Nike N7 celebrates 10th anniversary release in Tulalip

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

We live in an age where a message, no matter how positive or significant, is only as good as the platforms that give it life. Platform then is everything. So it was of utmost importance when 10 years ago the world’s largest supplier of athletic shoes and apparel chose to collaborate with Native America. Together Nike and Native artists and athletes developed an all-new platform to bring cultural representation into the mainstream. Enter N7.

N7 is inspired by Native American wisdom of the Seven Generations: in every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the seventh generation. It’s Nike’s commitment to bring sport and all of its benefits to Native American and Aboriginal communities in the United States and Canada.

Over the past decade, N7 athletic attire has become a highly sought after product due to its exclusive releases featuring distinct Native designs and imagery. From the devout sneaker heads to rez ball youths dreaming of making it to the pros, every N7 release is an opportunity to represent something authentic – a living, breathing and, most importantly, thriving culture. 

“Self-representation, for me, is being authentic to my people and who I am,” explained Nike graphic designer Tracie Jackson, who created this season’s Nike N7 x Pendleton pattern inspired by the weavings of her great-grandmother, Phoebe Nez (Navajo). “Being visible means that we’re acknowledged, our land is acknowledged, our community is acknowledged.”

That authenticity and acknowledgment was on full display when Nike and Tulalip came together to celebrate the release of N7’s 10th anniversary product line in early November. Over 150 special invitees packed the Nike Outlet located on the Tulalip Reservation two hours before the store officially opened. Among the gathering were several Nike brand ambassadors, urban Natives from the Seattle area, members of the Tulalip Youth Council, and several culture bearers with drum in hand.  

“My great-grandmother was still weaving right up until she passed at 92,” continued Tracie. “Without my great-grandmother, I wouldn’t have learned about my culture, and without my culture, I wouldn’t have been a designer. My family ties are what influence my Native identity.”

Tracie passed along her grandmother’s legacy in the 10th anniversary of the N7 collection, honoring heritage through special patterns with Pendleton. Native heritage was celebrated both through the specialty clothing line being released on Tulalip land and for the tribal citizenship who turned out to support the cause with their wallets and through powerful song and dance.

The Tulalip drummers, singers and dancers displayed their thriving culture on the Nike Outlet showroom. Several songs and important messages regarding missing and murdered Indigenous women, unity through community, and the positive impact of sport were shared.

Afterwards, the gathering turned its attention to the N7 x Pendleton attire as all invited guests got first dibs towards shopping the exclusive clothes designed by and for Natives.

“I thought this whole event was fantastic,” shared tribal member Marvin J. Velasquez as he was loading up with the latest N7 gear for his children. “What this collaboration represents for our Native people is huge. Just goes to show we are making a significant impression one step at a time.”

Proceeds from all N7 product line sales go directly to the N7 Fund, which is committed to getting youth in Native America moving so they can lead healthier, happier and more successful lives. The N7 Fund helps Native youth reach their greatest potential through play and sport while creating more equal playing fields for all. Since 2009, the N7 Fund has awarded more than $7.5 million in grants to 259 communities and organizations.

Co-coordinator of the Tulalip-based N7 event, Nate Olsen (Yakama Nation) reflected, “It was powerful to see our people really represented and celebrated in such a beautiful way. We really got to address some of the bigger social issues Native peoples face today thanks to the platform that Nike provided. Being able to present these issues to a wider audience and to have Tulalip drummer and singers sharing as well was just amazing.”

Tulalip Chiefs celebrate 50th Anniversary of All-Native Baseball Tourney Championship

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

It was the summer of ’69. A special moment in time that many reflect upon as the best days of their lives, including the players of local baseball team, the Chiefs. The team was assembled by Tulalip tribal member, Cy Fryberg, and had an outstanding run that summer, winning in all-Native tournaments hosted at Yakama and Taholah. The Chiefs efforts led them to the final tournament of the summer held in Tacoma, where the stakes were high and the teams from surrounding tribal nations brought their A-game. 

“We weren’t the first team with just Tulalip ballplayers, but this was the biggest one,” explained ’69 Chiefs second baseman, Don ‘Penoke’ Hatch. “All the top dogs from right here were recruited. At the time, that was something special. We were ready to face and challenge anyone that came at us, we didn’t care who we were playing.” 

The all-star Tulalip team consisted of fifteen tribal members including Leroy Joseph, Marlin Fryberg Sr., Alpheus Jones, Richard Jones, Butchie James, Dean Fryberg Sr., Billy Jones, Skooky Henry, Jerry Jones, Gerald Fryberg, Dale Jones, Myron Fryberg, Penoke and player-coaches Herman Williams and Francy Sheldon. 

With Leroy being the youngest on the team at 18, the rest of the players ranged in age from their early twenties to early thirties and brought plenty of experience to the team. Previously, each player spent their young lives playing for different teams like Marysville while growing up. The road to a championship wasn’t easy, however. While at Tacoma for the tournament, the team and their families slept on the floor of Penoke’s sister’s house. This allowed the team to further strengthen their bond while they stayed up late into the night strategizing, among other social activities. 

“The first game we played was against Yakama Nation and we won that game,” recalled Penoke. “The following day we played Nisqually and won that one too. After that win, we went onto the championship game against Warm Springs and they were not an easy team to go up against.”

The large amount of playing began to take a toll on the Chiefs’ pitchers and the team needed a strong start to the championship game. Starting pitcher Marlin Fryberg went deep into the innings during their previous match against Nisqually. After trying out a number of players on the mound, the coaches turned to the catcher, Leroy, whose arm was looking strong each time he threw the ball back to the pitchers. Leroy received a quick lesson from his teammates, as he never pitched in a game prior to the championship competition. The Chiefs rallied behind Leroy and locked in. Inning after inning, the team pulled together and made big plays. By the end of the game, the Tulalip Chiefs proudly hoisted a trophy into the air and Leroy was named MVP.

Fast forward fifty years. Penoke stumbled across an old photo of the Chiefs during their 1969 summer baseball tournament tour and was filled with nostalgia. Reaching out to the Tribe, he organized a gathering for the players and their families on the afternoon of November 10, 2019 at the Greg Williams Court. 

“It’s been 50 years since that tournament down there on Portland Avenue,” Penoke said. “I thought it was important that we celebrate this and share some good memories. Nobody celebrates these types of accomplishments anymore. I want someone young to see this in the See-Yaht-Sub and say ‘look at what they did 50 years ago’ and be inspired.”

After enjoying lunch, the families were treated to a slideshow presentation which featured narration by Leroy. Laughter ensued as Leroy’s colorful commentary recapped the championship game. 

“It’s a big story because we already been to Yakama and won, we already been to Taholah that summer,” said Leroy. “This Tacoma tournament was the biggie. Just being a part of that reminds me of how together we were as friends and family, regardless of the games, we were all Tulalip and that is something I was extremely proud of.” 

Coach Herman and several other players took time to express their desire to see the game of baseball flourish within Native communities once again, suggesting ideas such a tribal booster club to get more youth out on the field. 

“The relationship from reservation to reservation, there’s little of it left,” agreed Penoke. “We’ve done very little to keep it going. You should’ve seen the strength of the community during hardball season, we all knew each other because each reservation had a lot of good ball players.”

To commemorate the 50th anniversary, each player received stylish red jackets that read ‘1969 Champs’ on the front and a Native, baseball-themed design on the back. Family representatives of those who are no longer with us accepted the jackets on their behalf. 

 “Best tournament I ever played in as an adult,” said Penoke. “We had a good team and good pitching. This team was successful because we had two veteran coaches in Herman and Francy. I’m 80 years old now and I wanted to honor those players who are still here.” 

Honoring Our Veterans

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

On the morning of Monday November 11, the Tulalip community gathered at the Hibulb Cultural Center (HCC) longhouse to thank the brave heroes who put their lives on the line to defend this Nation’s freedom. Service men and women filled the stands of the longhouse to pay their respects as well as share their active-duty experience. 

During roll call, the veterans stated their name, military branch and years of service, among intriguing deployment stories. Family members of fallen soldiers spoke their name, recognizing them for their dedication to protecting this country. The HCC presented each veteran in attendance a gift bag, filled with items from their shop, as a sign of respect and gratitude. Since opening in 2011, the cultural center has made it a point of emphasis to pay tribute to the vets and ensure they are honored properly each November.

“It’s always a big honor to celebrate our veterans,” expressed Mytyl Hernandez, HCC Marketing and PR. “The veterans are a big part of the community and have been a huge part of our exhibits and museum. Being able to have an event for them is very special.”

Becoming an annual tradition, the ladies of the Veteran Quilting Project returned with several beautiful quilts made specifically with a tribal veteran in mind. Now in its fourth year, the Veteran Quilting Project is comprised of seven tribal quilters who produced nearly thirty red, white and blue star quilts for the eldest Tulalip veterans since 2016. 

“I made mine for Walt Campbell,” said Quilter Verna Hill. “This is my first year joining the ladies and what an honor it is. With each and every cut, you think about what those veterans done for this country. To sit down and sew for them is so rewarding. And to be here today and wrap him with that quilt was amazing. His response to me was ‘this is better than any medal I’ve ever received’. That was very powerful. I’m thankful to be a part of this group and I can’t wait to continue wrapping our veterans in love.”

As the veterans accepted their quilts, Tulalip Artist Melissa Bumgarner surprised the veterans with a gift of her own. 

“I made some beaded medallions,” she said. “At the center of each medallion is a plaque of the branch they served in; the Navy, Air Force, Army and Marines. I did it because I want to say thank you for what they did. It felt good to present that to them and show them appreciation.”

The HCC’s Veterans Day observance ended with three workshops geared toward the Indigenous veteran community; a soapstone carving demonstration with Choctaw Air Force Veteran Sam Sitt, an Ozette Archeological Recovery Experience with Tulalip Army Veteran John Campbell, and the Veterans Healing Forum with Rev. Bill Eaglehart Topash, Tulalip Marine Veteran. 

“Veterans Day is a good time to remember those from the past,” expressed John McCoy, Tulalip Air Force Veteran. “Today was especially tough because we lost two of our World War II vets, Stan Jones and Moxie Renecker, this year. That was a special moment for me today, remembering those two great men.”

Tulalip Bay Fire Department Receives 2019 Stewardship Award from the Washington State Auditor

Tulalip, Wash. – The Tulalip Bay Fire Department (also known as Snohomish County Fire District 15) received the Washington State Auditor’s 2019 Stewardship Award. Only four fire districts have received the award in the last five years. 

The award was presented for outstanding accomplishment in accountability, transparency and good stewardship of public resources. The Stewardship Award is given to local governments who show exemplary financial management practices. 

State Auditor Pat McCarthy said in a recent letter, “The District has shown dedication to transparency on its path to improving operations.” She continues, “As stewards of the public’s trust, it is incumbent on all governments to promote accountability and transparency.”

Fire Chief Ryan Shaughnessy said, “It is an honor to receive this award and reflects the hard work we have done at the Tulalip Bay Fire Department to be open and transparent in our financial practices.” 

A copy of the award and the State Auditor’s letter can be found on the Fire Department’s website at

www.firedistrict15.org.

‘Spirit of Reciprocity’ felt at Potlatch Fund gala

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Potlatch Fund is a Native-led nonprofit that provides grants and leadership development in tribal communities throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. The Fund’s driving mission is to expand philanthropy within Northwest tribal nations by inspiring and building upon the tradition of giving. From potlachs to powwows, building community and sharing wealth has always been a part of Native peoples’ way of life.

On November 2, the Potlatch Fund held its highly anticipated annual fundraising gala. With venue location and theme changing every year, the one constant the gala promises is attendees will  be inspired and given ample opportunity to show their generous side. This year the location was Little Creek Casino Resort and the theme: ‘Spirit of Reciprocity’. 

“This gala brings together people of many different tribes, from many different communities, from many different organizations, and unites us in the common goal to raise money to help us meet the needs of Northwest Indian Country,” said Dr. Charlotte Coté, Potlach Fund board president. “Our theme ‘Spirit of Reciprocity’ really captures the essence of our organization’s mission to expand philanthropy for and among tribal communities, while empowering community leaders with the tools they need to succeed.

“We have gathered here in the spirit of the potlatch tradition with the sharing of song, dance, art, and of course delicious food,” Dr. Coté continued. “The support we’re so thankful to receive allows us to keep alive the spirit of reciprocity. I raise my hands to everyone who joins our Potlatch Fund canoe and helps us paddle to our fundraising goals.”

Since 2005, Potlatch Fund has re-granted over $4.5 million in the support of tribes, tribal nonprofits, Native-led nonprofits, Native artists, and Native initiatives in their four-state service area. Through a focus on youth development, community building, language preservation, education and Native arts, they are building a richer future for all that they serve.

The Potlatch Fund’s annual gala is their major fundraising event and brings together people from a variety of neighboring tribes, organizations, corporations and communities. Close to 20 Washington State tribes were listed as event sponsors, including the Tulalip Tribes listed as a Raven-level sponsor.

At the gala, Native community impact makers are given a chance to share their plans for the future and learn how other like-minded individuals and groups are striving to make a positive difference for the benefit of Indian Country. This is an invaluable benefit for up-and-coming leaders and organizations who can sometimes struggle to get their message broadcast to larger audiences. 

“At Potlatch Fund, we recognize the importance of bringing people together to share our stories and experiences,” added Dr. Coté. “Our intent is to generate deeper connections and conversation among Native professionals and our extended community. All are welcome to attend and build relationships with our Native communities.” 

A dynamic and truly benevolent event that brought together tribal leadership, representatives and impact makers from all across the Pacific Northwest, the fundraising gala also had additional benefits for guests. In a setting befitting those who strive to make the world a better place than they found it, the mostly Native gathering took in the sights of Squaxin Island Tribe drummers and dancers, heard the enchanting violin sounds of Lummi musician Swil Kanim, and perused a silent auction filled with unique Native art.

“Potlatch Gala is the most fun event of the year,” shared Suquamish Foundation Director, Robin Little Wing Sigo. “Not only does it raise money, but it raises spirits, energy and excitement. Everyone gets to get dressed up and connect with people they may only see once or twice a year. Also, so many incredible artists donate their artwork for the silent auction that gives us a good opportunity to purchase wonderful Native bling.”

 “We lovingly call it ‘Native Prom’ because it’s one of the last gatherings of the year and we all get dressed up to celebrate being Native,” added Colleen Chalmers, program manager at Chief Seattle Club. “There is representation from so many different tribes yet we’re here as an Indigenous community proving we are still here and we are thriving.”

The ‘Spirit of Reciprocity’ gala provided the opportunity to share culture through song and dance performances, to support and celebrate Native art and artists, and to assist Potlatch Fund with its fundraising efforts as it continues to undertake important work throughout Northwest Indian Country. The evening centered on generosity and was a success as pre-   and post-dinner networking receptions brought people together to create future impact opportunities, while close to $60,000 was fundraised that will ultimately go to where it’s needed most, Native communities. 

Raising awareness for Diabetes prevention

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

A delightful aroma filled the air around the Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic on November 5. Near the clinic’s entrance was Indigenous Chef Britt Reed, sizzling up a stir-fry mixture of cabbage, onion, celery and chicken. The chef displayed her outdoor culinary skills over a propane flame, and the large wok of fried veggies and protein garnered plenty of interest from clinic patients and those living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes in attendance of the Diabetes Care and Prevention program’s yearly Diabetes Day. 

Occurring during National Diabetes Month, the event aims to educate and raise awareness about diabetes, while having a good time with the local community, through healthy tips, resources and support to those diagnosed with the disease. 

“We like to take this day to spend some time with our patients, and maybe meet some new patients, to see how they are doing because it’s the end of the year,” explained Miguel Arteaga, Tulalip Health Clinic RN and Diabetes Educator. “Diabetes is exploding across the world, it’s always been a problem for the U.S. and particularly with minority people. At Tulalip, we want to present the community with the best information there is to help prevent diabetes.”

The six-hour event allowed attendees to get acquainted with fellow diabetics and build a strong sense of community as well as hear a number of presentations by local organizations and businesses. Event goers were served two meals and an assortment of tasty snacks throughout the day, learned of new foods and recipes and how to prepare well-balanced meals to manage their diabetes more efficiently. 

“65% of patients with prediabetes can prevent the onset or delay diabetes from occurring by simply losing 7% of their body fat, just by making changes in their food choices,” said Diabetes Program Coordinator, Veronica ‘Roni’ Leahy. “Instead of ‘changing’, we talk more about shifting. Shifting from one food to another, something that is of equal value, is still tasty to you, but is a healthier version of it. We gave away bags of food to the people who came to watch Britt’s cooking demonstration. I think that’s a key component, bringing healthy foods to tribal homes that they can cook themselves. Eating healthy can be fun and simple.”

This year, the Diabetes Prevention and Care team put a little extra emphasis on prevention. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), diabetes is still on the rise throughout reservations nationwide. Their research has found that over 16% of the Indigenous population has been diagnosed with diabetes, nearly double the amount of the white American population. Meaning almost one in every six Native peoples are living with that diagnosis. These staggering statistics prompted the Tulalip Wisdom Warriors to ask the Diabetes program to focus on providing prevention education for the younger generations. 

“I’m a Wisdom Warrior and having diabetes, naturally I want to learn as much as I can to take care of myself,” said Tribal Elder, Hermalee Coando. “Unfortunately, a lot of our tribal people have excessive weight and a lot of times we are fed, and often choose to eat, stuff that’s not good for us. There’s too many sweets available. The more education we have about what we drink and consume and how it damages our body, the more we know how we can prevent it. And the younger we start teaching the youth, the better. Our kids should continue to listen to the elders about our foods and take the wisdom we have to utilize it in your daily life. Don’t glorify candy, it’s better in the long run to have something healthy for you.”

The everyday bustle can often weigh us down and at times it is much easier to grab a quick and convenient bite at the end of a long day. But taking a little extra time to meal prep at the beginning of a busy week can assist diabetics, and even non-diabetics, in staying true to their diet, help regulate their blood sugar levels, and reach and maintain their personal goals. 

Another equally important area the on-the-go diabetic must consider is self-care, which includes exercise and mindful practices such as meditation, yoga and tai-chi. For Diabetes Day, Roni led two seated tai-chi sessions, which is proven to help promote blood flow, muscular strength, flexibility, heart and lung function, and also reduce stress. In fact, the art of tai-chi is a highly recommended exercise for all diabetics. Because Natives are at such a heightened risk to be diagnosed with the disease, it’s important to find a way to incorporate these practices into daily routines. 

“I’m a young Tribal member and was diagnosed with diabetes a couple years ago,” said Mike Pablo. “I was always healthy and active when I was younger. And what do you know, I’m a Type 2 diabetic. I believe awareness needs to be raised and people need to know what’s going on within their bodies because Native Americans are at a higher risk. There was a lot of good information here today. I came in for an appointment with the chiropractor and because I have Type 2 diabetes, I thought this looked interesting and checked it out to see what they have to offer. There were a lot of new recipes I picked up and am excited to use at home.”

Along with education and resources, the program also offered free blood glucose checks as well as tuberculous screenings. The World Health Organization states that approximately 15% of TB cases can be linked to complications from diabetes, as diabetes triples the likelihood of a someone developing TB. 

“I didn’t realize diabetes was connected to so many other health complications,” admits Type 2 Diabetic, Debbie Jackson. “I came for a dental cleaning and the clinic encouraged me to check out Diabetes Day. I very much liked the cooking I watched Britt do. I learned about different spices I can use in my cooking instead of sugar and salt. It was a very good day, the food was excellent and the people were helpful.”

Diabetes Day drew close to a hundred participants throughout the event. People left with not only reusable totes filled with gifts and goodies, but also a better understanding of diabetes and how to properly care for, prevent and manage the disease.

“We want to strengthen, teach and encourage the people to overcome the setbacks and drawbacks of diabetes and make sure they have a really good quality of life,” Miguel expressed. “We care about them as individuals and want to see them have a better life. There’s so much we can do to empower people to learn how to manage their diabetes.”

 The Diabetes Care and Prevention program has a few more events planned to close out 2019, including a Thanksgiving holiday dinner, a Seahawks game night and the annual Christmas powwow.

“For 2020, we’re going to start the National Diabetes Prevention program,” Roni said. “Our plan is to go about it in a way that’s similar to our past workshops. We want to incorporate herbal teachings with cooking, helping people make food shifts and monitor their weight loss and increase exercise. The patient to patient interactions is where we really see a lot of growth with our people, helping and supporting each other. Because they experienced what a newly diagnosed person is going through, they can be an inspiration to them so those people don’t feel like they have to walk through that alone.”

For more information, please contact the Diabetes Care and Prevention program at (360) 716-5641.