National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Submitted by Sydney Gilbert, Forensic Interview Coordinator, Tulalip Children’s Advocacy Center    

October is National Domestic Violence (DV) Awareness Month. This year with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important now than ever that we learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of DV as it often thrives in the secrecy and silence of the home. Many people are staying home to stay safe from the pandemic. But for the 84% of Native people who have experience violence in their lives, home is not always a safe place to be (Rosay, 2016). 

According to the Rosay study, more than 56 % of Native women had experienced sexual violence and more than 55% had experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetime. 27% of Native men had experienced sexual violence and over 43% had experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetime. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, “Intimate Partner Violence describes physical violence, sexual violence, stalking, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples and does not require sexual intimacy”. 

It important that we understand the high rates of violence against Native Americans. Strong Hearts Native Helpline reminds us that “the parallels that can be drawn between colonialism and domestic violence can be seen through their definitions and through a review of Native American history. Having lived through genocide and horrific suffering, the aftermath of European contact and colonization continues to not only haunt Native Americans, it wreaks havoc in their everyday lives” (Strong Hearts Native Helpline, 2017). This is likely why 84% of Native women and 81% of Native men have experienced sexual violence, intimate partner violence, stalking, and/or psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime. (Rosay, 2016). 

One thing we can do as a community to combat DV is to be open to talking about and learning about it. If we want to end intimate partner violence we need to be willing to stop thinking of it as a “family issue” that is to be kept quiet. Common signs of abusive behavior in a partner include: 

  • Telling you that you never do anything right. 
  • Showing extreme jealousy and controlling behavior. 
  • Preventing or discouraging you from spending time with your friends or family. 
  • Insulting, demeaning, or shaming you. Especially in front of other people. 
  • Controlling finances, household decisions, or who you spend your time with. 
  • Intimidating you with threatening looks or the threat of violence. 
  • Destroying your belongings or your home or harming your pets. 
  • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol. 
  • Pressuring you to have sex or perform acts you’re not comfortable with. 
  • Intimidating you with weapons like guns, knives, bats, or mace. 
  • Any type of physical assault. 

Tulalip Tribes Legacy of Healing is here to listen and help in any way we can. If you’re experiencing DV or know someone who is and want resources on how to help, Legacy of Healing is here for you. Our mission is to promote a safe, healthy, and non-violent community for non-offending tribal members and their families by providing education, survivor advocacy, and accountability through a coordinated community response. Our services include civil and legal advocacy for adult victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking, outreach, and education.

Legacy of Healing is located at 7720 Waterworks Road in Tulalip. We are open Monday-Friday 8:00-4:30. Call us at 360-716-4100 or email at loh@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov. Please scan our QR code and “like” our Facebook page for additional trainings and resources. 

If you are in crisis you can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Strong Hearts Native Helpline can be reached at 1-844-762-8483.

References: 

Center for Disease Control. (2018, October 23). Intimate Partner Violence. Retrieved October 7, 2020 from   https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/index.html

Rosay, André B., “Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women and Men,” NIJ Journal 277 (2016): 38-45, available at http://nij.gov/journals/277/Pages/violence-againstamerican-indians-alaska-natives.aspx.

Strong Hearts Native Helpline. (2017). Domestic Violence in Indian Country and Alaska. Retrieved October 7, 2020 from https://www.strongheartshelpline.org/domestic-violence-in-indian-country-and-alaska/ 

Stress Management 101

Submitted by AnneCherise Jensen

This past year has been challenging for everyone, from adults, to teens, and even children, people of all ages are experiencing high levels of stress. Being in a chronic state of stress can cause both long and short term  health problems, so it’s important to try and manage stress as much as possible. In addition to feeling anxious, many may become depressed, struggle to get a good night’s sleep or experience digestive issues. The good news is, there are many healthy outlets available to help individuals manage their specific stress factors. But first, let’s go over what stress really is, and how it can also be a good thing too. 

What is Stress? Our Bodies Flight or Fight Response 

Stress can either stem from something positive (preparing for a vacation) or negative (dealing with virtual learning at home). Stress is the natural, human reaction to a situation where a person feels threatened or anxious, and it’s something everyone copes with.  In these intense moments, our central nervous system releases stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones trigger the fight or flight response, which gets your body ready for action. Having a healthy portion of stress, can motivate you to accomplish tasks on your To Do List, or accomplish a series of goals. We need these stress hormones to feel ambitious and willing to take on the day! However, having too much unmanaged stress can lead to lethargy, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and other serious health conditions if not dealt with. 

