Life of the Salmon cemented on UW campus

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

In constructing a brand new building as part of a Foster School of Business expansion, the University of Washington sought to honor its commitment to respect the Coast Salish lands upon which the school resides. The planning committee was tasked with seeking art installations reflective of the thriving Native culture found on the reservations of present-day tribes of Western Washington.

The privately funded 85,000-square-foot building is now known as Founders Hall and debuted to much excitement among University staff, students and several guests of honor to kick off the 2022-2023 academic year.

According to Foster Business Magazine, the facility is a model of sustainable construction, collaborative learning and community building. A cathedral of collaboration. An incubator of innovation, an accelerator of ideas, a convergence of team projects, case solutions and business plans. It is a forum, a gathering spot, a hangout. A place to learn, express, engage, brainstorm, formulate, ideate, implement, celebrate. A place to honor the past and create the future.

Quite the description, right? Intentionally built upon bedrock principles of sustainability and collaboration is the key take-away here. Because imbedded within the bedrock of Founders Hall is an unmistakable essence of Tulalip. 

Tulalip master carver and contemporary sculptor, James Madison, sitting with tribal youth in Founders Hall.  

Dubbed “Life of the Salmon”, Tulalip artist James Madison traces the epic upstream run of sacred king, sockeye, silver, humpy and chum. In the form of polished bronze cases embedded into concrete floor, the fish grow and mature as they swim from the ground floor to the 5th floor Founders Gallery.

Known largely as a master carver who specializes in creating stunning, one-of-a-kind pieces of art from cedar wood, James is far from an amateur when it comes to working with metal. In fact, a large part of his education that earned him a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from UW in 2000 was bronze casting.

“In discussing idea concepts with the planning committee, it was clear they and the Dean wanted to pay respect to the local tribes of this area, and wanted to combine that respect with a core teaching we have to protect the salmon,” explained James. “It only made sense then that creating bronze salmon in the actual concrete of the building would serve as an irremovable reminder that our people are here and we will always be here.

“For me, this kind of work is all about keeping our culture alive,” he added. Commemorating the opening of UW’s latest building and the cultural artwork within, the hundreds of college students in attendance stood respectfully as a group of Tulalip culture bearers offered traditional song. “UW honored not just my art, but our people, our traditions and our protocols by giving us space to share our songs. It meant a lot to hear those drums and those words shared by proud Tulalip youth who aren’t afraid to get up in front of hundreds of strangers and share their culture.”

Younger generations of Native students who visit Seattle’s prestigious UW campus and spot the bronzed salmon may feel a part of their spirit soar and even begin to ponder life as a Husky. Such was the experience shared by 13-year-old Kyla Fryberg after taking part in the opening ceremony.

“I do dream of being a UW student one day,” said the ribbon skirt wearing 8th grader. “When I grow up, I want to be a veterinarian. I know education plays an important role in the veterinary field, and where better to attend college than here, especially knowing it’s important to the school to acknowledge Native Americans. I have people in my family who are fishermen, and I hear them say we are the salmon people. Seeing this salmon art all over the building means we are connected here and maybe gets more people to understand just how important the salmon are to all of us.”

Frank Hodge serves as the Dean of the Foster School of Business and led the building’s opening celebration. He boasted how on a campus with predominantly stone buildings, one of the most impressive facts about Founders Hall is that the shell of the building is entirely mass timber, sourced sustainable from managed forests. Resulting in the greenest building at the UW by achieving a 76% reduction in carbon emissions and using 70% less energy to operate in comparison to facilities of equal size built with conventional methods.

“The purpose of the Foster School is to bring communities together to better humanity through business,” said Dean Hodge. “Founders Hall, with its connections to the Pacific Northwest forest products industry, its Native art, its significantly reduced carbon footprint and its intentional design fostering community and collaboration, is an example of how we are living our purpose as a forward-thinking business school.”

To honor the heritage of the land on which it stands, UW’s Founders Hall is a showcase for original Native artwork representing modern Coast Salish styles. The University commissioned installations by two prominent local Native artists, Tulalip’s own James Madison and Puyallup tribal member Shaun Peterson. 

Join the 2023 Tulalip Youth Council

Tulalip Youth Council members at the 2022 UNITY Conference in Minneapolis.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

“We want our youth to set positive examples and be good role models for their peers and future generations,” shared Tulalip Youth Council Advisor, Shane McLean. “We value our youth’s insight, expertise, experiences, and contributions. Youth know what issues are important to them and what solutions will work.”

Since its revival in 2015, the Tulalip Youth Council has helped shape the up-and-coming generations into strong young leaders who are prepared to take on the world. Comprised of a senior and junior council, fourteen Tulalip tribal youth who wish to make a positive impact for their tribe and community, are sworn-in to the council every year. 

Through the Tulalip Youth Council, the elected officials gain real-life experience and serve as the voice of the young people during official Tulalip Board meetings. They also address a number of topics that affect both tribal youth and the tribe as a whole, by organizing events throughout the year that help support and/or raise awareness of those issues. In the past, such events included the Get Drugs Off Our Rez Prevention Walk, the PRIDE Walk, coastal jams, healing circles, and fitness camps. 

Said Shane, “Supporting and including young people in the development processes is critical for several reasons. Youth have the experience, knowledge, and ideas that are unique to their situation, which enables them to offer key insights and perspectives on development. Our young people want and deserve a voice in their community.”

Not only do the council members host events, but they also help organize and actively participate in other community gatherings and culture-focused events as well. Most importantly, the Youth Council works closely with the Tulalip Board of Directors during their one-year term, and therefore they have the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of tribal government operations first-hand. Those young council members will be all the more prepared when it’s their time to serve on the Tribe’s BOD, if they choose to do so in the not-so-distant future. 

The 2022 Youth Council elected officials are currently wrapping up a strong term in which they proudly represented the Tulalip youth at each local event this past year. They traveled to Minneapolis in July and met hundreds of other tribal youth from across the nation, while also gaining invaluable knowledge and life skills through a number of workshops geared towards Native youth at the annual UNITY conference.

  “It felt heartwarming seeing everyone gathering in a place where we all felt comfortable with each other, knowing that we all struggle with the same things because our people went through a genocide,” said Tulalip Youth Council member, Arielle Valencia at the 2022 UNITY Conference. “I felt comfortable being around people who understand me. Just knowing that everyone here will be there for you felt good. It was awesome.”

Although each member approaches their duties in a serious manner, there is plenty of room to have fun with the rest of the council members. More often than not, members of the Youth Council can be spotted at local happenings, throwing their heads back in laughter and joining in on the fun with their fellow Tulalip community members. And each year, as the council members settle into their positions, they naturally grow together over their term and thus create bonds and connections that will last a lifetime.

If you are between the 6th and 12th grades and are looking to hone in on those leadership skills, then you are in luck. As mentioned earlier, 14 total positions are up for grabs on the Tulalip Youth Council – seven on the senior council (9th-12th grade) and seven on the junior council (6th-8th grade). 

“We are coming up on Tulalip Youth Council elections for 2023,” shared Shane. “Some of the Youth Council’s purposes are to provide a collective voice and represent the Tribal youth in all matters that concern them, work towards positive goals, and create opportunities for our youth and our communities. If you are a youth or if you know any youth who would be interested in being a part of Tulalip Youth Council, please apply or reach out.”

Shane can be reached at SMclean@TulalipTribes-nsn.gov or at (360) 501-1778. Be sure to contact him for your application for candidacy on the Tulalip Youth Council, and for any additional details as well. The application deadline is 4:00 p.m. on February 3rd. Eligibility rules are as follows; must be an enrolled Tulalip tribal member, must be in-between the 6th-12th grade, must be enrolled in school, and must have good grades and attendance. 

