27th annual Raising Hands celebration

Lifting our hands to those that make our communities stronger

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

On the evening of Saturday, October 26th, the Tulalip Tribes recognized and gave thanks to more than 482 Washington nonprofits and community groups who made a significant difference over the past year at the annual Raising Hands celebration. Held in the Tulalip Resort Casino’s Orca Ballroom, the always stylish space was filled to max capacity as representatives of these high-impacting organizations came together to create an atmosphere of appreciation, while sharing their common vision to make our communities better.

“In the Tulalip tradition, we raise our hands to show appreciation to the numerous organizations whose good works help to make our communities strong,” stated Chairwoman Teri Gobin. “It is truly remarkable how many of our citizens, non-profits and community organizations are involved in efforts to improve the well-being of our communities. [We] hold this event every year to let these individuals and organizations know we value their contributions.”

This year’s Raising Hands recognized the prior year in community achievement stimulated by an astounding $7.2 million in tribal support to more than 482 nonprofits and community groups. Since 1992, the Tulalip Tribes charitable giving program has donated over $98.8 million in critical support to the community and, indirectly, to their own membership by supporting regional efforts to improve education, health and human services, cultural preservation, public services, the environment, and the economy.

But the Raising Hands event isn’t all about dollars and cents. At the annual celebration, our community’s change makers are given a chance to share their plans for the future and learn how others like-minded charities are striving to make a difference for the benefit of so many. This is an invaluable benefit for organizations who can sometimes struggle to get their message broadcast to larger audiences. 

“Each and every one of the organizations represented here truly do make a difference. Their dedication is not just to our Snohomish county area, but to the entire Puget Sound region,” stated board of director Mel Sheldon who co-emceed the event.

The theme of this year’s event highlighted the Orca and its importance to the Tulalip Tribes and the region at large. Prior to guests and attendees enjoying a delectable five-course dinner, the Tulalip Honor Guard presented the flags, a prayer was given by Lushootseed teacher Maria Martin and a traditional welcoming given by Tulalip drummers and singers.

For 11-year-old tribal member Amaya Hernandez, the greater concept of showing thanks and giving back was why she volunteered at the celebratory event. “My mom raised me to know that volunteering is important. I volunteered today and wrote out peoples name tags and handed out gifts,” she smiled. “It feels good to give back.”

For the 27th Raising Hands, six standout non-profits received special recognition for their exceptional creativity and effectiveness. Spark Northwest, March of Dimes, Lhaq’Temish Canoe Journey, Operation Homefront, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Friends of the San Juans were each highlighted for their innovative work serving local communities. 

“When you see people coming together to have these amazing, positive conversations, that is when we know we are helping make a difference,” asserted Marilyn Sheldon, manager of Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund. “We try to show respect and honor these charities that give so much of themselves for this community. We want them to feel like the red carpet got laid out, and that it’s just for them.

“Each year, as soon as the event is over, we ask ourselves how we can help make the next one better,” continued Marilyn. “Giving people the opportunity to work together is priceless. We are so fortunate to be able to work with these amazing organizations in Snohomish and King Counties, and throughout Washington State that do so much good in our communities.”

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988 allows tribes to conduct certain types of gaming if they enter into a gaming compact with the state. Tulalip’s tribal-state gaming compact, like most, includes a provision to donate a percentage of gaming earnings to organizations impacted by gaming, as well as other charitable organizations. From this provision the Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund was created.

The Charitable Fund, also known as Tulalip Cares, provides the opportunity for a sustainable and healthy community for all. The Tulalip Tribes strives to work together with the community to give benefits back to others to help build a stronger connections to local neighborhoods. That’s why, in Tulalip, it is tradition to ‘raise our hands’ to applaud and give thanks to the numerous organization in our region that strive to create a better world through positive action. 

Nonprofits and community groups are encouraged to apply for quarterly awards through the Tulalip Cares program. For more information, visit the Tulalip Tribes Charitable Funds website at www.TulalipCares.org 

____________________________________________________________

“The Lhaq’Temish people are the people of the sea. Our relatives are up and down the coast and throughout the Indigenous territory of the American continent. What we’ve been able to do with the funds we received from Tulalip’s Charitable Contributions are to provide hospitality and appreciation for our many guests at the Paddle to Lummi. In addition, we provided services to our community with the Stepping Stones project that helps the homeless. 

This year celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Canoe Journey that has been brought back to our communities. This is really who we are from the elders to the young ones. With the Paddle to Lummi we continued to hand these teachings down to the next generation, to the next seven generations, so they have something to celebrate and honor in a good way.”

– Candice Wilson, Lhaq’Temish Foundation executive director

“Spark Northwest is a nonprofit dedicated to advancing locally controlled, clean energy across Washington and Oregon. We make planned community solar projects and have cooperatively owned wind turbines. The idea is the local community decides what they need and we help them achieve that envision. 

For so many years, our economy has depended upon burning fossil fuels for our wealth. We’re facing rising seas, ocean acidification, increasing wild fires…all of these threats to our wellbeing and it’s because of this legacy of polluting energy. We’d like to change that story and have people use clean fuels, like solar and wind.” 

