25th Anniversary (plus one) of the Evergreen State longhouse

Vickie Era-Pancretz (Alutiiq) AWIRNAQ – Alutiiq Hunting Hat.
Spruce root, sea otter fur, dentalium, antique Russian trade beads, imitation sea lion whiskers,
suet, cloth straps
“AWIRNAQ represents my hunt for my roots, which started as a student of Native American Studies in 1994. Through the Longhouse community, I connected with and studied under many Northwest Master Basket Weavers and participated in Pacific Art Northwest 1997 – 1999, winning two awards. 
As a member of the Northwest Native Basketweavers Association, I first connected with an Alutiiq grass basket weaver. In early 2010, I traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia with the director of the Alutiiq Museum, plus four other Alutiiq weavers and one Tlingit weaver. We studied collections of hundreds of Alutiiq weavings from the Koniag region, including many spruce root hunting hats. These were highly decorated and some brightly painted to express hunting prowess. 
After several years, I was able to collect and process enough spruce root to weave this hat—similar to one that is in the Smithsonian Museum. Fellow Alutiiq artist, Jerry Laktonen, honored me with his painted whale design. This has been a meaningful journey of connection for me and I would be honored to have AWIRNAQ on exhibit where my journey began. I am grateful to our Creator for guiding my hands and heart, and for bringing me to the Longhouse.”

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Native artists are luminaries of their shared cultures, lighting the pathway back into the far reaches of history, and leading the way into the future with their creative vision. In continuing our celebration of November as Native American Heritage Month, we offer our readers a stunning collection of artwork offered by such luminaries. These examples of fine Native craftsmanship were curated by the devoted longhouse team at Evergreen State College.

The “House of Welcome” longhouse education and cultural center is a public service center on the college’s Olympia campus. Built in collaboration with Northwest Tribes, it is the first building of its kind on a public campus in the United States. It was a dream of Native students, tribal artists and faculty member Mary Ellen Hillaire (Lummi Nation), who founded Evergreen’s Native American Studies program in 1972. 

Kelly Church (Grand Traverse Bay of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians) Fiberge Egg #9
Black ash, black ash seed, Rit Dye, sweet grass, copper, velvet, sinew
“The Emerald Ash Borer was discovered in 2002 in Michigan in the eastern side of the state. At that time thousands of ash trees had died. It is called the Emerald Ash Borer because it is a beautiful emerald green color with a copper colored belly. This basket represents the Emerald Ash Borer, with its green and copper colors, and opens to a vial containing the Emerald Ash Borer and a black ash seed;
The End and the Beginning. 
The black ash tree is the last to get its leaves in the summer, and the first to lose the leaves usually.
The seeds take 2 years to germinate. They drop to the ground in the fall time, go through a winter, spring, summer, and the next summer it begins to grow. It grows in the swamps and wetlands and provides food
for our white tail deer. 
The tree provides the community with splints for baskets that provide utilitarian baskets such as baby baskets, fishing creels, ceremonial baskets and more, as well as the finances for food, shelter, and future harvests to do it all again. It provides communities with teachings that bring together families, weavers, and future generations to carry these teachings on into the next generation.  While it seems like the end is inevitable, I also see this as a new beginning. A new resurgence, an urgency, a recognition, the awakening of blood memory. Our people are strong and with good hearts, they are learning, they are weaving, they are hearing the voices of their ancestors, and they are listening.”

In 1995 their dream came true thanks to the perseverance of Evergreen graduate Colleen Jollie and since that time, the mission of Evergreen’s “House of Welcome,” has been to promote Indigenous arts and cultures from not only the Pacific Northwest, but nationally.  

Since opening, the Longhouse has awarded over $800,000 in individual artist grants; it has hosted over 200 artists residencies and workshops; it has premiered 15 art exhibitions; sent six Northwest Native American artists to New Zealand for artist residencies; and hosted two international artists gatherings featuring Indigenous artists from around the Pacific Rim.  

Chholing Taha (Cree First Nations) We Are One Bond
Acrylic on plywood
“This collaborative piece was designed as one of twelve puzzle pieces adorned with traditional stories by both North and South American Indigenous artists. This work discusses many aspects of the interconnectedness of all life. The home fire (society), the stars (sweat lodge elements), tipi poles (each has teachings on how to behave as a thinking human being), rock around the tipi bottom (a woman’s skirt, modesty), the rope binding the tipi poles (We Hold Our Life Together), and the lovely plants that provide medicine and food for all.”

