“You can move mountains with just a pebble a day”: Tulalip’s newest force in environmental work

By Shaelyn Smead; photos courtesy of Teesha Osias

Protecting Mother Earth is a priority for Native Americans and many environmental justice groups. Tulalip tribal member Teesha Osias is enhancing the Native presence in environmental work by reinventing herself and investing in her future. 

From 1999 to 2022, Teesha overcame many obstacles and worked diligently to receive an education. She earned an Associate of Arts, Associate of Applied Science, and Bachelor of Science in Native Environmental Science from Northwest Indian College (NWIC). Her education has taught her to uphold treaties and inherent rights by protecting the natural world. She took on holistic training in Native Environmental Science through Indigenous research and content knowledge. After 23 years of sacrificing her time, efforts, and mental state, she achieved something great; an education, a future for her family, and paving a path for future Native biologists. 

However, Teesha didn’t always have the confidence to reach her goals. She shared about her difficult childhood and its lack of stability. Her family moved so often that adjusting to each new school’s curriculum became difficult for her. Eventually in her teens, between falling behind in school and running with the wrong crowd, Teesha withdrew and enrolled with Job Corps. 

“School was never easy for me. I felt like I was always struggling. But I finally felt comfortable with Job Corps and like I could achieve more. It started a little fire in me. They gave me the tools and things necessary to believe in myself again.”

At 20 years old, Teesha decided to return to school and earn her GED. Teesha remembered speaking with a teacher about becoming a Biologist and the unwavering look she received from them. Even though it was clear her teacher didn’t believe in her, she believed in herself. Venturing into the science world always seemed like a forbidden concept, but she knew she would eventually get there by accomplishing small goals at a time.

Unfortunately, Teesha’s struggles didn’t stop there. While in college, she dealt with troublesome relationships, homelessness, and raising three kids. She felt like she was in survival mode. At many points, she wanted to quit and even spoke about ripping up her papers and textbooks out of defeat. Finally, what felt like a light at the end of the tunnel, a friend offered her a job working on their fishing boat.

“I fell in love with the work. It was empowering, and it saved me. I remember hearing other tribal members speak about why our voice is important regarding our land and fish and how we needed more Natives in the Natural Resources department. The experience reignited my passion for biology and reminded me of what I was doing this for. I didn’t want to let my community down. I wanted to continue my education to help my people and not have that ‘what if’ feeling looming over my head. Plus, I had six little eyeballs [her kids] watching me. What would that be teaching them?”

Being a single mom and working full-time, Teesha had a heavy load. Additionally, the NWIC Tulalip satellite location could only partially provide certain science lab technology and tools required for her classwork and had to rely on other sources. With these obstacles, she sometimes took as little as one course per school quarter to keep inching toward her degree.

“Many people would poke fun at me, calling me a ‘professional student’ and would give me grief for taking so long to finish school. But you have to fight for what you want, and that’s exactly what I did. You can move mountains with just a pebble a day.”

Teesha expressed how NWIC helped her find her Indigenous voice. They educated her on food sovereignty, treaty and fishing rights, basket weaving, and other cultural knowledge. She was exposed to new books by Native authors that impacted how she saw the world and the importance of Indigenous mentalities. Concepts that combined modern-day environmental solutions with the Native traditional ways of life.

While Teesha earned her degree, she spent much time interning in different areas within Tulalip Natural Resources. She helped work on lumber management in forestry, collecting milt and acting as a fish technician in the hatchery, measuring and evaluating geoducks by the bay, assisting on the Elwha Dam removal project, spearheading many environmental surveys and projects, and helping Wetland Program Coordinator Allison Warner and Environmental Wetland Biologist Michelle Bahnick on wetland preservation and land development.  

“This work feels a part of me like it’s in my DNA. I know this work’s importance and think this connection manifested through my ancestors. It makes such a difference when you touch your land. We belong out here doing what Indians do.”

Working closely with nature, preserving the environment, and identifying climate indicators have played a significant factor in Native American culture. Even though Teesha grew up in the city, being involved in this field has given her new life. She knows there is still plenty of room to grow and learn and expressed her gratitude to Allison and Michelle for allowing her to take her ‘training wheels’ off. 

Allison spoke of her time with Teesha and her hopes for more tribal members to get involved with environmental departments, “It has been a pleasure working with Teesha. Her story is inspirational. I’m excited to think that in the future, more tribal scientists will be filling these roles in our natural resources departments .”

Amid everything, Teesha has also taken opportunities to work with Native youth to teach them about the wetlands and will be helping plant trees with Native students later this month. She is impacting Native students by exposing the many paths of environmental work. She’s a living example that scientific careers are attainable for Native youth and inspires them to get involved. She speaks of her dreams where her people come together and play a dominant role in every department to take care of our home again.

Teesha is a great example of how powerful perseverance and patience can be. Despite the many reasons life gave her to quit, Teesha had the tenacity to continue being the force she was and continues to be. 

Rise of the Ribbon Skirt

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Over the past decade, there’s been a shimmering surge in the popularity of Native American ribbon skirt making. These skirts, which are decorated with vibrantly colored ribbons and patterns that hold spiritual and cultural significance, have become an important symbol of Native identity and resilience. For Native American women, ribbon skirts are not only a bold fashion statement but also a powerful tool for cultural reawakening, community building, political activism, and economic empowerment.

At the heart of the ribbon skirt movement is a deep connection to tradition and culture. Ribbon skirts have been worn by Native women for generations and hold deep spiritual significance for many tribal communities across Turtle Island. They were often worn for important occasions such as powwows, weddings, potlatches, and other ceremonies.

Today, a new generation of modern matriarchs are literally sewing together past teachings with a shared identity of culture that isn’t afraid to create new traditions. Such is the case with owner and operator of Morning Star Creations, Nina Gobin. 

“There’s a lot of Natives reconnecting to the culture nowadays because being an Indigenous person in 2023 is much more welcoming than it was for past generations,” said Nina. “Many of our ancestors feared the consequences if they didn’t hide their culture, but now we’re in an era of empowering diversity. Native people can wear something like a ribbon skirt or ribbon shirt and be told, “Oh wow. That’s badass!” just by being proud enough to represent who they are and where they come from.”

The inspiring 23-year-old Tulalip tribal member learned the fundamentals of ribbon skirt making from her regalia making teacher Lisa Powers while attending Northwest Indian College five years ago. Afterwards, she received additional guidance from locally renowned ribbon skirt maker Winona Shopbell. Nina used the teachings of Lisa, Winona, and countless YouTube sewing tutorials to create a ribbon skirt style all her own. 

