Cedar Creations: Walter Moses continues family tradition of carving with a modern twist

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News; photos courtesy of Walter Moses 

“Cedar is a sacred tree to the Tulalip Tribes, there are numerous stories behind the cedar tree,” said Tulalip Artist, Walter Moses. “I’ve been in the lumber industry for a decade and I’ve seen and worked with all types of cedar and learned a lot of history behind the cedar tree. Every piece has a specific grain to it, all the grain is not going to be the same. Some of them will have different shapes and different lines. To me, that piece of cedar is actually telling a story. Sometimes you’ll see little waves inside the cedar. At that time in the tree’s life, there was a lot of turbulence and a lot of stress on the tree. When you see someone wearing a pair of my earrings, they’re actually wearing something that came out of a 200, 300-year-old tree, a tree that has been here longer than the country itself. What they’re wearing is a piece of history.”

Long before colonists arrived to this sacred land, the Indigenous people of the Northwest took great care of the region, living and thriving off the land’s natural resources. As Walter stated, the cedar tree played a significant role in the lifeways of the Salish people. The cedar was used for a number of means in all aspects of our ancestors’ everyday lives. Some traditional items created from cedar include bentwood boxes, paddles, rattles, totem poles, baskets, hats, masks, headbands and canoes. Whether it was for fishing, hunting, gathering, ceremonial, medicinal or spiritual purposes, the cedar tree could be fashioned into a number of tools by way of weaving or carving techniques, teachings that have been passed on generation after generation.

“My dad is a carver and his father was a carver, it just runs in the family,” Walter proudly expressed. “As far as I can remember, my dad’s always been carving stuff like masks, paddles, totem poles, just a large variety of traditional things. When I was about 11 years of age, he sat me down to teach me how to carve, how to use an adze and the simple techniques that we use in carving. My first project was a shovel-nosed canoe, that’s a traditional mountain canoe, not like the sea-going ones that you see on the canoe journey. It’s the ones our people used to go up and down the rivers in the mountains, and they look quite different than the ones you see out on the Puget Sound, they have thicker hulls and are in the shovel shape. I still remember the lady who bought it from me, she bought it for $40 and I spent the money at the Marysville Strawberry Festival.”

Walter is quick to point out that his personal journey with art, however, did not begin with carvings. Although he observed his father and Tulalip Master Carver, Kelly Moses Sr., perfect his craft from a young age, Walter initially fell in love with drawing, often sketching scenic pictures, animals and whales. He was encouraged daily by his father and teachers. His art was showcased at the front of his classrooms at school and he also received ‘A++’ reviews from Kelly Sr. on the regular. 

Walter said, “I actually started drawing when I was about 5. As far as I can remember, I’ve always been drawing. Drawing is one of the main fundamental skills that I had to master in order to become a carver. There are multiple skills when it comes to carving, that isn’t carving itself. You’re talking about blueprinting everything out; you have to be a good drawer, you have to be able to look at something and draw it down. You have to know the cedar type, the grain, how to get the cedar. So, it’s not just carving, there’s a story and you have to know how to tell those stories. There’s a multitude of things you have to learn over time.”

Historically, carvings are integral to traditional ceremonies. Songs, dances and stories are shared utilizing cedar carvings; singers shake rattles, dancers pull paddles and stories are commonly re-enacted with masks. Today, Walter took that knowledge from generations prior and found a way to honor the traditional art of carving and blend it with his own unique style, creating modern day jewelry such as bracelets, pendants and his highly popular and extremely limited earrings.

“Nowadays I’m creating a lot of jewelry which would include earrings, pendants, bracelets, and I can still do some masks and paddles,” he said. “The reason I’m doing earrings and pendants is because masks and paddles are something for the home, something to showcase on the wall when guests come over. With jewelry, it’s art you can take with you. It’s a piece of history that you’re taking with you, that you can adorn your body with because the spirit lives in the body, so why not adorn the spirit with a piece of history.”

For two-years, the full-time family man and lumberman dedicated his weekends to his passion. He explained that the decision to follow this journey just may have been his destiny as his grandfather, on his mother’s side, also handcrafted jewelry, specializing in beaded necklaces.

Walter originally stumbled across jewelry-making while raffling paddles and masks at local Indigenous gatherings. When he noticed the majority of people who purchased his raffle tickets were women, he began to take requests, one of which happened to be for earrings. Walter accepted the challenge and upon seeing the positive response after posting his first set of earrings online, he decided to pursue this path and dedicated his time and energy to making jewelry and regalia crafted from cedar. 

“It’s just a natural thing,” he said. “I think about art like all the time. At work I’m thinking about art. If I see a certain shape on a piece of wood, I go wow that would make a really cool piece of art. My dad helped me develop a photographic memory. If I see something awesome, I build off that. I have an art disease in my brain that causes me to think about art all the time.”

Through his artwork, he still gets the opportunity to express his love for drawing, incorporating formline by hand-painting and micro-engraving Indigenous designs into many of his earrings. And because each piece is hand carved and painted, the earrings are in high-demand and extremely limited, often selling minutes after Walter adds them to his social medias. It is also very important to him that he does not replicate any of his past work, that each new pair of earrings, pendent or bracelet is an original one-of-one creation. Walter also incorporates modern-day meme-culture into his artwork, recently creating Baby Yoda and Bernie Sanders earrings which were a huge hit on his Instagram profile. 

Walter explained, “I’ll look at something and think, ‘hmm, I can make something out of that’. I use a lot of rulers, rulers are very important. Fractions are also very important for measuring the wood, making sure each piece is measured and the thickness is correct. I’ll go from there and just build. I don’t blueprint, I just make them up as I go along. For my masks I’ll do a blueprint, but for the earrings I do the first design that comes to me. Even though there is a lot fine detail that goes into them, I’ll leave defects in there just because it shows the human spirit in it. You know, not everything is perfectly identical, it’s unique in its own way. Sometimes I’ll leave little scratches or dings on there because it adds character to it, its own uniqueness.”

Walter also does his part in sharing the knowledge of his craft, prepping the next generation of Tulalip artists, not only by involving his own kids in his work, but also by teaching classes at Tulalip-Heritage High School as well as sharing stories at a handful of elementary classrooms in the Bellingham School District. 

“Last year, before COVID broke out, one of the Native liaisons reached out to me and asked if I was interested in teaching at Tulalip-Heritage. I used to go out there twice a month and teach them how to carve, how to make earrings and about our art in general, just to get them involved and get their hands moving,” he said. “My dad always told me to keep your hands busy all the time. That’s a lesson that I teach and practice. I also talk at the elementary classes in Bellingham, telling them some of our stories. I speak in front of the class for about an hour, a lot of its been online though, not in person. When we pick back up, I’ll actually share in-person. Kids should know the history of the people in this area and not think of us just as people who own casinos and live on the reservation. They should know we have a unique background, that there were people here before their ancestors came and that we’re still here and will always be here.”

Walter is proudly continuing in the footsteps of his bloodline, building upon what his father and ancestors passed on through the generations and continuing the Moses legacy of carving. And it appears as though his journey is just getting started as word about his work continues to spread across the social media platforms. 

“My work is not just a piece of wood with a Coast Salish design on it, it’s also a piece of me – a bit of my teachings from my father and his father, a bit of my meditation, prayers and good-thoughts. My dad taught me that as sduhubš people, we all have a special gift, something that we are meant to do to help our people out,” he shared. “And the younger people might not know what it is yet, but they will find their way to help our people. Our special gift is something that we get from our maker. Not everyone is going to be a carver, storyteller, leader, spiritual worker, everybody has their own special gift that will help them. Mine has helped me through some tough times growing up. When I was younger, I knew that I could always fall back and count on my art to help me out.”

A gallery of Walter’s carvings can be viewed on his personal Instagram account, @WalterM2213. Walter also does special requests on a case-by-case basis, depending on his time available. Be sure to send him a direct message if you are interested in purchasing any of his handmade cedar jewelry.

“It’s important for me to carry this on because it’s a part of us, part of my family. I don’t really even consider it my art, I consider it our art. I carry it on because it’s a statement that we’re still here. I read somewhere that the revolution will come in the form of contemporary art. I like how that sounds, so I continue to do it.” 

Marysville School District staff made a high priority, given Covid-19 vaccine by Tulalip Tribes

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip Tribes

During the week of January 27, an incredible act of graciousness occurred as the Tulalip Tribes leadership chose to offer every single teacher and support staff of Marysville School District (MSD) an opportunity to circumvent Governor Inslee’s priority list and receive the potentially lifesaving Covid-19 vaccine. Tulalip understands the invaluable role educators play in the lives of our youth and as such exercised tribal sovereignty in deeming all MSD staff a high priority.

“After taking care of our own tribal members, we thought it was appropriate to take care of our teachers because they take care of our kids,” explained Chairwoman Teri Gobin. “We know the value of taking care of the community, especially those entrusted to educate our youth. This is awesome being able to help out local communities and Marysville School District. 

“To offer the vaccine to the teachers is phenomenal because it means our students will be able to get back to school and their teachers will remain safe,” she added. “By offering the vaccine to our teachers and other [essential service workers], we’re making our entire Tulalip community safer. It’s a means to get through this time together, so that we can again gather normally, have our traditional ceremonies and celebrate life again, together instead of apart.”

It’s been over a month since Tulalip received the much heralded Moderna vaccine. Over that time resources were directed at getting as many Tulalip tribal member households vaccinated as possible. Then emphasis was put on employees of Tulalip’s essential businesses. Now, the tribe is committed to its local educators as they prepare to reopen select grade levels in the coming weeks and hold in-person learning once again. 

When the tribe reached out to MSD and informed them of the vaccination opportunity, the school district surveyed every staff member asking if they wanted the vaccine. Nearly 90% responded with ‘yes’. 

From Wednesday, January 27, thru the following Friday, school district personnel travelled into the heart of the reservation to visit the makeshift vaccination distribution center that was the Tulalip Youth Complex. Highly excited and appreciative teachers formed a socially distanced line that wrapped around the building and went down Totem Beach road while waiting to be vaccinated.

“Today exemplifies the amazing partnership that Marysville School District and the Tulalip Tribes have,” said school district superintendent Jason Thompson shortly after receiving his Covid-19 vaccination. “It’s difficult to not get emotional because I’ve personally witnessed so many teachers come into our offices to fill out their necessary medical forms for today and they were in tears. They couldn’t believe they were getting this opportunity. We’re so fortunate and it’s simply amazing the tribe is doing this.”

A majority of MSD faculty would have been forced to wait weeks, if not months, to be eligible for a vaccination at city, county, and state hospitals under Governor Inslee’s guidelines. Being a sovereign nation, Tulalip does not have to adhere to the Governor’s office and has sole discretion over how and to whom it distributes the vaccine. This critical distinction is viewed as a timely miracle that helps protect loved ones within the community.

“I live at home with my father who is high-risk and having this opportunity to get vaccinated to protect him means so much. This means the world to me,” described 27-year-old Tanner Edenholm, a para-educator for Quil Ceda Elementary. “We’re all a family within the Tulalip community, and I appreciate so much how the tribe is protecting its community and saving lives through its vaccine distribution.”

A huge sense of relief and hope for the future was shared by the hundreds of teachers and support staff, from bus drivers to cafeteria workers, who together make it possible to have a safe and instructive learning space for the school district’s young students. Many of whom are eagerly awaiting a return to the class room where they can be reunited with friends and entrusted educators who are viewed as family.

“It’s really important for us to get our students back safely, and part of that is protecting our staff. Getting vaccinated adds that layer of protection so that we can get our students back sooner rather than later,” shared Principal Kelli Miller of Heritage High School. “It’s important for our kids to know that we are doing this for them because we miss them so, so much and can’t wait to see their beautiful faces in real life again. I’m hoping that when we are able to share the same physical spaces again that we all lean in and support each other. Creating that healthy environment where we can all continue learning and growing together is just around the corner, hopefully.”

From inspiration to artistic reimagining, Seahawks logo embraced in Coast Salish territory

This indigenouscreated transformation mask is what inspired the Seattle Seahawks logo.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Tampa Bay’s football team is heading to the Super Bowl. And with their participation in what is typically the most watched American television broadcast of the year, an estimated 115 million households will tune in February 7th to see a squad of Buccaneers compete against the Kansas City Chiefs. Not any specific Chief mind you, like say one representing any of Native America’s 574 federally recognized tribes. More like the stereotypical kind of Chiefs that a certain segment of American culture just won’t let go of. 

However, instead of lambasting yet another professional sports team’s name and mascot for clearly misrepresenting Native culture, let’s instead focus on our local football franchise. The Seattle Seahawks; a team that has been embraced by Coast Salish culture and whose logo is directly inspired from an Indigenous masterpiece.

In case you weren’t aware already, there is no such thing as a seahawk. Ornithology experts, people who study birds, theorize the term ‘seahawk’ refers to a combination of an osprey, which is a bird of prey native to coastal North America, and a skua, which in our area we normally call a seagull. So if there isn’t an actual ‘seahawk’ found in nature, then where did the inspiration for the Seattle Seahawks’ logo come from?

The general consensus is that in 1976 the NFL commissioned a logo for the newly-formed Seattle football team. Then-general manager Ted Thompson wanted the Seahawks’ logo to reflect “Northwest Indian culture.” He and his team of concept designers must have been Native culture enthusiasts who stumbled across a truly remarkable piece of Indigenous Northwest Coastal art. That artwork in question was a Kwakwaka’wakw (pronounced: KWA-kwuh-kyuh-wakw) transformation mask from northeastern Vancouver Island. 

Exquisitely hand carved in the finest local wood, it’s easy to imagine the team of contracted designers becoming infatuated with the ceremonial mask depicting a mighty eagle with bold black and red formline accents unique to the traditional Coast Salish region. In its closed form, the eagle appears to be in motion with its wings spread, as if it’s ready to soar. 

According to curators at Seattle’s Burke Museum, long before the Seahawks took the field at the old Kingdome, this hand-carved mask played an important role among the Kwakwaka’wakw people. Transformation masks represented rights owned by individual leaders, often depicting family origin stories or an ancestor’s super-natural encounters. When this mask is danced in ceremony, a pivotal moment in the song calls for the mask to be opened, revealing a stunning human face inside.

Carved in the late 19th century, the mask was purchased by the Fred Harvey Company before 1910 and later came into the collection of Max Ernst. Ernst, Picasso, and other Surrealist artists were fascinated by the aesthetic power of Northwest Coast masks, which they saw as direct expressions of human instinct and unconscious thought. After Ernst’s death in 1976, the mask was acquired by a private collector. Eventually the privately held art collection came to be displayed publically, but always in its open position…meaning its likeness to the Seahawks logo was hidden from view. 

In September 2014, the Burke Museum, located on the University of Washington campus, learned of the mask’s whereabouts and launched an online fundraising campaign to bring the mask back to the Northwest Coast. It didn’t take long to raise the money needed to conserve, insure and ship the mask across the country. Within weeks of arrival the hidden history of the mask was unveiled and the origin story of the Seahawks logo went public.

While the details behind the origin story of the Seahawks’ logo remained a mystery for decades, what has always been transparent and secure is a positive celebration by local Coast Salish tribes. All along the Salish Sea, tribal people have embraced the Seahawks logo and re-appropriated it into our culture.

Dion Joseph (Tulalip) has remixed the Seahawks logo, giving it a more prominent Coast Salish design

“Great things inspire imitations. In the same way that so many Native people and white people and Asians areinspired by hip-hop, an artform created by black people, many people are inspired by our beautiful art,” wrote attorney and Seattle resident, Gyasi Ross (Blackfeet). “Native people have some beautiful artwork, and of course it inspires people to want a piece of it. The Seahawks logo is a perfect example of that. And we love it.

“But also, the Seahawks are actually active and respectful of the huge Native community here in the Pacific Northwest,” he added. “From speaking at graduations to speaking out against the Redskins mascot, the Seahawks have a great relationship with the Native community here, both urban and Reservation-based.”

Their commitment to Native communities is what distinguishes the Seahawks from so many other organizations that claim to honor Native culture with their logos and mascots, yet contribute little or nothing to their local tribes. The Seahawks have a history of making significant impact to the Tulalip Tribes in particular.

Back in 2008, Seahawk Bobby Engram collaborated with Home Depot, the Kaboom! Program, and Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County to build a 50-foot by 50-foot playground at the reservation’s ‘Club’. In 2014, following the Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooting, the Seahawks hosted tribal member Nate Hatch and his family at CenturyLink Field, where they received the VIP treatment from players and coaching staff.

“It was great to meet Nate,” said Coach Pete Carroll to the Seattle Times. “We’ve communicated a little bit, and we’ve been connected to the whole Marysville-Pilchuck school and the kids. He was really excited to be [on the field]. His mom was there too, so it was really special to have them. I’m sure he had a big day.”

Then in June 2019, Seattle Seahawks legend Michael Bennett hosted a once-in-a-lifetime football camp for Tulalip community youth. Nearly 250 participants from ages 7-18 had an opportunity to catch a pass from and do drills with the Super Bowl champion. Afterwards, Bennett stuck around to sign autographs and take photos with every single one of his adoring fans. Most recently, in October 2019, former Seahawks Cooper Helfet and Jermaine Kearse landed a seaplane right here in Tulalip Bay before spending an afternoon with thirty Tulalip youth. 

A history of positive impact. Countless moments to uplift Tulalip youth and inspire them to always dream big. Promoting healthy lifestyle choices and physical fitness as a means of self-discipline to achieve long-term goals. The reciprocal nature of Seahawk respect and appreciation for local tribes and the proud Native fandom they’ve received in return continues to manifest itself in truly imaginative ways.

For starters, its common place to see the Seahawks’ logo reimagined via Coast Salish designs in all possible mediums. Authentically produced by Native artisans, they’ve created blankets, clothing, beaded jewelry, eye-capturing medallions, wooden panels, furniture, flags, face masks, and even 6-foot tall, chainsaw carvings that celebrate the Seahawks’ Native roots. These items and more can routinely be found at powwows, all-Native basketball tournaments, and other Native vendor-friendly events around the region.

Josh Fryberg (Tulalip) fitted with all Seahawks everything, including a beaded Medallion and face covering.

“The Seahawks have given back to our community in so many ways and really made a difference in the lives of our youth,” said lifelong fan and tribal member Josh Fryberg. His family of eight have a tradition once a year to get new Seahawks jerseys so they’re always repping their favorite player. “I’ve been fortunate to experience most of their events held in Tulalip and witnessed firsthand our youth just light up being able to hang out with and throw around a football with their football heroes. It’s encouraging for a lot of young athletes to know it’s possible to become a professional athlete or future Seahawk through hard work and dedication. 

“As for the connection between the Seahawks and Coast Salish art, the roots definitely run deep,” he continued. “For my family, we have a lot of Seahawks themed artwork created by very talented Native artists, both from Tulalip and other tribes. More than the art thought, the Seahawks mean family togetherness. Every Blue Friday we rock our jerseys and every game day we gather as a family to cheer on our Seahawks.”

So yeah, the Seattle Seahawks aren’t playing in this year’s Super Bowl. Yet, in the hearts and minds of thousands of Coast Salish tribal members, the Seahawks will always be champions. Not because of a Vince Lombardi Trophy, but because our football team respects their local Native communities off the field. Where it matters most.

Tulalip programs unite for expectant mothers and future generations

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

A long-practiced tradition in many Native American cultures has to do cause and effect, decision-making and understanding how an action taken today can have an impact on the quality of life for our people in the future. Through the seven-generation principle, tribes nationwide are making positive changes within their community whether it be educational, economic, cultural, financial, or health-based, keeping in mind our children’s children. And for as far back as many can recall, the ancestors of the Tulalip people have always had their descendants’ best interest in mind, keeping the lifeways of the people alive during a time when cultural identities were being stripped away by forced assimilation. 

“The babies are the future of this community, of the world in general,” expressed Michelle Cooper, Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy Infant/Toddler Specialist. “I think it’s important to make sure that we’re supporting them as best we can, as well as their parents and their families. We want to make sure everybody feels comfortable and knows we’re a team. Like they say, it takes a village; and I think it’s important to continue that on.”

Keeping true to the seven-generation principal, several departments within the Tulalip Tribes have provided services for the youth of the community for years, starting from birth and extending past high school, ensuring the children are presented with many opportunities to learn about the traditions of their people as well as succeed in their journey from adolescence into adulthood. But what many may not know is there are multiple departments within the Tribe that also help soon-to-be Tulalip tribal members, offering services to expectant mothers before, during and after the birthing process. 

For instance, Tulalip Family Haven hosts a weekly hangout specifically for the mothers at Tulalip called Mom’s Group. Pre-COVID times, the group sessions allowed local moms the space to reflect, share ideas, create crafts with their children, take part in a clothing exchange and receive incentives such as car seats and diapers in bulk. Mom’s Group also warmly welcomed first-time pregnant mothers to discuss what to expect as a new mom and express any emotions they may be going through so other moms could in-turn relate and offer words of advice to help her work through any struggle she may be facing. Throughout the past year as we navigated the pandemic, Mom’s Group continued to gather on a weekly basis via the Facebook messenger app.

“We are a support group that allows mothers and women raising kids the opportunity to come together,” said Sasha Smith, Tulalip Family Haven’s Family and Youth Support Coordinator and Mom’s Group moderator. “We wish to provide a sense of belonging, a sense that there’s other women in our community to support each other, a place where we can come and just talk about motherhood and ask questions that are hard to ask your doctor or anybody in your family. They’re able to open up and just have a healthy discussion about childbirth and raising your children.”

 She continued, “We are still continuing on with Moms Group, virtually. We’re able to do it over Facebook, we still meet every Tuesday from 11 (AM) to Noon. We just drop-in for about 5-10 minutes, we make sure there’s some kind of lesson. It’s amazing to see that they still have those strong connections with each other and that they still really enjoy showing up every Tuesday and having that time with their friends on Zoom.”

The Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy, commonly referred to as TELA, has also stayed in touch with their students and families throughout the pandemic. During normal school years, the academy routinely held workshops for expecting parents that focused on the importance of early childhood development and worked with the parents, helping them get situated and ready for the new baby. TELA recently resumed in-school instruction again, but are not back to full capacity as of yet, and are still offering Zoom lessons to a handful of students. 

Said TELA Director, Sheryl Fryberg, “Right now, TELA is doing a lot of Zoom meetings with our children and families. We are only providing direct services to up to 75% of our students, I think we maybe have, more realistically, about 60-65%. And then with the rest of the students, the teachers do Zooms with them and provide activity packets, so they’re still receiving educational services from us. We want to provide all the support that we can, and especially with our young moms and just moms in general, they need support when they’re isolated and not seeing their families. We want to always  make sure that they know that we’re here for them.” 

Another department that assists pregnant mothers and new families is Tulalip Community Health, through the birth equity grant. 

“I am a Community Health nurse, as my primary role, and I have an background in OB,” explained Morgan Peterson, Tulalip Community Health Nurse. “I’ve been a part of the birth equity grant which is focused on improving birth outcomes for pregnant women and the young children that they have. So, in my role, I try to focus on the nursing portion of it, case management of at-risk pregnant women and those young babies that have had NICU stays, being a hospital liaison for them.”

Added Shayleigh Tucker, Tulalip Community Health Advocate, “I really like to call it a doctor translator.  We are able to be the in-between, between the community language and the language that providers are using, and explain what they’re doing. We also work with people’s care teams to get them the best suitable care available. We were going to medical appointments with people before COVID. Right now, patient advocacy looks a lot more like helping our community members feel empowered in their prenatal care, it’s a lot more text and call-based.”

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, these departments have remained readily available to expectant mothers and have continued offering their services and resources. And now, taking it a step further, they are combining forces to reach even more people within the community who may not know what they have to offer new moms and young families, as well as to better serve their current clientele. 

“Our plan for the new group, MCHC, is to establish a monthly parent education discussion group,” said Family Haven Manager, Alison Bowen. “Our plan, for now, is Zoom education for the community. MCHC stands for Maternal Child Health Committee and the purpose of this group is to bring together all the different Tulalip entities that are working with families with young children, up to age five. Since we’re all serving these families in different ways, we thought why don’t we all come together, find out what families we’re serving and not serving, what might be some problem areas where we can improve, what additional outreach we can do, as well as using our funds and our knowledge in the best way, so we’re not duplicating services, but building on each other’s strengths.”

Officially kicking-off in February, MCHC will host a class once-a-month through Zoom, offering information to expectant mothers and their families and also providing any resources or services they might require. Originally a concept that formulated in the library of old Tulalip elementary school, roughly six years ago, between TELA and Family Haven, the idea has now come to fruition and MCHC members are excited about the new collaborative venture.

“I’m excited about the cohesiveness between all of us coming together,” Morgan stated. “And also, for the families to also see that we’re all united, working on the same things to support everybody, their children and their families.”

“I like this collaboration that we have going on,” said TELA Birth to Three Assistant Manager, Marci Vela. “There’s a lot of resources that our pregnant moms might not know they have access to, and they kind of lose out on those services. This is a good way to let them know they have the support of all of us as a community.”

The once-a-month MCHC classes will have a new theme every session and each department will take turns with the hosting duties, in which they will include an educational component as well as some fun activities. The participants will also get the chance to receive incentives, ask questions, address any of their fears or concerns, as well as connect with other mothers and discuss the few challenges and many successes that come with being a new mom. 

MCHC has a number of ideas for the upcoming classes including a Father’s Day event, doula training, and lactation and feeding education.

“I am a certified lactation educator and provide lactation and feeding support for infants and young children,” said Tulalip Child Health Educator, Erika Queen. “Pretty much any way of feeding an infant and child, I’m happy to help with.”

With the establishment of the MCHC, Family Haven, TELA, Community Health and beda?chelh are creating a better tomorrow for the future generations of Tulalip, not only by taking care of their soon-to-be membership before birth, but also ensuring that the mothers are in a healthy state -mentally, emotionally, and physically during the early stages of the beautiful journey known as motherhood.  More details will begin to arrive in the upcoming weeks as MCHC gears up for their very first Zoom event, happening this February. Stay tuned to Tulalip News for more information and help spread the word to those who could benefit from the services, education and resources provided by the Maternal Child Health Committee. 

Sasha expressed, “We’re such a close-knit community, most people know each other and everybody’s intertwined in family. I think it’s important to have an additional outlet. Yes, you can go to your aunties and to your grandmas to get advice, but sometimes it’s refreshing to come together and gain that knowledge and support from your peers. To help them understand that they’re all going through similar things and that they can get through whatever it is they’re going through together.”

Carnegie P. “Gee Gee” Hayes

February 14, 1966 – January 16, 2021

A proud Tulalip Tribal member. Born to Merle A. Hayes II, Marvin & April Smith. Humble old man soul was his gift to our people. Commercial fisherman and hunter.
His memories and love for his family will always be remembered and shared.
He is preceded in death, grandparents Marya Moses, Neil Moses, Merle Hayes I, Marjorie Henry Hayes, Wife of 17yrs Carol Hayes, Sister Tamera Hayes, granddaughter Adrea Elliott, nieces Sophia Solomon, Victoria Russell, Wade Abuan Sr. Many family and friends.
He leaves behind parents Merle A. Hayes II, Marvin & April Smith, Ateesha (Issaac Elliott), Micheal McClellan Sr, Elieja Elliott, Kyliah Elliott, Amaya McClellan, Michael McClellan Jr., Bernadette Abuan, Holliday Hayes, Merle A. Hayes III,his girlfriend Tara Parks, and many family and friends of community. . Arrangements entrusted to Schaefer-Shipman Funeral Home.