Beading as Healing

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

“As women, there are a lot of things that we go through in our lives, and the one thing I always had was beading,” said Tulalip artist, Winona Shopbell-Fryberg. “It is healing. You space everything out and you’re focused on the work. To bead and to continue to do these things, you have to have good feelings and a clear mind. If not, you have to lay it down. When you’re expressing all of that, your emotions come out. There’s a lot of thinking and patience that goes into it and I think that’s a part of the healing process.”

Fifteen local women showed up in support of domestic violence (DV) survivors during the Legacy of Healing’s (LOH) final event for the month on the evening of October 25. LOH hosted several events in recognition of National DV Awareness Month and each event had great turnouts, averaging twenty participants for each gathering. 

DV Awareness Month closed with the Beading as Healing Class. What made this class special was that it was instructed by a Tulalip tribal member whose beautiful beadwork and regalia are well-known not only amongst the sduhubš territory, but also on the powwow trail which her family regularly participates in. 

Winona explained, “I’ve been beading since I was 16 – self-taught. One day I was like ‘Dad, take me to the bead store. I want to learn how to bead’. I just kind of figured it out from there. I’ve had some tips along the way, but it’s been 30 years of beading for me. It’s therapeutic; just to get to know your creative self is amazing. My husband and I made most of our kids’ beadwork. When we go to powwows and see it out there, it’s like ‘wow, I really did that’. It’s just beautiful to see your thoughts and vision come to life through that work. I’ve been beading leggings, moccasins, everything for powwows, earrings, whatever. For me it helps a lot in healing.”

At the center of room 162 were numerous containers filled with beads varying in size and color. Once the ladies selected their beads and received their needle and thread, Winona taught the class how to create beaded keychains. 

The two-and-a-half-hour class was relatively quiet as the students took the opportunity to go inward and spend some time with their thoughts while they worked on their keychains. That was ultimately the LOH’s goal behind the class, but there was plenty of laughter and a number of stories shared throughout the class as well. 

“I started a beaded keychain today, I’ve always wanted to make one of these” expressed tribal member, Veronica Iukes. “I haven’t beaded in a long time, so it was cool to get back out. You get in the zone and start thinking. Doing it bead by bead makes it more meaningful. Each bead to me represents something that I was thinking about. If you’re having a stressful day, beading helps smooth things out.”

The ladies put a good-sized dent in their personal beading projects and before they knew it, it was time to pack up their beads for the night. Winona encouraged them to complete their keychains at home where they can continue healing through a traditional Indigenous artform. Before heading out, many of the participants stopped and chatted with the LOH team, thanking them for creating a safe space where they could learn about DV and gather resources throughout the awareness month.

“Making the keychain today was really calming and peaceful,” said Kelly Waibel, Victims Services Coordinator for the Tulalip Police Department. “The beading helped me feel more centered and grounded. These events provided the people a space to learn during DV Awareness Month. LOH does amazing work, they are here for the victims and survivors of DV, and they support our community. It’s nice that they are able to bring the community together, so the people know they are not alone.”

If you or anybody you know is experiencing an abusive relationship, please do not hesitate to call the LOH at (360) 716-4100 for assistance. And if you are in a crisis or an emergency situation, the LOH provided a list of three additional hotline numbers that you can utilize during your time of need: 

  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • Strong Hearts Native Helpline: 1-844-762-8483
  • Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County 425-25-ABUSE (22873)

Indigenous film screened to raise awareness about domestic violence

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

The lights in room 162 of the Tulalip Administration Building were switched off on the evening of September 20. All eyes were watching a large projection screen at the front of the conference room as a movie was cast from the Panasonic overhead projector. There were over twenty ladies seated throughout the room. And although only visible by silhouette, they could not hold back some of the emotions brought on by the film, and were seen wiping tears from their eyes, shaking their heads in astonishment, and audibly gasping in shock as six Indigenous women shared their story in an 84-minute documentary titled, Sisters Rising. 

The 2020 film is a moving, heartbreaking, and empowering watch that details the abuse and domestic violence (DV) that Native women face in today’s society. The film exposed the frustrating roadblock that those individuals experienced when they attempted to report the crimes committed against them and their loved ones.

A Supreme Court ruling in the late ‘70’s ruled that tribal courts do not have the jurisdiction to try and prosecute non-tribal members who commit crimes against their membership. For decades, non-Natives targeted Native women, children and men on reservations throughout the country and got away with child abuse, sexual abuse, DV and much more, resulting from that ruling. 

The women featured in Sisters Rising retold their stories and showed how survived those horrific experiences of abuse and DV. More importantly, it showcased their resilience as each of the six women went on to help their communities, whether through prevention and awareness work or taking the initiative to change legislation in their respective homelands. All of the women are making a big impact in their tribal communities. 

The film’s synopsis leads with some eye-opening statistics: “Sisters Rising is a powerful feature documentary about six Native American women reclaiming personal & tribal sovereignty. Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual assault than all other American women. 1 in 3 Native women report having been raped during her lifetime and 86% of the offenses are committed by non-Native men. These perpetrators exploit gaps in tribal jurisdictional authority and target Native women as ‘safe victims’. Their stories shine an unflinching light on righting injustice on both an individual and systemic level.”

Following the film screening, Tulalip Prosecutor Brian Kilgore was on-hand for a quick Q&A and to talk about how the film relates to the Tulalip Court and community. He shared, “The Supreme Court took away the jurisdiction of tribes to prosecute non-Indians. In 2013 we got back the ability to prosecute domestic violence crimes with Indian victims, with a couple of exceptions. One of those exceptions was there had to be a tie to this reservation. If you had people that were just passing through, we didn’t have jurisdiction. In October of this year, it was expanded again. Now we have jurisdiction over everybody.”

He continued, “This year I have gotten a felony DV referral every week, on average. It’s a lot. The other overlay here is that it’s not just jurisdiction over people. Tribes until very recently didn’t have any jurisdiction, we could only charge the not serious stuff. And what often happened is that the serious stuff got charged as not serious stuff. So, there might have been felony conduct but they still got a misdemeanor. Felony is anything greater than a year, misdemeanor is up to a year. The Tulalip Tribes had felony jurisdiction since 2012. We had two felony cases in 2015, and we had 70 this last year. It’s increasing; it’s not a good thing, right? But my sense is that there isn’t more crime, we’re just catching more of it, and we’re able to prosecute more of it. I think it is a good thing. I think the numbers we’re seeing are more realistic, and it doesn’t really represent more violence.”

The film screening was hosted by the Tulalip Legacy of Healing (LOH) and the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) in observance of National DV Awareness Month. Throughout October, the two programs have held a number of events to help bring attention to the DV that occurs within Native America and more specifically, here at Tulalip. In addition to the Sisters Rising screening, they have also hosted a Resolving Trauma workshop with the Director/Consultant of the Midwest Trauma Services Network, Frank Grijalva MSCC, MSPH, as well as a self-defense class led by the Tulalip Police Department. 

