Reuben Reeves

June 21, 1963 – October 15, 2021

Reuben Reeves was born June 21, 1963 and greeted by our Creator and ancestors on October 15, 2021.
In his early career he worked as a poker dealer. He was a lifelong fisherman, hung net for all, enjoyed wood cutting and delivering it to the smokehouse and elders. He was a mechanic for boats, autos, and heavy equipment. Reuben loved working at Boom City during the summer and running concession stands with his “Indian BBQ”. Reuben shared all his teaching with his grandson Wakiza, who he treated like his son. 

Reuben a loving father, brother, grandfather, and dear friend, was joined on the next part of his journey by his father, Bernard Williams Jr.; mother Esther Reeves; grandparents Thomas A. Reeves and Vivian E. (Babe) Shelton Reeves; sister, Ellen Rose Reeves; uncles, George A. Reeves Sr., Conrad C. (Gubber) Reeves Sr. and Willard Reeves; and Aunts, Wilma Reeves, Frances I. Reeves Contraro, Lila B. Reeves Henry. Mother of his children Luwanna Brewster and daughter Rachel Brewster.

He leaves behind his loving family, brother Lyle W. Reeves, daughters Chandra L. Reeves and Teah M. Reeves. Son David Brewster. Siblings Rose, Francis, JoAnn. Grandchildren Aleesia, Wakiza (Kaylee), Teallah, Jamora, Florence, Eliki, Eliana, Jaidiah, Mercy, Amelia, and great-granddaughter on the way. He loved spending time with his family and grandbabies, he went to see them every day. He will be missed by many.

A celebration of his life will be held Friday, Oct. 22, 2021 at 10:00 AM at the Tulalip Gym with burial to follow at Mission Beach Cemetery. Arrangements entrusted to Schaefer-Shipman Funeral Home, Marysville.

Traveling mural: Tulalip Healing Lodge residents utilize creative energy to thrive while on the road to recovery

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Laughter accompanied by feel-good beats filled up the workspace of about ten local tribal artists on a Saturday afternoon. Exchanging stories, positive energy and even some dance moves, the group happily worked on the traveling mural, a special piece of art that will be featured around the Tulalip reservation in the very near future. 

The artists, who are currently residents of the Tulalip Healing Lodge, are learning how to use their creativity as a healthy outlet while on the road to recovery. The Healing Lodge was first established in 2015 and has helped both Tulalip tribal members and those enrolled with other tribal nations attain and maintain a healthy and sober lifestyle. By providing a safe space to reside, away from bad habits and negative influence, the Healing Lodge also offers their residents group therapy, meetings and activities, giving their participants the opportunity to build community with others who are striving for the same goal. 

The Tulalip Problem Gambling program originally hosted an art therapy class at the Healing Lodge last spring, asking the participants to ‘paint from the soul rather than the brain’. The program enlisted Tulalip creative, Monie Ordonia, to instruct the class and the residents immediately fell in love with her teachings and good vibes. The group showed such incredible interest in the class that the Problem Gambling program decided to take their art therapy lessons a step further and asked Monie to lead the residents in the mural project. 

Over the past few months, the residents have gathered several times to work on the mural. Monie took the original artwork created by the residents, from the first art therapy class, and transferred them to one side of the four-panel mural. That side of the mural consists of a shark-whale in traditional formline, a star-eyed mask, a portrait of one of the residents, and a Salish woman wearing a cedar-woven hat. The opposite side of the mural features a Tulalip Canoe family coming ashore, with their paddles up, as an eagle soars high above them on the Salish Sea.

Last time we checked in on the project, at the end of summer, the group of artists just began outlining each of the pieces on the mural. At the time, the group also expressed a great appreciation for the project, which allows them the opportunity to zone-in on the task at-hand and escape to a creative space. 

“This side is about 75% done,” said Monie of the side featuring the canoe family. “The other side, I would say is about 60-65% complete. This project is about letting them know that using their creative energy is empowering, so that they can let go of their attachment to addiction and get into the thrive mode; to know that this is something they can do to help them in the healing process. When you’re doing something creative, you’re letting go of that feeling of ‘I’m not enough’.”

