Bet On It: Tulalip sportsbooks officially open

Tulalip Tribes Chairwoman Terry Gobin, Tulalip Tribes Board member Hazen Shopbell, Seattle Mariners legend Randy Johnson, and DraftKings representative Johnny Avello cutting the ribbon at the Tulalip Sportsbook opening.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

“When we decided to go down this path of sports betting, we knew it was going to be a long and grueling process in Olympia. Our lawyers worked hard finding the right legislation and gaming compact language so we could bring our goal to fruition,” explained Tulalip Chairwoman Teri Gobin. “With all the Washington tribes working together, we earned our legislative victory a year ago. It did take a while to make our vision a reality, but in the end we did it the Tulalip way. And as you can see, it’s a grand way.”

Moments later, Chairwoman Gobin beamed with excitement as she stood next to fellow board member Hazen Shopbell, Seattle Mariners legend Randy Johnson, and DraftKings representative Johnny Avello for a ceremonial ribbon cutting. While the red ribbon fluttered to the floor, a sweeping thrill of energy radiated through the largely Tulalip crowd, announcing Tulalip’s sportsbooks are officially open for business.

A large contingent of Tulalip culture bearers were on-hand to open the event in a traditional way. The voices and thumping drum beats of adults and children echoed through the casino gaming floor, reminding everyone they are guests on Indigenous land.

“I’ve opened a number of casinos and sportsbooks in my career and want to thank the tribal members for their songs and prayers because I’ve never encountered that before. That was fabulous,” said Johnny Avello, DraftKings director of race and sportsbook operations.

Tulalip Resort Casino and Quil Ceda Creek Casino both celebrated their grand openings simultaneously on Tuesday, September 20. The much-anticipated events featured celebrity guests – former Mariners pitcher, the towering 6’10” baseball hall of famer Randy Johnson at the Resort and Seattle Seahawks former wide receiver and hall of famer Steve Largent at the Q. 

The retail sportsbooks feature live in-game sports betting and other engaging wagering options, with viewing of a multitude of sporting events at the same time possible via jumbotron-like LED screens. The Resort’s sportsbook is over 5,000 square feet and offers sporting enthusiasts the opportunity to watch up to 10 live sporting events while placing bets at 20 touch screen kiosks and 4 over-the-counter ticket windows. Another ten sports betting kiosks are located throughout the Resort’s gaming floor.

The state-of-the-art sports betting venue is managed by Tulalip citizen Brandon Jones. Impressively, the 35-year-old has 17 years of gaming experience. He started his gaming career in the cage at just 18-years-old and hasn’t looked back since. 

“Gaming and the casino life are all I know, it’s all I’ve ever done,” shared Brandon, sportsbook manager. “It means so much to be a Tulalip tribal member and be able to build something all-new from scratch that adds so much value to the reservation, from both a business and community perspective.

“We’ve designed this sportsbook for the new generation. A lot of people my age and younger aren’t interested in bingo or keno, but are super engaged in all forms of sports entertainment, whether it be professional or college level,” he continued. “We’ll continue to evolve our sports betting and are already working towards facilitating e-gaming betting in the near future. To my fellow tribal members, this venue offers a new place to gather and enjoy the Seahawks, Mariners, or Huskies and Cougs games with all the high energy of a local crowd.” 

Meanwhile, the Q’s new sportsbook features 20 sports betting kiosks and 3 over-the-counter ticket windows located on the gaming floor. The four video walls in The Stage, the Q’s entertainment venue and nightclub, span nearly 900 square feet, comprised of 13 million pixels that can also display up to ten different games simultaneously. Both of the sportsbooks are outfitted with a variety of betting resources, including odds boards, scrolling tickers with live-score updates, statistics, and player information.

In development with Tulalip’s newest partner, DraftKings, a digital app is in the works that will allow gamers of either casino sportsbooks to place bets from their mobile devices while on casino property. Future announcements are planned when the app is ready for launch. 

After the grand opening ceremony ended, several tribal members eagerly waited for a picture opportunity with former Mariners, the Big Unit and Bucky Jacobsen. Others quickly took to one of the new sports-based kiosks to place their first-ever sports bet. Father/son duo Cyrus Fryberg Sr. and Jr. were spotted putting their combined sports knowledge together for a wager or two.

“As an avid sports bettor, I know this is going to be huge for Tulalip. The atmosphere around sports is different than our other revenue streams because the younger generation is so involved with sports,” said Bubba Fryberg. “We can definitely anticipate many new people coming to Tulalip on Saturday for college football, Sundays for NFL games, and throughout the weeks for marquee matchups and primetime games. Also, it’s cool for everybody to have a new spot where family and friends can come together to root for their favorite teams.”

Both of Tulalip’s sportsbook offerings are open 24/7. All sports bets are cash only, so there’s complete anonymity. Unless, you were one of those attending the grand opening and wanted to share your sports bet ticket, like councilwoman Marie Zackuse who placed a $10 wager on the Mariners money line. 

Bullseye! Tribal member owned business aims to bring AXEciting fun to our area

Visit Tomahawk Axe in Smokey Point 

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

If you recently made a trip up north to Smokey Point, you may have noticed that the small district of Arlington is going through some major changes. A behemoth building was constructed at the lot adjacent to the Walmart Supercenter that will soon become the home of a new Amazon facility. And it seems that once the news broke that Amazon was coming to the area, several other companies gained interest in opening up shop in the vicinity. 

“This area is really growing a lot,” said Tulalip tribal member and local business owner, Marvin Velazquez. “Amazon is about to open up with 10,000 employees. Microsoft, Google, Space X are all building up here. Smokey Point is about to really boom, and so we’re in a great location.”

Across the way from Safeway, and visible from the drive-thru line of McDonalds, is a 7,000 sq. ft. commercial space where bonds between colleagues will flourish, romantic relationships between lovers young and old are sure to strengthen, everlasting memories will be made amongst family members, and fun will be shared amongst friends while taking part in an exhilarating and competitive activity. 

“We held our ribbon cutting ceremony on March 12th, and our grand opening was St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th,” said Marvin about his latest venture, Tomahawk Axe. “It’s been pretty amazing. We’ve been open five months and had over 5,000 people come in and throw axes. I’m really proud of what we built here. I think we have a lot of potential to grow.” 