“One of the core focuses with DV Awareness Month is the importance of breaking the silence,” expressed Sydney Gilbert, CAC/LOH Coordinator and Forensic Interviewer. “If people are not talking about and it’s not coming to light, it lives in the shadow. The more we can talk about it, the more we can bring it to attention, the more we can normalize the conversation around it. We know that there’s higher rates of intimate partner violence in communities that have experienced trauma. Another focus we have for this month is addressing that trauma, and not only bringing attention to intimate partner violence, but bringing attention on how we can heal from that as a community.”

After the documentary’s credits finished rolling, Tulalip tribal member Lena Hammons, who sat attentively in the front row, expressed, “I loved that they were in front of tribal council proposing new codes to protect their women. I think that we need more people doing that, and if not go to General Council because it is a serious issue. I didn’t know there was 70 cases already this year and I’m out in the community a lot so that was kind of scary for me. I love the strong women who were standing up, helping each other and helping themselves. I’m a DV survivor myself, and had to fight for myself and my kids. It was nice to see they weren’t presenting themselves as victims, they were presenting themselves as survivors and supporters. Women need to know that they’re not alone and we need to support each other. Whether you know someone or not, if you know something is happening you need to report it. 

“And for men and our women who are violators, it’s important for them to know that it won’t be tolerated. It’s not our way. It’s not traditional. It’s not cultural. It’s colonized behavior. It’s important for everybody to know that. You don’t have to tolerate DV. If you’re a perpetrator of DV, there’s help for you. Go get the help. Because we love everybody, and we don’t give up on anybody.”

If you or anybody you know is experiencing an abusive relationship, please do not hesitate to call the LOH at (360) 716-4100 for assistance. And if you are in a crisis or an emergency situation, the LOH provided a list of three additional hotline numbers that you can utilize during your time of need: 

  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • Strong Hearts Native Helpline: 1-844-762-8483
  • Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County 425-25-ABUSE (22873).

Centennial Accord addresses Native concerns

By Shaelyn Smead, Tulalip News

On October 24-25, Tulalip Tribes hosted the 33rd annual Centennial Accord at the Tulalip Resort Casino and the Tulalip Gathering Hall. Washington Tribal leaders, State legislators, Governor Jay Inslee, and numerous government agencies were in attendance to discuss policies and issues regarding tribal sovereignty, humanitarian efforts, and other tribal concerns.

The Centennial Accord was developed in 1989 by the federally recognized Indian tribes of Washington State and the State of Washington to build trust and confidence among the parties in the government-to-government relationship. Meetings like the Accord help strengthen the foundation for the future of tribes in Washington and how our people operate. Having a Native voice to discuss, change, and implement state policies significantly affects how Washington handles Native issues in the future. 

Chairwoman Teri Gobin began the meeting by saying, “Thank everyone for all your efforts and being here today. My dad Stan Jones was a part of history and participated when the first Centennial Accord was passed. I remember praying that we would reach a point where our people would be treated as equals, our rights would be respected, and our sovereignty would be protected. Years of hard work have gone into this, and we are at a pivotal point in history where so many issues require us to take action now. Our ancestors are here with us and watching over us as we make these changes.”

Throughout the day, the parties discussed specific issues involving education, health, the Climate Commitment Act, the HEAL Act, environmental justice, Social Services, and Natural Resources. The first day of the Accord is used to finalize details and answer concerns before presenting these agendas to the state Governor on the second day.

This year’s Centennial Accord was the first gathering that Higher Education acquired its own roundtable discussion. One of the many topics discussed was the lack of Native employee and counselor representation within colleges, funding towards Native students, and hardships that first-generation Native college students face. And though many of the public colleges are willing and able to work with tribes, establishing the foundation of these efforts is what many tribal leaders are trying to develop. 

Representative Debra Lekanoff, D-Bow, was in attendance for the Accord and spoke about the actions that she is taking for Higher Education, “I’m proposing a Bill this year that provides free tuition, housing, and a stipend for food. This will apply to Native Americans of all federally recognized tribes across the nation attending (public) universities and colleges in Washington. If you are a Native from a federally recognized tribe from Montana and enroll in a university or college in Washington, then you can receive funding.” 

During the Social Services meeting conversation focused on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and the possibility of it being overturned by the Supreme Court on November 9. Ross Hunter, Secretary of the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, and Honorable Loni Greninger, Vice-Chair of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, assured that they are working to prepare an argument for November 9 to preserve ICWA, and have been diligently working with other states in the US to do the same.

When speaking about the health struggles that Native people face, a State of Emergency was discussed, as Native Americans accounted for 63% of the suicide attempts in Washington in  2020. It was also noted that in 2001 the Native American mortality rate increased by 58%. To help mitigate this issue, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) set up a 24/7 emergency hotline dedicated to mental health crises called the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. When a Native is suffering a mental health crisis, they can dial 988, explain that they are Native, and be transferred to a Native mental health and substance use disorder professional in their territory and seek specific cultural and spiritual guidance. It is a new program that SAMHSA hopes to have operational soon. 

The opioid crisis was also heavily discussed at the Accord. Lummi Chairman William Jones Sr was transparent about their declaration of emergency, their struggles, and concerns about fentanyl, saying, “We keep talking about how it’s a crisis, and how devastating it is for our people, but why isn’t the government attacking this issue like they did Covid? I’m sure everyone in this room can say they have been affected by fentanyl. We’re becoming almost numb to hearing about overdoses, but we must figure out a solution and need real help from the state.” 

Many other tribes shared their problems with fentanyl and how the lack of law enforcement and healthcare on reservations only continues to play into the crisis. The Chair of the American Indian Health Commission, Steve Kutz, responded by saying there is a need for a summit dedicated towards fentanyl, to which Governor Inslee agreed.

Another concern for many tribes is the Salmon crisis. Some tribes explained a severe decline in the salmon population in their area and an urge for government involvement and funding towards rehabilitation.

  Senior Policy Advisor for Natural Resources for Washington, Ruth Musgrave, responded, “Although the Lorraine Loomis Act was not successful, this process is still ongoing, the two provisos were put into place. One was finding all the voluntary and regulatory programs agencies have for riparian restoration and protection. The other was to interview many of you [tribal leaders] and stakeholders about what would work for riparian restoration.”

  She continued to speak on the 3.2 billion dollars that have been used towards salmon recovery, the Lower Snake River Dam initiative, erecting fish passage barriers, seeking tribal consultation, and the various ways departments continue to work together to try and institute change. 

