Beading as Healing

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

“As women, there are a lot of things that we go through in our lives, and the one thing I always had was beading,” said Tulalip artist, Winona Shopbell-Fryberg. “It is healing. You space everything out and you’re focused on the work. To bead and to continue to do these things, you have to have good feelings and a clear mind. If not, you have to lay it down. When you’re expressing all of that, your emotions come out. There’s a lot of thinking and patience that goes into it and I think that’s a part of the healing process.”

Fifteen local women showed up in support of domestic violence (DV) survivors during the Legacy of Healing’s (LOH) final event for the month on the evening of October 25. LOH hosted several events in recognition of National DV Awareness Month and each event had great turnouts, averaging twenty participants for each gathering. 

DV Awareness Month closed with the Beading as Healing Class. What made this class special was that it was instructed by a Tulalip tribal member whose beautiful beadwork and regalia are well-known not only amongst the sduhubš territory, but also on the powwow trail which her family regularly participates in. 

Winona explained, “I’ve been beading since I was 16 – self-taught. One day I was like ‘Dad, take me to the bead store. I want to learn how to bead’. I just kind of figured it out from there. I’ve had some tips along the way, but it’s been 30 years of beading for me. It’s therapeutic; just to get to know your creative self is amazing. My husband and I made most of our kids’ beadwork. When we go to powwows and see it out there, it’s like ‘wow, I really did that’. It’s just beautiful to see your thoughts and vision come to life through that work. I’ve been beading leggings, moccasins, everything for powwows, earrings, whatever. For me it helps a lot in healing.”

At the center of room 162 were numerous containers filled with beads varying in size and color. Once the ladies selected their beads and received their needle and thread, Winona taught the class how to create beaded keychains. 

The two-and-a-half-hour class was relatively quiet as the students took the opportunity to go inward and spend some time with their thoughts while they worked on their keychains. That was ultimately the LOH’s goal behind the class, but there was plenty of laughter and a number of stories shared throughout the class as well. 

“I started a beaded keychain today, I’ve always wanted to make one of these” expressed tribal member, Veronica Iukes. “I haven’t beaded in a long time, so it was cool to get back out. You get in the zone and start thinking. Doing it bead by bead makes it more meaningful. Each bead to me represents something that I was thinking about. If you’re having a stressful day, beading helps smooth things out.”

The ladies put a good-sized dent in their personal beading projects and before they knew it, it was time to pack up their beads for the night. Winona encouraged them to complete their keychains at home where they can continue healing through a traditional Indigenous artform. Before heading out, many of the participants stopped and chatted with the LOH team, thanking them for creating a safe space where they could learn about DV and gather resources throughout the awareness month.

“Making the keychain today was really calming and peaceful,” said Kelly Waibel, Victims Services Coordinator for the Tulalip Police Department. “The beading helped me feel more centered and grounded. These events provided the people a space to learn during DV Awareness Month. LOH does amazing work, they are here for the victims and survivors of DV, and they support our community. It’s nice that they are able to bring the community together, so the people know they are not alone.”

If you or anybody you know is experiencing an abusive relationship, please do not hesitate to call the LOH at (360) 716-4100 for assistance. And if you are in a crisis or an emergency situation, the LOH provided a list of three additional hotline numbers that you can utilize during your time of need: 

  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • Strong Hearts Native Helpline: 1-844-762-8483
  • Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County 425-25-ABUSE (22873)

As seasons change, Club doors remain open

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

The season has quickly changed here in the Pacific Northwest. Only a matter of days ago, on October 17 to be exact, we had the warmest October day in 45 years when the temperature soared to 89 degrees. Now though, a quick glance at the local weather forecast and we see only daily highs in the mid-50s and overnight lows in the 40s. Plus, a near constant barrage of much anticipated rainfall every single day.

With the wet and cold season upon us, many community families are quickly having to adjust and figure out ways to keep their kids healthy and active while remaining warm and dry indoors. Well, the leadership of our Tulalip Boys & Girls Club want to remind parents and guardians of school aged youth that ‘the Club’ is an ideal option. 

The Club is open for new and returning members, and staff eagerly await that high-spirited energy to fill their complex once again.

“We can’t wait to have all our kids back again experiencing the large variety of fun and safe programs we offer. Whether that be activities like coloring or building with LEGOs for the real young kids who are learning their shapes and colors, playing bumper pool, or standard pool for the teenagers. These are simple, yet effective, activities that develop hand-eye coordination. Then there’s basketball and volleyball in the gymnasium that promote physical education and teamwork,” said office manager Diane Prouty. 

During her 23 years of dedicated Boys & Girls Club service she’s proudly earned the title ‘Grandma Diane’ by the multiple generations of Tulalip youngsters who have called the Club a home away from home.

“Something we’ve always been proud to say is we keep our kids well fed with hot, nutritious meals,” she continued. “Since we’ve been back to our normal routine of cooking and serving a breakfast for the kids before school and late lunch after school, plus a snack or two, the kids have really been swamping back in. We have our own on-site nutritionist and cook, her name is Ariana, and she does an amazing job of whipping up tasty meals that our kids devour. 

“We’re also proud to be part of the T.R.A.I.L. to diabetes prevention program, which guides our meal and snack making. This is why it was a big deal for us to go close to sugar-free by doing away with soda and high fructose juices. Instead we make fruit-infused water that the kids get a real woot out of. They drink barrels and barrels of water every day.”

Keeping children fed with freshly prepared meals and nutritious snacks is something that’s always separated the Tulalip’s Club from thousands of other Boys & Girls Clubs in the country. Those meals are especially important when it comes to the ever-growing minds and bodies of our youth who need all the vitamins, minerals, and proteins they can get.

Then there’s the 4000-square-foot, multimedia filled expansion that was added to the Club right before Covid hit. This tech hub is intended for the Club’s teenage membership and offers all the digital goodies this current era of teen yearns for. There’s Xbox One gaming stations complete with 4k televisions, a dedicated high-speed internet server, and a sound system that rivals most music studios. Cyber Café functions as a self-serve snack bar. There’s even a makeshift graffiti wall available for those artsy types who can create masterpieces with just chalk and their imagination.

There are conventional games as well for those who prefer their games of skill without computer assistance, like a pool, foosball and chess. A dedicated homework area consists of several computer stations equipped with all the necessary programs to meet the modern coursework demands, while also aiming to shrink the Reservation’s homework gap. 

In the spirit of providing programs that promote growth through education, Club director Shawn Sanchey recently debuted ‘power hour’. The Tulalip tribal member and graduate of Heritage high school routinely shares his story of being a Club kid, including how having caring adults in the community to help guide him had a significant impact. Power hour is one example of how the 27-year-old Club director strives to pay that guidance forward.

“Power hour focuses on our kids’ education and is intended to help develop positive mental health as it relates to learning,” explained Shawn. “Instilling a work ethic and positive view on education is huge in our youth. How it works is when our kids get to the Club, they have to earn their screen time or gym time or any other recreation by completing their power hour first. 

“It’s one hour, just 60-minutes, where they focus on their education. It could be completing math packets or other homework, reading a book, or could even be for the older kids to read to the younger kids or play UNO with them to help teach shapes and colors. It’s a small step that can have a big impact. We’re always talking about creating future leaders, that requires taking accountability over learning and instilling our values at a young age.

“It’s been awesome for me, personally, to witness kids go from being resistant to reading and doing school work to being excited to complete their power hour,” he added. “It’s also had a big social influence on our kids. We know that they watch and learn behavior from each other, so the more they see their peers getting excited to read to others or even form groups to review multiplication tables, it goes a long way in making a motivation difference.”

  Since the new school year started, the average attendance at Tulalip’s Boys and Girls Club has increased to about 125 kids per day. With the increased capacity of the Teen Center expansion and recently added staff, the Club is able to serve 300 kids a day.

Over the next month or so, special events and activities are being planned so the kids can celebrate Halloween, Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving in a culturally appropriate way. Also, with basketball season right around the corner, there are plenty of opportunities to get eligible kids signed up so they can take to the court to get buckets.

Current Club hours are 6:00am – 7:00pm, Monday – Friday. Plus, every other Saturday for teen night. For all questions and inquiries about membership eligibility or day to day operations, please contact 360-716-3400 or email director Shawn Sanchey directly at  ssanchey@bgcsc.org

Vamping up emergency preparedness for the tribe

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

A group of twenty people circled up outside of the Snohomish County Department of Emergency Management (DEM) on the afternoon of October 13. Cars, semis, and motorcycles zoomed down Washington State Route 526 and airplanes flew by overhead as the group exchanged introductions and pleasantries at the DEM, which is located at the Paine Field area of Everett. With notebooks and writing utensils in-hand, the group was comprised of several representatives of Tulalip departments who showed up ready and eager to learn about the DEM and tour its facility. Collectively, this group is officially known as the Tulalip Emergency Response Team. 

“The team; we have our public works department, our utilities department, community health department, Fire department, Police department, GIS, and TDS,” explained Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, Angel Cortez. “We’re going to need more departments to assist because when something happens, there is a whole army that’s needed – boots on the ground workforce to make sure that everybody is able to respond, that we’re connecting to who we need to connect with to get resources. To get all these different departments involved is important.”

Since stepping into the position of Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, Angel has been on a mission to ensure his community is best prepared for any situation if a disaster were to strike the sduhubš homelands. Upon visiting the DEM for the first time, he found inspiration to create a similar setting on the reservation that can be readily available to assist the Tulalip people in the event of a crisis or natural disaster. Angel organized the tour of the DEM for the tribal emergency response team to give them a glimpse of the vision he has in mind for Tulalip. 

Leading the tour was the Snohomish County Emergency Management Program Manager, Jarrod Dibble, who gave a detailed account of what the DEM is, how they service local communities, as well as a few examples of how they handled emergency situations in the past such as the Oso landslide and more recently, the Bolt Creek wildfire. 

“We started outside today with our deployable assets,” said Jarrod while recapping the tour. “We have a couple small trailers that are solar powered that provide network capability and Wi-Fi calling – redundant capability with internet for those kinds of standalone deployable trailers. And then we looked at a couple of our other deployable vehicles that are command and control centers. One is a vehicle that can actually drive to our trailers, but act as a mobile emergency operation center (EOC). And inside is our actual EOC, where we talked about the upgrades we’ve done over the years, the lessons learned about what works well, what doesn’t work well, how we coordinate, and the room being set up to follow the instant command system structures that are standard for emergency management.”

The two-hour tour was intriguing, to say the least, for the Tulalip Emergency Response Team While viewing the high-tech trailers filled with monitor screens, cables, and CB radios, the members of the Emergency Response Team shared excited glances with one another, no doubt already exchanging telepathic ideas about how to design deployable trailers for the community of Tulalip.

The highlight for many was the in-person viewing of the DEM’s EOC. Multiple computer stations are set up in a large room of the facility, which accounts for nearly half of the entire DEM. The workstations are sectioned off by departments and agencies such as public safety, planning, resourcing, and GIS. According to FEMA, “An EOC is a central command and control system responsible for carrying out the principles of emergency preparedness and emergency management, or disaster management at a strategic level during an emergency, and ensuring the continuity of operation of a company, political subdivision, or other organization. The primary function of staff in EOC’s include collecting, analyzing and sharing information, supporting resource needs and requests, including allocation and tracking, coordinating plans and determining current and future needs. And in some cases, providing coordination and policy direction.”

Jarrod explained that the Snohomish County Emergency Management and the Tulalip Tribes have an inter-local agreement (ILA) which outlines everything that the County can provide for the tribe such as planning and training, as well as the ability to respond to a disaster on Tulalip’s behalf. The Snohomish County DEM will be offering said trainings in the near future to the Tulalip Emergency Response Team and in-turn, Angel hopes to offer those trainings to the community down the line. 

After re-establishing monthly meetings for the tribe’s emergency response team after the pandemic, Angel now hopes to build a permanent EOC at Tulalip that could be utilized during windstorms, power outages, water shortages, and during a number of incidents that require additional resources and/or medical attention. With an established EOC, the Tulalip Emergency Response Team will also have the ability to hire on volunteers and provide the necessary trainings in order for them to assist in the event of an emergency. And by training volunteers, Angel believes that this could ultimately lead to a career path for many, or at the very least beef up a few resumes. 

Angel said, “I want Tulalip to be an asset, not a responsibility or liability. To be able to manage an incident without having to rely on the outside partners, I think is going to be huge for our community. But it is also going to take time and a lot of effort and planning. I would like to see Tulalip take the steps towards having our own emergency operating center, so that when a situation does happen, we’re ready to go. The ILA that we have with the county, it’s very good that we have that. But I don’t want to solely rely on that, because if it’s a big disaster, they’re not just going to come and assist Tulalip with everything, they’re going to be spread out throughout the whole county. We need to be able to handle incidents on our own, to the best of our ability.”

The Tulalip Emergency Response Team left the DEM filled with optimism, and many of its members now share Angel’s vision of bringing an EOC to Tulalip. The tour was just the first step down a long road. But after experiencing the local DEM in-person, the response team is all the more committed to ensuring the safety of the Tulalip citizenship through disaster preparedness and emergency management. 

Indigenous film screened to raise awareness about domestic violence

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

The lights in room 162 of the Tulalip Administration Building were switched off on the evening of September 20. All eyes were watching a large projection screen at the front of the conference room as a movie was cast from the Panasonic overhead projector. There were over twenty ladies seated throughout the room. And although only visible by silhouette, they could not hold back some of the emotions brought on by the film, and were seen wiping tears from their eyes, shaking their heads in astonishment, and audibly gasping in shock as six Indigenous women shared their story in an 84-minute documentary titled, Sisters Rising. 

The 2020 film is a moving, heartbreaking, and empowering watch that details the abuse and domestic violence (DV) that Native women face in today’s society. The film exposed the frustrating roadblock that those individuals experienced when they attempted to report the crimes committed against them and their loved ones.

A Supreme Court ruling in the late ‘70’s ruled that tribal courts do not have the jurisdiction to try and prosecute non-tribal members who commit crimes against their membership. For decades, non-Natives targeted Native women, children and men on reservations throughout the country and got away with child abuse, sexual abuse, DV and much more, resulting from that ruling. 

The women featured in Sisters Rising retold their stories and showed how survived those horrific experiences of abuse and DV. More importantly, it showcased their resilience as each of the six women went on to help their communities, whether through prevention and awareness work or taking the initiative to change legislation in their respective homelands. All of the women are making a big impact in their tribal communities. 

The film’s synopsis leads with some eye-opening statistics: “Sisters Rising is a powerful feature documentary about six Native American women reclaiming personal & tribal sovereignty. Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual assault than all other American women. 1 in 3 Native women report having been raped during her lifetime and 86% of the offenses are committed by non-Native men. These perpetrators exploit gaps in tribal jurisdictional authority and target Native women as ‘safe victims’. Their stories shine an unflinching light on righting injustice on both an individual and systemic level.”

Following the film screening, Tulalip Prosecutor Brian Kilgore was on-hand for a quick Q&A and to talk about how the film relates to the Tulalip Court and community. He shared, “The Supreme Court took away the jurisdiction of tribes to prosecute non-Indians. In 2013 we got back the ability to prosecute domestic violence crimes with Indian victims, with a couple of exceptions. One of those exceptions was there had to be a tie to this reservation. If you had people that were just passing through, we didn’t have jurisdiction. In October of this year, it was expanded again. Now we have jurisdiction over everybody.”

He continued, “This year I have gotten a felony DV referral every week, on average. It’s a lot. The other overlay here is that it’s not just jurisdiction over people. Tribes until very recently didn’t have any jurisdiction, we could only charge the not serious stuff. And what often happened is that the serious stuff got charged as not serious stuff. So, there might have been felony conduct but they still got a misdemeanor. Felony is anything greater than a year, misdemeanor is up to a year. The Tulalip Tribes had felony jurisdiction since 2012. We had two felony cases in 2015, and we had 70 this last year. It’s increasing; it’s not a good thing, right? But my sense is that there isn’t more crime, we’re just catching more of it, and we’re able to prosecute more of it. I think it is a good thing. I think the numbers we’re seeing are more realistic, and it doesn’t really represent more violence.”

The film screening was hosted by the Tulalip Legacy of Healing (LOH) and the Child Advocacy Center (CAC) in observance of National DV Awareness Month. Throughout October, the two programs have held a number of events to help bring attention to the DV that occurs within Native America and more specifically, here at Tulalip. In addition to the Sisters Rising screening, they have also hosted a Resolving Trauma workshop with the Director/Consultant of the Midwest Trauma Services Network, Frank Grijalva MSCC, MSPH, as well as a self-defense class led by the Tulalip Police Department. 

“One of the core focuses with DV Awareness Month is the importance of breaking the silence,” expressed Sydney Gilbert, CAC/LOH Coordinator and Forensic Interviewer. “If people are not talking about and it’s not coming to light, it lives in the shadow. The more we can talk about it, the more we can bring it to attention, the more we can normalize the conversation around it. We know that there’s higher rates of intimate partner violence in communities that have experienced trauma. Another focus we have for this month is addressing that trauma, and not only bringing attention to intimate partner violence, but bringing attention on how we can heal from that as a community.”

After the documentary’s credits finished rolling, Tulalip tribal member Lena Hammons, who sat attentively in the front row, expressed, “I loved that they were in front of tribal council proposing new codes to protect their women. I think that we need more people doing that, and if not go to General Council because it is a serious issue. I didn’t know there was 70 cases already this year and I’m out in the community a lot so that was kind of scary for me. I love the strong women who were standing up, helping each other and helping themselves. I’m a DV survivor myself, and had to fight for myself and my kids. It was nice to see they weren’t presenting themselves as victims, they were presenting themselves as survivors and supporters. Women need to know that they’re not alone and we need to support each other. Whether you know someone or not, if you know something is happening you need to report it. 

“And for men and our women who are violators, it’s important for them to know that it won’t be tolerated. It’s not our way. It’s not traditional. It’s not cultural. It’s colonized behavior. It’s important for everybody to know that. You don’t have to tolerate DV. If you’re a perpetrator of DV, there’s help for you. Go get the help. Because we love everybody, and we don’t give up on anybody.”

If you or anybody you know is experiencing an abusive relationship, please do not hesitate to call the LOH at (360) 716-4100 for assistance. And if you are in a crisis or an emergency situation, the LOH provided a list of three additional hotline numbers that you can utilize during your time of need: 

  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • Strong Hearts Native Helpline: 1-844-762-8483
  • Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County 425-25-ABUSE (22873).

Centennial Accord addresses Native concerns

By Shaelyn Smead, Tulalip News

On October 24-25, Tulalip Tribes hosted the 33rd annual Centennial Accord at the Tulalip Resort Casino and the Tulalip Gathering Hall. Washington Tribal leaders, State legislators, Governor Jay Inslee, and numerous government agencies were in attendance to discuss policies and issues regarding tribal sovereignty, humanitarian efforts, and other tribal concerns.

The Centennial Accord was developed in 1989 by the federally recognized Indian tribes of Washington State and the State of Washington to build trust and confidence among the parties in the government-to-government relationship. Meetings like the Accord help strengthen the foundation for the future of tribes in Washington and how our people operate. Having a Native voice to discuss, change, and implement state policies significantly affects how Washington handles Native issues in the future. 

Chairwoman Teri Gobin began the meeting by saying, “Thank everyone for all your efforts and being here today. My dad Stan Jones was a part of history and participated when the first Centennial Accord was passed. I remember praying that we would reach a point where our people would be treated as equals, our rights would be respected, and our sovereignty would be protected. Years of hard work have gone into this, and we are at a pivotal point in history where so many issues require us to take action now. Our ancestors are here with us and watching over us as we make these changes.”

Throughout the day, the parties discussed specific issues involving education, health, the Climate Commitment Act, the HEAL Act, environmental justice, Social Services, and Natural Resources. The first day of the Accord is used to finalize details and answer concerns before presenting these agendas to the state Governor on the second day.

This year’s Centennial Accord was the first gathering that Higher Education acquired its own roundtable discussion. One of the many topics discussed was the lack of Native employee and counselor representation within colleges, funding towards Native students, and hardships that first-generation Native college students face. And though many of the public colleges are willing and able to work with tribes, establishing the foundation of these efforts is what many tribal leaders are trying to develop. 

Representative Debra Lekanoff, D-Bow, was in attendance for the Accord and spoke about the actions that she is taking for Higher Education, “I’m proposing a Bill this year that provides free tuition, housing, and a stipend for food. This will apply to Native Americans of all federally recognized tribes across the nation attending (public) universities and colleges in Washington. If you are a Native from a federally recognized tribe from Montana and enroll in a university or college in Washington, then you can receive funding.” 

During the Social Services meeting conversation focused on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and the possibility of it being overturned by the Supreme Court on November 9. Ross Hunter, Secretary of the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, and Honorable Loni Greninger, Vice-Chair of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, assured that they are working to prepare an argument for November 9 to preserve ICWA, and have been diligently working with other states in the US to do the same.

When speaking about the health struggles that Native people face, a State of Emergency was discussed, as Native Americans accounted for 63% of the suicide attempts in Washington in  2020. It was also noted that in 2001 the Native American mortality rate increased by 58%. To help mitigate this issue, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) set up a 24/7 emergency hotline dedicated to mental health crises called the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. When a Native is suffering a mental health crisis, they can dial 988, explain that they are Native, and be transferred to a Native mental health and substance use disorder professional in their territory and seek specific cultural and spiritual guidance. It is a new program that SAMHSA hopes to have operational soon. 

The opioid crisis was also heavily discussed at the Accord. Lummi Chairman William Jones Sr was transparent about their declaration of emergency, their struggles, and concerns about fentanyl, saying, “We keep talking about how it’s a crisis, and how devastating it is for our people, but why isn’t the government attacking this issue like they did Covid? I’m sure everyone in this room can say they have been affected by fentanyl. We’re becoming almost numb to hearing about overdoses, but we must figure out a solution and need real help from the state.” 

Many other tribes shared their problems with fentanyl and how the lack of law enforcement and healthcare on reservations only continues to play into the crisis. The Chair of the American Indian Health Commission, Steve Kutz, responded by saying there is a need for a summit dedicated towards fentanyl, to which Governor Inslee agreed.

Another concern for many tribes is the Salmon crisis. Some tribes explained a severe decline in the salmon population in their area and an urge for government involvement and funding towards rehabilitation.

  Senior Policy Advisor for Natural Resources for Washington, Ruth Musgrave, responded, “Although the Lorraine Loomis Act was not successful, this process is still ongoing, the two provisos were put into place. One was finding all the voluntary and regulatory programs agencies have for riparian restoration and protection. The other was to interview many of you [tribal leaders] and stakeholders about what would work for riparian restoration.”

  She continued to speak on the 3.2 billion dollars that have been used towards salmon recovery, the Lower Snake River Dam initiative, erecting fish passage barriers, seeking tribal consultation, and the various ways departments continue to work together to try and institute change. 

A historical moment occurred at the Accord as the Tulalip Tribes and the Department of Corrections held an additional signing ceremony for Senate Bill 5694, which Governor Inslee initially signed in March. The Bill recognizes tribes’ sovereign nations, equitable with any other state, state agency, county, or federal jurisdiction in decisions regarding the Department of Corrections. It also authorizes the Washington State Department of Corrections to negotiate agreements with Washington tribes to allow tribal court inmates to serve their felony sentences in an appropriate facility with access to Native rehabilitative services.

Throughout American history, our ancestors have struggled to protect our culture and way of life. With so many adversaries, the Accord continues to hold a place where tribal leaders get direct face time with Washington legislation, the state Governor, and government department leads. And though discussions can sometimes get heated, Governor Inslee stated, “Native Americans have a voice, and it is powerful.” 

The state and tribes continue to work together, hold meaningful dialogue, and fight for our peoples’ voices and generations to come. 

Culture on Campus

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

On October 14, the University of Washington hosted a Tulalip-led coastal jam as part of it’s back to school celebration. The mission was to empower the university’s Native American student population, while embracing the rich culture and traditions of local Coast Salish tribes. 

Tulalip tribal member Chenoa Henry, former manager of the Grants and Self-Governance department, was announced as the new director of UW’s wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ Intellectual House back in August. The 30-year-old husky alum wasted no time in coordinating the campus-based longhouse’s first ever coastal jam.

“After an inspiration lunch with Puyallup tribal member Danica Miller, where we pondered different ways to bring music, drumming, singing and all that kind of life and medicine into this UW longhouse space, a coastal jam just made sense,” said Chenoa, wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ director. “I started the planning phase by reaching out to my cousins Thomas and Cary Michael Williams. They helped me out so much during this entire process by announcing and posting about the jam at other gatherings. The turnout was better than I could’ve imagined.”

The Intellectual House is a longhouse-style facility on the UW Seattle campus. It provides a multi-service learning and gathering space for Native students, faculty and staff, as well as others from various cultures and communities to come together in a welcoming environment to share knowledge. Its purpose came to life during the coastal jam as cohorts of tribal members from Tulalip, Lummi and Puyallup gave the longhouse a drum heartbeat and enchanting voice that rang out to anyone within earshot.

During the three-hour coastal jam, Native culture bearers from four different generations drummed, sang, and shared their culture to those who sat inside or stood outside looking onward in complete amazement. The seemingly endless supply of energy from the elementary and middle school aged Native dancers was contagious to the older generations who happily shared the floor.

“In bringing a coastal jam here to the UW, I’m healing my past version of myself who did not have access to such events or community as an undergrad,” shared Chenoa. “To witness our Native students and other minority students who showed up because they felt like they are a part of something, actually embracing our sense of community on campus, it just shows how much the university, it’s students and our culture has grown.

“For the future generations and all the young ones who helped express what it means to be Coast Salish, I want them to keep coming back and to know they belong here. I want that sense of belonging to be ingrained in them long before its time to apply for college.”

The University of Washington is estimated to have less than 1% Native student population, according to Data USA, yet with so many casino tribes in Washington State paying near full tuition rates for their tribal members seeking a college education, that number should be much higher. It’s the hope of student advocate Hailey Enick, First Nations @ UW co-chair and Tulalip tribal member, that hosting more culturally relevant events while being more welcoming to the original stewards of this land could cause UW to see a significant increase in its Native student admissions.

“To me the Intellectual House feels like a piece of home on campus. Hosting a coastal jam is only appropriate then with our mission to make our Native students feel comfortable and let them know our culture is celebrated,” explained Hailey, a fourth-year undergad student studying Education. “It was important we make this event coastal specific because we don’t have many events that are actually geared to our coastal traditions. We are on coastal lands, the traditional lands of Coast Salish people. Showcasing our space and traditions while building community with new students is how we bridge cultures and understanding. 

“UW First Nations does host a big powwow every year and that’s cool, but these coastal songs are the sounds that I recognize, these are the sounds that I grew up with from home,” she added. “Powwow music is amazing in its own right, but it shouldn’t be synonymous with the tribes of this area. We have our own music, our own sounds and traditions.

“My fellow students gaining insight to the beauty we have at home in Tulalip is amazing and healing and makes me feel comfortable to succeed as not just a UW student, but a proud Tulalip tribal member as well. It’s still early in the new academic year and I’m already so proud of the Native community we’ve built here. There is so much Native representation and culture on display every day. I’ve seen so many pairs of beaded earrings and vibrantly colored ribbons skirts already. I look forward to seeing many more in the future.” 

As successful as the evening of coastal culture on the UW campus was, it’s even more significant from the standpoint that two culturally grounded and college educated Tulalip women are implementing, in the real time, the changes that so many of the generations before could only dream of.  

Hawthorne, traditional medicine for the heart

Submitted by AnneCherise Ramsey

People throughout the world value the Hawthorne plant as food and medicine for strengthening the heart and blood vessels.  The Lushootseed word for the Hawthorne Plant is čibadac, and is a valued plant ally of the Coast Salish peoples. Čibadac has been used as traditional medicine in Indigenous communities for thousands of years. Hawthorne is best known as a cardiovascular tonic, easing pressure on the heart. It is a very safe plant to consume, with a wide variety of health benefits, aiding in easing instances of both physical and emotional stress. In this article, we will discuss the primary health benefits of Hawthorn, while also providing you with information needed to identify, forage, process and consume Hawthorn as a traditional Coast Salish food. 

Identifying Hawthorne: 

Hawthorne is a large shrub or deciduous tree with branches armored with large thorns. It is a part of the Rose family. Hawthorn trees can be small, ranging only a few feet tall, to up to 30-40 feet in size. Hawthorne is a native plant grown all around the Northern Hemisphere of the world, including America, Europe, Central Asia and even parts of Africa. There are over 280 species. The leaves are serrated, with medium to dark green colored leaves. In the Spring, Hawthornes leaves are soft and edible, with beautiful pinkish-white, fragrant floral blossoms. In the fall, the Hawthorn tree provides us with beautiful light-dark red Hawthorn Berries. The darker and brighter the berry, the richer it is in antioxidants. The flesh of the berries is edible, however the large seed inside is not. 

When and How to Harvest: 

Though the flowers, leaves and berries are all edible, in this article we will primarily focus on the Hawthorne Berries. Their prime foraging season starts in September and typically ends mid-November, all depending when the first frost hits. When scavenging for Hawthorn, look for trees with bright red clusters of berries. They are bright in color, ranging from a light red color to dark burgundy. These trees can be found along river beds, forests, meadows and ocean shores. In fact, there are currently a plethora of both large and small Hawthorn trees growing alongside the Tulalip Bay, with thousands of beautiful ripe Hawthorne Berries, eager to be discovered. The berries can easily be plucked, but be careful as the branches contain thorns. As you forage these beautiful berries, remember to only take what you need, giving thanks for its many blessings. 

Hawthorne Food: 

Hawthorn leaves and flowers can be added to salads in the springtime. In the fall, the leaves become stiffer and lose their palatability. The Hawthorn tree produces beautiful red edible berries come September. These berries taste semi-sweet, with a mild flavor, but contain a large seed that should not be consumed. Like cherry pits and apple seeds, the seeds contain cyclic acid, which should be avoided unless cooked or dried. Freshly picked, you can eat the outer flesh of the berry and spit out the seed.  

Hawthorne Berries have an oily texture, and naturally contain pectin, a thickening agent used in making jams and jellies, making an excellent addition to any jelly recipe. Hawthorne Berries can be boiled in water and made into an extraction. They can also be dried and used into teas, or dried and ground into a powder. These are popular methods as Cyanic acid dissipates once the berries are cooked or dried. In the Hawthorne Honey recipe provided, we will be cooking the berries to create a Hawthorn Berry water extraction. 

Hawthorne Nutrition / Medicine: 

The heart is one of the most important, if not the most important organ in our body. It is continually pumping blood throughout our veins and arteries, delivering nutrients and removing waste products from trillions of cells. In traditional healing practices (Indigenous, Chinese, Ayurvedic, European), Hawthorne has been used as a plant ally to strengthen and open up the heart. It contains a wide variety of nutrients and antioxidants that make it a powerful medicinal food. 

Hawthorne Berries are high in trace minerals such as selenium and chromium. Selenium is important for proper immune function, while chromium helps enhance the function of insulin – a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels (GoodGrub). 

Hawthorn is packed with Antioxidants and Flavonoids: these are the plant compounds that help give food their color. The darker the berry, the more antioxidants and flavonoids are found. These compounds help support the overall vitality of the heart and cardiovascular system. They strengthen the blood vessels and  help heal damaged vessel walls. “If it is used regularly, it can help balance both high and low blood pressure through increasing the heart’s ability to contract while gently relaxing outer blood vessels. Hawthorn also relaxes the smooth muscles of the coronary artery walls and allows more blood to flow into the cells of the heart. This means more oxygen and nutrients are delivered to heart cells and waste products are removed. It is therefore supportive for acute conditions like angina (chest pain). Hawthorn is also helpful in treating or preventing atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which contributes to angina and heart attacks (GoodGrub)”.

Improved Circulation: Hawthorne is used to improve circulation, thus assisting in better brain health, mood and memory (Chevallier). Hawthorne should be consumed regularly to optimize its potential health benefits 

Hawthorn čibadac Extract  & Hawthorn Honey

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup fresh Hawthorn Berries 
  • 1 cup filtered water 
  • 1 cup honey 
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon or Lime Juice 
  • Utensils: 
  • Basket 
  • Measuring Cup 
  • Saucepan 
  • Potato Masher 
  • Fine Strainer 
  • Fork 

Step 1: Forage Hawthorn Berries off of the Hawthorn Tree. See harvesting & identification   instructions above. Be sure to properly identify berries from multiple sources before consuming wild foods.   

Step 2: Remove berries from stem and leaves, leaving only the berries. Rinse and dry in warm water. 

Stem 3: Boil berries in filtered water. Use a 1:1 ratio. For every 1 cup of berries, boil in 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil for 5-10 minutes, then reduce to low heat. Simmer for another 45 minus – hour, until the berries are soft. Berries should turn to a dull yellow/orange color from a bright red color. 

Step 4: Once berries are soft, begin the mashing process by using a potato masher. Mash the berries to separate the edible portion of the berry from the seed. This process can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes depending on the quantity of berries cooked. Note, the berry portion of the berries are edible, but the seeds are not. The objective of the mashing process is to extract the edible berry fruit from the seeds. 

Step 5 – Hawthorn Extract: Take mashed Hawthorne berries and run them through a fine-tuned strainer. Use a fork to mash out the maximum amount of juice from the seeds. This process takes time. Final product of hawthorn berry should look like a ketchup-like substance, it should naturally be a thick liquid due its naturally occurring amounts of pectin. From here, the hawthorn berry extract can be made into jams, jellies, soups, and in this recipe, added to honey. 

Step 6 – Hawthorne Honey: Add 1/3 cup of Hawthorn extract to 2/3 cup of honey. Continue to add 1 Tbsp of Lemon juice for extra flavor and preservation. Stir Well. Store in the refrigerator. Use as an ingredient in your favorite teas for a healthy beverage sweetener. 

Sources: 

  • 1. https://www.goodgrub.org/post/plant-of-the-month-hawthorne
  • 2. http://wildfoodsandmedicines.com/hawthorn/  
  • 3. https://tulaliplushootseed.com/?s=plants 
  • 4. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, Andrew Chevallier. 

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication or program information or reasonable accommodation, please contact Annie Ramsey at 360-716-5632 or ajensen@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov.