Place of Transition: A stepping stone to prevent homelessness

Board of Directors ribbon cutting ceremony on September 9. 

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

The Tulalip/Marysville area has seen significant increases in business development and population growth over the past few decades. In fact, according to census data, Snohomish County at large has doubled its population since 1990. This growth rate isn’t expected to slow down either. Currently under construction near the Arlington airport is a $355 million Amazon distribution center and an expansion of the Cascade Industrial Center that will be home to a wide range of mechanized and technology-driven industries.

What comes hand-in-hand with such growth booms is a dramatic rise in both the cost to own a home and the cost of rentals. A quick Google search of the local housing market and you may be shocked at the results. The average price tag to buy a house is nearly $500,000, while average rent for a three-bedroom apartment is north of $1,800 a month. These figures aren’t what a typical Tulalip head of household would call ‘affordable’.
Combine these costly housing figures with the super slim pickings of rentals and houses to buy on the Tulalip Reservation, and it means catastrophe for some. In this context, the catastrophe is homelessness. For a family with children, their worst nightmare. For an individual Tulalip citizen, a possible breaking point with no escape in sight.

Tulalip Tribes leadership intends to offer a solution in the form of transitional units to its membership who are currently homeless or in imminent risk of becoming homeless.

“Transition units is an idea we had because we recognize a high level of homelessness that we are experiencing in Tulalip, and we wanted to make sure we had additional resources available,” explained Chief Operating Officer Wendy Fryberg. “We really want to focus on what ‘transition’ means for our members. We understand this comes at all levels of life experience, incomes, and ages. Having these transition units is a starting point for someone to have a place to wash their clothes, cook a meal, take a hot shower, and simply have a roof over their head.

“Transition unit clients will be connected with a life coach who will assist in developing and working through a plan to achieve necessary goals for long-term, permanent housing,” she continued. “This site is a stepping stone for our membership designed to prevent homelessness. The name Place of Transition recognizes this setup as a temporary living arrangement with possible transition to the Tribe’s homeless shelter, future tiny homes coming next year, or the ultimate goal being transitioning to permanent housing.”

Back in early May, tribal council broke ground on the transitional living site. In the process they began a long requested service that will benefit Tulalip’s ever-growing membership. It’s been four months since that ground breaking and the first of several planned sites intended to prevent homelessness is now complete. 

Back in early May, tribal council broke ground on the transitional living site. In the process they began a long requested service that will benefit Tulalip’s ever-growing membership. It’s been four months since that ground breaking and the first of several planned sites intended to prevent homelessness is now complete. 

Located across the street from Tulalip Bay fire department, the inaugural site consists of five units that are fully furnished. Essential amenities include a bath tub with shower, kitchenette and stackable washer/dryer. The living space is compact (240 square feet), yet the sense of stability for those who will occupy each transitional unit is immeasurable.

 Rent will be $300 per month to cover the water, sewer and Public Utility District (PUD) costs. Each unit will provide crucial comforts like electricity, temperature controlled heating and cooling, and connections for internet access.

Tulalip’s committed construction team put in all necessary work for what is sure to be a game changer in the community. Adding another layer of meaning, many of the hands involved in the construction were Tulalip tribal members who graduated from the Tribe’s vocational training center.

Many of the hands involved in the construction were Tulalip tribal members

“I’m proud of my team and everyone we were able to bring onto this project. We really proved ourselves by staying within our budget and completing the construction quicker than many thought possible,” said interim construction director Stephen Quimby. “A lot of young tribal members out of the TERO program were able to gain much needed experience and be a part of something that’s going to bring hope to those who need it most.”

After seeing the finished units in person, Tulalip leadership was thoroughly impressed and commended the construction team for a job well done. Planning and development for a future second site is already underway.

For potential transition unit clients:

Applications are now available online at or from the CSR desk at the Admin Building. Submit application to or the CSR desk. Eligibility is outlined on the Housing website in the 2021 Transition Unit Procedures.


Honoring Officer Charlie Cortez

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

It has been nine months since the tragic accident occurred on local waters, claiming the life of a young, Tulalip tribal member. At the age of 29, Charlie Cortez was pronounced lost at sea, paying the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty as a Tulalip Fish and Wildlife Officer. 

On the afternoon of August 17, Charlie’s family and friends, as well as both the tribal and law enforcement communities, gathered at the Angels of the Winds Arena in Everett for the fallen hero’s memorial service. 

“Charlie was a kind man who always greeted you with a smile,” said Tulalip Chairwoman, Teri Gobin. “He was so sweet. When I think about Charlie as a child, I think about all the memories that the family has of him growing up, all of his adventures. I think about how he grew up to be such an honorable young man. He made his family, his ancestors, and his community very proud. Charlie was not only a motocross rider, that’s where he spent a lot of his youth, they were always on the road having a blast with the family, but he was an avid hunter and fisherman. He was also an awesome father, son, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend.” 

With each day that passed since that stormy night on November 17, when Charlie’s vessel capsized, the family remained optimistic and hopeful that the beloved officer would be found and brought home. When the heartbreaking news first broke, volunteers from near and far dedicated their time, scouring the sea and shoreline in search of Charlie. 

