Thanksgiving’s origin, and the opportunities Native Americans have to reclaim our culture

By Shaelyn Hood, Tulalip News

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the “first” Thanksgiving. Traditionally, the American education system has taught this holiday as a time where Native Americans and pilgrims worked together, helped each other, and celebrated with a feast in 1621. However, with a better understanding, we know that there is more than meets the eye.

The truth behind the “first” Thanksgiving makes some wonder whether to celebrate it. According to the National Parks Service, as early as 1565, Spanish settlers and members of the Seloy tribe broke bread in Florida. Then according to National Geographic, in 1619, the first thanksgiving-like gathering took place when settlers in Berkeley Hundred (now Virginia) celebrated their arrival in 1619. Others like to argue that the origin comes from 1637 when the Massachusetts Bay Colony governor, John Winthrop, declared a day to celebrate soldiers who had just slaughtered hundreds of Pequot men, women, and children.

Nonetheless, we know that the traditional story that is told of the “first” Thanksgiving is not completely true. A study published by Quarternary Science Reviews say that by 1620, about 90% of the Indigenous people were already lost to a disease brought over by European settlers. And not shortly after, any relationship that the Wampanoag people at Plymouth Rock had with European settlers, quickly dissipated. 

Today in America, many families don’t gather because of Thanksgiving’s history, but rather, they use the day as another opportunity to gather with loved ones. Thanksgiving has become less about the dynamics between pilgrims and Native Americans, and more about families being together. 

 For many Native Americans, that same idea applies, but also carrying on traditions through generations. Tulalip elder Dale Jones said, “We’ve got to get to the importance of it. If Covid taught us anything, it is really important to gather together as a family, before our elders are gone.” 

 In today’s world, Native Americans can gather, carry on and teach traditions that our ancestors fought so hard to keep. We have more capabilities now to be active in our culture and educate our community. Ultimately, we can change the narrative of what Thanksgiving once was and reclaim our language, ceremony, and foodways back to our heritage, and incorporate Native traditional foods into our holiday meals. Veronica “Roni” Leahy with the Diabetes Program listed some traditional and healthy food recipes that tribal members can include this Thursday. 

  • Veggie salad- Any kind of squash, tomato, dried shelling beans, and corn, sauteed together with chives
  • Pompion- Mash together pumpkin, or any type of squash, ginger, salt, and butter
  • Native American meatloaf- Elk or deer, wild onions, and camas or other native plants
  • Berry compote topping- any wild berries, boil, mash, and mix with honey

Roni went on to talk about the importance of prayer, “In Indian Country, it’s always best to receive every day as a gift. Our elders teach us that all good things begin with prayer and end with prayer.”

She also shared an East Coast Wampanoag prayer by Michael “Tender Heart” Markley,

“Let us give thanks to the creator for all that he gives. The harvest moon has shined its brilliance over our home and now as we store the harvest of our work the creator gives his sustenance. The Earth will now rest through the coming seasons storing the energy needed to once again feed our people.”

As David Weeden, Mashpee Wampanoag tribal historic preservation officer once said, “Acknowledging that wrongs have been done is the first part of healing.” As Native Americans, we have the opportunity to understand our history, but also to share our truth, and take actions to continue to reclaim our culture and move forward as a community. 

25th Anniversary (plus one) of the Evergreen State longhouse

Vickie Era-Pancretz (Alutiiq) AWIRNAQ – Alutiiq Hunting Hat.
Spruce root, sea otter fur, dentalium, antique Russian trade beads, imitation sea lion whiskers,
suet, cloth straps
“AWIRNAQ represents my hunt for my roots, which started as a student of Native American Studies in 1994. Through the Longhouse community, I connected with and studied under many Northwest Master Basket Weavers and participated in Pacific Art Northwest 1997 – 1999, winning two awards. 
As a member of the Northwest Native Basketweavers Association, I first connected with an Alutiiq grass basket weaver. In early 2010, I traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia with the director of the Alutiiq Museum, plus four other Alutiiq weavers and one Tlingit weaver. We studied collections of hundreds of Alutiiq weavings from the Koniag region, including many spruce root hunting hats. These were highly decorated and some brightly painted to express hunting prowess. 
After several years, I was able to collect and process enough spruce root to weave this hat—similar to one that is in the Smithsonian Museum. Fellow Alutiiq artist, Jerry Laktonen, honored me with his painted whale design. This has been a meaningful journey of connection for me and I would be honored to have AWIRNAQ on exhibit where my journey began. I am grateful to our Creator for guiding my hands and heart, and for bringing me to the Longhouse.”

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Native artists are luminaries of their shared cultures, lighting the pathway back into the far reaches of history, and leading the way into the future with their creative vision. In continuing our celebration of November as Native American Heritage Month, we offer our readers a stunning collection of artwork offered by such luminaries. These examples of fine Native craftsmanship were curated by the devoted longhouse team at Evergreen State College.

The “House of Welcome” longhouse education and cultural center is a public service center on the college’s Olympia campus. Built in collaboration with Northwest Tribes, it is the first building of its kind on a public campus in the United States. It was a dream of Native students, tribal artists and faculty member Mary Ellen Hillaire (Lummi Nation), who founded Evergreen’s Native American Studies program in 1972. 