– Linda Irvine, Spark Northwest program director

“The future of March of Dimes is really fighting those issues that are stigmatized. People don’t like talking about opioid addiction, especially talking about opioid addiction in mothers. There’s a lot of judgment that comes with it and so we are really advocating to start the conversation and be supportive of those women, to find them the help they need so that they can then help their babies.

One of the other ways we are really breaking down barriers is looking at ethnic disparities. In Washington State, Alaskan Native and American Indian women have significantly higher risk of having a premature baby because they don’t have the health care access. We are excited about increasing the access to group prenatal care. If we can create the opportunity for every mom to have access to that resource, then we can literally save thousands of babies every year from being born premature.”

– Kristen Miller, March of Dimes development manager

“The San Juans Islands are in the center of the Salish Sea. We’re home to critical habitat for southern resident Orcas, 119 federally endangered species, and over 8 million residents that call the Salish Sea home. Tulalip has been an advocate for the Orca since time immemorial, so to work together on the legal and cultural spectrum to represent our ancestors from the deep has been so wonderful.

To be honored by the Tulalip Tribes for the work our organization does is so uplifting and fuels us spiritually. To be celebrated with so many worthy recipients that share a deep love for the Salish Sea that we all do is amazing. The awareness that this event gives to the greater community is truly a gift.”

Tulalip ballot drop box to amplify Native vote

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

A number of signs with red arrows are currently placed throughout the Tulalip Reservation, all pointing toward the direction of the Don Hatch Youth Center. In large text above the arrow, the signage reads: Ballot Box. 

Across the country, Native Americans of all nations have a long and complicated history in regards to voting in local, state and congressional elections. In a move that seemed to benefit the assimilation agenda, the United States granted Indigenous Peoples U.S. citizenship in the 1920’s. This, however, did not allow Native people the right to vote. In fact, the government left it up to each individual state to determine if tribal members could cast a vote come Election Day. 

For approximately forty years, the tribes fought for the right to vote. With Utah guaranteeing voting rights in 1962, Natives could legally participate in many, but not all, voting events within their cities, counties, states and country. But, the fight was far from over.

From the sixties to present day, Native communities often face a number of obstacles during voting season. Making national headlines in the fall of 2018, North Dakota received a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allowed the state to enforce a voter ID requirement upon its citizens in order to register to vote. The voter ID requirement asks voters to show an identification card with a residential address at polling stations, noting that tribal status cards are not an acceptable form of ID. Being that most reservations adhere to the P.O. box system and generally don’t have physical street addresses, thousands of voices were silenced in result of the ruling. 

Another barrier Native voters have to overcome is distance. More often than not, polling places and ballot boxes are located miles away off-reservation. 

Unfortunately, due to the many hoops Native people have to jump through in order to have a say, a lot of them feel discouraged from voting, resulting in record low turnouts and thousands of unfilled ballot choices each year. 

In a Nation that appears to be deliberately suppressing the Native vote, Washington State passed Senate Bill (SB) 5079, also known as the Native American Voting Rights act, this past February. 

“Voter participation is not a partisan issue; it is the foundation of our democratic system and must be protected by all sides,” stated Senator John McCoy, Prime Sponsor of SB 5079 and Tulalip tribal member, on the Senate floor.

The bill passed with a 34-13 vote and addresses Native American voter suppression by allowing voters to register online with a tribal ID, use a tribally designated building as a mailing or residential address, as well as place one ballot box on each reservation, at the tribe’s request. The bill was officially signed into law by Washington State Governor Jay Inslee on March 14. 

Just in time for Election Day, a new ballot box was recently established inside the parking lot of the Don Hatch Youth Center. An approved amendment to the bill states the location of the drop box must be accessible by way of road to the county auditor. The location must also be central and accessible to all tribal members.

“Historically, the Tulalip gym was a voting place for many years,” said Democratic National Committee Native American Political Director and Tulalip tribal member, Theresa Sheldon. “The Tulalip community would come to the gym every year to cast their vote by machines. Once we moved to mail-in elections, Tulalip lost our voting place. Since then, we have been aggressively requesting from Snohomish County to be an official ballot drop off location. This didn’t happen until Senator John McCoy passed a bill in the State legislature stating a ballot box must be located on every reservation to ensure access to voting.”

A few days after Governor Inslee signed the Native American Voting Rights act into law, he also signed a universal voter registration law, which automatically registers Washington State citizens, who are obtaining an ID card or driver’s license, to vote. This law of course eliminates the issue of utilizing your tribal status card as a form of identification when registering to vote. 

“I’m very thankful for any law that makes voting more accessible,” expresses Theresa. “We all live such busy lives so having a designated place to drop your ballot off, any time of day, is very much appreciated. Washington State’s new voting laws also make it so everyone over the age of 18 years old is automatically registered to vote. They use your address from your driver’s license. 

