By Ryan Miller, Director Treaty Rights and Government Affairs
Last week, Rick Santorum said, “candidly, there isn’t much Native American Culture in American culture.” He is not just speaking from a place of ignorance but privilege and ignoring critical truths of the foundation on which America was built. The interactions between native people and Western European culture helped shape the United States into the country it is today.
When Benjamin Franklin met with Canassatego, an Onondaga leader, Canassatego presented him with a single arrow. Ben Franklin looked at him puzzled, so Canassatego took the arrow back from him and broke it over his knee. He then handed Franklin six arrows, and Franklin was still confused. Canassatego took the arrows back and attempted to break them over his knee but with no success. In this way, he was relaying to Franklin the importance of unity. The six arrows represented the six tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy. The idea of a powerful central government with smaller regional governments was borrowed from the Iroquois system. Franklin would bring this important lesson with him when he met with other continental leaders to discuss the future governance of the United States.
In the U.S.’s infancy, their sovereignty and status as a country were called into question by nearly every established nation on the planet. In response to this and growing concern over their control in their country, several President’s and their appointees began making more and more treaties with Native tribes. Because treaties are an agreement between sovereigns, the United States hoped that this would help establish their place as a sovereign on the world stage, and it worked.
These are just two examples of the many instances in which tribal culture is woven into the essential parts of American culture. There are countless others, farming and hunting techniques, ecological protection and conservation, art, food, sports such as canoeing, lacrosse (also from the Iroquois), and tug-of-war. The names of many important places are taken from Native names for those places.
Native Americans have served in the armed forces at a higher rate per capita than any other ethnic group. The effort of Dine code talkers gave American forces an invaluable advantage over axis forces which helped protect American lives and ultimately delivered victory.
Since time immemorial, the indigenous people who have called this place home have given much and suffered greatly for America to be the country that it is today. We have helped shape it much more than Rick Santorum ever could. Tribes deserve respect and acknowledgment of our contributions. We are strong and resilient. We have survived over 500 years of attacks and stand here today, proclaiming our sovereignty, protecting and providing for our people, and contributing to a better America and a better world.
“Giving up is easy. Making decisions to overcome and choosing actions that will get you to where you want to be is what makes champions.”
By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News
Seventeen local youth with aspirations to become wrestling champions someday were surprised by a special guest appearance from professional wrestling icon, Ken Shamrock, on Friday, April 23.
“It’s not too often a guy like this walks in the room when you’re in the middle of practice, so it’s exciting to say the least,” expressed coach Tony Hatch. “To be honest, I’m star struck to have a legend of his caliber here with us. Shamrock is one of the pioneers of Ultimate Fighting Champions, he’s a Hall of Famer, and we’re really lucky to have him in the area to share his insight with our kids.”
The former WWF Intercontinental Champion and one-time UFC Superfight Champion shared his experience growing up with a rough childhood and being known as troubled teenager before ultimately turning his life around for the better. The still sweaty from conditioning youth had their attention captivated as the icon detailed how at just thirteen-years-old, his future did not look bright.
Ken had grown up fatherless in a poor neighborhood in Georgia, where he learned life’s lessons on the streets. While his mother worked to put food on the table, he cruised the neighborhood with his friends, causing trouble wherever they could. The first time he ran away from home, he was only ten. He found refuge in an abandoned car with other delinquents, but wound up in the hospital after getting stabbed by another child. In the years that followed, he would be ousted from seven group homes and serve time in Juvenile Hall.
Although the strong-willed youth only weighed 125 pounds, Ken had his own way of looking at the world, and he was always ready to protect his pride with his fists. Showing no signs of rehabilitation, the State grew weary of him. He was given one last chance to turn his life around: he would go to a group home, the Shamrock Ranch, run by Bob Shamrock, a man renowned for working with misguided youths.
Bob had raised more than six hundred boys in his home, and his methods were both unique and effective. In response to the feuds that often arose with prideful boys sleeping under the same roof, he offered them an unorthodox method of resolution. If both parties were willing, he allowed them to throw on boxing gloves and duke it out in the backyard. It did not take long before Ken was the house champion in both boxing and wrestling.
Recognizing the boy had tremendous athletic ability, Bob redirected Ken’s anger into sports. He got him on a weight-lifting program and registered him in wrestling and football. Along with becoming a leader for the other boys in the group home, Ken also became the son Bob Shamrock never had. Shortly after Ken turned eighteen, Bob legally adopted him, which is the origin story to how Shamrock got his now famous moniker.
“Your coaches have shared with me that some of you can relate to aspects of my upbringing,” said Shamrock after detailing his childhood to the attentive teenage wrestlers. “For those who can relate, I stand here as a testament of what’s possible despite growing up under such challenging conditions. For those who can’t relate, I promise each and every one of you are going to go through some kind of adversity in your life, whether it’s in high school or as an adult, that will test you to the core. And in those moments, only you can make a decision to do something about it, to choose a means of action to overcome the challenge, or to give up.
“Giving up is easy. Making decisions to overcome and choosing actions that will get you to where you want to be is what makes champions,” continued the legendary mixed martial artist. “You can start right now, at your age, and make the decision on what it is you want to do and start following a path of hard work and commitment that will get you there. Hard work goes beyond the wrestling mat; it’s at home with how you nourish your body and manage your family relationships, it’s in the classroom with embracing your education, and it’s in your commitment to being your best self even on the hard days.”
Following his heartfelt words of encouragement, Shamrock sat down with 15-year-old Tulalip wrestler, Milo Jones for a one-on-one session. They discussed chasing dreams, the importance of staying properly hydrated and eating the right foods for maximum physical performance, and weight lifting techniques used by the pros.
Millions of fans worldwide have not forgotten all Shamrock has contributed to the sport of MMA and WWF over the years. Whether it be choking competitors out in the octagon, slamming his opponents in the rings of professional wrestling, or entertaining the masses in mainstream movies and books, Shamrock has always embodied the essence of what it means to be a Hall of Famer. His legendary reputation only grows after taking time out of his busy schedule to inspire the next generation.
“I think it’s important to stay fit and healthy,” expressed young Tribal member Kyla Fryberg. “I play a lot of sports and I don’t want to get super tired in games or practices. I’d like to see more people get up, come out and do this with us instead of staying inside because I know quarantine has been a lot on everybody. I think it would be nice to see more kids.”
Glimpses of normalcy can be spotted every now and again in a world post the global COVID-19 pandemic. As restrictions are lifted, vaccines administered and the outside world continues to open back-up, people are re-engaging and re-igniting their love for activities that were either limited or altogether banned to stop the spread of the disease.
Throughout the pandemic, the Tulalip Youth and Family Enrichment program has remained a space for Tulalip youth to experience some of that normalcy by continuing to provide services, host gatherings, and offer all sorts of fun for in a safe, responsible manner. As school districts turned to Zoom to offer teachings and instruction to their kids, the Youth and Family Enrichment department converted their entire campus into a socially-distant learning environment, where students could work online and complete assignments in their own safe-spaces.
Now that schools are back to teaching in-person lessons and many youth sports have fully-resumed, Youth and Family Enrichment are slowly rolling out some of their activities and events that were popular amongst the public, pre-coronavirus, as well as debuting many new ideas.
The Youth and Family Enrichment department recently began a new activity-program called Strength and Conditioning, to help build endurance as well as promote health and fitness to kids who spent the majority of 2020 indoors and more-than-likely in front of a screen.
Youth and Family Enrichment Manager Josh Fryberg explained, “We’re doing basketball conditioning every Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Right now, it’s open to 6th – 12th grade. Eventually, we want to do family nights to encourage the families to come workout together and be as healthy as we can. Conditioning, overall, is something all of us need and something that all of us should practice on a regular basis, so we can have nice long healthy lives.”
With good early 2000’s hip-hop blasting in the background, a group of five showed up to the Greg Williams Court on April 27, for the tip-off, so-to-speak, of the new Strength and Conditioning program. With a shared goal of fine-tuning their game in anticipation of summertime tournaments, the group was locked and zoned-in throughout the hour-and-a-half class, sprinting the full-length of the court multiple times and hustling their tail-ends off during drills.
“A lot of things we’re doing right now are fundamentals for lay-ups, left-hand and right-hand dribbling, we’re also working on spin-moves as well as doing a lot of cardio and shooting on our shooting machine,” said Josh. “I usually have them go about three to five minutes in each area. We’ll also stretch, drink a lot of water and work on breathing techniques, in through the nostrils and out through the mouth, so you get the maximum amount of oxygen.”
Basketball is an important aspect in many Native cultures as countless bonds have been made through the sport, by way of both local rez-ball pick-up games and inter-tribal tourneys. Reservation-based high school basketball games are popular community events where friends and families ban together to support their tribal teens as they showcase their on-the-court skills and love for the game.
With only five participants at the first session, Josh led a fun and fast-paced class that had the feeling of a summertime basketball camp, like the ones often hosted by former NBA all-stars and local hardwood legends. It’s easy to envision, in the near-future, the Greg Williams Court jam-packed with youngins working hard to elevate their game.
“Basically, what we did today was strength and conditioning and we were working on running,” said Lillyannah Fryberg. “It was like basketball training, getting us in shape for tourneys and really, it’s just better for our overall health in general.”
Added Kyla and Lillyannah’s sister, Julianna ‘Julie’ Fryberg, “It’s my dad so he goes extra hard on us. He makes us do a lot of exercises that he knows we can handle, just pushing our limits to see how far we can go. It’s really nice to see him help other kids too, other than his own. It would be nice for more people to come though, we had five people today, and we definitely want to see a bigger group. We are working on a bunch of drills; spin-moves, lay-ups, free-throws, three-pointers and running to build our conditioning. So, come on out, it’s fun and I can’t wait to see everybody next time.”
Josh explained that there is a-whole-nother aspect of the basketball skills and stamina building program, aside from improving one’s basketball IQ and skillset, and that is diabetes prevention and the promotion of healthy lifestyles. And thanks to a strong relationship with the Tulalip Diabetes Care and Prevention Program, the Youth and Family Enrichment team received two basketball shooting machines that automatically rebounds your shot and feeds you the rock at different locations on the court.
“A big thing that we face in Indian Country is diabetes,” he stated. “With these shooting machines, that were donated by our Diabetes program from Roni Leahy and Dale Jones, the goal is to get as many shots for diabetes as you can. So, that’s one of the things we’re doing with this program as well, prevention work for us to be as healthy as we can.”
Josh assures that this is just the beginning, stating that the Youth and Family Enrichment program is planning more activities, events and programs extending into the Summer and Fall months. And after helping establish both a little league division and a football program, the department is now in the early-planning process of bringing yet another new sporting league to the community.
Josh shared, “One thing we’re currently working on is starting up a Tulalip AAU [Amateur Athletic Union] program. We want to start with three divisions and work our way up, for all of our players and volunteer coaches to participate in. That way we can really bring our youth in and get them to that next level of competition, so that we can get more of our athletes into college and the recognition that they deserve.”
The Strength and Conditioning course takes place from 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday at the Greg Williams Court. For more information, please contact the Tulalip Youth and Family Enrichment program at (360) 716-4909.
In collaboration with The Dab Roast and Tulalip entrepreneur Rocky Harrison, Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) hall of famer Ken Shamrock made a special guest appearance at the reservation’s retail cannabis establishment on Monday, April 19. His highly anticipated arrival during National Cannabis Awareness Month was well-received by professional wrestling followers, UFC fans, and, of course, cannabis enthusiasts
“Shamrock is here today to promote The Dab Roast, a new high quality vendor we recently got in for cannabis concentrates and who tribal member Rocky Harrison hooked us up with,” explained Remedy manager Jenn Bontempo. “This is significant because it marks our first celebrity appearance at our store. Having celebrities promote Remedy and the products we sell broadens our customer base and brings in more potential tax revenue for the Tribe. As a staff, we’re very excited to see what opportunities this creates for us going forward.”
The fittingly nicknamed World’s Most Dangerous Man’s arrival to Tulalip was confirmed only days prior. Yet it built enough buzz for a platoon of adoring fans to descend on Remedy with childhood memories of his WWF wrestling, vintage ankle lock days, or more recent recollections of his dominance as a mixed martial artist during the UFC’s foundational years.
One such super fan was 34-year-old Jason Willden of Arlington. A regular consumer of Remedy’s diverse cartridge selection, he was ecstatic when he got word that Shamrock would be doing a meet and greet. He arrived nearly three-hours early, was first in line, and waited patiently for an autograph on his replica WWF Intercontinental Championship belt.
“Shamrock was my whole childhood!” exclaimed Willden. “I remember being a little kid and watching TV when he became Intercontinental Champion in 1998. His wrestling persona was to always be the aggressor and just kick-ass.”
As anticipation continued to build, the line began to wrap around Remedy. The early Summer-like weather of high 70s and radiating sunshine was perfect for the occasion. When doors opened and the event began, eager fans scurried inside Remedy where they had ample opportunity to purchase cannabis products, like the Dab Roast concentrate or some simple pre-rolled joints to elevate their mood.
Unable to contain her excitement while waiting in line, proud auntie Emerlinda Sanchez stood out as she spoke to her MMA fighter nephew Calob Ramirez (Chickasaw) via video chat on her cell phone. Calob was unable to attend in person because he’s currently training in New Mexico, but thanks to mobile technology was still able to exchange a heartfelt message with one of his heroes.
“Shamrock is a tremendous wrestler, grappler, striker…put simply, if it weren’t for guys like him, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to do what I’m doing,” said Ramirez. “I’m so grateful to praise a living legend and express my gratitude for his inspiration on me and so many others who have pursued a career in mixed martial arts.”
While many of the Remedy visitors came from off reservation to see the now 57-year-old former UFC Superfight Champion, there were a share of Tulalip citizens who turned out for the occasion as well. Super heavyweight David Enick, known for a thunderous punch in his kickboxing days, admitted he was a little nervous to meet Shamrock, but couldn’t pass up the opportunity shake his hand and get a picture.
“For me, I don’t know Shamrock too well from his UFC days, but have lots of memories watching him perform in WWE,” said David. “It was shocking to meet him and really cool to exchange my experience as a fighter with one of the legends.”
After two excitement filled hours of exchanges with fans, signing autographs, and providing photo opportunities there was one moment that stood out from the rest. One wrestling superfan was absolutely overcome with emotion as the WWF icon signed his authentic 1997 Ken Shamrock action figure he’s owned since childhood. If that ain’t love, we don’t know what is.
An expression of pure joy radiated from one fan to another, which Shamrock later described as “So cool. Those kinds of fan interactions really show the impact and inspiration that we as professional athletes and entertainers have. The fans are the main ingredient to our success, so being able to talk to them, hear their thoughts, and share in experiences about what I meant to them growing up is awesome. Events like this really allows me to show my appreciation for their support.”
Fans came from near and far to have the WWF and UFC legend sign a beloved piece of memorabilia, say ‘thank you for all the memories’, and have a pic snapped with the World’s Most Dangerous Man. Tulalip Remedy anticipates this being just the beginning. Stay on the lookout for more celebrity appearances in the near future.
Submitted by Sydney Gilbert, Children’s Advocacy Center and Legacy of Healing Coordinator
April is Sexual Assault awareness month and Legacy of Healing wants to share some information about sexual assault safety, prevention and resources. Every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. Sexual violence effects hundreds of thousands of American’s each year and unfortunately only 5 out of every 1,000 rapists will end up in prison1. We also know national statistics do not reflect the disproportionately higher rate that native women are sexually assaulted. The Justice Department reports that 1 in 3 Native women is raped over her lifetime and that American Indians are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual assault crimes compared to all other races2.
While it is never the fault of the victim and always the fault of the perpetrator, unfortunately we have to take our safety and education into our own hands. There are several tips you can follow to stay safe in many types of situations outlined on the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network’s website:
Safety Tips for Traveling
Before you leave, share your travel plans and schedule with someone you trust. Include the address and phone number for where you will be staying as well as transportation information like flight number.
Research transportation at your destination and go with a provider that is reputable in the area. Is there a number for them you can call if you have a bad experience?
Familiarize yourself with the destination by using tools like google maps to scout it out. Is there a police station or hospital near where you’re staying?
When you get there, beware of “vacation brain”. We want to relax when we travel but listen to your intuition and try not to let your guard down with people you don’t know.
Keep an eye on your friends. If you’re out in a group, plan to arrive and leave together. If you decide to leave early, let your friends know. Check in with them throughout the night to see how they’re doing and if something doesn’t look right, step in.
Know what you’re drinking. Consider avoiding large-batch drinks like punches that may have a deceptively high alcohol content and avoid leaving your drink unattended. Also don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know or trust. Be aware of sudden changes in how your body feels. Some drugs are odorless and tasteless and can be added to your drink without you noticing.
Remember that even if you were consuming alcohol when a sexual assault occurs, it’s not your fault!
How you can respond if someone is pressuring you
Trust your gut! Don’t feel obligated to do anything you don’t want to.
Have a code word or phrase with friends or family that indicates to them that you need help.
Plan an escape route; figure out how you would leave quickly if you needed to do so and identify who might be able to help you.
One more thing you can do to prevent sexual assault is to talk about consent and what that means with your friends, family and children. Consent means a wholehearted “yes” and agreement to whatever it is that is being propositioned. Never feel pressured to say yes to anything that you don’t want to do; sexual in nature or otherwise. Practice building those boundaries in everyday situations to learn to recognize consent and become empowered to use it.
If you’ve been sexually assaulted, know that you are not alone and it was not your fault. Know that you can call the police and make a report, even if considerable time has passed since the assault. If the assault was recent (within 96 hours) it’s important to go the emergency room for a Sexual Assault Nurse Exam (SANE). This is important for evidence collection, emergency contraception, and to make sure you’re healthy. While it makes sense that the first thing you would want to do after a sexual assault would be to shower, change your clothes, brush your teeth; avoid doing these activities to aid in the evidence collection process. If you did change your clothes, bring the ones you were wearing before/during the assault without washing them to the SANE. Even if you don’t want to pursue criminal charges, SANE’s are extremely important for your health. Our Legacy of Healing advocates can accompany you to this exam and support you during this process. And if it’s been more than 96 hours since the assault, we encourage you to schedule and exam to make sure you’re healthy. It’s important to know that if you live in or near Tulalip and you need a SANE to go to the Providence Hospital ER in Everett; Cascade Hospital in Arlington is not equipped or trained in SANE exams.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, encourage them to contact Legacy of Healing at 360-716-4100 if they are an adult. If you or someone you know was sexually assaulted and they are under the age of 18, contact the police as well as the Tulalip Children’s Advocacy Center at 360-716-5437 for services. If you are a Tulalip Tribes employee, you are a mandated reporter and you MUST report concerns of sexual abuse/assault to 1-866-END-HARM. Have as much detail as possible ready when you make the report such as the child’s name, address, date of birth, and the family’s contact information. If you don’t have all of that information that’s okay; proceed with what you do have.
About sexual assault. (n.d.). Retrieved April 06, 2021, from https://www.rainn.org/about-sexual-assault
Erdrich, L. (n.d.). Sexual assault. Retrieved April 06, 2021, from https://vawnet.org/sc/gender-based-violence-and-intersecting-challenges-impacting-native-american-alaskan-village-1#:~:text=American%20Indians%20are%202.5%20times,are%20raped%20in%20their%20lifetimes.