Tribal member shares his story of Covid-19 hospitalization, spiritual awakening, 

and how he’s turned his life around

By Shaelyn Hood; photos courtesy of Stephen Morris. 

As government-ordered Covid-19 restrictions begin to lift, many people begin to look at what the last two years of living through a pandemic has been like. Though many people had different views and perspectives on issues surrounding the virus, one thing is for sure, the virus was complex. Every person shared a different experience and different symptoms, making it difficult for people to really understand it. Regardless, it doesn’t take away from the real experiences that people went through who had lost their loved ones to the virus, and the people who had to stay in hospitals, fighting for their lives.

Unfortunately, since the start of the pandemic, over 1,300 tribal members contracted the Covid-19 virus. And of those, 10 of them lost their lives. Though active cases continue to go down, it still remains a concern for some people.

One tribal member who recently came out of hospitalization, came forward to share his story about having Covid-19 and the difficult battle he fought. And how getting the virus ended up being a blessing in disguise.  

Stephen Morris is a 45 year-old tribal member, who spent most of his life working as a Project Manager for office buildings; supplying and building cubicles and panel systems. After the loss of his wife in 2012, Morris began to struggle with addiction and drugs and started to lose control of his health and well-being. 

In early October 2021, Morris began experiencing symptoms of Covid-19, and as they began to progress further, he ended up admitting himself to Providence Hospital in Everett. What started as Covid-19 quickly turned into a bad case of Pneumonia, and his health took a turn for the worse. 

Eventually, Morris was intubated, and put into a medically induced coma. Because visitors were not allowed during this time, Morris spent most of his time in the hospital by himself. Often his mother, Rosemarie, would Facetime with the nurses. And even though her son couldn’t hear her, she would talk with him in an attempt to let him know he wasn’t alone.

Morris said “there’s a lot that I don’t remember. And even though I couldn’t hear her, my mom is my hero. She was always there for me and didn’t give up on me.”

It wasn’t until mid-December 2021, after several months on life support, staff began recommending to his family about pulling the plug. It was then that Morris speaks of having a spiritual awakening. While he was in a coma, one of his nieces passed away from an overdose. Not knowing this, he remembers dreaming and speaking with his late-niece, and her insisting it was time for him to wake up. It was then that he finally opened his eyes.

Morris remembers waking covered in wires and tubes, and the surprised faces of the medical staff around him. He felt delirious and exhausted.

Being on intubation is a double edged sword. It is one of the last attempts to save a human life, but can also be very detrimental to someone’s health overall. Those three months took a major toll on Morris’ body, and he now partakes in physical therapy, memory loss therapy, and speech therapy. He moved back in with his mother, and has become more aware of his diet and exercise routine.

One of the biggest transformations that came from this situation, is his newly found sobriety. He knew that gaining control of his sobriety would not only affect his recovery from Covid, but also his recovery in life. He now attends meetings every week, and works in a recovery group. His sobriety has created better relationships within his family, and is helping him build a new support system. 

Morris claims to have more inspiration to live his life to the fullest, and to give back more than he ever has before, “I have a second chance at life, and I don’t want to lose sight of it. I’m relearning to do things I used to take advantage of, like walking and talking. I never miss my meetings, and with the help of the tribe, I’m going to go to a school in Everett so that I can be a nurse and I can help other people.” 

He went on to talk about how this journey has been a major wakeup call and a blessing for him. He plans on giving back by sharing his story more, and speaking about the dangers of addiction and Covid-19.

If you or someone you know that has concerns or questions revolving Covid-19, or are interested in getting the vaccine, please contact Community Health at (360) 716- 5664. If you are struggling with addiction, please contact Behavioral Health at 360-716-4400.

Indigenous Beginnings brings the culture to the people

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Across the land, and within each tribe, many Native Americans are fortunate and blessed to grow up surrounded by the culture. Learning the ways of our ancestors who came before us, tribal members are often gifted knowledge at numerous intervals throughout our lives, whether that be our traditional languages, the importance of ceremony, or how to live and thrive of the land, several teachings are passed through the generations. Countless tribal members develop a strong cultural identity at a young age, and that foundation helps keep our way of life alive and is in-turn taught to the future leaders – a beautiful cycle. Which is amazing considering that our traditions were once outlawed with the intention of being completely erased and stripped away during the era of forced assimilation.

