Careers in the construction industry are booming, TVTC can be your entry point to a better tomorrow

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Educators, parents and others often place strong emphasis on college preparation and earning an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree by traditional means. But that lengthy and expensive route often means accruing a ton of debt just to enter a highly competitive job market. College degrees may be the preferred goal for many, however there are a growing number of students who see a more hands-on future for themselves. For these individuals, unafraid of getting their hands dirty and learning the true meaning behind a hard day’s work, there is an abundance of opportunity within the construction industry.

Whether it be laborer, carpenter, ironworker, electrician or heavy equipment operator, there are countless positions available for work and advancement within the trades, especially for sought after minorities like Native Americans and women. A major access point for entry into these desirable career paths for tribal citizens and their families continues to be Tulalip’s own TERO Vocational Training Center (TVTC).

“Not everybody wants to be a doctor or lawyer. Not everybody wants a desk job. I’m a lifetime fisherman that started a construction company when it became apparent we could no longer sustain ourselves simply by living off the land,” said Tulalip Vice-Chairman Glen Gobin. “Some want to be outside working with their hands. That’s what brings people to our training program, it gives them an opportunity to get exposure to all the different trades, learn how to function on a job site and how to get work. Graduates of TVTC enter a section of the workforce that is in high demand.”

In fact, a quick glance around the greater Seattle area and onlookers are sure to see more cranes than they can count. Along the I-5 corridor, from Tacoma to Everett, construction projects are booming and many on-site jobs continue to go unfilled. While other career pathways may be oversaturated and hard to come by, those within construction trades are thriving. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, open construction positions are expected to increase by more than 700,000 jobs nationally through 2028, a faster growth than any other occupation. In Washington State alone, there are nearly 3,000 unfilled construction jobs that pay much more than the average state wage. 

Brighter horizons and prospects galore were among the reasons so many gathered to celebrate the TVTC autumn cohort’s achievement on a December morning at the Tulalip Resort’s orca ballroom. Fifteen students (including eight Tulalip tribal members and three women) were honored with a graduation banquet for their commitment to building a better future. Nearly 200 guests attended, including trade union representatives, several construction employers, and many cheerful family members.

“Our TVTC program is 100% supported by grant funds,” explained TERO director Summer Hammons. “Our TVTC graduates earned various certifications and college credits, while learning many skills that will undoubtedly make an impact on their future. We thank the Tulalip Tribes, Washington State Department of Transportation, Sound Transit, and the Tulalip Cares charitable fund for always supporting us. These organizations and community partners are ensuring our future leaders have viable career paths.”

TVTC is the first and only state and nationally recognized Native American pre-apprenticeship program in the entire country. The program is accredited through South Seattle Community College and Renton Technical College, while all the in-class, hands-on curriculum has been formally approved by the Washington State Apprentice and Training Council.

The sixteen-week program provides 501-hours of hands-on instruction, strength building exercises, and construction skills that can last a lifetime. In addition, students are trained and awarded certifications in flagging, first aid/CPR, industrial fork lift and scissor lift, 40-hour HAZWOPER, and OSHA 10-hour safety. 

Homegrown Tulalip citizen Demitri Jones opted to retake the class after not being able to complete it his first time around.  To jumpstart an all-new career path as a carpenter, he had to grit and grind. He maintained his full-time position as a security officer working the dreaded graveyard shift, while sacrificing convenience and lots of sleep to take the TVTC class during the day.

“My biggest takeaway is learning the benefits of hard work and dedication,” reflected Demitri. “My advice to those who already have a job but are interested in taking the class, if you really want it then make it happen. Creating a routine was so important, but knowing in the end it’ll all be worth it kept me going.” 

His instructors noted he was the first in his class to gain employment. “I’m a carpenter’s apprentice right now and looking forward to journeying out, becoming a foreman or even superintendent,” added the ambitious 26-year-old.

Along with gaining a wide-range of new employment opportunities via the trades, seven diligent students took advantage of the educational aspect and earned their high school diploma.

Three hardworking ladies were among the graduates, Carla Yates (Haida), Cheyenne Frye (Arikara) and Shelbi Strom (Quinault). Each wanted to acquire a new skillset while creating a pathway to a better and brighter future.

