Native American community quilt show comes to Tulalip

By Cullen Salinas-Zackuse, Tulalip News; photos courtesy of Colette Keith, NWIC Tulalip Site manager

On February 11-13 Northwest Indian College Tulalip campus is hosting a quilt show called Humble Stitches, Generous Quilts from Indian Country. It will be held at the Tulalip admin building from 9am – 4pm and will feature quilting styles from five tribal regions, including Northeast, South East, Southwest, Northwest, and Plains. There will be over 30 unique quilts on display with noticeable traits to their respectable region of influence. Whether it is Coast Salish design with trigons, crescents, and circles, a plains lone star quilt, a Northeastern woodland ribbon flower design, a Southwest Hopi pinwheel, or a Seminole patchwork style, all were beautifully crafted with a labor of love. 

Traditionally, quilts in all regions are to be gifted to loved ones or someone you want to honor. A symbolism of generosity and respect that can be gifted during ceremonies and gatherings. Tulalip has a long history of crafting and sharing during community gatherings. In 1950, at what people in the local area called the thrift shop at the bottom basement of an old gathering community hall is where a lot of the traditions of quilting were passed down. The tradition is being carried on at NWIC Tulalip campus where students and community members gather together and craft quilts that will soon be displayed for everyone to marvel at the workmanship.

Colette Keith, NWIC Tulalip Site manager, explains how the quilt show came to be. “When we received a grant [for the quilting class] from the Stillaguamish Tribe, we then attended the Everett Quilt Show two springs ago. I said, ‘Why don’t we have our own show?’ So, I asked the staff and students and they were excited about the idea. ”

The Tulalip Tribes contributed to the showcase by donating a quilting machine, space for the quilt show to be held, and informative catalogues for attendees. With the generous donations and hard work put in to make this vision come to reality, the anticipation level for the quilting showcase is rising. 

“This is big! There has not been a show even close to one like this since the University of New Mexico did one 20 years ago. And they are a large university, we are one small humble, but extremely talented and resourceful, satellite campus. As we get closer to the Feb 11th show date, people are starting to realize just what a significant deal this is,” Colette exclaimed.

Anyone in the community can submit their own quilting work to the show. It must be submitted to the Tulalip NWIC site by January 31. There will also be a free quilt raffle and free admission to the general public.

Making beaded earrings with Stephanie Jones and Chelsea Martinez

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Strands upon strands of vibrant beads covered two entire tables in a classroom at the Hibulb Cultural Center (HCC). Choosing from the many hues of yellow, blue and red, seven local ladies sat down for a fun, cultural experience together on January 18. Picking up their needle and thread, some ladies exchanged stories and laughter while they worked, and others seized the opportunity for some alone time as they zoned in on their project at hand, designing and crafting medallion earrings.  

Tulalip tribal member Stephanie Jones, along with step-mother Chelsea Martinez, returned to the cultural center to host their third beaded earrings class, as part of the HCC’s Culture Series.

“I’ve been beading these types of earrings for about three years now, but I’ve been beading ever since I was 8 or 9,” said Stephanie. “Originally I started beading key chains and feathers, but I saw these earrings being sold by other artists and just started learning by asking other artists. And YouTube has helped me a lot. And honestly, just practicing with my stepmom, Chelsea, we’re helping each out other along the way.”

The relationship between Indigenous people and beadwork dates back generations prior to colonial times when our ancestors crafted beads from bone and stone. Beads were worn as a status symbol of wealth with beaded items featured on traditional regalia, jewelry and artwork. As the years progressed, so have many of the stitching designs. Due to the introduction of glass, metal, crystal and various beads through trade, the colorway and pattern possibilities for Native beadwork are infinite. Today, many Natives coordinate their beaded jewelry with their outfit of the day, matching their colors and patterns to those on their fabrics.

“I did a class here at the Hibulb about a year ago and learned how to make a beaded bracelet,” said class participant and local resident, Susan Stachowiak. “I thought I’d come down today and try my hand at earrings too. It was a wonderful learning experience, trying new techniques and my earrings turned out pretty cool. Keeping the culture alive is primo, I come to as many events at the Hibulb as I can to help support and soak in the knowledge, even as a non-tribal member.”

Three-and-a-half-hours passed by quickly and by the end of the class, most ladies completed one half of a pair of earrings, and then packed the rest of their materials up to finish their projects at home.

“It makes me feel good to pass this on and teach other people,” expressed Stephanie. “Personally, it helps me get in touch with my spirit. It’s medicine, putting a piece of myself into my work. You give away that work to other people, and by doing so, you give that piece of yourself to other people. I think putting yourself out into the world through your art is important.”

