on display including the words for skirts, baskets, beads, canoes, and blankets. 

The exhibit pays homage to the Tulalip Lushootseed department as well and features a dedicated display case that highlights all the work they have done throughout the years. In this case you will find t-shirts from past summertime Lushootseed Camps, and the various tools they utilize to teach kids about the ancestral language such as shawls, slahal game pieces, and a Nintendo DS filled with games and lessons geared toward the children.  

At the center of the circular wall, a video of Lushootseed Language Warrior Lois Landgrebe is on a loop where she shares the traditional story, Star Child and Diaper Child. Along the opposite wall are multiple other traditional stories in print like Bear and Ant and Basket Ogress. These stories and their artwork were developed by the Lushootseed department, and they contain important lessons and explanations about the world around us. 

Mytyl provided an exclusive tour of tabtabəb for Tulalip News. During the walkthrough she shared, “All of the panel displays feature the languages of the tribes that are using them, and what they are doing in terms of language and cultural revitalization. In our cases, we have items on display that are specific to those tribes and those language groups. It could be anything – clothing, books, canoes, you name it. We also have an artifact wall with different items from our community; items that we’ve had in collection and that we secured specifically for this exhibit. And then with the accompanying digital displays, you can hear the word for each of the items in both English and Lushootseed.”

If you were to tour tabtabəb in a clockwise fashion, you will end the exhibit looking at a wall of black and white portraits. Each individual in the photographs played a major role in keeping the Salishan languages alive for the next generations to come. And through their life’s work, like the languages they fought to preserve and revitalize, the legacy of each of those elders who have now passed on will live long into the future. 

“One of my favorite parts of the exhibit is our Warrior Wall,” expressed Mytyl. “We are displaying the pillars of language communities, some of those early elders and ancestors who worked really hard for language revitalization when others weren’t. A lot of these people are responsible for the dictionaries of their languages, and books, and keeping traditional stories and storytelling going.”

The tabtabəb exhibit is on display for the foreseeable future and it’s a wonderful way to expand your knowledge about the Coast Salish people and their spectacular vernacular. The Hibulb Cultural Center is open Tuesday – Friday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and also Saturday – Sunday from Noon to 5:00 p.m. For more information, please visit their website or contact 360-716-2600. 

“Representation is important,” stated Mytyl. “And representation of language, in outside communities, is not available to our people. We want to make sure that we can put as much as we can on display here and make it accessible to our own people, and also make it accessible for the people on the outside, so they can see that it is still a live language and that we’re still using it.”

Theresa Catherine “TAH-LI-SE”Jimicum

August 20, 1975 – November 17, 2023 

She was born into this world on August 20th 1975 to Ruby Jimicum and Daniel “Gene” Zackuse Sr. She went to be with the creator on November 17th 2023. When she was just three days old when she received her Indian name “TAH-Li-SE” from her grandfather Joseph Alvin Jimicum Sr. She grew up and spent most of her time on the Tulalip Indian Reservation. One of her favorite jobs was working for Tulalip’s custodial maintenance department which she dedicated her life to for eight years. She was a very positive, down to earth, uplifting person who loved everyone. She loved spending time with family, her children, and grandchildren. She also enjoyed going to the mountains all year around, to swim in the river during the summer and to see the snow in the winter. Shopping, crocheting, and putting on sparkly makeup were some of her favorite hobbies. She leaves behind what she referred to as her beautiful bouquet of flowers, her children. Ranika Jimicum(Nika), Domanik Moses, Monique Moses(MoMo), Scott Hill Jr, Mary Moses, Charlie Hill, William Thomas, and Emily Thomas. She’s survived by her mother Ruby Jimicum, sister Alvina Jimicum, and her grandchildren Skylena Moses-Apodaca, Katherine Moses-Apodaca, Keilani Moses-Higgins, and Mariah Moses-Erickson. She’ll never be forgotten and always in our hearts!

An interfaith service will be held Monday, Nov. 27, 2023 at 6 PM at the Tulalip Gathering Hall. A celebration of her life will be held Tues, Nov. 28, 2023 at 10 AM at the Tulalip Gathering Hall with burial to follow at Mission Beach Cemetery.