Tulalip Vice-Chairman, Glen Gobin shared, “Nobody thought we’d be at this point when we got that call, that we had a boat tip over and there were people in the water. When the call went out, many people answered. Many of our local sister tribes, local law enforcement agencies, fire departments, Navy, Coast Guard, and our tribal fisherman. And they came out in weather conditions that they normally would’ve not went out for. When the call came out, they freely went out in the storm to search. In hopes of a different conclusion, many stayed out there 24-36 hours straight searching, only to go home to take a nap and continue on. For weeks that took place. It was really hard this past nine months, for the family, for the community. For the family, it felt like unfinished work we need to conclude here, but can’t yet.”

Charlie’s family was embraced by the law enforcement community over the recent months. His name eternalized on memorial walls in Spokane, Olympia and Washington D.C., and also displayed upon medals and plaques, honoring the man who died while defending tribal treaty rights. Although the family is very appreciative of those accolades and acts-of-recognition, they still remain deprived of closure as his remains have yet-to-be recovered.

“It means a great deal to our family that we’re finally able to have a service to honor our Charlie,” tearfully expressed Charlie’s cousin, Casey Woods. “We were never expecting this type of tragedy to happen, especially to him. Charlie, you give me strength. I was so hopeful in the beginning. I miss you, Charlie. I tried to make the most meaning of your absence, a constant battle between denial and acceptance. I just couldn’t believe someone as good as you could be taken from us. I know your spirit is alive and well in all our hearts. Charlie, you are truly one of a kind and that is the hardest part, to go on without you.”

The beautiful and moving ceremony opened with a performance of the National Anthem by Tulalip tribal member Cerissa Kitchens. An acoustic guitar cover of Go Rest High on the Mountain was performed by Tribal member Andrew Gobin. Lieutenant Governor Danny Heck spoke to the family, offering encouraging words while he also presented them with the Washington State flag. The family also received the Tulalip Tribes flag from the Chairwoman and the U.S. flag from Tulalip Chief of Police, Chris Sutter. 

“Charlie, as a tribal member, grew up learning and hearing the stories of tribal elders and leaders who fought the battles to uphold and preserve tribal sovereignty and treaty rights,” stated Chief Sutter. “As a fish and wildlife officer, he took his duty seriously and understood the higher significance of his work, which was to protect the sovereignty and treaty rights and preserve the way of life for tribal hunters, fisherman, gatherers and future generations of tribal members. Charlie always had a smile as you can see in his photos. Charlie was kind. He was well-liked by all. He was always was willing to help and give assistance.”

He continued, “To Charlie’s two children Dominic and Peyton, his parents Alan and Paula, brother Moochie, grandmother Sandra and all the aunts, uncles, cousins, extended family and loved ones, on behalf of the men and women of the Tulalip Tribal Police Department, no words can adequately express our sorrow and grief. We offer our heartfelt condolences and send our support, love and prayers that you may receive God’s peace and comfort in this time of loss and remembrance.”

In addition to the heartfelt words shared by cousin Casey, Chief Sutter, Teri and Glen, TPD Commander Robert Myers and TPD Sergeant Chris Gobin both fondly recalled their time spent with Charlie as members of the Tulalip law enforcement agency. Father Pat Twohy provided the service with an opening prayer, cedar blessing and the benediction. A slideshow celebrating Officer’s Cortez’s life, filled with pictures from his youth and selfies with his children, had the entire arena in tears. Margie Santibanez read the eulogy on behalf of the family and Tulalip drummers and singers provided medicine by way of traditional songs. The Seattle Police Pipes and Drums ensemble performed Amazing Grace on bagpipes, which was followed by a 21-gun salute. 

The stage was decorated with all the things that Charlie loved, from hunting to motocross to protecting and serving his community, Charlie’s certificates, uniforms, medals, accolades, trophies, and family portraits were on display, celebrating his legacy. Because he has yet to return home, a traditional bentwood box was donated and then customized in Charlie’s honor. The box was filled with personal items by his loved ones, and utilized as a way for the family to say their good-byes.

“As you all know, we never did recover Charlie,” said Glen. “In the box, the family has placed mementos, things of importance to them, things that were important to Charlie, in a way to continue to pass down his memories. The family, at various times if they want to, can open the box and they can go through and talk about the items in there with Charlie’s children, Charlie’s grandchildren when they come, other family members. I encourage each and every one of us to not be afraid to talk about Charlie. Don’t hold back. Share the memories, share the stories, share the feelings. Charlie’s life was not about the end, it was everything up to it. That’s what we carry within us, that’s what gives us strength to continue on and that’s what keeps his memories alive.”

The family indicated that although his memorial service took place, the search for Charlie will continue. After the service, Charlie’s family turned to the crowd outside of the Angels of the Winds Arena and raised their hands to everyone in attendance, thanking them in traditional Tulalip fashion for their love and support during their time of need. 

Thank you for keeping Charlie’s family and the Tulalip Police Department in your prayers. As always, please send any potential evidence, information or your own informal searches to us by texting 360-926-5059, or emailing, or leaving a voicemail at (909) 294-6356.

Tulalip Remedy Celebrates 3rd Anniversary

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

August 9th marked year three since the Tulalip Tribes held a ribbon cutting ceremony and opened the doors of one of the very first tribal cannabis retail shops in Native America. Originally drawing as much criticism as excitement, Tulalip Remedy has won over most skeptics over the years, introducing many to an alternative medicine to help with every day ailments and conditions while building a solid following and loyal clientele.