However, there is a percentage of Natives who aren’t raised within the culture, especially in today’s modern society. Maybe they grow-up away from their homelands, and only visit their reservations every so often. Or perhaps, with the everyday hustle, their families can’t attend local cultural happenings as often as they would like. And of course, there are those who simply haven’t gravitated to their traditional lifeways just yet. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they do not want to get involved at some point in their lifetime. 

For those individuals who are ready to learn their ancestral teachings, where do they begin? How do they attain that foundation, that base of knowledge to the point where they can practice their traditions with confidence in both a group and personal setting, without feeling awkward, embarrassed or looked-down upon? These are common concerns for urban Natives and others who grew up outside of the culture, especially at large gatherings when you are expected to just jump-in. 

The answer comes in the form of a newly established, non-profit organization called Indigenous Beginnings. Founded by Nooksack tribal member and Tulalip community member, Stephanie Cultee, Indigenous Beginnings hosts a variety of cultural workshops and helps tribal members connect to their traditional lifeways.

“Indigenous Beginnings started after COVID happened,” explained Stephanie. “All the programs were kind of shut down, and I thought that it was possible to host a workshop in a safe environment while still practicing our ways. The organization is geared toward passing down the knowledge, so it stays alive and preserving it. There was a whole generation that couldn’t practice or learn their ways from their grandparents because of the boarding school era. And there are a lot of programs that happen at each tribe, but they are all kind of geared towards the youth, and I always felt left out. What about us who aren’t youth? It would always feel weird to attend those events and programs.”

She continued, “With Indigenous Beginnings, all of our workshops are for all ages. For those older generations who want to learn, they could come and don’t have to feel weird about it. I am from Nooksack and moved down here when I was fifteen. I have three daughters who are Tulalip, and I want them to learn their Tulalip heritage and Nooksack’s as well because they are descendants from Nooksack too. I didn’t know much about my tribe, because I moved away when I was young, and I thought this could be a way that I could teach them, and a way that I can learn as well.”

Officially established in the late summer of 2021, the non-profit has already hosted numerous workshops over the past several months. Over ten in fact, and each project is different, so the participants are always learning something new or receiving a fun and interactive refresher. So far, Indigenous Beginnings has hosted harvesting classes, and gathered devil’s club, fireweed and mountain huckleberries, as well as a number of carving classes where participants crafted canoe paddles, fish sticks and cedar earrings. Other classes included a two-part beading seminar, a drum making workshop, and a salmon canning lesson. 

For their most recent gathering, a stinging nettle harvesting workshop, the organization enlisted Tulalip tribal member Thomas Williams to lead the class. On the frosty morning of March 6, approximately a dozen participants met at a clearing in a nearby forest, a local area known as Arcadia. 

After teaching the group Lushootseed words for several local Indigenous plants, Thomas shared, “I arrived early in the morning as the birds were still waking and I prayed for the work we are doing today. Before you start harvesting, I ask that you get yourself in a healthy state of mind and let the plant know that you’re a good person and that you come in a good way. That’s part of why I feel that it doesn’t sting me as much, because I have a relationship with this plant and I’m learning how to protect it. 

This is our land, and it’s our responsibility to protect it. If we’re coming here and utilizing the medicine, it’s our responsibility to also use our ability to speak and stick up for these resources. We need your help protecting this area so that future generations can continue to come here and utilize that medicine.”

Thomas then demonstrated harvesting techniques while informing the participants what and where to look for when harvesting the stinging nettle plant, indicating that they grow in families and can be seen along the tree lines. Equipped with gloves, buckets and a pair of scissors, the group spent two hours scouring Arcadia for stinging nettles and discussed amongst themselves how they would utilize the plant after the day’s bounty was collected. During this time, the group also shared stories, laughter, prayers and songs, providing each other with the medicine of good company while they worked.

“When you harvest nettles, you talk to them and let them know who you are, who your family is, and that you’re there with good intentions,” said young Tulalip tribal member, Kaiser Moses. “You let them know that you care about the plants, and you care about the environments that the plants exist within. This is important to me because it makes good tea, it’s good in stews and it has good practical benefits, but it also connects me to the environment that I exist in. The forests I drive-by every day, I walk in them and have a connection to them. That plays a big part in my life, because I need the grounding that it provides.” 

Many participants echoed Kaiser’s sentiment about feeling connected, not only to the culture, but also to the natural world while taking part in the Indigenous Beginnings workshop. Tulalip tribal member Kali Joseph noted that this work is important for our people going forward and continuing to learn and pass on the knowledge of our ancestors. 

Said Kali, “It was so cool, and it was super healing. I felt very connected to the land today. It was an honor to be a part of this. It makes me so thankful for Stephanie’s organization because it brings the culture to the people. This was my first-time harvesting stinging nettle. I’m really looking forward to using the medicine further and maybe making a pesto and dehydrating some for a tea. I know that sometimes it’s hard to get connected to your culture when life is so busy, with work and school and other things. So, just to take some time, where everything is set-up for you, where she facilitates it for you, and your instructor teaches you how to harvest and how to use what you harvest further. I think it’s awesome to be a part of.”

She added, “It’s important, the work that we do to sustain and revitalize our culture, because as Native people, we have lots of healing to do and I think that we could utilize this type of work to collectively heal. Indigenous Beginnings is thinking about what’s in the best interest for the next seven generations. Everything we do today has a ripple effect down the next seven generations. And since this my first-time learning, and my little sisters first time learning, we’ll be able to pass those teachings on to many generations down the line.”

There are many fun and exciting events and classes planned for Indigenous Beginnings that the people can look forward to over the next couple of months as the weather warms up. In addition to more harvesting workshops, rose hips and morel mushrooms are due up next, the non-profit is in the process of coordinating a cedar-pulling workshop, as well as a cedar weaving lesson. 

It is Stephanie’s goal to host workshops on different reservations, in addition to both of her homes at Tulalip and Nooksack, and get other local tribes involved in the organization. She also has aspirations of starting a hiking club, where participants can journey, by foot, through their ancestral homelands. Indigenous Beginnings also commissioned a cedar strip canoe from Canadian Native carver Neil Russell, which should be completed before the end of spring. They will teach participants how to pull the canoe out on the open waters.

Stephanie shared, “I want this to be a model, the framework, so other tribal members can form their own branches of Indigenous Beginnings, like Muckleshoot Indigenous Beginnings workshops. Or maybe Alaska, because there’s a lot of Alaskan Natives here in Washington and they could start their own. This is also a great way for our teachers to get funding, to compensate them because they are teaching our traditional ways. It’s mind blowing that there are still people who hold that knowledge, those teachings, and we just want to help pass that knowledge on.”

Indigenous Beginnings is currently looking to add a board member to their team who can advocate for the organization, build connections, assist in fund raising opportunities and attend all of their meetings. If you are interested, or if you would like to find out more about the non-profit, please visit their Facebook page for more information.

Words of Wisdom from Tulalip Elders

Inez Bill.

By Micheal Rios Tulalip News

The Tulalip Tribes annual General Council is quickly approaching. Scheduled for Saturday, March 19, the in-person gathering of Tulalip citizens may result in a record turnout for both attendance and total ballots cast. In preparation of such a momentous occasion, we thought it was an opportune time to hear from our Tulalip Elders who’ve been so gracious to share their thoughts and reflections in a variety of SeeYahtSub articles over the past couple years. 

Hear now, the words of wisdom from our most precious resource. Let their words guide you in future decision making or simply reinvigorate you to feel connected to a generations’ worth of knowledge. 

John McCoy.

John McCoy…on listening to your Elders

“If you listen to the Elders, you will hear their visions. It’s good to listen to their mistakes and learn from them. I listen to them because they have no problem stopping me to tell me their stories and give me advice. In order to move forward as a Tribe, we need to listen to them.”

Inez Bill…on our shared responsibility

“Our cultural creations and artwork is a spiritual gift being shared with the people, all the tribes throughout the United States. It serves as an example of what we can do when we unite our hearts and minds in thanks for the blessings we’ve been given. It is a blessing to be stewards of this land. The natural environment is where our spirituality and traditions come from. Our ancestors thought about their future generations and fought to have their usual and accustomed areas accounted for in the treaties. We need to honor and respect our ancestors by taking care of these areas. The way of life of our people depends on the teachings and values that were laid out for us. It is our responsibility to carry them forward.”

Harold “JuJu” Joseph.

Harold ‘Juju’ Joseph…on the medicine wheel

“My goal is to hold ceremony in our traditional ways, free of any politics, to honor the previous generations who were taken from their families, their land, their tribes and never made it home. What better symbolizes our connection to each other than the medicine wheel? It’s a symbol used by our people all across the United States and Canada to represent the natural cycles of life and are connection to Mother Earth. It means as much now as it did before colonization. Within this circle everyone, no matter your age or background, we can come together in ceremony and offer prayer.”

Donald ‘Penoke’ Hatch.

