Recovery Resource Center designed to ‘save lives’

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

On the morning of Monday, January 30, community change makers convened for the grand opening of Tulalip’s latest resource designed to combat substance use disorder and an opioid crisis that continues to terrorize our community. Appropriately named the Recovery Resource Center, the remodeled building is intended to serve as a safe space for those actively along their recovery journey in search of resources to get clean, maintain sobriety, or simply desiring to chat with nonjudgmental staff and peers about obstacles experienced.

“We’ve been working on the development of this building for close to a year now, and the time has finally come to unveil this latest project,” said Rebecca Hunter, director of comprehensive recovery solutions. “We brought over the ODMAP team from the court house to work with our clients closely, which allows for a greater level of outreach. Within this Recovery Resource Center, we offer short-term sober living for those getting out of inpatient treatment, we monitor compliance of aftercare recovery, check-ins with recovery counselors, NARCAN distribution, and even offer financial services for those living in Oxford housing.”

An Oxford House is a shared housing residence for people in recovery from substance use disorders. An Oxford House describes a democratically self-governed and self-supported drug-free house. There is no length of stay and the house may have from six to ten residents. There are houses for men, women, men with children, or women with children. Visit wa.oxfordhouse.us for more information and eligibility requirements of Oxford living. 

The newly remodeled building that is the Recovery Resource Center has served Tulalip in multiple capacities over the years. Most notably as the old health clinic, before being the one-time home of Lushootseed and then a domestic violence shelter after that. It’s burnt orange exterior with red trim resembling a rustic torch, lighting the way to new beginnings for those whose life may depend on its resources offered

“Our overarching mission is to work with people as they are. Those coming right off the street and looking for a warm space to stay dry and have a bite to eat, even if for a short while, are much more open minded and accepting to engaging in our services,” Rebecca explained. “It’s another pathway for us to get the education out there and NARCAN distributed so we can save lives.”

According to the latest data available from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), 250 Americans die every day, on average, from a drug overdose. The number of overdose deaths has increased over time, with a sharp rise during COVID. Making matters more concerning for Native American population centers is the well-known fact that per capita, we have the highest rate of rate of overdose deaths, and that rate has only increased in recent years. This unfortunate, gut-wrenching trend is clearly illustrated in the accompanying CDC chart.  

“Having a drop-in center for people to go to, staffed with friendly, well-informed individuals who won’t judge, but will listen and suggest resources is so important for outreach,” added Rebecca. “We have so many community members in need with recovery, and yet we continue to have more deaths, too, especially among our young people. So where are systems not speaking to each other? Where are our gaps between Behavioral Health, Family Services, and the Health Clinic? 

“Our team is committed to finding solutions and identifying those gaps in service so we can better our services to the community and save lives.”

When your tribe’s leading cause of death is drug overdose, which is and has been the case for Tulalip in recent years, it’s no understatement to say having more resources, more outreach, and more staff trained to recognize the signs of substance use disorder can save lives. Rebecca and her team at the Center are committed to being the change that the community has called for: a group of culturally responsive, judgement-free professionals committed to helping those caught in the trenches make their way out to live long and full lives. 

“Although the grant for our overdose mapping program is coming to an end, we fully intend to continue on that mission to implement as many efforts as we can to combat the opioid crisis and high rates of overdose in Native communities,” said Kali Joseph, manager for the Recovery Resource Center. “One of our goals is to offer a space for our people to come together and feel that connection of community. For those who feel lost, that connection to community may be the exact thing they need to start their recovery journey.

“In order to most effectively reach our people and keep them engaged, we must take a holistic approach to substance use order,” she continued. “Meaning we need to approach it not just physically, but spiritually, mentally, and emotionally as well. We understand the need to raise awareness about how this crisis is related to intergenerational and historical trauma. A lot of times people use substances as a coping mechanism to heal from all that unresolved grief and trauma.”

It’s worth mentioning that the source of so much of that intergenerational and historical trauma that currently burdens our people stems from the now demolished Tulalip Boarding School that operated from 1857 to 1932. On the same grounds where multiple generations of Tulalip children were stripped of their culture and forced to assimilate, where untold horrors and countless wrongs occurred, that is where the newly minted Recovery Resource Center now stands. 

Tulalip’s Recovery Resource Center is here to support all Tulalip citizens in all phases of their journey: whether new to recovery, after a difficult transition, during mental health changes, or now wanting to give back in service to others. A bold initiative to arm our people with the resources they need to build resiliency, acquire strength, and feel empowered to heal themselves and our community in a good way.

January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month

Human Trafficking. Torn pieces of paper with the words Human Trafficking. Concept Image. Black and White. Closeup.

By Marisa Chavez, Tulalip Children’s Advocacy Center and Legacy of Healing 

Human Trafficking is a multi-billion dollar criminal industry that denies freedom to 24.9 million people around the world.  Every year millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide, and Washington State has the 11th highest rate of trafficking in the United States. It can happen in any community and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. 

40% of women who are human trafficking victims or survivors identify as Native American or Alaska Native according to a 2015 study by the National Congress of American Indians. 

What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is the business of stealing freedom for profit. It has also been known as “trafficking in persons” or “modern slavery”. In some cases, traffickers trick, defraud or physically force victims into providing commercial sex. In others, victims are lied to, assaulted, threatened or manipulated into working under inhumane, illegal or otherwise unacceptable conditions. 

Traffickers will use violence, manipulation, false promises of well-paying jobs, and romantic relationships to target their victims. 

Traffickers also look for people who are easy targets for a variety of reasons which include psychological or emotional vulnerability, economic hardship, and lack of a social safety net, natural disasters, and political instability. 

Sex Trafficking vs Labor Trafficking

There are many misconceptions of what sex trafficking is. Trafficking rarely looks like what we see in the movies.  We all have a picture in our minds of someone lost in a back alley, suddenly grabbed, suffocated with chloroform, and thrown in the back of a van, only to wake up bound by straps or duct tape or handcuffs. 

Sex Trafficking can occur in any context, such as hotel-based commercial sex, fake massage businesses, street-based commercial sex, residential brothels, truck stops, or escort services.

Labor Trafficking can occur in any industry, including domestic work, agriculture, traveling sales, health and beauty services, restaurants, or construction.

Traffickers use a variety of methods to lure victims into trafficking situations. Language barriers, fear of their traffickers, and fear of law enforcement frequently keep victims from seeking help, often making human trafficking a hidden crime.

The trauma caused by trafficking can be so impactful that many may not identify themselves as victims or ask for help, even in highly public settings.

Who are the Traffickers?

Traffickers usually employ a much less risky and more effective method: grooming.  Grooming involves building trust and taking exploiting vulnerabilities. A trafficker might be a family member, or try to take the place of one, gaining the victim’s trust while brainwashing her or him to see the world in a certain way.

Perpetrators of human trafficking are just as diverse as their victims, and span all racial, ethnic, and gender demographics. Some use their privilege, wealth, and power as a means of control while others experience the same socio-economic oppression as their victims. They include individuals, business owners, gang members, parents or family members of victims, intimate partners, owners of farms or restaurants, and powerful corporate executives and government representatives.   

How do traffickers control victims?

Traffickers employ a variety of control tactics, the most commonly include physical and emotional abuse and threats, isolation from friends and family, and economic abuse. They make promises aimed at addressing the needs of their target in order to impose control. As a result, victims become trapped and fear leaving for myriad reasons, including psychological trauma, shame, emotional attachment, or physical threats to themselves or their family.

Traffickers target vulnerable people who have needs that the traffickers can fill. Sometimes they offer material support – a place to live, clothing, and a chance to “get rich quick.” Other times they offer love, emotional support or a sense of belonging. Kidnapping victims and forcing them into the sex trade through violence is rare.

Where to Get Help

For urgent situations, notify local law enforcement immediately by calling 911. You may also want to alert the National Human Trafficking Hotline described below so that they can ensure response by law enforcement officials knowledgeable about human trafficking.

Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline, a national 24-hour, toll-free, multilingual anti-trafficking hotline. Call 1-888-373-7888 to report a tip; connect with anti-trafficking services in your area.

Legacy of Healing is also available to support victims of sex trafficking. To speak with an advocate, call (360) 716-4100.

The rise in Tribal grandparent guardianship

By Shaelyn Smead, Tulalip News

Family issues surrounding chemical dependency, domestic violence, and homelessness have created a continued upward trend of Native grandparents obtaining guardianship over their grandchildren.