Kelly Church (Grand Traverse Bay of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians) Fiberge Egg #9
Black ash, black ash seed, Rit Dye, sweet grass, copper, velvet, sinew
“The Emerald Ash Borer was discovered in 2002 in Michigan in the eastern side of the state. At that time thousands of ash trees had died. It is called the Emerald Ash Borer because it is a beautiful emerald green color with a copper colored belly. This basket represents the Emerald Ash Borer, with its green and copper colors, and opens to a vial containing the Emerald Ash Borer and a black ash seed;
The End and the Beginning. 
The black ash tree is the last to get its leaves in the summer, and the first to lose the leaves usually.
The seeds take 2 years to germinate. They drop to the ground in the fall time, go through a winter, spring, summer, and the next summer it begins to grow. It grows in the swamps and wetlands and provides food
for our white tail deer. 
The tree provides the community with splints for baskets that provide utilitarian baskets such as baby baskets, fishing creels, ceremonial baskets and more, as well as the finances for food, shelter, and future harvests to do it all again. It provides communities with teachings that bring together families, weavers, and future generations to carry these teachings on into the next generation.  While it seems like the end is inevitable, I also see this as a new beginning. A new resurgence, an urgency, a recognition, the awakening of blood memory. Our people are strong and with good hearts, they are learning, they are weaving, they are hearing the voices of their ancestors, and they are listening.”

In 1995 their dream came true thanks to the perseverance of Evergreen graduate Colleen Jollie and since that time, the mission of Evergreen’s “House of Welcome,” has been to promote Indigenous arts and cultures from not only the Pacific Northwest, but nationally.  

Since opening, the Longhouse has awarded over $800,000 in individual artist grants; it has hosted over 200 artists residencies and workshops; it has premiered 15 art exhibitions; sent six Northwest Native American artists to New Zealand for artist residencies; and hosted two international artists gatherings featuring Indigenous artists from around the Pacific Rim.  

Chholing Taha (Cree First Nations) We Are One Bond
Acrylic on plywood
“This collaborative piece was designed as one of twelve puzzle pieces adorned with traditional stories by both North and South American Indigenous artists. This work discusses many aspects of the interconnectedness of all life. The home fire (society), the stars (sweat lodge elements), tipi poles (each has teachings on how to behave as a thinking human being), rock around the tipi bottom (a woman’s skirt, modesty), the rope binding the tipi poles (We Hold Our Life Together), and the lovely plants that provide medicine and food for all.”

This past summer, Kara Briggs (Sauk-Suiattle) was appointed as Vice President for Tribal Relations, Arts and Cultures. Briggs is determined to continue Evergreen’s 50 years of success as an institution that serves Native students, helping them to which has pave the way to successful careers in their own Tribes, as well as in government, arts and sciences.  

Alex Swiftwater McCarty (Makah)
Friendship Mask. Red cedar, red cedar bark
“Along with the print Pacific Connection, this piece is influenced by my collaborative work with master carver Lyonel Grant during the summer of 2015. We had the opportunity to make monumental carvings for the new Evergreen Fiber Arts Studio that truly blends Northwest Native and Māori design
elements and motifs. 
`As an artist, I work with both contemporary and traditional mediums, and I am always fascinated with translating three-dimensional carved elements into two-dimensional printed images. I first carved the Friendship Mask out of old-growth red cedar and adorned it with cedar bark for hair. This mask represents the new connections made between Pacific Indigenous nations and peoples.”

“The Evergreen Longhouse is a nationally important center for Northwest Native arts and model for other state and private colleges in how to work with Tribes and Native artists to advance Native cultural and artistic expression,” Briggs said. “As The Evergreen State College looks to the next 50 years, and the Longhouse to the next 25 years, we must continue to grow our relationships with Tribes and Native artists, so that we are always creating pathways for Northwest Native peoples to advance.”  

2021 marks the 25th Anniversary (plus one) of Evergreen’s longhouse. The faculty and support staff who embody the heart of the longhouse enjoy convening groups of artists, providing a venue, forum and tools that are needed for artists to express their creativity.

A retrospective art exhibition opening on November 20th, featuring Indigenous artists from throughout the Pacific Rim who have contributed and participated in the work of the longhouse for the past 25 years. The exhibit is free to the general public and can be seen in Evergreen’s gallery located in the Daniel J. Evans building on the college’s Olympia campus. It runs through January 29, 2022.  

“This was one of the most successful Bazaars yet!”

Monie Ordonia.

By Shaelyn Hood, Tulalip News

Makyna Lancaster and Domonick Fuga.

Following last year’s Covid-19 cancellation of the Native Bazaar, many people were eager to see what this year’s Bazaar had to show. Many artists used the event as a time to hone in on their craft and create beautiful pieces for the sale. With over 49 vendors signed up, volunteer organizer, Tammy Taylor, knew this year was going to bring a lot of surprises.

The Bazaar started on Friday November 12 and continued through Sunday November 14. Vendors had a variety of items from, cedar hats/headbands, quilts, acrylic paintings, beaded jewelry, Christmas ornaments, knitted hats, smoked salmon, handmade drums and rattles, and much more. The event drew in such a large crowd that some vendors had sold out by Friday and Saturday. In their attempts to continue selling, vendors went as far as making new pieces overnight to bring the next day. 

Monie Ordonia, a painter and vendor at the event, talked about her experience, “Everyone must have really missed this, we’ve had a lot of foot traffic. It makes me happy to get people excited about art; when they get into the wondering ‘awe’ state, where they want to take it home with them. I take that feeling with me.” 

As we all know, COVID-19 caused a lot of disruptions for gatherings and the Native Bazaar became one of the first major events where the community could come together again. And for many, that was the most important thing.

Tammy Yelm.

 “I usually travel with my family to different elders’ luncheons, it’s nice to be able to come back here and be with the community,” said vendor, Tammy Yelm 

For another vendor, Lisa James-Rodriguez, this was her first year at the Native Bazaar, “I’ve been crafting for six years; art has really become my therapy. During quarantine, it helped keep my sanity, I got to explore new crafts and styles, and the art just speaks to me. Art is a feeling.” 