Donald ‘Penoke’ Hatch…on ending the drug epidemic

“When we say drug epidemic we are referring to the heroin, opioid-based pain pills, and cocaine that is sold to our people. It’s poison. The whole community has to help out to solve this problem. We continue to lose young tribal members to drugs. We need to take care of our young people a little bit more. That’s why we paraded around for the Get Drugs Off Our Rez rally; to show we’re here to uplift those who are down and pray for protection for who need it. It’s so important we continue to help each other a little bit more than we did yesterday, and help a little bit more tomorrow than we did today. That’s the path to fighting this drug epidemic that takes the lives of so many of our young people – togetherness.

If you see things in the neighborhoods, next door, or in your own house, then you have to be willing to talk about it and call the police. I worked hard with one of my children and still lost him, so I know how difficult it can be. Drugs and being an addict aren’t the traditional lifestyle of us as Native Americans. And in order to rid our reservation of those things we have to be willing to speak up and tell on those up to no good. If we’re not willing to do that, then we will continue to have drugs on our reservation. It takes the whole community being on the same page to end this epidemic.”

Judy Gobin.

Judy Gobin …on education

“We are so fortunate as Tulalip because our kids have the opportunity to go to any school in the nation and excel. 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 my grandson, Zues show our people 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.”

Mike Murphy.

Mike Murphy…on all the support offered by Tulalip

“The pandemic has been life changing for sure, but it’s important to remember Tulalip jumped right on board with providing vaccines and focusing on our Elders first. I’m fortunate being the second person, Dale Jones being first, to have received the vaccine issued by our own Health Clinic. After having four strokes my health was in serious decline, but I’m slowly recuperating and getting my health back. It feels good to know the Tribe supports us. In my case, they helped find medical providers to get me right and physical therapist, cardiologists and neurologists to meet my needs.

We’re so fortunate that Tulalip leadership supports us in so many ways. For example, there are endless pathways to employment for our tribal members. My daughter worked at the Early Learning Academy, while my son went through the TERO construction training and now is certified to operate cranes, bulldozers, and all kinds of other heavy equipment. He’s a real life Bob the Builder now. Both my kids are able to provide for my grandkids and hopefully inspire them to be the change that keeps our Tribe getting better and better.”

Anita ‘Keeta’ Sheldon.

Anita ‘Keeta’ Sheldon…on the importance of Cedar weaving

“Cedar weaving is a good hobby because there are so many styles and so much that can be made. You won’t ever be bored that’s for sure. I’ve passed on my passion for weaving to all of my daughters and together they teach classes in the local area, like our own Hibulb Cultural Center and even at the University of Washington. I’ve been teaching off and on now for 17-years at the college and museum. It’s important pass on our skills and cultural knowledge to the next generations so that these teachings stay in our culture.”

Terry Parker.

Terry Parker…on raising chickens

  “Oh, I thoroughly enjoy keeping chickens. They give me a daily routine to adhere to and being able to watch them from my front porch, they bring me a peace of mind. The relationship is healing as well. By taking great care of the chickens and giving them good feed, they’ll lay many eggs. Their eggs are medicine. With my diabetes, eating eggs everyday helps keep my blood sugar down and improves insulin sensitivity. Keeping chickens is something my wife and I enjoy very much. We advise more of our people to consider raising chickens. It’s something you have to experience to know how wonderful it truly is.”

Virginia Carpenter.

Virginia Carpenter…on routinely visiting Garden Treasurers organic u-pick farm

“It warms the heart to see so many happy people in one place. I just love gardening, and it’s so great to see the younger generation come out and be a part of this. Seeing families, parents with their kids, out here having a good time it reminds me of the olden days; when kids used to go with their parents everywhere and people were happy to be out of the house. I’d tell anyone in Tulalip, whether an Elder, youth or anything in between, the trip to this farm is worth it and you’ll really enjoy it. Just being able to walk around outside and be around all the fresh flowers and see all their goods, it really puts your mind at ease and makes you feel better with everything else going on in the world.”

Dale Jones.

Dale Jones…on the importance of eating fruits and vegetables

“Too many of our people are battling diabetes and obesity because they learned bad eating habits as kids. Making fruits and vegetables a priority at a young age can really make a lifetime’s worth of impact. My advise to any parent out there, especially the younger parents, is to not let your kids dictate what they eat. You are the parent and sure they’ll complain at first, but what are they going to do, not eat? Maybe for a meal or two, but then they’ll give in. They’ll eat fruits and vegetables and whatever else healthy you cook for them. Trust your Elder.”