“I really liked the class. I met some really cool people and learned so many new skills that I would have never been exposed to if I didn’t try it out,” said 20-year-old Cheyenne. Originally from North Dakota, her family relocated to the area so her mom could take the TVTC program. After graduating and seeing all the opportunity now available to her, she convinced her daughter to follow suit.

“I had zero experience with construction tools, like the nail gun and different saws. All of that was pretty intimidating at first, but after I learned to use them properly it became a lot of fun using them to complete projects,” admitted Cheyenne. “Both my parents have jobs as plumbers on the new casino project now. Hopefully I can join an electricians’ or sheet metal union and get work on that project, too.”

With hundreds of skilled-trade workers retiring every day across the state, the construction industry is in need of the next generation workforce to help build an ever-growing Snohomish County and surrounding Puget Sound communities. In the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett area alone, construction employment increased by 6,400 jobs between March 2018 and March 2019, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. These are well-paying jobs that are available to people straight out of high school. It takes some grit for sure, but for those folks with a strong work ethic and can-do attitude, they can find themselves running a construction company of their own someday.

“When our student graduates go out into the world of construction, they can compete on equal footing with anybody,” declared TVTC instructor Mark Newland during the graduation ceremony. “We’re gaining traction with union companies and construction employers all over the region. 

“I just can’t say enough about this class,” he continued. “From day one, they were engaged, helping each other out, and understood what they had to gain by putting their nose to the grindstone. Really amazing stuff! They’ve given me so much as their instructor and I wish them all the best.”

Those interested in being among the next available TVTC cohort or would like more information about the program, please call (360) 716-4760 or email Ltelford@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov 

10 Facts You Need to Know About Tribal Treaty Rights

By Ryan Miller, Environmental Liaison- Program Manager, Tulalip Tribes Treaty Rights Office

  1. In the 1850s, territorial governor Isaac Stevens had a mandate to secure title to Indian lands in the Washington territory. Indian tribes entered into treaties that ceded millions of acres of land while reserving Reservation homelands and securing rights central to maintaining a tribal way of life and culture
    • Sovereign Indian tribes pre-existed the United States and the State of Washington. The treaties entered into between the United States, and Indian tribes were contracts between sovereign nations.  
  2. In treaties, such as the Point Elliot Treaty of 1855, tribes retained reservation lands and reserved hunting, fishing, and gathering rights off-reservation lands and waters in areas they had always used over broad areas of Washington State.  
    • In exchange for ceding land, tribes received a guarantee of protection for their inherent right to self-governance and self-determination as well as the right to fish in all Usual and Accustomed grounds; and to hunt and gather on all open and unclaimed lands.
  3. Treaty Rights reserve inherent sovereign rights of tribes-they are not rights given to tribes by the government, but rights that tribes have always possessed and reserved in the treaties.
    • SCOTUS in Worcester v Georgia stated that Indian tribes are “distinct, independent political communities, retaining their original natural rights as the undisputed possessors of the soil, since time immemorial.” Treaties made with tribes uphold their “original natural rights.”
  4. The exercise of treaty rights was and continues to be fundamental to the tribes’ culture and way of life, helping to explain why the tribes’ ancestors explicitly reserved them in the treaties.
    • Tribes could not then and cannot now imagine a life without access to the natural resources they have depended on since time immemorial. 
  5. Treaty Rights include off-reservation fishing rights within the Tribes Usual and Accustomed fishing grounds and are based on where tribes fished during pre-treaty times.
    • Fishing is essential to the culture of Coast Salish treaty tribes. The 1974 “Boldt Decision” included several proceedings involving tribal elders and other expert witnesses that established where tribes fished before and during treaty times. This formed the basis for the designation of their “Usual and Accustomed” fishing areas that tribes reserved in the treaties.
  6. Treaty Rights include access to resources on public and unoccupied lands like the National Forests and State timberlands.
    • Like fishing, the right to continue to hunt and gather on off-reservation lands was an essential element of the bargain that Tribes struck in negotiating the treaties.
  7. The Federal Government has a trust responsibility to protect the sovereign status of Indian tribes and honor the promises outlined in the treaties. 
    • When the U.S. signed treaties with tribes, the U.S. assumed legal obligations to protect tribal treaty rights and the resources on which those treaty rights depend.
  8. Treaty Rights are not restricted to specific species like fish or berries but cover all available natural resources, which were all critical to maintaining tribal lifeways.
    • Since time immemorial, tribes have made use of the plethora of resources available to them to thrive in their environments, developing complex cultures, relationships, trade routes, and communities. 
  9. Treaty Rights are property rights that exist over the whole of the landscape.
    • Treaty Rights are not limited to reservations. They are property rights that extend over all the lands under the treaty. 
  10. Treaties made between the Federal Government and tribes are the “Supreme Law of the Land,” meaning they supersede other laws, including those made by State Governments. 

