By Ryan Miller, Director Treaty Rights and Government Affairs
Last week, Rick Santorum said, “candidly, there isn’t much Native American Culture in American culture.” He is not just speaking from a place of ignorance but privilege and ignoring critical truths of the foundation on which America was built. The interactions between native people and Western European culture helped shape the United States into the country it is today.
When Benjamin Franklin met with Canassatego, an Onondaga leader, Canassatego presented him with a single arrow. Ben Franklin looked at him puzzled, so Canassatego took the arrow back from him and broke it over his knee. He then handed Franklin six arrows, and Franklin was still confused. Canassatego took the arrows back and attempted to break them over his knee but with no success. In this way, he was relaying to Franklin the importance of unity. The six arrows represented the six tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy. The idea of a powerful central government with smaller regional governments was borrowed from the Iroquois system. Franklin would bring this important lesson with him when he met with other continental leaders to discuss the future governance of the United States.
In the U.S.’s infancy, their sovereignty and status as a country were called into question by nearly every established nation on the planet. In response to this and growing concern over their control in their country, several President’s and their appointees began making more and more treaties with Native tribes. Because treaties are an agreement between sovereigns, the United States hoped that this would help establish their place as a sovereign on the world stage, and it worked.
These are just two examples of the many instances in which tribal culture is woven into the essential parts of American culture. There are countless others, farming and hunting techniques, ecological protection and conservation, art, food, sports such as canoeing, lacrosse (also from the Iroquois), and tug-of-war. The names of many important places are taken from Native names for those places.
Native Americans have served in the armed forces at a higher rate per capita than any other ethnic group. The effort of Dine code talkers gave American forces an invaluable advantage over axis forces which helped protect American lives and ultimately delivered victory.
Since time immemorial, the indigenous people who have called this place home have given much and suffered greatly for America to be the country that it is today. We have helped shape it much more than Rick Santorum ever could. Tribes deserve respect and acknowledgment of our contributions. We are strong and resilient. We have survived over 500 years of attacks and stand here today, proclaiming our sovereignty, protecting and providing for our people, and contributing to a better America and a better world.
“Giving up is easy. Making decisions to overcome and choosing actions that will get you to where you want to be is what makes champions.”
By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News
Seventeen local youth with aspirations to become wrestling champions someday were surprised by a special guest appearance from professional wrestling icon, Ken Shamrock, on Friday, April 23.
“It’s not too often a guy like this walks in the room when you’re in the middle of practice, so it’s exciting to say the least,” expressed coach Tony Hatch. “To be honest, I’m star struck to have a legend of his caliber here with us. Shamrock is one of the pioneers of Ultimate Fighting Champions, he’s a Hall of Famer, and we’re really lucky to have him in the area to share his insight with our kids.”
The former WWF Intercontinental Champion and one-time UFC Superfight Champion shared his experience growing up with a rough childhood and being known as troubled teenager before ultimately turning his life around for the better. The still sweaty from conditioning youth had their attention captivated as the icon detailed how at just thirteen-years-old, his future did not look bright.
Ken had grown up fatherless in a poor neighborhood in Georgia, where he learned life’s lessons on the streets. While his mother worked to put food on the table, he cruised the neighborhood with his friends, causing trouble wherever they could. The first time he ran away from home, he was only ten. He found refuge in an abandoned car with other delinquents, but wound up in the hospital after getting stabbed by another child. In the years that followed, he would be ousted from seven group homes and serve time in Juvenile Hall.
Although the strong-willed youth only weighed 125 pounds, Ken had his own way of looking at the world, and he was always ready to protect his pride with his fists. Showing no signs of rehabilitation, the State grew weary of him. He was given one last chance to turn his life around: he would go to a group home, the Shamrock Ranch, run by Bob Shamrock, a man renowned for working with misguided youths.
Bob had raised more than six hundred boys in his home, and his methods were both unique and effective. In response to the feuds that often arose with prideful boys sleeping under the same roof, he offered them an unorthodox method of resolution. If both parties were willing, he allowed them to throw on boxing gloves and duke it out in the backyard. It did not take long before Ken was the house champion in both boxing and wrestling.
Recognizing the boy had tremendous athletic ability, Bob redirected Ken’s anger into sports. He got him on a weight-lifting program and registered him in wrestling and football. Along with becoming a leader for the other boys in the group home, Ken also became the son Bob Shamrock never had. Shortly after Ken turned eighteen, Bob legally adopted him, which is the origin story to how Shamrock got his now famous moniker.
“Your coaches have shared with me that some of you can relate to aspects of my upbringing,” said Shamrock after detailing his childhood to the attentive teenage wrestlers. “For those who can relate, I stand here as a testament of what’s possible despite growing up under such challenging conditions. For those who can’t relate, I promise each and every one of you are going to go through some kind of adversity in your life, whether it’s in high school or as an adult, that will test you to the core. And in those moments, only you can make a decision to do something about it, to choose a means of action to overcome the challenge, or to give up.
“Giving up is easy. Making decisions to overcome and choosing actions that will get you to where you want to be is what makes champions,” continued the legendary mixed martial artist. “You can start right now, at your age, and make the decision on what it is you want to do and start following a path of hard work and commitment that will get you there. Hard work goes beyond the wrestling mat; it’s at home with how you nourish your body and manage your family relationships, it’s in the classroom with embracing your education, and it’s in your commitment to being your best self even on the hard days.”
Following his heartfelt words of encouragement, Shamrock sat down with 15-year-old Tulalip wrestler, Milo Jones for a one-on-one session. They discussed chasing dreams, the importance of staying properly hydrated and eating the right foods for maximum physical performance, and weight lifting techniques used by the pros.
Millions of fans worldwide have not forgotten all Shamrock has contributed to the sport of MMA and WWF over the years. Whether it be choking competitors out in the octagon, slamming his opponents in the rings of professional wrestling, or entertaining the masses in mainstream movies and books, Shamrock has always embodied the essence of what it means to be a Hall of Famer. His legendary reputation only grows after taking time out of his busy schedule to inspire the next generation.
“I think it’s important to stay fit and healthy,” expressed young Tribal member Kyla Fryberg. “I play a lot of sports and I don’t want to get super tired in games or practices. I’d like to see more people get up, come out and do this with us instead of staying inside because I know quarantine has been a lot on everybody. I think it would be nice to see more kids.”
Glimpses of normalcy can be spotted every now and again in a world post the global COVID-19 pandemic. As restrictions are lifted, vaccines administered and the outside world continues to open back-up, people are re-engaging and re-igniting their love for activities that were either limited or altogether banned to stop the spread of the disease.
Throughout the pandemic, the Tulalip Youth and Family Enrichment program has remained a space for Tulalip youth to experience some of that normalcy by continuing to provide services, host gatherings, and offer all sorts of fun for in a safe, responsible manner. As school districts turned to Zoom to offer teachings and instruction to their kids, the Youth and Family Enrichment department converted their entire campus into a socially-distant learning environment, where students could work online and complete assignments in their own safe-spaces.
Now that schools are back to teaching in-person lessons and many youth sports have fully-resumed, Youth and Family Enrichment are slowly rolling out some of their activities and events that were popular amongst the public, pre-coronavirus, as well as debuting many new ideas.
The Youth and Family Enrichment department recently began a new activity-program called Strength and Conditioning, to help build endurance as well as promote health and fitness to kids who spent the majority of 2020 indoors and more-than-likely in front of a screen.
Youth and Family Enrichment Manager Josh Fryberg explained, “We’re doing basketball conditioning every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Right now, it’s open to 6th – 12th grade. Eventually, we want to do family nights to encourage the families to come workout together and be as healthy as we can. Conditioning, overall, is something all of us need and something that all of us should practice on a regular basis, so we can have nice long healthy lives.”
With good early 2000’s hip-hop blasting in the background, a group of five showed up to the Greg Williams Court on April 27, for the tip-off, so-to-speak, of the new Strength and Conditioning program. With a shared goal of fine-tuning their game in anticipation of summertime tournaments, the group was locked and zoned-in throughout the hour-and-a-half class, sprinting the full-length of the court multiple times and hustling their tail-ends off during drills.
“A lot of things we’re doing right now are fundamentals for lay-ups, left-hand and right-hand dribbling, we’re also working on spin-moves as well as doing a lot of cardio and shooting on our shooting machine,” said Josh. “I usually have them go about three to five minutes in each area. We’ll also stretch, drink a lot of water and work on breathing techniques, in through the nostrils and out through the mouth, so you get the maximum amount of oxygen.”
Basketball is an important aspect in many Native cultures as countless bonds have been made through the sport, by way of both local rez-ball pick-up games and inter-tribal tourneys. Reservation-based high school basketball games are popular community events where friends and families ban together to support their tribal teens as they showcase their on-the-court skills and love for the game.
With only five participants at the first session, Josh led a fun and fast-paced class that had the feeling of a summertime basketball camp, like the ones often hosted by former NBA all-stars and local hardwood legends. It’s easy to envision, in the near-future, the Greg Williams Court jam-packed with youngins working hard to elevate their game.
“Basically, what we did today was strength and conditioning and we were working on running,” said Lillyannah Fryberg. “It was like basketball training, getting us in shape for tourneys and really, it’s just better for our overall health in general.”
Added Kyla and Lillyannah’s sister, Julianna ‘Julie’ Fryberg, “It’s my dad so he goes extra hard on us. He makes us do a lot of exercises that he knows we can handle, just pushing our limits to see how far we can go. It’s really nice to see him help other kids too, other than his own. It would be nice for more people to come though, we had five people today, and we definitely want to see a bigger group. We are working on a bunch of drills; spin-moves, lay-ups, free-throws, three-pointers and running to build our conditioning. So, come on out, it’s fun and I can’t wait to see everybody next time.”
Josh explained that there is a-whole-nother aspect of the basketball skills and stamina building program, aside from improving one’s basketball IQ and skillset, and that is diabetes prevention and the promotion of healthy lifestyles. And thanks to a strong relationship with the Tulalip Diabetes Care and Prevention Program, the Youth and Family Enrichment team received two basketball shooting machines that automatically rebounds your shot and feeds you the rock at different locations on the court.
“A big thing that we face in Indian Country is diabetes,” he stated. “With these shooting machines, that were donated by our Diabetes program from Roni Leahy and Dale Jones, the goal is to get as many shots for diabetes as you can. So, that’s one of the things we’re doing with this program as well, prevention work for us to be as healthy as we can.”
Josh assures that this is just the beginning, stating that the Youth and Family Enrichment program is planning more activities, events and programs extending into the Summer and Fall months. And after helping establish both a little league division and a football program, the department is now in the early-planning process of bringing yet another new sporting league to the community.
Josh shared, “One thing we’re currently working on is starting up a Tulalip AAU [Amateur Athletic Union] program. We want to start with three divisions and work our way up, for all of our players and volunteer coaches to participate in. That way we can really bring our youth in and get them to that next level of competition, so that we can get more of our athletes into college and the recognition that they deserve.”
The Strength and Conditioning course takes place from 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday at the Greg Williams Court. For more information, please contact the Tulalip Youth and Family Enrichment program at (360) 716-4909.
Darlene Cathryn Grayloe/Wowyah was born in Tacoma, Washington to Edward and Dalia Loney/Jasolitza Jimicum January 3rd, 1937. Her parents; siblings: George Craig, Eddie Loney, Frank Madison, & Etta Jones. Son: Anthony Lamont Osias, Granddaughter: Latosha Osias and 3 husbands: Patrick Grace, Elliott Grayloe, Don Osias welcome her to the spirit world. She is survived by her 3 daughters: Inez/Rainai Jimicum Hancock, Laurie & Nina Osias; 2 sons Kelly & Casey Grace; Grandchildren: Morena Lopez, Juanita Chabolla, Teesha, Tara & Lakea Osias, Anthony Bob, Patrick, Grace, Destiny, & Faith Osias, plus numerous great-grandchildren, best friend Michael Nickelson, & family members & friends who love her. She was a berry picker from way back, with her grandmother Theresa Wyakes and mother taught her children the fine art, good hard work ethics & togetherness. Her entrepreneural skills were displayed in her businesses including Swanson’s Antique furniture & refinishing stores in Snohomish, Emporium in Everett & Las Vegas. She was a pow-wow vendor & Bag Lady at Boom City. She loved to travel & visit different casinos from northern WA Tribes to Nevada and Arizona and traveled as far as Germany to see family. The SW desert always called to her. Her interests included dancing and she actually taught belly dancing, was a trophy winning racer in Go Kart, Motorcycle, & stock car metes, & tried an acting career at one time. She grew up without a lot of material things and experienced homelessness for a time, but she was RICH in LOVE for family & friends. She would make great sacrifices for us and was willing to help people when they needed her. She left us April 19, 2021, but her fire and her love is with us forever. We will remember her laugh and her free spirit. A celebration of Darlene’s life will be held Tuesday, April 27, 2021 at 10:00 AM at the Tulalip Gathering Hall with burial to follow at Mission Beach Cemetery. Arrangements entrusted to Schaefer-Shipman Funeral Home.