Raising awareness for Diabetes prevention

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

A delightful aroma filled the air around the Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic on November 5. Near the clinic’s entrance was Indigenous Chef Britt Reed, sizzling up a stir-fry mixture of cabbage, onion, celery and chicken. The chef displayed her outdoor culinary skills over a propane flame, and the large wok of fried veggies and protein garnered plenty of interest from clinic patients and those living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes in attendance of the Diabetes Care and Prevention program’s yearly Diabetes Day. 

Occurring during National Diabetes Month, the event aims to educate and raise awareness about diabetes, while having a good time with the local community, through healthy tips, resources and support to those diagnosed with the disease. 

“We like to take this day to spend some time with our patients, and maybe meet some new patients, to see how they are doing because it’s the end of the year,” explained Miguel Arteaga, Tulalip Health Clinic RN and Diabetes Educator. “Diabetes is exploding across the world, it’s always been a problem for the U.S. and particularly with minority people. At Tulalip, we want to present the community with the best information there is to help prevent diabetes.”

The six-hour event allowed attendees to get acquainted with fellow diabetics and build a strong sense of community as well as hear a number of presentations by local organizations and businesses. Event goers were served two meals and an assortment of tasty snacks throughout the day, learned of new foods and recipes and how to prepare well-balanced meals to manage their diabetes more efficiently. 

“65% of patients with prediabetes can prevent the onset or delay diabetes from occurring by simply losing 7% of their body fat, just by making changes in their food choices,” said Diabetes Program Coordinator, Veronica ‘Roni’ Leahy. “Instead of ‘changing’, we talk more about shifting. Shifting from one food to another, something that is of equal value, is still tasty to you, but is a healthier version of it. We gave away bags of food to the people who came to watch Britt’s cooking demonstration. I think that’s a key component, bringing healthy foods to tribal homes that they can cook themselves. Eating healthy can be fun and simple.”

This year, the Diabetes Prevention and Care team put a little extra emphasis on prevention. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), diabetes is still on the rise throughout reservations nationwide. Their research has found that over 16% of the Indigenous population has been diagnosed with diabetes, nearly double the amount of the white American population. Meaning almost one in every six Native peoples are living with that diagnosis. These staggering statistics prompted the Tulalip Wisdom Warriors to ask the Diabetes program to focus on providing prevention education for the younger generations. 

“I’m a Wisdom Warrior and having diabetes, naturally I want to learn as much as I can to take care of myself,” said Tribal Elder, Hermalee Coando. “Unfortunately, a lot of our tribal people have excessive weight and a lot of times we are fed, and often choose to eat, stuff that’s not good for us. There’s too many sweets available. The more education we have about what we drink and consume and how it damages our body, the more we know how we can prevent it. And the younger we start teaching the youth, the better. Our kids should continue to listen to the elders about our foods and take the wisdom we have to utilize it in your daily life. Don’t glorify candy, it’s better in the long run to have something healthy for you.”

The everyday bustle can often weigh us down and at times it is much easier to grab a quick and convenient bite at the end of a long day. But taking a little extra time to meal prep at the beginning of a busy week can assist diabetics, and even non-diabetics, in staying true to their diet, help regulate their blood sugar levels, and reach and maintain their personal goals. 

Another equally important area the on-the-go diabetic must consider is self-care, which includes exercise and mindful practices such as meditation, yoga and tai-chi. For Diabetes Day, Roni led two seated tai-chi sessions, which is proven to help promote blood flow, muscular strength, flexibility, heart and lung function, and also reduce stress. In fact, the art of tai-chi is a highly recommended exercise for all diabetics. Because Natives are at such a heightened risk to be diagnosed with the disease, it’s important to find a way to incorporate these practices into daily routines. 

“I’m a young Tribal member and was diagnosed with diabetes a couple years ago,” said Mike Pablo. “I was always healthy and active when I was younger. And what do you know, I’m a Type 2 diabetic. I believe awareness needs to be raised and people need to know what’s going on within their bodies because Native Americans are at a higher risk. There was a lot of good information here today. I came in for an appointment with the chiropractor and because I have Type 2 diabetes, I thought this looked interesting and checked it out to see what they have to offer. There were a lot of new recipes I picked up and am excited to use at home.”

Along with education and resources, the program also offered free blood glucose checks as well as tuberculous screenings. The World Health Organization states that approximately 15% of TB cases can be linked to complications from diabetes, as diabetes triples the likelihood of a someone developing TB. 

“I didn’t realize diabetes was connected to so many other health complications,” admits Type 2 Diabetic, Debbie Jackson. “I came for a dental cleaning and the clinic encouraged me to check out Diabetes Day. I very much liked the cooking I watched Britt do. I learned about different spices I can use in my cooking instead of sugar and salt. It was a very good day, the food was excellent and the people were helpful.”

Diabetes Day drew close to a hundred participants throughout the event. People left with not only reusable totes filled with gifts and goodies, but also a better understanding of diabetes and how to properly care for, prevent and manage the disease.

“We want to strengthen, teach and encourage the people to overcome the setbacks and drawbacks of diabetes and make sure they have a really good quality of life,” Miguel expressed. “We care about them as individuals and want to see them have a better life. There’s so much we can do to empower people to learn how to manage their diabetes.”

