MSD adopts very first Equity Plan

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To view the MSD Eduction Equity Policy please visit:

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

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

The legacy of naming Army helicopters after Native Americans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coming Soon: 2021 Native Bazaar

By Shaelyn Hood, Tulalip News

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

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

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

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

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

Some vendors to look out for are:

David Fryberg.

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

Jamie Sheldon.

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

Margaret Henry Hayes.

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

Rocky Harrison.

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

Jasmyne Diaz.

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

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

Sing Our Rivers Red

An intersection of domestic violence and the MMIW movement

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

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Washington D.C.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From walk-on to scholarship recipient, Zues Echevarria latest Tulalip athlete to compete on collegiate level

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Tulalip history is filled with stories of athletic achievement. Ranging from grandiose tales told by elders reminiscing about their glory days, to standout high schoolers showcasing their skills in front of adoring families, to proud parents posting on social media about how amazing their child’s latest bitty ball performance was.

Sports have become as valuable to passing on traditional teachings as any other element of Tulalip culture. Think about it. Passing down knowledge and insight from one generation to the next, check. Learning invaluable lessons about patience, determination and hard work, check. Teaching the importance of mind/body connection with an emphasis on balancing nutritious foods with physical activity, check. Each generation of Tulalip youth being able to connect and participate regardless of family ties, check. An entire community being able to unite and root for the success of an inspiring tribal member, check. 

It should be no surprise then as to why recent success stories of homegrown athletes like Tysen and Bradley Fryberg (Salish Kootenai College basketball), Adiya Jones (Skagit Valley Community College basketball), Collin Montez (Washington State University baseball), RaeQuan Battle (University of Washington basketball), and Mikail Montez (Everett Community College basketball) have spread like wildfire on the Tulalip Reservation. Their stories stretch the imagination of what’s possible for a rez kid with a sports dream, while also giving parents a clear cut example that all the long practices, tournament-filled weekends, and substantial financial investment is worth it. 

Enter 6-foot-2, 290 pound Jesus “Zues” Echevarria Jr. The latest Tulalip athlete to compete on the coveted D1 collegiate level. A former team captain of the 2016 state championship winning Archbishop Murphy, Zues made the bold decision to attend Washington State University the following fall and endeavored to make their football team as a true walk-on. His prowess on the grid iron, focus during film study and tenacity in the training room earned him a spot as a redshirt freshman.

“The key is to be patient because every athlete that goes to the college level learns that you have to start all over. No matter how big of a high school star you were or how many programs were recruiting, once you get to college you have to earn your spot every day and work for every opportunity,” said Zues. “Gotta keep your head down and keep working, knowing that the patience will pay off when given the opportunity. A lot of times it comes down to the simple things like eating the right foods, getting enough sleep so your body can recover, and having the discipline to do the little things every single day knowing that you gotta stay ready for whenever opportunity presents itself.”

Unfortunately, injuries derailed his college career before he had opportunity to shine under the bright lights. He suffered a gruesome leg injury that forced him to miss most of the 2019 season and made it difficult to regain a top position on the depth chart in 2020. Instead, of taking the easy road and quitting on his football dream, the headstrong defenseman shifted his focus on rehabbing his body and conditioning in a way to minimize future injuries.

“Injuries are always gonna be a part of sports, especially at the higher competition levels, and I’ll admit the recovery process is more a mental challenge than anything else, but at no point did I think of giving up,” reflected Zues of his near 15-month recovery and rehab from a devastating leg injury. “I’ve worked way too hard to get to this point. My dream of playing football at the highest level is something I’ve had since being a little guy. My support system of my mom, my grandparents, and my teammates kept me up when I was down. The whole process just fueled me to want to get back on the field even more.”

The determination that fuels him as a defensive tackle combined with the mental strength to preserve over injury, to not give up, and to keep on working at his craft was something his coaches took notice of.