The amount of time that each resident spends at the Healing Lodge varies as each person’s journey to recovery is unique. That means that since the project originally started, several residents have come and gone throughout the months. Therefore, many recovering addicts had a hand in creating the mural, and also experienced all the benefits art therapy has to offer first-hand. Multiple studies show that art therapy assists greatly in addiction recovery, boosting self-esteem and reducing anxiety and stress levels, while also allowing the artist the space to go inward and address and resolve any personal conflicts they may be facing. The gathering on October 16, had the largest attendance and participation to date.

“There was a lot of amazing energy today,” exclaimed Problem Gambling Counselor, Robin Johnson. “When we first started this afternoon, there wasn’t enough room for everybody to paint. Everybody was excited to participate and when they came up here, they really put their hearts into it. We originally hoped to get it done with the people who started it, but this way, it gives more people a chance to put their energy into the canvas.” 

Monie echoed Robin’s sentiments stating, “Today was really a huge boost for everybody. I think that’s the most artists that we’ve ever had, and it was a joy to see them jump right in rather than be hesitant. They all did a great job and we got the most done today than we have in the previous sessions.”

In the coming weeks, as the residents put their finishing touches on the mural, the group will also discuss where they would like to see their work displayed. They already have a few places in mind including the Tulalip Administration Building, the tribal courthouse and the Tulalip Health Clinic. Once the four-paneled canvas is completely painted, Monie will varnish the mural before it is made available to the public, in order to protect the hard work of all the Healing Lodge residents. 

“I feel really proud,” said Monie. “For this to be their idea of what thriving looks like and can feel like, I’m excited to see it complete. I’m also excited that the mural will go out into our community and hopefully will inspire others. This is a piece of artwork that can help our people heal. People will look at this and not only see a beautiful mural, but feel the energy of it, feel the love that went into it and feel it’s healing presence.”  

Though the artists are excited to wrap-up the project, several people shared that they are happy to have at least a few more painting sessions left, so they can continue to express their creative energy while sharing good times with Monie and Robin, as well as with each other. 

“It’s soothing to my soul,” expressed Tulalip Healing Lodge resident and tribal artist, Jeanie Skerbeck. “Art keeps our minds occupied with good and positive thoughts, there’s no negativity in painting. I’m glad to be a part of this because every time I come here, I leave with a positive attitude.”

Tulalip News will keep you updated as the Healing Lodge artists complete the mural and take the art project out on the road. For further information about the Healing Lodge, please visit https://www.tulaliphealthsystem.com/BehavioralHealth/HealingLodge

Tribal members and the value of a higher education

Chelsea Orr.

By Shaelyn Hood, Tulalip News

Many tribal members hear elders and community leaders speak of the importance of earning your degree and receiving a form of higher education. It is important to learn the significance behind this advice, the values of earning your degree, and the steps to getting there.

One key advantage to receiving your higher education, is an increased access to job opportunities. College graduates will typically see 57% more job opportunities that non-graduates in their area. It also opens the gate for more specialized careers. Higher education offers a substantial platform for someone to build their expertise. Those seeking additional education while continue to work can gain necessary training, and the opportunity for promotions within their field.

Another more sought-after reason as to why people earn their degrees, is the potential to earn a higher income. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average, someone who earns their bachelor’s degree will earn $17,500 more a year than someone with an associate degree, and $25,000 more than a high school graduate. 

Additionally, being able to give back to your community. As we know, there are positions that do not require a degree, however, there are very specialized positions that our tribe occasionally needs and are at risk of needing in the future. As we often hear from our elders, and community leaders, they are looking for tribal members to eventually replace them in their positions.

Chelsea Orr felt that same passion to give back. She is currently a senior at Washington State University and earned both her high school degree and associates degree in June this year. Her passion for Human Development began at the tribe, and she decided that she would eventually use her skills to help her people. 

“I was doing Summer Youth at Tulalip Early Learning Academy, and a lot of kids there needed a little bit of extra help,” said Chelsea. “Eventually, I wanted to be the kind of person to help them.” 

Once graduating with a 3.95 GPA from Lakewood High School, Orr found out that she had also won Tulalip Senior Girl of the Year. She spoke about her heritage and how it has helped her academically, “I feel like it’s made me more strong-willed and has helped me persevere. Knowing that our people have been through so much, I want to be able to come back and work for the tribe to help our people. We need to stay together”. 