“As a Tribal member, it’s just so awesome to see,” exclaimed Tulalip Remedy Purchasing Manager, Carmen Miller. “I’ve been here since the very beginning and I remember when we first start talking about it years ago. And seeing what it used to be, the perception people used to have on cannabis, it’s completely changed. It’s nice to see people are more accepting and understanding that it’s not just a drug, it’s something that helps people. It’s a medicine and that’s what we’re here for, to help people live happy and healthy lives.” 

For many, marijuana serves as an actual remedy, helping individuals manage diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, depression, insomnia, PTSD, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, arthritis, epilepsy, cancer, among many other diagnoses. There are endless reports on the benefits of cannabis, but what most researchers are looking into today is if and how the medicinal herb can help recovering addicts escape the grip of opiates for good. 

“In the beginning there were a lot of folks who were super skeptical about if Remedy was going to cause any more issues with any other drugs in our area, but it seems that we’ve seen more people turn away from those other drugs and start using cannabis instead,” said Carmen. “I think Remedy has honestly helped the community. It’s brought in more Tribal (PD) around the area, so it keeps the area a lot cleaner because Tribal (PD) are around more often. If anything, it’s done all good things for Tulalip.”

During the worldwide pandemic, when most businesses were closing-up shop, Tulalip Remedy altered their business model, creating a contactless point-of-sale service where their customers ordered their favorite products online and paid in cash at the pick-up window when their order was ready. Remedy remained open throughout the COVID-19 outbreak and practically doubled their sales as customers began ordering in bulk to limit their trips outside during the stay home, stay safe ordinance. 

As restrictions lifted, Remedy kept their customers coming back by offering great deals and discounts on the regular. And thanks to a joint-partnership with local distributer and cannabis TV show, The Dab Roast, Tulalip Remedy was able to bring in celebrity cannabis connoisseurs to the recreational retail shop to meet the people of the community over the past year.

“The Dab Roast is a show that is ten dabs, ten questions with celebrities,” explained The Dab Roast Creator, Scott McKinley. “Whenever we bring a guest on, we always hit-up Remedy first and ask if they want us to bring them through their shop and let everybody in Tulalip meet them. We recently brought Tommy Chong here. We also brought Ken Shamrock out here, UFC legend, and while he was here we even brought him to the wrestling team of Tulalip and got him involved in the community as well. Remedy is our go-to spot and all of our celebrities on our TV show all stay at Tulalip [Resort Casino] whenever we bring them through town. It’s pretty cool that Tulalip is doing cannabis, so to be able to support that and celebrate three years of Remedy is amazing.”

With feel-good tunes playing over the speakers and vendors located at the front door, Tulalip Remedy brought in year three by dancing and sharing laughter with customers. They also offered a 30% discount to each of their customers for the duration of their anniversary, attracting a number of THC-ophiles, both new and long-time customers alike.

“I’ve actually just moved back into town and started coming here,” said local community member, Jazmyn Soto. “I really like it here because the people are really nice and it’s a quick, easy in-and-out process. It was cheaper today, that was really cool. Cannabis has taken my anxiety and stress levels way down and it helps me get through my day. I enjoy coming here and think more people should.”

And as Tulalip Remedy celebrated three years in business, Tulalip tribal member Shawn McLean also celebrated a three-year achievement of his own. 

“I’m the customer of the year here, you can even ask them,” he proudly beamed. “I found out it was their anniversary through the website, 30% off! But, I come here all the time and I like to keep updated on the deals and specials. I come here for both the dabs and flower, I lean more towards the indica strains. Cannabis is helping me come off opiates. I’m three years sober off of opiates because of marijuana. It’s a big help. I love it here, dude. I’m trying to get employed here next.”

Surviving a pandemic, changing perceptions and common misconceptions, and providing an alternative medicine to those in need – all while becoming a steady source of income for the Tribe, Tulalip Remedy has accomplished a lot in their three short years of business.  And that was just their first hit, so to speak, as the rec shop plans on taking things to an even higher level as the Tribe’s venture in the cannabis industry continues into the future.

Said Tulalip Remedy Manager, Jennifer Ashman, “I’ve been a cannabis enthusiast for many years and to see it go from illegal to making huge advances in the industry, and using that to provide a form of medicine to our community and create a huge tax revenue for our Tribe, is surreal. I’m reminded every day that the team we have at Remedy has made a great impact and we love what we do. I can’t wait to see what every year after this one holds for us.” 

1st Annual Tulalip Pride Picnic to be held August 22nd

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Sunday August 22, from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., mark your schedule as busy because you are not going to want to miss this event! A celebration honoring and embracing our loved ones who identify as a member of the LGTBQ+ community, the first annual Tulalip Pride picnic will be held at the Don Hatch Youth Center and promises nothing but good times, good music, good food and new friendships. 

“This is a super important event to bring community awareness to the two-spirit population at Tulalip and the surrounding area,” said Problem Gambling Counselor, Robin Johnson. “It’s important to make sure they have a voice and that they feel comfortable in our community. We also want to make sure the youth have a place, a space and a voice if they are part of the LGBTQ community. This is the big kick-off event, the first annual picnic. It ought to be a great event and lots of fun.”