“Even when he was unable to practice with the team because of injury, Zues was coming out of the training room just as sweaty as our players who had gone through a two-and-a-half-hour practice,” explained WSU D-line coach Ricky Logo. “That’s how he showed us his commitment to coming back and getting healthy. When he finally got his chance to step back on the field and see game action, it was like he didn’t miss a beat. That’s what I love about him most. His will to fight through adversity and overcome separates him on and off the field.”

All the countless hours of rehabbing through injury, conditioning to keep his body at peak performance, and film study to ensure when his opportunity presented itself he’d be ready came to fruition on Saturday, October 9. It was WSU’s homecoming game and the stakes couldn’t have been higher as the Cougars hosted the Pac-12 North’s leading team, Oregon State.

On the field pre-game, the now 5th year senior and recent scholarship recipient warmed up with the same tenacity and vigor that his coaches had anxiously been waiting to unleash on their opponents. With a near packed house cheering on their home team at Martin Stadium, Zues got his chance to seize a meaningful role in the Cougar defense. He was on the field for twenty defensive snaps and came up with two crucial solo tackles that were met with a thunderous roar from the WSU faithful. His impactful play helped his team secure a huge 31-24 upset win over a Pac-12 rival. 

In what may have been his most extensive playing time in any game of his collegiate career thus far, his head coach offered praise for the 22-year-old Tulalip tribal member. 

“It’s good to see [success from] young people who have gone through some adversity and worked hard to get something,” said WSU head coach Nick Rolovich postgame. “[Zues] was really productive before getting hurt. He’s a hard worker and attacked rehab the same way, and we knew he was going to add to our defensive-tackle play as he got healthier. If he didn’t get hurt, I think he would have had a big part in all of our games this year.”

Zues intends to climb the depth chart further and become a fulltime defensive stalwart for the Cougars, whether that happens this year or next is of no concern because he understands the process is part of a much larger picture.

When asked if he still dreams of playing in the NFL, Zues responded without hesitation, “Absolutely! That’s my number one dream. Everything I do in practice, film study, and in games is geared towards continuing to get better, developing my skills to dominate on the college level. Then maybe NFL scouts will take notice. That’s the dream anyway.”

In the meantime, the student-athlete understands that he has to prepare for a career outside of football. Zues is close to earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Tenchology that will allow him to continue his family’s longline of tribal artistry in the digital realm. 

Zues’ grandmother, Judy Gobin.

Zues’s grandmother Judy Gobin is his self-described #1 fan. She and her husband Tony make the five-hour drive from Tulalip to Pullman every home game to cheer on their grandson. Their support has proved to be instrumental, as has the support Zues receives from his Tribe in assisting with college related expenses.

“We are so fortunate as Tulalip because our kids have the opportunity to go to any school in the nation and excel,” said Judy at a postgame dinner, where her grandson was approached by random WSU fans applauding him for his efforts. “They can study to become whatever they want knowing our Tribe will pay for the vast majority of costs. We have so many great success stories because of the resources our tribal gaming allows us to access. Yet, so many of our children don’t do it. Stories like Zues show them what’s possible and can incentivize the next generation to take their education seriously. When they see Tulalips succeeding at college it breaks the stereotypes and lets them know they can accomplish great things in academics and sports.”

Because of the pandemic, Zues has gained two extra years of eligibility to play college football. The WSU football program hopes to see him accomplish great things with the extra years and awarded him with a scholarship as a sign of further commitment in his potential. Two extra years is plenty of time for him to become a Cougar legend. To this point, he’s already a Tulalip legend. 

Tribe breaks ground on Village of Hope

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

With the rainy season officially upon us again in the Pacific Northwest, the worrisome drought conditions are quickly a thing of the distant past. It only makes sense then that September 30th’s downpour was a welcome sight as the topsoil for an all new tiny homes project aimed at combating homelessness, was softened for an official ground-breaking ceremony

“We definitely experienced challenges during this past year. It was in the middle of a global pandemic and the project was almost put on hold,” said Teri Nelson, executive director of tribal services. “There was a reduction in work force and government closures, making for an uncertain future. But as we navigated through uncharted waters, we continued to plan for this project remotely with Zoom meetings.”

