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 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 To reach Ricky Belmont, who was unavailable for an interview, you can call 360-716-4907, or email 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

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

Show us your backpack! Students sort through hundreds of backpacks at annual back to school event

Sage Herrera is shows off how big her new back pack is

Article and photos by Brandi N. Montreuil
“I’ve been coming to this [event] since I was in the 1st grade, this year the backpacks are pretty awesome, and the backpack distribution helps my family out a lot with the back to school cost,” said Jazlynn Gibson who is entering the 8th grade.

Joining Jazlyn were kids of all ages to kick off the final stages of back to school preparations with the annual Tulalip Tribes backpack distribution on August 28th, at Quil Ceda and Tulalip Elementary schools.

The Tulalip Tribes Education Department, with help from the Johnson-O’Malley grant, has provided much needed backpacks stuffed with school supplies, according to age and grade, free to Native American students enrolled in the Marysville School District.

Last year an amazing 1,400 backpacks were prepared and this year the backpacks were in no shortage as new kindergarten and Montessori students joined the lines to choose their backpacks.

This year, computer tablets were used to check students in and out faster. With a quick show of the students’ tribal ID and a signature scrawled across the tablet, the information was quickly recorded and students were on their way to enjoy the free activities the event hosts every year, such as a gaming station, bouncy house, rock climbing, and tasty treats.

Students who were unable to attend the day’s events will not miss out on the yearly choosing of backpacks. All unclaimed backpacks will be held throughout the school year until the students can claim them.

Now that backpacks have been chosen, the students will say goodbye to summer vacation and look forward to the first day of class. We wish all the students a fantastic school year!


Master Jumpers: Competitors of all ages show off their bullfrog skills

Article and photos by Brandi N. Montreuil

            In its 10th year of competition, the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club once again brought out their jumping superstars and veteran handlers for another bullfrog contest on Friday, July 20th.

Although only four bullfrogs were available to select from, these amphibians were ready to compete, many leaping out of palms before they reached the gym’s floor.

The competition has only two rules, no hands and only three jumps allowed, but all creative methods are welcome. Many chose to use an eagle feather found on the club’s playground, while some brave contenders decided to get down close and blow on their star jumpers to get fantastic distance in jumping.

Club staff member, Kyle Cullum, who explained the night was all about making memories with family, caught this year’s eager leapers.

It was the ladies who swept the competition this year with their froggy techniques; prompting their chosen bullfrogs to leap through air and crowds.

The reigning champion of the night was Kaycie Hill Thomas whose bullfrog jumped an incredible 96 inches. While second place winner, Tony Hatch, was all smiles as she planted a winner’s kiss on her bullfrog that jumped an amazing 94 inches. And not to be forgotten is Henna (last name), who became the frog whisper, coaxing her bullfrog to leap a whopping 92 inches.

This year’s competitors will be added to the club’s wall of fame and a large trophy was given to the first place winner, while remaining winners and contestants were treated to fun whacky frog toys to take home.

After jumps had been leaped and bullfrogs kissed, the leaping stars were returned to their habitat to await next years annual bullfrog contest.

Alexia Ramsdell uses a feather to entice her frug to jump.

Food Preservation classes teach salmon canning

Article and photos by Brandi N. Montreuil


Courtney Sheldon fills the jars with salmon

Millions of canners around the world can food items such as fish, fruit, vegetables, jams, and jellies as a way to preserve fresh ingredients for a shelf life up to one year. The list of benefits to canning is large and includes knowing where your food comes from, and the ability to incorporate healthy foods into meals at any time, while also knowing that fresh foods will be available to you throughout the year.

While canning has gone through many stages of evolution since its introduction to the masses in the late 1700s, it continues to offer the main benefit of fresh foods at low cost.

In collaboration with the Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic’s Diabetes Program and Restoring Program, a series of Food Preservation classes are being held at the Hibulb Cultural Center for community members interested in learning how native foods can be preserved and incorporated into a modern diet.

With donated king and sockeye salmon by the Tulalip Tribes Forestry Department, on July 19th Food Preservation students were able to have a hands-on lesson in pressurized salmon canning with instructor Suzy Hymus.

“This is an opportunity for our people to choose what to eat. We have always had ways to preserve our foods for what we needed, but since we have been put onto reservations, our diets have been forced to change. This will help us to take responsibility of our own foods,” explained the Hibulb Cultural Center Rediscovery Coordinator, Inez Bill.

In addition to canning, health clinic staff were on site to offer A1C testing to participants. The A1C is a common blood test used to diagnose type 1 and type 2 diabetes, with results reflecting an average blood sugar level for up to three months. The test will measure the percentage of hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that carry oxygen, coated with sugar. If your A1C test shows a high level you can be at risk of diabetes.

“I think it is wonderful we have this collaboration of resources and preserving the food. It is a great opportunity, and by this we are also preserving culture,” remarked Bryan Cooper, Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic Nurse Practitioner.

“I have been canning fish for years, I even taught my husband to can. But it has been years since I’ve done it. So this class is a refresher course for me. They have all these new tools for canning. I am excited, this is my motivation to teach my kids,” said tribal member, Valerie Matta.

Instructor Suzy Hymus introduced students to the pressurized canning pots used to seal glass jars from bacteria and contamination. Jars filled with pre-measured and sliced salmon are cooked during the pressurization stage, which takes roughly one hundred minutes at 240 degrees Fahrenheit.

For sustained nutritional value, bones are not removed during the cutting stage. Suzy also advises when canning salmon only add two or three inches of water to each jar.

“When we use pressurized canning, we use it for meat and low acid fruits. To pressure can you don’t actually add anything, but people do add sugar if they have smoked salmon, or they add garlic cloves to the jars,” explained Suzy.

Suzy also explained that using a thin layer of paraffin wax to seal canned jams is no guarantee that jars are sealed completely, allowing mold and bacteria to fester under the layer of wax, and advises against using it.

Once salmon has been properly pressurized it can be stored for one year before it is no longer edible, and since the salmon is cooked during the pressurizing, it is available for consumption during the length of its shelf life.

“By preserving the food, we are able to harvest at the peak of the season through various methods. Our goal in this program is to have these methods available for our people to experience and learn so they can apply these simple techniques for their families. These methods are often less expensive and healthier than processed or store purchased foods,” said health clinic staff member, Roni Leahy.

For more information on the Food Preservation Classes please, contact Roni Leahy at 360-716-5642.