By Shaelyn Smead, Tulalip News
On November 8, the Marysville School District (MSD) Indian Education Department and the Tulalip Education Division kicked off Native American Heritage Month by hosting the Tulalip/MSD Indian Ed Family Night. The Totem Middle School library was filled with laughter and joy as students, families, and staff participated in various cultural activities and gathered resources from informational booths.
MSD and the Migrant program, the Marysville Public Library, and UW students, Tessa Campbell, shared numerous free resources for students and families, including free laptop/hot-spot rentals, tutoring, funding opportunities, the Read-a-Rama program, and college resources.
Matt Remle, Indian Education Department coordinator, talked about the value of these events, “The goal with cultural nights like this is to bring families together, have fun, and learn different aspects of our culture. This year we have a big emphasis on supporting the Lushootseed Department. One of their goals is to start bringing Lushootseed to schools that don’t have language classes. By partnering up with them, through these events, we can connect the department to families and kids who may not have access.”
Lushootseed teacher Nikki St. Onge shared a story about bear and rabbit learning how to play stick games. The story was as a fitting transition for the room to break out into groups for activities like building sticks for stick games.
Attendees learned the history of stick games and some basics of how to play. After sanding and putting tape lines on their sticks, they were ready for action. Singing and drumming accompanied the stick games competition.
Matt spoke about how they hope cultural events like these will continue to bring in more families, staff, and resources for tribal members to use. “We had students from the Getchel Native club come tonight. We’d love to get to a point where we can pass down these events to Native student groups and have them lead it; having all of our students, staff, and families working together for our Native youth.”
For future cultural and family nights, stay tuned to the MSD newsletter or contact Native Student Advocate Marc Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org and Native American Program Liason Terrance Sabbas at email@example.com.