“Engaging young people in their community and governance activities, such as youth councils, encourages them to learn peaceful means of impacting their communities and the world,” Shane expressed. “It’s our mission to create opportunities of awareness, healing, and growth through collaborative community outreach while sustaining our Native teachings.”

Commemorating the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

The scenic town of Mukilteo is home to the new Washington State ferry terminal and whether rain or shine, the views of Possession Sound, which the ferries travel, are quite captivating. During a quick walk around the ferry terminal, one can take in all the beautiful artwork, traditional language, and rich history of the original people of this land. As the signage indicates, that particular area of the Washington State ferry terminal is where close to 5,000 Salish People met with US government officials to negotiate the terms of the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott. 

“This land is so important to us,” expressed Tulalip Chairwoman Teri Gobin while at a recent gathering at Mukilteo. “It’s where our ancestors had longhouses. We signed the Point Elliott Treaty here. All of our tribes used these waterways like our freeways to go from one place to another, and we have many relatives at all these different tribes. Our people met here together, and all agreed to sign the treaty. By ceding that land, from the water to the mountains, they guaranteed us our treaty rights for future generations. I’m so glad that our ancestors thought about that when they did that, because they were trying to protect our tribes.”

On January 21st, many tribal members from across the Puget Sound region, including Tulalip, Swinomish, and Lummi, will be taking time to commemorate the signing of the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott in an annual tradition known as Treaty Days. This year marks 168 years since the treaty was signed and 111 years since William Shelton organized the first potlatch under the guise of celebrating the treaty. 

Through Treaty Days, William Shelton preserved his culture during the era of boarding schools and assimilation efforts. Following the burning of longhouses and the relocation of tribes, William convinced the Tulalip Superintendent and the U.S. Secretary of Interior to allow the construction of a longhouse on the shore of Tulalip Bay, where the descendants of the signatories of the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott could gather and celebrate the treaty once a year.

“It’s spiritual healing,” explained Tribal member, Celum Hatch. “When I go, it’s because of the strength of everybody’s songs. The strength within those four walls gets me through the next couple of months. When I go in there I go with a good head, because I know what I’m going in with, I’m not walking out with. I go for healing, and I go to help everyone else and support them.”

Treaty Days is an event that tribal members across the region look forward to attending every year. Although the original longhouse, which William Shelton convinced the government to build, was replaced in the sixties, people continue to meet at the historical location every January for the commemoration of the treaty. Within the walls of the longhouse, innumerable teachings of the culture and traditions are passed along and kept alive. Many of those songs, dances, spiritual practices, and stories made it through the passage of time and are still practiced 111 years later.

“Treaty Days is really important to me because all of us, as sduhubš people, come from that longhouse way of life. That’s just who we are,” expressed Tribal member, Roselle Fryberg. “That’s the way our ancestors prayed, that was their healing, that’s how they protected their families. And it was also a way for our people to celebrate our treaty at a time when practicing our culture was outlawed, and we were thrown in jail for singing and dancing.”

For a little historical background, the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott was signed by those tribal leaders with their future generations in mind. Altogether, the tribes ceded upwards of 5 million acres of their ancestral lands to the United States government for white settlement. That vast amount of land presently makes up Washington State’s King, Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties. 

The treaty established current day reservations including the Tulalip, Port Madison, Swinomish and Lummi reservations. Through the signing of the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott, the US government acknowledged each tribe as a sovereign nation. And in exchange for ceding such large portions of their ancestral homelands, the tribes reserved the right to fish at usual and accustomed grounds and stations, as well as the right to hunt and gather on open and unclaimed lands.

Said Tulalip Elder, Virginia Carpenter, “The treaty is important to me because it gives us a permanent place to live and because it gives us all of our rights. If we didn’t have the treaty, we really wouldn’t have anything, they would’ve kicked us off of our land. It’s an umbrella for us to live safely and the way we want to live.”