This past summer, Kara Briggs (Sauk-Suiattle) was appointed as Vice President for Tribal Relations, Arts and Cultures. Briggs is determined to continue Evergreen’s 50 years of success as an institution that serves Native students, helping them to which has pave the way to successful careers in their own Tribes, as well as in government, arts and sciences.  

Alex Swiftwater McCarty (Makah)
Friendship Mask. Red cedar, red cedar bark
“Along with the print Pacific Connection, this piece is influenced by my collaborative work with master carver Lyonel Grant during the summer of 2015. We had the opportunity to make monumental carvings for the new Evergreen Fiber Arts Studio that truly blends Northwest Native and Māori design
elements and motifs. 
`As an artist, I work with both contemporary and traditional mediums, and I am always fascinated with translating three-dimensional carved elements into two-dimensional printed images. I first carved the Friendship Mask out of old-growth red cedar and adorned it with cedar bark for hair. This mask represents the new connections made between Pacific Indigenous nations and peoples.”

“The Evergreen Longhouse is a nationally important center for Northwest Native arts and model for other state and private colleges in how to work with Tribes and Native artists to advance Native cultural and artistic expression,” Briggs said. “As The Evergreen State College looks to the next 50 years, and the Longhouse to the next 25 years, we must continue to grow our relationships with Tribes and Native artists, so that we are always creating pathways for Northwest Native peoples to advance.”  

2021 marks the 25th Anniversary (plus one) of Evergreen’s longhouse. The faculty and support staff who embody the heart of the longhouse enjoy convening groups of artists, providing a venue, forum and tools that are needed for artists to express their creativity.

A retrospective art exhibition opening on November 20th, featuring Indigenous artists from throughout the Pacific Rim who have contributed and participated in the work of the longhouse for the past 25 years. The exhibit is free to the general public and can be seen in Evergreen’s gallery located in the Daniel J. Evans building on the college’s Olympia campus. It runs through January 29, 2022.  

“This was one of the most successful Bazaars yet!”

Monie Ordonia.

By Shaelyn Hood, Tulalip News

Makyna Lancaster and Domonick Fuga.

Following last year’s Covid-19 cancellation of the Native Bazaar, many people were eager to see what this year’s Bazaar had to show. Many artists used the event as a time to hone in on their craft and create beautiful pieces for the sale. With over 49 vendors signed up, volunteer organizer, Tammy Taylor, knew this year was going to bring a lot of surprises.

The Bazaar started on Friday November 12 and continued through Sunday November 14. Vendors had a variety of items from, cedar hats/headbands, quilts, acrylic paintings, beaded jewelry, Christmas ornaments, knitted hats, smoked salmon, handmade drums and rattles, and much more. The event drew in such a large crowd that some vendors had sold out by Friday and Saturday. In their attempts to continue selling, vendors went as far as making new pieces overnight to bring the next day. 

Monie Ordonia, a painter and vendor at the event, talked about her experience, “Everyone must have really missed this, we’ve had a lot of foot traffic. It makes me happy to get people excited about art; when they get into the wondering ‘awe’ state, where they want to take it home with them. I take that feeling with me.” 

As we all know, COVID-19 caused a lot of disruptions for gatherings and the Native Bazaar became one of the first major events where the community could come together again. And for many, that was the most important thing.

Tammy Yelm.

 “I usually travel with my family to different elders’ luncheons, it’s nice to be able to come back here and be with the community,” said vendor, Tammy Yelm 

For another vendor, Lisa James-Rodriguez, this was her first year at the Native Bazaar, “I’ve been crafting for six years; art has really become my therapy. During quarantine, it helped keep my sanity, I got to explore new crafts and styles, and the art just speaks to me. Art is a feeling.” 

Lisa James-Rodriguez and Mary Jo James.

Art can be such a fun and emotional process for a lot of artists, and in many ways, they are exposing themselves. The Tulalip community really came together and showed their support for the event and for these artists. Tammy Taylor was extremely happy, “This was one of the most successful Native Bazaars yet! We were all surprised at the turnout. Thank you to the Tulalip Community for coming out and supporting your local Tulalip artists.” 