With each hand-made skirt she made and sold came a boost to her confidence and belief in ability to create something that was equal parts culture, fashion, and art. 

The rise of ribbon skirt making has led to economic empowerment for Native women, such is the case with Nina, who can circumvent typical manufacturing methods by creating these ribbon wonders in the comfortable environment of home. By creating and selling their skirts online or at local vendor markets, they are able to support themselves and their families while sharing their culture with others.

Sharing the gift of her skillset she developed from making and selling 200+ skirts over the last few years is a traditional teaching Nina takes seriously. Which is why she committed a weekend in February to welcome Native women willing to learn the basics of ribbon skirt making into her home and primary manufacturing space. 

Surrounded by fabric galore, ribbon that spanned the color spectrum, and all the sewing essentials they needed, a group of local women received a crash course in ribbon skirt 101. Their instructor, Nina Gobin.

“Honestly, this is the first time I’ve ever sewn anything in my life,” shared 31-year-old Britney Craig as she intently sewed metallic pink ribbon onto her floral-patterned skirt. “Learning to make ribbon skirts is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I actually bought a sewing machine five years ago and was intent on learning then, but life happened and I wasn’t able to. When I heard Nina was offering this class, I was so thrilled and jumped at the opportunity.”

Throughout their day together spent sewing machine troubleshooting, learning how to undo simple mistakes and creating vibrantly colored youth skirts, the ladies discussed the significance of ribbon skirts to the greater culture at large. Like how the use of ribbons in the skirts reflects the importance of color and design in the variety of Native culture, from coastal and woodland to pueblo and plains, with each ribbon symbolizing a specific meaning or purpose.

The group also discussed how cool it is to see high profiled Native women like Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota Peggy Flanagan wear ribbon skirts on the national stage. Showcasing the strength of the ribbon is also something Tulalip’s own Deb Parker and Theresa Sheldon have routinely been intentional about when they are visiting various state and tribal delegations seeking support for their boarding school healing coalition. 

“I like how it’s becoming mainstream for all the gals to wear ribbon skirts,” said Teresa Jira while cutting her assortment of ribbon to the desired length. “These skirts are basically a representation of our shared culture and are no longer designated for ceremony only, but instead is like an everyday norm to empower girls and women all across the country. And that’s the point because when the general public sees our culture in the mainstream, whether its expressed through cedar or wool or ribbon, it’s powerful representation that we’re still here, adapting and thriving.”

The rise of ribbon skirts has also become a symbol of political activism for Native women. They have been worn at protests and rallies, representing the strength and resilience of Native women in the face of ongoing struggles for social and environmental justice. By wearing ribbon skirts, they are asserting their presence and voice in the world, while fiercely standing up for the rights of their communities.

Overall, the ribbon skirt movement is a powerful expression of culture and identity. For Tulalip women specifically, the act of making and wearing ribbon skirts is a way to honor their traditions, connect with their community, and assert their presence in the world. As this movement continues to grow and gain momentum, the ribbon skirt will continue to serve as an important symbol of Native identity. 

“Ribbon skirts represent a good balance of traditional practices and the ability to adapt and evolve with changing times,” explained Nina. “A good way to view them is through the same culturally artistic lens we use to view painters, beaders, weavers, and carvers. Our Native artists all have their own unique style that continues to adapt to new technologies and changing buyer markets. The styles and colors and textures may vary, but at the end of the day we all are trying to represent our people and culture in a good way.”

Art from the Heart: Marysa Joy’s Creations brings traditional art into the digital era

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News,; photos courtesy of Marysa Sylvester

Approximately twenty young adults prepared for a 1.7 mile run, beginning at the Mission Beach approach and ending at the Tulalip Dining Hall on the afternoon of September 30, 2021. Although nearly a year-and-a-half ago, this day was significant for the people of Tulalip as they took time to honor and remember their ancestors who endured the atrocities committed during the boarding school era.

The group of young women and men served as the torch bearers to officially kick-off the first annual Residential Boarding School Awareness Day gathering. Collectively, they resembled a flame as they blazed along the trail known as Totem Beach Road, in orange t-shirts, an intertribal symbol that helps raise awareness to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. And everybody who attended the event received their very own orange t-shirt to commemorate the emotional and historic day. 

With hundreds in attendance, there were orange shirts as far as the eye could see, and they all bore a design of a hummingbird and a flower in traditional form line. Many began their healing process that day, from the trauma that has trickled down the generations since the time of boarding schools and forced assimilation. Each person would walk away from that event with something tangible that they can look back on whenever they incorporate that t-shirt into their daily ensemble – a Marysa Joy Sylvester exclusive. 

“I actually started drawing in 2020, right when COVID hit,” said Marysa. “That’s when I got my first iPad and Apple pencil. I was pregnant then and I was just drawing all the time. I was really nervous to share any of my pieces with anyone. Orange Shirt Day was one of my first designs that I really shared with the community. I was honored to be able to share that work, and to see everyone wearing it was unreal for me. It was humbling and exciting, and honestly just a really good moment, because I knew that was the first big event for Orange Shirt Day.” 

Ever since her artwork was introduced to the public, people have been eager to get their hands on the designs created by the Tulalip and Quileute artist. In a year’s time, Marysa went from being hesitant to share her work to becoming a well-known and highly in-demand artist whose digital art has inspired other tribal members to break out their tablets and create designs of their own. If you are able to take a moment to scroll through her Instagram profile, @MarysaJoysCreations, you will be impressed at her ability to incorporate traditional art with modern technology. 

She shared, “When I used to draw, I felt it was not that good. I would start a project with pencil and paper, touch on it and move on. But when I picked up my iPad, it gave me more freedom and flexibility. The app I use is Procreate and it’s pretty similar to actually drawing on pen and paper, but it’s a little bit easier for you to undo any mistake you make. I think that really helped me start again. It was different, it felt good, and I was more inspired to express from my heart, rather than just trying to be good at drawing.” 

Working with the youth for nearly her entire adult life, previously at the Marysville School District and currently with the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy, a major driving force behind her art is ensuring that Native kids are able to see themselves in her designs. Furthermore, she takes time to translate words into Lushootseed and incorporates the Tribe’s traditional language into her work to help children identify things like animals, fruit, body parts, weather, and a handful of phrases, all in the dialect of their ancestors. Marysa also utilizes her drawings to bring attention to issues and causes happening across Native America such as Orange Shirt Day and the MMIW/P epidemic.