Ever since the treaties were signed in the late 1800’s, tribal nations across America have worked diligently to protect and defend their treaty rights when the US government attempted to ignore or defy the supreme law of the land for its own agenda. Because of those rights that the tribal ancestors fought to include in the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott, each Tribe has grown and persevered over the years, with the ability to govern their own affairs while also continuing their traditional way of life. 

If you wish to view the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott in its entirety, a  copy is currently on display at the Hibulb Cultural Center as a part of their The Power of Words: A History of Tulalip Literacy exhibit. For further details including pricing and hours of operation, please contact the museum at (360) 716-2600 or visit their website, www.HibulbCulturalCenter.org.

This year’s Treaty Days Potlatch will be held at the Tulalip Longhouse on January 21st. This event is intended for tribal members only. For more information, please refer to your tribal leadership or, if available, check out your Tribe’s tribal member-only Facebook group. 

“Our treaties are everything as Native American people,” stated Tribal member, Josh Fryberg. “We need to protect our treaties as much as possible and thank our ancestors for fighting for what we have today. Without everything they suffered for, we wouldn’t have a lot of things we have today as far as our fishing and hunting rights, and also being Native American in general – to be able to sing our songs, carry our culture and preserve that for our future generations.”

Strengthening Tulalip sovereignty and building relationships in D.C.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

The White House is pleased to announce the 2022 White House Tribal Nations Summit at the Department of the Interion in Washington, D.C.

Building on the 2021 Summit and the progress made to strengthen our Nation-to-Nation relationships and invest record levels of resources in Tribal communities, we look forward to hosting a robust and meaningful engagement with Tribal leaders on important issues facing Tribal communities. The Summit will feature new Administration announcements and efforts to implement key policy initiatives supporting Tribal communities.

The Biden-Harris Administration is deeply committed to honoring its trust and treaty responsibilities to federally recognized Tribes, and this Summit provides an opportunity for Tribal leaders to engage directly with officials in the highest levels of the Administration.

The preceding paragraphs were the opening sentiments expressed in a letter written on behalf of the White House to Tulalip Chairwoman Teri Gobin, inviting her to the Tribal Nations Summit held on November 30th and December 1st, 2022. She accepted the invitation, of course, and journeyed to the nation’s capital to represent her Tulalip people as best she could.

Much excitement came with this summit as it was the second one held by the Biden Administration, but, even more notably, it was the first one held in-person in six years. The exclusive guest list was reserved for one government representative per Tribe, which resulted in a truly once-in-a-life-time White House visit for the Tribal leaders who travelled from all across Indian Country to convene as sovereigns with the 46th president of the United States, Joe Biden.

“To all the Tribal leaders: Thank you. Thank you for being here and for your partnership,” remarked President Biden during the summit’s opening session. “I made a commitment when I ran for President…that my administration would prioritize and respect nation-to-nation relationships. And I’m going to make sure that happens.

Deborah Parker, Chairwoman Gobin and senior attorney Lisa Koop in the nation’s capital. 

“I hope our work in the past two years has demonstrated that we’re meeting that commitment. That’s why I re-launched this convening and elevated an event into a White House Tribal Nations Summit after the previous administration failed to convene any events, anything on this scale. On my watch, we’re ushering in a new era for the federal government to work with Tribal nations.  And it starts by appointing Native Americans to lead the frontlines of my administration.

“Starting with Secretary Haaland, we’ve followed dozens of Senate-confirmed Native American officials, over 60 Native American appointees all across my administration, including in the federal court,” continued President Biden. “I restored the White House Council on Native American Affairs to improve interagency coordination and decision-making. Together, I emphasize the word together, my entire administration is advancing the economic agenda and making historic investments in Indian Country that are long overdue.”

The particular summit provided opportunities for Tribal leaders to engage with members of the Biden Administration in robust and meaningful discussions that are foundational to strengthening nation-to-nation relationships. By being able to convene in-person once again, the conversations were even more meaningful when issues facing Tribal communities were brought up, which they routinely were.

Chairwoman Gobin presented Secretary Deb Haaland with a beaded staff made by Tulalip artist Richard “2 Dogs” Muir.

This year’s summit included presentations from President Biden, Vice-President Kamala Harris, and Secretary Deb Haaland. It also included panel discussions with representatives from the Department of Education, Department of the Interior, Department of Agriculture, the White House Climate Policy Office, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Veterans Affairs, and more.

A definite highlight of Chairwoman Gobin’s summit was when she got to sit front and center on a panel dedicated to discussing Tribal strategies and priorities on the hot button issues of public safety and justice. Her fellow panelists were Chairman Peter Yucupicio (Pascua Yaqui Tribe), associate attorney general Vanita Gupta (United States), Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas (Dept. of Homeland Security) and Secretary Deb Haaland (Dept. of Interior).

Specifically, Chairwoman Gobin was asked to speak on the importance of reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and how it impacts her home reservation. “Tulalip was one of the first Tribal courts to exercise the special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction under VAWA 2013…we made 15 arrests in that first year. However, one of the things we noticed was that half of the incidents involving the non-Natives included crimes against our children, which weren’t covered by VAWA 2013,” she explained. 

“We used this data and other data we had to show why it was so important to extend protections to Native American victims of sexual violence, stalking, trafficking, and child abuse,” added Chairwoman Gobin. “The VAWA Reauthorization Act of 2022 was a huge win for public safety in our community, especially for our women and children. VAWA 2022 was a necessary second step. Now, we are looking to build upon that momentum and do more.”

Within Tribal communities, it is well known that public safety and justice are entangled in a complex web of Treaties, federal acts, state laws, and lots of Supreme Court decisions that conflict with each other. This entanglement creates an incredibly complex situation when it comes to Tribes protecting their own people from violence, and pursuing justice for their people who’ve been victimized by non-Native offenders.

However, recent mainstream spotlight and federal focus on these Native American social issues, such as Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and the atrocities committed during the Boarding School Era, have amplified attention to the high rates of violence experienced over multiple generations. In these times, it’s become imperative for the movers and shakers of Washington, D.C. to actually engage with Tribal leaders in order to ask questions and seek valuable insight on realistic strategies that can foster long-term improvements to public safety. 

In that regards, the White House Tribal Nations Summit was a huge success. Elected leadership and officials from Tribes from all across Indian Country were at the decision-making table, while D.C. lawmakers listened and learned. In that sovereignty affirming space, Tulalip’s voice was heard and its knowledge valued through the heartfelt messaged conveyed by Tulalip’s own Chairwoman.

The rise in Tribal grandparent guardianship

By Shaelyn Smead, Tulalip News

Family issues surrounding chemical dependency, domestic violence, and homelessness have created a continued upward trend of Native grandparents obtaining guardianship over their grandchildren.

Traditionally speaking, the concept isn’t too far off from how our ancestors raised their kids. For centuries before us, Native people thrived through communal operations. Rather than families only being responsible for their ‘own,’ families worked together, raised children together, and depended on one another frequently. 

Historically Native grandparents helped raise children in their community out of choice and tradition. However, with certain struggles that today’s world brings, grandparent guardianship has become more about necessity and intervention. Native grandparents have become the glue for many Native households trying to keep their families together. 

Family Haven manager Alison Bowen recognized that grandparent guardianship is nothing new to Tulalip. Still, she has witnessed the increase in the trend as well, “We mostly see grandparents offer to help and take over guardianship. It says a lot about their love for their family and keeping the kids close, safe, and surrounded by their community. Beda?chelh has also taken great strides at approving kinship care and allowing that to happen, which is wonderful,” she said.

Other than some of the obvious struggles that derive from family distress, grandparents, in particular, have their own set of adjusting and obstacles to overcome. A big hurdle is the difference in generations. Many have raised their children in a completely different era and environment than they are now in.

“Understanding concepts around bullying, social media, drugs, and technology are all new to them. Fifty years ago, they might have had a version of these struggles, but as time has progressed, so have these parental stresses. They are being exposed to these new situations and have to adapt quickly,” Alison said. 

The success of these grandparents weighs heavily on the amount of support that they have. A 2019 Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology studied Montana’s Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Project’s stressors, resources, and resiliency of rural Native and European American custodial grandparents. In short, the research found that 33% of the Native grandparents suffered from economic distress and were ill-prepared to financially accommodate the needs of childrearing. They also found that living on reservations or small communities brought shame, guilt, and fear of gossip that challenged the uptake of services when eligible.

It was argued that due to Native Americans’ history of traumas from colonialism, cultural genocide, forced relocation to reservations, and residential boarding schools, Native American grandparents suffered a higher level of depressive symptoms. On the other hand, because of these historical events, it forced Native Americans to adapt, and the grandparents scored a higher level of resiliency than their European American counterparts. 

Alison spoke about her admiration for Tulalip grandparents taking on this new role, “To settle down and retire, and then to choose to repeat the childrearing chapter of their lives, is so amazing. You can feel the love that they have for their grandchildren. And whenever kids can stay in their family or community, they feel more connected and like they belong. That’s what any child wants,” she said. 

An anonymous tribal grandparent shared their story, similar to many other grandparents holding guardianship. They obtained guardianship over their four great nieces and nephews in 2020 due to parental mental health and addiction-related issues. Raising four kids under eight years old, lack of energy, exposure to new technology, and adapting to new parenting styles were all obstacles the grandparents had to overcome. But they look at this time in their life to better themselves and have a second shot at parenthood.

The anonymous grandparent spoke about not having parents and how they didn’t want these kids to experience that same trauma, “It was not a question at all when we took them in. We love them, and we had to keep our family together. We wanted their parents to be sober and care for their kids because they were once awesome parents. But it’s just not what happened. We struggled at first in our transition because this wasn’t what we had planned for our life, but we shifted our thoughts and started saying- ‘this is our life,’” they said.

The grandparent also shared their gratitude for how their family has come together and helped them with raising the kids. They expressed how TANF and Beda?chelh have been substantial resources for them.

“The biggest thing I could say to other grandparents experiencing this transition is to enjoy the moment, enjoy the children, and find your support system. Kids are a blessing and can motivate you in ways you haven’t thought of before,” they said. 

Many resources are available for Tulalip families in distress, including Family Advocacy’s programs like Beda?chelh, funding through TANF, Child Advocacy, and Legacy of Healing. Child Youth and Family (CYF) Mental Wellness also provides individual and family therapy, transportation services, and referrals to various psychological services. Additionally, Family Haven provides Teen Outreach Program, Tulalip Peer Support Program, MOMs Group, parenting classes, Family Spirit Home Visiting Program, and the Family Preservation Program.

If you or someone you know needs services, please contact Beda?chelh and Family Haven at 3607163284, Family Advocacy at 3607164320, or CYF Mental Wellness at 3607164224.

After 16 years of leading the Tulalip Gaming Organization, Ken Kettler retires

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Ken Kettler came to Tulalip in 2006 with over three decades of gaming leadership experience. He served in a variety of executive and managerial positions with Harrah’s Entertainment for twenty-seven years, before spending the next five years as the General Manager of the Agua Caliente Casino in California. Then, from 2006 – 2022, Ken ushered in an era of financial prosperity that resulted in Tulalip’s gaming enterprise growing from infant to powerhouse.

As long-time, former Board of Director Glen Gobin recalled, the decision to bring Ken on as President of the Tulalip Gaming Organization came in an auspicious time; when Tulalip leadership was struggling to find a unified vision for its fledgling Tulalip Casino. 

“At that time in 2006, prior to Ken, we were a floundering organization going through managers left and right. There were a number of growing pains from trying to develop a business that was brand new to us, and going through 13 managers in about as many years was a huge concern. I happened to be on Tribal Council when we interviewed Ken and it was apparent right away that he shared our dream to make Tulalip a true resort complex.

“Our surrounding competition was getting better and we knew we had to elevate ourselves in order to stay at the forefront,” Glen continued. “After hiring Ken, we quickly started down on the path to making Tulalip a resort destination. With Ken’s expertise and gaming experience, we built a hotel and in doing so created a place where people wanted to come and spend a night or two. We’ve only continued to grow since then, and I for one don’t think we’d be enjoying the financial prosperity we are today if it wasn’t for Ken’s leadership.”

Showered with well wishes and heartwarming memories, the most successful and longest tenured President of the Tulalip Gaming Operation was celebrated with a retirement ceremony in late December. There was no setting more fitting that the Resort Casino’s Orca Ballroom. Attendees formed an intimate gathering of friends, family and business colleagues that brought tears to the Kettler family as they were overjoyed to see how their father was embraced by leadership and elders.

The ceremony started with traditional songs offered by Tulalip youth, led by their cultural liaisons Deyamonta Diaz and Tony Hatch.

“We’re honored to be here today to honor Ken with a couple songs,” said former Board of Director Tony Hatch. “We thank him for all his years of dedication to our people. What better way to show the impact of all the work he’s done than to have your youngest generation share a song in their traditional language? Because Ken’s legacy reaches far beyond the casinos. All he’s created for us is certainly going to positively impact and benefit these kids for years to come. It’s only right then that they and us show our appreciation in a traditional way, with a song.”

For the last sixteen years, Ken was responsible for overseeing the operations of all three properties that make up the Tulalip Gaming Organization: Tulalip Resort Casino, Quil Ceda Creek Casino and Tulalip Bingo. Their overwhelming success during his tenure is also noted as resulting in an unprecedented cash infusion to the Tulalip citizenship, from gradually increasing per capita payments to larger and larger bonuses given out prior to the holidays. Not to mention all the infrastructure, services, and programs that have been developed over that time span that have benefitted multiple generations of Tulalip families. 

“I’ve been the manager/director of Bingo for twenty-five years, the last sixteen of which were under Ken’s leadership,” explained Tammy Taylor. “Ken always told us that ‘we’re better together’, and we are. Every one of us are better together. I’m honored for my children, my grandchildren, and all the children of our Tulalip community and generations to come because they are going to have so many things that benefit their life, things that we can’t even imagine, that are a direct result of what Ken helped create here. That is Ken’s legacy. All my grandchildren know his name and how important he is. From the bottom of my heart, I thank Ken for making us all better.”

While he presided over the Tribe’s gaming enterprise, Ken also served as an active member of the Tulalip Marysville Chamber of Commerce, the Snohomish YMCA Board of Trustees, and the Tulalip Lions Club. He’s also noted as an integral part of building the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club Auction into the annual fundraising juggernaut it is today. 

For all his tireless dedication to Tulalip, Ken was also honored with a family necklace by Glen Gobin and wrapped in a Pendleton blanket by Marci Fryberg and April Brisbois.

“We are so, so grateful for having Ken’s leadership for sixteen years. With him in charge, our revenue has grown so much and allows our community to be positively impacted for generations,” said Tulalip Vice-Chairwoman Misty Napeahi. “We were an infant organization when he came to us, muddling along and doing our best but not getting the results we wanted. Then Ken pulled us together, unified our vision, and made us into the powerhouse we are today. On behalf of Tulalip, my hands go up to you.”

As Ken walks into the green pastures of retirement, he is succeeded as TGO President by Tulalip tribal member Marci Fryberg. 

Ryan’s REZ-ipes named King 5 ‘Best Food Truck 2022’

By Kalvin Valdillez; photos courtesy of Ryan Gobin. 

It was nothing but love in the comment section of Ryan’s REZ-ipes’ most recent Facebook posts. While some fondly recollected about Ryan Gobin’s early beginnings inside the blue concession trailer in front of Tulalip Bay CrossFit gym, others listed their favorite dishes by one of the most in-demand food trucks and catering services in the Pacific Northwest. “I need me a shrimp n’ steak rice bowl,” said Magdelina Spencer. Jim and Rhenee Florian commented, “We were just there and had your nacho cheese smash burgers, kalbi burrito, fries and cinnamon sugary frybread. SO Good!”. And Melissa Peacock simply shared, “Those smash burgers… heaven!”

Among the hundreds of congratulatory comments, perhaps the most heartfelt came from some of Ryan’s fellow Tulalip community members who beamed with pride about his rise to fame in the food industry. Samantha Rose stated, “So great watching your growth! Great job Ryan!”. “Congratulations! It’s a blessing watching your journey. Keep growing your dreams,” encouraged Sunshine Jess. Elena Wilson, who also cooks on the 2022 Best Food Truck, shared, “Congratulations for all your hard work and dedication to loving the food you serve. [It] means a lot to everyone who shows up to the truck. You earned it, you the best.”

After years of service to his community as a Tulalip Police Officer, Ryan made the courageous decision to follow his lifetime passion in 2016 – a passion that was developed in his adolescent years and inspired by all the cooks within his very own family. After soaking up all the knowledge his family could offer in the art of cuisine, he began experimenting and creating his own recipes. Today, Ryan has thousands of devoted followers hailing from all across the country who love his unique and tasty dishes. 

“I am forever grateful and deeply appreciative for all the support I’ve been given by my family and friends from our Tulalip community for supporting me in my food truck journey,” Ryan shared. “I was recently nominated by King 5 Evening News as the number one food truck in Western Washington. It’s a huge achievement for me, because I’ve worked very hard over the past five years to get where I am today, and I never let anything stop me.”

Now don’t get it twisted, Ryan’s food could easily speak for itself – it is that delicious. However, he has worked his ass off ever since he decided to start his culinary endeavor, not only in the kitchen but on the business end as well. Over the years he went from a local trailer to an upgraded sleek blue food truck that travels around western Washington serving up the likes of frybread, truffle fries, pulled pork sandwiches and tacos, the ever-popular smash burgers, shrimp bowls and a variety of weekly specials and experimental dishes. In addition to investing in a new truck and cultivating a strong following, Ryan has also expanded his services to include catering for large parties to enjoy his food. He has also worked numerous corporate events, baby showers, weddings, and other gatherings. 

Said Ryan, “There have been many hurdles, failures, and lots of sacrifices over the years, but I kept pushing forward in a good way with passion and drive to show my kids and others that you can really do anything you put your mind to. The way I see it is this – if you give up because it gets difficult, it’ll never be a success. Never give up!”

The Tulalip chef and entrepreneur serves as an inspiration to many, and he is quick to share his success and guidance with those on the same career path. He humbly expressed, “To me, other food trucks or other food vendors are not my competition. We are all attempting to achieve the same goals – creating amazing foods and making others happy when they eat it, and also supporting our families at the same time. We should all support and help one another. Recently, I had the food truck at the Tulalip Amphitheater for the Lights and Ice Festival, that was such a beautifully set up event full of Tulalip tribal food vendors and everyone supported one another as a big family. That’s what it’s all about! It was all love and warmth together.”

To get an idea of how amazing it is to receive recognition from King 5’s Best in Western Washington Awards, Ryan joins the likes of PNW heavy hitters such as the best taco award winner, Taco Time, and the best burger award winner Dick’s Drive-In. If you have yet to experience the mouth-watering food at Ryan’s REZ-ipes, be sure to follow his Facebook and Instagram pages for the most up-to-date menu items and all the locations that they plan to visit.  

After winning the Best Food Truck of 2022 award, Ryan took to Facebook and shared, “This just goes to show how far you can get when you have an amazing support system at home, have a great team through the years, and never give up! Cheers to many more years of progress and expansions!”

Congratulations to Ryan and the entire Ryan’s REZ-ipes crew. We are excited to see what’s next up on the menu for his tribal member-owned business.