 She also gave a shout out to the maintenance team, “Barry Davis, Don and their group, they helped set up everything in two hours. Every year they are so gracious and help with cleaning up and supporting our events. They help everything run so smoothly.” 

Tammy Taylor (right).

The Native Bazaar will be taking place one last time before the end of the year, December 3-5 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Don Hatch Jr. Youth Center. The same vendors will be attending, but expect new things! 

Unfortunately, at this time, the space is filled and cannot take anymore new vendors. If you would like to join the waitlist, or have any questions about the upcoming Bazaar, please contact Tammy Taylor at: 425-501-4141

Hundreds of Families turn out for Trunk or Treat 2021

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

A steady line of cars extended through the Tulalip reservation on the afternoon of October 31, beginning along Marine Drive and ending at the Tulalip Gathering Hall parking lot. Patiently waiting in each vehicle were little princesses, superheroes, beloved cartoon and movie characters as well as a number of scary villains and frightening monsters – all of whom were ecstatic to receive candy and check out all the creepy and creative decorations at the annual Tulalip Trunk or Treat community celebration. 

Hosted by the local volunteer group, Together We’re Better, the Halloween-themed event has brought smiles to the kids and families of Tulalip for nearly a decade. 

“This is our ninth Trunk or Treat,” exclaimed Together We’re Better Founder, Malory Simpson. “Our first Trunk or Treat was at the admin building. And then we added a potluck, we had mass foods and crafts, and lots of things for the kids to do. But with COVID, we had to do a drive-thru style this year and last year.”

As you may know, Halloween is quite the spooktacular holiday amongst Tulalip citizens. In addition to Trunk or Treat, there are usually multiple community and tribal department events that take place during the season. However, with the delta variant still on the rise, most of those celebrations were canceled for the second year in a row, which has contributed to more volunteers and participants during the yearly Trunk or Treat festivities. 

This year, Together We’re Better collaborated on the popular event with the Tulalip Tribes. Many tribal departments and local organizations spent the holiday with the community including the Tulalip Police and Fire Departments, Tulalip Remedy and the Tulalip Lions Club. And as always, the Sacred Riders and other surrounding motorcycle clubs joined in on the fun. 

Said Malory, “We have our regulars, like the Sacred Riders, they’ve been coming for years. That’s one of my favorite things about Trunk or Treat is when you hear the bikes come in. I’ve had steady people volunteer over the years and have lots of new people always coming in. The amount of Trunk or Treaters has definitely grown. I think word got through to the surrounding communities, and that’s what Together we’re Better is about, bringing the community together and that’s both Tulalip and Marysville. Seeing the different faces and our members of Tulalip coming through is pretty awesome.”

She continued, “Last year, the Tribe donated candy, this year, they donated the buckets and lots and lots of candy. It is also the first year that the staff has been involved with the collaboration, I think we have the CEO staff, custodial and public works lending a hand today.” 

By altering Trunk or Treat to a drive-thru celebration, Together We’re Better found a way to provide a safe and fun Halloween event where kids can still show off their costumes while collecting sugary snacks, just like the good-ol’-days before the world-wide pandemic. By the end of the three-hour event, hundreds of kids left the drive-thru with buckets overflowing with candy as well as several fun and healthy items such as books and toothbrushes. 

“Being able to do something for the community is very fulfilling,” expressed Together We’re Better volunteer, Natosha Gobin. “It was nice to gather with everybody and see the decorations and the excitement on the kids and parents faces when they drove thru. Everybody came together and did this for the kids, and that’s really powerful.”

If you are looking to get more involved with the community, Together We’re Better, is always accepting donations, whether that is goods, money or your personal volunteered time. For more information, please contact Malory Simpson at (425) 905-9137. 

Coming Soon: 2021 Native Bazaar

By Shaelyn Hood, Tulalip News

On November 12-14, and December 3-5, Tulalip will be hosting their annual Native Bazaar, where local tribal members will be showcasing and selling their various crafts. The Bazaar will take place at the Don Hatch Jr. Youth Center, 6700 Totem Beach Rd, from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM.