No state or local government law can interfere with tribal self-governance or diminish the rights protected by federal treaties. 

Tulalip weavers share their craft with the community

By Cullen Salinas-Zackuse, Tulalip News

On Sunday December 15th, at the Tulalip Resort Casino, fifteen of Tulalip’s cedar weavers came together to teach the community how to weave. They shared their expertise and enjoyed their time teaching traditional ways of making cedar baskets, headbands, dolls, jewelry and many other cedar creations. It was the first time this many Tulalip weavers came together to enrich the community with cultural activity of this nature.

“All the teachers have a lot of teachings and history,” said event coordinator,Virginia Jones, on how the weavers showed the importance of carrying on these skills for all the generations after us. 

Weaver Clarissa Johnny talked about how she learned from Anna Jefferson (Lummi) how to peel and process the cedar, and how to cure it. “She [Anna] was taught how to respect the forest and pray before taking anything from the cedar tree. Pray before you leave and thank the cedar tree for giving up part of its life for us”. 

One of the younger weavers, Shylee Burke, said that she “learned from her aunties and it is passed down from generation to generation”, because she was always around it as a child. It wasn’t until later in life that she said learned how to “put her hands to work,” learning how to weave. 

Overall, everyone who attended took away something from this event. Whether it was learning how to carry on the culture or different weaving styles, it was a fun way to come together and share culture with the community. 

Hard work is recognized with student of the semester award

By  Cullen Salinas-Zackuse, Tulalip News

When getting awards in academia, typically what people think of is a straight edge, hard working kid that worries about grades and school comes to them effortlessly. Not all students function the same way, some shine differently. When going through the rigorous journey of school these kids did not have the typical ride and with their resilience and efforts they were able to endure their situation and succeed. This semester these are the Native youth that were nominated and recognized for the outstanding work and efforts.

Lenay Chuckalnaskit.

The student of the semester for middle school is 8th grader Lenay Chuckalnaskit. She recently moved from Nespelem Washington, to Marysville and now attends Totem Middle School. She was noticed for her hard work while going through a tough transitional phase in life with friends, grades, and a good attitude. She became a student athlete and participates in track and field 100-meter dash/hurdles, volleyball, and gymnastics. Lenay also participates in the cultural activities by Powwow dancing. With all the activities Lanay is doing she is also able to maintain a 4.0 GPA, as she is driven and has only missed two days of school this year. 

Lanay eventually wants to have a career in the medical field but is not positive where yet. She thanks her parents and family for supporting her along her academic journey. She also looks up to her 19-year-old sister for being her role model and leading by example on how to be successful in school. 

Tristian Hopkins.

The student of the semester for high school was nominated because of his growth as a student. Tristian Hopkins is a senior at Marysville-Getchell High School. He started his high school career at Tulalip Heritage, where he felt comfortable going to school with friends and family. He eventually felt distracted and wanted to branch out and explore a bigger school and that is where he found himself at Marysville-Getchell Highschool. Going from 100 kids who are friends and family to a school that has 1,500 kids usually seems like a tough transition but Tristian looked at it as an opportunity for growth. He was able to find a new crowd and focus better in his academic work. He pulled his grades up to above a 3.0 GPA, but not without sacrificing a year playing football. Choosing to focus on school over football did not diminish his love for the game. His senior year he came back and played for the varsity football team. Tristian was able to rack up 8 tackles his last 3 games and was honorary captain for a couple of those games. 

Looking to the future, Tristian plans on applying to Arizona State University. He wants to become an aerospace engineer and work on building airplane parts. It makes sense when you ask him his favorite subject, he says physics. Academic careers hardly ever go as planned and not all are perfect, but along the journey there is always room to grow. That is what Tristian showed he can do. 

Diamond Medina.

Diamond Medina is a sweet, kind young lady. She a fifth grader at Tulalip/Quil Ceda Elementary where she has grown into a positive role model. She always stays focused and gets her work done. Multiple teachers noticed she is organized and advocates for herself and her learning. Diamond doesn’t get distracted easily as she’s always on time for her groups and utilizes her resources while she is in school. Overall, she keeps her positive mindset no matter her situation at school and is always smiling. 


Festival of Trees unites community for ‘Season of Miracles’

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Extravagantly festive Christmas trees and wreaths, each decorated with its own unique theme and style, brightened the Orca Ballroom at the Tulalip Resort Casino during the 34th annual Festival of Trees. The week-long celebration kicked off December 3rd with opening night festivities, continued with the excitement-filled Gala Dinner and Live Auction on December 6th, and concluded December 7th with the family friendly Teddy Bear Breakfast.

Each year, thousands of community members take part in the Festival of Trees – including volunteers, sponsors, and attendees – to raise funds for Children’s Services at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett. For more than three decades, Providence Children’s Center has been providing comprehensive, family-oriented care and highly specialized therapies – such as physical, occupational, speech and feeding therapy – for children with a wide variety of special needs.

“Knowing this is one of the largest charitable events for Snohomish County, it is appropriate for us to host and participate with goodwill and sharing the opportunity to help all children in need,” explained Marilyn Sheldon, manager of Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund, on the importance of hosting the Festival and being the title sponsor. “We recognize that over 50% of Tulalip’s population is 0-24 years of age and Providence is our local hospital for care most tribal members use for emergency situations and other needs. Also, this event brings many people to our facilities for the week and encourages them to come back and host their own business/charity event at our venue.”

A highlight of the holiday season, the Festival of Trees provides entertainment for countless families and children. Whether it’s a black-tie evening with a three-course dinner or a free afternoon with cookies and Santa, the Festival’s variety of events offer holiday cheer for all kinds of crowds. The stunningly decorated Christmas trees won’t soon be forgotten as their specialized themes like ‘Merry Christmas from Mickey Mouse’ and ‘Christmas Under the Sea’ to ‘Arctic Winter Dreams’ and ‘A Celebration of Tulalip Culture’ capture the imagination.

During the elegant gala dinner and live auction, the dazzling Christmas trees and wreaths were sold to the highest bidders, with proceeds going to Providence Children’s Services. Several of the trees were reserved to be put on display throughout the Children’s Center as a special treat for hospitalized kids this holiday season.

“For more than three decades, this fun-filled, weeklong series of events has raised more than $12 million dollars to support the healthcare needs of children in our community,” stated Festival Chairs, Scott and Kippy Murphy. “Over the years, we have been in awe of the generosity shown at this event and it is that spirit of generosity and collective effort of our community that inspired us to choose this year’s theme – Season of Miracles.”

The generosity of countless donors and Festival attendees supports Providence in growing and expanding specialized therapies, equipment and educational classes that really does make miracles happen for children and families at Providence every day. Total monies raised this year topped $1.2 million, with all funds going directly to Providence programs and services such as Pediatrics, the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, the Children’s Center, the Autism Center, and Camp Prov, a summer camp for children with special needs. 

For nearly two decades, Tulalip Tribes has been an important partner to Providence in the Northwest Washington Region, by helping provide the funding and support needs to care for the health of our growing community. Contributions made by Tulalip to Providence General Foundation since 2002 have totaled more than $750,000. For their dedication to the Festival of Trees, the Tulalip Tribes were honored with the Spirit of Festival Award at last year’s Gala and live-auction.

“The lives of thousands of children, that includes Tulalip tribal children, will be helped thanks to the generosity received from the Festival of Trees fundraising efforts,” said Board of Director Mel Sheldon, fourteen-year member of the Providence General Foundation. “We are very fortunate to have a relationship with Providence Medical Center and to support such an amazing opportunity that really looks at the bigger picture. We all want to do our part to create a sustainable and healthy community.”

One of Snohomish County’s largest and most well attended holiday events, the Festival of Trees has been a beloved community tradition for 34 years. The annual outpouring of community spirit, combined with a magical setting, delivered a wonderful event that united many during the holiday season. 

Hawks get routed by Darrington, then blowout Providence by 50+

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

The Tulalip Heritage boys basketball program is coming off of back-to-back years in which the team won at least 20 games and made it past District, Tri-District and Regional playoffs, all the way to State. An historic achievement for any program. 

Now, entering the 2019-2020 season, the Hawks look to repeat past success with its current roster of rez ball hoopers. Gone are four seniors from last season, but in their place are five current seniors including standout guards Leno Vela, Josh Miranda and Isaac Comenote. They took to the court on Saturday, December 7 in their season opener. A home game versus the Darrington Loggers.

Tulalip struggled mightily from the jump. Shots weren’t falling, no one was rebounding and meanwhile Darrington took advantage of every opportunity afforded to them with a taller, heftier lineup.  The score was 4-19 after the opening quarter, and that deficit ballooned to 11-40 at halftime. 

In the 2nd half, the home crowd was anxious for some kind of spark to ignite their team’s offense. It never happened. Instead, the lack of shot making and rebounding continued. Tulalip ended up on the wrong side of a lopsided 32-68 loss. It was the lowest scoring output from a Tulalip Hawks team in nearly 3 years; a December 28, 2016 defeat to Lummi, 31-65.

With only two days between games, the boys had to make use of some selective amnesia and quickly forget about everything that went wrong vs. Darrington and focus on their next opponent. Tulalip hosted the Highlanders from Providence Classical Christian on Monday, December 9.

What a difference a game makes. The Hawks came out firing on all cylinders offensively, while relentlessly locking up Providence defensively. Jumping out to a 25-9 lead at the end of the 1st quarter, the boys kept the pedal to the metal and took a 39 point lead into halftime, up 52-13. 

During one stretch, senior point guard Leno Vela went on a 16-0 run all by himself. He caught fire from downtown hitting four consecutive 3-pointers and then came up with back-to-back steals that he converted into layups. His scoring barrage fired up the home crowd and his fellow teammates who cheered him on.

“My shooting felt really good and my teammates found me when I got hot,” said Leno afterwards. “They trusted me and I was able to come up with buckets.”

The Hawks defense continued to feast on a Providence team that struggled with ball handling and routinely coughed up the ball via steal or bad pass. And with every turnover forced came the accustomed run-and-gun offense Tulalip is known for. All the starters scored multiple buckets in transition and hit a 3-pointer. 

At the end of the 3rd quarter, Tulalip led 73-18. With the result no longer in doubt the bench came in to finish the game. The final score was 81-27. Leno led all scorers with 33 points, while Josh Miranda added 13 points.

A 54 point victory over Providence is a good way to wash away the stain from their opening loss to Darrington. 

“We played our style of basketball tonight. I wanted them to be aggressive and attack the basket because we really didn’t do that in our last game,” explained Coach Fryberg after the blowout win. “Their aggressiveness resulted in lots of looks close to the basket and got them to the free-throw line. Defensively, we locked in early and pressed the issue throughout.”

Tulalip basketball is on the road for their next 3 games. They’ll return home on Thursday, December 19 for a matchup with Grace Academy. 

Lady Hawks basketball returns with home opener vs. Darrington

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

The Tulalip Heritage girls basketball team opened their 2019-2020 season with a home game on Saturday, December 7. They hosted the Darrington Loggers at Francy J. Sheldon gymnasium.

Last season the Lady Hawks finished with a lackluster (4-12) record. In the weeks leading up to this new season the coaching staff opted to focus on pace of play and defensive hustle as their areas for improvement. Assistant coach Jeff Monsegur said, “We spent a lot of time working on cardio, just running and more running, so that we can have a quicker tempo on offense and keep our defense up in the 2nd half of games.”

With a few weeks of hearty conditioning and practice reps the Lady Hawks were prepared to make their team debut with a renewed sense of vigor and upbeat energy.

In their opening game against Darrington, their girls showcased a quicker pace right out the gate. They took an 8-2 lead after back-to-back buckets by Krislyn Parks and a 3-pointer by Deachae Jones. Darrington fought back and tied the game at 12-12 early in the 2nd quarter before employing a full-court defense that stymied the Lady Hawks. At halftime the home team trailed 19-21.

The second half was a highly competitive affair with both teams routinely diving on the hardwood for loose balls and coming up with timely buckets. Darrington opted to double team Jacynta Myles, forcing the Lady Hawks guards to create for themselves. Led by the aggressive driving of Krislyn, who earned a whopping 14 free-throw attempts by drawing fouls, Tulalip stayed within a bucket or two the entire game. 

Down 36-37 with just over two minutes remaining, Darrington went back to their full-court defense and forced Tulalip to commit errant passes that led to three quick turnovers. Even so, with only seconds remaining, the girls had a chance to capture victory when Deachae shot a potential go-ahead 3-pointer. Unfortunately, her attempt fell just short and clanged off the rim for a miss. Tulalip 37, Darrington 41.

Krislyn led the Lady Hawks with 14 points, while Jacynta collected over 20 rebounds. 

“We did so much running over the past three weeks so we wouldn’t burn out in the 2nd half of games, like we did last season. All that running really showed tonight,” reflected Krislyn following the game. “We’ll continue to work on our team hustle and never giving up on any plays.”

“Even when we lost our lead we stayed positive and kept cheering each other on. That attitude really helped us stay in the game,” added Jacynta. And on her huge rebounding total? “Because of my height the team relies on me to get rebounds. I don’t want to let them down so I try to get every one that I can.”

Tulalip basketball is on the road for their next 3 games. They’ll return home on Thursday, December 19 for a matchup with Grace Academy. 

Camas meadow a teacher for future generations

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Tribal elders led a planting ceremony that included University of Washington students, faculty, and visitors on the afternoon of December 3. In the spirit of growing partnerships and sharing the importance of land cultivation, the memorable gathering occurred near the new Burke Museum’s entrance. Home to a future Camas meadow.

“This garden here will be a witness and teacher to something that is very important and sacred to all people, but especially to this land,” said Wanapum tribal elder Rex Buck. “The land has longed for these foods to come back and call it home. And so this is our way, the Burke’s way and the community’s way to recognize this planting as important. It represents a teaching for our children to maintain something sacred in a good way.”

After receiving proper instruction on how to plant budding Camas bulbs, all those in attendance were encouraged to plant multiple bulbs that will transform into stunning purple-blue flowers in a few short seasons. Once fully bloomed, visitors to the University of Washington and Burke Museum will find themselves walking by a Camas meadow, as were once in great abundance in the area prior to colonization. 

A utilitarian plant, food source and medicine, the multi-purpose Camas was and continues to be one of the most important root foods of Indigenous peoples in western North American. Except for choice varieties of dried salmon, no other food item was more widely traded. People traveled great distances to harvest the bulbs and there is some suggestion that plants were dispersed beyond their range by transplanting.*

The part of the plant most revered is actually the bulb. Traditionally, Camas bulbs were pit-cooked for 24-36 hours, which was necessary for the inulin in Camas to convert to fructose. The sweetness of cooked Camas gave it utility as a sweetener and enhancer of other foods, making it highly valuable for trading purposes. The plants stalks and leaves were used for making mattresses. Additionally, Coast Salish tribes used Camas as a cough medicine by boiling it down, straining the juice, and then mixing with honey.

“Camas is medicine that our people have known and understood for thousands and thousands of years,” explained Cedar Moon Woman, Connie McCloud, cultural director of Puyallup Tribe. “The Creator put this plant here for us to nourish our bodies as food and to heal our bodies as medicine. The land knew this medicine would return here today so it would be an educator for our children. If our future generations do not understand their relationship to the Mother Earth, to the trees and to the plants, then they cannot be the protectors she desperately needs.”

The long-awaited planting ceremony and gardening activities have been years in the making, since design plans for the new Burke were first being drawn up. Ultimately, the museum’s surroundings will feature some 80,000 native plants of 60 different species representing different parts of Washington State, ones genetically tied to the region. The spring bloom of purple-blue flowers should be spectacular. This is yet another way to bring the region’s natural history to the public.

“In planning for the new Burke, many of us advocated for having the whole grounds of the museum be a garden to represent the plants that are native to the Pacific Northwest and of value to the Indigenous people who live here,” explained Dr. Richard Olmstead, UW professor and Burke curator. “When Meriwether Lewis came west with the Lewis & Clark Expedition, he was the first European to collect this plant and provide it to western science. In providing a name for it, the Latin name Camassia quamash brings together the two words he had learned in phonetic English that represented the Native American names for this plant species.”

In time, the Camas bulbs planted by environmentally-conscious citizens of all ages and professions will blossom into a sweeping meadow alongside the Burke Museum. The meadow will evoke thoughts of wild prairie lands that once covered much of Washington, during a time when Indigenous people were sole caretakers and Camas was widely known not simply as a flower or plant, but as life giving food and medicine. 

*source: https://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/cs_caquq.pdf