Common reactions to stressful / traumatic events can include:

After a stressful event, or series of stressful events, individuals may have strong and lingering reactions. These events may include personal or environmental disasters, threats with an assault, excessive stress, loss of loved one, financial disparities, safety concerns, or simply being overworked and over exhausted. The symptoms may be physical, emotional, spiritual or all of the above. Common symptoms of having excessive amounts of stress include; 

  • Disbelief, shock, and numbness.
  • Feeling sad, frustrated, and helpless.
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions.
  • Headaches, back pains, and stomach problems. 
  • Smoking or excessive use of drugs and alcohol. 
  • Tired, lethargic and lack of energy. 
  • Rapid heartbeat, rise in blood pressure, increased heavy breathing 
  • Sugar & salt cravings 

How Do I Deal with Stress? Stress-Busters! 

Learning healthy ways to cope is crucial for the health and well being of our emotional and physical self.  Our health not only affects us, but those around us and in our household as well. Getting the right care and support is crucial when trying to reduce those stressful feelings and symptoms. But this big question is, how can we manage and control stress? Well, we can’t always control what’s happening around us, but we can control how we react to those stressful environmental situations. When life gets hard and those negative emotions start to kick in, give these following stress busters a try! Chances are, one or more of these tips will help relieve some of the stress you are currently carrying on your shoulders. 

Slow Down, Stop what you’re doing, Take a deep breath! In today day and age, our day to day life is often filled with excessive responsibilities that keep us running from one place to the next, from task to task. When you start to feel overwhelmed, take a moment, stop what you’re doing, and focus on getting some deep fresh breaths into your brain and lungs. Taking a moment to get some fresh oxygen to your organs can help lower stressful symptoms, while also helping you think more clearly. Do this for 3-5 minutes and examine how you feel afterwards. 

Healthy Food, Healthy Moods: When it comes to food and stress, one of the best things you can do for your body is to choose a well balanced, healthful eating style. Focus on eating whole foods and eliminating processed foods.  Processed foods often contain harmful chemicals and ingredients that can add to more stress to your physical body. 

Physical Activity & Active Relaxation: Engaging in physical activities and active relaxation is one of the best things you can do to help manage stress! When we physically engage in movement, such as walking, running, or stretching, our body releases happy chemicals like dopamine and serotonin that help us feel happy and at ease.  The more physically active you are, the more happy brain chemicals are released. However, as little as five minutes of exercise a day can be beneficial. If you would like to visit the gym, check out the Marysville YMCA hours for business, they are open!  

Massage or Acupuncture Therapy: Both of these alternative healing treatments can be very beneficial to managing both physical and emotional stress. Treat yourself to a spa day, or visit the Tulalip Health Clinic for a deep tissue massage. 

Hobbies: Hobbies are a terrific way to destress! They allow our left brain, or the artistic side of our brain, to thrive and engage, which can be great for our mental health. Hobbies can include anything from painting, foraging, weaving, sports, playing an instrument, reading, drawing and so much more. Tune into your creative side and turn your stress into something positive! 

Socializing with friends and family Being around a supportive and loving group of individuals is crucial for our mental health. A supportive community allows us to reach out for help and encourage others when needed. Be sure to check in on your Elders and family members at this time! And please don’t be afraid to reach out to trusted loved ones if you need someone to talk to. 

Control Cravings: If stress has you craving crunchy foods, reach for lower calorie, healthful foods such as veggie chips, carrots, celery or plain popcorn. If you have a sweet tooth, try replacing ice cream and pastries with fruit parfaits, fruit smoothies, or fruit pies. Or, try modifying your favorite baked goods by adding pumpkin, banana,  zucchini and almonds in your favorite homemade bread! 

Reduce Caffeine & Excessive Sugar Intake:  Excessive amounts of caffeine and sugar can often amplify the stress symptoms you are currently dealing with. Try reducing caffeine by drinking herbal plant teas instead. They usually have much lower levels of caffeine and consist of many other great health benefits as well. Instead of loading up on sugar when the sugar cravings kick in, eat a well balanced meal that includes lean protein, and fiber from fruits, vegetables, whole grains or beans. Examine and see how you feel afterwards. 

Hiking & Nature Walks: Getting outside for a breath of fresh air will help rejuvenate the heart, mind and soul. Being surrounded by trees, lakes, oceans and plants is healing beyond measure. Whether you go for a quick 10 minute walk in the woods, or a 10 mile hike to the mountains, both have so much to offer! 

Avoid drugs and alcohol. Yes, these may seem to help ease the pain at first, but they can create additional problems and increase the stress you are already feeling. Though it can be hard or you may be struggling with addiction, I highly recommend seeking relationships with friends and family who will support and encourage sobriety. We are capable of so much more when we allow ourselves to be our best, sober, self! 

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

Sources: 

https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/copingwith-stresstips.html

https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/preventing-illness/lifestyle-and-managing-stress

Community Health COVID kits

By Kim Kalliber, Tulalip News

Being prepared is key in any health crisis. It’s especially important during a nationwide pandemic like COVID 19. With cases on the rise again at Tulalip, staff at Community Health, in partnership with Emergency Management, have prepared wellness kits for those testing positive with the virus.