If you need to update your address or did not receive your ballot, please contact Snohomish County auditor’s office if you live within Snohomish County. Their phone number is (425) 388-3693, they have an actual human being who answers the phone and is very helpful.

If you misplace your ballot, you can always go to the County office to vote in person. Also, if you would like help with your ballot and the massive amounts of issues, here is a great resource, https://progressivevotersguide.com/Washington/.”

The new ballot box is accessible 24 hours a day, until 8:00 p.m. on November 5, Election Day. 

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

Response Times Will Improve from 18 to Six Minutes on Average

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

St. Anne’s new rain garden features native plants

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

“Being from Tulalip, my family always went to church here,” said Bill Topash, Tulalip Elder and St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church member. “We have fond memories from when we were youngsters and I think it’s important to preserve this historical building. It was originally built in the 1890’s, it burned down and was rebuilt in 1905 and Catholic mass has been held here ever since.”

The white cathedral located across the street from the Tulalip Marina received a new landscape feature that will not only add to the property’s beautiful scenery, but will help address a number of issues St. Anne’s has been facing over recent years.

“We had a couple of engineering studies done about four, five years ago on the church,” Bill explained. “We found out the basement is in terrible disrepair. We were able to get some funding to get a clean crawl company to come out and clean it out, put a vapor barrier down there. But, we knew the terrible condition that the underside of the church was in, so our first significant step after the vapor barrier was trying to get the water to drain away from the church’s foundation.” 

After brainstorming possible solutions, the church reached out to the Snohomish Conservation District for assistance. Upon learning about the church’s problematic flooding as well as its proximity to Tulalip Bay, the Conservation District took on the task of deterring storm water run-off and excessive water buildup away from the base of the building by constructing a rain garden on the side of the church.  

A rain garden collects storm water runoff from rooftops, nearby streets, lawns and driveways, absorbing and filtering out harmful pollutants like oil, metal, paint, pesticide, fertilizer and garbage. According to the EPA, rain gardens effectively remove 90% of chemicals and 80% of sediments from storm water runoff, preventing those containments from entering our ecosystem.

“We’re really close to the bay, so pollutants that come off of roofs and paved surfaces go right into the bay,” said Derek Hann, Snohomish Conservation District Engineer. “We’re putting in a rain garden to take water from the roof of the Mission. This acts as a filter, so it does a really good job at removing all of those pollutants, it also helps with flooding issues.”

The Conservation District has worked on similar projects in the past and received funding from the Tulalip Charitable Foundation to build rain gardens. Familiar with the procedure, the Conservation District helped the church throughout process, assisting with the funding application, as well as following the Tulalip Tribes native plants and rain garden handbooks. 

“I used the rain garden manual that was issued by the Tribal Restoration Committee, so all the plants here are native to the area and have some sort of cultural significance,” stated David Jackson, Snohomish Conservation Community Conservation Resource Specialist. “We have kinnikinnick, that’s been used traditionally for a long time by the Tribes. We also have common camas; they are a real beautiful dark purple-blue flower. We planted a lot of coastal strawberries and snowberries, those are going to attract a lot of animals to the area. The spirea and thimbleberries are going to be very good pollinators. They’re going to help biodiversity in the area. You don’t have to put much time and attention into maintaining them and you get to have community planting events and watch the garden grow over the years.”

On the morning of October 20, members of the church as well as the Snohomish Conservation District met to put the finishing touches on the garden. With a majority of the prep work done in the summertime, the crew dedicated just a couple hours to plant various native shrubs, trees and flowers in the newly established rain garden. 

“We started the construction process in June and put the pipe and materials down and it’s been sitting here waiting for plants,” David said. “This is the last phase but the project will be ongoing as long as the rain garden is here. We cannot overstate how thankful and appreciative we are. The church and the Tribe worked with us through the entire construction process, all the volunteers are members of the church and of the community and it was a very special project for us.”

If you have any questions or you’re in need of assistance with a rain garden, David encourages you to call the Snohomish Conservation District at (425) 335-5634, stating they would be happy to help. Likewise, Bill invites you to check out the new St. Anne rain garden and learn about its function and about the native plants.

“From what I understand it is self-sustaining and low maintenance,” Bill said. “Our next goal is to have some sort of display explaining the purpose of the garden and the variety of the plants that are in there. These are all native plants. I noticed there was kinnikinnick and I said, ‘oh good, Indian tobacco.’ It’s nice to see that coming back again. We are very thankful to the Tribe, the Charitable Fund and the Snohomish Conservation District for helping us preserve our historical church. And we invite anybody to come out, everybody’s welcome.”

St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church is now accepting donations for their annual holiday bazaar, held every Saturday from November 30 through December 23. All proceeds will go towards gifts for the homebound elders of the Tulalip community. For more information, please contact St. Anne’s at (360) 653-9400.

New Burke Museum debuts with grand opening for Indigenous peoples

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

“The Burke Museum stands on the lands of the Coast Salish peoples, whose ancestors resided here since time immemorial,” said Burke executive director Julie Stein to a growing crowd of 400+ people representing tribal nations from all over the Pacific Northwest. “Many Indigenous peoples thrive in this place. Part of that history is embedded in the museum, and we move forward in a good way so happy you are with us.”

Julie’s words were direct and heartfelt as she greeted the hundreds of Native visitors who convened at the Burke Museum’s ‘Indigenous Preview’ on October 10. Nearly a thousand community engaged and local Native culture-bearers RSVP’d to the evening’s event dedicated to relationship building and seeking to preserve the ingenuity, creativity, and complex knowledge of a living and thriving cultural resource. 

“You all are the first to be invited to tour and experience the all-new Burke Museum,” continued the museum’s executive director. “We are truly honored by your presence. The Burke recognizes our colonial legacy, and we promise to dedicate ourselves to learning from communities and building a more ethical and collaborative future together.” 

In honor of its collaborations with Indigenous communities, the Burke invited all Indigenous peoples to see the all-new $99 million, 113,000-square-foot facility before it officially opened to the public. Nearly a decade’s worth of planning and consultation went into the unique redesign of a natural history museum with a massive 16 million object collection. Two highly anticipated exhibitions feature Northwest Native artistry and craftsmanship at its finest.

An emphasis on transparency and treating the hundreds of Native cultural artifacts with the proper respect, while acknowledging their rightful creators, was the topic of many conversations while the gathering of Native peoples toured the museum. Many Coast Salish tribal members found the Culture is Living gallery to be the highlight of the evening. From intricate weaving creations to hundreds of years old traditional regalia to a truly stunning dedication to canoe journey that showcased carved paddles by many of the 29 federally recognized Washington tribes, the gallery offered a very real sense of purpose and awareness to its Native guests. 

According to the Burke, the Culture is Living gallery breaks down traditional museum authority and brings the expertise and knowledge of communities to the forefront. Cultural objects aren’t tucked away on the shelves. They are alive, embodying the knowledge, language, and stores of people and cultures.

“We wanted to share how diverse our Indigenous cultures are and share the fact that we are still here,” said Sven Haakanson (Alutiiq), curator for North American anthropology. “To us, the cultural pieces we have on display are living. We are representing a hundred-plus cultures in our Culture is Living gallery and to pay them their proper respects we interwove elements of Earth, air, water, our ancestors, children, and community.

“As a curator, one of the things I’m most proud of is we put the Native languages first on every item. Over the next decade, I’m hoping to work with our local tribes to get more item descriptions written in their languages and to add quotes from those communities telling us what the item’s story is from their perspective,” continued Sven.

During the special Indigenous Preview event, several local tribes had representative of their canoe families share song and dance for the mostly Native attendees. Food was enjoyed and provided by the much hyped Off the Rez café, a permanent outpost spawned from Seattle’s first and only Native food truck. There were a number of hands-on exhibitions that guests were drawn to. Chief among them a weaving setup that welcomed the expertise of Native weavers to showcase their skills with rope, cedar, or ribbon that have been passed down for generations.

“The inclusivity is awesome!” shared 24-year-old Stephanie Masterman (Tlingit) after she made her signature in weave form. “Yes, there are artifacts dating back hundreds of years, but there is so much contemporary art, too. So many young Native artists have works included among the galleries. The voice and presence of the future generations we always talk about is definitely represented.”

It’s a new kind of museum with a whole new way to experience our world. The Burke is located on the University of Washington campus and is free to all visitors on the first Thursday of every month. You can expect to be blown away by the attention to detail the dedicated acurators used in setting up each and every item in the six new galleries. And with Native voices prominently featured, there is sure to be an opportunity for learning and reflection.

“Museums have always been colonial spaces and the way the old Burke was structured separated each culture rather than having conversations across cultures that are relevant to our people,” said recent UW graduate Natalie Bruecher (Native Hawaiian). “Here in the new Burke, our knowledge, our ways of being, and even our relationships to each other are really uplifted. This space is a home for our students, our Indigenous communities, and our ancestors that are embodied in every single piece on display.” 

For more information please visit burkemuseum.org or call (206) 543-7907

Former Seahawks bring outdoor fun and leadership skills to Tulalip youth

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

A large circle formation of about sixty Tulalip citizens congregated outside of the Youth Center on the bluff overlooking Tulalip Bay. The group, consisting of mostly youth, offered two traditional songs to three tall individuals who were standing at the center of the circle. In the distance was a yellow seaplane sitting on the waters of the bay, which the visitors arrived in moments prior. Leaders of the Tulalip Youth Council and previous Tulalip Mountain Camp and Fish Camp attendees were in for quite the surprise on the chilly fall evening of October 22.

 “We were asked to be here by Jessica, our Youth Council Advisor,” explained Youth Council Secretary, Shylah Zackuse. “We were told it was going to be a team building experience. But I had no clue there was going to be former Seahawks players here.”

Three years ago, former Seahawks tight end and Super Bowl XLVIII Champion, Cooper Helfet, started a non-profit organization, the Nature Project, dedicated to getting kids outdoors for recreational fun, along with time away from their phone screens. Since then, Cooper has recruited former teammates, as well as a few current NFL players, to participate in the Nature Project. For the visit to Tulalip, Cooper brought along fellow former Seahawks, Jermaine Kearse and Tyrone Swoopes.

“I grew up in northern California and I had a lot of opportunities to get out into nature, whether that was hiking, camping, surfing or backpacking, it was a big priority in my family to do so,” said Cooper after thanking the people for the traditional songs. “Some of my favorite memories as a kid were doing those things. And as I got older, especially when I started playing with the Hawks and with different teams in my career, I realized a lot of my teammates didn’t get those opportunities. I started getting them outdoors more and they had an amazing experience developing their own relationship with the natural world. 

“And I thought, how do we create these types of opportunities for kids? Especially in a time where video games, TV, the internet are exciting, but taking over our world. So I started this project, bringing out athletes to the kids of local communities to get them outdoors and impress upon them the importance of spending time outside.”

After taking time to snap a photo with the crowd, the football stars hung out with the youth, passing a soccer ball around. Approximately thirty kids introduced themselves to the group and stated one outdoor activity they enjoyed such as skateboarding, hiking, softball and basketball. Next, Cooper passed around sharpies and cedar medallions, asking the kids to write down one goal they hoped to accomplish in their lifetime. 

“The real mission of the project is to motivate kids to spend more time outside and do so in a way where they can create positive physical memories with friends,” Cooper explained. “And to use that as a tool they can use throughout their life to be reflective and think about their goals and how to overcome adversity. We know that often times it could be hard for youth to relate, listen and let things soak in. One of the assets we have as athletes is we have an ability to connect with kids and know we’re going to have their ears and attention because we gained that beautiful gift of being their role models, so we try to pass that on to them through the Nature Project work.”

Once everybody’s goals were marked down, the kids had fun participating in an exercise designed to use the power of communication, teamwork, and creativity to find a way to obtain their goals. After putting in plenty of effort and refusing to give up, the kids got a little help from Cooper, Jermaine and Tyrone. However, in order to receive help from the football pros, the youth had to vocalize exactly what they needed from the athletes first.

The youth were shown that it is possible to achieve their aspirations by using teamwork and communication skills. The group then had an open conversation about attaining individual goals through determination, perseverance and utilizing personal resources. 

“Perseverance for me is not giving up and overcoming every obstacle,” expressed Jermaine, who is also a Super Bowl XVIII Champ. “Adversity is going to show up in our lives whether it’s in sports, school, life or relationships. For me, in the 2015 NFC Championship against the Green Bay Packers I had four targets, four passes thrown to me, and they were intercepted each time. It was a tough moment but I didn’t feel sorry for myself, I didn’t quit, go in the locker room, or sit on the bench with my head down. I knew there were going to be more opportunities and if I was going to be ready for the next opportunity I had to stay mentally in the game. My next opportunity so happened to be the game winning touchdown. That’s perseverance, not giving up on yourself and continuing to push forward.

“Sometimes we feel prideful, we have our egos and want to do things on our own. Please know that it’s okay to ask for help. It’s hard to go through life doing everything by yourself. If you have a group of friends or family that are really close to you, if you’re going through hard times in class or struggling, it’s okay to ask for help. Don’t feel ashamed because even the strongest people in the world need help.”

Every year the Tulalip Natural Resources department partners with the YMCA of Snohomish County to bring local youth the outdoor summer camps, Mountain Camp and Fish Camp. Upon hearing about the camps, the Nature Project was interested in hosting an outdoor event with the Tulalip community. 

“The Nature Project learned about us through the YMCA,” said Ryan Miller, Tulalip Natural Resources Environmental Liaison. “Their whole goal is to get kids out into nature and have that experience that Cooper had when he was a kid, that he feels turned him into the person he is today. They felt he was a really good fit to do something with Tulalip and our youth. It’s an opportunity for the kids to learn about the importance of team work, perseverance, leadership and gives them skills that will help them throughout their lives.”

Tulalip youth Seth Montero fell in love with the great outdoors while at the Mountain and Fish Camps. His passion for nature was so strong that when he grew past the camp age limit, he took a course with the YMCA to take on a leadership role at the summertime camps. Seth thanked the former Seahawks for their work promoting outdoor activities.

“Nature is important because it’s all around us and every day we’re losing more and more of it. It’s always good to get outside whenever you have the chance. Go explore new places, appreciate all the views Mother Earth has to offer, because it might not always be there.”

To wrap up the evening, kids were given large water bottles courtesy of REI and all three Nature Project members took a moment to converse with each kiddo as they autographed their names across their bottles. 

“It was so awesome,” said Tulalip Youth, Lincoln Pablo. “Jermaine Kearse has always been my inspiration for playing football. His catches are amazing. I always wanted to do what he did and get to the league. For my goal today, I wrote down play on our very own Seattle Seahawks.”

Before taking off in the seaplane, Jermaine and Tyrone were gifted handcrafted masks by Tulalip artist Ty Juvinel, and all three former Seahawks received paddles from the Tulalip Youth. 

“You live on a beautiful reservation,” Cooper said. “If you’re looking for ways to get involved in outdoor fun, it’s as simple as walking along the beach or adventuring a little east and getting up in the woods. It doesn’t take much. It’s grabbing a neighbor and going for a walk, it doesn’t need be a planned thing. When I think about my childhood, none of my memories were inside paying video games. They were memories I can feel, hear, see and smell and were with friends. 99% of the time they were outdoors. You just got to take the initiative and go do it. Your ancestors were the original stewards of all this land we get to call home, and I just want to express that there’s an insane amount of gratitude that I have for that.”

Community update on Stanford medical cannabis research

Les Parks , Tulalip Tribes Board of Director.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

In 2014 Washington became one of the first states to legalize the use of recreational marijuana after nearly eighty years of prohibition nationwide. Since then, the state has reaped the benefits of cannabis, collecting hundreds of millions of dollars annually from taxes and licensing fees. 

Just last year, Tulalip opened the doors at Remedy, a recreational shop that is one of few ran and owned entirely by a tribal nation. The Tribe’s current compact with the state, in regards to Remedy, allows them to put the money collected from excise tax back into the Tribe, while paying the state exactly 0% in taxes. 

But as the shop’s name suggests, the Tribe’s focus on the use of marijuana extends far past merely gaining profit from the plant. At Remedy’s grand opening in August of 2018, Tulalip Board of Director (BOD) Les Parks informed the crowd that this was only the beginning of a long relationship between the Tribe and cannabis, announcing a new research project along with a partnership with Stanford University. Perhaps it was due to the long process of opening Remedy or his vision appeared too distant, but the crowd had an overall mixed reaction of skepticism and hope when Les boldly claimed the Tribe would find a cure, or remedy if you will, to end the opioid epidemic with the medical benefits of marijuana. 

Back in March, the Tribe held the first Tulalip/Stanford medical cannabis research project meeting, sharing information found during the first round of research with the community and explaining how this study can benefit the Tribe. Initially the Tribe invested $2 million into the two-year research project. During the first meeting Tulalip BOD members assured the people that whatever found during the study is the sole intellectual property of the Tribe, and that they also retain the right to opt out of the contract with Stanford within the two years. Because the research results were positive, the Tribe continued with the project. The Tribe and Stanford Scientists met once more on the evening of October 10 to give tribal members a new update on the research project.  

“First and foremost we need to save lives,” said Les. “We know what the opioid addiction is like on this reservation, we’ve seen way too many deaths. Two years ago, we had a declaration by the BOD, a state of emergency on the opioid epidemic and we’ve been aggressively tackling that. Since we’ve done that, our death rate has gone down. But any death due to an opioid addiction is one too many. We are 18 months into our Stanford research project. The board authorized a $2 million budget for Stanford to study the cannabis oil and how it might be able to successfully treat opioid addiction.”

Thousands of deaths are reported nationally from opioid involved overdoses each year. According to the Washington State Department of Health, three thousand deaths by overdose happen here in Washington annually, with a large portion of those occurring in the Marysville, Tulalip and Everett area. 

“I’m sure we all know someone who is no longer with us due to this addiction,” Les continued. “The people who are addicted don’t want to be addicted, they don’t want to keep living this way, they want help. We are working with the whole plant oil, which includes over two hundred cannabinoids; the most present cannabinoids are CBD and THC. And what we’ve been finding is truly groundbreaking.”

Up until now, there has been very little, research done specifically on the healing properties marijuana can provide for recovering addicts. But the idea doesn’t seem that farfetched if you take into the account all of the diseases and health issues that the plant aids with in today’s society. Many studies have shown that cannabis can help patients with chronic pain and complications due to cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, PTSD, anxiety and ADHD, among many others. 

Tulalip’s goal is to prove that cannabinoids can in fact help those living with an addiction. And what makes it more interesting is they appear to be the only entity in the United States in full pursuit of this idea. 

“We are two years and a half into this research,” Les said. “No other university in the country has done this. That puts us two-and-a-half years ahead of everyone else, at least. It’s hard for me to stand here without wanting to share this information with the world, to share our findings. But in order for us to be eligible for a patent, we are limited in what we can share today.”

Dr. Annelise Barron, Stanford Professor and Bioengineer, spoke about her latest research. For months she has been conducting experiments at the university for Tulalip’s cause, claiming this is one of the more exciting projects she’s worked on. Drawing evidence from a series of studies, Dr. Barron and her team believe they are close to providing the Tribe with a cannabinoid extract that can be patented, allowing Tulalip to enter the next phase of seeking FDA approval. 

“We are so confident based on the results,” said Dr. Barron. “We validated it and revalidated it numerous times. The next piece of the project is to create a patented Tulalip-owned medicine that will treat heroin and opioid addiction. We’ve already identified a certain part of the cannabis extract that is the therapeutic fraction. We’re going to define precisely the composition of matter that will be patented. There’s at least forty-three people dying every day and if we know the treatment, it should be made available.”

Once the Tribe has conducted the necessary amount of research, they will apply for a patent and begin human trials. This caused some worry and concern amongst attendees, but Les reassured the group that the human study will be volunteer based. If those trials are successful, the Tribe will attempt to get the product FDA approved and then make it accessible to addicts nationwide. Les then went on to explain another avenue the Tribe intends to explore, assuming everything is successful up until that point. 

“We brought on our consultant group, the Red Horse Financial Group. We are a lot further along with a business plan that will be done around the end of the year. There’s a lot of potential revenue the Tribe can earn, provided we get this product FDA approved. At the end of the day, we’re going to save lives. And by doing so, we can monetize that. Just imagine if we’re able to cure opioid addiction, or successfully treat it, what the rest of the world would want to see.”

Since the meeting was open-forum, the attendees asked many questions about the possible business venture. Tulalip Board of Director and Business Committee Chairman, Glen Gobin, addressed a few of those questions.

“It has great potential but there’s no certainty. Even studies that showed great promise, 90% of those never reached human consumption, human benefit. And there’s a lot of human benefit for us down this road, but it comes with a lot of costs. As a tribal government, it gets a little tricky when we get into venture capital. That doesn’t mean the research should stop. We need to keep flushing some of this out and get further down the road, but it comes at great expense. The test results so far, as much as I struggle with it from a business perspective of a Tribe, the research shows there’s potential here. There’s something here that’s working.” 

Valarie Red-Horse Mohl, CEO of the Red-Horse Financial Group, gave the people a brief, but detailed, look at the work-in-progress business model they created for the Tribe, giving yearly projections for aggressive, moderate and conservative total addressable markets (TAM).  

“The potential for a business to be successful is if you’re filling a gap in the marketplace,” she informed. “It’s a $78.5 billion problem in terms of how much opioid misuse costs the U.S. There’s a 90% relapse rate and when patients relapse, that’s when they’re at the highest risk of an overdose death. Right now, the total number of opioid addicts is estimated at 11 million in America. The number of chronic pain sufferers is 25 to 40 million, and why that is important is because that’s whose getting addicted for the most part, they’re needing something for that chronic pain. We’re not combining the business into the research; the research stands separate. But you have to think about planning for that business as the research is happening, so that you can address some of those concerns about how to phase it and mitigate some of your risks.”

In addition to addressing questions and concerns, Valarie informed tribal members that the Tribe does not necessarily have to take on all of the financial expenses by itself, that there are grants and research dollars available since the U.S. Health and Human Services secretary declared the opioid crisis a national epidemic in 2017. She also disclosed that although they are two separate businesses, if the product is a success it would also be branded as ‘Remedy’.

If all goes according to plan, Tulalip will physically possess a cure for opioid addiction in the next five years, helping bring an end to an epidemic that has claimed too many lives of our Native peoples. The next phase comes with a $1.2 million price tag, but the Board of Directors feel the evidence from the research may be worth the risk. 

Global Village adds permanent Tribal Tales exhibit

Artist and storyteller Ty Juvinel (center) with Devin Leatherman and Amy Hale at the opening of Tribal Tales exhibit.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

The Seattle Children’s Museum is a destination place for people from all around the world. Located at the heart of Seattle Center, the always active and engaging museum sees close to 200,000 visitors every year. With a mission to bring to life the joy of discovery for children and their families through creative, hands-on exploration of the world around them, the museum’s heralded Global Village recently debuted an all-new permanent exhibit titled Tribal Tales.

Created by and inspired from the beautifully diverse and thriving Native cultures encompassing the Puget Sound area, Tribal Tales was development over the past two years in direct collaboration with Native artists from Pacific Northwest tribes. 

“We thought it would be great if we developed a space that helps us create a real relationship with local tribal communities and members,” explained Amy Hale, director of education for Seattle Children’s Museum. “The artists we collaborated with drew from their own individual experiences in order to create culturally relevant representations of their culture.”

Native storytellers who collaborated on the project include John Edward Smith (Skokomish), Roger Fernandez (Lower Elwha S’Kallam), and Tulalip’s own Ty Juvinel. 

“Because of Ty’s trust and active willingness to participate in building up this idea from the very beginning, his efforts had a direct influence on other artists and their willingness to commit,” added Amy. “When I look at this final project, I see not only Ty and his amazing individual pieces, but his influence that led to more artists of other tribal communities working with us and really making Tribal Tales an immersive exhibit.”

Prior to becoming the home of Tribal Tales, the space housed a puppet theatre. The original seed money that created the puppet theatre came via Tulalip Cares, the charitable contributions division of the tribe. It’s only too fitting then that the puppet theatre space was transformed into an interactive, educational exhibit showcasing the richness of Native values and oral tradition, while being co-curated by Tulalip tribal member Ty Juvinel. 

“This exhibit really honors the Indigenous peoples of this land and gives the acknowledgment that our people were here before first contact,” shared the Tulalip storyteller. “Tribal Tales is all about acknowledging the past people that were here while honoring the many Coast Salish tribes thriving today.

“I contributed an original story created for my kids How Puppy Got His Ears, a Salish Sea map detailing all the tribes in Western Washington, a couple house posts, and hand puppets that go along with my story that visiting children can play with,” continued Ty. “The fact the museum got money a long time ago from the tribe and now I’m refreshing the concept for my generation is just awesome.”

Tribal Tales explores the universal art of storytelling through a collective showcase of Native art and culture, curated by the actual artists themselves. “As opposed to white bodies dictating and reflecting back to ourselves what other cultures look like, we gave the artists all the agency to share with us their stories,” added Amy.

The direction and attention to detail is what really makes Tribal Tales stand apart from the many other Global Village exhibits. And for the countless children who visit the museum every day, they’ve already shown a fondness to the exhibit’s bright colors and hands-on puppetry that makes the Native stories easily understood.

“The Children’s Museum shares all kinds of fantastic things, like science, knowledge and culture,” said Roger Fernandes, sharer of the prolific Ant and Bear story. “I thought it would be a good way to get our stories out there. Each of the stories were illustrated by the Native artists, so the children could not just hear the story but see some visuals that would help them remember it. Ultimately, this project was well thought out and as a result now more kids will have the chance to hear our traditional stories.”

With over 18,000 sq. feet of play space designed for kids ages birth to 8-years-old to enjoy with families, the Seattle Children’s Museum is open Tuesdays – Sundays from 10:00am – 5:00pm. First time visitors are sure to be blown away by the hands-on exhibits and open-ended exploration, especially those who experience the richness of Tribal Tales. 

A good day to be Indigenous

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

For the sixth consecutive year, the greater-Seattle area and its thousands of Native citizens celebrated Indigenous People’s Day. Replacing the former misbegotten holiday dedicated to a slave trader and lost navigator, the commemorative day to honor the past, present and future of Indigenous knowledge and cultures takes place annually on the second Monday in October.

“People ask, ‘Why Indigenous Peoples Day and why not American Indian Day or Native American Day?’ It’s only appropriate that we honor the legacy of work that’s been done,” explained Matt Remle. His efforts, along with many other Native advocates, were instrumental in getting a proclamation voted on by the Seattle City Council and signed into law by then-mayor Ed Murray in 2013. “It’s not only honoring legacy, but when we say ‘Indigenous peoples,’ it’s referring to more than just the tribes of colonized United States. We’re talking about all Indigenous peoples who’ve been impacted by settler colonialism around the world.”

Since its inception into the Puget Sound, the Indigenous Peoples’ Day movement has spread to over 120 cities and been embraced by 9 state governments. Even 8 universities and a couple school districts have indoctrinated the holiday to celebrate global Indigenous cultures. 

On Monday, October 14, Native people and allies from around the Pacific Northwest gathered at Westlake Park, on ancestral Duwamish land, for a march and rally to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day in Seattle. The dedicated early morning group proudly wore cultural garb and traditional regalia while traversing from Westlake Park to Seattle City Hall, where a rally of celebratory song and dance was held. 

“It’s been a beautiful day to see so many Indigenous people come together and be filled with so much joy,” shared 20-year-old Ayanna Fuentes, a member of Indigenous Sisters Resistance. “Our younger generation is growing up not knowing what Columbus Day is, and that’s an amazing thing.”

In the evening, the festivities continued at Daybreak Star Cultural Center with an honoring celebration for Native nations in the Puget Sound Region and their fellow Indigenous allies. Sponsored by Tulalip Tribes community impact funds, the Daybreak Star gathering included hundreds of urban Natives, dancers from a variety of Indigenous communities, and non-Natives who wanted to share in the memorable event.

The American Indian Movement (AIM) honor song kicked off the evening while Sili Savusa and Feanette Black Bear were blanketed for their longstanding commitments to Indigenous progress. A high-energy hoop dance performed by Ryan Yellowjohn was next, followed by a variety of cultural performances representing Mexico, Chile and the Pacific Islands. For the finale, an overflowing DayBreak Star crowd was treated to several songs offered up by the Tulalip Youth Council.

“I thank the ancestors for giving me this opportunity to be here today with you all and hold the sage,” said Feanette. “There are over 500 Indigenous tribes across this country and we are all here because our ancestors said prayers hundreds of years ago for their future generations. It is up to us to stand up and take care of Mother Earth and our relatives all across Turtle Island.”

A variety of states, cities, counties, community groups, schools, and other institutions observed Indigenous Peoples’ Day on October 14. They all did so with activities that raised awareness of the rich history, culture, and traditions of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas. 

“Indigenous Peoples’ Day, at its core, aims to celebrate and honor the past, present, and futures of Native peoples throughout the United States and acknowledges the legacy of colonialism, which has devastated Indigenous communities historically and continues to negatively impact them today,” stated Native educator and activist, Matt Remle. “More importantly, however, Indigenous Peoples’ Day moves beyond the narrative of oppression and honors the histories, cultures, contributions, and resilience of contemporary Native peoples.”