Unfortunately, a trend that some universities are seeing, is an overall attendance decrease from Native youth. According to the Postsecondary National Policy Institute, currently only 16% of Native Americans attain a bachelor’s degree or higher, and only 9% attain an associate’s degree. Other studies show that undergraduate enrollment among Native Americans, ages 18-24, have gradually decreased since 2016-2017. But as this is continuing, there is hope in knowing that non-traditional students’ attendance is growing.

Lena Hammons.

Non-traditional students are those who did not seek higher education right out of high school. Lena Hammons, tribal elder, was such a student for many years. At the time, she had a family and children to focus on and decided that she would pursue a higher education later in life. Since then, she has earned her associates, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree. 

Hammons said, “I tell everybody, I didn’t get my degree to become better than anybody else. I got it to become a better me, so that I could be a better mom, grandma, community member, tribal member, employee, to gain better insight to behaviors, and how the various federal laws impacted our behaviors”. She talked about how it’s not everyone’s path to start right out of high school, “it’s about knowing when it’s the right time and place. Don’t stress because you’re not ready. Detours aren’t necessarily a bad thing”. 

Many non-traditional students worry about the balance of schoolwork and life’s responsibilities, “I tell the students all the time, I never missed family time to do homework. I take my homework with me. If I could go to a family event and read a chapter, then that is what I did. Balancing family life and schoolwork is very important,” Hammons said.

Currently, the Tulalip Tribes Higher Education Department has accounted for 362, 18+ year students enrolled throughout the 2020-2021 school year. Their goals to help these students are to increase enrollment, increase graduation rate, reach out to younger students, and offer support and guidance, and expand with internships with college students and graduates.

The Higher Education Department offers a variety of support to help tribal members seeking their degree. They currently offer a substantial amount of funding towards tuition, books/supplies, a stipend, and room/board and transportation allowance for those that qualify. 

Outside of financial support, they recognize graduates or completion of certificates, train staff to assist students with their educational needs, assist with the Native American Career & Technical Education Program (NACTEP) and provide information and guidance to college planning. 

For anyone that is interested in pursuing their academics further, please contact the Higher Education Department at: 360-716-4888 or highered@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov.

From walk-on to scholarship recipient, Zues Echevarria latest Tulalip athlete to compete on collegiate level

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Tulalip history is filled with stories of athletic achievement. Ranging from grandiose tales told by elders reminiscing about their glory days, to standout high schoolers showcasing their skills in front of adoring families, to proud parents posting on social media about how amazing their child’s latest bitty ball performance was.

Sports have become as valuable to passing on traditional teachings as any other element of Tulalip culture. Think about it. Passing down knowledge and insight from one generation to the next, check. Learning invaluable lessons about patience, determination and hard work, check. Teaching the importance of mind/body connection with an emphasis on balancing nutritious foods with physical activity, check. Each generation of Tulalip youth being able to connect and participate regardless of family ties, check. An entire community being able to unite and root for the success of an inspiring tribal member, check. 

It should be no surprise then as to why recent success stories of homegrown athletes like Tysen and Bradley Fryberg (Salish Kootenai College basketball), Adiya Jones (Skagit Valley Community College basketball), Collin Montez (Washington State University baseball), RaeQuan Battle (University of Washington basketball), and Mikail Montez (Everett Community College basketball) have spread like wildfire on the Tulalip Reservation. Their stories stretch the imagination of what’s possible for a rez kid with a sports dream, while also giving parents a clear cut example that all the long practices, tournament-filled weekends, and substantial financial investment is worth it. 

Enter 6-foot-2, 290 pound Jesus “Zues” Echevarria Jr. The latest Tulalip athlete to compete on the coveted D1 collegiate level. A former team captain of the 2016 state championship winning Archbishop Murphy, Zues made the bold decision to attend Washington State University the following fall and endeavored to make their football team as a true walk-on. His prowess on the grid iron, focus during film study and tenacity in the training room earned him a spot as a redshirt freshman.

“The key is to be patient because every athlete that goes to the college level learns that you have to start all over. No matter how big of a high school star you were or how many programs were recruiting, once you get to college you have to earn your spot every day and work for every opportunity,” said Zues. “Gotta keep your head down and keep working, knowing that the patience will pay off when given the opportunity. A lot of times it comes down to the simple things like eating the right foods, getting enough sleep so your body can recover, and having the discipline to do the little things every single day knowing that you gotta stay ready for whenever opportunity presents itself.”