For more information about upcoming culture series workshops, please follow the Hibulb Cultural Center on Facebook. And for any beading inquires, feel free to reach out to Stephanie Jones, preferably through Facebook.

Hawks come up short in back and forth game vs. Blackhawks

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Riding a 5-game winning streak, the (7-2) Heritage Hawks hosted the (11-2) Lummi Blackhawks at Francy J. Sheldon gymnasium on the evening of January 17th. A large contingent of both teams’ fans turned out to watch the matchup of tribal heavyweights play out on the hardwood. 

The Hawks found themselves facing an early deficit, 0-7, after failing to score a single point midway through the opening quarter. However, the tide turned dramatically after senior guard Josh Miranda hit back-to-back 3-pointers to spark a 12-3 run by Tulalip and take the lead, 12-10.

The stands filled with energetic supporters cheered the loudest they have all season when the 2nd quarter began and their Hawks extended their lead to 14-10. After a series of plays in which Heritage players thought they were fouled, but the refs didn’t blow the whistle, the frustration boiled over when senior point guard Leno Velo got T’d up arguing a non-call. Now trailing, 16-19, Lummi sharpshooters caught fire and found success shooting 3-pointers against the Hawks’ zone defense.

By the end of the 3rd quarter, Tulalip struggles to keep up with the offensive pace of Lummi and lack of foul calls led to a 27-40 deficit. In the 4th quarter, Coach Bubba kept with his starters and urged them to keep playing their game. They responded by shocking Lummi with a 23-13 run in the final quarter. Led by Leno, Josh and Isaac Comenote all hitting 3-pointers and shots from the perimeter, while Alonzo Jones nabbed rebounds and steals, the boys fought back and got within one possession, 50-53, with under a minute to play. 

  An Isaac 3-point attempt with 20-seconds remaining rimmed just short. The bucket would have tied the game, but instead capped off a near stellar comeback by the Hawks. Lummi would hit their free-throws in the closing moments to seal the game. On an evening of back and forth runs, Tulalip’s late game surge nearly overcame a big deficit. With the 50-56 loss came an end to the Hawks’ season best winning streak.

Josh Miranda led his team in scoring with 21 points, while Alonzo double-doubled with 10 points and 15 rebounds.

“I liked our team’s hustle tonight, for sure,” reflected Coach Bubba following the game. “We played really hard and felt the game out possession by possession. We mixed up our defense throughout to give Lummi different looks. At halftime we were down by 13 points, but in the locker room we were focused on playing our game and urged the boys to push the ball for quick shots. In the last five-minutes, the boys got loose and let their shots go naturally and that’s when the game turned in our favor. Another minute or two and we could have won that game.”

The Hawks play two home games this week – January 22nd vs Lopez and January 25th vs Chief Kitsap Academy. Senior night is scheduled for Tuesday, January 28th vs Cedar Park Christian.

Lady Hawks fall to Lummi, 32-41

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

In a battle between the Northwest 1B’s top two teams, record-wise, the Tulalip Heritage Lady Hawks hosted the Lummi Nation Blackhawks on January 17th. Heritage entered the game winning three of their last four games and looking to avenge their nail-biting 43-45 loss to Lummi earlier this season.

The 1st quarter was a struggle to score points for the home team, as rising star Jacynta Myles was forced to sit out the opening eight-minutes. Without her domineering presence holding down the painted area, the girls had difficulty executed their offense. Sophomore forward Shalana McLean scored on a running floater to give her team their first points nearly five-minutes into the game. A few plays later, Krislyn Parks muscled in a layup to give the Lady Hawks their second score. 

Heritage trailed 4-10 entering the 2nd quarter, and received a boost when Jacynta checked into the game. She immediately made an impact by scoring in the post and grabbing one rebound after another against the much smaller Lummi players. However, Lummi did a good job of adjusting their game plan and focused on perimeter shooting. 

The Lady Hawks trailed by double digits for most of the 2nd half until going on a late surge in the 4th quarter. An 8-2 scoring edge in the game’s final minutes cut their deficit to 29-36, but the girls couldn’t build upon that spark. Critical turnovers stopped their momentum and the Lady Hawks fell to Lummi, 32-41. 

Krislyn led her team with 14 points, while Jacynta finished with 12 points, 19 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots.

“It was a difficult week with all the school closures and delays because of the snowy weather. Because of that we only practiced once all week,’ said Krislyn postgame. “We need to get back to practicing our passes because in this game especially we turned the ball over a lot on bad passes. We did have moments where we played really well together, but will focus on our chemistry and cutting down the turnovers.

“Our defense has really gotten better and showed in this game. We held Lummi scoreless for stretches and considering both our match ups were really close, we feel like we can beat them if we play again.”

The Lady Hawks play a home game January 25th vs Chief Kitsap Academy. Senior night is scheduled for Tuesday, January 28th vs Cedar Park Christian.

Help prevent stalking and human trafficking

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

On the evening of December 23, Tulalip community member and Muckleshoot tribal member, Brittany Nelson-Jones, urgently sent out a message to her friends and family via her Facebook account.

“TULALIP-MARYSVILLE FAMILY/FRIENDS: You always read these things and never expect it to happen to you,” her post read. “I was last minute shopping for my family for Christmas. I went to Ross in Marysville then the Tulalip Walmart right after. Some guy was legit following my sister, my daughter and I in each store and it made me super uncomfortable. He had one item and was standing too close to us at Ross, he even held onto our cart and was trying to ask questions about my daughter. And then he was following us around Walmart. He was looking for us when we were checking out. Very scary! All I know is I wasn’t letting my baby go and I was just trying to hurry up and get us home safe. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE BE CAREFUL AND ALWAYS STAY ALERT!”

Within minutes the social media warning was shared over a dozen times and several people added comments, recounting similar experiences at businesses throughout the area, while others suggested contacting the authorities or investing in pepper spray. 

“My sister is 16, my daughter was 7 months at the time of this incident and I’m 25,” explained Brittany. “Ross’ carts have these long blue poles on the side, he grabbed that pole and he started asking about my daughter. I was uncomfortable and my sister was too, we got a weird vibe like something wasn’t right. So we hurried out of Ross as fast as we could. That’s when things got very sketchy. 

“We got to Walmart and he followed us there too. That same guy, watching us. As we were in line paying, I saw him towards the front of the store lurking down every cashier aisle looking for us. I alerted my sister to keep her eyes open. He noticed that I caught him looking for us and tried to play it off. He then just stared at us from behind. After we paid for our stuff, we walked as fast as we could to my car and got out of there. That situation was very scary. When I warned everyone and told my family they asked why I didn’t tell an employee at Ross or Walmart. But when you’re in the moment, you don’t think about that, you don’t think of anything but your safety.”

Thankfully, due to their attentiveness, the young ladies returned home safely that night. Too many times communities nationwide dismiss these instances as coincidence or pay little mind to accounts like Brittany’s. That is, until it’s too late and someone turns up missing. For the betterment of the Indigenous community as a whole, it’s important that we learn exactly what to do in those terrifying moments because, quite simply put, Native Americans are being targeted. 

The results of a study conducted by the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) indicated that approximately 40% of women forced into sex trafficking identified as Native American. Another shocking statistic is that 48.8% of all Indigenous women experienced some form of stalking in their lifetime, per the National Institute of Justice.

The Tulalip Legacy of Healing and Child Advocacy Center are taking part in a national campaign to raise awareness for the countless victims and survivors by educating the community with prevention methods. They are teaching people how to recognize key indicators one might display if they are currently being trafficked or stalked.

“January is the month where we focus our efforts on educating our people about the real dangers of stalking and human trafficking,” said Sydney Gilbert, Forensic Interview Specialist at the Tulalip Child Advocacy Center. “We often unintentionally minimize it by saying things like, ‘I Facebook stalked you.’ Which can be harmless if you have consensual social media friends, not fully understanding that it is a very dangerous and chargeable offense and crime.

“Human Trafficking Prevention Month is more aligned with bringing awareness to the prevalence of the issue because a lot of times when we think of human trafficking, we think of international sex rings,” Sydney continued. “There are all kinds of human trafficking, it’s not just sex work, sometimes it’s labor trafficking as well. Human trafficking prevention means equipping people with skills on how to recognize someone who is already a victim of human trafficking and how you can report that and help them get out of the life. We want to raise awareness on the red flags to look for if you think someone is being victimized and how to make a report.”

It’s important to note that in certain instances, stalking can lead to human trafficking, but that is not always the case. Sydney explained that stalking is often an extension of domestic violence and usually occurs between estranged partners. A stalker will use extreme measures while trying to stir-up a reaction, such as sending multiple threatening calls, texts, direct messages and e-mails, as well as tracking your movements by means of your cell phone’s GPS or driving by your place of work or residence. Sydney advises to never come into contact with a stalker or respond to their requests because it can lead to a more hostile situation. 

“If you feel like you’re being stalked, the first thing I would suggest is to contact the law enforcement and let them know, because it can turn dangerous fast,” Sydney stated. “Also, document everything. Save all the text messages, phone calls, incidents when that person is somewhere they shouldn’t be. If you are in a public space and feel like someone is suspicious and you’re worried about your child or yourself, notify security to make sure you get to your vehicle safe. And as much as you want to be there to protect your kid 24/7, the best thing you can do is empower them to use their voice when they’re not right by your side. Let them know they don’t have to go anywhere with a stranger and to yell out something like, ‘get away from me, you’re not my mom or my dad’.”

With the proximity to Interstate 5, one of the largest trafficking corridors in the country that extends from Canada to Mexico, the locals of Tulalip and Marysville should stay on alert when out and about. Studies show that traffickers prey on tribal populations due to certain jurisdictional complexities that often prevents them from prosecution. 

“We know that vulnerable communities tend to be targets of human trafficking or stalking,” expressed Sydney. “Human trafficking uses force, fraud or coercion to get someone roped in. If you feel someone is forcing you or someone you know to do something you don’t want to do, or is saying, ‘if you come with me and do this, I’ll give you a place to stay tonight so you’re not outside” – report it. It’s similar to reporting child abuse; you don’t have to have hard evidence to make a report. That’s someone else’s job, they’ll look into it. You just have to provide as much detailed information as possible.

 “Other signs to look out for would be if they’re not able to come and go as they please, and if they show any physical signs, including scarring, branding or certain tattoos. 

“And as it relates to MMIW, with the low reportings that we have, it is more likely that Native women have a proportionately larger amount of victims than other communities.”

The Legacy of Healing urges you to report any immediate human trafficking suspicions to the local authorities as well as to the National Human Trafficking hotline at 1-888-373-7888. For further details and guidance on these particular issues, please contact the Legacy of Healing at (360) 716-4100. 

“I really hope my story helps someone and alerts everyone to always pay attention to your surroundings,” Brittany said. “It’s scary how people around our area are stalking and contributing to trafficking. I truly hope our people will keep their eyes open and always stay cautious.”

Breaking the silence on sexual violence against men and boys

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Many people continue to find it frightening when they realize just how widespread sexual abuse and violence is in our society. What was long a taboo subject and could only be discussed in whispers is now spoken aloud at rallies and public gatherings, and is turned to the loudest possible volume on social media. 

According to Time Magazine, the groundbreaking anti-sexual assault and women’s empowerment movements #MeToo of 2017 and 2018’s Time’s Up upended the public conversation about women’s issues around the world, and elevated the global consciousness surrounding the obstacles women encounter in their daily lives, both personal and professional. The success of these two social movements continues to be the liberation of public discourse to include subjects and stories that were for far too long kept quiet.

Yet, as the terms sexual assault, sexual abuse, and sexual violence have permeated into national dialogue and every day conversations, there continues to be a veil of ignorance and denial to the fact that men and boys are victims as well. Often men are the neglected victims of all forms of sexual violence, including being abused as children.

Lenny Hayes, a tribal citizen of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, is a therapy practitioner with extensive training in mental and chemical health issues that impact the Two-Spirit and Native community.

Organized by Tulalip Tribes Children’s Advocacy Center and Northwest Indian Health Board, the Tulalip community was invited to a January 13th training hosted by Lenny Hayes to offer insight while shedding light on such a dark topic. The training’s title: A silent epidemic – sexual violence against men and boys.

Lenny, a citizen of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate in northeastern South Dakota, is a therapy practitioner with extensive training in mental and chemical health issues that impact the Two-Spirit and Native community. He has travelled nationally and locally presenting on issues that include historical and intergenerational trauma, violence of all forms, child welfare issues, and the rarely discussed topic that is the impact of sexual violence on men and boys.  

“There is a general misconception that men are immune from sexual violence, owing to gender stereotypes of women as delicate and therefore victims, while men are either the powerful protector or perpetrators of violence,” explained Lenny during the one-of-a-kind training seminar. “Traditional masculinity is inconsistent with the position of victimhood, leading many to believe a man simply cannot be a victim of sexual abuse.

“A boy or man sexually abused by a woman is often greeted by disbelief, denial, or trivializing. Society tells us that if any part of his experience felt good, then he was not abused. Or if he did not enjoy it, then he must be gay. While a boy or man sexually abused by another male is even more reluctant to come forward because of the stigma and extreme shame faced, both internally and externally, by admitting to being victimized.” 

A new study funded by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and published in May 2016 looked at the extent and impact of sexual and intimate partner violence against Native American victims. The study clearly shows that Native American men and boys suffer violence at alarmingly high rates. 

According to the NIJ study, more than 1.4 million Native American men have experienced violence in their lifetime. This includes:  

  • More than 1 in 4 (27.5%) who have experienced sexual violence
  • Roughly 2 in 5 (43.2%) who have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner
  • About 1 in 5 (18.6%) who have experienced stalking, and
  • Nearly 3 in 4 (73%) who have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner

These are startling and heartbreaking statistics that were reviewed and discussed in great detail during the training. Illustrating the depth and scope of this rampant issue, especially in Native communities and on reservations, the PBS documentary Predator on the Reservation was shown. The film details a Frontline and Wall Street Journal investigation into the decades-long failure to stop an Indian Health Service (IHS) doctor accused of sexually abusing Native boys for years, and examines how he moved from reservation to reservation despite warnings. 

A National Institute of Justice funded study shows that Native American men suffer violence at alarmingly high rates.

Training participants, many of whom were professional advocates and social workers employed by community engagement entities throughout Snohomish County, were offered plenty of time to properly process and ask questions for further understanding about the heavy subject matter.

“You all took a huge first step just by being here today and being open to education about  sexual violence against men and boys, the many mental health issues that impact them thereafter, and how healing is possible by breaking the silence,” offered Lenny at the conclusion of the training. “I hope that when you all leave here you remember that failure to address the suffering of male victims has profound consequences for the survivor, his family and his community. By breaking the silence and creating safe spaces for these stories to be told, healing can begin.”

Following the training, Tulalip tribal member and Community Health employee Rocio Hatch offered her thoughts. “In this community we don’t really talk about sexual abuse at all, let alone abuse towards men and boys,” she shared. “I was very uneducated in this topic and am just thankful to have participated here today. I’m excited to bring this knowledge back to my coworkers and, hopefully, start to have these necessary conversations and expand our outreach.”

Megan Boyer, lead family advocate for Legacy of Healing, added, “There’s an absolute need of education around the victimization of men and boys. It’s very prevalent, and in my job I’ve become aware of just how big an issue this is, but nobody talks about it. We all have a responsibility to let our boys and men know we believe them, it’s not their fault, and we appreciate them for having the strength to tell their story.”

Sexual violence is just as much a men’s issue as it is women’s, but the current structure for speaking about violence in any form often comes at the exclusion of men as victims. This constrained dialogue limits the opportunity for survivors to tell their stories and be included as critical resources and advocates. Fully recognizing male victims will not only bring much needed support and assistance, but create safe spaces for men to address the lifelong impacts of sexual violence as a whole, which benefits everyone.

Offered resources for further understanding:

To view the PBS film Predator on the Reservation documenting how an IHS doctor preyed on Native boys for decades, please visit:

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/predator-on-the-reservation/

To view the NIJ-funded study showing that Native American women and men suffer violence at alarmingly high rates, please visit:

https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/249822.pdf

Tulalip community celebrates ‘wellbriety’

Natosha Gobin, Tulalip tribal member.

By Kalvin Valdillez

“My name is Natosha Gobin. I’m coming up on three-and-a-half years of my second round of sobriety,” shared the Tulalip tribal member to approximately one hundred community members. “When I was 21, I quit drinking right after my 21st birthday and I was sober for eight years. I’ve been teaching our language for almost twenty years now and it took a lot for me to realize, this second time around, the disservice I was doing to my job by drinking. The more we learn and reconnect with our ancestors and reconnect with our way of life, the more we realize that addiction is not our way. I have to apologize to my nieces and my children for normalizing my addiction. We have normalized addiction within our communities. It’s time for us to have more gatherings like this and say, this is not our way.” 

Many happy tears were shed on the night of January 9th as people from all over Snohomish County gathered at the Hibulb Cultural Center. The celebration of sobriety, or wellbriety, has occurred every so often amongst the local recovery community at Tulalip for years. The gatherings took place namely at the Tulalip Resort Casino ballrooms and the Tulalip Dining Hall, and were hosted by passionate recovering addict and Tulalip tribal member, Helen Gobin-Henson. However, the wellbriety celebration is looking to become a staple event in 2020 as the Tulalip Problem Gambling program has adopted the wellbriety concept and will be hosting a celebratory dinner once a month throughout the year. 

“In the spirit of unity to support health and wellness, we want to create a safe space for the community to gather and support each other in recovery. Whether you have one day or fifty years, we want to recognize your efforts in maintaining your sobriety,” said Robin Johnson, Substance Use Disorder Professional and Problem Gambling Counselor, who is approaching twenty years of sobriety herself.

Problem Gambling enlisted Native American Grammy Award Winner, Star Nayea, to host the event, who shared that she is celebrating her sobriety of seventeen years. The program also looked for guidance from Helen Gobin-Henson who was in attendance to share her story and celebrate with the community. 

“There’s a lot of heart break when you’re recovering,” Helen tearfully admitted. “Keep fighting. Recovery works if you work it. I’m thankful for everyone, we praise you for coming together to honor your recovery. Stay safe and continue to walk with pride on the red road to recovery.”

Last year, the Problem Gambling program hosted a thirty-two-hour class at Tulalip called Recovery Coach Training. This course taught local recovering addicts, who were looking to help others, the essential tools on how to be supportive and help fellow addicts stay the course of sobriety. Six of those students who became certified recovery coaches were at the wellbriety dinner, cheering on their comrades in recovery, including Denise, a compulsive gambler who was caught embezzling money from her company in order to fuel her addiction. 

“One of the things I learned about recovery coaching is you have to meet the person where they are,” Denise explained. “If you say you’re in recovery, you’re in recovery. It doesn’t matter how much time you have; a year, a day or a minute. Being a part of the recovery coach community and being a part of the solution for somebody else is something I embrace. If you are in recovery and made the decision that you want to pass on that message of hope, recovery coaching is the way. Let me walk with you and tell you what I’ve done, what worked for me and what didn’t. Let’s take a look at who you are today, and what you need to wake up in the morning and realize you’re going to be okay.” 

One by one, community members stepped up to the open-microphone to share their personal story of sobriety. Some celebrating decades, some celebrating days – all equally met with rounds of applause that echoed throughout the cultural center halls. 

“I graduated from Drug Wellness Court. I was the very first one,” said Verle Smith. “I did have a minor relapse of sorts after I graduated, but I got the opportunity to step up to the plate and figure out what my next addiction was, and it was gambling. I’m thankful for Robin, Problem Gambling and Family Services for leading me back to the red road of recovery because on the 20th I will have one year and I’m extremely proud of that.”

“The main reason I came tonight was to celebrate my recovery – nine months!” said Tulalip tribal member Winona Keeline. “This is the first time I’ve been in recovery and I just wanted to see the community come together and celebrate their journey. What stood out to me the most was how many of our youth were here and seeing that we are capable of coming together to celebrate life in a good way and show the youth a new way for our people to live.” 

The Tulalip Youth Council offered the group a song and president, Kaiser Moses, followed up with some strong words to encourage people along their path of recovery. 

“Thank you for showing each other that support for sobriety and taking back control of your lives and protecting your time,” Kaiser expressed. “One thing that I still carry with me that my mom always told me when I was little is that alcohol and other substances are like snakes. She told me a story Raven Moses used to tell. There was once a guy who was walking up the mountain and it was really cold. There was a snake that was walking alongside him. The snake kept asking, ‘can you pick me up for warmth, it’s cold,’ and the guy kept refusing. But the snake was persistent and the guy eventually picked up the snake – and it bit him. The guy asked ‘why did you bite me?’ and the snake replied, ‘you knew I was a snake when you picked me up’. So, the moral is don’t pick up the snake or you will get bitten.” 

A lot of knowledge, encouragement, pride and laughter was shared throughout the night. Wrapping up the two-hour event was a round of karaoke and a sobriety countdown. Starting at fifty, the community counted backwards to present day, celebrating the amount of time clean each person attainted. 

“Tonight filled my heart,” Robin said. “The participants in our program worked hard, coming to group sessions every day and giving their all to their recovery, and it’s not acknowledged or celebrated nearly enough. They don’t know a lot of those people on the same path to recovery. This was a great opportunity for them to meet and share with each other. I wanted to show the community how hard our people are working to stay sober and allow them the opportunity to bring that education and knowledge back to the community, to heal the people from within.”

The Problem Gambling program is gearing up for a big year, beginning by hosting two upcoming Recovery Coach Trainings; one on January 18 and 19, the other on January 25 and 26. Both classes are held between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at the Tulalip Administration building. For further details, please contact Problem Gambling at (360) 716-4302.