A historical moment occurred at the Accord as the Tulalip Tribes and the Department of Corrections held an additional signing ceremony for Senate Bill 5694, which Governor Inslee initially signed in March. The Bill recognizes tribes’ sovereign nations, equitable with any other state, state agency, county, or federal jurisdiction in decisions regarding the Department of Corrections. It also authorizes the Washington State Department of Corrections to negotiate agreements with Washington tribes to allow tribal court inmates to serve their felony sentences in an appropriate facility with access to Native rehabilitative services.

Throughout American history, our ancestors have struggled to protect our culture and way of life. With so many adversaries, the Accord continues to hold a place where tribal leaders get direct face time with Washington legislation, the state Governor, and government department leads. And though discussions can sometimes get heated, Governor Inslee stated, “Native Americans have a voice, and it is powerful.” 

The state and tribes continue to work together, hold meaningful dialogue, and fight for our peoples’ voices and generations to come. 

Hawthorne, traditional medicine for the heart

Submitted by AnneCherise Ramsey

People throughout the world value the Hawthorne plant as food and medicine for strengthening the heart and blood vessels.  The Lushootseed word for the Hawthorne Plant is čibadac, and is a valued plant ally of the Coast Salish peoples. Čibadac has been used as traditional medicine in Indigenous communities for thousands of years. Hawthorne is best known as a cardiovascular tonic, easing pressure on the heart. It is a very safe plant to consume, with a wide variety of health benefits, aiding in easing instances of both physical and emotional stress. In this article, we will discuss the primary health benefits of Hawthorn, while also providing you with information needed to identify, forage, process and consume Hawthorn as a traditional Coast Salish food. 

Identifying Hawthorne: 

Hawthorne is a large shrub or deciduous tree with branches armored with large thorns. It is a part of the Rose family. Hawthorn trees can be small, ranging only a few feet tall, to up to 30-40 feet in size. Hawthorne is a native plant grown all around the Northern Hemisphere of the world, including America, Europe, Central Asia and even parts of Africa. There are over 280 species. The leaves are serrated, with medium to dark green colored leaves. In the Spring, Hawthornes leaves are soft and edible, with beautiful pinkish-white, fragrant floral blossoms. In the fall, the Hawthorn tree provides us with beautiful light-dark red Hawthorn Berries. The darker and brighter the berry, the richer it is in antioxidants. The flesh of the berries is edible, however the large seed inside is not. 

When and How to Harvest: 

Though the flowers, leaves and berries are all edible, in this article we will primarily focus on the Hawthorne Berries. Their prime foraging season starts in September and typically ends mid-November, all depending when the first frost hits. When scavenging for Hawthorn, look for trees with bright red clusters of berries. They are bright in color, ranging from a light red color to dark burgundy. These trees can be found along river beds, forests, meadows and ocean shores. In fact, there are currently a plethora of both large and small Hawthorn trees growing alongside the Tulalip Bay, with thousands of beautiful ripe Hawthorne Berries, eager to be discovered. The berries can easily be plucked, but be careful as the branches contain thorns. As you forage these beautiful berries, remember to only take what you need, giving thanks for its many blessings. 

Hawthorne Food: 

Hawthorn leaves and flowers can be added to salads in the springtime. In the fall, the leaves become stiffer and lose their palatability. The Hawthorn tree produces beautiful red edible berries come September. These berries taste semi-sweet, with a mild flavor, but contain a large seed that should not be consumed. Like cherry pits and apple seeds, the seeds contain cyclic acid, which should be avoided unless cooked or dried. Freshly picked, you can eat the outer flesh of the berry and spit out the seed.  

Hawthorne Berries have an oily texture, and naturally contain pectin, a thickening agent used in making jams and jellies, making an excellent addition to any jelly recipe. Hawthorne Berries can be boiled in water and made into an extraction. They can also be dried and used into teas, or dried and ground into a powder. These are popular methods as Cyanic acid dissipates once the berries are cooked or dried. In the Hawthorne Honey recipe provided, we will be cooking the berries to create a Hawthorn Berry water extraction. 

Hawthorne Nutrition / Medicine: 

The heart is one of the most important, if not the most important organ in our body. It is continually pumping blood throughout our veins and arteries, delivering nutrients and removing waste products from trillions of cells. In traditional healing practices (Indigenous, Chinese, Ayurvedic, European), Hawthorne has been used as a plant ally to strengthen and open up the heart. It contains a wide variety of nutrients and antioxidants that make it a powerful medicinal food. 

Hawthorne Berries are high in trace minerals such as selenium and chromium. Selenium is important for proper immune function, while chromium helps enhance the function of insulin – a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels (GoodGrub). 

Hawthorn is packed with Antioxidants and Flavonoids: these are the plant compounds that help give food their color. The darker the berry, the more antioxidants and flavonoids are found. These compounds help support the overall vitality of the heart and cardiovascular system. They strengthen the blood vessels and  help heal damaged vessel walls. “If it is used regularly, it can help balance both high and low blood pressure through increasing the heart’s ability to contract while gently relaxing outer blood vessels. Hawthorn also relaxes the smooth muscles of the coronary artery walls and allows more blood to flow into the cells of the heart. This means more oxygen and nutrients are delivered to heart cells and waste products are removed. It is therefore supportive for acute conditions like angina (chest pain). Hawthorn is also helpful in treating or preventing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which contributes to angina and heart attacks (GoodGrub)”.

Improved Circulation: Hawthorne is used to improve circulation, thus assisting in better brain health, mood and memory (Chevallier). Hawthorne should be consumed regularly to optimize its potential health benefits 

Hawthorn čibadac Extract  & Hawthorn Honey

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup fresh Hawthorn Berries 
  • 1 cup filtered water 
  • 1 cup honey 
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon or Lime Juice 
  • Utensils: 
  • Basket 
  • Measuring Cup 
  • Saucepan 
  • Potato Masher 
  • Fine Strainer 
  • Fork 

Step 1: Forage Hawthorn Berries off of the Hawthorn Tree. See harvesting & identification   instructions above. Be sure to properly identify berries from multiple sources before consuming wild foods.   

Step 2: Remove berries from stem and leaves, leaving only the berries. Rinse and dry in warm water. 

Stem 3: Boil berries in filtered water. Use a 1:1 ratio. For every 1 cup of berries, boil in 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil for 5-10 minutes, then reduce to low heat. Simmer for another 45 minus – hour, until the berries are soft. Berries should turn to a dull yellow/orange color from a bright red color. 

Step 4: Once berries are soft, begin the mashing process by using a potato masher. Mash the berries to separate the edible portion of the berry from the seed. This process can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes depending on the quantity of berries cooked. Note, the berry portion of the berries are edible, but the seeds are not. The objective of the mashing process is to extract the edible berry fruit from the seeds. 