There is power in community: Get involved with your local tribal events

By Shaelyn Hood, Tulalip News

On February 11, the Tulalip Education Division began a weekly Friday 3:30-5:00 p.m. BBQ gathering for tribal youth. The overall goal started as a way to get kids out of their normal routines, in a healthy and safe environment, and to surround themselves with positive influences. Now they are looking for more community members to attend these events as well, and help share a nurturing space together.

As the Covid-19 state regulations begin to lift on social gatherings, the Education Division continues to expand their events calendar. The weekly BBQ’s offer hamburgers and hot dogs, transportation from the Youth Center to that week’s BBQ location, organized activities, various sports equipment to play with, and transportation back to the Youth Center if needed. 

What is most exciting about these events to staff, is that they have brought in new faces that they don’t normally see. Youth and Family Enrichment Specialist Mikey Comenote said, “We want to reach out to all of the kids on the reservation. We have all these activities that we’re presenting, and the more kids and community member involvement that we have, the more that we can do.”

He went on to speak about possible plans for Spring Break, such as bringing back basketball tournaments on the reservation, and other events like Bullwinkles, skating, etc. “We want to bring our kids back to our community. If they’re struggling with school, or at home, we want parents to know that we are there to take care of them and treat them as our own. I used to be one of these kids, going to events like this with Dale Jones, the late Albert Young, Greg Williams. Events like this helped me a lot.”

Working closely with tribal youth, department staff have seen the negative side effects that come from teenagers having too much time on their hands. Teens who tend to bore easily are more likely to substitute their boredom with higher internet use and are more at risk to participate in dangerous and troublesome activities. In any situation, the department is willing to help guide local kids and be an ally to parents and their children. 

The Tulalip Education Division will continue to hold BBQ’s every week and will post flyers online of each month’s location. They are looking to continue to grow their event’s involvement, but also are looking for any volunteers that can help run the events and look after the kids. If you are interested in helping or have any questions about the various events, please call 3607164909 or go to

Walking Through My Story

By Kalvin Valdillez Tulalip News 

Did you know that as a people, Native Americans are at the highest risk of developing a gambling habit? A 2019 study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol and Related Conditions showed that 2.3% of the entire Indigenous population are currently battling a gambling addiction, one of the highest percentages in the nation. And after a few years of dealing with the global pandemic, that percentage is unfortunately expected to increase.

Since it’s establishment, the Tulalip Problem Gambling program has been a reliable source to those attempting to kick their gambling habit for good, helping recovering addicts along their healing journey. Over the years, the program has served not only the tribal community, but non-Native gambling addicts who live in the local vicinity as well.

 Many Problem Gambling participants have experienced a great deal of progress as they worked through the program, alongside individuals who are on a similar path. People they can relate to and who they feel comfortable talking to and sharing their darkest moments with, without the fear of them passing judgement.

The Problem Gambling Program provides a plan to recovery tailored to each individual’s needs while incorporating tribal culture, and a number of fun events and activities throughout each year. The Tulalip Family Services program has been such a great success, other tribes are now following their model to start their own problem gambling programs on their reservations. 

The month of March is an important time of year for the program as they take part in a countrywide initiative known as Problem Gambling Awareness month. The campaign originally began nearly twenty years ago in response to the amount of sports gambling surrounding the NCAA March Madness college basketball tournament.

 In an effort to spread the word about their services and the dangers of habitual betting, Problem Gambling hosts several events during the awareness month, as well as provides numerous resources and support to those fighting the gambling disease.

To help raise awareness, the Problem Gambling Program teamed up with Tulalip News to bring you a weekly series of articles throughout March. Over the course of the next four weeks, participants who have found success with the Problem Gambling program will share their stories about how the program assisted them in their recovery journey. And in some cases, how the program ultimately saved their lives. 

The following story was recounted by local recovering addict, Jessica D. Trigger warning – this transcription touches on difficult subjects including suicide.

Jessica D:

“My story is — I’m trying to think about where to start. I hit rock bottom to the point where I didn’t want to live anymore. I actually tried numerous times to kill myself when driving in my vehicle. At the last second, I would always turn because I was afraid that hitting a cement wall or barrier wouldn’t kill me, but put me in more pain. Gambling was one way to escape my pain and loneliness, among other stuff, because it would give me the endorphins to help deal with that pain. 