Lisa James-Rodriguez and Mary Jo James.

Art can be such a fun and emotional process for a lot of artists, and in many ways, they are exposing themselves. The Tulalip community really came together and showed their support for the event and for these artists. Tammy Taylor was extremely happy, “This was one of the most successful Native Bazaars yet! We were all surprised at the turnout. Thank you to the Tulalip Community for coming out and supporting your local Tulalip artists.” 

 She also gave a shout out to the maintenance team, “Barry Davis, Don and their group, they helped set up everything in two hours. Every year they are so gracious and help with cleaning up and supporting our events. They help everything run so smoothly.” 

Tammy Taylor (right).

The Native Bazaar will be taking place one last time before the end of the year, December 3-5 from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Don Hatch Jr. Youth Center. The same vendors will be attending, but expect new things! 

Unfortunately, at this time, the space is filled and cannot take anymore new vendors. If you would like to join the waitlist, or have any questions about the upcoming Bazaar, please contact Tammy Taylor at: 425-501-4141

MSD adopts very first Equity Plan

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News  

“When I was growing up we did not see ourselves in school,” expressed Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary Vice-Principal and Tulalip tribal member, Chelsea Craig. “We did not see our people, our way of being. We were expected to check who we were at the door of the school and conform to the colonized system that we were forced to participate in. This policy is the beginning stages of changing that practice. It honors the unique and beautiful communities that each of our students come from. It puts the heavy lifting on the adults to change their practice and their thinking to meet the needs of all of our kids. It interrupts the status quo, that has long-standing shown, does not work for our Native students and other students of color.”

For the first time in history, the Marysville School District (MSD) has adopted an equity policy in an effort to ensure that their students, faculty and families feel safe and supported through their academic careers and time spent within the school district. November 3 marked an important and historic day, as the district took the first step in a long journey. A journey worth striving for where kids can thrive in a comfortable learning environment and simply be themselves without worrying about bullying, harassment, or experiencing educational disparities and barriers based on their culture, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status. 

Said Eneille Nelson, MSD Executive Director of Equity and Family Engagement, “This educational equity policy was created by students, parents, community members and staff. It was very important to have the right people at the table thinking about the needs of our students, families and staff of our district. It will serve as the foundation to initiate the necessary sustainable changes for years to come. The policy is just the beginning of the work we have to do, a foundation for us to build upon.”

Over numerous pages, the policy identifies five key areas that MSD will focus on to implement the Equity Action Plan; Human Resources, Teaching and Learning, Leadership and Partnership, Climate and Culture, and Responsibility/Accountability. 

If executed as planned, the district will recruit and hire a more diverse workforce, whom students can identify with, relate to and confide in. Eliminate systemic inequalities in curriculums and educational materials by providing their staff with professional development training and tailoring lessons so their students can see themselves within the curriculum. Build and foster strong relationships with their students, families and local communities, namely the Tulalip Tribes, City of Marysville and Snohomish County, to ensure they have input in major decisions and that their voice is heard and well-represented. Offer a safe and inclusive learning environment where the proper resources are readily available to their students. And hold staff, the school board and the yet-to-be-appointed superintendent accountable by closely monitoring the progress of the policy through annual reports, reviews and surveys – to name a few highlights from the newly established policy.  

“The Marysville School District has never had an equity policy before and we have seen the painful effects on our kids and our community,” stated Liz Gobin, MSD teacher and Tulalip tribal spouse and parent. “Having a comprehensive equity policy holds everyone in the district accountable to ensure that our kids feel safe and that the biases that have existed in the larger community and educational systems will no longer be tolerated.  There have been many feel-good statements about equity over the years but having a formal policy adopted means that there is finally action happening. Along with this initial policy, the advisory teams are continuing to develop the action steps that go along with it, including things like professional development to educate staff, more diverse hiring practices, evaluating discipline data, and holding every person accountable to interrupt racism and biases as they occur.”

She continued, “This Equity policy was created for and belongs to each of our children. I want to encourage every family to use their voice to make sure we keep building on this policy and that we never go backward. As our school board changes and our superintendent search begins, it’s important to remember that what we demand as parents and as a community makes a difference. We need to pay close attention to what is happening and work together to make sure this policy stays at the forefront of all of the work happening in the district.” 

As Liz mentioned, MSD is currently undergoing several changes as the school board welcomes three new directors to the five-seat panel, two of whom have shown opposition to curriculum such as Critical Race Theory and have vocalized they would not support any curriculum that places value on any race, gender or national origin above another. That is why she is urging other parents to get involved as the new policy goes into effect, to ensure that the equity policy is implemented as planned and the needs of MSD students and families hailing from various backgrounds are met. And that their students are also afforded a safe and positive learning environment, as well as celebrated for their differences. 

Chelsea shared, “At QCT we have been working for many years to change the mindset of school, grounded in the traditional values of the Tulalip Tribes. We have been working to build our understanding of race and equity and the role each of us play in creating a learning environment that reflects the community we serve, that honors the beauty that each of our children bring into a very colonized space. MSD passing this policy grounds the much-needed work to heal our Tulalip/Marysville community.” 

Eneille added, “Our next steps will be to create an action plan that will put actions to the areas addressed in our policy. Everyone in our district and community have a part to play in the success of our policy and action plan. We all have to hold each other accountable and not expect one person or group to do all of the heavy lifting. If we work together, this policy and action plan can bring the change many have been waiting and hoping for.”

To view the MSD Eduction Equity Policy please visit:

The district’s current Equity Action Plan can be found at:

For additional information, please contact the Marysville School District at (360) 965-0000.