 The Diabetes Care and Prevention program has a few more events planned to close out 2019, including a Thanksgiving holiday dinner, a Seahawks game night and the annual Christmas powwow.

“For 2020, we’re going to start the National Diabetes Prevention program,” Roni said. “Our plan is to go about it in a way that’s similar to our past workshops. We want to incorporate herbal teachings with cooking, helping people make food shifts and monitor their weight loss and increase exercise. The patient to patient interactions is where we really see a lot of growth with our people, helping and supporting each other. Because they experienced what a newly diagnosed person is going through, they can be an inspiration to them so those people don’t feel like they have to walk through that alone.”

For more information, please contact the Diabetes Care and Prevention program at (360) 716-5641.

Tulalip Bay Fire Department Receives License to Provide Advanced Life Support Care

Response Times Will Improve from 18 to Six Minutes on Average

[Tulalip, Wash.] – The Tulalip Bay Fire Department (also known as Snohomish County Fire District 15) received a license to provide Advanced Life Support care from the State of Washington. This is the first time such care will be provided from sovereign lands, and will benefit all taxpayers in the district.

Previously, patients had to wait 18-23 minutes for a Paramedic to arrive. With the license, the Fire Department will employ full-time Paramedics to provide these services reducing the average response time to six minutes.

“This life-saving program is made possible thanks to the generosity of the Tulalip Tribes,” said Fire Chief Ryan Shaughnessy. “We could not provide this level of service for all residents without tribal support, and we are grateful.”

The Fire Department has a funding agreement with the Tulalip Tribes that makes this possible. In it, the Tulalips agree to pay the same amount in taxes as non-tribal members who own property in the Fire Department’s service area.

Prior to receiving its license, the Fire Department provided Basic Life Support, or BLS. ALS stands for Advanced Life Support, and is the highest level of emergency medical care that an agency can provide. It includes medication therapy for stroke and cardiac events, advanced respiratory care, and seizure control for patients.

“We have had a Paramedic response to our fire district since the late 1960s,” said Deputy Chief Jim Reinhardt who oversaw the license application. “We are grateful to the neighboring agencies who provided this type of mutual aid in the past.”

There are two licenses that an agency can apply for in Washington State. One is for ALS Aid and the other is for ALS Transport. The Fire District secured its ALS Aid license, and will continue to rely on neighboring jurisdictions to transport patients to area hospitals. These partners include Arlington, Everett, the Marysville Regional Fire Authority, and the North County Regional Fire Authority.

Deputy Chief Reinhardt is a licensed Paramedic. The Fire Department is in the process of hiring another, who is expected to be on board in November.

The licensing process took approximately two years to complete, and was comprehensive. The Fire Department effectively had to prove it had an ALS program in place before it could qualify for a license. The state inspected its ambulances, equipment, pharmaceutical and narcotics tracking, certification of personnel, and daily audit of medications being used in response to calls.

Feeding the Spirit: Our Native foods with Inez Bill

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

“I remember my aunt, she stood up once to speak at a gathering. She was talking about our Indian food, or lack thereof, and asked ‘what am I supposed to feed my inner-Indian, spaghetti?” recalled Tulalip Elder and Rediscovery Program Coordinator, Inez Bill, while letting out a small chuckle. “That always stuck with me. And also, when Chief Seattle said, ‘when the tide is out, our table is set.’”

For nearly fifteen years, Inez has led the Rediscovery program, reincorporating a number of cultural aspects that were once considered common, back into the practices of the modern-day Tulalip tribal community. Through colonization, assimilation efforts and the decades of generational trauma that followed, many of these teachings were lost, or kept closely and taught within individual families. 

A relatively recent revitalization resurgence saw the art, language and true history of the Northwest tribes come to light and today those cultural traits are often recognized and celebrated throughout the area. And while our lifeways such as fishing, hunting and gathering are rights that may be known to the general public, the spiritual connection to that work is an experience that is unique to the Coast Salish people. 

The Rediscovery program has put an emphasis on helping Tribal members, youth to elders, experience that connection by hosting hands-on workshops at local events, teaming up with several departments to spread their teachings. If you’re lucky, you may have made lip balm or salves out of local Indigenous plants with Inez and her team, while learning about the medicinal purposes each plant contains. Or perhaps you attended Mountain Camp as a youth and learned the many uses of cedar, carving walking sticks and weaving baskets. The program also oversees the Tulalip family canoes Big Sister, Little Sister and Big Brother, awakening them every spring, preparing them for Canoe Journey and putting them back to rest after the summertime event ends. 

“Our people have learned and passed things on generation after generation through oral teachings,” explained Inez. “Our teachings are not made up, I’ve heard what I heard many different times. If you go to Upper Skagit, Swinomish, Lummi, Tulalip, you hear the same thing and that’s how you know it’s a teaching.”

Inez is always willing to pass on her knowledge of traditional Salish foods. Long before western civilization arrived to the region, the land was abundant with resources, with tall cedar trees encompassing the land, huckleberries high up in the mountains, elk that walked amongst the forests and salmon that populated the Salish Sea in large numbers. The tribes of the Northwest cared for those resources, ensuring that their people would be provided with sustenance for generations to come.  

“Native foods were how our people remained healthy for years,” she said. “As a young girl, I grew up going to the winter ceremonies at our smokehouse and celebrated the spiritual life. During those ceremonies, I worked in the kitchen with some of the older lady cooks. There are a lot of things I learned from them, as well as from my parents and grandparents. It was there where I learned how to gather and prepare some of our traditional foods.

“When we serve you our Native foods, we are giving you our very best. There are teachings and values that go with everything we do. From the hunter preparing for a hunt and the gatherer gathering, knowing it’s going toward a ceremony or whatever work that’s going to take place, that’s their gift to that occasion, to share in the gathering. There were times during my life where my family would host gatherings for namings, funerals, memorials and ceremonies. It was always important to have our Indian food there. I came to know and recognize the food, and you see those same foods today, our BBQ salmon, deer steak, deer stew, clams, canned fruit, clam chowder, oysters and crab. All of that not only provides nutrition for us, but it feeds our spirits and the spirits of our ancestors.”

Any given year there are several celebrations hosted within an Indigenous community and the meal is an integral piece to the ceremony. The food’s flavor, serving size and overall presentation speaks volumes about the hosting tribe. During smokehouse ceremonies, Inez explained that she and the other cooks would set a table full of traditional foods, specifically for the spirits of the Tulalip ancestors, early in the day before any guests arrived. 

“We usually had the first table around three o’clock in the afternoon for our ancestors from the other side who came to witness the festivities going on. When we put the food out there, they’re the first to eat. Then when our visitors come, we serve them next, before we eat. We always prepare and serve our best and that shows that we are rich in our resources and shows that we are sharing with our people and visitors.”

Prayers and songs are offered before and after a hunt, thanking the land, Creator and the animal itself for the nourishment. And not an ounce of meat, hide or bone goes to waste; people fashion garb, jewelry and drums from the animal’s remains. And, although it varies from tribe to tribe, the Salish people hold annual Salmon Ceremonies, thanking the fish for its sacrifice at the start of each fishing season.

“How you prepare yourself to conduct that work is just as important as the hunt, as the harvest, if not more. That’s where the berry picking songs come from, to make the work easier and not so difficult. And whatever you’re harvesting, you never let it waste. You take care of it, you honor it, respect it and give thanks, because it will continue to provide for you into the future.”

The Rediscovery program hosts traditional foods workshops and during these classes, Inez and crew provide the history of the Coast Salish foods while also showing their participants how the meals were prepared in ancestral time with bentwood boxes and cooking stones. They also prepare an assortment of food samples including teas, seafood, deer and elk meat, and usually a berry dessert concoction as well. Each dish is created combining traditional plants, herbs, berries, nuts and meat with the recipes that are popular in modern times.

“We are always experimenting,” Inez proudly stated while showcasing a large mason jar filled with a berry mixture. “I always wanted to make a pie filling, this was the first year we took time to make this. I think our pallets have changed a lot. Sometimes it’s hard to get people to try something unless its palatable. Our people didn’t have the modern convenience of table salt or pepper. So today, a lot of people will look at those foods and say they are unseasoned. 

“If you look at other cultures, such as the Koreans and Germans they have sauerkraut and kimchi, foods that have been fermented. We had fermented foods too, and we haven’t done a lot of experimenting with those just yet, but we know they served a purpose. Like the sourness of Indian ice cream, a soap berry that’s whipped up to the consistency of whip cream. If you ate it today without using some sort of sweetener, it could be considered too sour by some. We like to add apple juice, it makes it more palatable, but I don’t think our ancestors added that to their recipe.”

Inez explained that she began blending traditional and modern recipes when her late husband, Hank Gobin, was diagnosed with diabetes.

“He wasn’t supposed to eat bread. I kept thinking of ways to get him bread. And I found a way to make flour out of hazelnut. It doesn’t have any salt or sugar and we grinded the nuts down to the consistency of flour. He was so happy to get that bread, and since then we kept on experimenting, trying to figure out how to make today’s recipes healthier for our people by substituting some of the ingredients with our Native foods. Or we’ll take a Native recipe and figure out how to cook it in an oven or on a stovetop.” 

Today, many people around the globe are attempting to switch back to the traditional diets of their culture. For Native people specifically, that includes giving up many of those dishes that we formulated from government commodities, like frybread and hangover soup. The lack of access to healthy foods combined with the diminishing salmon and wildlife populations have caused serious, and often deadly, health issues throughout Native America. But since many tribes began educating their people about some of the dangers of modern processed foods and incorporating pieces of their traditional meal plans into their diets, diabetes and hypertension are on the decline for the first time in decades for Indigenous people as a whole. 

Several tribal and Indigenous chefs have documented their journey in reclaiming food sovereignty. And more often than not, the individual claims to feel better and healthier. However, that is just a start. There are many foods that we have grown accustomed to over the years that can initially be hard to cut out. And until we do so, we may very well continue to have health concerns due to the way foods are manufactured and mass produced. 

Now that we are in the middle of the hunting and gathering season, Inez urges the younger people to go out and experience the traditions of the Snohomish people, practice their treaty rights and help provide for their people. 

“I marvel at the wisdom of our ancestors to include the right to hunt, fish and gather in the treaty because those are the lifeways of our people,” she stated. “It’s more important to share and do that work for the elders in your family or community in-need. It says a lot of a person who does that type of work. It shows that you must be good people, you listened and learned the teachings of our ancestors. When families do that, they are remembered and those good thoughts and feelings will bring a blessing upon them for sharing with the people. As far as an Indigenous community, that’s exactly what we want to happen. We should continue to rely on our Native foods; the fish, deer and berries. We can’t completely go back to the way it was for our ancestors, but if we went back to a-ways, then we would be a lot healthier.” 

Community unites to declare: ‘Get drugs off our Rez!’

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Over 300 hopeful community members united on a Friday evening to bring awareness to Tulalip’s drug epidemic. With a positive outlook and emphasis on prevention, the Get Drugs Off Our Rez walk offered traditional songs, prayer, and stories of encouragement. 

In what is sure to be one of the last warmer days of the year, the rain and clouds stayed away on September 27, giving a picturesque backdrop to the gathering as family and friends assembled at Heritage High School’s gymnasium. After many formed a large circle and shared four songs to honor the four directions, the assembly marched their powerful drum beats and strong voices down 27th Ave. NE, or what is colloquially called ‘the Quil.’

“Today’s purpose was to raise awareness for all of our youth, our elders, and all of our community members. To recognize that there really is unity out here and our people are ready to come together and stay together to build a stronger future,” explained prevention walk coordinator Josh Fryberg. “Personally, I’ve lost family members to the drug epidemic and have other family who are addicted. 

“My goal is to get them stronger and get them to where they need to be in order to beat their addictions,” continued Josh. “It comes full circle because by helping those that need our support the most, it shows our youth we still practice our traditional teachings and care for one another.”

Local law enforcement, firefighters, and various Tulalip-based programs came together with the outpouring of community support to form one unified demonstration. Tulalip tribal members of all ages participated and showed their support for a shared mission by wearing a black t-shirt that stated with all capital letters: GET DRUGS OFF OUR REZ. As they marched down the Quil many local commuters cheered from their cars, while others stood outside their residence to take in the awe-inspiring scene. 

Walking their talk. Voices from the march:

Jobey Williams: “Our ancestors fought for us. They fought for us to have what we have today, and to see so many gather here today to get our people clean means a lot. It shows we’re still willing to fight for one another and get our people together on the right path so we can walk as one. This is just the start, only the beginning, but we are going to get our people back. We are going to help the ones suffering and get them back in the sacred circle.”

Gerald Williams Jr., with his son Gerald Williams III, celebrated graduation from Wellness Court: “Two years ago I was really bad into my addiction. I weighed something like 110 pounds and using so much drugs that they nearly killed me,” shared Gerald. “Next thing you know my son was born and reality set in that I needed to get clean for him. My father was an alcoholic and his addiction killed him when I was young. I didn’t want my son growing up with that same story so I set out to get clean. It was a struggle and wasn’t easy at all. I had to go through treatment two times to get it right, but eventually it stuck and now I can show my son a better way to live. I’m really grateful for Wellness Court and everyone who helped me get here today.”

16-year-old Kaiser Moses, youth council representative: “When it comes to the drug epidemic, I’ve seen a whole lot and heard much more about what it has done to us. Drugs are keeping us to the sins and vices of the Earth. We need to separate ourselves from that because our ancestors wanted us to be pure and to keep our teachings alive. Our teachings aren’t heroin needles or alcohol. Drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, vaping…all of that is like a snake. You never want to pick up the snake because it will bite you and coil around you, preventing you from being on the good path and walking the sacred road.”

Tulalip Bay Firefighters Peter VanLunsen and Dane Zirwas: “It really empowers us and gives us great pride to serve the community. We often have to respond to not favorable situations, but being here today with the community is a tremendous opportunity.”

Benjamin Deen walked alongside his mother as they both celebrated being clean and sober:  “This is so big for our community. This walk is for the future of our children and young ones. I’m carrying my N.A. chips because they remind me that this process is one day at a time. So far I’ve earned my 30-day, 60-day, 90-day, 6-month, 9-month, 1-year and 18-month chips.”

Donald ‘Penoke’ Hatch, Tulalip elder: “When we say drug epidemic we are referring to the heroin, opioid-based pain pills, and cocaine that is sold to our people. It’s poison. The whole community has to help out to solve this problem. If you see things in the neighborhoods, next door, or in your own house, then you have to be willing to talk about it and call the police. I worked hard with one of my children and still lost him, so I know how difficult it can be. Drugs and being addicts isn’t the traditional lifestyle of us as Native Americans. And in order to rid our reservation of those things we have to be willing to speak up and tell on those up to no good. If we’re not willing to do that, then we will continue to have drugs on our reservation. It takes the whole community being on the same page to end this epidemic.”

Warrior Walk breaks silence about suicide while offering a place for healing

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

According to the World Health Organization, over 800,000 people die by suicide annually, representing 1 person every 40 seconds. It is the 2nd leading cause of death in the world for those aged 15-24 years old, and suicide among males is 4x higher than among females.

Taking one’s own life is the result of a convergence of risk factors including psychological and social risk factors often combined with experiences of trauma and loss. Although an often taboo subject, one of the best preventative measures is breaking the silence and encouraging those in distress to tell their own story in their own way and at their pace. 

Tulalip is all too familiar with suicide, especially among the younger generation. By engaging in active listening and reaching out to those who are vulnerable we can build a more resilient and stronger community. On September 10, more than 150 supportive individuals came together to observe and publicize National Suicide Prevention Day with a community strengthening Warrior Walk.

Wearing bright yellow shirts, the symbolic color for suicide prevention, with bold text that read ‘I am alive and strong’, the group convened at the Dining Hall. While there, all concerned citizens had an opportunity to create signs with positive affirmations and empowering messages, such as ‘believe in yourself, ‘help others succeed’, and ‘you are loved’. While most signs were uplifting in nature, some were more heartfelt by being dedicated to the memories of loved ones taken too soon by suicide. 

“[This] walk is a suicide prevention walk in honor of prevention month. We named it Warrior Walk because we are warriors,” explained youth councilmember Marisa Joseph. “It was attended by tribal members and family members who have been affected by suicide.

“This is important to me because suicide has affected the Tribes and my life, personally,” she added. Marisa walked with a sign that read ‘in loving memory of Michael Lee Joseph, 34’. 

In collaboration with Community Health, Education, Youth Council and other departments, all were welcome to attend the powerful walk for suicide prevention and awareness. Whether an individual’s reason was in memory of loved ones lost, in support of those who struggle in silence, or to showcase strength and empowerment, the yellow tidal wave that started at the Dining Hall and ended at the Early Learning Academy’s gymnasium meant a great deal to those who needed it.

“To me, the Warrior Walk meant healing, not only for individuals but for our community,” shared walk participant Shawn Sanchey. “It’s bringing our strength together to help uplift one another. It showed our youth and our people that they’re loved and the community is always there for you. It’s important to me our younger generation understands that we are always here for them.”

Reaching out to those most at risk in the community is critical to preventing self-harm. If you are worried about someone, please reach out and ask them, “are you okay?” By simply checking in with them and offering non-judgmental support you can make a difference. It is important to know that people in distress are often not looking for specific advice, but merely to be listened to with compassion and empathy.

“Walking together in strength and support for the youth, our elders and community members in need of healing is unity,” said Seilavena Williams, patient support executive assistant. “[There are] so many departments and divisions working together with our community in mind. By coming together the community members could feel that they are welcomed, supported and loved.”

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 is a crisis resource that provides free and confidential support 24/7. Suicide is not inevitable for anyone. By starting the conversation, providing support, and directing help to those who need it, we can prevent suicides and save lives together.

Tips for a fun, active summer from SNAP-Ed’s AnneCherise Jensen

As we approach the halfway mark of summer 2019, now is a good time to revisit a lesson that many of our parents and grandparents recited to us on a regular basis during this time of year: go out, get some fresh air and enjoy the sunshine. 

With the Fourth of July excitement well behind us, we may be quick to find excuses to stay inside and relax in the cool A/C comfort of our homes. And of course there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s important for our bodies to decompress and recharge, but in the same breath, it is also equally important to make sure the body is getting the exercise it needs and deserves after staring at technology screens for days on end. 

From the high mountain ranges to the cool coastlines of the Salish Sea, the Pacific Northwest is a nature wonderland, filled with breathtaking views and landscapes. The summer season is the perfect time to take a social media break and experience the great outdoors, to disconnect from the world and reconnect with Mother Earth, if you will. 

Tulalip community member and SNAP-Ed Nutritionist, AnneCherise Jensen, set aside some time to share a few ideas on how local citizens can take advantage of the long summer days, get outdoors and have a little fun in the sun. 

Members of the walking club.

Okay, first things first. Why is exercise important for our bodies?

Exercise is the best form of preventive medicine. Our bodies are like a machine, if you don’t use it, you lose it. We need to be moving our bodies and pushing them to their fullest potential in order to keep our bodies healthy. The reason why exercise is important is because it helps take care of our organs – our heart, our lungs, our kidneys. Physical activity is medicine for the body, it helps repair itself. The more sedentary we get, the weaker our organs get. The more exercise we get, the more we’re strengthening our body, and the more resilient we’re making it to outward things that are coming inside. It helps relieve a lot of the toxins that we’re exposed to in today’s environment. The biggest reason exercise is so important is because it reduces the risk of diabetes, certain types of cancers, obesity and heart disease. 

It’s summertime! The warm weather presents a great opportunity for outdoor recreation, what are some fun activity ideas the community can do before the summer ends? 

One thing that I love to do is go on small little hikes throughout the summer. We live in a really nice area where we have local access to trails. There’s lots of really good ones out in Mountain Loop Highway like Coal Lake, Lake 22, Heather Lake, Mt. Pilchuck. Those are really good trails, moderate to beginner ones.

Riding bikes is awesome if you have access to fun and safe roads, same with going to the skate park. Also, going to the beach for a swim. Swimming is a really great way to exercise, burn calories, keep your cardio up and it’s real forgiving on your joints. That’s a pretty good start. If you’re feeling like you’re not very flexible or have a lot of pain, I recommend yoga or chair yoga.

For those who are interested in hiking but have never been, what type of gear is needed before retreating to the mountains?

 A good pair of hiking shoes. You’re going to want something that is water resistant and has a good sole. I recommend Salomon/Arc’Teryx at the outlet mall, they have really good prices on shoes. Also Columbia, and REI is a really good place to go if you’re in the Lynnwood area. Always make sure you have your ten essentials and those include matches, water, a compass, map, food, an emergency blanket (see image for complete list). You always want to make sure you have a rain jacket when you’re up in the mountains. You never know what the weather is going to be, so you want to make sure you have a waterproof jacket that provides warmth. Always know where you’re going, read a trip report. A good source to get information like that is the Washington Trails Association at www.WTA.org 

Hiking and camping often go hand-in-hand and camping is a great summertime group activity, any advice for first time campers?

There are two ways to camp; you can park and have all your gear out and camp close to your car, or you can go overnight backpacking where you pack all your overnight gear. That’s a really great experience, probably my number one favorite thing to do in the summertime is to go camping in the mountains. You want to have dehydrated food, lots of water and a water purifier so you have a clean water source. The experience is a good way to disconnect and get in tune with yourself, especially if you’re a spiritual person. 

You always want to make sure you know where you’re camping and do a little research beforehand. Make sure that you set up in a designated camping spot and that you have enough food to secure you at least one day extra than you planned.

Canoe Journey is happening now and is extremely popular amongst tribal nations, what are a few tips for the canoe pullers?

When you’re out on the water, make sure you bring lots of water that have electrolytes, because a lot of time you’re in the blazing sun and sweating a lot and in order to retain the water you drink, you want to have enough sodium, potassium, magnesium, so that way you don’t get fatigued. 

More important than anything, wherever you’re going, the mountains or the water, make sure you’re with a group of safe people, people you can trust and rely on. And also, follow the LNT principals, Leave No Trace, respect the outdoors and make sure you leave it better than you found it. 

What are some fun ideas for folks who want to enjoy the sun in the comfort of our community?

One of my favorite things to do in the area, if you can get a fun group together, is to go on a trash cleanup. Even if you just work in your local area, community, block, or beach, grab some gloves and a couple other people and fill your bags up with trash. It’s super rewarding and fun. 

If you have a dog, or even a cat, definitely walking and playing with your pet. I just got a dog this year, his name is Copper, we take him hiking in the mountains or we’ll take him to the beach. We have lots of local beach access points out here. Strawberry Fields, out in Arlington, is also a really great place to take your dog. It has a nice mile-and-a-half long trail so you’re getting some exercise yourself along with the dog.

Last but not least, I highly recommend going to the YMCA, especially if you have kids and a free membership. You can play basketball with your kids or take them swimming. 

This time of year, many people can be found tending to their personal gardens and cultivating nutritious crops. Can you talk about the benefits, both physical and nutritional, there are when growing a garden?

Gardening is a great activity, even if you just have one bed. Being out with the plants helps you develop a really good relationship with the plants and food. You’re able to get some vitamin D from the sunshine and also mild physical activity, it gets you moving. Kale, potatoes and carrots are all really easy to grow and you can add those to any meal and do oven-baked vegetables.

You can also go harvesting for native plants. Harvesting is another wonderful thing to do this time of year, especially out here on the reservation. You can go out and find an area to harvest berries and you can use those to bring home and make salads or other interesting things. Everything is in season right now. I’ve noticed there’s a lot of fruit trees out here, so if you have access to a fruit tree you can gather enough to make pies, jams, desserts and fruit salads. 

As you know, it’s BBQ season. Do you have any tasty recipes that people can chef up for their next cookout?

I have two recipes for BBQs! I have a strawberry mango salsa that’s yummy, you can add jalapenos, strawberries, mangos, tomatoes. You get a lot of servings of fruits and vegetables and it’s high in vitamin C too. Vitamin C is great to eat a lot of throughout the summertime, especially before the cold weather hits. You can do pico de gallo if you don’t like it with the fruit.

And fruit kabobs. We’re going to have fruit kabobs at the Tulalip Health Clinic’s annual Health Fair on July 26th. It’s a good way for kids to try new fruits that they haven’t been exposed to. Try to have ten different fruits available and you can put it on a kabob and take it with you. 

Are there any upcoming events you would like to share with our readers?

If you’re looking for more things to do at Tulalip, we have our Garden Days. Our next one is going to be August 3rd at 10:00 a.m. We always start each Garden Day with a mile-and-a-half walk. And we also have our walking club every Wednesday at noon at the Health Clinic, it’s always fun to get out there and go for a walk by the bay. 

For further details, please contact SNAP-Ed at (360) 716-5632.

Young Men’s Team Outreach celebrates an end with a new beginning

Outreach Worker, Cody Monger (right), enjoys a good time, reminiscing with client Darrian 
Solomon (left), at the Young Men’s Team Outreach celebration bbq.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

On the evening of June 26, a small gathering occurred behind the Tulalip beda?chelh building. Laughter filled the air as people visited with one another in celebration of achievement in honor of the Family Haven program, Young Men’s Team Outreach. In the middle of the mix was Outreach Worker, Cody Monger, fondly reminiscing with his young clients about their successes over the past few years.

“We’re celebrating the end of our mental health grant from the North Sound BHO (Behavioral Health Organization),” said Cody. “It was a good three-and-a-half-year experience. It was a great grant that opened up a lot of doors for me to explore, to be a part of and help out our community.”

The outreach program was designed to provide support to Tulalip youth, helping teens who are facing hard times accomplish their goals and get life back on track. Through Cody’s guidance, the young men learned how to set, prioritize and accomplish both short and long term goals and were also provided assistance with recovery, physical and mental health, legal issues, obtaining a driver’s license, money management and resumes. The program also assists adolescents by promoting academics, helping dropout students re-enroll into school in order to obtain their high school diploma or GED, as well as providing a space to study every Wednesday. 

Cody meets one-on-one with each of the young men on a weekly-basis, allowing them the chance to vocalize any current difficulties they are experiencing as well as celebrate any new victories. He also meets with his clients where they are most comfortable, whether it’s at the Family Haven office, home, school, a coffee shop or a restaurant. And due to the success of the young men’s outreach program, Family Haven recently established a Team Outreach for the young ladies of the community. 

“Before the program, I noticed there was a lot of kids who were not being helped,” expressed Cody. “I wanted to try to make a difference in the community by helping them out in any way that I could. Now I work with the young guys, the ones who are suicidal, not connected with school or in need of services. I meet with them individually three to four times a week and also take after hour calls or texts.”

Perhaps it’s because of his young age, his sound advice or his intentions, whatever it may be, Cody has received a great response from the young Tulalip men who confide in him on a regular basis. Thanks to the funding from the North Sound BHO, the program assisted upwards of forty young men during the grant’s three-year period. This year alone, Cody managed a large caseload of about twelve clients while also keeping in contact with approximately ten more young adults, routinely checking in to make sure they are doing okay. 

One client, Darrian Solomon, expressed his gratitude for the program during the event stating, “This program and Cody helped me out a lot. He’s been a reliable friend; somebody I can always talk to. He’s really helped me get through a lot.”

As one door closes, another one opens as recently the Tulalip Tribes announced they would take over the funding for the Young Men’s Team Outreach program. The transition from a grant to hard dollars allows Cody to work with larger caseloads and broader age groups as well as plan more activities and events, one idea being a weekly father’s group meet up.

“We’re really thankful that the Tribe picked this program up because otherwise it would go away,” stated Alison Bowen, Family Haven Program Manager. “Some of the things and the growth that these young guys have gone through has been really amazing to witness. Ranging from getting back into school, getting jobs, getting connected with the community and culture, it was a group of individuals who weren’t really involved with anything before and it’s exciting that this is going to continue for them.”

 “It’s important for our kids to know that there is somebody out there willing to go above and beyond for them, to help them through their darkest times,” said Cody. “I know sometimes it’s hard to reach out to ask for that peer support, or help in general. It’s a good feeling for them, knowing that there are people who are genuinely looking out for what’s best for them and their future.”

For more information, please contact Tulalip Family Haven at (360) 716-4402.

Save the Date! Annual Community Wellness Conference is May 14-15

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

For its seventh consecutive year, the popular Community Wellness Conference returns to the Tulalip Resort Casino once again on May 14 and May 15. Sponsored by the Tulalip Tribes Problem Gambling Program, the two-day event invites local citizens to focus on their healing journey by providing them with tools, education and resources on how to improve overall health and wellbeing through a number of interactive workshops, professional panel discussions and community talking circles. 

Approximately 200 participants attended each day of the conference in previous years, and Problem Gambling is anticipating about the same number of attendees this year. Both the Tulalip Tribes and the Marysville School District agree that self-care is of the utmost importance, especially in today’s social media led society. For this reason, the school district is allowing their students the opportunity to attend the Wellness Conference during the school day; middle school students on the first day and high schoolers on the second day. Tribal government employees are also often allotted two-hours of paid administration leave to participate in the workshops, upon supervisor approval. 

“What to expect from this year’s Wellness Conference is a great gathering for the community and also for the youth,” says Community Wellness Conference Emcee and Youth Education Advocate, Deyamonta Diaz. “There’s middle and high school days where the students get a chance to be exposed to some great keynote speakers and also some helpful educational workshops that will teach them a lot of things that maybe are too hard to talk about, as far as wellness or self-care, as well as other issues we face in the community. The theme is ‘champions for life’ so it’s a positive message, something that can go a lot farther than just the conference.” 

Each workshop presenter knows about the issues we face in Native America, and specifically in Tulalip, as the conference is a collaborative effort with local departments such as the Child Advocacy Center, Family Haven, Youth Services, the Education Department and Family Services. The conference aims to equip those carrying emotional, spiritual and mental baggage with the tools of how to get through their toughest days and several resources for when they’re in need of a helping hand or an ear to listen. 

Since we are living in a new era, many youths now deal with cyber-bullying, stalking and harassment on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram. The Child Advocacy Center is debuting a workshop during the Wellness Conference addressing these issues and teaching the community about the dangers occurring on social media sites. 

“I’m doing a social media health and safety workshop,” says Child Advocate and Wellness Conference presenter, Megan Boyer. “I think it’s important for families of youth, and youth themselves, to learn about what the dangers are when online and how they can keep themselves safe and what parents can do to keep their kids safe. They are going to learn about some of the policies and laws about how law enforcement uses social media as evidence. They’ll learn to identify red flags, what bullying is, what consent is, how social media can be harmful and how it can be helpful, because education is key.”

Sarah Sense-Wilson, Problem Gambling Coordinator, briefly explains the topics the keynote speakers will be touching upon during the Community Wellness Conference.