Unfortunately, injuries derailed his college career before he had opportunity to shine under the bright lights. He suffered a gruesome leg injury that forced him to miss most of the 2019 season and made it difficult to regain a top position on the depth chart in 2020. Instead, of taking the easy road and quitting on his football dream, the headstrong defenseman shifted his focus on rehabbing his body and conditioning in a way to minimize future injuries.

“Injuries are always gonna be a part of sports, especially at the higher competition levels, and I’ll admit the recovery process is more a mental challenge than anything else, but at no point did I think of giving up,” reflected Zues of his near 15-month recovery and rehab from a devastating leg injury. “I’ve worked way too hard to get to this point. My dream of playing football at the highest level is something I’ve had since being a little guy. My support system of my mom, my grandparents, and my teammates kept me up when I was down. The whole process just fueled me to want to get back on the field even more.”

The determination that fuels him as a defensive tackle combined with the mental strength to preserve over injury, to not give up, and to keep on working at his craft was something his coaches took notice of.

“Even when he was unable to practice with the team because of injury, Zues was coming out of the training room just as sweaty as our players who had gone through a two-and-a-half-hour practice,” explained WSU D-line coach Ricky Logo. “That’s how he showed us his commitment to coming back and getting healthy. When he finally got his chance to step back on the field and see game action, it was like he didn’t miss a beat. That’s what I love about him most. His will to fight through adversity and overcome separates him on and off the field.”

All the countless hours of rehabbing through injury, conditioning to keep his body at peak performance, and film study to ensure when his opportunity presented itself he’d be ready came to fruition on Saturday, October 9. It was WSU’s homecoming game and the stakes couldn’t have been higher as the Cougars hosted the Pac-12 North’s leading team, Oregon State.

On the field pre-game, the now 5th year senior and recent scholarship recipient warmed up with the same tenacity and vigor that his coaches had anxiously been waiting to unleash on their opponents. With a near packed house cheering on their home team at Martin Stadium, Zues got his chance to seize a meaningful role in the Cougar defense. He was on the field for twenty defensive snaps and came up with two crucial solo tackles that were met with a thunderous roar from the WSU faithful. His impactful play helped his team secure a huge 31-24 upset win over a Pac-12 rival. 

In what may have been his most extensive playing time in any game of his collegiate career thus far, his head coach offered praise for the 22-year-old Tulalip tribal member. 

“It’s good to see [success from] young people who have gone through some adversity and worked hard to get something,” said WSU head coach Nick Rolovich postgame. “[Zues] was really productive before getting hurt. He’s a hard worker and attacked rehab the same way, and we knew he was going to add to our defensive-tackle play as he got healthier. If he didn’t get hurt, I think he would have had a big part in all of our games this year.”

Zues intends to climb the depth chart further and become a fulltime defensive stalwart for the Cougars, whether that happens this year or next is of no concern because he understands the process is part of a much larger picture.

When asked if he still dreams of playing in the NFL, Zues responded without hesitation, “Absolutely! That’s my number one dream. Everything I do in practice, film study, and in games is geared towards continuing to get better, developing my skills to dominate on the college level. Then maybe NFL scouts will take notice. That’s the dream anyway.”

In the meantime, the student-athlete understands that he has to prepare for a career outside of football. Zues is close to earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Tenchology that will allow him to continue his family’s longline of tribal artistry in the digital realm. 

Zues’ grandmother, Judy Gobin.

Zues’s grandmother Judy Gobin is his self-described #1 fan. She and her husband Tony make the five-hour drive from Tulalip to Pullman every home game to cheer on their grandson. Their support has proved to be instrumental, as has the support Zues receives from his Tribe in assisting with college related expenses.

“We are so fortunate as Tulalip because our kids have the opportunity to go to any school in the nation and excel,” said Judy at a postgame dinner, where her grandson was approached by random WSU fans applauding him for his efforts. “They can study to become whatever they want knowing our Tribe will pay for the vast majority of costs. We have so many great success stories because of the resources our tribal gaming allows us to access. Yet, so many of our children don’t do it. Stories like Zues show them what’s possible and can incentivize the next generation to take their education seriously. When they see Tulalips succeeding at college it breaks the stereotypes and lets them know they can accomplish great things in academics and sports.”

Because of the pandemic, Zues has gained two extra years of eligibility to play college football. The WSU football program hopes to see him accomplish great things with the extra years and awarded him with a scholarship as a sign of further commitment in his potential. Two extra years is plenty of time for him to become a Cougar legend. To this point, he’s already a Tulalip legend. 