Traditionally speaking, the concept isn’t too far off from how our ancestors raised their kids. For centuries before us, Native people thrived through communal operations. Rather than families only being responsible for their ‘own,’ families worked together, raised children together, and depended on one another frequently. 

Historically Native grandparents helped raise children in their community out of choice and tradition. However, with certain struggles that today’s world brings, grandparent guardianship has become more about necessity and intervention. Native grandparents have become the glue for many Native households trying to keep their families together. 

Family Haven manager Alison Bowen recognized that grandparent guardianship is nothing new to Tulalip. Still, she has witnessed the increase in the trend as well, “We mostly see grandparents offer to help and take over guardianship. It says a lot about their love for their family and keeping the kids close, safe, and surrounded by their community. Beda?chelh has also taken great strides at approving kinship care and allowing that to happen, which is wonderful,” she said.

Other than some of the obvious struggles that derive from family distress, grandparents, in particular, have their own set of adjusting and obstacles to overcome. A big hurdle is the difference in generations. Many have raised their children in a completely different era and environment than they are now in.

“Understanding concepts around bullying, social media, drugs, and technology are all new to them. Fifty years ago, they might have had a version of these struggles, but as time has progressed, so have these parental stresses. They are being exposed to these new situations and have to adapt quickly,” Alison said. 

The success of these grandparents weighs heavily on the amount of support that they have. A 2019 Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology studied Montana’s Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Project’s stressors, resources, and resiliency of rural Native and European American custodial grandparents. In short, the research found that 33% of the Native grandparents suffered from economic distress and were ill-prepared to financially accommodate the needs of childrearing. They also found that living on reservations or small communities brought shame, guilt, and fear of gossip that challenged the uptake of services when eligible.

It was argued that due to Native Americans’ history of traumas from colonialism, cultural genocide, forced relocation to reservations, and residential boarding schools, Native American grandparents suffered a higher level of depressive symptoms. On the other hand, because of these historical events, it forced Native Americans to adapt, and the grandparents scored a higher level of resiliency than their European American counterparts. 

Alison spoke about her admiration for Tulalip grandparents taking on this new role, “To settle down and retire, and then to choose to repeat the childrearing chapter of their lives, is so amazing. You can feel the love that they have for their grandchildren. And whenever kids can stay in their family or community, they feel more connected and like they belong. That’s what any child wants,” she said. 

An anonymous tribal grandparent shared their story, similar to many other grandparents holding guardianship. They obtained guardianship over their four great nieces and nephews in 2020 due to parental mental health and addiction-related issues. Raising four kids under eight years old, lack of energy, exposure to new technology, and adapting to new parenting styles were all obstacles the grandparents had to overcome. But they look at this time in their life to better themselves and have a second shot at parenthood.

The anonymous grandparent spoke about not having parents and how they didn’t want these kids to experience that same trauma, “It was not a question at all when we took them in. We love them, and we had to keep our family together. We wanted their parents to be sober and care for their kids because they were once awesome parents. But it’s just not what happened. We struggled at first in our transition because this wasn’t what we had planned for our life, but we shifted our thoughts and started saying- ‘this is our life,’” they said.

The grandparent also shared their gratitude for how their family has come together and helped them with raising the kids. They expressed how TANF and Beda?chelh have been substantial resources for them.

“The biggest thing I could say to other grandparents experiencing this transition is to enjoy the moment, enjoy the children, and find your support system. Kids are a blessing and can motivate you in ways you haven’t thought of before,” they said. 

Many resources are available for Tulalip families in distress, including Family Advocacy’s programs like Beda?chelh, funding through TANF, Child Advocacy, and Legacy of Healing. Child Youth and Family (CYF) Mental Wellness also provides individual and family therapy, transportation services, and referrals to various psychological services. Additionally, Family Haven provides Teen Outreach Program, Tulalip Peer Support Program, MOMs Group, parenting classes, Family Spirit Home Visiting Program, and the Family Preservation Program.

If you or someone you know needs services, please contact Beda?chelh and Family Haven at 3607163284, Family Advocacy at 3607164320, or CYF Mental Wellness at 3607164224.

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)