She states, “Our keynote speaker for day one, Frank Grijalva, is going to be talking about resiliency, and health and wellness, as it relates to overcoming trauma and overcoming various barriers that are experienced within tribal communities, that interfere with individual health and wellness and thereby affects the family unit and the community as well. The idea is that there’s hopefully going to be some stronger, more in-depth awareness and understanding about trauma responses and how trauma responses negatively affect relationships. 

“Day two is Jerry Moomaw.” Sarah continues. “She’s nationally known within the movement addressing Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Children. We’re hoping people take away prevention strategies and also awareness and understanding about how to keep our communities safer, our women safer and our children safer. And that interweaves with all the rest of the workshops in learning about red flags and warning signs around commercial and sex trafficking.”

And the Wellness Conference committee added a special surprise for those who are fans of Native humor by adding the talents of Toni Jo Hall to the mix. Known nationwide within tribal communities, the Native American comedian will be performing at both conference days as her beloved, yet hilariously inappropriate, character Auntie Beachress. 

“In acknowledging and recognizing that much of the workshop topics are heavy and can stir and bring up trauma and negative experiences and feelings, we felt it was really important to have balance and that we also include comedy relief and have a good time with laughter.  We know that laughter is good medicine and helps us heal,” says Sarah.

Both of the conference days will end with gender specific talking circles where the attendees are welcome to open up, be vulnerable and begin their healing process without judgement. The ladies talking circle will be led by Tulalip tribal member, Deborah Parker, while the fellas circle will be guided by community elder, Jim Hillaire. 

The Problem Gambling program and the Wellness Conference committee invites everyone to the 7th annual Community Wellness Conference. The event is open to the public from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 14 and Wednesday, May 15, in the Orca Ballrooms of the Tulalip Resort Casino. They would also like to encourage local elders to attend the second morning of the conference (May 15) for the Tulalip Youth Council special honoring for all of the wisdom keepers in attendance. 

“We’re hoping participants take away a stronger understanding on how to support their youth,” expresses Sarah. “We’re looking at building tools, building skills, providing resources and education on some of those issues, but also aim to have fun and hopefully build stronger connections amongst each other and with the community. It’s about healing, it’s about wellness, it’s about health. We want people to walk away with a good experience that is valuable for them, that they could apply to their life. The champions for life theme really embodies that idea. We want people to leave feeling empowered and feeling that they are part of that champions for life message.”

Warm Beach to launch trauma-informed, equine therapy for Tulalip youth

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Warm Beach is well-known as the home of The Lights of Christmas, a popular holiday festival featuring dazzling light displays. Not as commonly known, however, is the fact Warm Beach has one of Snohomish County’s largest horse herds offering year-long equestrian programs. The dedicated staff of Warm Beach’s equestrian program are currently developing a trauma-informed therapy course designed specifically for Tulalip foster children. The first-of-its-kind course is anticipated to debut in September.

The inspiration for a tribal specific version of equine therapy came about after Rebecca Black (Quinault), who’s been raising two Tulalip children for four years now, participated in a parent/child camp with horses at Warm Beach. While there she couldn’t help but wonder how much more impactful the camp could be if it were designed for tribal youth and geared towards healing historical traumas.

“I grew up around horses and, being in an abusive foster care system as a young teen myself, there were literally times where the horses saved my life,” shared Rebecca, now a licensed foster care provider. “I wanted my two boys and other tribal youth to experience the healing that horses make possible. It’s so important that we intercede at a younger age because the health outcomes in our communities, especially for our kids in foster care, can really change.”

Rebecca met with Warm Beach executive staff and engaged in a series of productive meetings regarding a camp that not only establishes a working relationship with Tulalip, but also would break down barriers of opportunity for tribal youth. Months’ worth of meetings and cultural education led to an application to the Tulalip Charitable Table and a subsequent grant award to develop a prototype version of equine therapy for Tulalip foster children. 

Tulalip Tribes Chairwoman, Teri Gobin

On the morning of April 25, representatives from Warm Beach Horsemanship met with Chairwoman Teri Gobin, Board of Director Mel Sheldon, and Charitable Contributions Director Marilyn Sheldon to thank them all in culturally appropriate way for the grant funds making the innovative therapy course possible. A brief introduction of what’s to come and how the children will benefit was also detailed.

“Our intent is to use the grant to run a three day trauma-informed, therapeutic program that will cater to serving eight Tulalip children currently in foster care,” explained Lisa Tremain, Horsemanship Director at Warm Beach Camp. “Through the use of horses we’ll be doing activities both mounted and on the ground that help walk the children through various stages of their healing journey. Building relationships, trust and confidence are critical pieces to the healing process that equine therapy offers.” 

“In a therapeutic and safe environment, horses provide unique nonverbal feedback that can facilitate social, physical and cognitive skill development in people of all ages,” added Ginger Reitz, Therapeutic Horsemanship Coordinator.

Tulalip Tribes Board of Director, Mel Sheldon

Two therapeutic horses, Mirage and Cameo, wore ‘Lightening Horse’ blankets courtesy of Eighth Generation. After making their introductions with everyone in attendance, the horses’ blankets were used to wrap Board members Teri and Mel. 

“Our hands go up to you all for your good work,” stated Chairwoman Gobin. “We understand how important work like this is to help people, especially our children, heal from their own personal traumas. It’s often not easy to speak about, but it’s essential if we’re to move forward in a good way.”