Auntie Valda’s 1st Annual Winter Clothing Drive

By Shaelyn Hood, Tulalip News

Valda Gobin is a Tulalip Elder who has worked tirelessly to help those less fortunate. For most of her career, she has worked for the Tribe, but what most people know her for are her personal endeavors and efforts to collect clothing, personal items, cleaning products, etc., for people who are struggling within and outside of the Tulalip community.  

Even though Valda has been doing this type of work continuously throughout years, this was the first event that she has put on in hopes of preparing warm items for the winter. 

The clothing drive continues through November 10, with donation drop-off locations at the Don Hatch Youth Center, 6700 Totem Rd., and at Homework Support, 7707 36th Ave NW Building F. New or gently used items like jackets, gloves, hats & scarves, boots, handwarmers, ponchos, socks, wipes/toiletries, blankets, and coat hangers are greatly appreciated. Outside of any physical items, monetary donations are also accepted.

With the help of the Tulalip Education Division, Valda is able to cook and serve food to people who come to support and make donations.

Valda’s passion stems from her mother, Winona “Nonie” Mable Parks Cooper. Often, Nonie would tell her kids to collect money, and food to give to those on the street. It was because of her mother, that Valda continues to help others, “It makes me feel good. People make bad choices, but that doesn’t make them bad people. We just help people that need help.”

In her efforts to help people, she also tries to connect people to the recovery programs, and assistance programs that Tulalip offers.

Shana Simpson has recently joined Valda to help collect, wash, and prepare clothing items for donation. They work with the Community Donation Program at the Tulalip Elementary School.

So far, the event has already been so successful in filling the bins at the drop-off sites. However, Valda and Shana will continue to accept donations throughout the year. If you would like to donate, or you are someone who is struggling, please contact Valda at: 4258704214, or Shana at: 3609131199.

Hundreds of Families turn out for Trunk or Treat 2021

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

A steady line of cars extended through the Tulalip reservation on the afternoon of October 31, beginning along Marine Drive and ending at the Tulalip Gathering Hall parking lot. Patiently waiting in each vehicle were little princesses, superheroes, beloved cartoon and movie characters as well as a number of scary villains and frightening monsters – all of whom were ecstatic to receive candy and check out all the creepy and creative decorations at the annual Tulalip Trunk or Treat community celebration. 

Hosted by the local volunteer group, Together We’re Better, the Halloween-themed event has brought smiles to the kids and families of Tulalip for nearly a decade. 

“This is our ninth Trunk or Treat,” exclaimed Together We’re Better Founder, Malory Simpson. “Our first Trunk or Treat was at the admin building. And then we added a potluck, we had mass foods and crafts, and lots of things for the kids to do. But with COVID, we had to do a drive-thru style this year and last year.”

As you may know, Halloween is quite the spooktacular holiday amongst Tulalip citizens. In addition to Trunk or Treat, there are usually multiple community and tribal department events that take place during the season. However, with the delta variant still on the rise, most of those celebrations were canceled for the second year in a row, which has contributed to more volunteers and participants during the yearly Trunk or Treat festivities. 

This year, Together We’re Better collaborated on the popular event with the Tulalip Tribes. Many tribal departments and local organizations spent the holiday with the community including the Tulalip Police and Fire Departments, Tulalip Remedy and the Tulalip Lions Club. And as always, the Sacred Riders and other surrounding motorcycle clubs joined in on the fun. 

Said Malory, “We have our regulars, like the Sacred Riders, they’ve been coming for years. That’s one of my favorite things about Trunk or Treat is when you hear the bikes come in. I’ve had steady people volunteer over the years and have lots of new people always coming in. The amount of Trunk or Treaters has definitely grown. I think word got through to the surrounding communities, and that’s what Together we’re Better is about, bringing the community together and that’s both Tulalip and Marysville. Seeing the different faces and our members of Tulalip coming through is pretty awesome.”

She continued, “Last year, the Tribe donated candy, this year, they donated the buckets and lots and lots of candy. It is also the first year that the staff has been involved with the collaboration, I think we have the CEO staff, custodial and public works lending a hand today.” 

By altering Trunk or Treat to a drive-thru celebration, Together We’re Better found a way to provide a safe and fun Halloween event where kids can still show off their costumes while collecting sugary snacks, just like the good-ol’-days before the world-wide pandemic. By the end of the three-hour event, hundreds of kids left the drive-thru with buckets overflowing with candy as well as several fun and healthy items such as books and toothbrushes. 

“Being able to do something for the community is very fulfilling,” expressed Together We’re Better volunteer, Natosha Gobin. “It was nice to gather with everybody and see the decorations and the excitement on the kids and parents faces when they drove thru. Everybody came together and did this for the kids, and that’s really powerful.”

If you are looking to get more involved with the community, Together We’re Better, is always accepting donations, whether that is goods, money or your personal volunteered time. For more information, please contact Malory Simpson at (425) 905-9137. 

The legacy of naming Army helicopters after Native Americans

Two members of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation dance in traditional attire around a South Dakota Army National Guard UH 72 Lakota helicopter on June 10, 2012 after a blessing ceremony for the helicopter. The SDNG and the Lakota Nation have partnered together to support the people living on the reservations as well as to help inspire the youth to become active members of the community. (SDNG photo by Sgt. Jacqueline Fitzgerald)

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News; Photos courtesy U.S. Department of Defense

It’s officially Native American Heritage Month. November’s been federally recognized as such since 1990, when then President George Bush approved a joint resolution making it so. Bringing it local, just days ago Washington State Governor Jay Inslee proclaimed November 2021 as Native American Heritage Month as well.

