M.O.M.s group offers support to mothers and other caregivers

Article by Jeannie Briones        

TULALIP, Washington – Parenting is a tough, often overwhelming job that takes a lot of skill and patience. It has been referred to as the toughest job for which we receive the least training. Mothers, expectant mothers, grandmothers, or any women who take care of children can benefit from extra support and encouragement – and they can find that much-needed support at Tulalip.            

M.O.M.s (Making Opportunities for Mothers) is a support group for tribal and non-tribal females of all ages who are caregivers of children. The group meets every Tuesday from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Tulalip beda?chelh conference room.  There is no obligation or application process, it’s very simple, all you have to do is show up.

Designed to provide support for female caregivers, the group meets in a casual environment, where women feel safe enough to talk about their concerns and share their experiences with child rearing.

“Our focus of the group is to offer support,” emphasized Teri Wood, beda?chelh  Child and Family Therapist. “It’s a place for female caregivers to come and talk about real life.”

M.O.M.s group coordinators, Teri and Tamara Brushert, Administrative Assistant for beda?chelh, encourage open discussion on subjects like self-care, safety, culture, and community, allowing participants to gain knowledge and skills that enhance positive parenting practices.

Other benefits of the M.O.M.s group include monthly guest speakers and a free home cooked meal. And to make it even more worry-free, children are welcome to attend with the caregivers supervision.

If you would like more information, please Tulalip beda?chelh  at 360-716-3284.


Jeannie Briones: 360-716-4188; jbriones@tulalipbribes-nsn.gov

Children’s television series on KANU TV

Article by Jeannie Briones; photos courtesy Roger Vater, KANU TV

 TULALIP, Washington –  Tulalip KANU TV is delving into family programming. “WaposBay”, a wonderful family television series, had its first airing on November 5th on KANU TV Channel 99.

This award winning children’s animated show is an educational program for the entire family. Set in a fictitious Cree community in remote Northern Saskatchewan, Canada, the series follows the adventures of three children, ten -year-old T-Bear, 9-year Talon, and 6-year-old Raven, as they explore the world around them and experience extraordinary adventures while learning self-discovery with the help of their elders.

Through traditional ancestral teachings, children learn valuable life lessons about respect, cooperation and honesty. These teachings give kids a sense of growth and a moral compass that will equip them in decision-making in a fast-paced modern world filled with technology. Children will learn the importance of family and culture, while learning how to live in balance with the old ways and the new.

“WaposBay” airs daily at 8:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. For more information on this and other Tulalip KANU TV programs, visit www.kanutv.com.


Jeannie Briones: 360-716-488; jbrionestulaliptribes-nsn.gov

Watch D.O.G.S., heroes for a day

First Watch D.O.G.S. volunteer Paul Allen assisted his daughter Chloe at Totem Middle School

Article and photo by Jeannie Briones

 TULALIP, Washington – Ever wonder what it’s like to be a hero for a day? Ask any Watch D.O.G.S. volunteer, like Paul Allen. On October 25th, Paul, wearing his official Watch D.O.G.S. shirt and badge, greeted students at Marysville Totem Middle School as they arrived, officially kicking off the volunteer program that promotes male role models in schools. 

Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) is an innovative program created by the National Center for Fathering, which focuses on safety and education in schools by using the positive influence of fathers and father figures. On the day of their participation, Watch D.O.G.S. volunteers are given a short orientation with the school representative and are given a daily schedule of responsibilities.

“I think having a male role model is a positive influence that really helps the kids to see there are people who care about them,” said Paul. “I really want to make sure they are doing well in school and that the kids treat others with respect.”

Paul, a former Marysville Grove Elementary School, has witnessed a boost in morale and better behavior among the students, simply by having male role models on hand to bond with them.

 Paul’s two daughters are used to their dad participating at school. His 7th grade daughter, Chloe, attends Marysville Totem Middle School, and likes when her dad volunteers for school activities.

“I glad that my dad helps kids that are struggling,” said Chloe Allen.

 Paul spent his successful volunteer day assisting kids in the classroom, supervising during lunchtime, and monitoring kids for good behavior. Paul encourages other fathers to volunteer and to set a good example by being a role model, not only for their own kids, but for the entire student body.

Fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, uncles and male father figures are asked to spend at least one day at their student’s school volunteering.  They will support the school by monitoring the school property, working with kids one-on-one or in small groups, reading, helping with homework, helping with sports, or whatever needs to be done to plant seeds of success in the lives of the students. 

For information on volunteering, contact  Marysville Totem Middle School at 360.653.0610. Learn more information about the Watch D.O.G.S. program by visiting www.fathers.com/watchdogs.


Jeannie Briones: 360-716-4188; jbriones@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

Community members “walk in the shoes” of domestic violence victims

Elishia Stewart, tribal member and Manager of the Tulalip Legacy of Healing Advocacy Center and Safe House, introduced herself and the program she manages before the “In Her Shoe” workshop started.

Article and photo by Jeannie Briones

TULALIP, Washington – Domestic Violence can happen to anyone. Victims of domestic violence usually turn to family and friends for help, so staff at the Tulalip Legacy ofHealingAdvocacyCenterand Safe House is working to educate the community about the realities of domestic violence, and teaching empathy rather than sympathy.

‘In Her Shoes’, a series of interactive workshops created by the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV), debuted at the TulalipAdministrativeBuildingthis month. These workshops are designed for learning about domestic violence through audience participation.  Participants act out real life scenarios of battered women – essentially putting themselves in their shoes. The October 18th workshop, ‘In Her Shoes, Economic Justice Edition,’ focused on the added struggles that low-income battered women face and how the community can help bring justice to these survivors.

“‘In Her Shoes, Economic Justice Edition’ pays close attention to each one of these survivor’s stories and how finances and poverty impact their situation and create barriers that make them more unsafe and at risk,” said Traci Underwood, Program Coordinator for WSCADV.

During the workshop, participants stepped inside the victim’s world through an interactive exercise about life choices.  Participants were given cards printed with a real story of a victim and abuser. These stories are unique and the victims in each share a similar background, involving a lack of money and resources. Through these cards, participants make “life choices” concerning school, housing, legal situations, social services, friends, etc. These choices send them in different directions in life to face the consequences.

“When you are walking through the interactive process, you learn what happens in a woman’s life with domestic violence,” said Elishia Stewart, tribal member and Manager of the Tulalip Legacy ofHealingAdvocacyCenterand Safe House.

During the workshop wrap-up session, audience feedback was followed by an open discussion period where workshop participants were given the opportunity to voice concerns and questions about domestic violence.

On October 30th, the second workshop in the series, will feature a Native twist, focusing on the struggles that pertain to Native American victims and their abusers.

For more information, call the Tulalip Legacy of Healing Advocacy Center and Safe House at 360-716-4100, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and more information about the “In Her Shoes” series, visit WSCADV at www.wscadv.org

Building relationships through open communication

Totem Middle School teachers reach out to parents

 Article and photo by Jeannie Briones

TULALIP, Washington – Teachers are always looking for ways to better communicate with their students, and now they are reaching out to the parents. Community Partnership, a new program at Totem Middle School, is simply designed for teachers to meet one-on-one with parents outside of the classroom, at their homes or any other location of the parents choosing.

These out-of-classroom visits enable the teachers and parents to form better relationships and build trust. Questions such as, what are your child’s hopes and dreams, bring both teachers and parents to a common understanding about the kids needs and academic standing.

Daniel Natividad, Native Equity Access Specialist and Interim Associate Principal for Totem Middle School is elated with the progress the program has made so far. In the few months that the program has been in operation, school staff has seen an improvement in attendance and test scores and a decrease is suspensions and expulsions, along with less vandalism around the school.

 “It’s been a positive program,” said Daniel, referring to the positive changes in the children’s behavior.

Staff is striving to make 60 home visits to parents by the end of the first quarter of school. 25 visits have already been made, ten of these to tribal member families. 

Teachers have received warm welcomes from the families, many of which give thanks to Totem Middle School staff for taking the time to show they care about their child’s education.

“It’s all about building a relationship, and once we have that relationship, everyone is going to be successful,” said Daniel.

Staff are available to meet with parents after school and weekends. For more information, contact Daniel Natividad at 360-653-0608 or email, Daniel_natividad@msvl.k12.wa.us.