Throughout the planning process the project continued to grow. From a group of tiny units to a village of miniature homes with all the accommodations one would expect from a proper residential area. Options will include one and two bedroom layouts with a kitchen and full bathroom. Plans include a central community building with laundry facilities and a computer lab. Resident aides and a number of support services will also be located on site.

Located next to the homeless shelter, this project is named Village of Hope. With 17 tiny homes planned to make up the village, tribal leadership intends to offer a sense of stability and hope for a better future to its future occupants. Village homes will be made accessible to individuals, couples, and families. 

“Every situation and story is different,” said Teri. “Our mission is to help our people and provide a place where families can have a place to reconcile, reunite…a place where they can recover, reclaim, and rebuild their lives.”

With last month’s completion of the Place of Transition, this latest project to combat homelessness comes as the Board of Directors continues to prioritize creating housing solutions for an ever-growing membership and rising number of families who find themselves without a stable roof over their heads.

“Understanding that homelessness creates lifelong generational traumas, we’re trying to reach those tribal members stuck within those traumas,” explained board member Misty Napeahi. “These [tiny homes] will help us make those necessary connections. 

“Intergenerational trauma is what all of us suffer from as tribal members,” she added. “The only way through that is through our community and with love and support for each other. When people have homes we know they become constructive citizens of our community.”

  Updates as to estimated competition of construction and the application process to be a Village of Hope tenant will be announced in the near future. 

Columbus Day and the evolution of Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Tulalip Tribes Salmon Ceremony, 2021. Photo by Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

By Shaelyn Hood, Tulalip News

Columbus Day was first declared a national holiday in 1934 and became a federal holiday in 1968.  But as the country continues to develop a better understanding for Native history and culture, the movement to instate Indigenous Peoples’ Day as a holiday continues to grow across the nation. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a day to honor and celebrate Indigenous people in our society, the wrongs that have been done upon them, and commemorate their history as being the first inhabitants of North America. A group of Native Americans first proposed the day at a United Nations conference in 1977. Nonetheless, it wasn’t until 1989 that South Dakota became the first state to switch Columbus Day to Native Americans’ Day and celebrated it for the first time in 1990. Berkeley was the first U.S. city to transition from Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. However, for many years, the government and our education system has failed to recognize the dark history that took place in order to construct America.

Since 1934, this is the first nationwide recognition, where we have seen governors, school-board leaders, and institutions unite and acknowledge this day. President Joe Biden recently released a statement saying, “We must never forget the centuries long campaign of violence, displacement, assimilation, and terror wrought upon Native communities and Tribal Nations throughout our country”. 

Many Native Americans are still in pain over this holiday, and over America’s history of treatment towards Natives. They feel Columbus Day fails to acknowledge the genocide and the violent colonization of Indigenous people, and rather only focuses on the perspective of celebrating Christopher Columbus’ journey. 

“We are really strong people. We have gone through genocide and racism, and we are still here. The strength in our culture, strength in our community, and in our families, are all really strong protective factors against so much of the darkness.”

– Amanda Boyd, WSU associate professor, Edward R. Murrow College of Communication

Logs that were written by Christopher Columbus are seared into the brains of natives, “They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned … They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome feature … They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane … They would make fine servants … With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.” 

Many similar horrific statements by Christopher Columbus were documented and illustrated the derision he had towards Indigenous people and the covetousness towards the land that belonged to them.

For many Native Americans the question remains, why do we still recognize Columbus Day? For some Americans, they believe it is important to honor the courage and determination that the immigrants had to seek freedom in what is now known as America. For others, they view the holiday as a way to commemorate their Italian-American ancestors, and recognize a time where Italian-Americans were receiving mistreatment. 

Across the nation, it remains a debate of whether to celebrate one versus the other, or whether it is okay to celebrate both. In any case, it is widely discussed that Indigenous Peoples’ Day should be recognized as a federal holiday. 