“When I’m making those MMIW and Every Child Matters designs, I usually start off with a feeling. I’m conveying the feeling that I want other people to experience when they look at it. When I made the Orange Shirt Day design, I remember thinking of the kids, and how important our kids are, and how bright they are in our community. That was something I set out to convey in those pieces – how much they mean to us.” 

She continued, “I did a collection of posters with animals, sea animals, and body parts and had a ton of people reach out to me to ask if they could put them up at their schools or the centers they work at. That was amazing. The first one, the Safe Space poster, was distributed to the whole Tribe and I was really proud of that. I end up creating a bunch of free resources for teachers, because it’s so hard to find those [culture-based] resources as an educator. I remember as a student, when I would see those types of things in my classroom or at my school, I would get so excited. Being able to provide that is really important to me. And personally, I am a visual learner, so I think that will help students – pairing the Lushootseed with the art.”

Although Marysa’s journey with digital art is a fairly new endeavor, she is no stranger to creating Indigenous art pieces. In fact, she grew up learning the art of weaving, a skill passed down from her grandmothers on both sides of her family. And even with her newfound love of drawing, Marysa is still passionate about weaving and enjoys taking on projects such as cedar hats and graduation caps. 

  She explained, “I was always told to put your heart into your work and your good intentions. That is something that I do with my cedar weavings and in my digital art too. I got serious about weaving in 2015. Before that I had done a couple of projects with my grandma, but I really started weaving at the Senior Center. They have a basket weaving group of about six or seven elders, my grandma, her sister, and few other people. I started one of my baskets there, and after that I really got into it. I was making cedar medallions, cedar earrings, cedar caps. But when I got pregnant, I needed to take a break from it. 

“I was weaving a lot up until 2020, and I recently started it up again. I learned a lot about weaving from my grandma Joy and my grandma Mary. It’s been so cool to learn from both sides of my family, and they shared a connection as well and would go to weaving conferences together. And my dad (Harvey Eastman) also weaves. He’s an artist too.”

When picking up that Apple pencil, little did Marysa know that she would turn a COVID lockdown hobby into a full-blown business. Harnessing her genuine love for the work she does, matched with a personable and outgoing  personality, Marysa Joy’s Creations has come a long way from eye-catching Facebook and Instagram posts. Her designs can be seen all throughout the reservation, on water tumblers, sweatshirts, stickers, posters, phone cases, or iron-on patches. 

This past month, she officially launched her very own website, www.MarysaJoysCreations.com, where all her products are available for purchase. On the website you can find free digital Lushootseed posters, and you also have the option to place custom request orders. 

Said Marysa, “Someone actually just reached out to me for a tattoo design, which I was really amazed by. People have reached out about the Senior Luncheon design and the Orange Shirt Day design. So, if anyone stumbles upon me, they can reach out to me on the website if they want anything that is customized or specific to them. I’ve also done a couple logos for small businesses as well.”

You may recognize Marysa’s signature designs on the logos for other tribal member-owned businesses, including Shaylene Henry’s Coastal Sweets and Treats, Kwani Sanchey’s Sacred Skincare, and Nina Gobin’s Morning Star Creations. 

Marysa has a number of projects on the horizon that are sure to showcase her work with the Coast Salish art staples: trigons, ovoids, and crescents. Most recently, she received a shipment of seven colorful bolts of fabric, all of which feature her designs and can be used to create items such as regalia and ribbon skirts. The fabric that is currently available for sale includes dinosaurs, strawberries, moons, bear tracks accompanied with the slogan ‘Land Back’, flowers, and hummingbirds, with the promise of many more designs to come. 

She stated, “I’ve been really working on my repeating patterns, because those can go on anything. They can go on blankets, they can go on fabric, they can go on backpacks. When I make those designs, I try to make them really bright and happy. I try to express my heart through whatever I’m drawing in the moment, and I like things that make you feel happy when you look at them.” 

When asked what her top three favorite designs are so far, she mentioned one of her recent works, a cedar basket-themed piece that includes the message ‘Respect Our Ancestors’ in both English and Lushootseed, as well as the floral tattoo-esque design that reads ‘Honor Your Ancestors.’ And the Senior Luncheon commission that is a re-creation of a photograph of a young Marysa and her grandma offering prayers to the spirit of a cedar tree.  

It is clear to see that Marysa Joy’s Creations is resonating with tribal members throughout the Northwest region. And locally, the people of Tulalip are proud to say that Marysa’s art is a strong representation of the Tribe’s cultural lifeways, which is depicted in every single design that she creates. 

“I honestly draw all the time,” Marysa said. “Any free time I get, I draw. Digital art is now a big part of my life, I find it really soothing, calming, peaceful, and it’s a really good way to express yourself. You’ve got to be in a good place when you’re doing it. Sometimes if I need a break, I’ll step away and recharge myself and wait a bit before I pick it back up. I feel so good about the work that I put out and what it conveys, I am extremely grateful.”

Be sure to follow Marysa on all of your social media accounts to stay updated on her latest art pieces. She can be found on Facebook under the page titled Marysa Joy’s Weaving, and also on Instagram, @MarysaJoysCreations, as well as on TikTok as her Indian name, @Salsalitsa. And of course, her products for sale are available on her website. And as a reminder, that URL is www.MarysaJoysCreations.com.  

She expressed. “Overall, I think the vibe is to create and share resources that we can all use in our community. And I think it’s important to convey all those emotions and feelings with a good mind and a good heart.”

Unhoused tribal members discuss their fresh start

By Shaelyn Smead, Tulalip News

Before Christmas, tenants began moving into 17 one- and two-bedroom tiny homes for unhoused Tribal members at the Village of Hope. As some of these tenants once struggled to find warmth, safety, and stability, the Village became their saving grace. And though they come from different walks of life, they all have a community and place to feel welcome.

Heather Gobin:

What is your backstory, and how did you come to Village of Hope?

Most people who know me wouldn’t guess this is my reality. I come from a good family and am usually the responsible older sibling. I became a stay-at-home mom, raising two kids who graduated from college. I was raised a believer in Jesus, but more often than not, I was self-righteous. I didn’t understand anything about the drug life and lacked sympathy for my ex when he struggled with addiction. Somewhere along the way, I forgot he was my best friend, and eventually, he passed. I never thought anything like that would happen to me. The streets quickly humbled me. I never recovered from my traumas, and losing my kids’ dad hurt me. I lost everything: my mind and house and began using. Being homeless, I gained perspective in a way I would’ve never had before. I used to look down on homeless people and eventually became one. It could happen to any of us. It changed my heart. I thank God for our Tribe for building a place like this.

What were the first few moments like when you moved in?

It was a very emotional day. I was extremely thankful and humbled. I felt like I was experiencing the grace of God through my Tribe, and I felt like I could finally breathe and relax. It wasn’t a feeling I had felt for a long time. I just sat there in tears, thanking God that I finally had a roof over my head and a place that was mine. I felt safe and like I was no longer a burden to anyone.

How has having housing made a difference in your life?

I feel like it’s opening doors for me to help others. Now that I am at a more stable point with this housing, I can begin to share my story with other people and help them the way He has helped me. 

What are some of the resources the Village provides or has connected you with, that have been helpful?

Of course, staying clean with the treatment center here at the Tribe. When I first arrived, I looked around and recognized everyone. I knew their parents or grandparents, and we’re all in this together. That moved me in a big way. When I first moved into the Village, I thought it was only a six-month program, but hearing that it is a permanent assistant living grant, I was elated. And I just thought, all right, I can do this, I am ready. Then they asked me what I wanted to accomplish, like getting a GED, learning how to cook, getting a job, money management, credit building, etc. I have always struggled with money, so when I was offered a job working within the building and saw that I could take these classes, I was excited. I am also a traditional weaver of 26 years, so as a part of the cultural classes, I will also help teach the other tenants how to weave.

What are some of the goals or dreams of the future since moving into the village?

I want to start with small goals and learn to care for myself. Eventually, I would love to start a nonprofit named after my ex. I want to replicate a place like this, buy a piece of land, and put tiny homes on it. And I want to reach out to people in recovery because something like this [Village of Hope] could turn someone’s life around. It could determine the future of their kids and grandkids. Many parents are battling addiction or are just checked out, and grandparents are left raising their kids. I don’t want kids to live through this life without their parents. I hope that places like this will continue to uplift people and parents to become better. I would also love to build an art studio for recovering addicts to showcase their artwork. 

Alex and Jennifer Hatch:

What is your backstory, and how did you come to Village of Hope?

Jennifer: We have struggled with addiction since we first met. And even more, after my mom passed. We bought a travel trailer, but finding a place with good hookups, water, or power was hard. It was awful, run by a slumlord, and the site would flood with water up to our shins. That’s what we lived in. When you’re in that type of place and living with addiction, it is impossible to get sober or even want to try; it almost ended us. 

Alex: Eventually, we got clean, and I started looking for assistance from the Tribe. It happened to be right around when they were finishing these houses, so I got a job, and everything evolved from there.

What were the first few moments like when you moved in?

Jennifer: Like we were on Extreme Home Makeover. It was fully furnished, with extra household items like bedding, pots and pans, food, toilet paper, etc. It was like we won the lottery. We were full of emotions, and we were so thankful for it. Sometimes it’s still hard to believe we are here and have this opportunity.

Alex: We are amazed by how many people want to help. There was no judgment, but we never felt worthy of receiving help before and thought we had to do it alone. But the Village was here with their arms wide open, willing to help us stay on our path to redemption.

How has having housing made a difference in your life?

Jennifer: We have a new perspective on life. There are so many possibilities, and we finally feel we can breathe.

Alex: It makes me proud to be Tulalip. This is a great example of what Tulalip is doing to help its people. It’s not just an idea; it was put into motion and is directly helping people. We have a strong community within the Village and from the staff supporting us. We come from a hard place, but the people here understand that. We wake up daily and see one big family, and we’re grateful to be here. This has become the foundation for our new life and sobriety. 

What are some of the resources the Village provides or has connected you with that have been helpful?

Alex: The UAs [urinary analysis] help keep us accountable and clean. From what we’ve heard and discussed, we look forward to the many classes they will provide. We want to learn more life skills like money management and credit counseling to build our future. They also are helping and supporting us to find jobs. 

What are some of the goals or dreams of the future since moving into the village?

Jennifer: We are trying to save money and build stability. We would love to fix our credit, pay off some of our debt, and eventually take out a small loan to build a home on our property.

Alex: It is so fulfilling to start dreaming of the future again. We have so many ideas for the property, and now we have the potential to get started on them. I wouldn’t be able to do it anywhere else. We’re committed to making things better for our life, and this has been the best stepping stone for that.


What is your backstory, and how did you come to Village of Hope?

It was an emergency. I was in a domestic violence (DV) relationship and found myself in a situation where my kids and I were out of a home. I suffered verbal and physical abuse for some time but was in denial. I was living in another state at the time when things got worse. I had family members looking out for me and connected me with people in the Tribe who handled these situations and encouraged me to take my kids and leave. Within a few months, I had a protection order and went from staying on a family member’s couch to moving into the Village of Hope.

What were the first few moments like when you moved in?

It was overwhelming but such a happy day. We were so grateful to be welcomed, but even the small things made a difference. We had the bare essentials but left so much behind when we moved out quickly. The blankets, pillows, a bunk bed, it all meant so much. I even appreciated that they had taken the time to make the bed. Seeing a made bed meant for us was such a difference after everything we had gone through. I remember feeling cozy the first night there, like a real home.

How has having housing made a difference in your life?

It has made all the difference. Running from a DV situation was so scary. But having my kids and the uncertainty of where we will go or what we will do next is terrifying. As a parent, you have the instinct to provide for your kids. I had to stay strong for them, but I didn’t have the answers. Our family and Tulalip community now surround my kids, and they love hanging in the communal building and being around everyone. I am so grateful for our Tribe and how they cared for my family and me. 

What are some of the resources the Village provides or has connected you with that have been helpful?

The Tribe and Legacy of Healing (LOH) has been extremely helpful. When we returned, they helped provide car seats, winter clothes, and many other things. We’ll be in the middle of divorce filings for a while, and the Tribe has offered a great attorney to help me through it. But it’s been hard, and I am so used to being the oldest in my family and looking after everyone else. It was so foreign to me to accept help like this, and I had family and people working in the Tribe and LOH to remind me that it was okay, that I wasn’t in this alone.

What are some of the goals or dreams of the future since moving into the village?