Tammy Taylor has been the volunteer organizer for 10 years. However, she said that the event itself has been going on long before she took it over. The event originally started by Carolyn “Uppy” Thornberry around 23 years ago, when she opened the doors for tribal members to gather and display their crafts. Tammy Taylor has been so glad to carry on the tradition, noting how every year is filled with laughs and smiles, “Getting to spend a weekend or two with our elders, all day long, and getting share stories amongst the tables, that makes me happy.” She voiced how she wants all of our membership to come out to this beautiful gathering and support one another.

Already, 49 different vendors have been listed to be at the Bazaar, making it the largest Bazaar that Tulalip has ever had. With 2019’s Native Bazaar being the second largest with 32 vendors. Some of the vendors will be bringing different Native art, cedar baskets, carvings, beaded jewelry, Native prints, crafts, drums, clothing, and more. You will also find food vendors like Lynette Jimicum, Brian Gobin, Jared’s Corner, and various other baked goods. Most vendors will accept cash, and only some will take card.

Tammy Taylor recognized that to protect our elders, our vendors, and our community, the COVID-19 mask mandate will be enforced.

The artists are excited to gather again with friends, and family, and display their different crafts, especially since, due to covid, there was no bazaar last year.

Some vendors to look out for are:

David Fryberg.

David Fryberg. He has been participating in the Bazaar since Tulalip first started the event. David makes drums, rattles, clappers, cedar woven baskets, and hats. He first started learning his different crafts to become more connected to his culture 30 years ago, and to hopefully start teaching his family. Often, he makes different items for his family as well, “One year, we made all the boys drums, and all the girls rattles, so they could play together.” Lance Taylor took him on, and first taught him how to weave. David typically will sell his pieces during the bazaars, Canoe Journeys, and on Facebook to friends and family, but he also travels to different reservations in the state. 

Jamie Sheldon.

Jamie Sheldon. She has been participating in the Bazaar for 4 years now. Jamie and her mom will be bringing cedar jewelry, knitted hats, cedar baskets, and headbands, and Pendleton tote bags. Jamie helps teach the Weaving Gatherings every Wednesday night at the Hibulb Cultural Center. She is most excited to see all the different art pieces everyone is bringing, “I like just seeing all the people. I mean, everyone comes out to do their Christmas shopping. So, I missed that. It’s good to see everybody and what they’re making, it’s fun!”

Margaret Henry Hayes.

Margaret Henry Hayes. She has been participating in the Bazaar since 2017, but because of the COVID-19 shut down last year, she is most excited to just gather with people again, “I think what’s really exciting for me is getting to see family and getting to reacquaint with people I haven’t seen for a long time. I enjoy selling and being a part of that, but I enjoy even more being a part of something positive in our tribe and being able to connect.” She went on to say, “We all do something a little different. Each person is so unique, with what they’re doing and what they’re using. It’s really nice for me to scroll around to see what the rest of the families are doing.” Margaret will be bringing vaÍrious natural shea butter soaps, bracelets, cedar dolls, rice bags, apple butter and jams. She started learning how to make cedar dolls from a class 15 years ago, and it will take her on average a week to make each doll. You can typically find her cedar dolls at bazaars, and the shea butter soaps at a boutique in Everett.

Rocky Harrison.

Rocky Harrison. This will be his first year working the Bazaar. He will be selling smoked salmon. He catches the fish, and his cousin Dennis Reeves helps smoke it for him. Rocky has been fishing with his family since he was a child, and now he owns his own business and fleet of boats. Fishing became a saving grace for him, “When I was growing up, I was on a negative path. Fishing is one of the things that has helped me. I was able to develop a more businesslike mindset and better myself. Fishing has helped me change my life around.” He usually sells to fish buyers, so he is happy to have the opportunity to sell directly to tribal members, visit everyone before the holidays, and bless people with delicious fish.

Jasmyne Diaz.

Jasmyne Diaz. This is her third year doing the Bazaar. She mostly creates flat stitch beading and a lot of earrings. She works with various materials like beads, dentalium shells, fur, and cedar. She first learned in elementary school from her grandmother. She was inspired to carry the tradition, “I’m just trying to break generational curses. I collect jewelry to leave to my kids, like turquoise rings, ivory jewelry, etc. But my husband and I strive to not only leave material things, but also leave skills that they can carry on.”Í She typically sells most of her products on Instagram- @sageandsapphirebeading and her website- www.sageandsapphirebeads.com Her items sell quickly online, so she is excited to sell directly to tribal members and give them the first opportunity to buy.