Watch D.O.G.S. brings dads to school

Totem Middle School

Article and photo by Jeannie Briones    

TULALIP, Washington – Something exciting is happening at Totem Middle School.  New to the school this year is Watch D.O.G.S. – Dads of Great Students –a program that encourages fathers to get more involved at their child’s school. Father, grandfathers, step-dads, uncles, and all father figures are encouraged to volunteer at the school to provide positive male role models, and work with the kids to enhance their learning environment.

These mentors assists in a variety of ways, such as monitoring the school lunch room, helping out in classrooms, and other activities assigned by the school’s administrative staff. Their presence also provides an extra set of eyes and ears, which reduces signs of bullying.

 Daniel Natividad, Native Equity Access Specialist and Interim Associate Principal for Totem Middle School is one of the dedicated employees working to get this project underway. As an advocate for Native American kids, David feels that this positive program helps kids grow socially and academically, creating a solid foundation for their future.

 “We are in the opening stages of this program. We had 21 dads sign up for different days throughout the school year, to help out in the classroom, lunchroom, and on campus,” said Daniel.

Through the Watch D.O.G.S. program, these role models are asked to volunteer for at least one full day during the school year

“We are trying to increase male positive role models on campus. Kids can feel like they are cared for, especially the kids who don’t have a positive role model at home,” Daniel continued. “The first dad is coming in this month, and he’s going to help out with the classroom and buses.”

Daniel encourages all tribal and non-tribal parents to participate in the program, saying,  “One the big goals this year is to make sure the community understands that education is not a one sided street. It’s not a one person process, it requires everyone, the teachers, students, and lastly the parents.”

Watch D.O.G.S., an educational initiative of the National Center For Fathering, has been in operation since 1998, helping children thrive through father and father figure involvement at schools across the nation. For Totem Middle School it means a step in the right direction to enhancing children’s lives, especially for kids dealing with challenging issues at home like poverty, drug abuse, abuse, and the lack of parental guidance.

For information on volunteering at Totem Middle School, contact Daniel Natividad at 360-653-0608. For information on the Watch D.O.G.S. program, visit www.fathers.com/watchdogs.


Tribal member voted homecoming king


Justice Napeahi voted homecoming king

Article by Jeannie; photo submitted by Misty Napeahi

 TULALIP, Washington – Tulalip tribal member Justice Napeahi was recently voted senior homecoming king of Marysville Pilchuck High School.  Nominated by his teachers, Justice was then voted in as king by the student body.

  Honored by his nomination, Justice exclaimed, “This can’t be true, no way, this is such a cool feeling!”

  A down-to-earth kid with a great attitude, his motto in life is to always be nice, it will get you further in life.

“I have a lot of friends at school and each friend I have a different hand shake for. It’s cool to have something unique with so many people,” said Justice.

 Those who know Justice are aware of his passion for music. He plays percussion ensemble drums at high school, and after school, he practices with his band, Tomorrow May Fail, which was formed three years ago.

 Justice gets his inspiration from his role model, Matt Greiner, a drummer for the band August Burns Red. He advises fellow students to, “Use your inspiration as fuel to succeed, it makes you whole.”

 Misty and Jay Napeahi are the proud parents of Justice.

Deborah Parker teaches youth about Native history, culture and voting

Article and Photos by Jeannie Briones

TULALIP, Washington – With the 2012 Presidential Election upon us, attention has turned to Native American voting. Political analysts say the Native voters could easily affect the presidential race this year.

Historically, Native Americans have one of the lowest voter turnout rates of any ethnic group. Considering the fact that Native Americans were the last group in theU.S.to get the right to vote, in some cases at late as the 1960’s, it’s no wonder that campaigns and organizers are struggling with ways to reach Native Americans. This year, tribal leaders are speaking out more than ever, encouraging tribal members to vote.

Deborah Parker, Tulalip Tribes Vice Chairwoman spoke to students at TotemMiddle Schoolin Marysville, on October 11th about Tulalip Tribes culture, history, and government and the importance of why Native Americans should vote.

“It’s important for our people to vote because we need leaders inCongress,U.S.Government, state, and local governments that understand who we are. If we get the wrong person [in office] that doesn’t understand our treaties and way of life, we could lose what our ancestors gave up and what our people have worked many generations to preserve and protect, as a sovereign nation,” said Deborah.