I want to get back on my feet. Now that I don’t have to worry about saving up or looking for somewhere to live and that financial burden is gone, I can put my time and energy toward my next steps. I am now back in school, getting a job within the Tribe, and taking control of my life for my kids. Being away from the reservation for so long, I am excited to get my kids and me back into the community, involved in events, and connected to our culture. Being here is so healing.

The Tribe and Village of Hope have supported and impacted the lives of these tenants. With a fresh start, these tribal members can believe in themselves again and have better hopes for the future. For more information about the Village of Hope, contact Deloris Parks at dparks@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov 

Strengthening the mind and body at Tulalip Bay CrossFit

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

A bold collaboration between Youth Enrichment and Tulalip Bay CrossFit is seeking to make a significant, perhaps even lifelong, impact in the overall health and wellness of Tulalip youth. That is, those youth who are willing to commit just one hour a day, twice a week to burpee, box jump, assault bike, row machine and push themselves into a strength transformation.

“Our goal is to get our youth into strength and conditioning along with gaining knowledge on nutrition. We hope that by them developing these skills, they then gain access to lifelong health,” said Josh Fryberg. “This is also a cool opportunity to support a local, tribal member owned business. Tulalip Bay CrossFit classes are free for youth grades 6th – 12th thanks to financial support provided by Youth & Family Enrichment.”

It’s no secret that many of our people who live past the age of Tulalip’s 58-year average life span are at high-risk for developing high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Also, not a secret that many in the under 40 age group have a propensity to engage in a lifestyle that’s resulted in diseases of despair (drug overdose, suicide, and alcoholic liver disease) among the Tribe’s leading causes of death.

What is a secret, one often whispered in safe spaces filled with like-minded fitness enthusiasts, is the previously mentioned afflictions are largely preventable. All it takes, wait for it, is self-confidence and a purposeful focus to accomplish long-term goals. That’s it, really? Yes, really. Confidence to decline the social pressures of unhealthy activities in order to sustain a mind and body capable of thriving from functional fitness long into the elder years.

This is where Tulalip Bay CrossFit and this newly created youth-centered class comes in. Because for our 712 teenage Tulalip tribal members, they have so much untapped physical potential and teachable mental elasticity that often they just need a safe environment led by a passionate coach who believes in them to break through their imagined limitations. 

“Knowing these moments of accomplishment experienced by the kids eventually turn into memories that fuel them to accomplish more and more is just amazing to me,” said Ananda Pablo, certified CrossFit trainer and coach. “The kids of our community are so adaptable and eager to be active that after the initial shock of actually working out, they make progress so quick as they get adjusted to the CrossFit routines.   

“We’re able to offer a convenient spot that’s on the reservation for them to exercise and engage in healthy behaviors,” she added. Ananda and her husband Roy have been co-owners of Tulalip Bay CrossFit since September 2019. “Honestly, the kids motivate me because I get to witness their growth. I watch them do things they previously told me they couldn’t do, and to see their attitude and self-belief soar after they do those things is just phenomenal.”

Participation in CrossFit has become increasingly popular in recent years, and many young people are reaping the benefits of this high-intensity exercise program. Within the familial confines of Tulalip Bay’s box, how those in the CrossFit world refer to their gyms, is a daily changing workout that combines cardiovascular exercise, weightlifting, and gymnastics. 

CrossFit focuses on functional movements performed at high intensity that offer the following benefits:

  • Improved Physical Fitness: CrossFit is an intense workout that can help young people to improve their physical fitness. The program is designed to improve cardiovascular endurance, strength, flexibility, and overall body composition. Young people who participate in CrossFit can expect to see improvements in their cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and body fat percentage.
  • Increased Confidence: CrossFit workouts can be challenging, but they can also be empowering. Young people who participate in CrossFit can gain a sense of accomplishment and self-confidence when they complete a tough workout or achieve a new personal best. This can be particularly important for young people who may be struggling with self-esteem or body image issues.
  • Social Support: CrossFit provides a sense of community and social support that can be beneficial for young people. The workouts are often done in a group setting, which can provide a sense of camaraderie and teamwork. This can be especially important for young people who may be struggling to find a sense of belonging or social support in other areas of their lives.
  • Improved Mental Health: Exercise has been shown to have positive effects on mental health, and CrossFit is no exception. The high-intensity workouts can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and can provide a natural outlet for negative emotions. Young people who participate in CrossFit may also experience improved self-esteem and self-confidence, which can be beneficial for overall mental health and well-being.
  • Healthy Habits: CrossFit can help young people to establish healthy habits and practices that can last a lifetime. The program emphasizes proper nutrition and rest, which are essential for overall health and well-being. By establishing healthy habits early on, young people can set themselves up for a lifetime of health and wellness.

An additional benefit of the Tulalip Bay CrossFit and Youth Enrichment collaboration is the competitive spirit that is summoned during workouts that showcase the girls versus the boys. When functional fitness is the name of the game, the girls can and do win in convincing fashion.

“It’s so important for women to know it’s okay to be strong. Especially during the teenage years, when there are so many social pressures to be skinny and entire marketing campaigns aimed at making them feel inadequate,” explained Ananda. “When it comes to fitness and exercise, skinny is not a strength; strength is strength. 

“We want our women and girls to feel empowered, so what better way than to actually develop a power they can feel and use on a daily basis. During these youth classes I’ve witnessed two teenaged girls, Lillyannah and Kyla, become so proud to be strong. I’ve seen them out rope climb the boys and out row the boys. Each time they are motivating and pushing each other to be a little bit better than that time before, and that just so inspiring to me because that’s the beauty of progress,” she continued. 

Youth fitness and self-care through exercise are essential for overall health and well-being. Particularly for Tulalip youth, regular physical activity can help to prevent chronic diseases, improve mental health and promote healthy habits and practices. It can be lifechanging for our young people to establish healthy habits early on and to incorporate exercise into their weekly routines. 

These Youth Enrichment sponsored Tulalip Bay CrossFit sessions are held on Mondays and Thursdays from 4:00pm – 5:00pm. Sign up today at the Tulalip Youth Campus located at 6700 Totem Beach Road. Get fit. Be strong. Live healthy. 

Vaping sparks youth art contest

 By Shaelyn Smead, Tulalip News

Since e-cigarettes and vapes entered the U.S. marketplace in 2007, the dangers of smoking have evolved. With many smoking advertisements and manufacturing still targeting younger people, nicotine use amongst adolescents concerns the community. 