Amias Lionheart Calloway

June 21, 2021 – October 11, 2021

Amias Lionheart Calloway, 3 months 19 days passed away peacefully on October 11th, 2021 in Everett, WA. He was born on June 21st, 2021 in Mount Vernon, WA.

He is survived by his mother; Shyla Lynne Calloway, father; Aaron Justin Calloway, sister; Shahayla Waffle(20), brothers; Carmine Cultee (7), Eyani Calloway (3), Cedar Calloway (2), maternal grandmother; Yvonne Dziubak, paternal grandfather; Max McGee, maternal great grandmother; Tina Meeker, maternal great grandfather; Randall Isaksson, Mammy; Becky Reaves, Aunt; Stephine Woodward, Uncle; Jeremiah Isakasson, Uncle; Jacob Cultee, Uncle; Jonathan Cultee Imholt, Aunt; Rachay Imholt, Aunt; Ashley Imholt, Uncle; Skyler Imholt, Aunt; Megan McGee, Aunt; Courtney Banks, Uncle; Steven McMahon, Aunt; Angie Ancheta, Aunt; Rachel Shepard, Aunt; Laura Reyes, Aunt; Isabelle Brennan. Many many cousins and other loved ones.

He is preceded in death by his paternal grandmother; Heidi Calloway, maternal grandfather Joe Imholt, Aunt; Brittany McGee, Aunt; Trease Calloway, Uncle; Jonathan McClellan, Uncle; Anthony McMahon, Aunt; Alexandria Cole.

A visitation will be held Monday, October 18, 2021 from 12 Noon to 2:00 PM at Schaefer-Shipman Funeral Home.

Kyle Williams

October 16, 1986 – February 26, 2020

Kyle was born into this world to Janice & Keith at the University of Washington Hospital, Kyle passed peacefully in the care of Queens Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii where Kyle, like his beloved mother always enjoyed to travel together. It was their second home, and Kyle enjoyed living his life there.

Kyle was charming, beautiful in kindness, in helping others, in bonding friendships and was a joy to all that knew him. From birth, Kyle was a ‘Brave Warrior’, in fighting many challenges of Life. Being born with Spina Bifida, he had many health challenges he faced in life, but that didn’t deter him for who he was and what he believed in. In his youth, along with his Big-Brother Bruce, we enjoyed many special memories of representing Marysville Special Olympics. Kyle loved swimming in which he won State Gold Medal.

As a graduate, class of 2005 Marysville-Pilchuck. Kyle, along with fellow classmates, friends, honored, protected the true essence of Native cultural beliefs and shared his culture to anyone that was willing. Kyle, along with his brother Bruce, always enjoyed being at and helping out at the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club, and working and helping out at the family owned Carr’s Hardware and with his beloved mother at Orca Travel.

Kyles other passion was his love of the sea where he loved to commercial fish with his father when plenty of Sockeye & Chum, Salmon caught. Season’s that were once were and beautiful memories of the Canoe Journey’s he participated.

On behalf of the Scott/Williams Family we wish to thank all the Doctors, Nurses, Social Workers, Native Liaisons, Teachers, Staff that were a big part of his life and his care.
We also want to specially thank the Tulalip Tribes for making it possible for some of us to travel to see Kyle in some of his last days. For That We Are Grateful. A Celebration of Life will be held at the Tulalip Gathering Hall Sunday, October 17, 2021 @ 10:00 a.m. please join us

Vote for Ray Sheldon Jr., MSD 25 District 1, a voice for Tulalip

By Kalvin Valdillez; photos courtesy of Ray Sheldon, Jr.

It has been one full term. Four long years since Tulalip tribal member Ray Sheldon Jr. first ran for a position on the Marysville School District (MSD) school board in 2017. Although he wasn’t elected on his first go-round, Ray’s desire to hold that position and make a positive impact for his community has never faltered. 

With Tulalip students and families in mind, Ray has decided to run once again for a seat on the board. If elected, he would represent District One, which is largely comprised of the Tulalip Reservation. He intends to be a strong voice advocating for the needs of tribal students and families who live within District One’s boundaries.  

“There are five board members and four of those positions are open this year,” said Ray. “I live at Hermosa; I’ve been here for a long time and I would really love to have the position. I graduated from MP. I started at Tulalip elementary, went to Liberty, Pinewood, and Marysville Middle school and Pilchuck; in ’75 they fused the two schools together. So, I’ve been around.”

He continued, “I am a Tulalip planning commissioner and a Snohomish County planning commissioner and I belong to a few committees here in town, with the tribal education committee and as the bond levy chair for the past few years. I will work as hard as I do with my two planning commissions. Sometimes I think that by being on both planning commissions, people are starting to see how we feel as a tribe. And the people in the school district need to understand how we feel out here.”

It has been reported that throughout MSD’s twenty-two schools, they serve nearly 12,000 students. And according to the district’s Indian Education webpage, more than 10% of those students are enrolled tribal members either with Tulalip or other federally recognized tribes throughout the nation. 

As a tribal member who went through the Marysville School District during his academic career, Ray believes that he has valuable input that will ultimately be in the best interest of those Indigenous students, who otherwise might be overlooked when the school board makes major decisions. In fact, that is one of the reasons why he chose to throw his name in the hat once more, because many tribal families feel unheard, as though their needs and desires are not being factored-in and met throughout the entire district. 

Ray echoed many sentiments that tribal parents often voice and have voiced for well over a decade. The main concern is that there is practically no relationship between tribal families and the current MSD District One representative, Chris Nation, who has held the position for the past three terms. 

Although Nation is not running for re-election, Ray fears that much of the same would continue should his opponent, Connor Krebbs, get into the position come election time. Ray notes that Connor is relatively new to the area and has lived in Marysville for the past couple of years after moving from Texas. Whereas Ray has lived in District One nearly his entire lifetime, and has excellent and established relationships with both the communities of Marysville and Tulalip. 

Prior to Nation, Tulalip tribal elder Don ‘Penoke’ Hatch served in that position for a total of 16 years, or four terms. During his tenure, Penoke would often reach out to families within District One, visiting students and families at their homes or at local gatherings to get their input and perspective on several issues happening within MSD at the time. He would then take that information and any concerns to the next board meeting, before any votes were cast and any big decisions were made. Unfortunately, this practice did not continue after Penoke retired from the board. Ray is looking to repair that broken relationship between school district and tribal families, and is backed by Penoke himself who serves as Ray’s original inspiration and the reason he wishes to be an elected MSD board member.

“Don and I were talking when he was on the board,” Ray shared. “One time at breakfast, he told me I was supposed to take over. I’m about 15 years late, but I’m ready to do this work.”

Penoke stated, “Ray is a strong person who utilizes his voice. I feel he would be a tremendous person in there.  He’s coached sports and knows a lot of people in Marysville. Ray has been to many school board meetings and committee meetings in the last several years. There’s nobody that’s running for the board now, who has been there as much as he has in the last few years.”

Continuing, Penoke expressed, “Each school board member counts for 20% of the big decisions like boundaries, school names, mascots, school colors. So, when we have something big coming up, he would have a vote in that. If they dump the Tomahawk, he would be one of the ones helping make the decision of what the mascot will be. We got to make sure we have a voice.”

Ray wishes to see the Tulalip culture, language and history taught at each school, noting that Lushootseed is currently only offered at select schools such as Heritage and MPHS. There are a lot of tribal students who attend other schools like Getchell High School, who he believes should be afforded the option to learn more about their local tribe. 

He is not only passionate about tribal youth within the school district, but advocates for representation for all students including those living with special needs. He was sure to comment on the lack of representation for Hispanic students and those youth involved with the BLM movement, and stated he will work to make sure those students are supported. Ray has also urged the school district to hire more teaching staff and faculty members of color and was pleased to report that he now sees more people of different ethnicities when visiting the schools and the district office. 

 “There’s been a lot of changing in the past year, that I’ve harped on, that’s happening. And those things are slowly happening because they are getting tired of me saying the same thing over and over again at the board meetings,” said Ray. “We also need to change how the behavioral system is handled because we have a lot of tribal kids in those situations. We have a lot of kids with special needs who need to be taken care of. We need to work on better policy to help keep the schools and students stay safe, which we haven’t done in a while.”

As Ray mentioned previously, he is the current chairperson for the bond levy that would increase property taxes in Marysville in order to raise funds to repair or rebuild a number of outdated schools within the district. 