Over recent years, there hasn’t been many LGBTQ+ community events at Tulalip, with the exception of the Tulalip Youth Council’s Pride Walk in 2018. That one event, however, displayed an overwhelming show of local support as over 150 Tulalip citizens marched along 27th Ave., with the iconic rainbow-colored flag and ‘Love is Love’ signs held high above their heads.  As leaders of the Tribe’s future generations, the Tulalip youth have been calling for more events geared toward supporting two-spirit individuals. Both the Youth and Family Enrichment program and the Youth Wellness program are listed as sponsors and will be involved with the yearly event.

Phoenix Two Spirit (Cree), a well-known member of the Tulalip community, is the self-proclaimed ‘instigator’ of this project, both presenting the idea as well as helping organize the event. 

He stated, “I’ve been part of the pride celebrations in Seattle and Snohomish County and I have been noticing announcements locally for Puyallup, Muckleshoot and Lummi, who are having pride celebrations. I’ve been in the Tulalip area for a few years and thought that this a very-needed event. There has been much interest by the Tulalip LGBTQ+ TS community to have an event, but COVID has put a damper on creating one. So, now is the time to bring us together and celebrate our community.”

The Tulalip Pride Picnic will feature music from none other than DJ Monie Ordonia as well as several icebreaker games, creating a chance for people to build connections and community while celebrating their true selves. 

“It would be wonderful to get community support groups going,” expressed Phoenix. “This event is great for community awareness as well. It’s part of the decolonization process, recognizing that two-spirit people have been in the Indigenous community since time immemorial and it’s time to recognize that, indeed, there is a place for two-spirit people in the tribal community, that they hold a special place. This is not new. This is reclaiming our past.”

He continued, “I want everybody to know that everyone is welcome to come. Whether you define yourself in the LGBTQ+ community, the two-spirit community, if you are friends, family, allies or tribal members, I want everyone to feel welcome to come.”

The event is sponsored by the Tulalip Problem Gambling Program, the Tulalip Tribes Youth and Family Enrichment program of the Education Division, the Tulalip Family Wellness Court and Tulalip Community Health’s Youth Wellness program. 

National Night Out 2021

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

With a scenic view of Tulalip Bay on a hazy August evening, Tulalip families and the local community gathered to celebrate National Night Out. Showing support for the Tulalip Police Department in a good way, laughter filled the air for the duration of the two-hour event as the people enjoyed good company and created memories with the local police force. 

For the past 38 years, National Night Out has helped strengthen the relationships between law enforcement agencies and their respective communities all around the country. This year, approximately 100 Tulalip citizens of all ages participated in the summertime event while getting to know those officers who vowed to protect and serve the tribal community. 

Said Tulalip Chief of Police, Chris Sutter, “I am so happy to see the community come out and support National Night Out. This is an event that occurs across the country on the first Tuesday of August each year. To have all the other Tribal departments and the Tulalip Bay Fire Department here to provide information and do some community outreach is really great. Of course, as a police department, we are all about building a positive relationship with the community and enhancing the trust and opening lines of communication.”

Said Tulalip Chief of Police, Chris Sutter, “I am so happy to see the community come out and support National Night Out. This is an event that occurs across the country on the first Tuesday of August each year. To have all the other Tribal departments and the Tulalip Bay Fire Department here to provide information and do some community outreach is really great. Of course, as a police department, we are all about building a positive relationship with the community and enhancing the trust and opening lines of communication.”

Multiple Tribal departments were in attendance, including the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy, TERO, Family Haven, the Legacy of Healing and the Child Advocacy Center, Behavioral Health, Higher Education, Problem Gambling, the Tulalip Bay Fire Department, TOCLA, Youth & Enrichment of the Tulalip Education Division, and the Tulalip ODMAP program, all providing resources and information about each of their programs. 

“We’re here to support the community and the police department,” stated Robin Johnson, Problem Gambling Counselor and Chemical Dependency Professional. “We have information on the Problem Gambling program and offer educational material for chemical dependency and also for the healing lodge. This event is important for us because we need to get that information out to the community and let them know that we have resources and opportunities and that we’re here if they need us. And plus, there’s always lots of fun giveaways.”

The cookout event was especially exciting for the kids, who collected swag from all of the departments, received Junior Police Officer sticker badges, tried-on tactical gear and handcuffs, and got an up-close look at the TPD squad cars, all while spending some time with their local heroes in blue.

“It’s a beautiful community event,” expressed Marysville School District Instructor, Diane Tillman. “I am a teacher and I thought it would be nice to come out, show support and see some of my students having fun and enjoying time with their families and the police department. I’m really appreciative of National Night Out because it’s good for the police to have a positive influence on the kids.” 

The people left the gathering with filled tummies and swag bags, as well as a better idea of who those TPD officers are behind and beyond the badge. National Night Out continues to be a fun and positive community-building event, helping establish personal and individual connections between the Tulalip Police Department and the Tulalip public.

And as Chief Sutter put it, “This is a great night just to come together and be friends and get to know each other.” 