Amanda Boyd, a WSU associate professor for the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, and Métis and Dane-zaa tribal member from Treaty 8 territory in Canada, talked about how Indigenous Peoples’ Day benefits students, “I would love to see every American on Indigenous Peoples Day take some time to understand whose land they’re on. To learn something about the history of the people who lived here and learn about our past, even if there’s darkness there. But also, to learn about our resiliency. It’s one more day. One more step to recognition, and to understanding our past.”

Boyd went on to say, “We are really strong people. We have gone through genocide and racism, and we are still here. The strength in our culture, strength in our community, and in our families, are all really strong protective factors against so much of the darkness.”

At a time when the world is awakening to the devastating history of America, Indigenous people are joining together. And even though for many Native Americans, Indigenous Peoples’ Day is an important first step, many people believe there is a long way to go.

Tulalip Tribes declares September 30th as Orange Shirt Day

Remembering the lost lives of Indian residential boarding schools

By Shaelyn Hood, Tulalip News

With the recent discovery of over 6,000 Indigenous unmarked graves, the world is finally paying closer attention to the history of Indian Residential Schools in Canada and the US, and the many innocent lives that were lost. 

During the 19th to mid-20th century, Canada, the United States of America, and various Christian missionaries established Indian Residential Schools. This system was created to “civilize” and assimilate Indigenous youth to a more European-American culture. Often, tribal members were not willing to submit to these efforts, and schools started forcibly removing children from their homes. Along with major efforts to disintegrate Native American spirituality, and overall culture, Indigenous people had their hair violently cut off, were punished for speaking their language, using their tribal names, and forced to wear European-American style uniforms. Indigenous youth underwent decades of abuse, and often lost their lives. 

Canada became the first to acknowledge and mark its first official National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th. However, even though the history of residential schools were just as prominent in the US, they have yet to follow suit, and acknowledge the years of dismemberment of Native American tribes.

Tulalip Tribes passed a resolution and decided to move forward, declaring Orange Shirt Day – A day of Awareness & Remembrance for Residential Boarding Schools. On September 30th, 2021, the Tulalip Tribes Education Division put on the first annual Orange Shirt Day.

Jessica Bustad, Executive Director of Education, spoke about what this day meant to her and what she was hoping to accomplish, “This day means the start of something bigger, the start of healing for our community, for our people, for Indigenous people across North America, Canada, and everyone who has experienced residential boarding schools, colonialism, and genocide.” 

“It’s kind of overwhelming. I couldn’t talk about the event for a while without crying,” she contiunued. “I don’t feel like we were really the ones to put out this event. The event was already laid out by our ancestors, and we are just here to do the footwork for them. But this is long overdue, and it’s time to start bringing out the truth of what happened here so we can start to get to that place of healing as a community.”

The night’s festivities started with a youth prayer and run, that began at Mission Beach and ended 1.7 miles away, at the Dining Hall. As many tribal members know, the Dining Hall holds the last remaining remnants of a residential school located on Tulalip. Kaiser Moses who was one of the participating runners, and the elected chairperson of the Senior Tulalip Youth Council, said, “Even though I was never in a boarding school and my parents weren’t in a boarding school, it still has impacts on our elders and our current generation. When I run, I run to clear my mind, to get things off my chest, and to leave things behind me. So, when I was running, I was thinking about that.” 

Once the runners made it to the Dining Hall, Tribal members gathered, and discussed the evening, while looking over old photographs of their ancestors in the boarding schools, and the candles that represented their lost lives. Orange Shirts and meal boxes were also distributed to everyone that attended.

Natosha Gobin and the Lushootsheed youth – otherwise known as the Language Warriors, performed an opening prayer. It was an amazing way to commemorate the language Native Americans fought so hard to keep alive. 

Following, opening words came from members of the Board of Directors. They all spoke of the grief they were feeling and the pain they know our tribe and many others were going through. Tulalip Tribes Chairwoman, Teri Gobin, shared how her father was a member of the schools and hospitals, “The historical trauma lives on, you could see it in my dad.” She sympathized with other tribal members feeling that same pain, and expressed how it deserves to be recognized. “I’m glad that we’re looking at legislation that’s going to be coming forward, that’s going to help do the investigation and find out what happened to our loved ones and to bring them back to their families and to their homelands. But it just touches me. We haven’t gotten the apologies from the government like they did in Canada. We haven’t got them from the churches on what they did to our people.”

On September 24, 2021, Canadian Catholic bishops released a public apology for residential schools. The Native Women’s Association of Canada called upon the Premiers of all provinces and territories to recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Marysville School District, which holds a lot of native children, also released a proclamation to observe “Orange Shirt Day” in remembering the children who died in the Residential Boarding School System. 

Youth and Family Enrichment Manager, Josh Fryberg, followed with, “Tribes need to follow and do the same thing. Pass this resolution to honor our survivors, to honor our kids that never made it home. To create that healing the best way possible for the future generations”.

After hearing from the attending Board of Directors, the night continued with various traditional tribal prayers, drums, songs, and dances. Tribal members spoke of this opportunity, and how our ancestors didn’t have that same privilege during the days of residential schools. One of the songs was a Snohomish War Song, where the elders were sat in the middle, and performers danced around them and sang to protect them. Tony Hatch spoke of his gratefulness that the elders had joined the event, and reminded them that if anyone has any scars, all of Tulalip is here for them, and behind them. 

After hearing from the attending Board of Directors, the night continued with various traditional tribal prayers, drums, songs, and dances. Tribal members spoke of this opportunity, and how our ancestors didn’t have that same privilege during the days of residential schools. One of the songs was a Snohomish War Song, where the elders were sat in the middle, and performers danced around them and sang to protect them. Tony Hatch spoke of his gratefulness that the elders had joined the event, and reminded them that if anyone has any scars, all of Tulalip is here for them, and behind them. 

Though many tribal elders were not able to make it to the event, others that were in attendance were given the opportunity to speak to the tribal community. Some passed along stories of loved ones that were affected, some expressed gratefulness towards our leaders, and others shared wisdom from their experiences, and what they want for the community. Overall, each speaker spoke of the pain that they felt for our community and the hopes for the future. 

Ray Fryberg was one of the speakers. He told stories of how our culture has been mistreated by outsiders through the years and how we can once again become whole. “Teaching language and being able to teach things in our culture that they took away from us, those are the things that are going to heal us. The things that we lost. These are the things that we regain, and that help build self-respect through self-identity, and our own cultural values and our own cultural teachings. To be good to one another. Culture means, how do we take care of each other? One person at a time, that makes up the tribe, and that’s how we move forward. Taking care of ourselves and exercising our sovereignty”. 

The event paid a special tribute to Tulalip, Native American Activist, Deborah Parker. She was a speaker that was unfortunately not able to make it that night. Members spoke highly of her efforts to working towards legislative reform. They spoke of the platform she has made for Native American voices and how she has become a strong representative of Tulalip Tribes. Many were praying for her and were grateful for her tireless endeavors to lift Native culture.

Towards the end of the night, the community heard from two residential boarding school survivors. Each shared the horrors of what the schools and hospitals held. They also talked about how it affected them mentally for the years following, and the demons that haunted them in adulthood. 

Wayne Williams was one of these survivors. He talked about the irony of the title, “National Day for Truth and Reconciliation,” and he quoted something so profound, “there can’t be reconciliation for a relationship that did not exist. This relationship with all the people that forced us into the boarding schools didn’t exist. Because we didn’t choose it. We didn’t choose it”. 

The night concluded with a Costal Jam, with spirited songs, drums, and dance.

For many Indigenous people, this is a difficult time. We grieve the loss of our ancestors and mourn over the endless pain that they had to endure. Very few survivors are still alive to tell their stories and about the tragedies that took place at residential boarding schools. But tribal members can always find support in our community. 