He stated, “There’s a lot of schools, four of them, that really need to be changed. The floors are rotting out at Cedarcrest, Liberty and Cascade. And we all know how old the high school is now, that’s where Totem Middle School is. Even the Quil needs changes because they have the portables, our kids are going to classes that are separate from the schools. If we can’t keep the schools up, if we don’t approve this for the schools, no one will want to live here. They’re going to want to go to Lake Stevens, Arlington and Lakewood where the schools are newer and they will gladly pay the tax.”

Over the last few weeks, Ray has been campaigning with Vanessa Edwards who is up for re-election in District Four. He wants every eligible voter to also support her on election day. Her opposition, Wade Reinhardt, has some radical views and has shared some controversial statements while on the campaign trail, most notably his opposition to teach Critical Race Theory curriculum in schools. 

“Vanessa is in District Four,” he explained. “She’s been supportive of tribal students for quite a while. Last Friday, in Wade’s statement against Vanessa, he said he will not support any curriculum that places value on any race, color, gender, or national origin above another. That’s why we need your support.  That’s why it’s important to get her in there because he can really throw a wrench into everything. If you live off the reservation, you don’t have to vote just for your district, you can vote for everybody. You can vote for everyone on the ballot.”

Ballots will be mailed on Friday October 15, to begin the eighteen-day voting period. Online and mail registrations must be received by October 25, eight days prior to this year’s Election Day of November 2. The deadline for in-person voter registration is also November 2. Ballots must be placed in an official drop box by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day in order for your vote to count. 

“I praise Ray and I’m hoping and praying he gets in there,” shared Penoke. “If we don’t go out and vote for one of our tribal members, then we’re not going to be able to get the things we need for our children and parents. We have to go out and start campaigning for him. Ray needs help passing pamphlets out from our young people. And if you see a sign that is down, help put it back. We need a lot of help from our people out here. We need to take care of our schools and take care of our kids.”

Ray added, “It’s really important that if we, as a community, are upset with how the district is being run, it’s time. It’s time that we all stand up and say, this is the guy, we’re going to put him in there. We can make a change for our students now. This is exciting and enjoyable for me and I’m really hoping to get in. But if it doesn’t happen, I’ll still be here. I’ll be fighting for our students for a long time.” 

For more information and to follow Ray’s campaign, please be sure to join his Facebook group, Ray Sheldon Jr. for MSD 25 District 1. 

Tribe breaks ground on Village of Hope

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

With the rainy season officially upon us again in the Pacific Northwest, the worrisome drought conditions are quickly a thing of the distant past. It only makes sense then that September 30th’s downpour was a welcome sight as the topsoil for an all new tiny homes project aimed at combating homelessness, was softened for an official ground-breaking ceremony

“We definitely experienced challenges during this past year. It was in the middle of a global pandemic and the project was almost put on hold,” said Teri Nelson, executive director of tribal services. “There was a reduction in work force and government closures, making for an uncertain future. But as we navigated through uncharted waters, we continued to plan for this project remotely with Zoom meetings.”

Throughout the planning process the project continued to grow. From a group of tiny units to a village of miniature homes with all the accommodations one would expect from a proper residential area. Options will include one and two bedroom layouts with a kitchen and full bathroom. Plans include a central community building with laundry facilities and a computer lab. Resident aides and a number of support services will also be located on site.

Located next to the homeless shelter, this project is named Village of Hope. With 17 tiny homes planned to make up the village, tribal leadership intends to offer a sense of stability and hope for a better future to its future occupants. Village homes will be made accessible to individuals, couples, and families. 

“Every situation and story is different,” said Teri. “Our mission is to help our people and provide a place where families can have a place to reconcile, reunite…a place where they can recover, reclaim, and rebuild their lives.”

With last month’s completion of the Place of Transition, this latest project to combat homelessness comes as the Board of Directors continues to prioritize creating housing solutions for an ever-growing membership and rising number of families who find themselves without a stable roof over their heads.

“Understanding that homelessness creates lifelong generational traumas, we’re trying to reach those tribal members stuck within those traumas,” explained board member Misty Napeahi. “These [tiny homes] will help us make those necessary connections. 

“Intergenerational trauma is what all of us suffer from as tribal members,” she added. “The only way through that is through our community and with love and support for each other. When people have homes we know they become constructive citizens of our community.”

  Updates as to estimated competition of construction and the application process to be a Village of Hope tenant will be announced in the near future.