Garden Treasures is the perfect family outing

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Have you been desperately wanting to have a family outing to enjoy the summer weather, but want to stay close to home and not break the bank? Well, a trip to Garden Treasures to harvest from a variety of nutritious food, grown locally may be the ideal destination. This organic u-pick farm is located just over 20 minutes from the heart of the Tulalip Reservation. Conveniently located off exit 208, Garden Treasurers offers an everyday farmers market and garden center filled with fresh food.

Taking the family on a farm excursion to pick produce allows children to gain a sense of where their food comes from, demonstrates the satisfaction of seeing how seeds grow into fresh produce that nourish their body, and is a fun way to spend a summer day together.

“I really enjoy having elders and kids visit the farm,” said farm regular, Tulalip elder Dale Jones. “They have big smiles on their faces while enjoying the opportunity to be out in the farm and eat the fresh foods. The kids can see how the food grows and they learn how it’s better for them than fast food and candy. Too many of our people our battling diabetes and obesity because they learned bad eating habits as kids. Making fruits and vegetables a priority at a young age can really make a lifetime’s worth of impact.”

Spending time outdoors while wandering the vast berry fields and green houses at Garden Treasurers is an opportunity to get back to nature, both physically and spiritually. Their seasonal u-pick garden is currently filled with an assortment of flowers, perfectly ripe raspberries and strawberries, and a variety of vegetables, like bell peppers, cucumbers, zucchini and onions. They don’t use any synthetic chemicals or fertilizers, so your u-pick experience is safe, clean, and all-natural.

Tulalip tribal members, their families, patients of the Tulalip Health Clinic, and Tulalip employees were encouraged to take full advantage of a unique partnership between Garden Treasures and Tulalip’s own award-winning Diabetes Care and Prevention Program. From 10am to 4pm on July 13th, the Tulalip community turned out in droves to visit the farm, enjoy a healthy bite to eat, and receive a tour by Diabetes Care staff. Most importantly, each visiting household was allowed to pick $30 worth of nutritious produce.

Unlike overly priced grocery stores and organic shops, $30 worth of fruits and vegetables at Garden Treasures goes a long way. You can easily pick an assortment of sweet and spicy peppers, enough raspberries for the kids to snack on for days, some herbs to season up your favorite meals, and make a flower bouquet with the $30 credit. Numerous Tulalip citizens did just that, and for many it was their first time ever picking veggies. 

Donna and Jim Furchert brought their daughters, Joy and Patience, to Garden Treasures and came away with quite the colorful harvest. “We’ve never picked fresh fruit or fresh veggies before, so I wanted us to experience this as a family,” explained Donna. “We’re going to incorporate everything we picked into our dinners over the next few days.”

Six-year-old Patience said she liked digging for peppers the most and was super excited to stumble upon the strawberry patch. She was seen devouring the bright red, heart-shaped berry straight off the bush at every opportunity.

Michelle Martin was another first timer to the Arlington farm. She brought her three young boys Anthony, Brayden and Caiden on an afternoon outing with their grandma and grandpa. “It’s our first time out here and we absolutely love it!” said Michelle while perusing the fields. “Never knew we had a u-pick farm this close to the reservation. This seems like an ideal way to get fresh veggies and fruit. My boys love fruits and were excited to run around the farm to pick their own berries.”

When 5-year-old Anthony and 3-year-old Brayden were told they could pick out some flowers to make their mom a bouquet, they quickly scoured the spacious flower gardens for a colorful bounty.  

For a Tulalip community desiring to eat healthier in order to escape the processed food and refined sugar wasteland, Garden Treasurers is an oasis offering a variety of essential nutrients and vitamins that can make everyday meals more nutritious. Those who eat more fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet are likely to have a reduced risk of chronic diseases and a better immune system. Plus, eating fresh produce will make you feel better and have more energy to take on every day challenges of the 21st century. 

In addition to all the health benefits is the wisdom and positive encouragement the dedicated Diabetes Care and Prevention Program staff had to offer to those visiting the farm. They were willing to assist in produce selections, answer any questions, and offer advice about healthy meal making and dietary requirements for those managing diabetes.  

“I am getting to an age in life when it’s important to pass down knowledge and share my gifts with others, especially the younger generation,” explained Roni Leahy, Diabetes Program coordinator. “I love being with the people and listening to them talk about their experiences in the garden or the kids discovering how the plants they eat grow. It is such a precious opportunity to talk about the plants and how important they are in health of our bodies. This truly is prevention of diabetes and other chronic diseases.”

“My favorite part is seeing the community members and their families out at the farm enjoying the vegetables and knowing they are going to go home and prepare a meal they will all remember and enjoy,” added Brooke Morrison, Diabetes Program assistant.

 Visiting Gardening Treasures u-pick farm to harvest the freshest foods can boost your family’s health without creating a dent in your wallet. Bringing the kids can only help them create a lasting relationship with their nature world, while planting seeds of curiosity and excitement for eating a variety of clean food, grown locally. Maybe even, this will be the inspiration your family needs to plant a garden at home.

During the summer months, the farm offers some of the best fresh produce around. Try and grow a diverse palette of seasonal products for a single meal, or stock up the pantry for winter. The next few weeks are the perfect time to find sweet strawberries, delicious raspberries and other garden-fresh produce at your local, organic u-pick farm.