These are just a handful of the many vendors that will be attending the event. Come check out the countless artworks and the amazing artists behind them. Please keep in mind, because of the limited space, the Bazaar is no longer accepting any new vendors at this time. If anyone has any questions about the bazaar, please contact Tammy Taylor at: 425-501-4141.

November is Native American Heritage Month

By Shaelyn Hood, photos by Kalvin Valdillez 

The purpose of Native American Heritage Month (NAHM) is to celebrate Native Americans’ and Alaska Natives’ rich culture, traditions, and historical moments in native history. This time also serves as an opportunity to educate people outside of Native American culture and raise awareness about the challenges that Native people have fought historically and are facing in the present. 

Efforts to recognize Native Americans and their history began in 1916, when the New York Governor declared an “American Indian Day.” Throughout the years following, many other states and local jurisdictions began to follow suit. The next action taken was in 1979, when Congress passed the joint resolution suggesting that a “Native American Awareness Week” be made. Seven years later, in 1986, President Ronald Reagan declared November 23rd – November 30th as Native American Heritage Week. 

It wasn’t until President George H.W. Bush approved the joint resolution to designate the whole month, back in 1990. The proclamation came after several decades of Dr. Arthur C. Parker, the American Indian Association, Reverend Sherman Coolidge and Red Fox James advocating and persisting the importance of this month. This landmark proclamation honoring America’s tribal people was a major steppingstone in celebrating Native culture. 

During Native American Heritage Month, there are many opportunities to celebrate the rich culture of Native Americans, including attending powwows, festivals, art shows, and gatherings; visiting with other tribes; listening to storytellers; attending presentations given by tribal elders and leaders, and reading about American Indian tribes and culture. This month gives an opportunity to reflect, and reconnect to our history, our culture, and our ancestors.

Below is a comprehensive list of some local and virtual events in November that tribal members can participate in.

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

Preserving the cedar weaving artform

By Shaelyn Hood, Tulalip News

Every Wednesday, the Hibulb Cultural Center holds a Weaving Gathering from 5-7 PM. It is an open forum for those who are wanting to learn new weaving skills or work on their current projects. It is a time to visit with loved ones, share your works, and learn from community leaders. For any first timers, there are also weaving kits available for purchase. 

Basket weaving and various other cedar crafts is a big part of Native American culture and is one of the oldest arts in the Pacific Northwest. There are different styles of basket weaving, plaiting, twining, and coiling. Each basket and craft serve a purpose, whether to be used for storage, for holding food, rinsing items, or carrying large loads.  

Materials for weaving like cedar bark, spruce roots, and various types of grasses are are harvested throughout the year, then processed and dried for future use. Sometimes during the process, the materials are naturally dyed to add a pop of color. When the weaver feels like the material is ready, the cedar is rewetted so it can become more pliable.

For some weavers, basket weaving acts as a source of income. For others, it acts as a gift giving method for their family and friends. In any situation, basket weavers hold a high status in our community, just as they did centuries ago.

The September 22nd class was held by Jamie Sheldon, and other members of her family will be guiding future classes.

The Weaving Gatherings at HCC help preserve an artform that can be passed on to our loved ones and promote Native culture. For more information about the next Weaving Gathering, follow the events calendar at HibulbCulturalCenter.org, or call 360-716-2600.

Following Faith: Tulalip’s own social media influencer is on the rise

By Kalvin Valdillez; photos courtesy of Faith Iukes

Next time you are screen-scrolling on your favorite app, whether it’s YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or TikTok, do yourself a favor and search for the username @faith.iukes11. You will find a number of videos and photos that are guaranteed to brighten your day and boost your serotonin levels, all created by a Tulalip entrepreneur who is making quite the name for herself at the young age of 12.

“My name is Faith Iukes. I’m 12 years old and I work on social media,” she proudly beamed. “I vlog myself every day and I basically share my everyday life.”