In his proclamation, Governor Inslee stated Washington joins other states across the nation in celebrating Native American Heritage Month, honoring the unique heritage of this continent’s First People and reaffirming the commitment to respect each Tribe’s sovereignty and cultural identity. 

With November 11 being Veteran’s Day, it’s a timely occasion to drop some knowledge about a not so well-known tactic in which the United States Army honors the unique heritage and cultural identity of Native Americans. 

U.S. Army paratroopers assigned to Attack Company, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, conduct sling load operations with a CH-47 Chinook helicopter, from 6-101 GSAB, 101 CAB, Illesheim, Germany, during exercise Eagle Talon, Monte Romano, Italy, Jan 20, 2021. (U.S. Army photo by Elena Baladelli)

Lest we forget, as a cultural demographic Native Americans serve in the armed forces at five times the national average and enlist in the military at the highest per-capita rate of any other group.  The Department of Defense recognizes that today’s military successes depend heavily on the contribution of America’s First People. Thirty-one thousand proud Native American men and women are on active duty today, serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere around the world. 

This proud warrior tradition of Native people is recognized by the Army and manifests itself in a largely unknown and truly unique manner. Public affairs specialist and Defense.Gov author Katie Lange explains that for the past half-century Army helicopters have been named after the spirit, endurance, and warrior ethos of Native Americans.

Apache. Black Hawk. Comanche. Chinook. Kiowa. Lakota. In addition to being Native American tribes or key Native figures, these are also names of highly specialized, military aircraft. Wonder why?

The U.S. military has a long history with Native Americans. Armed conflicts between the two were commonly known as the American Indian Wars and were fought intermittently from the start of colonization and continued into the early 20th century. But Native Americans also served as some of the fiercest fighters for the United States for more than 200 years. In fact, 32 Native Americans have earned the nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor.

The tradition of naming helicopters after Native Americans was once an official regulation. That regulation no longer stands, but the tradition continues.

Here’s how it all came about. According to an unnamed Army museum official, the naming convention goes back to before the Air Force split from the Army in 1947, when Army General Hamilton Howze was assigned to Army aviation. His mission was to develop doctrine and the way forward when it came to employing Army aircraft and how they would support warfighters on the ground.

According to the museum official, Howze wasn’t a fan of the names of the first two helicopters – Hoverfly and Dragonfly. So, he laid out instructions for naming the helicopters after their abilities.

Thirty-two OH-58D Kiowa Warriors with the 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, conduct a flyover during farewell flight, Fort Bragg, N.C., April 15. The flyover serves as a final “thank you” and farewell to the residents of the Fort Bragg and the Fayetteville community. (DOD photo by Kenneth Kassens)

Howze said since the choppers were fast and agile, they would attack enemy flanks and fade away, similar to the way the tribes on the Great Plains fought during the aforementioned American Indian Wars. He decided the next helicopter produced – the well-known H-13 of “M.A.S.H.” fame – would be called the Sioux in honor of the Native Americans who fought Army soldiers in the Sioux Wars and defeated the 7th Calvary Regiment at the Battle of Little Bighorn.

That’s likely how Army Regulation 70-28 was created in 1969. The regulation listed criteria on how popular names would be given to major items of equipment. Name choices had to:

  • Appeal to the imagination without sacrificing dignity.
  • Suggest an aggressive spirit and confidence in the item’s capabilities.
  • Reflect the item’s characteristics including mobility, agility, flexibility, firepower and endurance.
  • Be based on tactical application, not source or method of manufacture.
  • Be associated with the preceding qualities and criteria if a person’s name is proposed.

According to AR 70-28, Army aircraft were specifically categorized as requiring “Indian terms and names of American Indian tribes and chiefs.” Names to choose from were provided by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

AR 70-28 was eventually rescinded and replaced with policies that didn’t mention that criteria, but it’s clear that the tradition has continued. You only have to look back to 2012 when the Army named its current primary training helicopter, the UH-72A Lakota, after the Lakota tribe of the Great Sioux Nation in North and South Dakota.

On June 10, 2012, Lakota elders ritually blessed two new South Dakota Army National Guard UH-72A Lakotas at a traditional ceremony on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota. Ceremonies like these happened often over the past several decades.

A U.S. Army Blackhawk lands and dismounts Canadian Land forces soldiers of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, 2nd Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, in the early morning hours of Apr. 16. The unit was on a joint exercise mission with 3rd Battalion, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, to clear the area of enemy in the mountainous wooded border region near Lielvarde, Latvia. (Photo by OR-8 Juan Delgado Garnacho)

When presented with this history of naming Army helicopters after Native American Tribes and figures, the Tulalip Veterans Department issued the following statement: 

It’s important for our citizens to know this great history because you really have to make a positive impact for any group, let alone the U.S. military, to create a regulation honoring you by name. This is a special recognition unique to the Native American’s fighting spirit. As Native Americans, we serve in the military at the highest rate per capita. That long-lasting tradition of protecting our families, homelands and cultural lifeways is honored by the Army’s desire to name their helicopters after us.

Disclaimer: “The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.”

Coming Soon: 2021 Native Bazaar

By Shaelyn Hood, Tulalip News

On November 12-14, and December 3-5, Tulalip will be hosting their annual Native Bazaar, where local tribal members will be showcasing and selling their various crafts. The Bazaar will take place at the Don Hatch Jr. Youth Center, 6700 Totem Beach Rd, from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM.