Leah’s Dream Foundation hosts 7th Annual Golf Tournament, raises $35,500

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

It was clear skies, 80-degree weather with an occasional breeze, on the afternoon of July 17. A perfect summer day to spend outdoors, and for golfers specifically, a great day to hit the links. The scenery at the Battle Creek Golf Course was remarkably gorgeous, with tall evergreens lining the fairways. 

Just a day prior, young Leah Stacy took a journey through the course with her family, posting-up signs that read either the name of a local business, individual or family who signed-on to be a sponsor for the 7th annual Golf Tournament hosted by none other than Leah’s Dream Foundation. 

“We really believe in inclusion,” said Leah’s mother and Founder of Leah’s Dream, Deanna Sheldon. “My daughter has apraxia so she doesn’t speak very well. She has very slow speech and her speech is often combined together so you can’t really understand what she’s saying. A lot of [people] overlook that and put a lot of judgements and biases on her. But once they see past the fact that she has apraxia and she does have autism, they see she’s this beautiful little girl who is just radiant and wants to be loved and accepted. It opens up their eyes because we do live in a labeled-world, but we have to embrace each other for everyone’s abilities and hopefully one day all that other stuff will be eliminated.”

After putting the sponsorship signs throughout the Battle Creek course, Leah shared a video to the non-profit’s Facebook account; a cute message to everyone participating in the event stating, “Thank you for playing and sponsoring,” while she wore a huge smile.

While advocating for inclusion, promoting awareness about autism and raising funds to support the local special needs community, 30 teams of four, 120 golfers total, drove, chipped and putted the 18-hole course that Saturday afternoon. Participants also had the chance to take-part in a 50/50 raffle, as well as try their hand at a number of fun mini-challenges at certain holes throughout the day.  

Cheers, oohs and ahhs, could be heard at any given green during the event. The tournament was open to all ages and skill level. While Tulalip Board of Director Mel Sheldon and Leah’s grandpa, Ray Sheldon Jr., made impressive long putts on a Par 3, a golfing family of four, JT and Dinesha Kane, and their kiddos Brodie and Braiden, were on the opposite green visibly and audibly excited about how close they each shot their ball to the pin. And shortly after that, Tulalip BOD, Misty Napeahi shot a birdie at the same Par 3 that Ray and Mel had good luck at as well. 

“My husband is the head pro here,” said Deanna, “And Leah’s so funny, we call her the ‘Queen of the Creek’ because she loves Battle Creek. This is our 7th year doing the golf tournament. Our first year we had about half as many players, not very many sponsors and each year it has grown. This year, we finally had a full 30 teams, 120 players, 45-50 sponsors. This is our one and only fundraiser and we want people to have fun and to come back next year. Everything that we raise goes right back into our community.”

Founded in 2015, Leah’s Dream has become well-known in the Tulalip and Marysville communities. The charitable foundation is dedicated to empowering children and young adults diagnosed with autism. By hosting events and get-togethers for the local youth living with disabilities and their families, the organization provides a safe space where the kids can simply be themselves and build friendships within the special needs community. 

“We started Leah’s Dream because all of us, the three sisters, have children on the spectrum. We started out family-focused, but we really wanted to branch out and help our community and raise awareness,” Deanna explained. “A lot of children don’t feel like they can be themselves in a neurotypical setting, but they are usually comfortable and eager to go to our events because they know this is their family, this is their friends, this is the community. Ultimately, the goal is to build-up and bring-up a community and have this sense of awareness and unity. It’s a chance for parents who wouldn’t generally see each other to get to know each other better.”

Leah’s Dream Foundation Board Member, Amy Sheldon added, “We hold events usually at one of the high schools in town and all the families through the Marysville School District (MSD) can come and bring their kids and it’s all free. They get free food, we do tons of arts and crafts and open-mic signing. For Christmas, we have Santa come to give-out gifts. We usually do those events every couple of months because the kids look forward to it.”

Unfortunately, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the bi-monthly gatherings have been put on a temporary hiatus. Amy, who is also a MSD Special Needs Liaison, said she still speaks to many of the kids who regularly attended the Leah’s Dream Foundation events and they constantly ask her, ‘when’s the next Leah’s party?’ Reassuring the community, she was quick to answer that question stating, “We just need approval for a facility to have it. Once we can get that, we will have our next party.” 

Although they can no longer hold their in-person events, Leah’s Dream continues to find ways to promote awareness and inclusion, namely by distributing gift bags and activity kits filled with sensory items and toys to those MSD students and local youth living with special needs. 

The funds for all the events, activities, gift bags and sensory kits are made possible by the annual golf tournament. And since the events are canceled for the time being, the foundation used last year’s donation to purchase a new reading curriculum for Marysville Pilchuck High School, as well as many items off a ‘wish list’ put together by the school district’s occupational therapists and speech therapists, helping students who are on the spectrum at schools such as the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy and Kellogg-Marsh Elementary.

Deanna and Amy explained that typically, after the tournament, the foundation holds a silent auction. However, due to COVID, the foundation wanted to focus all their efforts on hosting a safe tournament this year and decided to hold the silent auction on a date yet-to-be-announced, possibly as early as this upcoming November. 

For more information, be sure to like and follow the Leah’s Dream Foundation Facebook page and check out their website at 

After a busy weekend Leah and her mom shared two more updates via the foundation’s Facebook. The first informed everybody that they surpassed this year’s goal, raising approximately $35,500. The second was a short video clip of Leah posing next to one of the sponsor signs while making a heart-shape with her hands and saying “I love you” to everyone who had a hand in making the fundraiser a success, and of course to all of her friends and family in the local special needs community – everyone who is a part of Leah’s Dream. 

High On Life: Tommy Chong brings iconic humor to Tulalip Remedy

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

On Saturday, July 10, Grammy Award winning comedian Tommy Chong graced Tulalip’s retail cannabis shop with his legendary presence. Best known as part of the iconic comedy duo Cheech & Chong, the now 83-year-old Chong is enjoying his twilight years as a patron saint within the country’s largely decriminalized and ever-growing pot industry. 

“What does cannabis mean to me? Well, for starters my career as an entertainer has spanned 50 years now and it’s all thanks to this amazing green plant,” marveled Chong in his trademark gritty voice. “When I sit back and reflect on my life, there are so many moments I’m still am in awe of. From writing and directing movies to making music to making millions of people laugh around the world…and doing it all while high, man. It’s unbelievable.”

His enthusiasm and pure joy was shared by lucky Remedy customers whose names were entered and pulled in a weeks’ long raffle to meet the cannabis icon. Adoring fans, the VIP meet and greet winners showed up with their valuable Cheech & Chong collector’s items with the intention of getting Chong’s authenticating signature. Even more valuable than his signature was the opportunity to embrace Chong like that world’s coolest grandpa and express how much he meant to them. 

“It’s crazy because never did I think I’d be in this kind of situation to meet someone of Chong’s status in the stoner industry. It’s surreal being able to hang out with him and talk about a subject we’re both super passionate about,” said Tulalip tribal member Carmen Miller. In his possession was an original 1973 Cheech & Chong album with accompanying rolling paper that Chong himself was stunned to see again.

“I grew up watching all his movies. Up In Smoke is an all-time classic and as a teenager I couldn’t watch it enough. Some might say those experiences led me to being nominated as ‘Stoner of the Year’ in high school,” joked Billy Burchett while sporting a super limited scratch and sniff Up In Smoke vinyl. As for the particular scent of the scratch and sniff vinyl? “Cannabi for men,” he said.

Within the smoke-filled world, Chong’s green haze aura still reigns supreme, even after five decades. If anything time has made his counter-culture legend grow bigger. When one loyal fan produced a limited edition Cheech & Chong bong with his likeness on it, the grey haired toker commented on how ironic the moment was. Back in 2003, Chong was sentenced to nine months in a federal prison after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute drug paraphernalia. He was part of the financing and promotion of his son’s business, Chong Glass, which sold handmade glass water pipes or bongs. Now in 2021, it’s legal for companies to mass produce bongs. How quickly times change.

“It’s always been a medicine to the people, but the legislators chose to demonize because they couldn’t profit off it like your typical pharmaceuticals. We’ve come a long way and I’m thrilled to see it being used to treat so many common ailments today.” 

“It’s not that public perception has changed when it comes to wide-spread acceptance of cannabis use, it’s the public officials, police, and the judicial system that have changed. If the public didn’t accept marijuana in the 60s and 70s, Cheech & Chong wouldn’t exist,” reflected Chong. “It’s always been a medicine to the people, but the legislators chose to demonize because they couldn’t profit off it like your typical pharmaceuticals. We’ve come a long way and I’m thrilled to see it being used to treat so many common ailments today. However, it’s only when they fully legalize it federally that we can say the war on drugs is finally over.” 

It’s been nine years since Washington State voters passed Initiative Measure 502, legalizing the use of recreational marijuana for people 21+. Shortly thereafter, the Board of Directors opted to decriminalize marijuana on the Tulalip Reservation. Then the Tribe became one of the first in the nation to open a retail cannabis store, Remedy, in August 2018. Remedy has thrived under the Quil Ceda Village enterprise and guidance of store manager Jennifer Ashman. 

Balancing traditional values with the realities of the 21st century means embracing a changing culture that views marijuana and cannabinoids as natural medicines, especially when compared to prescription pharmaceuticals that have countless side-effects and potentially lethal health warnings.

Remedy’s success has led Tulalip leadership to think much bigger and bolder when it comes to the business side of cannabis.

“Bottom line the Remedy model is profitable and the tax generated from cannabis sales stays within the Tribe and QCV to benefit our community via support services and programs,” explained Martin Napeahi, Quil Ceda Village general manager. “Our vision is to open another cannabis dispensary on Marine Drive, across the street from the new Quil Ceda Creek Casino. Also, it’s only logical that we have our own grow operation and processing facility to become vertically integrated. To be able to sell directly into the 502 market and our own stores means more profits and more job opportunities for our people.”

Like Chong declared during his Remedy special guest appearance, “All thanks to this amazing green plant. Crazy, man.”

Roy Robinson Subaru donates $16,200 to Tulalip Foundation

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

“We’ve been in Tulalip and the Marysville area for almost 50 years now,” said Robb McCalmon, Roy Robinson Subaru General Manager. “We have a very good relationship with the Tribe and it’s important for us to give back to our community. They’re the reason why we’re here and why we get to stay here.” 

A giant check amounting in $16,200 was presented to the Tulalip Foundation on a warm summer afternoon in late June. Each winter, Subaru dealerships around the country take part in a holiday seasonal event known as Share the Love. A donation is made each time a vehicle is sold during the two-month promotion. The buyer selects where they would like the donation to go, either the National Park Foundation, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Meals on Wheels, the Make-A-Wish Foundation or a local hometown charity handpicked by the respective dealership. To date, the Share the Love event has raised over $200 million for the four foundations and made donations to over 1,440 hometown charities, including the Tulalip Foundation. 

“This is our third year being the hometown charity for Roy Robinson,” exclaimed Tulalip Foundation Executive Director, Nicole Sieminski. “They were nice enough to choose us and they could’ve chose anyone.”

The donation is dispersed in $5,000 increments through grants to help fund local programs and community events. Nicole explained that after Roy Robinson’s first donation in 2018, the Share the Love event contributed to the Tulalip Tribe’s Natural Resources summertime youth Mountain and Fish camps, the suicide prevention Warrior Walk held at Tulalip, The Tulalip Restoration Program’s Planting project, and Leah’s Dream Foundation’s Christmas program. And thanks to the 2019 Share the Love donation, two grants were awarded, one to the beda?chelh Sponsor-A-Child Christmas event and the other to the Healing to Wellness Court’s incentive program.  

Rochelle Lubbers, the Tulalip Foundation’s Secretary, expressed excitement during the check presentation, stating that this year’s donation will result in at least three $5,000 ‘mini-grants’. The Tulalip Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering the wellbeing of the Tulalip reservation and the surrounding communities. Since 2007, the Foundation has worked with numerous programs to create a brighter future for the Tribe, founded on three important values: education, justice and culture.

  Over the years, the Tulalip Foundation has awarded several grants to a number of programs based on those three values including the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy and the Tulalip TERO Vocational Training Center for education; the Tulalip Office of Civil Legal Aid (TOCLA), the Healing to Wellness Court and the Criminal Conflict Counsel program for justice; and the Hibulb Cultural Center for culture. The Foundation also hosts a number of their own fundraising events throughout each year such as the Hibulb Cultural Center Salmon Bake and the Tulalip Foundation Giving Tuesday event. 

Although the funds from this year’s generous donation by the Roy Robinson dealership have yet to be decided, the Tulalip Foundation is excited just thinking about the possibilities the Share the Love event will help support in the near future.

Patti Gobin, the Tulalip Foundation Vice-Chairwoman expressed, “This is such a great thing because the Tulalip Tribes only has so much within their budget to spread throughout the Tribe to meet the community’s needs. This helps in areas that mean a lot to our community members, some of them are grassroots and trying to get things started. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for those programs and the Tulalip Foundation is honored to be the vehicle.” 

For more information, please contact the Tulalip Foundation at (360) 716-5400.  

Tulalip transitional units near completion

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

In early May, tribal council officially broke ground on what was dubbed ‘emergency transitional living units. In the process they began a long requested service that will benefit Tulalip’s membership. It’s been two months since that ground breaking and the first of several planned sites intended to prevent homelessness is nearing completion. 

Located across the street from Tulalip Bay fire department, the inaugural site consists of five units that will be fully furnished when complete. Essential amenities include a bath tub with shower, kitchenette and washer and dryer. The living space is compact (240 square feet) and meant for emergency purposes and short term living only. 

“These transition units will be a blessing for our community,” stated Chief Operating Officer Wendy Fryberg. “We recognize that our people sometimes have transition requirements, and homelessness should not be a concern for our members who have find themselves in such challenging circumstances.

“We anticipate as soon as these units are complete we will find a location to build more,” she added. “These units are designed to assist tribal members to live independently on a short-term basis while they create relationships with various programs. Those programs will become their stepping stone, providing resources needed for long-term solutions in the prevention of homelessness.”

In addition to providing a sense of stability for families who will use the transitional units as a stepping stone to independent living, each unit will provide crucial comforts like water and sewer utilities, electricity, and the ability to have cable or a Wi-Fi connection.

Rent will be $300 per month to cover the water, sewer and Public Utility District (PUD) costs. There will be more information coming out about the policy, eligibility, and application process for Tulalip membership interested in temporarily residing in one of these transitional units.

By contrast, the Tulalip Tribes homeless shelter utilizes shared utilities, including a shared kitchen area. Many of the region’s tiny home villages that have become more and more common also lack running water and cooking facilities. 

“This is our first project of this type. Yes, we have the homeless shelter, but these units have their own bathroom and kitchenette,” explained Vice-Chairman Glen Gobin. “These transitional units will provide a foundation for tribal members to build upon and carry on in a good way. We pray this will be a success for individuals and families who find themselves in such circumstances. This project is intended to assist and help them build a good positive foundation and move forward in that good way.”

Tulalip’s committed construction team has been diligently putting in the necessary work for what is sure to be a game changer in our community. During the recent record-breaking heat wave, construction superintendent Bob Lapham was on-site for each unit’s roof completion. According to Bob the builder, his crew is well coordinated and excited to be working on such a meaningful project. For such a compact size, the units have a large bathroom setup and living quarters with all the necessities, plus they’ll be nice took at both inside and out, he said. 

C.O.O. Wendy Fryberg wants the community to know these initial transitional units are on schedule and expected to be complete by July 31st.  The procedures and application process will be announced soon. Stay tuned.