Upon entry to Tomahawk Axe, there are a number of throwback arcade games including Mortal Kombat, Batman, Ms. Pacman, Galaga, and Big Buck Hunter. A quick survey of the place will prove that the business is jampacked with fun as two pool tables, a foosball table, and dart machines are scattered throughout the outer perimeter of the space. All that fun entertainment, and we have yet to mention their main attraction. 

Twelve impressive throwing stations line the back wall of the facility, all personally built by Marvin who also owns the well-known local business, Affordable General Contractor LLC. 

“I built all these lanes,” he proudly exclaimed. “The lanes are 6×15 feet long and we have an anti-bounce curtain. If you throw the axe at the end grain target and miss, and hit the black curtain, the axe will fall to the ground. We spray all of our targets to help the axe stick, and it also maintains the target.”

Photo courtesy of Tomahawk Axe.

The end grain targets are a big difference between Tomahawk Axe and other axe throwing businesses around the country. Most axe throwing targets are constructed of 2×12 planks. And after building those targets, the business owners will typically paint bullseye vectors for their patronage to take aim. Those targets are then utilized until they are completely destroyed, which doesn’t take very long, and owners find themselves going through many targets on a weekly basis. Marvin’s targets however last months on end. 

And at Tomahawk Axe, there’s not a painted target in sight. Instead of taking aim at a fixed bullseye each turn, customers are treated to fun and challenging targets that change position every time a thrower approaches the lane. The targets are computer generated and casted onto the end grain wood via an overhead projector. You also have the opportunity to switch it up from the traditional vector bullseye and play several other games such as blackjack, tic tac toe, connect four, as well as zombie and duck hunt. 

Marvin is quick to mention that he did not build the axe throwing business by himself. He credits his life and business partner, Dana Higgins, for a lot of the behind the scenes work and day-to-day operations. 

“I always say that I do everything you can’t see, and he does everything you can see,” Dana said. “That’s what makes us a good team because we bring-in two different skillsets.”

Marvin added, “Her and I built this on our own. She runs a lot of the ins-and-outs as far as the software, booking, website, and advertisement.”

The duo decided that they wanted to create something interactive that would engage the people of their community. They were inspired to take on the endeavor when visiting other axe throwing locations, but their goal was to take the up-and-coming sport to the next level in a way that everybody could enjoy throughout the course of an evening.

Photo courtesy of Tomahawk Axe.

“We were throwing axes at other places. And they all draw their targets on their boards,” Dana explained. “It’s something that we’d spend twenty-five minutes on, and we’d be done because it wasn’t something that kept us entertained and interactive with everybody else. Here, we provide something different and something more for our customers. So, when people come in and play, they stay longer because they have different choices of games to play. Right now, there are six different games, and we’ll release another one here in the next couple of weeks. It’s nice to have something different and to bring-in something new every four to five months, so when people come in it’s not always the same thing.”

Marvin agreed, “Our idea was to bring in something that ties in technology with physical activity. We wanted to get those kids to be interactive. We allow kids 8-years and older, and that makes it a great family activity. And we can show 8-year old’s how to throw axes all day.”

Not only does Marvin, Dana, and their staff teach kids how to throw, but they also offer their expertise to all ages. Each session that is booked at Tomahawk Axe comes with an axe throwing coach who will provide you with the proper technique and necessary training, with safety as priority, to begin throwing axes and hitting targets on your first visit. So, rest assured, you will learn all the basics if you are a newcomer to the sport. 

“Our axe coaches will show you how to hold the axe, show you how to stand, how to throw the axe, and we’ll coach you until you stick that axe. We’ll be on standby and give you some pointers as you go on, if we see that you’re struggling. That’s crucial to having clientele because it’s not about throwing axes; it’s about sticking axes. If you can stick that axe and have a great time, you’re going to come back. If you’re throwing bricks all night, you’re not going to have any fun,” stated Marvin.

After taking time to demonstrate the proper way to throw an axe, Marvin smiled and said, “once you get a little bit better at throwing axes, you can do all kinds of stuff,” before showcasing a few trick shots including underhanded, two-handed, through the legs, and even a no-looker.

Coming from Tulalip, Marvin wanted to incorporate his heritage and culture into the new business. He called upon cultural leader Tony Hatch to bless the facility during the ribbon cutting ceremony. And as the business grows, Marvin has a strong desire to hire tribal members onto his team. He also asked Lower Elwha artist, Al Charles Jr., to design the logo for the company. 

“Isn’t that badass?” exclaimed Marvin. “Al Charles did an amazing job on the logo, the Tomahawk bear. I graduated from Marysville Pilchuck, so I’ve always been a Tomahawk. Tomahawks are a traditional Native hunting type weapon and being a tribal member, we wanted to have a Native theme. We thought tomahawk would fit really well up here. This is a lumberjack community here in Arlington and there’s a lot of Native Americans who log or use the axe seasonally, cutting firewood and whatnot. This used to be our hunting ground here and we lost it over time. Tony made a very good point – he said this is the first tribal member owned business back on our land.”

Marvin and Dana have big plans on the horizon in addition to bringing on new target games for local axe throwers. Such plans include a sports bar, outdoor beer garden, darts and cornhole tournaments, an official axe throwing league, individual tomahawks for purchase, and a restaurant.

“We’ll open up the sports bar and the restaurant by the first of the year, that’s a nice goal,” said Marvin. “We named the restaurant Mel’s Kitchen – my dad died during COVID. He was retired state patrol and a chef. He had many restaurants in California, the Bay Area. So, we decided to keep it cooking for him up here by naming it Mel’s Kitchen. I’m stoked to get it up and running.”

Tomahawk Axe also hosts private events outside of normal business hours. And as their flyer states, axe throwing is perfect for all occasions including date night, birthday parties, bachelor and bachelorette parties, engagement and wedding parties, employee appreciation parties, corporate events, and team building events. 

Tomahawk Axe has already held private events for the Stillaguamish Youth Center and the Tulalip Education Division. And with the rainy season coming up, they will be extending their hours so that locals can enjoy some great indoor fun. For more information, including their pricing, hours of operation, or to book a lane online, please visit their website at www.TomahawkAxeThrow.com

Said Dana, “People think that they’re just coming in to throw an axe, but it’s great to see their reaction when they walk in and see our technology that goes with it. It’s more interactive and a fun family activity.”