Tammy Taylor has been the volunteer organizer for 10 years. However, she said that the event itself has been going on long before she took it over. The event originally started by Carolyn “Uppy” Thornberry around 23 years ago, when she opened the doors for tribal members to gather and display their crafts. Tammy Taylor has been so glad to carry on the tradition, noting how every year is filled with laughs and smiles, “Getting to spend a weekend or two with our elders, all day long, and getting share stories amongst the tables, that makes me happy.” She voiced how she wants all of our membership to come out to this beautiful gathering and support one another.

Already, 49 different vendors have been listed to be at the Bazaar, making it the largest Bazaar that Tulalip has ever had. With 2019’s Native Bazaar being the second largest with 32 vendors. Some of the vendors will be bringing different Native art, cedar baskets, carvings, beaded jewelry, Native prints, crafts, drums, clothing, and more. You will also find food vendors like Lynette Jimicum, Brian Gobin, Jared’s Corner, and various other baked goods. Most vendors will accept cash, and only some will take card.

Tammy Taylor recognized that to protect our elders, our vendors, and our community, the COVID-19 mask mandate will be enforced.

The artists are excited to gather again with friends, and family, and display their different crafts, especially since, due to covid, there was no bazaar last year.

Some vendors to look out for are:

David Fryberg.

David Fryberg. He has been participating in the Bazaar since Tulalip first started the event. David makes drums, rattles, clappers, cedar woven baskets, and hats. He first started learning his different crafts to become more connected to his culture 30 years ago, and to hopefully start teaching his family. Often, he makes different items for his family as well, “One year, we made all the boys drums, and all the girls rattles, so they could play together.” Lance Taylor took him on, and first taught him how to weave. David typically will sell his pieces during the bazaars, Canoe Journeys, and on Facebook to friends and family, but he also travels to different reservations in the state. 

Jamie Sheldon.

Jamie Sheldon. She has been participating in the Bazaar for 4 years now. Jamie and her mom will be bringing cedar jewelry, knitted hats, cedar baskets, and headbands, and Pendleton tote bags. Jamie helps teach the Weaving Gatherings every Wednesday night at the Hibulb Cultural Center. She is most excited to see all the different art pieces everyone is bringing, “I like just seeing all the people. I mean, everyone comes out to do their Christmas shopping. So, I missed that. It’s good to see everybody and what they’re making, it’s fun!”

Margaret Henry Hayes.

Margaret Henry Hayes. She has been participating in the Bazaar since 2017, but because of the COVID-19 shut down last year, she is most excited to just gather with people again, “I think what’s really exciting for me is getting to see family and getting to reacquaint with people I haven’t seen for a long time. I enjoy selling and being a part of that, but I enjoy even more being a part of something positive in our tribe and being able to connect.” She went on to say, “We all do something a little different. Each person is so unique, with what they’re doing and what they’re using. It’s really nice for me to scroll around to see what the rest of the families are doing.” Margaret will be bringing vaÍrious natural shea butter soaps, bracelets, cedar dolls, rice bags, apple butter and jams. She started learning how to make cedar dolls from a class 15 years ago, and it will take her on average a week to make each doll. You can typically find her cedar dolls at bazaars, and the shea butter soaps at a boutique in Everett.

Rocky Harrison.

Rocky Harrison. This will be his first year working the Bazaar. He will be selling smoked salmon. He catches the fish, and his cousin Dennis Reeves helps smoke it for him. Rocky has been fishing with his family since he was a child, and now he owns his own business and fleet of boats. Fishing became a saving grace for him, “When I was growing up, I was on a negative path. Fishing is one of the things that has helped me. I was able to develop a more businesslike mindset and better myself. Fishing has helped me change my life around.” He usually sells to fish buyers, so he is happy to have the opportunity to sell directly to tribal members, visit everyone before the holidays, and bless people with delicious fish.

Jasmyne Diaz.

Jasmyne Diaz. This is her third year doing the Bazaar. She mostly creates flat stitch beading and a lot of earrings. She works with various materials like beads, dentalium shells, fur, and cedar. She first learned in elementary school from her grandmother. She was inspired to carry the tradition, “I’m just trying to break generational curses. I collect jewelry to leave to my kids, like turquoise rings, ivory jewelry, etc. But my husband and I strive to not only leave material things, but also leave skills that they can carry on.”Í She typically sells most of her products on Instagram- @sageandsapphirebeading and her website- Her items sell quickly online, so she is excited to sell directly to tribal members and give them the first opportunity to buy.

These are just a handful of the many vendors that will be attending the event. Come check out the countless artworks and the amazing artists behind them. Please keep in mind, because of the limited space, the Bazaar is no longer accepting any new vendors at this time. If anyone has any questions about the bazaar, please contact Tammy Taylor at: 425-501-4141.

Sing Our Rivers Red

An intersection of domestic violence and the MMIW movement

Thousands of single-sided earrings, featured in a travelling art exhibition titled Sing Our Rivers Red, represent the Indigenous women reported murdered and missing every year.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

As October comes to an end, so does Domestic Violence Awareness Month. However, the reality for Native American women around the country is domestic violence isn’t simply a notion only worth paying attention to in October. It’s much, much more than that. It’s a historical trauma that plagues our life bearers every single day. 

Abuse and mistreatment of Native women has garnered recent attention in mainstream news outlets since Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland took office and placed a spotlight on the national crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW). A foreign concept to the vast majority of non-Native citizens, the MMIW movement isn’t new. It’s innately tied to each of the 574 federally recognized tribes through blood, tears, and loss. 

The National Crime Information Center reports that, in 2016 alone, there were 5,712 reports of missing Native American women and girls. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that murder is the third-leading cause of death among Native women and the rates of violence on reservations can be up to ten times higher than the national average. Despite this ongoing crisis, there is a lack of data and an inaccurate understanding of MMIW. 