According to an article in the Missouri Medicine Journal, over the last 20 years, there has been a decrease in the number of teenagers smoking combustible cigarettes. The Youth Risk Behavior Survey demonstrated a decline in teens smoking cigarettes from 70% in 1991 to 28.9% in 2017. The decrease reflects the exhaustive work done by physicians, advocacy groups, and lawmakers. Physicians have worked diligently to improve education on the dangers of smoking and fought to pass new regulations to protect patients.

However, this decrease in combustible cigarettes seems primarily due to increased vaping and e-cigarettes. The FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released federal data from the 2022 National Youth Tobacco Survey states that more than 2.5 million middle and high school students use e-cigarettes. 

Tulalip Community Health Prevention Education Specialist Kelly Prayerwarrior said, “It is in the community. Listening to people and parents talk about kids as young as fourth or fifth grade getting suspended from school for vaping. They get it from their older siblings or cousins and want to try it out of curiosity or peer pressure. But outside of that, we see parents and elders smoking and using e-cigarettes, so it’s almost normalized, and our youth don’t understand how damaging it is.”

Kelly and her team recently visited all the middle and high schools in Marysville School District (MSD) to discuss vaping with Native youth. She informed them that are the equivalent of 20 cigarettes per vape, that they contain many harmful chemicals, and other concerning facts about e-cigarettes. Overall she was surprised at how little they understood these products. “They were shocked to hear some of the statistics.” 

The Missouri Medicine Journal also states that every e-cigarette advertisement, from billboards to packaging, to products, was heavily aimed at adolescents. From 2014 to 2016, advertising for vaping exploded on social media, and 78% of middle and high school students were exposed to at least one advertisement. Pods come in colorful and fun packaging and are flavored with mint, gummi bear, frosted sugar cookie, etc., to attract adolescents.

During the school visits, Kelly recalled that a few kids came forward, admitting that most kids they know are vaping. Even going as far as saying they believe the statistics are worse. Several Native advocates from MSD also spoke with Kelly voicing their worries about the widespread use within schools, which caused more concern for the Community Health Department.

So why aren’t more parents aware of their children using these products? Kelly explained that there are many factors. The first is that vapes can be so easily hidden. Many e-cigarettes on the market are the size of a USB drive and can be concealed in small pockets in clothing, bags, or other discreet areas. Additionally, because e-cigarettes don’t contain the fire to make them smoke the same way cigarettes do, they won’t have a lingering smell on their body. Instead, as previously discussed, the vapor smells fruity or minty and quickly disperses into the air without anyone noticing.

  Are some e-cigarettes safer than cigarettes? Kelly said that couldn’t be more false. People are inhaling the smoke and the liquid from the pods. Therefore, their lungs fill with fluid. Many other dangers come from vaping, including addiction, raised blood pressure, heart attacks, cancer, impairment in memory, hyperactivity, impulsive behavior changes, and much more. 

To combat this widespread e-cigarette use, the Community Health Department has created an anti-vaping art contest where MSD middle and high school Native youth, at each school, can win a pair of AirPods Pro, a 43” 4K TV, and TB Stealth 600 G2 headphones. Out of all the schools, a grand prize winner will be chosen and win an OLED Switch Bundle. Additionally, their art will be used for anti-vaping ads across Snohomish County. Submitted art must be a poster-style or digital art piece, show the dangers and health risks of vaping, and must be submitted to their school’s Native American advocate. Submissions are due by March 22, and the winner will be announced on March 28. 

For more information about the dangers of vaping and e-cigarettes or the anti-vape contest, please get in touch with the Community Health Department at (360) 716 – 4511. 

Young leaders of Tulalip announce candidacy for the 2023 Youth Council

 By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

The aroma of freshly prepared salmon wafted out of the Greg Williams Court on the evening of February 16th. Two days prior, the gym was decorated with hearts a plenty for all the lovers and friends of Tulalip during the Education Division’s Valentine’s Day Dance. And although there were less people in attendance and a large stage in place of the dancefloor, the love was still immensely felt at this year’s Youth Council Candidate Forum. Love for their tribe, peers, community, and the future of Tulalip was on full display by sixteen young adults who are devoted to bring about positive change for both their generation and those yet to come.

“I’m running for Tulalip Youth Council as a sixth grader because I want to bring forward new ideas and change,” said Tribal member, Brodie Kane. “I also want to work with other like-minded kids to reach those goals that we set for ourselves – to make our tribe better for now and for the next seven generations.”

With the 2022 Tulalip Youth Council term coming to an end, these enthusiastic and optimistic young leaders officially announced their candidacy for the 2023 Youth Council. The youth beamed with Tulalip pride as they gave heartfelt speeches about several issues that the tribe’s young population often face while growing up on the reservation, and they displayed a strong desire to remedy concerns such as substance abuse, and the tribal welfare system. Additionally, the teens spoke of ways to uplift their peers through events, conferences, and cultural practices.

Senior Youth Council candidate Samara Davis shared, “I’m in my senior year and I enjoy playing music, creating art, and spending time with my family. I think I would make a good representative for the Tulalip Youth Council for the following reasons: I value integrity and respect the wisdom of previous generations. I believe it’s important to speak up about matters that are of concern in our community and create positive solutions. I come from a family that fought for our people and our country by serving in the military.”

She continued, “I participate in community events such as coastal jams, cultural classes, Lushootseed camp, Salmon Ceremony, and the art festival. I’ve helped the Veterans Committee set up for Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Tulalip Days, and other events. I worked with Youth Employment for the past two years at both TDS and the youth center, I’ve created flyers, posters, banners, and memorial cards. My goal is to learn and grow to be a better leader because I hope to help and serve my people.”

Now in its seventh year since it’s revival in 2015, the Tulalip Youth Council provides countless opportunities for its members to gain real-life experience throughout their term as they grow into their roles as leaders of the new school. The Youth Council is comprised of a junior council (sixth through eighth grade) and a senior council (ninth through twelfth grade), as well as two senior advisor positions. 

Through the Youth Council, the elected officials serve as the voice of the young people during Tulalip Board meetings. They also address a number of concerns that affect both tribal youth and the tribe as a whole, by organizing events throughout the year such as coastal jams, healing circles, fitness camps, and the Get Drugs Off Our Rez Prevention Walk, to raise awareness and help support their peers in a good and healthy manner. 

Not only does the council host events, but they also help plan and actively take part in other community gatherings and culture-based events as well. Most importantly, the Youth Council works side-by-side with the Tulalip Board of Directors during their one-year term, and therefore they have the opportunity to learn first-hand about the ins and outs of the Tribe’s governmental operations.

Guest speaker and Tulalip BOD member, Hazen Shopbell, expressed, “I want to thank these kids for stepping up. It is a tough job. There’s a lot of responsibility. Making decisions and having passion for your tribe and your people gets tough, but always be honest, have integrity, and bring things to the table. That’s some of the most important words I can give you. There can be a lot of pressure and stress at times, but always follow your heart and your dreams. And always remember your ancestors, your elders, and your teachings.”

Before the new candidates stepped up to the podium to present their speeches, they paid tribute to the 2022 Youth Council members and the Youth Council Advisor, Shane McLean, for all their hard work over the past year.

Image Enick, current Senior Council Chairman, said, “This is my third year serving on the Youth Council and I learned a lot from my fellow council members, and especially the advocates. I learned a lot about myself. Out of my three terms, one of my favorite moments is when we had the UNITY Conference come here, and we hosted a small conference here in the gym. It was cool to see other kids from different tribes come together.”

The 2022 Senior Youth Council Treasurer, JD Rinker, added, “It felt really good to be up there to represent our youth. I’m proud of all the candidates who sat behind me because I know they can do something great. I’m glad they took that first step because that’s all you need to get started and become a leader in this community. All in all, I think this was a great [forum] for the new candidates.”

This year, current council members are taking it upon themselves to develop a more efficient and fair voting system for the yearly Youth Council elections, and they are hoping to create a process similar to the Tribe’s BOD elections. And for this reason, the Youth Council and all of the 2023 candidates will be meeting in the next few weeks to brainstorm ideas on how to reach as many Tulalip teens as possible, to ensure they have a voice and an opportunity to cast their vote in the upcoming elections. 

When speaking about the Youth Council Candidate Forum, Tulalip Youth Council Advisor, Shane McLean, stated, “It made me really happy and proud. It’s sad to see the old Youth Council go, but it’s good to see new beginnings. I hope that through the Youth Council, our kids can find their passion and reach their goals, and that they also find their strength as Indigenous People. I hope all of our youth know that they are part of the creation, we’re all here on Mother Earth, and they are meant to be here. I want to let everybody know that our youth really need them right now. I think our youth are facing a lot of things and they need as much support as they can get in their lives.”

The Youth Council Candidate Forum was a success, and it was a pleasure for many to witness several young leaders take the initiative to inspire change for the youth and future generations of Tulalip. Stay tuned as the Youth Council fine-tunes their election process, and as the new candidates hit the campaign trail before election day. 

For more information, please contact Shane McLean at (360) 716-4904.

Hibulb diversifies kids’ knowledge through crafts

By Shaelyn Smead, Tulalip News

On February 11th, like many other weekends at the Hibulb Cultural Center (HCC), the classrooms were occupied with invested patrons looking to learn and understand aspects of Native culture. One of the classes consisted of a kids’ craft, creating a heart necklace made of cedar. 

The Hibulb enriches the lives of visitors through demonstrations, workshops, cultural presentations, and lectures. But the kids’ crafts can reach new audiences: families. 

Museum Assistant Braxton Wagner, who taught the class that day, said, “It is so much fun working with kids. I love to see their limitless creativity and their curiosity flourish. They can be so sweet. I feel like kids are so open and receptive to learning about different cultures and experiences of other people, and these classes are a great opportunity to teach them.”

A diverse gathering of parents and their children joined the class, where they each received a bag of cedar strips and other materials to make the cedar-woven heart necklace. The kids’ crafts typically are simple activities that they can finish together as a family within an hour or so. By extending out to families, projects like these can diversify kids’ knowledge about the many communities surrounding them and expose them to new cultures. 

When the families weren’t concentrating on the cedar project, kids played, and parents exchanged stories and smiles with each other. One of the parents in attendance was a Ph.D. candidate University of Washington Law and Indigenous Taiwanese citizen Margaret Tu (Nikal Kabala’an). Along with her studies of Indigenous peoples, Margaret has begun her travels across Washington to immerse herself in the culture of local tribes.

Margaret spoke about the beauty of Indigenous communities connecting, “We all have faced similar struggles. Colonization, forced relocation, laws around our language and culture, etc. But we also know the fight that we have for our people and cultural preservation. I hope to learn from the Indigenous communities around here, see what has been successful for them, and take that back to my people.”

She found it necessary to bring her kids along in her journey and attend the class, saying, “We don’t have this opportunity in Taiwan to connect with other Indigenous communities. There’s a cultural revitalization movement around us, and I want my kids to be a part of it. So I think exposing them to these educational and learning opportunities while we’re here is important. I know they enjoyed it.”

Studies have found great value in establishing diverse environments for youth. In 2019, the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health stated, “We tend to assume that inclusion alone creates respect for differences. However, it is active conversation and support for children’s understanding of diversity that guards against the development of the stereotypes and prejudice that contribute to biased behavior”.

Simple one-hour classes like these provide new exposure, conversations, and knowledge of our people and culture. 

For more information about HCC classes and events, visit their website at: www.hibulbculturalcenter.org/Events.

The Cupid Shuffle

Education Division shows love for the community with Valentine’s Day dance

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

The lights were dim, and the music was bumping at the Greg Williams Court on the evening of February 14. Multi-colored strobe lights danced about the room in perfect sync with the music, and added to the aesthetic of both romance and good times on Valentine’s Day this year. 

Tables were stationed around a large space that served as a dancefloor at the head of the gym. While the one and only DJ Monie set the vibes at the start of the evening, families and couples slowly trickled in; some grabbed a plate first, while others lined up at the popcorn and balloon animal lines. And before anyone even knew it, the place was packed, and laughter was shared by all deadly aunties and uncles alike. 

This celebration on the National Day of Love was the first of its kind at Tulalip and was a big success. Hosted by the Tribe’s Education Division, the Community Valentine’s Day Dance had well over one hundred people in attendance, many of whom danced the night away. 

“I danced the entire time,” exclaimed Tulalip youth, Tashina Cortez. “There was Cupid’s Shuffle, Cotton Eye Joe, and I really liked Uptown Funk and the Cha-Cha Slide. I thought this was going to be a regular Valentine’s Day, exchange gifts with classmates and go home. But then I found out it was a dance, and it started getting really fun when people actually started to dance.”

Love birds, parents and children, cousins, and best friends showcased their affection for one another by spending some time and sharing a dance together during the Valentine’s Day gathering. In addition to dancing, there were various activities, including a cake walk and a door prize raffle.

The life of the party was a group of local elders who didn’t miss a step or leave the dancefloor for the duration of the three-hour event. A highlight for many was when a young man and a tribal elder broke the age barrier and joined together in a slow dance while a group of teens circled around them and swayed their phone flashlights back and forth, reminiscent of lighters at a rock concert. And just like that, tribal elders were on the floor with the teens learning how to do the stanky leg, the superman, and the nae nae. 

“We haven’t hosted an all-ages community dance in a long time, so that was really cool to see everyone excited about it,” said Executive Director of the Tulalip Education Division, Jessica Bustad. “It was awesome. It felt so good to see our community in a space together like that, for something positive and for everyone to just have fun. Add to the fact that there were little people all the way to elders dancing, and the elders even outlasted some of the adults!”

This year, February 14th was also Election Day. And as you may know, the Tulalip Education Division was a strong advocate for the levy on this year’s special election ballot, which affects Tulalip students who attend school within the Marysville School District.  Hoping to garner as many yes votes as possible before the 8:00 p.m. deadline, the Education Division took time throughout the dance to remind all eligible voters in attendance to cast their vote. 

Jessica expressed, “Hopefully the levy passes, but aside from the levy, we still have to keep coming together as a community in a positive way to show our children that we can live in a healthy community together.”

Heritage boys have strong showing at Districts

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Led by a new coaching staff, with head coach Malcom Mack at the helm, the Tulalip Heritage boys basketball team soared to a (7-0) record to open the ’22–’23 season. 

It wasn’t until early January that they finally played legit inner-league competition in rivals Grace Academy and Lummi Nation. Those two teams proved to be too much for the Hawks, who couldn’t match the physicality and tempo of their rivals for a full four quarters. Heritage went (0-4) versus the cream of the Northwest 1B crop. 

Fast forward to the end of January and the Hawks were riding a losing streak, with one no-contest vs. Fellowship Christian because of an on-court scuffle, to conclude the regular season. On the morning of February 1, both players and coaches woke up with an overall (12-6) record, which was good enough for the 3rd best team in the Northwest 1B division. However, they also knew they’d be without a couple starters for multiple games because of post-scuffle suspensions and consequences from accumulating too many technical fouls.

Shortly thereafter the 2023 District Tournament bracket was released and the #5 seeded Hawks drew a team in Providence Classical Christian that they had defeated twice by 30+ points during the regular season. This fact gave the coaching staff confidence their squad would still be victorious even being down a couple key contributors.

Tulalip hosted Providence at Francy J. Sheldon gymnasium on February 2. The Hawks came out playing well on both ends of the court. After taking an early 12-3 lead, they extended that to 15 points midway in the 3rd quarter when they led 40-25 in front of their emphatic fans. Then things got really interesting. 

Providence didn’t sulk, nor let their bench players stay in. Instead, the away team left their starters in the whole 4th quarter and they battled back to create a real sense of urgency in the Hawks who had led big for most of the game. Tulalip didn’t help matters by going nearly 8 minutes of game play without scoring a point. With under 4-mintues to go, Tulalip’s big lead had been whittled down to just four points, 40-36. Tarynn Fryberg finally ended his team’s scoreless run with a must needed bucket and made free-throw, which ended up being the difference as the Hawks would hold on to muster a 46-40 win.

Two days later Heritage played rival Grace Academy, in their house, and caught a quick and decisive L. The boys couldn’t hang their head for long following the 37-61 loss because they were scheduled for a loser-out game just 48-hours later.

On February 7, once again at Francy J. Sheldon gymnasium, the Hawks hosted Shoreline Christian. Tulalip had bested Shoreline during both regular season matchups, but that didn’t deter Shoreline from bringing the heat the third time around. The home team struggled mightily offensively in the first quarter to the tune of trailing 2-13. Coach Mack and his assistants must’ve lit quite a fire under the boys because after battling back to make it 24-29 at the halftime, the Hawks shooters ignited an offensive explosion in the 2nd half. After only putting up 24 points the entire 1st half, they put up a whopping 44 points over the 3rd and 4th quarters to pull out an impressive 68-56 come from behind victory.

With the latest win came a chance to place at Districts and secure a spot in the Tri-District Tournament. All they’d have to do is get one more win against their opponent Lopez Island Lobos in their matchup played at Mount Vernon Christian High School on February 9. The Tulalip faithful travelled well for this away game and did their best to bring high energy fandom from the bleachers. 

Those in attendance were treated to a back and forth, entertaining game between two teams desperate for a win. Tulalip jumped out to an early 12-5 lead, but was plagued by turnovers committed against a Lopez full court trap that resulted in easy transition buckets for the Lobos. With senior guard Louie Gallagher on the bench, the Hawks offense continued to sputter and eventually found themselves trailing 17-20 midway in the 2nd quarter. 

After Louie was reinserted back into the game, he’s intensity on both ends of the courts became contagious as his fellow Hawks began jumping passing lanes and running the floor at a near frantic pace…Rez ball at it’s finest.

After leading 31-25 at halftime, Louie and senior forward Nicholas Rhoads did their best to put away the Lobos with timely passing and interior scoring. Louie even had a chasedown block that sent the Hawks fans into a frenzy. The team fed off that energy and continued to run at every opportunity, eventually pushing their lead to 20 points at 61-41. Tulalip never lifted the throttle and wound up with a huge 80-43 win. Senior players Louis Gallagher scored 27 points and Nicholas Rhoads added 20 points to lead their team.

The crowd pleasing win secured a 5th place finish for the Hawks at Districts and punched their ticket to the Tri-District Tournament. 

It was a tough draw for the home team as they were seeded #11 and had to travel to Orcas Island to play a team that had beaten both Grace and Lummi, both teams Tulalip had struggled against all season. It would indeed be an uphill battle versus an overall better team as the Hawks season ended abruptly with a 71-88 loss on February 11. 

“Overall, it was a good season filled with a lot of team dubs,” shared guard Louie Gallagher. “There were times we trailed in games and had to calm down and come back together as a team with the right energy. Those were the most fun games to me when we showed our ability to refocus against a good team and come back to win by a lot. I loved the support the Tulalip community showed me and my brother Blaine and the entire team all season long, whether it was at home games or traveling to watch our away games. Thank you, Tulalip.”