As Jessica Bustad said, “we see you, we feel you, and we’re here for you. We’re all on this journey together, and we will continue to be on this journey together.” And for any tribal youth that are still trying to understand this day, “Learn your history, understand your history, your family roots, and honor your ancestors. It’s going to be such an emotional time. Take care of yourselves, take care of your families, and do what you need to do to heal”.

BYOB: Bring Your Own Bag – State enforces single-use plastic bag ban

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Restaurants, retailers and grocers across the state of Washington will have to cease all distribution of single-use plastic bags, effective Friday October 1. In an effort to reduce the pollution of Mother Earth, and more locally the Salish Sea, the state has outlawed one of the main culprits causing harm to the environment. 

Plastic carryout bags are handed-out at a high-frequency on the daily. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, the average American household accrues over 1,500 plastic bags annually and recycles less than one percent of those bags. The bags were created for the convenience of the shopper, intended to be utilized to transport your goods and purchases home safely. However, they are causing irrevocable damage to the natural world, especially aquatic life as over 100,000 marine animals are killed from plastic bags and plastic toxins each year. 

Single-use plastic bags are non-biodegradable and take hundreds of years to break down into micro-plastics, which ultimately finds its way to the waterways and are consumed by sea-life, and in-turn often consumed by the human population. According to a study performed by the non-profit organization, Plastic Oceans, 100% of the mussels that they tested were contaminated with micro-plastics. Plastic Oceans also estimates that the average person eats over forty pounds of plastic throughout their lifetime due to the pollution caused by plastic bags.  

Single-use plastics are produced by fossil fuels. The process of creating the bags alone emits an enormous amount of greenhouse gasses. In the Pacific Northwest, we are already beginning to see the link between plastic pollution, the food chain and climate change, especially when considering our depleted salmon and orca populations. It is estimated that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than there are fish. And as the plastic, and all the chemicals and toxins they contain, makes its way back up the food chain, it can start to create major health concerns for humans including hormonal imbalances, reproductive issues and in extreme cases, cancer. 

The ban was originally supposed to go into effect at the start of 2021, but due to supply chain issues caused by the global pandemic, the ban was pushed back to October 1. Stores and eateries will be required to offer either paper bags or 2.25 mil thick-film reusable plastic bags – made with 20% recycled material, at a cost of eight cents per bag. Green or brown compostable bags are also an alternative and the fee for those bags are optional and at the business’ discretion. 

Although this is a big change that consumers will have to get used to, many Washingtonians are already familiarized with a sans-plastic-bag-lifestyle. Nearly forty cities throughout the state have already implemented their own single-use plastic bag ban ordinance over recent years, including Quil Ceda Village on the Tulalip reservation. 

Quil Ceda Village is home to a number of businesses and restaurants including the Tulalip Resort Casino, Tulalip Bingo, Walmart, Cabela’s, Home Depot and the Seattle Premium Outlets. When the city first implemented the plastic bag ban, they received little pushback and a surprising amount of support. With over 130 retail stores, the outlet mall phased out all of their plastic bags in 2017. In 2018, when the ban went into effect, most stores switched from plastic to paper and some stores even elected to stop offering bags completely. 

“Overall the [plastic bag ban] is going well,” said Quil Ceda Village General Manager, Martin Napeahi. “The only issues I think we have had are from the consumer. Change in habits is tough for anyone, myself included, but I think consumers have adjusted and now bring their own reusable bags when they shop. Generally speaking, all of our retailers are following the ban. Stores like Cabela’s and Walmart offer reusable bags for a cost and Home Depot offers brown bags.” 

Like Quil Ceda Village, neglecting to follow the statewide ban comes with a price tag and businesses that continue offering single-use plastic bags can be fined up to $250 per day. If you’re looking to avoid the 8¢-fee per bag, remember to BYOB on all of your shopping excursions beginning October 1. For additional information on the statewide ban, please visit