Step 5 – Hawthorn Extract: Take mashed Hawthorne berries and run them through a fine-tuned strainer. Use a fork to mash out the maximum amount of juice from the seeds. This process takes time. Final product of hawthorn berry should look like a ketchup-like substance, it should naturally be a thick liquid due its naturally occurring amounts of pectin. From here, the hawthorn berry extract can be made into jams, jellies, soups, and in this recipe, added to honey. 

Step 6 – Hawthorne Honey: Add 1/3 cup of Hawthorn extract to 2/3 cup of honey. Continue to add 1 Tbsp of Lemon juice for extra flavor and preservation. Stir Well. Store in the refrigerator. Use as an ingredient in your favorite teas for a healthy beverage sweetener. 

Sources: 

  • 1. https://www.goodgrub.org/post/plant-of-the-month-hawthorne
  • 2. http://wildfoodsandmedicines.com/hawthorn/  
  • 3. https://tulaliplushootseed.com/?s=plants 
  • 4. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, Andrew Chevallier. 

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication or program information or reasonable accommodation, please contact Annie Ramsey at 360-716-5632 or ajensen@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov.

Empowerment through Self-Defense

LOH and TPD team up to bring safety tactics to the community during DV Awareness Month

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

“I feel confident now. A lot more confident,” reflected Tulalip tribal member, Carlotta Davis. “I feel like if somebody came at me, I’d be able to not freak out and apply what I learned in this class tonight. There’s a lot of weirdos out there. Even going to the grocery store, we have to be alert and be able to protect ourselves.” 

Empowered is the word that best describes a group of ten ladies, all hailing from the Tulalip community, who attended the Legacy of Healing’s (LOH) self-defense class on the evening of October 13. 

Over the past several years, the LOH has taken part in a national initiative known as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Through this initiative, the program has brought attention to a problem that plagues Native communities across the nation, while also providing resources, support, information and help to Tulalip tribal members, other tribal members, as well as parents, guardians, and spouses of Tulalip members who are experiencing DV in the household.  

TPD officer Justin Lee instructing the class on self-defense techniques.

Through a 2016 study conducted by the National Institute of Justice, it is apparent that Indigenous women and men are faced with DV situations more than any other race or community in the U.S. The official statistic shows that 84% of Native women have experienced violence in their lifetime as well as 81% of Native men. That same study stated that more than four in five American Indian and Alaskan Native women and men experienced DV in 2016 alone. 

To say that the LOH is active during DV Awareness Month is an understatement. During each week of October, the LOH team, along with the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) team, can be found out in the community, imparting knowledge to the people about what DV is and how it affects the home and community at large.

This year, LOH is hosting a total of four classes to raise awareness. The first event was an eye-opening and moving workshop dubbed Resolving Trauma that was taught by Director/Consultant of the Midwest Trauma Services Network, Frank Grijalva MSCC, MSPH. And to follow that event, LOH partnered with the Tulalip Police Department (TPD) for the first self-defense class at Tulalip since the pandemic hit.

“A few years ago, we put together some self-defense classes for one of our awareness months and there was a lot of interest from the community,” explained LOH and CAC Director, Jade Carela. “And so, the idea came up within our staff about doing another one. I reached out to TPD Chief of Police, Chris Sutter, to see what he thought about it. The chief is extremely supportive of our two departments and thought it was a great idea. This is so good for our community, and another way of promoting something within our community to teach them ways of protecting themselves.”

The hour-and-a-half class was led by TPD Officer Justin Lee, with assistance from Officer Cheyenne Bear and Detective James Cabras. After taking some time to stretch out, the group circled up in room 162 and were taught a variety of techniques including stances, breakaway and blocking maneuvers, as well as kicks, strikes, and punches. The class leaders also spoke about the importance of knowing the vulnerable areas of an attacker and carrying personal protection such as pepper spray, mace, and tasers.

Although the attendees took the lesson very seriously, they still found time to share a few laughs together throughout the beginner’s course. The TPD officers showed the ladies each self-defense move at 20% speed, then they walked about the classroom and gave them the opportunity to correctly demonstrate the techniques back on them. Once the class got the moves down pat, they partnered up and tried their newly acquired skill on each other.  

Said Officer Lee, “We all have been affected by domestic violence. We all have experienced it in one way or the other. So that’s why it’s important for us continue with this training and continue this awareness, so that we as a community can continue to better ourselves, empower ourselves, and not be victims anymore. Having the police department actually teach the class versus hiring a company, which they have done in the past, didn’t really work out, because I think the heart is not there. For us, we serve Tulalip, this is our community, this is our police department, this is our people. We want to empower our people, and we want to give them tools and also the confidence.” 

 “It was an awesome turnout, everybody was really engaged,” added Detective Cabras. “I think the goal of this class was to empower the women of the community to take back their individuality and make connections with other people, and they received it well. We talked about the difference between self-defense and defensive tactics, we spoke on the difference between what law enforcement does as far as defensive tactics and what private citizens can do. We also equipped them with some tools to defend themselves when they’re faced with situations, and we talked about the mindset that they should have. We tried to focus on the fact that they’re no longer victims; they’re strong, independent women who can handle themselves if needed.”

Following the self-defense class, attendees were provided a sandwich-spread dinner and learned about the DV Awareness Month raffle. Prizes include a custom-designed hand drum, beaded earrings, tribal member artwork, Under Armor shoes, and much more. Raffle tickets can be purchased at any of the remaining DV Awareness month events or during their pop-ups at the ti kuphihali café at the Tulalip Admin building on Fridays between the hours of 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $5 each or five for $20. 

 “This event was extremely important,” Jade stated. “A lot of people, even people who don’t experience DV necessarily, were able to learn different ways of protecting themselves in safe ways, because we never know what is going to happen. You could be put in a dangerous situation at any second of your life. This class provided more tools to keep themselves safe.”

She continued, “I think it was important to have TPD teach the class because it gives the community the opportunity to see them in a different light. It helps them feel safer and learn from them in a different type of space and bond with them. I love seeing that interaction and it makes me so happy to know that we have community members coming together to support these activities. At the end of the day, it shows that we have people supporting our victims and survivors of DV.” 

DV Awareness Month continues with the last two events held on Thursday October 20 and Tuesday October 25 respectively. The next event is a film screening of the Indigenous film, Sisters Rising, and the last event is a Beading as Healing class. Both events begin at 5:30 in room 162 of the Administration Building. And if you would like to show your support for DV victims and survivors, be sure to wear purple on October 25th

 If you or anybody you know is experiencing an abusive relationship, please do not hesitate to call the LOH at (360) 716-4100 for assistance. And if you are in a crisis or an emergency situation, the LOH provided a list of three additional hotline numbers that you can utilize during your time of need: 

  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • Strong Hearts Native Helpline: 1-844-762-8483
  • Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County 425-25-ABUSE (22873)

Resolving trauma with Frank Grijalva

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Recently, the Tulalip Tribes held the second annual community gathering in recognition of National Residential Boarding School Awareness Day. This year, the event brought out hundreds of tribal members and community members in an effort to bring attention to the truth about the terrible actions that occurred during the boarding school era. And equally important, the gathering presents an opportunity to start the healing process from that trauma, which has been passed down through the generations.

Now that many are beginning to understand what generational trauma is and how it affects Native America, as well as themselves personally, they want to take action. There has been a concentrated effort amongst tribal nations to identify what their people’s traumas are and how to address it now, so our future tribal leaders do not have to live through the number of struggles that came before them. 

Frank Grijalva

Generational trauma affects not only the community, but the individual homes of each tribal member as well. Our habits, behaviors, decision making abilities and trigger responses are all results of our trauma, as is our physical and spiritual well-being. As Native people, our trauma might look like substance abuse, depression, suicide. Trauma does not only affect the individual, but also the people they are surrounded by, such as their children, spouses, and their extended family, and community. And although not always, trauma can often lead to domestic violence (DV) situations inside the household. 

Tackling the issue head-on, following the healing experience from the September 30th community gathering, the Legacy of Healing (LOH) hosted a two-and-a-half-hour workshop on October 6th at the Tulalip Administration Building. The workshop was focused on resolving trauma and served as the kick-off event for National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and approximately twenty community members took part in LOH’s first event of the month. 

“The traumas that we experience are a direct link to the domestic violence that people also experience in their lives,” said LOH Director, Jade Carela. “I believe that a lot of it stems from the trauma that we’ve had in our lives and the things that we learned growing up.”

The informative and insightful workshop was led by the Director/Consultant of the Midwest Trauma Services Network, Frank Grijalva MSCC, MSPH. Frank has been in the Tulalip and Marysville community for several years and has worked with the Tribe’s education division, the community health department, and also the Marysville School District.

Frank’s presentation gave an in-depth look at what trauma is and how it rewires our brains and central nervous systems. He spoke about how trauma plays a role in the early childhood development stages and how some traumas are passed along before the birthing process. Throughout the workshop, he took plenty of time to pause to see if the people were following along and if there were any highlights or topics they could relate to in their own homes and families.

Frank said, “What we did in the boarding schools three generations ago, is we fractured all the families. So, auntie wasn’t there to pick up the baby when the baby was too much for the mom. Or sissy, cousin, grandma, or whoever wasn’t there to take over, to pass the baton to, so their mom could get some rest. Everywhere I go, it’s grandparents who are taking care of the kids because so many kids in this generation have lost themselves, lost their ability to attach and stay in rhythm and be vulnerable, and to stay in love and stay connected.”

After taking time to discuss what trauma is, and what it looks like at Tulalip, Frank explained that people can begin the work of healing their trauma wounds, and over time they can rewire their brains and central nervous systems, essentially becoming an entirely new person with a new outlook on life.  

“Indigenous practice knows more about what it’s doing than the colonized practice,” he stated. “Colonizer practice wants to use pills, talk therapy, and all these cognitive engagement processes. The human being who is traumatized is compromised and changed; their central nervous system, their brains, the way that they perceive the future, their access to narrative, their access to comprehension, the way they think about things linear and logically, those are all altered. And the practice of wrapping around, nurturing, ritual, connection, consistency, and nourishment, all of these things that are meant to address the whole human being, are actually the things that are most useful in trauma resolution.”

Frank continued, “For a lot of people, I ask what your baseline heart rate is. It’s too high if it’s over eighty, unless you’re on some type of medication. The only way you bring your baseline heart rate down is by doing a grounding practice, an internal practice. It could be drumming, dancing, sweats, smokehouse, it could be sitting and looking at nature, it could be yoga. The metaphor I always use is driving a car. Remember when you first learned how to drive and how scary it was? Merging into traffic at 70 mph, all of that. And now, you’re probably driving to work, and you don’t even think about it. You didn’t get that way by avoiding it, you got that way by going head-on with it and working on it.”

Workshop attendees were treated to a spaghetti dinner while Frank gave his presentation, and upon entering room 162, they received notebooks with resources for DV victims, and LOH heart-shaped stress balls. They also had the first opportunity to enter the LOH’s DV Awareness Month raffle, which includes prizes such as an 18-inch hand drum by Les Parks, art and photography by Tribal member Monie Ordonia, beaded earrings and much more. 

And just as an FYI, the LOH will be holding pop-up events on Fridays throughout October at the Tulalip Administration Building from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. by the café, ti kupihali. All proceeds from the raffle will go towards supporting survivors of intimate partner domestic violence and the tickets are $5 each or five for $20.

To end the workshop, the LOH asked several individuals what they took away from the workshop. Each person who volunteered to share received a sage and smudge kit.

“I find a lot of what Frank talks about really interesting,” said Tribal member, Marc Robinson. “What I try to do personally is to understand what everybody and their reactions are, and how they walk about in their everyday lives. I am a student advocate at two middle schools and two elementaries. What I like to do is build that relationship and try to understand the triggers the students may have for their behavior outbreaks. I try to be that person who bridges the gap between admin, teachers, and the staff so I can advocate for the student. Understanding trauma for me is really interesting and helpful both personally and professionally.” 

  Following the workshop, Frank expressed a desire to hold more trauma classes in the community. He stated, “I think we need to do it more frequently because human beings who are struggling, they don’t often hear the message the first time, second time, or third time because they got their own stuff going on. We have to make sure that we are doing this with a frequency that more people can come to the table and bring their own lived experiences because we are a learning community, we are learning about this together. I don’t know the Tulalip tribal trauma, I know the science of trauma and I know my own journey through it, and the more people I can learn from here, the better practice I get to help build the program. My office is at the youth center, and I meet with people individually as well as with families; psycho-educating, problem solving, coaching, I do a variety of things.”

As Frank mentioned, he can be reached at the Tulalip Youth Center at (360) 716-4909. Please reach out to him for further details regarding trauma and how to begin your healing process. 

The LOH’s DV Awareness Month continues with weekly events that are scheduled to be held in room 162 of the Tulalip Admin Building. All the events begin at 5:30 p.m. and are listed below.  

  • Thursday, 10/13: Self-Defense Class (ADULTS ONLY – limited to first 20 people only. E-mail CRae@TulalipTribes-nsn.gov to register)
  • Thursday, 10/20: Sisters Rising Film Screening (ages 14+)
  • Tuesday, 10/25: Beading as Healing Class (Wear Purple Day)

After witnessing the turnout for the first DV Awareness Month event, Jade expressed, “This shows that our community is ready. They’re ready to heal and ready to learn. They’re ready to start being vulnerable with each other and ready to start learning how we as a community can heal together. I’m really excited for this month, and I hope more people can join the different events that we have going on.”

If you or anybody you know is experiencing an abusive relationship, please do not hesitate to call the LOH at (360) 716-4100 for assistance. And if you are in a crisis or an emergency situation, the LOH provided a list of three additional hotline numbers that you can utilize during your time of need: 

  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • Strong Hearts Native Helpline: 1-844-762-8483
  • Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County 425-25-ABUSE (22873)

Senior fitness Wednesdays

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Tulalip elders Pauline Williams and Marvin Jones are regulars at the senior fitness class that takes place Wednesday mornings at 9:30 a.m. at the conveniently located Senior Center. While their commitment to a healthier heart, stronger bones, and improved flexibility should serve as positive role models to their peers, they are instead left wondering why more Tulalip seniors aren’t participating in the program.

“I’d love to see more of my beautiful Tulalip seniors attend this wonderful class,” said 78-year-old Pauline. “Movement and balance are very important for us at this stage in life. As we age, we lose the ability to do some of our favorite activities, but we can still evolve and adapt to keep our mind and body functional for other activities. For example, because of arthritis I can no longer play tennis, but I’ve adapted to the change and implemented other forms of cardio, like morning walks and dancing, into my life. These gentle workouts on Wednesday mornings are another example of adapting as we age. They are well coached and appropriately suited for us seniors.”

“Why do I choose to work out? Simple, to live longer,” chuckled fellow 78-year-old Marvin. “For me, these morning workouts are all about getting my joints moving and feeling better from the natural energy boosts. We have a lot of people talk about wanting to exercise, but then don’t show up when the classes are offered. It could be a lack of interest or maybe they are concerned about looking foolish. I’d tell all our seniors to come check out the class at least once to form your own opinions. We can all look foolish together.”

If you’re a senior reading this, then you’ve probably heard it time and again: physical activity and exercise are good for you, and you should commit them as part of your routine. There are countless studies that prove the important health benefits associated with exercise, and it becomes more important as we age. 

Regular physical activity and exercise for seniors helps improve mental and physical health, both of which will help you maintain your independence as you age. According to The Green Fields Continuing Care Community there are five huge benefits of exercise for seniors and aging adults:

  • Prevent Disease. Studies have shown that maintaining regular physical activity can help prevent many common diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. Exercise improves overall immune function, which is important for seniors as their immune systems are often compromised. Even light exercise, such as walking, can be a powerful tool for preventable disease management.
  • Improved Mental Health. The mental health benefits of exercise are nearly endless. Exercise produces endorphins (the “feel good” hormone), which act as a stress reliever and leaves you feeling happy and satisfied. In addition, exercise has been linked to improving sleep, which is especially important for older adults who often suffer from insomnia and disrupted sleep patterns.  
  • Decreased Risks of Falls. Older adults are at a higher risk of falls, which can prove to be potentially disastrous for maintaining independence. Exercise improves strength and flexibility, which also help improve balance and coordination, reducing the risk of falls. Seniors take much longer to recover from falls, so anything that helps avoid them in the first place is critical.
  •  Social Engagement. Whether you join a walking group, go to group fitness classes or visit a gardening club, exercise can be made into a fun social event. Maintaining strong social ties is important for aging adults to feel a sense of purpose and avoid feelings of loneliness or depression. Above all, the key is to find a form of exercise you love, and it will never feel like a chore again.
  • Improved Cognitive Function. Regular physical activity and fine-tuned motor skills benefit cognitive function. Countless studies suggest a lower risk of dementia for physically active individuals, regardless of when you begin a routine.

It is never too late for seniors to start engaging in a regular exercise routine. The key is to find something you enjoy doing and start at a level that is easy to maintain, which is what the senior fitness class strives to do. Led by two enthusiastic health coaches who work with Tulalip seniors routinely via the Health Clinic, Jared and David are eager to see more participation at their weekly offering.

“We try and make it these gentle workouts as adaptive as possible, so that anyone, even those with mobility issues, can participate, have some fun and get a possible health outcome from the class,” said physical therapist, Dr. David Morris. “Hopefully, we start to accumulate more people joining and being a part of this health movement. No signups or reservations needed. Just come on down. Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m. at the Senior Center. Bring your brother and sisters, cousins, and significant others with you.”

For those seeking more information or have questions about the senior fitness Wednesdays, please call Dr. Morris at 360-716-4511.

Legacy of Healing to provide support during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

“We want our community to realize that domestic violence (DV) has many layers,” said Legacy of Healing (LOH) Victim Advocate, Marisa Chavez. “Typically, people who are victims of domestic violence think that if they call law enforcement it’s because it’s something physical. But usually it starts emotional, then it goes to psychological – financial abuse, threats, and then becomes physical. So, this month, it’s about educating and providing information for people to realize that this is not okay that this is happening.”

A small building located on the corner of Waterworks and Marine Drive, next door to the Tulalip Bay Fire Station, is much more than meets the eye. Standing as a symbol of hope for many fleeing an abusive relationship, the building, which many people pass by on their everyday commute, is the home of the Tulalip Legacy of Healing, a program designed to support and uplift Tulalip tribal members, parents and spouses of Tulalip members, as well as other Natives who live on the reservation, through difficult and challenging times. 

Upon entering the building, and meeting with the team’s staff of advocates, many DV victims and survivors begin to see a way out and are able to safely plan to escape their unhealthy partnerships. 

A quick Google search will show that the Native American population are at an extremely higher risk for experiencing domestic violence than other races. According to the National Institute of Justice, 84% of Native women have experienced violence in their lifetime as well as 81% of Native men. That same study stated that ‘more than four in five American Indian and Alaskan Native women and men experienced DV in [2016] alone’. 

It is important to keep in mind that the statistics from this particular study have been referenced in many publications since it was released, and that this is the most up to date study. Tulalip LOH and Child Advocacy Center (CAC) Director, Jade Carela believes that although these numbers are shocking, they may be much higher. Citing conversations with other advocacy center directors, she gathered that there has been a recent influx of victims since the pandemic first hit. Another reasons these stats may be inaccurate can be credited to underreporting.

Said Jade, “One misconception that we want to make sure to clear up for our community is that a lot of people have been taught that domestic violence equates to physical violence. That’s not what domestic violence is. Domestic violence is many other things. To me it’s important for people to understand that, because I feel there are a lot of people in very unhealthy relationships that crossover into domestic violence and they might not realize that’s the type of relationship they’re in or that there is help when they’re in those type of relationships. A lot of domestic violence isn’t physical, and by the time it gets physical, there’s an end to it because they kill their spouse. Because they don’t recognize it as domestic violence, the victims don’t reach out for help.”

For this reason, it is important to understand what DV is exactly, that way if victims are able to identify that they are in a DV relationship, they can get out before it ever reaches an extreme scenario. Below is list of red flags curated by the LOH that serves as an indicator of an abusive partner. 

  • Wants to get serious right away.
  • Humiliates you – calls you names or puts you down to break your confidence.
  • Treats you better when other people are around
  • Screams at you to intimidate you.
  • Follows your or calls/texts repeatedly to check up on you.
  • Pressures you to go along with what they want.
  • Bullies or tries to humiliate you via text, social media, or e-mail.
  • Throws, hits, or breaks things to make you afraid.
  • Gets overly jealous when you spend time with friends or family. 
  • Tags you in posts, even though you have asked them not to.
  • Insists that you give them your passwords to your voicemail, social media or e-mail accounts.
  • Physically or sexually assaults you.
  • Denies their abusive behavior. 
  • Gaslights you.
  • All their exes are crazy except you.

The LOH extended their list to include red flags that increase your chance for being seriously hurt or even killed.

  • Uses or threatens to use a gun, knife or other weapon.
  • Threatens to kill your or themselves if the relationship ends.
  • Tries to choke or strangle you.
  • Forces you to have sex or physically assaults you.
  • Is violently or constantly jealous. 

Cassandra Rae, CAC Education Outreach Family Advocate, stated, “Often times part of the abuse is isolating you – cutting you off from family, friends, support systems. Having an advocate who is 100% there for you is such a huge part to finding the strength and the courage to leave an abusive situation. Often times there’s a lot of gaslighting. Part of the abuse can be cutting your self-esteem down – ‘people aren’t going to like you, people aren’t going to believe you, you’re making this up, you’re so emotional – that type of stuff. Sometimes people get so eroded, it’s so hard to have that voice to make that call. But that’s another really important part of the awareness work, to lift people up, to recognize how important and valuable our people are.”

Added Marisa, “Sometimes if an abuser is using kids against their partner they’ll say, ‘if you go to the cops, you’re going to lose the kids.’ That’s a real barrier to why people don’t leave because they’re trying to stay connected to their children. It’s so much more than hitting, it’s asserting power and control over someone, taking their choices away, taking their money away. If you don’t have access to money, or you have to get permission from your spouse, or you’re not allowed to see your family, those are some examples. Multiple texting in a time frame, calling to see where you are, putting trackers on your car, these are all tactics that people will do to control their partner. Those are things that a lot of people don’t recognize, they just think ‘oh he just wants to take care of me and know where I’m at’ – that’s not a healthy relationship.”

Nationwide, communities are taking part in an initiative to raise awareness about DV during the month of October. Over the past several years, both prior to and after the pandemic, the LOH team has been active during DV Awareness Month and held events to provide resources and information to those in the community in need of assistance. 

“One of the core focuses with DV Awareness Month is the importance of breaking the silence,” expressed Sydney Gilbert, CAC/LOH Coordinator and Forensic Interviewer. “If people are not talking about and it’s not coming to light, it lives in the shadow. The more we can talk about it, the more we can bring it to attention, the more we can normalize the conversation around it, I think it increases comfort for folks coming forward. It’s pervasive in the community. We know that there’s higher rates of intimate partner violence in communities that have experienced trauma. Another focus we have for this month is addressing that trauma, and not only bringing attention to intimate partner violence but bringing attention on how we can heal from that as a community.”

This year, the LOH is proud to announce that they will be hosting a number of events throughout October, with the goal in mind to open up discussion about what DV is within the community. Below is the list of events that the LOH will hold during the month. An event will be held every Thursday, beginning at 5:30 p.m., in room 162 of the Tulalip Administration Building. 

  • Thursday, 10/6:  Resolving Trauma Workshop
  • Thursday, 10/13: Self-Defense Class (ADULTS ONLY – limited to first 20 people only. E-mail CRae@TulalipTribes-nsn.gov to register)
  • Thursday, 10/20: Sisters Rising Film Screening (ages 14+)
  • Tuesday, 10/25: Beading as Healing Class

Cassandra described what the DV Awareness Month events entail, “We’re doing a resolving trauma workshop that’s all about the latest research on trauma, so you can understand how it impacts your life, as well as how understanding your trauma is the first step to healing that trauma. We’re doing a beading as healing class. Connecting with traditional cultural practices are huge resiliency factors, and it’s connecting with your community, having an opportunity where you are beading together, and you can have those conversations. We’re also doing a self-defense class, and a film screening of a film called Sisters Rising.” 

Noting that each situation is different, LOH understands that leaving an abusive partnership is extremely difficult and can sometimes involve the court systems. LOH wants to inform the community that if you are in a situation where you do have to go through tribal or state court, they will be there to support you emotionally throughout the entire process. Additionally, LOH is careful not to pass any judgements and allows their clients grace and understanding, because statistically it could take a victim multiple times to leave an abusive relationship. 

“Typically, it takes a survivor seven times to leave an abuser,” Marisa explained. “Talking to someone who can work with you, and help you be safe in your household so there’s not another incident, and help you plan to get out safely, that’s something that an advocate you can help with.”

Jade agreed, “Because it does take them so many times to leave, if someone comes to utilize services through us, we know that they might go back. They’re always welcome to the LOH because we know that’s how it works. We don’t want community members to feel bad, or like they are stupid or weak. Those are definitely things that we never think about people because we know that this is the cycle, this is what they go through. And when they leave, it’s also the most dangerous time. It’s a huge risk for them. So, if they can just reach out to start doing some safety planning and talking to one of our advocates privately, they can start preparing and working up to what they need to do.”

The LOH stressed the fact that DV can happen to anybody regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and social status. The team invites you to come out to show support and help raise awareness at the events throughout DV Awareness month. And if you or anybody you know is experiencing an abusive relationship, please do not hesitate to call the LOH at (360) 716-4100 or assistance. And if you are in a crisis or an emergency situation, the LOH provided a list of three additional hotline numbers that you can utilize during your time of need: 

  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • Strong Hearts Native Helpline: 1-844-762-8483
  • Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County 425-25-ABUSE (22873)

“This is still happening in our community,” Jade stated. “It’s something that we see happening every single day. If you are experiencing an abusive relationship, the first thing you need to do is call us. By calling us, it doesn’t mean the police need to get involved, it doesn’t even mean you have to work with us. You can just call and say you are interested in talking to an advocate, and you can have a private conversation with an advocate about what you are experiencing. From there, we can offer our services, and it’s important to have that connection so when do become ready to leave, you can come back and see us later on.”

Assemble your Go Bags following the 5 Cs of Survival

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

“When building a bug out or a go bag, it’s important to get enough supplies and essentials to get you from point A to point B. Point A is the threat of danger and point B is the location that you choose for safety,” said Angel Cortez, Tulalip Emergency Management Director.

