Jingle all the way

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Christmas came early for numerous Indigenous families as hundreds gathered at the Francy J. Sheldon Gymnasium for the annual holiday powwow at Tulalip. Holiday cheer was spread through the deep and rhythmic beats from the round drum this year, and also through the captivating and intricate steps of a number of Native dancers. Whether the dance was traditional, fancy shawl, or jingle dress, the gym was rocking throughout the entire three-hour event.

2023 marked the tenth year of the annual powwow which is a community favorite looked forward to each holiday season. The powwow is a collaboration between the Marysville School District Indian Education department and the Tulalip Education Division and features dance competitions for cash prizes. You often hear that this is the season of giving, and this was on full display as several young dancers forewent their cash prizes during the evening and instead gifted the money to elders in the crowd. 

In addition to the drumming, singing, and display of astonishing regalia, the people were also treated to a meal and had an opportunity to peruse and purchase last minute gifts at the mini bazaar located across campus at the Marysville Mountain View Arts and Technology High School. Dozens of vendors set up shop and sold items such as beadwork, clothing, blankets, and cedar weavings.

Down the corridor of Marysville Arts and Tech, Santa Claus worked his magic and turned a common area of the school into his workshop for the night. Each kid in attendance received a toy of their choosing. There were Nerf guns galore, board games in abundance, puzzles o’ plenty, and countless plastic characters up for grabs. And that’s not to mention the large selection of books that included everything from picture books to graphic novels. 

Once it was confirmed that each child had picked out a toy, there was still a plethora of gifts left over from Santa’s visit. The kids were once again invited to the workshop to add more items to their powwow haul. The event closed with the ever-popular cake walk in which all of the cakes were decorated with Christmas themes such as Santa’s suit, Christmas trees, and Frosty the Snowman. 

Following the wonderful clash of culture and Christmas, MSD Indian Education Dept. Coordinator, Matt Remle, shared in a Facebook post, “Lila wopila tanka to all the families, drummers, singers, dancers, volunteers, cooks, staff, and janitors that came out and together for our annual holiday powwow wachipi. Can’t believe we just held our 10th annual! As always, our only goal is to bring some smiles and joy to the community. Waste po.”