According to Morgan Peterson, Community Health Nurse, 70 kits have been assembled and are available. “These are a starter kit to help promote health and wellness. Family or friends can pick them up at the Community Health building. We also will deliver the kits the persons home.”

“These kits are for all Native families residing on the reservation and receive care at the health clinic,” said Morgan. “We will provide these kits to Tribal families that have tested positive outside of the Tulalip Health Clinic.”

These kits include many essential items such as: 

  • Hand soap
  • Sanitizer
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • 20 masks 
  • 20 pairs of gloves
  • Teas
  • EmergenC
  • Pulse oximeter
  • Thermometer
  • Booklet to track and monitor symptoms 
  • An info card on how to use the items and who to call if you need help

There is a limit of one COVID care kit per household and three kits have been given out so far. Clinic staff are asking those picking up kits to please call first, and staff will bring the kit to your car. 

“Community Health nurses and nurses of the Health Clinic are here to answer any questions or concerns so don’t hesitate to call,” added Morgan.

The Clinic is offering COVID testing to any patient of the clinic. You must be or become registered to receive COVID testing. 

For more information, please contact the Tulalip Health Clinic at 360-716-5662 or visit tulaliphealthsystem.com. 

The art of soap making with Amoreena Anderson

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

“Everybody sees soap as this magical thing, and it is kind of magical,” said Tulalip tribal member, Amoreena Anderson. “It cleanses your pores and takes away all the dirt and bacteria off your body, binds it to a molecule and washes it away.”

At a young age, Amoreena found her passion while on shopping trips with her mom in Mount Vernon. Little did she know of all the lives she would positively affect when she was drawn to a section of a local food co-op where they sold handcrafted soap, and her teenage, curious mind began to wonder how soap is made.

“My mom used to take me to the Skagit Valley Food Co-Op and they would have all these handcrafted soaps, I was always interested in knowing how they were made,” she said. “My mom told me she made soap before and I would probably learn when I got older. From that moment on, I was completely into it.”

She spent the next few years researching how to craft soap. If the co-op visits were the prelude to her journey in soap making, the first chapter took place in 2012 when she began experimenting and created her first product, which was a big hit amongst her family and co-workers.

She stated, “I have carpal tunnel and was always typing as a data entry clerk, so I started making shea butter body whip, basically whipped shea butter that I would add essential oils and vitamin E. My friend used to trade me massages for the body butter, it was for her child who had a skin condition. I believe all the high-end essential oils are wonderful, they reap all the benefits that you could use and I really wanted to know more.” 

Amoreena explained that after receiving positive reviews about the body butter and learning more about essential oils, she was ready for the next challenge. Purchasing her first home in 2013, she now had the necessary space to fully immerse herself into her passion project.

“I had a typical first timer experience as I started perfecting my methods and recipes. They have soap calculators online that are very helpful in helping you get the right consistency. Cleansing and moisturizing are the two most important factors. Depending on your skin type, you can modify each batch to meet your specific needs. And then there’s also the oil properties; soy bean, coconut, shea butter, a lot of exotic oils that all have different properties. Pretty soon I had a lot of people who wanted to buy soap from me, so I start selling soap. But, I wanted to do more.”

“I had a typical first timer experience as I started perfecting my methods and recipes. They have soap calculators online that are very helpful in helping you get the right consistency. Cleansing and moisturizing are the two most important factors. Depending on your skin type, you can modify each batch to meet your specific needs. And then there’s also the oil properties; soy bean, coconut, shea butter, a lot of exotic oils that all have different properties. Pretty soon I had a lot of people who wanted to buy soap from me, so I start selling soap. But, I wanted to do more.”

Growing up Tulalip, she learned about the traditional lifeways of her people and knew a great deal about harvesting and the medicinal properties that plants contain. She wanted to expand her knowledge on the subject of herbalism even more to incorporate different plants and herbs into her soaps, salves, candles, bath bombs, and lotions to help people with their everyday ailments. She enrolled in an herbalist course to get a better understanding of the healing abilities that various plants offer. 

“I took a class to learn different ways I could incorporate a holistic approach, to help people heal their skin issues and symptoms because a lot of herbalism can treat those symptoms,” said Amoreena. “Depending on the plant you’re using, some of these plants are adaptogenic and they alleviate and eliminate symptoms completely. I really feel like I’m doing my best work, sharing my passion for my work in general to give to my community. Whether it be information or product, it’s very empowering and uplifting and I like to not only give to them, but ask them if they would like to make soap with me, if they want to go harvesting with me, or if they want to sit in and watch.”

Amoreena’s soap making journey was off to a great start. In fact, if her story was a biopic on the silver screen, the next few years would play out like a montage as her business, known officially as Coast Salish Soaps, took off. Not only was she selling soap to multiple families within the Tulalip community, her products were being shipped nationwide and could even be found for sale in other countries such as Canada, Italy, Japan, Germany and England. The quality of her products was spoken of highly by her clientele who provided testimonials and side-by-side before and after pictures to back up their reviews.

A major component to her success is the fact the she shares her knowledge with her consumers. When people approach her with different skin issues they wish to address, she not provides them with a product that works, she explains why it will work, what to expect and how the issue may have arisen in the first place.  

“I really do care,” expressed Amoreena. “I have sensitive skin. My kids have sensitive skin. A lot of it stems from the food you eat. Your liver is basically your body’s second brain, and your skin is the largest organ on your body. Your skin is considered to be your second liver. Everything your liver doesn’t process out, comes through the skin and you end up having skin eruptions; eczema, cirrhosis, endocrine diseases are linked to the liver and heavy metal. There are so many people who suffer from skin flare ups like dry skin, rashes and they don’t know where it comes from.”

She continues, “When you go all natural with handcrafted soaps like I make, sometimes you go through a detoxing process for your skin and it’s weird for the first two weeks, but then you’re all good. A lot of people say soap irritates their skin and think what is sold over the counter is soap, when it’s not actually soap, it’s chemicals. People like it because it doesn’t leave soap scum, one of the complaints that happens regularly with handmade soaps. But then they’ll notice their skin is a lot drier, itchier, and tight-feeling, and that’s because their using surfactants versus soap. With what corporate America gives the public to use, small-business-handcrafted-soap-makers are really valuable people inside their communities, to bring that knowledge back to people. It’s empowering for a lot of people to take back control on what they use on their bodies.”

All great success stories are not complete without trials and tribulations, and Coast Salish Soaps are currently weathering a momentary hiatus brought forth in the form of an injury when Amoreena took a spill and broke both of her wrists. Although she hasn’t been in business for about a year, she still receives requests on the regular. When she has the necessary helping hands from her kiddos and plenty of notice in advance, Amoreena will occasionally concoct a batch of soaps to donate for local memorials and funerals in the Tulalip community. 

  “I usually have a feeling of gratitude when I do my work. When I’m called upon to make soap for memorials, or funerals for our give away practices, I always try to oblige. An important part of our culture, in the potlatch system, is our giveaways.”

Amoreena wants her loyal customers and interested parties to know that her love and passion for soap making hasn’t faltered through trying times, and that she plans on elevating her brand once she is back to 100% and healed from her injury. And although she constantly works with Native plants of this region, such as Devils Club, and has even rendered bear fat to use in her products, she wants to incorporate more traditional teachings and medicine into soaps and creations. 

“One of my favorites to make is the emulsified sugar scrub because you’re in total and complete control of how moisturizing or cleansing it is, and how silky it’s going to turn out and how much lather it will have. My healing butter infused with plant medicine is another favorite. Soap is my favorite, that’s a given because that’s the base of my business. I like to make lotions and heavy creams upon request. Liquid soap is most definitely up there, people really like the liquid soap. My son’s out fishing and he’ll come home and it will take the fish smell right out of his skin. Any stinky smell, it’s just gone, don’t have to re-wash your hands from anything potent smelling. It’s really good for your skin too, it doesn’t leave it over dried.”

To stay updated on the latest news about Amoreena and Coast Salish Soaps, please join the Coast Salish Soaps group on Facebook and be sure to give their business page a like as well. Amoreena may not be selling products at this time, but she is always willing to share the knowledge she has attained over the years with those who are inquiring. 

She expressed, “My goal with my business is to empower the people, to give back to the community. It’s important that we uplift each other and share our knowledge to keep our Tribe and our community empowered. You’d be amazed at what a bag of liquid soap, that’s full of essential oils, can do for somebody’s mental health just by that ritual of showering and inhaling the essential oils in the steam.”

Did you know?

  • Devils club salve is a sacred plant native to the United States, Canada and Alaska regions. They like to grow in areas that have a lot of moisture. A little bit can go a long way. It’s an anti-flammatory and it has multiple uses beyond herbalism that are sacred and spiritual. The plant itself will smoothen out kinked muscles, it will alleviate the pain and bring circulation in. 
  • Magnesium is a mineral that our bodies need, it’s something that our body doesn’t reproduce on its own so you need to get it from food sources or topically. Magnesium does hundreds of positive things for your body; it relaxes your heart, it relaxes all of your muscles so you can get proper blood flow to damaged tissue, it alleviates leg cramps, it works with nerve damage like neuropathy that diabetics can get, it helps immensely with headaches and can be a very powerful pain reliever.