“We consider ourselves to be the Top Golf of axe throwing,” Marvin stated. “With twelve lanes, we are the largest facility in the state. Most people don’t realize how fun axe throwing is and are intimidated, but it’s a really safe sport. Axe throwing is a stress reliver and we consider it to be axe counseling. We all have built-up frustration or rage and stuff, and we need to get out. You come here and throw out all your frustration and take it out on this target. It’s good to get it out physically, so you can release it mentally.”

Bolt Creek Fire takes over Tulalip owned parcels

By Shaelyn Smead; photos courtesy of Natosha Gobin, John Carlson, and Lindsay Ross

All over Washington state, people have heard about the devastating Bolt Creek Fire that started on September 10 at 5:00 a.m. in Skykomish. As of September 13 at 5:15 a.m., a devastating 9,440 acres have been burned, with only a 5% containment on the fire. The fire stretches from Skykomish to Halford, and is leaving people in surrounding cities to evacuate their homes. With wildfires being so scarce in Western Washington, it is leaving plenty of Washington residents alarmed, and scared about the outcome of such a large fire. 

Within the same area as the fire, there are two properties that Tulalip owns. These properties are typically called the Grotto Lake parcel and the Eagle Creek parcel. The properties were originally bought by Tulalip back in October 2019 in efforts to allow a safe and sacred area for tribal members to harvest berries, pull cedar, camp, hike, hunt, collect resources for cultural arts, and hold cultural practices. It was an enticing piece of land because of its proximity to Tulalip and its relation to our Coast Salish ancestors. Along with that, because of the drastic levels of elevations, the parcels’ vegetation grew many different variations of natural resources that tribal members could collect and utilize. 

Director of Treaty Rights and Government Affairs, Ryan Miller, described the properties stretching to about 1000 acres. He said approximately 50% of each property has already succumbed to the devastation of the fire. 

When news broke out about the fire, and the threat it does to our cultural practices, it left some tribal members is disarray. The thought of this land not being accessible for any sacred works anymore is heartbreaking for Tulalip and many are left wondering what will become of it. 

Natosha Gobin and family were harvesting berries at one of the Tulalip properties the night before the fire.

The night before the start of the fire, Tulalip Tribal member Natosha Gobin and her family just happened to be on one of the Tulalip properties harvesting berries. “We went about four or five times this year. This time around, we left the peak at 7:30 p.m. Our hopes were to get up early and head back the next morning because the berries were plentiful. We were so excited to finally be introduced to the space, it felt so healing to be up there. This fire is so heartbreaking,” Natosha said. Luckily her family had a change of plans, and did not go back up the mountain the next morning and none of her family risked any danger of the fire.  

One major change that some tribal members have noticed and attested to is the abundance of trees that have grown over the years. Along with that, the road is really rough making the properties difficult to get to. Something that is later found to be a difficult realization for the firefighters involved. 

The Tulalip Fire Department has been one of the many resources that has been supporting efforts towards battling wildfires in the Pacific Northwest. Currently the department has two task forces stationed out. One of which consists of three members that are located in Oregon taking on the Cedar Creek Fire, just a mere three days before the start of the Bolt Creek Fire. One of the members is John Carlson, who has been with the department for six years. Cedar Creek Fire makes for his first experience with a wildfire.

John spoke about the wildfires and how they are so different in perspective to structure fires in the Tulalip area, “With structure fires, we’re usually well-trained and know the area very well, versus on a landscape, we’re fighting the larger grassland, sagebrush, larger timber, and heavy terrain. We also mainly work off brush trucks when dealing with wildfires, and a problem we face is water supply. We do have a water tender in our strike team, but if it runs out, we have to get resourceful with our water supply. Being up in the terrain we can’t directly connect to a fire hydrant, so sometimes we find ourselves syphoning from pools, streams, lakes, etc. Anything with 100 gallons of water can make a huge difference,” he said. 

When news broke out about the Bolt Creek Fire, the three-man crew had already gotten settled in with the team in Oregon. “This is the first time I’ve been deployed and there was a fire of this magnitude near our home,” John said.  “A lot of us we wondering if we would get redirected back. But with the resources that we have sent up to Bolt Creek, we felt confident in the team’s ability. Much like a lot of fire departments, every summer during peak season our department gets stretched in different directions. But as much we appreciate and are glad to be helping take care of members down here, it is hard when we know our home isn’t safe.” 

Tulalip Bay Firefighter Austin Panek and Tender 60.

Of course with the Bolt Creek Fire being a prominent fire in our area, and the risk it brings to the Tulalip owned properties, an additional two Tulalip firefighters have been sent to Skykomish, Paramedic Lindsay Ross and firefighter Austin Panek left early this week to help Sky Valley Fire Department. Amongst them are the other 20+ fire departments and private fire companies that include North Ridge Fire, American Fire, Zigzag Hotshots, and Patrick Environmental, making up for more than 317 personnel that have opted in for fighting this fire.  

Lindsay has been with the fire department for six years, but has an extensive 10-year  career working as a wildland firefighter. This is her first time working as a line medic, and her role is to help work with the crews onsite to ensure their safety, help with any medical care, and help with the falling rocks in the area.

Tulalip Bay Fire Paramedic Lindsay Ross.

Lindsay explained that even though wildfires of this magnitude are rare in Western Washington, it is something that should be expected for the future. “When fires do take off over here, there’s usually a lot of old debris and old trees that are likely dried up and when it builds up over time, a fire is able to take off easier. There is definitely some prescribe burns that the state will do to try and thin out the forest a little so it doesn’t happen as often. But with the summers getting hotter every year and with having lower humidity, I think a fire like this in our area has been overdue for a while.” 

Hearing from wildfire experts like Lindsay, we learned that even though wet and rainy springs and early summers seem like they would help decrease the risk of wildfires, that isn’t always the case. 

“Rain during that time of the year does make fire danger go lower, but it also will make more sagebrush and longer grasses, that eventually will dry up in the summer and turn into fuel for the fires,” said John. “The more that grows in the spring and early summer, the heavier potential fire fuel load it creates, and the bigger the fire can get. Something we noticed this year was that we had a lot more fire fuels from Spring than I think in years’ past.” 

What is most difficult about Bolt Creek Fire is the heavy terrain that exists in the area. “With the heavy forestry and it being hillside, we have a more difficult time accessing the spots that are burning hot,” said Lindsay. “And with no accessible roads in most spots, heavy equipment cannot be easily moved around.” 

Between hot summers, lower humidity, and lots of drier vegetation and debris, another factor for this fire is the amount of wind that picked up in the area. Local fire departments refer to the ‘Witching Hour’ that falls between 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. During this time, wind begins to pick up and is at its heaviest, making this the most dangerous part of any day. Knowing that wind can be so unpredictable with how fast it goes and in which direction, can lead to a lot of variations of disaster. The Bolt Creek Fire had around 30-40 mph winds, which ultimately made for its drastic escalation.

“The reality of this fire is that its burning really close to our backyard”, said Tulalip Fire Chief Ryan Shaughnessy. “There’s people that have family and friends in the area and that we’re concerned about. But we’re working hard and wish for the best outcome by everyone.” 

The Bolt Creek Fire did receive some water and fire retardant dropping from planes flying above. A typical resource used for fires in heavy terrain. Along with that, many firefighters have been working to diminish the terrain and have been putting a dirt dozer line bordering the fire in hopes to create a stopping point. Any houses around the area have also received some treatment and precautionary actions in case the fire continues to spread. 

Ryan spoke about the awareness of the risk of wildfires and the new potential for them in our area, “This is our first time dealing with a westside fire, but with that being said, we did understand that there was a risk of one in our future. We preemptively have been working with other tribes, and collected burn plan ideas to help mitigate future fires. That’s why, if you went up to the properties, you’d see some of the trees had already been cut. We also applied for a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant of 1.3 million dollars earlier this year. This funding will help us work with partners in the Snohomish Basin and understand more of the interaction between climate change and water and it’s impacts on forestry and likeliness of fire in the basin,” he stated.

With the powerfulness of the fire, it’s easy to see that these thoughts and actions taken by Tulalip were in the right direction in understanding the risks of westside fires. “Now that the fire has happened, it’s even more of a reason for us to understand and gain a better grasp on our forestry, and the FEMA grant will help inform us for the future,” Ryan said.  

Understanding fires in our area and the reality of potential for them, there are definitely steps that can be taken by citizens to help mitigate it. 

“First is knowing that fires have the potential to happen anywhere,” said Lindsay. “People have to be cautious about having fires outside, lighting off fireworks, making sure you have water and mostly listening and respecting burn bans when they are in effect. People never think it’s going to happen to them until it does.” 

As terrifying and devastating as wildfires can be, they do have the opportunity to act as a natural rebirthing for wildlife and vegetation. So far, Ryan has stated that there are plans for replantation in the affected area, and that they plan to work with the Forest Service and Department of Natural Resources in order to create a better plan of action, and get as much fuel load off the forest.

Along with that, he said that tribal members should expect some berry regrowth by next spring, and even though trees take a much longer time to grow to their mature state, Ryan said that we should expect tree shoots by next year. He also spoke about the hunting opportunities that the area will bring. “Deer love to eat young shoots and with the area being more open, hunters will be able to spot deer a little easier,” he said. 

At the moment, the fire is still unpredictable, but firefighters are hoping to button everything up soon. The good news is that the fire doesn’t contain large flames at the moment, making the likeliness for it to spread, lower. 

Thank you to the Tulalip Fire Department and all participating fire departments for your efforts.

BOD members place first bets at Sportsbook

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

The Tulalip Gaming Organization held the soft opening for their new sports betting venue, Sportsbook, on the afternoon of September 6. In partnership with Draft Kings, Tulalip is bringing Sportsbook to both of their gambling establishments at the Tulalip Resort Casino and the Quil Ceda Creek Casino. 

“Sports betting is new to Washington,” explained Sportsbook Supervisor Paola Hurtado. “I know there are several casinos that have opened but we are with Draft Kings. Draft Kings have different odds and there are different options of wagering. With us, you are able to bet on a lot of type of sports. Right now, we have MLB, NBA, WNBA, MLS, MMA, fights, and many more. Our guests are really excited for sports betting, now they don’t have to drive all the way out to Angels of the Wind or Snoqualmie, all they have to do is drive up the road.”

Sportsbook features a ginormous tv screen that can play multiple games, matches, and competitions in real time. Bettors can grab a seat in one of the venues comfy recliners and follow the results of their wagers live. 

Placing the very first bets at Sportsbook were none other than Tulalip BOD members Hazen Shopbell and Marie Zackuse, as well as Chairwoman Teri Gobin. 

Said Teri, “I bet on the Seahawks for $10, the Mariners for $100, and the Storm for $100. It’s really exciting that we are finally opening up our sports betting venue, both here (TRC) and at the Q. We have this big screen, it’s one of the largest in Washington State at this time, and we’re really excited. This has been a long time coming and it’s with one of the premier sports betting organizations in the United States. Our partnership with Draft Kings is really good and is what is really key to what is going to make this a success.”

The kiosks at Sportbook will be available 24/7 following the venue’s grand opening, which is tentatively scheduled for September 20. And according to Chairwoman Gobin there may or may not be some big stars in attendance to help celebrate the grand opening with the people. 

“We were a little slow to get ours up and running, but we wanted to do it the Tulalip way and make it a grand event,” Teri expressed. “I’m so excited and can’t wait for everybody to try it out.”

For more info, please visit https://www.tulalipresortcasino.com/Sportsbook

Back 2 School Party sends students off to school in a good way

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

The Don Hatch Youth Center parking lot was shut down on the afternoon of August 24. At the center of the campus, surrounded by a dozen of smiling faces, a creature with white fur and a blue face happily danced to a feel-good set curated by local Mixmaster, DJ Monie. 

You may ask why in the world the mythical legend known as the Yeti, a.k.a. the Abominable Snowman, was getting its grove on in near 80-degree weather. And the answer, of course, is to celebrate the Tulalip Education Division’s annual Back 2 School Party. 

“I think today was awesome,” exclaimed young tribal member, Peyton Gobin. “I came down because I wanted to see my friends and my family. I’m going into the 7th grade. I’m excited and think the new school year will be really fun.”

The Yeti tagged along to the shindig with the Grove Street Church, whose membership volunteered to supervise the rides and attractions. In addition to the many volunteers, the church also donated two bouncy houses so the youth could get their jump on during the back-to-school bash. 

To provide endless amounts of fun throughout the day, the Tulalip Education Division also enlisted the Reptile Girl, the Tulalip Police Department, the Tulalip Bay Fire Department, Paws With A Cause, Skate Like A Girl, Hatter Mike Balloon Twister, and QuakeHOLD! 

Youth of all ages had a blast during the five-hour event while they visited all of the activity booths, rides, and petting zoo animals including alpacas, turtles, and alligators. 

“I liked the lady with the whistles,” said Sophia Quimby. “Everyone’s been getting whistles from her, so I went up to her and she’s really nice. I got a whistle and also got a picture, and pencils from the fire department that I can take home. But my favorite part of the day was probably the pirate ship.”

Gia Joseph agreed, “Yes! The pirate ship was probably my favorite too. And I’m taking home a picture, a highlighter, and a coloring book.

“It’s a very exciting event,” Sophia added.

“It’s pretty much the best.” Gia concurred. 

With painted faces and snow cones in hand, the kids of Tulalip met with their friends and relatives as they explored the youth campus, taking plenty of time to ride the Pirate’s Revenge carnival ride and joust against each other in a padded ring, American Gladiators style.

“Seeing all the interactions with the children, it’s the big start for the new school year,” said Tulalip BOD, Hazen Shopbell. “I like seeing them all having fun together. I think this is a wonderful event where everyone comes together to help support the kids. It’s a good way to prepare them for school, I try to make it every year with my children.”

Inside the gymnasium were rows upon rows of information and resource booths. The idea of bringing-in departments such as Tulalip Higher Education, the Homework Support Club, and Family Resources, as well as Marysville School District (MSD) representatives including faculty from Heritage High, Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary and the MSD Native American Liaisons, was for students and families to get acquainted with their teachers, counselors, and all those who they will be working with throughout the academic year. 

“It’s important to celebrate back to school because our children need to see our excitement for learning,” expressed Tulalip Education Division Director, Jessica Bustad. “We want to thank all the volunteers, staff, vendors, MSD employees, and the Positive Youth Development team for providing the excitement of going back to school. It was great seeing the kids visit with their teachers, youth workers, and other organizations that serve them. It’s important for us to set that example for the kids. We want our kids to know that education is a priority to us, and we support them 100%. It’s been a long summer, so seeing all the smiling faces in one place is a good feeling. It’s nice to see the staff engaging and reuniting with their students.” 

The Back 2 School Party was the perfect way to close out summer and celebrate new beginnings as the 2022-2023 school year quickly approaches. 

“This event sends our kids back to school in a good way,” explained Tulalip Youth Advocate, Deyamonta Diaz. “It’s fun for the families to hang out, no stress, and meet with staff from their schools without the pressure of the school setting. We provide food so the families get to eat some good food and just enjoy the end of the summer before gearing up to get ready for school.”

Good luck to all the young scholars as they begin their new academic year! 

Salute to Native American Night

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

The annual Salute to Native American Night hosted by the Seattle Mariners was a great success, once again. So many proud Natives from across the Pacific Northwest journeyed to T-Mobile Park on August 23 to celebrate the Puyallup Tribe canoe family as they shared their songs and dance on the immaculate baseball field.

“This event gives us an opportunity to build our tribal community and develop must-needed awareness for the thousands of non-Natives in attendance. For many of them, this is may be their first time witnessing our songs and dance or have the opportunity to have a conversation with an actual tribal member of one of the surrounding Tribes,” shared Puyallup Tribe culture director and elder, Connie McCloud.

“We had so many of our people join the canoe family in the last year or so that we were really excited for just how many we’d have potentially for this special presentation,” she continued. “We had between 100 to 125 show up to the stadium. During practice we gave regalia to those who didn’t have any. There was such a huge sense of pride from knowing we are representing our Tribe, our families, and our community in such a good, positive way. And to do this in front of such a large audience only reaffirms the power of our culture and traditional teachings to the young ones. They are growing up in an era where they can truly embrace their culture and not be afraid to wear traditional clothing and ceremonial items in public.”

Official attendance of the Tuesday night game was a whopping 38,254 fans. Amongst that huge number was an estimated 200 Tulalips, many of whom were gifted free tickets and bussed to the game as one of our youth enrichment program’s summer activities.

On the field pre-game with the Puyallup canoe family was powwow circuit legend and Tulalip’s own Jobey Williams. He was accompanied by his 4-year-old son Dahnahhi as they both pounded their circular hand drums and sang in unison with their Puyallup brothers and sisters.

“First, I’d like to say just how appreciative I am for Puyallup to call and offer me and my son the opportunity to drum and sing with their canoe family,” said Jobey. “As Native people, we share the same spirit. Even if our songs and dance vary from tribe to tribe and region to region, the same spirit powers us all. To share in that moment with our neighbors from Puyallup was so amazing. 

“Being in front of such a huge Mariners crowd and offering them just a sample of what we do as Native people – our songs and dance, our beautiful children in their regalia, and the power of our community – as a Tulalip, I’m just so thankful,” he added. “Us old ones remember that long before basketball became the most popular sport on the Rez today, it was baseball that was number one. Previous generations loved baseball because for a long time it was the only sport broadcast on the radio. No internet, no tv, but they had baseball on the radio. Families would huddle around the radio and listen to the games. Hard to imagine today, right?”

Families huddled around a radio listening to any sports today is hard to imagine. But what’s not hard to imagine is just how significant the Mariners yearly tribute to Native Americans is. Look at all images accompanying this article that demonstrate pure pride and joy, full of smiling faces, multi-generations dancing together, and a larger sense of community for what it means to be Native in the Pacific Northwest. 

More impressive than the 430-foot bomb hit by third basemen Eugenio Suarez or the 7-strikeout gem pitched by Robbie Ray or even the Mariners 4-2 win over the Nationals, was the stunning display of Coast Salish culture that filled the ball park. Serving as a simple reminder to the tens of thousands in attendance and even more watching at home: we are still here and we are thriving!

2022: A Native Space Odyssey

NASA astronaut Nicole Mann gives a thumbs up from inside the Orion mockup, Wednesday, July 10, 2019 at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News; photos courtesy of NASA

The sky’s the limit. A popular saying largely attributed to the early 1900s after the invention of flight, and one that hasn’t aged particularly well. After all, there was the legendary space race of the ‘60s that resulted in NASA sending Apollo 11 to the Moon on July 16, 1969. Then hundreds of millions of Earthlings sat glued to their television sets in pure amazement as four days later, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin hopped around the Moon’s near zero-gravity surface, before ultimately planting the red, white and blue colors of the United States flag.   

That singular moment changed the course of human imagination. In a manner of speaking the sky’s the limit was forced into early retirement that day. Young Earthlings no longer capped their imagination to the sky held within our planet’s atmosphere. Instead, they now thought of space as the new frontier. Such was the case for Chickasaw Nation tribal member John Herrington. He imagined himself as a crew member on voyages of the starship Enterprise, exploring strange new words, seeking out new life and new civilizations…to boldly go where no Native American has gone before.

John Herrington is the first Native American to accomplish space flight, aboard the space shuttle Endeavour, in 2002.

Like a true navigator, Herrington plotted his course and set out to make history. First was acquiring the education necessary. He graduated from his Texas high school in 1976, received a bachelor’s of science degree in applied mathematics in 1983, and then a master’s of science degree in aeronautical engineering in 1995. His stellar record in the classroom and as an officer in the U.S. Navy helped punch his ticket into NASA’s astronaut program in April 1996. 

After logging over 3,800 flight hours in over 30 different types of aircraft, Herrington made history as the first ever Native American to accomplish space flight on November, 23 2002. He served as a mission specialist aboard space shuttle Endeavour on its 14-day mission to the International Space Station where Herrington was integral in completely station upgrades, equipment transfers, and the universally cool spacewalk. 

In an interview with Indian Country Today, Herrington reflected on his 330 hours in space. “I got to do everything I would ever do as an astronaut on my one mission,” he said. “I was very fortunate. I flew some sage. I flew some sweet grass. I flew regalia for a friend of mine. Being able to take the flute and the feather out and actually float those in the International Space Station really meant a lot to my family.”

Native American astronaut, John Herrington (Chickasaw Nation), with young Zuni Pueblo members in front of the NASA Artemis banner at the 2019 AISES National Conference.

 On his Endeavor journey, mission specialist John Herrington carried a flute made by Cherokee tribal member Jim Gilliland, a decorated eagle feather beaded by a Yankton Sioux citizen Philip Lane, and a Chickasaw Nation flag. Both significant cultural items, the flute and eagle feather, remained in his possession as he transferred from his crew’s shuttle into the space station. Soon after entering the International Space Station, he placed both items within the airlock where they floated together in the zero-gravity environment.

This once-in-a-lifetime moment is memorialized at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C. within an exhibit holding the same flute and feather suspended midair as if they were still in space. 

Herrington performed three spacewalks totaling 19 hours and 55 minutes. The Chickasaw legend’s historic achievement is commemorated on the reverse of the 2019 Sacagawea dollar coin. In 2017, he was also inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame. Herrington continues to speak across the country on the topics of STEM, space aviation and the Chickasaw Nation.

When asked by The Oklahoman why he is compelled to combine his oral storytelling traditions with his love for science, Herrington said “Our ancestors survived so we can be here; they were natural problem solvers and engineers. The structures they built and the decisions our ancestors made speaks volumes to me, as an engineer and from a leadership perspective.”

With John Herrington aboard, the Space Shuttle Endeavor prepares to launch on November 23, 2002.

It’s been nearly twenty years since the first Native American soared above our planet’s stratosphere and space walked 254 miles above Earth’s surface. Now, the time has come for another history making cosmic event for Native culture, especially for little girls everywhere with a scientific mind and dreams of being amongst the stars. 

In a few short weeks, NASA astronaut Nicole Mann, enrolled in Wailacki of the Round Valley Indian Tribes in northern California, will serve as spacecraft commander over the next generation SpaceX rocket ship, Dragon Endurance. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-5 mission is targeted to launch around September 29 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the internationally shared microgravity laboratory in space.

This will be Nicole’ first spaceflight since becoming an astronaut in 2013. As mission commander, she will be responsible for all phases of flight, from launch to re-entry. She will also serve as an Expedition 68 flight engineer aboard the station. Like Herrington before her, Nicole was an exemplary student who took her education seriously. In fact, she earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering with a specialty in fluid mechanics from Stanford University.

“It’s very exciting,” she told Indian Country Today, referring to being the first Native woman in space. “I think it’s important that we communicate this to our community, so that other Native kids, if they thought maybe that this was not a possibility or to realize that some of those barriers that used to be there are really starting to get broken down.”

Besides the other crew members, Nicole will also be accompanied by several significant cultural items aboard the Dragon spacecraft.

Nicole Mann will serve as mission commander over her crew aboard SpaceX Dragon.

“I have some special gifts for my family, which I can’t say because they’re a surprise. Definitely taking my wedding rings, and I have this dream catcher that my mother gave me when I was very young,” she said. “It’s kind of always stayed with me throughout my time.”

Back in December 2020, NASA announced Nicole as part of the initial 18-member Artemis Team intended to return U.S. astronauts back to the moon in 2025 or 2026. Artemis will be the first crewed lunar landing since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. 

“There is so much exciting work ahead of us as we return to the moon, and it will take the entire astronaut corps to make that happen,” stated Chief Astronaut Pat Forrester in a 2020 press release. “Walking on the lunar surface would be a dream come true for any one of us, and any part we can play in making that happen is an honor. I am proud of this particular group of men and women and know that any of them would do an outstanding job representing NASA and the United States on a future Artemis mission.”

The Artemis mission plans to send two of the 18 astronauts to land on the lunar surface, specifically designated to be the first woman and first person of color. If Nicole is selected with that honor, then she would become not just the first Native American, but the first woman as well, to walk on the moon.

“It’s just this really overwhelming sense of emotion in the best of ways that I can describe,” she told Inverse. “Yes, you want to be the first person to walk on the Moon, you want to fulfill that role, but really it’s not about you … It’s about the bigger mission, so you’re just excited to support in whatever role you can.”

  While the history books continue to be updated in real-time with Nicole’s tremendous story, the Native astronaut will continue to train and prepare intensively for her International Space Station mission in just a few weeks’ time. She’s also taking the time out of her busy schedule to share her message of self-belief and the possibilities that arise from chasing dreams. 

“It’s so fun, I think, in our lifetime when you have firsts,” she shared recently with NPR. “And I think it’s really great to celebrate those and to communicate that, especially to the younger generation, right? These young women, maybe Native, maybe people from different backgrounds that realize that they have these opportunities. And so hopefully that will inspire that younger generation.