Showcasing stunning camera work and an amazing on-screen presence, Faith is practicing an art that Native peoples have passed through the generations since time immemorial, storytelling. Bringing the tradition to present-day digital platforms, Faith utilizes her gift of storytelling just as her ancestors did before her, documenting the times and culture, making others laugh and smile, and teaching her peers, the next generation, how to be a voice for the people. 

With wisdom beyond her years, she passionately shared, “If we are not preparing our youth to become successful, we are not preparing the world for the next group of leaders.”

A natural-born go-getter, Faith creates opportunities by simply being herself, giving the world a first-hand look at what growing up on the Tulalip reservation looks like. Faith’s love for her family, community and homelands shines in each of her videos and photos, whether that’s participating in community events, using a drone to record all the scenic views Tulalip has to offer, or sharing screen time with her friends and family on her daily vlog. 

When asked about some of her favorite highlights of her blossoming career, she quickly stated, “Sometimes I do food reviews with my sisters! I love my family and I love social media. This is something that I’ve always wanted to do and when I was younger, I just wasn’t ready yet. COVID came around and my great-grandma passed. Everyone in my family was so sad, I thought I could use this to bring a smile to everybody’s face, so I got on YouTube.”

Not only is she a rising social media star, Faith also possesses impressive filming and editing skills, and she is just as talented behind the camera as she is on-screen. Everything she has created to-date has been self-taught. Through YouTube how-to videos, she learned all of her cutting, sequencing and scoring techniques and she already has a vast knowledge of how to use industry-standard editing software programs such as Adobe Lightroom. 

Faith’s father, William Iukes, has also been instrumental in her social media journey so far. In addition to helping her map out her goals, recording additional footage, and learning editing skills to help out when he can, he’s also taken on the role of her manager and helped land her a number of partnerships with other Indigenous artists, creatives, musicians and organizations, ensuring he’s doing everything he can in order for his daughter to exceed her goals.   

“She’s bringing a positive message to a lot of our kids out here, especially in Indian Country,” he shared. “The one thing she is really into is helping people with the success she’s getting. Her success is their success. We’ll be at Walmart or somewhere and kids will run up to her, say hi and ask for a selfie. And when they ask how do I become who you are, she stops and tells them, ‘this is who I am and this is what I do. You can do the same thing, you just have to keep believing who are and keep thriving to be the best you.’ That is something that I’m very proud of as a father.”

Faith interviews former Seattle Seahawk, Doug Baldwin.

Faith’s hard work is on display in all of her productions and has helped build her personal brand, leading to several partnerships and collaborations. Currently, Faith is sponsored by the local Native clothing company, Salish Style. She was also given an official title as media journalist for Rise Above, an Indigenous non-profit that was established to promote healthy lifestyles and empower Native youth through sports. In fact, she recently attended a Rise Above basketball camp where she got the chance to meet and interview Seattle Seahawk Doug Baldwin. 

“I asked him, how much does giving back to the youth mean to him and what inspired him to work with Rise Above. He said it was me, because his daughter watches me. I thought that was really exciting because it wasn’t expected, it was shocking and it made me happy,” she expressed.

During that same basketball camp, she also met representatives of the newly established NHL hockey team, the Seattle Kraken, and she now has plans to work with the team throughout their first season. Also in the works, a future collaboration with Native rappers and actors, Lil’ Mike & FunnyBone, who first gained popularity on America’s Got Talent and are currently starring in the hit TV show, Reservation Dogs. 

William stated that Faith is not one to get caught up in the numbers and stats such as the amount of views, clicks, reaches, shares, followers and subscribers, but those numbers continue to climb on the daily. At the time of her sit-down with Tulalip News, Faith said she had a goal to reach 600 subscribers on YouTube and 10,000 followers on TikTok. Her father, who has to follow the numbers as her manager, shared she wasn’t too far off from achieving that goal. Not too long after the interview, she surpassed those numbers. And after this article is published, with your help, she can continue to grow her following, with a simple click of a follow/subscribe button. And in return, you’ll get the opportunity to say that you have followed thee Faith Iukes since the beginning of her career, as she continues to grow and spread good vibes and positivity through her social medias. 

Keeping true to one of her main goals of sharing all her self-taught knowledge and skills with other Indigenous youth, a key reason to why she began her influencer journey, Faith shared, “If you want to be a YouTuber but you don’t know how, you don’t need a fancy computer or camera. When I started I only had an iPhone and a rubber ice tray for a tri-pod. You can go out, have fun, be yourself and try your best.”

Salish imPRINTS

By Micheal Rios; Collection curated by staff of the Tacoma Art Museum

Since time immemorial, Native artists have expressed the cyclical nature of their culture and unique relationship to the world around them via a vast assortment of mediums available at any given time. This connection continues to evolve in the breathtaking artwork put forth by the current generation of Native creatives. From woodcarving and basketry to jewelry making and painting, an essence of the ancestors’ resiliency is felt in new waves of indigenous artistry proudly pushing their culture forward. 

Becoming Worthy. Created by Marika Swan.
“When our people were whaling they prepared their whole lives spiritually to be worthy of a gift as generous as a whale. Everyone in the community had to work in unity to ensure the hunt was successful and done safely. Each whale was such a bountiful offering of food for the community and each part of the whale was utilized and celebrated. As a Native woman, there are many large gifts I am hoping to bring home to my community. Pook-mis, the drowned whaler, lies at the bottom of the sea floor and offers a warning that things can go horribly wrong if you are not properly prepared to receive life’s great offerings.”

Some artists carve or weave following traditions dating back generations, using the same methods and materials their ancestors used. Others have adapted modern day technology to push the bounds of painting and printmaking to explore culture shifting concepts. Such is the case with today’s formline landscape. 

Sea Raven. Created by Henry Speck.

Often, when people think of Native art of the Northwest Coast, they think of formline. An artistic style thought to originate from the first peoples of northern British Columbia and Alaska, formline is characterized by free-flowing thick and thin lines often used in combinations of U-shapes, S-shapes and flattened ovals called ovoids. Most commonly rendered in bold black and red colors, these designs often depict animals and cultural spirits on story poles, hand carved paddles and masks, and most recently t-shirts and fine art prints. 

Raelene. Created by Francis Dick. “Before  anything else, my work is  about honoring my life process, my journey through my fires, from places of pain and darkness to places that I might stand in my truth.  My work is not a career, it’s a way of life.”

Artwork showcasing the distinct Coast Salish formline style became popular during the Alaska gold rush in the 1890s and the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific exhibit in 1909. The demand for formline continued as the prime choice for public exhibitions and private collections at the same time the Pacific Northwest region saw a dramatic boom in development and residency. As the greater Seattle area continued to develop into a tourism hotbed, the formline style eclipsed all other styles indigenous to the region.

Restoration. Created by Jeffrey Veregge. 
“For thousands of years Native and Non-Native storytellers have used art as a means to share the tales of their people. For me I am carrying on a tradition that started with my ancestors by simply using the means of today and all it’s modern conveniences to share the tales that I love. Art evolves, tools get better, but the essence of what I do is the same as those who did it on the canvases nature provided for them to tell the stories of gods and heroes long, long ago.” 

Since the explosion of formline onto the mainstream art scene, countless culturally inclined Native peoples from the Northwest Coast have developed their passion for creativity in an era known as Salish Modern. Tuning their skilled artisan abilities to fulfill the demand for popular formline, the latest wave of Coast Salish artists have infused the art world with innovative prints combining storytelling, powerful cultural reflections, and vibrant Native flare. Such are the prints we offer our readers now. 

Lynx’Ooy’. Created by Ken Mowatt.

Dubbed ‘Salish imPRINTS’, this collection is created by artists who call the Salish Sea home and is intended to inspire the inner artist in everyone, while enhancing relevant conversations about a shared past, present and future.

Not a Good Day. Created by Art Thompson.

Recovery through creativity

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Radiant energy beamed from a group of artists on a late summer Saturday afternoon. Collectively working on a large masterpiece, they shared bubbly conversation as their brushstrokes left behind vibrant colors on a canvas that consisted of four panels. The artists zoned-in on the task at hand while Indigenous music blasted out of a boombox. Inside of a storage shed on a large property in Stanwood, their workspace serves as a pleasant escape from the busy world, a creative environment they get to enjoy on a near-weekly basis. 

“I experience pure relaxation. It’s very therapeutic,” said artist Jeanie Skerbeck. “It opens my mind to things I need my mind opened to. When I’m in a bad mood, I like coming here to paint. And I’ll tell you what, when I leave, I’m always in a good mood.”

Over the past few months, several Tulalip Healing Lodge residents have contributed their time, creativity and artistry to a collaborative project that many locals will get a chance to see in-person upon completion. Though plans on where have yet to be finalized, the traveling mural project will more than likely be on display at a location near you in the upcoming months. 

Although it is still a work-in-progress, the mural is a meaningful project that already holds a special place in the hearts of each artist who picked up paint brush and left their imprint on the canvas so far. Utilizing their creativity to express their story in detail, the painters found an outlet and a new form of expression that they can use as a tool during their recovery journey. 

“It’s going to be big, I love being a part of this,” exclaimed Tulalip artist, Ambrose Alexander James Jr. “I thought that I was just coming out here with my fellow comrades to keep them upbeat, but I decided to participate and it’s changing who I am. I never did this before, but my grandpa told me art brings out your true spirit and who are.  I’d like to learn all that I can because he tried to teach me before, but I never experienced what he was talking about until now, that I got two years sober.”

Numerous studies have proved that art therapy has assisted 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. This past spring, the Tulalip Problem Gambling program hosted an art class at the Healing Lodge where they asked the participants to ‘paint from the soul rather than from their brain’. 

“We really wanted to have something new they can learn, and use their gifts and talents they didn’t even realized they had, and put their energy into that,” said Problem Gambling Counselor, Robin Johnson.  “We were really amazed at how good their attention, questions and interest were during the first session. We went for two hours and we didn’t even get to the painting.” 

Problem Gambling enlisted Tulalip tribal creative, Monie Ordonia to instruct the class and the Healing Lodge residents loved her energy. Because of the great interaction between student and teacher, and all the positive results and feedback of the first class, the Problem Gambling program presented the idea of the mural to the Healing Lodge residents and asked Monie to return and lend her good vibes and expertise to the participants. 

Said Monie, “We had the residents do sketches and the question posed to them was, ‘what if instead of surviving addiction, we go past that and thrive?’ We already survived, so what’s the next step? It’s to thrive and become an empowered citizen. To thrive and use that as their legacy. This mural is part of their legacy, to help others recognize that they can also thrive through the Healing Lodge. That’s how these images came out, they were all sketched by the residents who were here at the time.”

Robin and Monie both explained that the residents at the Healing Lodge often change and many of those artists who started the project are no longer staying at the lodge. However, the new residents were happy to pick-up where the others left off and continue the project.

On one side of the mural are four drawings, including a shark-whale and a ‘star-eyed’ mask, created by previous residents at the Healing Lodge, that Monie expanded in size and transferred to the panel-canvas. The other side of the mural depicts a Tulalip Canoe Family on the waters of the Salish Sea, with their paddles facing up and an eagle soaring in the distance. 

“I feel welcomed. I feel good. I actually feel comfortable coming here and doing something like this. I really enjoy it,” expressed Tulalip artist Justine Moses. “I think it’s important for recovery, it helps us connect to our inner-selves, spiritually. And it’s cool just to see the art come out. Even if we mess up, it still looks good.”

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. Healing Lodge Resident Aide, Desa Calafiore stated, “The Tulalip Healing Lodge is a clean and sober living home for tribal members. I believe it helps people greatly. I think it’s great for the community. We have some real success stories come out of here. We offer groups, meetings, stability, cultural events. It gives them a chance to be around clean and sober people in a safe environment.”

Desa went on to explain that people often find a new passion in normal, everyday activities while on the road to recovery and self-discovery such as art. And as she mentioned previously, the Healing Lodge has many success stories, but she also stated that there were some instances where residents experienced setbacks as well, but quickly noted that this is often a necessary part of recovery. This is also a lesson that Monie is sure to incorporate in all off her teachings. 

Monie shared, “One of my biggest lessons is reminding them there are no mistakes. Mistakes are stepping stones to bring you to a new choice. When you realize it’s not about being perfect, it’s about opening up that outlet and letting your creative energy flow, that leads the way to remembering who you are and how powerful you are as a creator. So when you can activate that creative source within you, now you’re also awakening that freedom of choice, am I going to choose something that imprisons me like addiction, or am I going to choose something that empowers me, something creative that feeds the soul rather than the addiction?”

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