As Chairwoman, Deborah talks with the United States Government about treaty rights and agreement s with the federal government. She even shook hands with President Obama, reminding him to not forget about the U.S. Constitution and the treaties.

By meeting with students, Deborah aims to teach them about the true history of Native Americans, something she feels is still largely ignored in today’s curriculum.

“I went to speak at few years ago at a high school in Lynnwood, and some students raised their hands, and said they didn’t even know Indians existed,” said Deborah. “Our government and our schools do not educate our people about what took place in Native American history. I encourage each and every one of you to educate your mind, it makes you a stronger person.”

Deborah also encouraged the students to search the internet to discover true facts of United States history and learn more about their history, to not only expand their minds, but to understand how the past links to the present and the future, and the importance of making your voice heard in the electoral process.

Youth Advocates are eager to help

Courtney Sheldon and Jessica Bustad look forward to what the school year will bring them










Article and photo by Sarah Miller

Tulalip, WA– We’re nearly a month into the school year and students are adjusting to their new school schedules. Some are transitioning into high school while some are just getting started in preschool. The kids have a wealth of resources at their disposal to help keep them on track in school, including the native liaisons. Not only that, both parents and students also have the youth advocates, who act as a link between schools and parents.

At the moment, there are only two youth advocates working with the Marysville School District, but Interim Youth Services Education Coordinator Jessica Bustad, encourages more people to get on board to assist tribal students and parents.

“We will be advertising within the next couple of weeks,” Jessica said. “At the moment, we have Ricky Belmont who works with Matt Remle at Marysville Pilchuck High School and Getchell High School, and Courtney Sheldon, who works with Harold Joseph at Totem Middle School. We hope to have Courtney temporarily helping out with Zee Jimicum at Marysville Middle School.”

Jessica is working to narrow the scope of what the advocates do to provide better assistance to those in need.

“We want to make sure that we are highly productive in the school district,” Jessica states. “Our main focus is to make sure every native student is being successful. We focus on academics and attendance and provide support for the liaisons. The Youth Services staff helps whenever we can if the advocates need it.”

New to the group is Courtney Sheldon, who is enjoying her position and is excited to continue to learn more.

“I think one of my challenges is that there isn’t enough time in the day to get everything done,” Courtney explains. “There’s never enough time to be around the kids and get to know them.”

Courtney is reaching out to the parents to support and help them as their child goes to school.

“I want to allow my position to be supportive both in negative and positive situations,” Courtney continued. “I also want to help kids succeed and help them become more engaged in their learning.”

Courtney’s office is located in the library at Totem Middle School. Her phone number is 425-260-4343 and her email is CourtneySheldon@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov. To reach Ricky Belmont, who was unavailable for an interview, you can call 360-716-4907, or email RBelmont@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov. To get a hold of Jessica, you can call her at 360-716-4902.

Free Entry Thursdays at Hibulb!

Stop by the Hibulb Cultural Center on the first Thursday of every month and receive free admission.











Article by Sarah Miller

The first Thursday of every month, the Tulalip Hibulb Cultural Center has free admission for anyone interested in soaking up some cultural knowledge. If you’ve never been to the cultural center before, this is a perfect time for anyone to stop on by and check out some of the exhibits.

Walking through the hallways of Hibulb, you’ll find display cases full of historic artifacts and you’ll get to see a few old canoes as well.  Remember, no touching!

Other exhibits include Warriors: We Remember. This temporary exhibit offers a look into the warriors of Tulalip who served in the armed forces, and the positive and negative experiences that tribal members endured.

Another fun and educational exhibit is the Longhouse room. Built to replicate Tulalip longhouses, this room even has a faux fire pit where you can relax and listen to recordings of past stories.

The Hibulb Cultural Center is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays, they are open from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information on events, you can call 360-716-2600 or you can visit the website at http://www.hibulbculturalcenter.org/.

If you are thirsty for more cultural activities, there is the First Thursday Seattle Art Walk in Pioneer Square. Considered the center of Seattle’s art scene, this event began in 1981 when art dealers would print handout maps, do small scale promotions, and on the first Thursday of every month, they would paint their footprints on the sidewalk.

This event lasts from noon until 8:00 p.m. There are many pieces of art to immerse yourself in like totem poles and bright red sentinels. For more information on this, you can visit the website at http://www.firstthursdayseattle.com.