“[My advice to young Native women] is never discount yourself. If you don’t go after a dream or a goal and if you don’t try, you’re never going to make it. Pursue your passions in school, ask for help, meet people that have done that job to learn more about it. You’ll grow so much as a child into an adult, and your interests will vary quite a bit. It’s exciting to take this opportunity to just chase down all of those dreams.”

Tulalip Pride Everyday BBQ

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

“Love is love!” exclaimed Tulalip tribal member, Theresa Sheldon. Her words, amplified by large speakers, echoed triumphantly throughout the Don Hatch Youth Center campus, and were met with generous applause from a crowd of approximately fifty people. 

A momentous occasion took place on the afternoon of August 13 on the Tulalip reservation, that was both beautiful and long overdue. The very first local Pride event was held at the picnic area of Youth Center to celebrate the tribal two-spirit and LGBTQ+ community. 

“The medicine wheel is made with the males on one side and the females on the other side, and it’s the two-spirits who connect that circle together and makes it complete,” said Tulalip community member and event organizer, Phoenix Two Spirit (Cree). “It is so very important for the two-spirit community to be included in all of Indian Country – in all the councils, education, youth, advisory committees. It brings a healing to the community, and that’s what this is all about.”

The BBQ gained much anticipation over the past two years, and was originally scheduled to happen in 2020, but was delayed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fact that it was postponed made the event all the more fun and exciting for the participants. Many were looking forward to the Pride BBQ over the years and they finally got the opportunity to interact with others from the LGBTQ+ community while celebrating their true selves in a safe environment. 

Sponsored by the Tulalip Problem Gambling program, the Tulalip Family Wellness Court, and the Tulalip Community Health’s Youth Wellness Program, the event aimed to uplift, support, honor and recognize those individuals of our tribal community who identify as two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, queer, intersex, asexual, or allies.  

“We are happy to host our first Pride Everyday event here at Tulalip in celebration of our 2SLGBTQI+ relatives,” said Tulalip Problem Gambling’s Sarah Sense-Wilson. “It was truly remarkable to see the joy, laughter, smiles, and festive energy collectively shared throughout the day. The collective work of decolonizing and undoing homophobic attitudes, behaviors and thinking starts with us as individuals, but is most impactful when tribal communities take strong positions in practicing inclusion and invest in one another authentically and with genuine commitment to healthy communities.”

With gorgeous weather, tasty food catered by Dickie’s BBQ, great tunes, and plenty of laughter, the Pride Everyday BBQ was the perfect way to cap off the summertime season. DJ Monie was on the ones and twos and provided great energy throughout the day. Making sure to play all the dance hits, the Tulalip disc jockey had everybody, from youth to elders, out of their seats and dancing to classic cuts such as the Cupid Shuffle, Cha Cha Slide, and the Macarena during various dance competitions. 

“I consider myself an ally,” said Erin Reyna in between dance sessions. “My daughter is bisexual, and my niece is a lesbian. I love supporting pride events, and I just wanted to bring my daughter here and enjoy the day together. I love being around the people, I love the energy and the music and the dancing. My daughter is eleven and it really means a lot to her. I think getting the message out there is cool, and I hope they do more events like this.”

Phoenix and all the Pride BBQ sponsors wish to build off this celebration and create more Pride events in the near future, and help establish a strong presence for the LGTBQ+ members within the community. Throughout time, many tribal nations have held space for their two-spirit membership and after years of trauma and forced assimilation, those individuals have felt left out in their respective communities due to the adapted colonized way of thinking. By creating a foundation for the local two-spirits and LGBTQ+ community, Pride focused events helps reclaim the narrative and the true lifeways of many tribal societies, and also lets those individuals of the LGBTQ+ community know that it’s more than okay to be who they truly are and to freely express themselves. 

Said Phoenix, “I have talked with the people at the Youth Center about getting an ongoing support social group. I think it’s important for the adults as well as the youth to be able to have a safe space where they can talk about what’s important to them. I’m working with them to provide a space and a time and creating a group for 18 and younger, and also one for 19 and older. I look forward to seeing the inclusion more of the two-spirits in all tribal government and activities.”

Sarah added, “We hope to continue to do these events throughout the year. We want to keep this momentum going and that idea of inclusion needs to be a common everyday practice. I am already looking forward to planning more ‘Pride’ events and supporting other programs and groups doing the critical work of dedicating resources for educating, decolonizing, and supporting 2SLGBTQI+ relatives.” 

After much dancing and fun in the sun, the three-hour event came to a close in heartwarming fashion, as everyone in attendance joined hands and created a dance circle around the picnic area while the Sister Sledge classic, ‘We Are Family’, played over the speakers. 

“I recently came out as a lesbian,” expressed young Seria Ahlberg after receiving a first-place award in one of the many dance competitions held throughout the day. “Today I was able to talk to other girls and relate to their experience and tell them how I feel as a lesbian. Today was really good. I had a great time and lots of fun, and I loved all the dancing!”

To stay updated on all the upcoming two-spirit and LGBTQ+ events, be sure to follow the Tulalip Two-Spirit Society Facebook page. 

Traditions from an Elder: Kirk Jones shares his salmon teachings with local nonprofit

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Tulalip elder Kirk Jones sat patiently next to his homemade, ten-foot smoke stack. The savory aroma of King salmon being slow cooked at 225 degrees Fahrenheit gradually filled the air. In his chair, he reminisced about his earliest days as a splash boy working alongside handmade seine nets in the 1960s, while his then-elders fished to provide for their people.

“Growing up, most of the elders either fished or logged to make a living. Either way, they were handling and collecting wood to keep the fires going all year long,” remembered Kirk. “We’d usually eat the fish as fresh as can be, right there on the beach as the fisherman beach seined. Whatever fish was leftover they’d smoke and hang on Cedar sticks. 

“Back then, when I was learning to smoke, all we had was salt…process the fish, salt the fish and then let them dry. It was hard chewing for sure,” he chuckled. “But they were preserved to be ate throughout the year regardless of weather. We didn’t have freezers or stoves or nothing fancy like today. Just our teachings passed on from one generation to the next intended to make use of what we had available to us and keep our people fed.” 

Today, the 65-year-old smoked salmon savant credits Glen Parks, Les Parks, Rocky Parks and Bernie Parks for becoming his secondary family after he got clean and sober in 1986. Under their guidance and skill with their family smoker, Kirk learned to take his ancestral teachings and add a touch of his own flare. Small technical changes like the use of a particularly gauged chicken wire and addition of brown sugar in the seasoning, Kirk has perfected his technique for creating golden-colored ‘Indian candy’. 

Kirk’s Smoked Salmon is a prime example of Tulalip’s entrepreneurial spirit. Known for its high quality and sweet salmon offerings, Kirk created a business that is flexible enough to be sold on the side of the road along Marine View Drive or from a makeshift blue stand often seen between Cabela’s and Home Depot in the spring/summer time. Its also become a family operation as his children, nieces and nephews are frequently doing the sales, so Kirk can focus on making his primary source of income: smoked deliciousness.

“My passion for the salmon is still the same as when I was a little kid filling the role of splash boy to maneuverer fish into the elders’ nets,” said Kirk. “You know what, maybe my passion is even stronger now. Being older, I have a greater sense of appreciation for what those who came before me managed to accomplish and pass on. It’s my responsibility now to make sure their teachings aren’t forgotten.”

With that sentiment in mind, Kirk lent his lifelong expertise with a fillet knife and 25-pound freshly caught King salmon to a cultural workshop coordinated by local nonprofit, Indigenous Beginnings. For an afternoon in late July, the Tulalip culture bearer did his best to impart practical skills and guidance on the double digit, all-Native group who were eager to learn the ins and outs of fish filleting. 

Over the course of two-hours, the group received up close and personal instruction on proper technique to clean a salmon, including the conventional fillet and butterfly fillet methods, how to remove the jaw for making fish head soup, and some general advice from their elder on best practices to smoke, can or cook their fish at home. 

Along their way, the group of learners shared many laughs as they attempted to mimic Kirk’s proficiency with a fillet name. Most failed miserably, but it was in that failure where Kirk was able to step in and offer gentle words of encouragement; often reminding them that we all gotta start somewhere. Luckily, there was more than enough whole salmon provided that those choosing to rework their fillet skills could give it another go. Some even shrieked with excitement when opening their fish and finding eggs to be used for homemade sushi, stew or as a simple caviar side dish. 

For their commitment to learning cultural traditions, the group was rewarded with jumbo sized bags of salmon fillets and all the ‘Indian candy’ they could eat. With tummies full, Kirk thanked everyone for participating and helping him grow as an instructor. 

“I love fishing. A goal of mine has always been to learn to smoke salmon,” shared Tulalip citizen Sara Andres after the workshop. “Getting an opportunity to learn from Kirk was super exciting and I’m so happy to have participated. With the fish heads I’ll be making my grandma Katie’s fish head soup that I remember fondly as a kid. I also bought a small smoker so that I can brine the salmon filleted here and smoke my fish for the first time.”

“We are so thankful to Kirk for sharing his home and teachings with us to learn the basics of filleting and smoking salmon together,” added Stephanie Cultee, Indigenous Beginnings founder and chairwoman. “Originally, this workshop was only going to be focused on smoking salmon, but then we received such a huge number of requests by people who admitted to not even knowing how to clean and fillet a fish. By being vulnerable and admitting to not knowing this tradition, we were able to fulfill a big need. Ultimately, this workshop got such good turnout and positive responses already that we plan on hosting another workshop with Kirk at the end of summer.”

For those who missed out on this amazing opportunity to receive hands-on learning from a Tulalip elder and are interested in participating in a similar workshop in September, please email Indigenousbeginnings@hotmail.com or text 425-418-2346 for more information. You can also follow Indigenous Beginnings on Facebook or Instagram to stay up to date with a variety of teaching workshops intended for first-time learners and those desiring a safe place to ask questions about our shared culture.

Tulalip’s National Night Out 2022

By Shaelyn Smead, Tulalip News

On August 2, the Tulalip Police Department gathered with Tulalip families and various Tulalip government departments for National Night Out (NNO) to connect with one another and bridge any gaps. The two-hour event was filled with community members conversing and laughing with one another, gaining information about available resources, and kids exploring the official Fire and Police department vehicles.

Though this is not a new event, across the nation, many police departments gather within their communities to enhance the relationships between neighbors and law enforcement. This effort is to ensure that some people’s and children’s first interactions with law enforcement is a positive one. What first started in 1984 has quickly trickled to over 16 thousand communities in the US, and takes place every year during the first Tuesday of August.

The Chief of Police Chris Sutter was in attendance and said, “My favorite part about National Night Out is connecting with the community and neighbors. People are meeting one another, and allowing our service providers the opportunity to know the people whom we serve. The police department loves that we get to help support this event, and we get to thank all the other tribal departments.”

A lot of the departments that participated included Behavioral Health, Child Support Program, Family Wellness, Tulalip Office of Civil Legal Aid, Children’s Advocacy, Beda Chelh, Family Haven, Higher Education, TERO, Gambling Treatment Services, and various others. Each department provided free swag for the attendees, toys and treats for the kids, and a plethora of information, cards, and pamphlets to help educate tribal members about the numerous services available to them. Many of the attendees were exposed to programs that they either haven’t heard of before, or have been wanting to get into contact with.

Chris also spoke about the importance of maintaining the relationships with the other departments because of how interdependent they all are, “We like being able to put a face to a name when we’re emailing people or talking to them over the phone. There’s not one department that our police department doesn’t interact with. We are all interconnected and we impact the quality of life and the livability of our entire community,” he said.

He continued by talking about how vital it is for tribal members and the police department to have that bond as well, “In just about every culture when you sit down, break bread, and eat together, it’s a sign of coming not only together, but also creating a mutual respect and understanding. I think it’s really important for us to see each other as human beings and let the community know that police office are humans too. We have strengths and weaknesses and at the end of the day, we’re here to serve our people.”

Kids all gathered to meet one of the Tulalip Police Department’s newest member Buster, a German Shorthaired Pointer police dog that recently graduated from K9 school. Buster jumped around and loved meeting all the kids, as they asked his handler a mountain of K9 questions. Everyone’s seemingly favorite question was, ‘do you get to take him home?’, in which Buster’s handler said ‘yes’ with a smile on his face. 

With red, white and blue lights spinning, the Fire vehicle’s horn blaring, a child pointed at an officer and yelled, “I want to be like you!” It was another success event for the police department, the community and everyone in between. People left National Night Out with full stomachs, fuller hearts, and anticipation for next year’s event.