The Bolt Creek fire caused a lot of panic and distress for many families on the westside of Washington State. The air quality index at Tulalip reached an alarming 165 during the height of the fire, and people who lived in the nearby vicinity of the wildfire were urged to leave immediately. As many of our readers may know, Sky Valley Fire sent out an evacuation notice via a text message alert on the afternoon of September 10.

Meant for people in the Skykomish region, the alert was accidently sent out to everybody in Snohomish County. Residents of Tulalip, Everett, and Marysville took to social media to get the real scoop, asking their friends, families and local first responders if they needed to pack up and evacuate as the warning advised. And faced with a problem that us western Washingtonians hardly ever have to consider, a lot of people pondered what to grab in that emergency situation.

“It’s good to have a plan that meets the needs of you and the people you care about,” Angel said. “I tell people that preparing for something is basically how comfortable that you want to be in an uncomfortable situation. When people think about creating or building their bug out bag, they’re building them to provide safety, to provide comfort, and to provide the essentials for sustaining you to get to the next destination or a place of safety.”

Eric Cortez builds a Go Bag during a 2018 CERT training.

Go bags, also known as bug out bags or 72-hour safety kits, are personalized backpacks that contain everything you need in the case of an emergency where you need to evacuate your home at a moment’s notice. Prior to COVID, the Tulalip Tribes Emergency Management team regularly held annual CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) classes for both youth and adults. Among all the fun and important teachings that the CERT trainings offer, including how to triage and help others during a natural disaster, part of the classes are dedicated to teaching people how to build their own go bags. 

Said Angel, “We think of the big disasters as earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, and fires. But here at Tulalip, for the people who live on the cliffs or on the beaches, what about erosion? What happens if the cliff gives way? You might need to leave for that immediately. What if it’s in the middle of the night and you need to just get up, get your clothes on, your shoes on and leave. That’s where the bug out bag comes into play. It’s not being paranoid, it’s good to think of those things beforehand, rather than in the moment during an emergency situation.”

When creating your own bug out bag, Angel recommends personalizing it to your individual needs and stocking it with items you will actually use while in distress, such as tasty snacks that you enjoy as opposed to dry foods that may go to waste. He also advises that each member of your family creates their very own go bag, and to pack comfort items for the kids like stuffed animals, their favorite toys, and their choice of entertainment including tablets and books. 

He said, “I have five kids. So, if something were to happen, each of my kids can grab their own bag, and my wife and I can grab our bags. In my bag, I might have different things than my wife does. But put together, we have everything we need. And then with the kids, it’s about comfort. Maybe it’s their favorite stuffed animal, maybe it’s a small bag of candy, just something to keep them occupied because they’ll be scared and worried about all the crazy stuff that’s happening around them. It kind of de-escalates the situation in their mind and allows them to have some kind of comfort. So, if something happens in the middle of the night, it’s easier for everybody to grab their bags, get in the car, and go.”

Angel offered a few tips that will guide you when assembling your own go bag. First and foremost, he urges everybody to update their bags regularly throughout the seasons, noting that an abundance of warm winter gear will occupy space and weigh you down during the spring and summer seasons. Next, he states that it would be extremely beneficial to learn all the proper techniques of the equipment that you pack. He believes this is especially true if you have young children because it presents the opportunity to learn as a family, and the kids are better prepared if disaster does strike. 

If you are wondering where to begin, Angel said a good place to start is the hunting and camping section of your favorite retail store such as Walmart or Target. In those isles, you are sure to find a number of multi-use items that can be stored in your go bag like paracord, multi-tools, tarps, and flashlights. And as far as the essentials that every bug out bag should have, he encourages everybody to follow the five Cs of survival – cutting tools, combustion devices, cover and shelter, containers, and cordage. 

“Dave Canterbury came up this concept and he’s kind of an outdoors guy,” he explained. “He’s famous in the prepper community. These five things are the basics to help you in any situation. Your cutting tool is your knife, or it could be a multi tool. Combustion is a way to create fire, you never know if you need to start fire. Combustion is big because maybe you need to clean your water, and heat it up, and that’s where your container comes in. Usually, it’s a metal container with a handle or something that you can cook out of, you can boil water, of you can drink out of it. You want all your equipment to be multi-use and your container has to do that as well.” 

He continued, “And then you have your cover, maybe it’s a tarp to get you out of the rain, or maybe it’s a lightweight sleeping bag or blanket. It’s whatever to keep you covered from the elements. In the summer, maybe it’s just to provide shade to keep you from getting sunburned. The other one is cordage, having some kind of paracord, preferably 550 paracord. And 550 means how much weight that cord can handle. Parachute cord and is very thin, very strong, very durable, and it’s lightweight, so you can carry a lot of length in your cord where it doesn’t take up a lot of room in your bag. There’s a lot of uses for cordage, whether you’re tying down your tarp for shelter, or maybe you forgot to bring a belt and your pants are falling down, you know, it’s good for whatever your rope or cordage can do for you.”

Angel went on to explain that Canterbury also curated an extended list of essentials, going from the five Cs to ten Cs of survival. That list includes candling, or flashlights and headlamps, cotton for washing, keeping cool and filtering large sediment out of your water, cargo tape, a.k.a. duct tape or gorilla tape, a compass, and a canvas needle for repairing torn items and assisting with paracord.   

In addition to the ten Cs of survival, Angel also advises people to pack a first aid kit, and any medication you may need such as an epi-pen, insulin, or an albuterol inhaler, as well as batteries and chargers. Another tip is shopping the sales of grocery stores during your normal shopping outings and purchasing extra food here and there to store away in case of an emergency. He also believes that keeping your gas tank at least half-full will be extremely helpful in the event you need to get in your car and get as far away from the disaster as possible. If you have pets, it’s imperative that they each have their own bug out bags as well, and be sure to pack it with food, water, snacks, blankets, medication, and toys specifically for them. 

And finally, he encourages everyone to sit down and map out a plan with your loved ones in case a disaster were to occur. Within that plan you should also assign a third party contact in case cell service is unavailable or disrupted, establish a safe place to meet up in case your party is split up. You should also have additional bags at the ready, such as an Inch Bag for long-term emergencies or a Get Home Bag that is stored in your car and is filled with all the essentials to get you back home in the event of a catastrophic disaster.

  “Our ancestors were preppers,” expressed Angel. “They were always prepping for winter. They went out and caught fish, gathered food, and hunted during summer harvest and put it away for the winter. They created medicines and winter clothing. Our ancestors knew this was important. They knew what it was going to take to take care of their people. They were always thinking ahead about the future, and how to provide for the babies and for their families. We have to think that way too. My goal for the community is I want people to start thinking about it, talking about it, researching it, and doing it now. Because if you wait until game day to do it, you’re already way too late.”