In her Washington D.C. role, Secretary Haaland has made it a personal mission on behalf of Native America to pursue justice. Earlier this year she announced the Not Invisible Act to increase intergovernmental coordination to identify and combat violent crime against Natives and within Native land. The bill was passed unanimously by voice vote in both chambers of Congress. 

“A lack of urgency, transparency, and coordination has hampered our country’s efforts to combat violence against American Indians and Alaska Natives,” said Secretary Haaland. “In partnership with the Justice Department and with extensive engagement with Tribes and other stakeholders, Interior will marshal our resources to finally address the crisis of violence against Indigenous peoples.

“We’ve had missing and murdered Indigenous people for the last 500 years. This is an issue that’s been happening since the Europeans came to this continent and began colonizing Indigenous people,” she added. 

While the Not Invisible Act and corresponding formation of a new Missing and Murdered Unit within the Bureau of Indian Affairs are intended to provide critical leadership and direction for interagency work involving MMIW, it brings little comfort to those who’ve lost loved ones. Nothing will undue the violence and untold traumas inflicted upon our Native women. 

But if silence promotes violence, then creating a platform of understanding about the intersection of domestic violence, something that is well known in the mainstream, and the MMIW movement can ultimately prevent trauma while amplifying voices that have been silence for far too long. Tulalip tribal member Malory Simpson, a domestic violence survivor, agrees with this sentiment.

“There is an overlap between Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and domestic violence because the manipulation that happens when you are in that place is unreal,” explained Malory. “It can be crippling depending on the severity of the abuse. You can be isolated and mentally beaten down to where you do not want to reach out and ask for help and that’s where the abusers want you to be. Alone, isolated, afraid and all theirs.

“MMIW continues to be an ongoing issue in Indian Country because abusers are allowed to get away with perpetrating violence, up to and including murder, on Native women and get away with it due to jurisdictional restraints by law enforcement,” she added. 

In her position as training coordinator for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Malory was especially open and honest about her past experience with domestic violence during October. She routinely posted on social media about it and offered resources for those who may be suffering in silence.

“I find it important to share my story because that was a huge part of my own healing journey,” she said. “I used to be worried about what others would think, like thoughts of guilt or shame, but really nothing compares to the relief of opening up about your situation. There are so many in our community who will wrap you with support, and the Tribe has resources to help. I share my story now in the hopes of empowering anyone who is in a similar situation to find the strength to leave, or to at the very least reach out for help.”

Symbolizing the intersection of domestic violence and the MMIW movement is a travelling art exhibition titled Sing Our Rivers Red. The exhibit aims to be bring awareness to the epidemic of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and colonial gender based violence in the United States and Canada. 

Created by Navajo and Chicana artist Nani Chacon, her travelling exhibition uses thousands of single-sided earrings to represent the Indigenous women reported murdered and missing every year. Nani’s intention is to use the power of art to raise awareness about this epidemic that occurs in the United States and all across Turtle Island. Over 3,406 earring were donated from over 400 people, organizations, groups, and entities from across 45 states in the U.S. and six provinces in Canada.

Accompanying the waves of earrings is a stunning oil painting titled Missing. Nani explained, “I created this piece to honor the lives and memory of unexplained murders and missing Indigenous women of North America. The imagery I chose places a woman amongst a landscape and butterflies. 

“The interaction of the woman and the butterflies has little do with one another in the physical sense; instead, I combine the elements in this painting in an overlapping manner to create cohesion between three violated subjects. The butterflies are a symbol for Indigenous women, which is why they are seen moving through and within the woman. The monarch butterfly has a migratory pattern that spans North America. In recent documentation, the monarch butterfly is also unexplainably dying / missing. 

“In this piece, I wanted to depict the connection between land and women – I see that we are mistreating and killing both. I believe that because there is no respect for the land, there is no respect for women. I believe when one stops, the other will too.”

Sing Our Rivers Red recognizes that each of us has a voice to not only speak out about the injustices against our sisters, but also use the strength of those voices to sing for our healing. Water is the source of life and so are women. We are connecting our support through the land and waters across the border: we need to “Sing Our Rivers Red” to remember the missing and murdered and those who are metaphorically drowning in injustices.

A man of honor, Charlie Cortez, fittingly receives two medals of honor posthumously

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News; photos courtesy of Paula Cortez and Teri Nelson

On August 17, the people of Tulalip and the law enforcement community gathered at the Angels of the Winds Arena in Everett to pay their final respects and say their goodbyes to fallen Tulalip Police Officer, Charlie Cortez. A man beloved by the community he vowed to protect and serve, Charlie was pronounced lost at sea nearly a year ago, while he was on duty, shocking the entire nation and breaking the hearts of those who loved him most. 

After that night of tragic events, and the following weeks of continuous searching, Charlie’s loved ones were embraced by the law enforcement community, particularly the Behind the Badge Foundation. In the family’s darkest hour, the foundation assured them that he would be honored – and his legacy, that of a hero, would be remembered and shared for years to come. Behind the Badge has kept their promise to the family and over the past several months Charlie’s name has been etched into a number of memorial walls and read aloud during roll call at vigils. 

“Behind the Badge is a foundation that supports law enforcement officers and their families in times of critical need,” said Behind the Badge Executive Director, Brian Johnston. “As we began building this foundation, our eyes were opened to so many needs within the law enforcement community and within our family community. Healthy officers and healthy family equal healthy communities. From the response side of trying to support our law enforcement officers and their families in a line of duty death, or even a suicide death or unexpected death, we think it’s very important to continue to build the relationship with the department and the families so they feel supported throughout time.”

The foundation assisted in the planning and execution of the funeral service in August and helped the family with the most recent ceremonies in honor of Charlie, both here in the state of Washington and across the country in Washington D.C. 


On the afternoon of October 8, fourteen officers, from several police agencies across the state, were awarded the medal of honor in front of the Washington State capitol. While most medals were awarded posthumously and accepted on behalf of fallen officers by their families, a handful were awarded to local officers for performing heroic acts while on duty.

The medals were presented by Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who both shared heartfelt sentiments during the ceremony. 

Said Governor Inslee, “We know this law enforcement medal recognizes the lives lost in duty and for those who have incredible acts of heroism, which has distinguished them amongst a distinguished profession. We are here today to honor some of the most valued and honorable people in the state of Washington. We are honoring the specific individuals who have dedicated themselves, and some of whom with the ultimate sacrifice.”

Officer Charlie Cortez’s family were in attendance of the special honoring as well as members of the Tulalip Police Department. His mother Paula; his children Dominic and Peyton; their mother Tawnya; his brother Richard (Moochie); and grandmother Sandra proudly accepted the medal. They also visited the Washington State Law Enforcement Wall where Charlie’s name was recently inscribed.

“The ceremony that was in Olympia was for the Medal of Honor for Washington State officers,” reflected Paula Cortez. “To me that symbolized, how Governor Inslee mentioned it, that this Medal of Honor was presented to us by all the citizens of Washington State, in honor of Charlie’s sacrifice, giving his life for protecting others.”

Washington D.C.

Each May, during the week of the 15th, a special gathering is held in Washington D.C. in remembrance of all the brave men and women throughout the country who paid the ultimate sacrifice while on the line of duty. Known as National Police Week, the four-day tribute brings families of fallen officers together to honor the memory of their loved ones. The event was originally established forty years ago to coincide with National Peace Officers Day, however, due to the worldwide pandemic the 2020 event was cancelled and this year’s event was postponed until October 13-17. 

Charlie was one of 434 officers honored during National Police Week. When his family arrived at Washington D.C., they were paid the highest respects and even received a security detail. 

Paula stated, “When we flew into Washington D.C., the honor guards greeted us as soon as we got there. Honor guards were saluting us as we were coming through, and we had honor guards assigned to us to help us with our luggage and shuttle. When they brought all the families to the host hotel, they shut down Washington D.C. highways and escorted us to the hotel. It was amazing to see. The overpasses had firemen and officers saluting us as we went by.”

The weeklong event kicked off with the welcoming of the Police Unity Tour participants. In an effort to raise awareness to officers who died in the line of duty, and raise funds for the National Law Enforcement Memorial fund, officers hailing from nine separate police chapters across the country, take part in a four-day bicycle ride from Florham Park, New Jersey to the memorial wall in D.C. The event draws approximately 2,600 participants and volunteers each year and raises over $2 million annually. Each cyclist rides in honor of a fallen officer, wearing bracelets with that officer’s name, police department and end of watch date. Once the rider’s journey is complete, they gift the bracelet to that officer’s family.

The next event of Police Week occurs at the National Mall and is an emotional and beautiful ceremony. Beginning in the early evening, while there is still plenty of daylight, family members, close friends and fellow officers gather to pay their respects to their fallen heroes. Board members of the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund share a few remarks before leading roll call. This year, 701 names were read aloud and those same names are now etched on the memorial wall for eternity. When all the names were spoken, the sun had set and each person in attendance lit their candles. This created a gorgeous scene, with hundreds of candles held high in the air as the Washington Monument towered in the background. 

“The amount of families that came and gathered was overwhelming,” Paula shared. “You really don’t hear about the number of officers who sacrificed their lives on the line of duty. It was touching. It was emotional. It was everything all wrapped up in one.”

The following day, a conference was held for the survivors of the fallen officers hosted by Concerns of Police Survivors, or COPS.  Several seminars were held to help families through this difficult time. During the conference, family members also met others who went through similar tragedies of losing a loved one, and they were able to connect and relate with each other and form new and important friendships. 

“It was healing, attending the conferences,” Paula said. “I attended the mother’s conference. It was raw, I mean, we all really shared our experience. At one point, I had to get up and walk out. But then, I found others out in the hall. They did the same thing. There was not a dry eye anywhere I looked. Just then I realized that I am not alone and there are others who feel similar pain over what happened to their child.”

During the same day as the conference, Charlie’s kids attended a camp at a local law enforcement agency where age-appropriate grief counseling sessions took place, as well as a number of fun activities. Paula was happy to report that both Dominic and Peyton had a great time at camp.

The week ended with the Fortieth National Peace Officers Memorial Service where the Medal of Honors were presented to the families. President Joe Biden was the keynote speaker and he shared, “To the families here today, this is all about you. To the families of the fallen, you’ve suffered an enormous loss.  But understand, your loss is also America’s loss and your pain is America’s pain. Today, we’re here to remember nearly five hundred of your brothers and sisters, husbands and wives, sons and daughters. We hope you take some comfort in the knowledge that the men and women here assembled today, they’ll always be with you.”

Though his funeral services were held back in August and it’s been eleven months since that terrible stormy night, Tulalip hero Charlie Cortez continues to live on in spirit – in the hearts of his loved ones and in the memories of his fellow brothers and sisters in blue. His name is forever displayed on memorial walls throughout the entire nation. And therefore, his legacy and story of valor will be shared for generations into the future, from Tulalip all the way to Washington D.C.

“Any parent would feel honored to see the recognition that others are giving my son,” Paula expressed. “It was an honor that he was recognized by all these different agencies throughout the country. I’m proud of him. I know he gave his life and he is honorable for that, because he was protecting other people’s property. He dedicated himself to his community and they are recognizing that by making sure nobody forgets him.”