I tried [Gamblers Anonymous] for a few years and I just wasn’t ready. It was September of 2018 that I was like, ‘okay I’m going to try to go to a GA meeting one more time’. I knew I needed GA but I also knew that I needed something more. I heard other ladies talking in that meeting, and I just put it out there and told them I need something more. I needed counseling, I needed something else that is more in-depth than what GA could provide. That’s when someone mentioned the Tulalip Problem Gambling program and I reached out and looked into it because I was at my last end. 

One thing that attracted me to the program was that it is free. And being an addict, I didn’t have any money. I was behind on rent, my car payment and behind on everything. So, I took a chance. I had nothing else to lose. At the time, my train of thought was that I needed to find something or else I’d have to follow through with my demise.

I went in and filled the intake form and told myself that I’d give this a real shot. I was hopeful because they told me I was not alone and that this program could help me get into the deeper things that I was looking for. I started going to one-on-one sessions and started the group — it totally changed my life. I would not be alive today if it wasn’t for the Problem Gambling program. It was what I needed. They helped me get to the root of my addiction and figure out when I crossed that invisible line and understand why I couldn’t stop.

One thing about me is I have a scientific and logical mind, and I like to know the reasoning behind things. And having that schooling and information that they provide – learning that our brain chemicals change and learning the mechanics behind it all that was very important in my recovery. I also had all these preconceived notions about addictions. And I found out that it is exactly the same as alcoholism or drug addiction, it changes the brain chemicals the exact same way, it’s just a different form of addiction. That really opened my eyes to other addictions and how they are all connected.

The people, especially Robin [Johnson] she was my counselor, I’m so grateful for them. She met me where I was at, because I can be stubborn. She worked with me on how I needed to do things. Everything I learned in the program and learned about myself, was life changing.

I entered the program in October 2018, and I actually didn’t stop gambling until March 9, 2019. I kept having a relapse. On March 9, I finally had enough and decided to give it a good try. And that’s where the program really helped, Robin advised me to try just for a short period of time, take it more in chunks. It’s been very enlightening and I’m so thankful. Back then, I never would’ve thought I’d make this far. 

Once I hit a year, I could see how much my life changed and could feel that it made a difference. In GA meetings, every now and then we’ll do what’s called brag time and now I’m excited and celebrate my amount of time. It’s interesting how the mind changes over time when you are sober and you get the time under your belt. It feels good.

The techniques are great too. I learned some amazing tools to help work through any thoughts about gambling or urges. I learned tools that I still use to this day and have been able to share with other people. 

One of the tools is called ‘Walking through my story: Playing my tape’. With an addiction, our little addict in us – whatever you want to call it, a monster, everyone has a different name for it. It only remembers the happy things and the good feelings we get from our addictions. But we have to remind ourselves about the horrible bad feelings that we go through when we succumb to the addiction. So when playing my tape, I have to remind myself what would happen if I went to the casino. I would ultimately lose, that happens 99% of the time. I would get the gut wrenching feeling in my stomach, the horrible feeling that I can’t stop. I would have to continue to go back to the ATM to try to win back my losses.

It also helps thinking about what I’ve accomplished since then, like being able to pay-off my bills. I have almost everything paid-off now. I have a roof over my head, I’m up to date on my rent and my medical bills. I can actually pay for stuff and I can go out with my friends. I don’t have to worry about what I’m going to eat and don’t have to scramble or look for money through the cushions of my couch.

In the beginning, it was helpful to set an alarm. I’d set an alarm for ten, twenty or thirty minutes, however much time I think I need, and distract myself and do something else for that amount of time. When my alarm goes off, I re-evaluate and see if I still have a strong urge to gamble. If I do, I reset my alarm again, and just for that time frame I don’t gamble or give in to my addiction. Instead of taking it one day at a time, I take one moment at time. 

And of course there’s phone lists, reaching out to people and talking to others who I met through the program. We created amazing bonds. One of my best friends now is from that group. I shared things with them that I will never share with anyone again, not even with my family. In that group I had to share it. 

Now when I’m at a GA meeting and I am talking to somebody after hearing their story, I’ll usually tell them that it’s awesome they are there and let them know that if they are ever wanting or needing extra help, I know of this great program. It’s a more intensive program that will help you get to the root of the addiction and help you work through recovery. 

Right now, it’s more of a word of mouth type of program and I feel like more people need to know about it. Especially with gambling addiction, because it is acceptable to go out gambling and people don’t realize it can become an addiction and you can cross a line with it. 

It’s important to make other people realize that there is hope out there and there is help. I know that I would not be here without the Problem Gambling Program today. I tell everyone that it saved my life.” 

The Tulalip Problem Gambling Program will be hosting events throughout Problem Gambling Awareness Month, leading up to an in-person dinner event taking place at Tulalip Resort Casino on March 26th at 6:00 p.m.

If you or someone you love is dealing with a gambling addiction, or if you would like to find out more information about Problem Gambling Awareness month, please contact (360) 716-4304.  

A Tale of two Tulalip hoopers

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

The weekend of February 19 was filled with Washington State high school basketballers reveling in the elation of sweet victory or the bitter sting of defeat. For many local programs it was their last opportunity to punch a ticket to the Regional round and earn a potential trip to the highly coveted State playoffs. Two such teams featured Tulalip tribal members and well-known bucket getters.

Both inspirational female ballers. Both high school seniors. Both playing for programs outside Marysville School District. Both hoping to end their high school hoops career with a State run. 

Jacynta Myles anchors the Lummi Nation Blackhawks as their starting center, while Tamiah Joseph comes off the bench to ignite the Archbishop Murphy Wildcats’ second unit. They each played on Saturday, February 19, in raucous gymnasiums located in Mt. Vernon.

First up with a noon tipoff was Lummi Nation vs. Muckleshoot in battle of two tribal schools featuring an ensemble of all-Native talent. Before the game, Muckleshoot coach Dora Brings Yellow said, “We know that it’s going to take a complete team effort to box out #32 [Jacynta]. We have no one close to matching her size or height, so it’s up to the entire team to keep her from living in the paint. As two tribal schools, it’s unfortunate we have to play each other in a knock-out game, but our people travel well. We fully expect to hear both teams’ fans throughout the game.”

The Rez ball battle was dominated by Lummi in the first three quarters. Going into the 4th quarter, Lummi led 30-17. Jacynta was making her presence felt in the post by gobbling up every rebound. She routinely fended off double and triple teams to seemingly grab every available loose ball. 

But as outclassed as Muckleshoot was to that point, they refused to concede the game. Instead, Muckleshoot benched their two starting bigs down the stretch and went with a five guard lineup. This change in strategy allowed for Muckleshoot to run an all-out uptempo offense on every possession, wherein they routinely got to the bucket before the towering Jacynta could shutdown the paint. 

In an incredible turn of events, Lummi squandered their 13-point lead in the final quarter and were forced into overtime. Minus three starters who all fouled out in the 4th, Lummi and their rebounding monster Jacynta just didn’t have enough firepower. Muckleshoot and their adoring fans roared as their 47-41 victory went final, while a contingent of Lummi and Tulalip faithful sat stunned in disbelief. 

The 6-foot-3-inch Jacynta finished her last high school game with an incredible career-high 38 rebounds to go with 12 points, 3 steals, and 2 blocks.

“So many people have asked me this season why I’m playing for a rival and opted to leave Tulalip in order to play for Lummi. My response remained the same every time – I’m Tulalip wherever I go,” shared Jacynta postgame. “I felt playing for Lummi was the best opportunity to reach State, while being able to proudly embrace my Tulalip culture, and in the end we came up just short. I wouldn’t change my decision at all. I never compromised who I was and my Lummi teammates and coaches supported me the entire time.

“Looking to the future, I’m being recruited by colleges to go play volleyball. Some of the college coaches in New York, Maine and Kansas have expressed interest in me playing basketball, too, if I want to go that route,” she added. “What I’ve learned this year more than anything is trying new things, being willing to fail in order to learn how to succeed, is the best confidence builder. I know there’s so much more I can improve upon, but I’m willing to accept the challenge to get better and train with those willing to teach me.”

A mere six-hours after Lummi’s stunning loss, Tamiah Joseph and her Archbishop Wildcats took to the hardwood for a matchup with the Burlington-Edison Tigers. On the line was the NW District 2A Championship and a high seed in the upcoming Regional tournament. 

A 5-foot-9-inch power guard, Tamiah came off the bench to give her team a boost defensively whenever her coach instructed. She guarded the Tigers best perimeter players on multiples occasions and did an admirable job of slowing them down. 

Tied at 13-13 midway through the 2nd quarter, the Wildcats held a slight 2-point advantage at halftime, when they led 17-15. In what would be a season deciding 2nd half, Tamiah provided invaluable energy during her team’s 42-29 outpacing of Burlington down the stretch. While the Archbishop fans cheered from the stands, players and coaches reveled in a 59-44 victory. In traditional fashion, the Wildcat players took turns postgame, one by one climbing a ladder to cut a single strand of nylon from their winning basket. An occasion befitting the NW District 2A Girls Basketball Champions.

“Tamiah’s role all season has been to come off the bench and knock down big shots for us. Clearly, our opponent game planned for her shooting tonight, but she still managed to make an impact on this game with her defense,” said Archbishop head coach Ebany Herd after her team’s Championship performance. “She does a really good job of grabbing offensive rebounds and staying patient on offense, usually being ready to shoot the 3-ball when she has the opportunity.”

“I’ve been friends with Tamiah since our freshman year and I just love her to pieces,” added Archbishop senior and starting point guard Jojo Chiangpradit. “She’s such a good shooter. If she’s open, she’s gonna knock down her jumpers. We’ve always been able to count on her to hit a clutch 3 when it really matters.”

Next up for Tamiah and her Wildcats is a Regional round matchup with W.F. West High School out of Wenatchee on Friday, February 25. Tipoff is set for 8:00pm at Tumwater High School. Regardless of the outcome, Archbishop with their District Championship is guaranteed a State appearance and at least one game in the Yakima Valley SunDome in early March. 

Hibulb Cultural Center is making headlines in Snohomish County

By Shaelyn Hood, Tulalip News

On January 28, the Everett Herald Readers’ Choice Awards announced that for the first time, the Hibulb Cultural Center had won 2021’s Best Museum in Snohomish County. Winning this award allows the opportunity to spread more awareness to others about Hibulb’s presence, and confirm all the hard work that the staff make to revive, restore, protect, interpret, collect and enhance the history, traditional cultural values and spiritual beliefs of the Tulalip Tribes. 

The process for winning an award like this isn’t easy. To even get your hat thrown in the ring, someone outside of the organization must nominate you. Then, the Everett Herald releases the voting panel, votes are made, and the winner with the most votes takes home the title. Currently there are 18 other competing museums in Snohomish County.

Museums have the ability to create solidarity on a social and political level. The various Smithsonian museums within the United States see roughly 3.3 million people combined every year. These museums cover numerous cultural backgrounds, highlighting major political figures, historical art pieces, and an insight to humankind. They are wildly popular and hold the power to attract, educate, and influence the people that visit them.

What many seem to forget is that local museums are just as invaluable. They offer an insight into the history of a specific location, and help us to pay tribute to the communal cultures, customs, and legacies to that area. As the New Jersey Maritime Museum stated, “Museums focused on heritage and culture bring people together, creating a network of support for different minorities and groups. It is support networks like these that prevent cultures from disappearing and languages from dying.” 

Of the 18 museums that are located in Snohomish County, the Hibulb Cultural Center is the only museum that focuses on Native American history and culture. One of Hibulb’s most popular attractions is the tracking of Native American lineage. This gives current tribal members the ability to enter their Tribal enrollment number and track their descendance. And anybody can see the earliest recorded history of connections to the tribes that have created Tulalip Tribes. Something so significant and meaningful to visualize after many years of genocide and lost history.

Hibulb Group Tours Specialist, Courtnie Reyes said, “A lot of people around here don’t know the entire history of Tulalip people or a lot of the history of Native Americans in general. I think we bring a lot of that to the table, and allow people to get educated on our history and on the land they were on as well.”

During the time in which the voting was taking place for Everett Herald’s Best Museum, the world was put on pause. The Covid-19 pandemic made it hard for businesses to stay open, and interactions became limited. The Hibulb did it’s best to remain connected to people, and the staff worked diligently to maintain an online presence. 

Museum Manager Mytyl Hernandez said, “We tried to keep people engaged in our center through our social media campaigns. We would recycle some of our old posts and share videos for people to continue to see our content. We have a really great relationship with our social media following, and we tried to navigate it as much as we could.” 

The center also utilized this time to produce videos on their TV program, Hibulb Conversations, which features heated conversations and hot topics that can be shown online and in exhibits.

Because Hibulb followed tribal government guidelines, they safely reopened in August 2020, though visitation numbers were extremely low. During their busiest months of the year, March to June, they normally see around 7,000 guests. However from 2020-2021, they fell well below that average.

Though visitor counts remain lower than usual, Hernandez believes that more people will come and experience the center, “people really look at museums as a place of solitude, and a welcoming and safe environment. So as soon as we were able to do so, we were happy to provide that to our community and our guests.”

With the abundance of effort put on by tribal staff, the Hibulb Cultural Center raises awareness about tribal culture, educates people outside of our tribe, and maintains the cultural wellness of our people. If you would like to visit or know more information about the center, go to: