City of Snohomish officially names boat landing in honor of Pilchuck Julia

Pilchuck Julia, a woman who has significant, historical and influential ties to both the town of Snohomish, as well as the direct descendants of the Snohomish people.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

“There was not a stronger woman than Pilchuck Julia,” expressed Tulalip Natural Resources Special Project Manager and Tribal member, Patti Gobin. “To me she exemplifies a true Sduhubš, or Snohomish, woman who we all descend from. We believe that when you speak the name of Pilchuck Julia, even though that was not her traditional name, that she’s here with us. From this day forward she’s going to be here, amongst us forevermore because we are honoring her in this special way.”

Patti Gobin, Tulalip Natural Resources Special Project Manager.

A historical Native woman was commemorated in the town of Snohomish on August 27, during the naming ceremony of the Pilchuck Julia Landing. Snohomish community members and Tulalip tribal leaders gathered at a boat launch on the Snohomish River on the warm summer afternoon. Tulalips sang the Welcome Song in front of a large black and white photo of Pilchuck Julia, a woman who has significant, historical and influential ties to both the town of Snohomish, as well as the direct descendants of the Snohomish people.

“This site is a little over nineteen acres, we called it the twenty-acre boat launch before, now it’s officially Pilchuck Julia Landing,” exclaimed Snohomish City Council Member, Linda Redmon. “We had a number of parks that needed to be named in the city and we went to the community to ask what they wanted to name the parks. And the overwhelming consensus was that they wanted to name this park after Pilchuck Julia.” 

Pilchuck Julia’s memory is a favorite story amongst the citizens of Snohomish. Born circa 1840, she lived her life on the banks of the Pilchuck River, both in her adolescence and adult life, after marrying her husband Pilchuck Jack. In her teenage years, she witnessed the signing of the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliot. And during her elder years, she was beloved by the Snohomish community, known for walking about the town selling salmon and shellfish to support her family after her husband’s life was claimed by smallpox and her son passed away following a falling accident. 

Teri Gobin, Tulalip Tribes Chairwoman.

“Pilchuck Julia lived in a time when it wasn’t easy to be an Indian woman in a non-Indian community,” said Tulalip Tribes Chairwoman, Teri Gobin. “She made great strides to make friends with the people of the community, people of all nations. The times were tough back then and even tougher for an Indian woman who was alone, but she made great strides in the community, the predicting of the weather to making those friends. She made a beautiful day for us today to honor her, one of our ancestors.”

Some believed Pilchuck Julia was a traditional meteorologist and could predict the forecast after she warned the citizens about an upcoming snow storm in 1917. Perhaps it was because she was in tune with the land and waterways due to her ancestral teachings, but Julia’s predictions were often reported to be right on the nose and were featured in a number of newspapers in order to reach a large audience of local farmers. 

Pilchuck Julia was also quite the icon of her time. She was often photographed, depicting the strong Indigenous woman she was, in photos that were shared in publications and on post cards around the nation. At the naming ceremony of the boat launch, Pilchuck Julia’s great, great descendants Celum and Shelbi Hatch proudly posed for a picture with Julia’s image in the background, agreeing that they should recreate her infamous ‘stoic’ pose.

The idea to name the landing after Julia was well received throughout the city of Snohomish and by reaching out to Tulalip, the sentiment helped further strengthen a well-established connection between the Tribal government and the city. The Tribe and Snohomish City Council worked together to immortalize Pilchuck Julia’s legacy in an area she called home for generations, pre and post-colonization. 

“Where we’re at right now is just above the confluence of the Snohomish and Pilchuck Rivers, which are two of the main rivers in the Sduhubš territory,” explained Ryan Miller, Tulalip Natural Resources Environmental Liaison and descendant of Pilchuck Julia. “Right now we’re standing in place where Pilchuck Julia spent the majority of her life and this is ground that will certainly recognize her. 

“We’ve been talking with the City Council of Snohomish as well as some of the citizens of the town for about nine months,” he continued. “The Tribe has been lucky enough to have a good relationship with the town of Snohomish for quite some time and it’s continuing to build. The town of Snohomish gifted us the property where the Pilchuck Dam is, that we are now working to remove to open up thirty-seven miles of habitat for salmon above that dam.”

The City of Snohomish is currently working with the Tulalip Tribes to gain additional knowledge of Pilchuck Julia’s life and times from her family members. Together, the city and Tribe will write the verbiage to post on interpretive signage at the landing site that shares the story of Pilchuck Julia.

“This is one of those things that’s so special,” said Ryan. “I don’t think there’s a lot of places in this country where towns are willing to do stuff like this, to think about naming a place after someone who was part of the original inhabitants of this land. Julia represents, to all of the Tribal members, our grandmother, our great grandmother. She is to us what Sduhubš is, what a Coast Salish woman is. I think it’s amazing the City of Snohomish was willing to do that and to do it in the right way, by contacting the Tribe and making sure it was okay with us, respecting our process and having us here to sing some songs to let Julia know we are here.”

Pilchuck Julia Landing is located at 20 Lincoln Ave, Snohomish, WA 98290.

First-ever presidential forum focused entirely on Native American issues

O.J. Semans, executive director of Four Directions.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

History was made on August 19 and 20 at the Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum as eleven presidential candidates took part in a first-of-its-kind political convention focused entirely on concerns of Native Americans. 

Originated by the Native American voter engagement organization Four Directions and hosted by Four Directions and Native Organizers Alliance, the Forum was named to honor Frank LaMere of the Winnebego Tribe. LaMere was a well-respected and beloved civic rights leader and member of the American Indian Movement who passed away in June. 

“Frank always said, ‘nothing changes unless someone is made to feel uncomfortable.’ Well, the Native people of America have an opportunity here to share our issues and it’ll get uncomfortable for the candidates, but that’s how change is made,” said O.J. Semans executive director of Four Directions. “We are here representing many tribes, but speaking as one Native voice. The topics and history we’ll be discussing here aren’t taught in history books or schools. This is Indian Country 101 for America.”

Four Directions is the nation’s preeminent Native voter engagement organization and plans to launch the most aggressive voter engagement program in history for the 2020 General Election, focused on increasing turnout among approximately one million First Americans of voting age in seven battleground states with a combined 77 electoral votes.

“We can make a difference in 2020 by making our voices heard by voting, especially in key swing or battleground states,” explained CEO Kevin Allis of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). “As of today, there are 5.2 million Native Americans. We are 1.7% of the total U.S. population, but Indian Country is the fastest growing group of people in the nation. We matter. Our issues matter. Our votes matter.”

Lessert Moore, a Lakota Sioux healer and teacher from South Dakota, blesses the Orpheum Theatre stage in preparation for the Presidential Forum. 

Iowa was chosen as an ideal location for its immense political influence during presidential elections and is home to 28 federally recognized tribal nations. The two-day event featured multiple panels of tribal leaders, sovereign tribal nation citizens, advocacy group representatives, and Native youth from across the country asking questions of the presidential hopefuls. Each panel was moderated by Mark Trahant, editor of Indian Country Today.

In April and May, Four Directions invited all major candidates from both parties to participate in the groundbreaking Native forum. No Republican representatives opted to participate.

The candidates who descended upon Sioux City to elevate Indigenous issues included 10 Democrats – Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Kamala Harris, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro, author Marianne Williamson, retired Navy Admiral Joe Sestak, Montana Governor Steve Bullock, former Representative John Delaney, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. They were joined by Independent candidate Mark Charles, a member of the Navajo Nation.

The 2020 contenders each fielded questions in a series of thoughtful, hour-long discussions with all-Native panelists about traditionally ignored critical issues facing millions of Native American voters. Each candidate was individually questioned by six to eight panelists. They assembled on a stage lined with tribal and U.S. flags, before a theatre filled with tribal members from around the country. 

In a sight to be seen and heard, nearly each tribal panelist introduced themselves and offered greetings in their traditional languages. They then shifted to English to ask about topics of much concern to Native people, many related to historic injustices: the protection of sacred sites threatened by resource extraction, protecting Native children’s right to stay in their families and communities, upholding voting rights, importance of federal-tribal consultation and lack of modern infrastructure on reservations. Other high-priority topics were economic development, healthcare, climate justice, and the missing and murdered Indigenous women crisis (MMIW). 

Marianna Williamson, Democratic candidate and internationally acclaimed author.

Tribal leaders detailed the federal government’s long history with failing to honor the government-to-government relationship guaranteed by treaties and denying tribes the right to meaningful consultation on projects that have an impact on tribal land, resources and sacred sites.

Democratic candidate and internationally acclaimed author Marianne Williamson, who was noted as the first individual to commit to the Forum, responded eloquently about the history of injustice. 

“For Native Americans there’s the genocide, then there is the cultural annihilation, then there is the geographical displacement, and because of all of this there is a spiritual displacement,” she said. “On an external level there are deep and systemic injustices to be addressed, from unfairly negotiated and broken treaties to MMIW to lack of healthcare. I want to help this country reconcile with a horrific chapter of our past. If I am President, from the depth of my heart and on behalf of the American people, I will apologize and ask you to join in a new era of American history as partners on this sacred land.” 

When Navajo tribal member and second-ever Native American citizen to run for President, Mark Charles, hit the stage the crowd erupted seeing a political hopeful who looked like family. When asked a similar question about tribal consultation Charles answered as only a Native person can.

“One of the challenges we face with tribal consultation is our United States foundations were written with the understanding that Natives are savages,” he asserted. “The issue with tribal sovereignty is it defines and has defined the relationship with tribes as domestic dependents. As Native peoples, it feels like we’re sovereign over our lands like a teenaged child is sovereign over their bedroom.

Independent candidate, Mark Charles, a member of the Navajo Nation.

“When land titles are propped up by a dehumanizing doctrine of discovery then white supremacy becomes a bipartisan value,” continued the Independent candidate. “This is why consultation is not taken seriously because the foundation for land titles in this country is still dependent upon us being domestic dependents and savages. If we want to fix this, then we don’t need Presidents who commit to consult with our Native nations. We need a President who is willing to change the basis of our laws so our land titles are no longer based on our dehumanization.”

A perceived media-created tension with Elizabeth Warren and Native people quickly proved to be inconsequential when she opened her candidate monologue with a heartfelt apology. “I know I have made mistakes. I am sorry for harm I have caused. I have listened and I have learned,” she said, stopping short of specifically mentioning her widely criticized use of a DNA test to prove Cherokee ancestry. The Native panelists and attendees did not make it a point of contention, instead they greeted her with a standing ovation.

Missing and murdered Indigenous women was a topic that most candidates were asked about. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Native women are 10x more likely to be murdered than the national average, 4 in 5 Native women will experience violence in their lifetimes, and homicide is the third leading cause of death for Native girls between 10-24 years of age. Indigenous women and children have become invisible within American’s landscape, something that Warren spoke passionately about.

Senator Elizabeth Warren.

“Over and over I am struck by Native women who go missing or who are murdered and it never makes a headline. A problem that is not seen is a problem that is not fixed” she said. “I think of the solution in two ways. First, the importance of the federal government getting serious about collecting data and making that data publicly available so the public can know the scope of this problem. Second, it is powerfully important we have the tribal nations adequately resourced and on the front lines so they can provide the safety and security that our women and children need.

“Under the current administration, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has been allowed to lapse,” Warren continued. “We got to be pushing back and make sure that VAWA is reauthorized with adequate and expanded protections.”

In a continuing topic of discussion at the Forum, many candidates were asked whether or not they’d support the “Remove the Stain Act” (H.R. 3467) introduced June 25 to officially rescind 20 Medals of Honor given to U.S. soldiers responsible for the brutal 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre. That incident led to the deaths of more than 200 Native Americans in South Dakota.

Audience members listened as one after another the democratic presidential candidates insisted they’d fully support the house bill if elected President. However, Independent Mark Charles took this concept of rescinding medals even further and offered a larger perspective that reaches beyond just Wounded Knee.

“If you research Medals of Honor for battles between 1839 and 1898, you will find that the U.S. awarded 425 Medals of Honor for soldiers who participated in the Indian Wars,” Charles explained. “We awarded 425 medals for the ethnic cleansing and genocide of Native peoples. We absolutely have to rescind those 20 medals for Wounded Knee, but there are 425 Medals of Honor that have no place in our union.

“These medals have no place in a nation that claims to value freedom, equality and diversity,” he continued. “These medals are not only a stain, they are blood dripping from the clothes of this nation.”

Charles’ strong declaration about the Medals of Honor given out during the Indian Wars era emphasized concepts that were mentioned by others candidates as well, and that’s the notions of historical and generational traumas. Indian Country understands well the long-lasting effects of America’s colonization and how it directly resulted in many of today’s most pressing concerns. For those looking for solutions and hoping for change through a Presidential regime change, well they got multiple glimpses at candidates who took the time to listen and understand the Native voice. 

In the audience, too, prominent officials and Native elders from communities across the country were able to meet, share ideas, and trade notes on issues of concern to their people. One of the most common subjects talked about was the federal government’s need to uphold treaty rights and fulfill its trust responsibilities. However, a shared cynicism about the current Trump Administration’s lack of effort to respect the tribes’ point of view, let alone uphold treaty rights, gave even more credence to why it’s so important for Native citizens to cast their ballots in 2020.

Senator Bernie Sanders.

After nearly two full days of listening and learning by both the hundreds of tribal members who filled the Forum’s seats and 10 presidential hopefuls who detailed their platforms and showcased their knowledge of Indian Country, only one candidate remained, Democrat Bernie Sanders. He was the final candidate to hit the Orpheum Theatre stage on August 20.

The Vermont Senator walked out to a huge standing ovation from a Forum crowd that had grown in both size and anticipation, reaching its largest capacity just to hear from the self-described progressive, democratic socialist. His proposed policies to rescind pipeline permits, combat global warming by restricting the seemingly free reign of oil companies, strengthening tribal sovereignty, and ensuring equal access to voting were all well received by a routinely applauding audience.

“I know how important it is to protect the sovereignty and sacred lands of Native Americans. That is why together we must do everything we can to address the existential crisis facing this planet in terms of climate change,” said Bernie Sanders. “Together we are going to take on the fossil fuel industry and tell them that their short term profits are not more important than the future of our planet.

“In my administration it’s not a matter of listening to the Native American people, it’s having you up front teaching us how to work with nature and not against nature,” continued Sanders. “I need you to play a leadership role in terms of sustainably. Native Americans, more than any other people, can teach us about sustainability. Your people did not nearly kill off the buffalo nor have they destroyed countless acres of tress through deforestation because you understand they give us life. We need your wisdom because we need to radically rethink our relationship to nature.”

Voter suppression was a topic each candidate was asked about, since there have been multiple laws enacted under Trump that restrict our democracy by limiting access to voting. This is especially felt on Native American reservations where infrastructure is already lacking and in some areas with a high Native populations one has to travel long distances in order to cast their ballot. Sanders explained how such actions are designed by politicians controlled by wealthy people to suppress voting, particularly by people of color.

“We have a corrupt political system designed to protect the wealthy and the powerful,” he declared. “Voter suppression is happening all over this country. You’ve got a Republican Party that really understands they cannot win elections based on their policies, so they make it harder to vote. They target people of color and young people. The answer to have a President and Attorney General who ensure every eligible voter in this country is able to vote. We are going to take on voter suppression in all its forms.”

With Indian Country’s electoral power growing, the Native American Presidential Forum came at an opportune time and was a huge success. Eleven presidential hopefuls pledged to honor treaties and enact structural change, but most importantly they listened and learned from tribal leaders, elders, and youth who spoke as the Native voice. A history making tribal forum for tribal people that developed a means of communication with, potentially, the next President of the United States. 

Youth Council declares to Marysville School District, ‘We are not stereotypes’

Marisa Joseph, Evelyn Vega-Simpson, Shylah Zackuse, and  Kaiser Moses hold a Q&A session with MSD educators. 

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

In early August, over fifty Marysville School District administrators toured their neighboring reservation to receive an enriching glimpse into Tulalip culture and lifeways. Among the group included every principal and assistant principal in the District. The highlight of their day-long venture was a powerful face-to-face sit down with four thriving Tulalip Youth Councilmembers. 

Treasurer Marisa Joseph,12th grader at Marysville Pilchuck, social media coordinator Evelyn Vega-Simpson, MP junior, secretary Shylah Zackuse, 10th grader at MP, and chairman Kaiser Moses, Marysville Getchell junior, each shared details of their unique experiences as young culture bearers and excelling students of the public school system. 

They sat front and center while speaking their truths in response to a series of questions their school administrators asked them. Between the four inspiring, high-achieving students are multiple honors classes, instruments played, languages spoken, and an overwhelming desire to be seen for their well-earned accolades that break commonly held stereotypes of Native American youth. The following is an edited transcript of that Q&A.

Q: What are three awesome facts about yourself?

Kaiser: “The fact I’m able to live so close to the Tulalip longhouse, be able to actively participate in my culture through traditional gatherings, and I enjoy hosting and traveling to powwows.”

Shylah: “I’m Indigenous. Half my school classes are either A.P. or honors level. I’m really good at multitasking.”

Evelyn: “I’m able to play five instruments, I’m fluent in three languages, and I am an advocate for other kids who do not have a voice.”

Marisa: “I’m Indigenous. I participate in my culture and love my culture. My cumulative G.P.A. is 3.96 and my goal is to go to Harvard and study law so I can represent Native people on the federal level.”

Q: What do you love learning about?

Marisa: “History, especially Native American history. However, in my U.S. History class this past year we only spent a brief part of one week where we watched a video about Native Americans. I think we can improve upon that and definitely spend more time learning an accurate Native history.”

Kaiser: “I love learning about our traditional longhouse history. It’s really easy to go over and talk to a bunch of elders and learn from them, so you all here can incorporate their teachings into the school curriculum.”

Shylah: “I love learning about my culture. This summer I participated in Canoe Journey and have been learning my traditional language, Lushootseed. I’ve learned how to formally introduce myself and look forward to becoming fluent in Lushootseed so I can teach my future children.”

Q: What do you most look forward to this school year?

Evelyn: “Band. I’ve been playing instruments since I can remember. Music is a big part of my life and obviously my culture as well. I’m also taking Running Start classes right now during the summer and look forward to continuing to take college classes during the school year.”

Kaiser: “My mom says when you go to school you’re building a bridge to society. We get teachings from school and teachings from the longhouse. I’m excited to develop that bridge even more so it’s easier to navigate back and forth.”

Q: What is something you wish your teachers knew about you?

Shylah: “I want my history teacher to know the history of my ancestors. When we’re in the classroom they don’t teach about the genocide of Native Americans or the boarding schools our ancestors were forced to attend. My ancestors weren’t allowed to be Native American. They couldn’t speak their language or practice their dances and songs. My history teachers should know this.”

Marisa: “I want my school teachers and peers to be educated about our culture, traditions, and way of life. If they knew what our ancestors went through, then they’d have a better understanding of our daily lives and what we go through as Native people today.”

Evelyn: “The Tulalip Tribes donates a lot of money to the school district. I know that can be a touchy subject, but I’d like to see a public ‘thank you’ from the Marysville School District. The money the Tribes donates helps not just Native students, but all the students.”

Q: What is the importance and role of education in your life?

Evelyn: “Education has always been a top priority in my life. I grew up in Snohomish with a wonderful pair of foster parents. They taught me to embrace music and to love school because they can take me so far in life. I dream of attending Oxford to become a surgeon. I have a high G.P.A. and plan on getting my Associates Degree as a high school student. Those things shock people because I’m Native, but I’m not a stereotype. I am better than any stereotype and will always be better.”

Marisa: “I’ve always taken my education serious and put it first always. I’ve sacrificed a lot of time with my friends in order to study and get good grades. My goal is to attend an Ivy League. I will be successful and not let myself be a statistic.”

Shylah: “I come from stereotypes. The stereotypes I come from are we don’t graduate, we’re drug addicts and alcoholics, and we’re teen moms. Well, I’m none of those. I get good grades, I’m not a drug addict, and I’m not a teen mom. I come from a drug addict dad and a single mom. My mom is going to college now with four kids and a fulltime job to prove to her kids we can go to college, too. Through my education I will go to college and have a successful career.”

New TANF program introduces kids to the importance of gainful employment

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Many experts agree that adolescence, the process of growing up from young, bashful kid to stubborn, head strong teenager, is a critical period for determining future employment success. It’s during this stage the average youth constantly tests boundaries and rules while striving for more and more independence. With every new experience comes a change in perspective, including their general response to the always imposing question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Most will answer that question with an “I don’t know, but whatever it is I want to make a lot of money doing it.” What they are then placing the highest priority on is gainful employment. That is, a career path that provides consistent, long-term work while paying a livable wage. Those kinds of jobs usually take some combination of education and proficient skills, while placing an emphasis on self-management and productivity. In sum, learn your job, do your job right without being constantly managed, and strive to get better over time. 

Sounds simple, right? But how does a young person, better yet an early adolescent, even begin to learn about a job so they know which skills to hone and perfect? The best answer is always through hands-on experience. That is why a new tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program has been introduced to the Tulalip community and is already making an impact on a select group of Native youth. 

“The 477/TANF Program has a new employment opportunity for Native American youth within our community known as the Youth Employment Preparation Program or YEPP,” explains Krisan Fryberg, 477/TANF Training Coordinator. “The idea of this program is to prepare our tribal youth for future employment. Our mission is to implement progressive thinking with a goal of empowering youth to obtain and maintain successful employment. Not only for employment within our tribe, but any industry they choose.”

YEPP is a six-week program that incorporates several aspects of employment preparedness and provides opportunities for adolescent youth to connect with the various departments and entities that make up a Tulalip government and enterprise. YEPP also serves as a perfect introduction for kids who will be participating in the tribe’s Summer Youth Program in the future.  

Over the past several weeks, fifteen YEPP participants between ages 11-13 years old have dove deep into drug prevention by discussing the effects of drugs and alcohol as a huge obstacle to personal sovereignty. They went deeper into the subject while touring and meeting with representatives of Tulalip Police and Tulalip Bay Fire. Exploring the concept of healthy living and its impact on gainful employment and overall wellbeing, the group had many diabetes prevention discussions while harvesting native plants with Health Clinic staff at the Wellness Garden, visiting a local U-Pick farm, and working out at Tulalip Bay Crossfit.

Skill building exercises have also been a top priority for the YEPP program. One cannot expect to be gainfully employed without the necessary skills of time management, ability to set and reach goals, know how to respect others’ cultures, and understanding how to maintain healthy relationships in the work environment. Because it’s the digital age they were also schooled in the art of social media use, especially its many traps that can derail a potential career long before it even starts.

A definite highlight of this inaugural YEPP program was the contribution to the community by collaborating with the TERO Vocational Training Center (TVTC) to build and donate two cedar planter boxes to Youth Services. On August 13, TVTC provided the materials and instructors for the YEPP kids to receive a crash course in construction basics. For most of them it was their first time handling actual construction tools, let alone the powered variety like a nail gun or circular saw.

“We learned how to take accurate measurements and cut wood to specific sizes,” said 12-year-old Navaeh Gray. “I was scared at first to use the nail gun, but after using it I realized it was super easy. There’ve been a few experiences with this YEPP program that have taken me out of my comfort zone, but I’ve learned when you believe in yourself anything is possible.”

“We learned how to use power tools and then got to test how good we were with them in a few activities,” added 13-year-old Gary Fryberg while still holding onto his favorite tool, the hammer. “I’ve never used any tools before, but realized I’m pretty good with a hammer. Maybe I’ll work construction when I’m older because it’s fun to build things.”

Members of TVTC spoke at length about the many benefits of a career in the construction and trades industry. Even if it wasn’t for all of them, for some a spark could have been lit to a whole new future. At the very least they each can say they played a role in creating planter boxes they will surely see often outside of their commonly frequented youth center. 

“Our program spent two days with the youth staff at TVTC where they learned how to utilize equipment properly and worked hand-in-hand with the youth staff to build planter boxes,” remarked Krisan. “I enjoyed seeing both programs work together to create a generous gift to be donated within our community. They all seemed to appreciate the time spent with one another.”

Collaboration and the value of team work is just another key skill that should be practiced over and over again, not just for gainful employment prospects but to ensure a future generation that knows how to work alongside one another for the betterment of everyone. 

U.S. Census Bureau address canvassing underway in Washington

Census Listers Now Walking Neighborhoods in Evergreen State to Verify Addresses; How Residents May Verify if Contacted

August 20, 2019 (SEATTLE) — Address canvassing in Washington state is now underway in preparation for the 2020 Census. Address canvassing improves and refines the Census Bureau’s address list of households, which is necessary to deliver invitations to respond to the census. The address list plays a vital role in ensuring a complete and accurate count of everyone living in the United States.

“The Census Bureau is dedicated to ensuring that we are on track, and ready to accomplish the mission of the 2020 Census,” said Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham. “We have made many improvements and innovations over the past decade, including better technologies for canvassing neighborhoods and developing complete and updated address listings and maps.”

As a necessary component of address canvassing, Census Bureau listers are now walking neighborhoods in Washington to verify select residential addresses. Those residences chosen for verification will be contacted by a lister who will ask a few simple questions to verify the address and any additional living quarters on the property. Address canvassing is a separate operation from enumeration, which will occur beginning in March 2020 with the goal of counting every person in the United States once, only once, and in the right place.  

Listers are identifiable by official Census Bureau badges and those persons contacted as part of address canvassing may request a second form of government-issued, photo ID from listers for cross-verification. Residents may also contact the Census Bureau call center at 800-923-8282 to confirm the identity of persons identifying themselves as Census Bureau listers. 

More information on the Census Bureau’s address canvasing operation, including a sample image of a Census Bureau ID badge, is available at

When disaster strikes: Tribal Teen CERT prepares youth for emergencies

By Kalvin Valdilez, Tulalip News

“HELP!” cried a woman’s voice coming from the Tulalip Youth Council room. “The building’s collapsing, we have people in here. We need help.”

Springing into action like superheroes, fifteen local teenagers unzipped green backpacks which read Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) across the front. Withdrawing vests, gloves, hard hats and goggles, the youth quickly put on their protective gear before assembling near the entrance of the building. Together, the team elected Youth Council member, Jonathan “JD” Rinker, to take lead. 

After JD instructed two people to set up a triage area, he called upon one of his peers to help him conduct a quick visual walkthrough of the building. Upon returning, JD reported the estimated amount of people trapped in the building and their injuries, as well as the amount of damage inside the Youth Council chambers.

“Some of the injuries include a person with a bolt jammed in his leg. People have open wounds and large cuts on their arms and faces, some are trapped underneath tables and desks and their legs are tangled up in chairs.”

The teens paired up into twos and entered the room. Tending to the wounded who needed immediate assistance first, the teams carried, walked and wheeled the injured one-by-one outdoors to safety. Although this was only a drill, the group of young adults took the disaster simulation very seriously, treating the situation as though it was happening in real time and evacuating the building safely, cautiously and in a timely manner. 

“My role was to send my team in and get those people help when the building began to collapse after an earthquake,” JD stated. “But first we had to make sure the area was safe for us. As soon as we got everyone out, we helped stop the bleeding on several individuals, we tended to people’s ailments and we placed them in these designated areas categorized by color. Green is minor injuries, yellow’s non-life-threatening injuries, red is life threatening and black is deceased. During the process, I helped arrange who went to which group and assessed what types of injuries they had. And when the first responders arrived, I gave them a full report and the status of each person.”

Teen CERT returned to Tulalip for its second year during the week of August 12-16. Hosted by the Tulalip Office of Emergency Management, the trainings provide local youth with the knowledge of how to be best prepared when disaster strikes, learning safety skills to assist the elders, youth and injured adults of the community while first responders are on the way. 

Last year, Tulalip became the first tribe nationwide to offer Teen CERT to a reservation-based community. Teaming up with Youth Services and Critical Ops LLC., Emergency Management brought the preparedness training to the community to ensure safety when natural disasters or extreme weather occurs in the area. 

“To my knowledge, we’re the only tribe that is doing tribal Teen CERT on an annual basis,” said Ashlynn Danielson, Tulalip Emergency Preparedness Manager. “We hope to continue receiving our funding to provide this training once a year, every summer. This year everything was interactive-based, everything we did as teams or pairs. And we had more upbeat energy, the kids were participating right out the gate. We had a good mixture of ages. The younger ones could turn to the older students and get direction, to have someone engage initiative. Before they started the disaster simulation, we staged everybody and established our role players. We used earthquake because we recently had an earthquake, and that’s something that is a no notice event that can happen to our area regularly.”

Every late fall and throughout the winter, windstorms are a regular occurrence, causing power outages and property damage throughout Tulalip. This past winter, Washington State experienced a snow storm unlike any other. Some areas saw upwards of a foot of snow, breaking local snowfall records over the month-long blizzard. On the Tulalip reservation specifically, community members hunkered down as many people couldn’t leave their driveways and didn’t want to risk driving in the heavy snow. In many cases, during wind and snow storms, the only road leading out of Tulalip is often blocked by fallen trees and powerlines. 

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), climate change is the main contributing factor to natural disasters. As the earth’s atmosphere continues to heat up, the world will experience disasters, such as last year’s hurricanes along the east coast and the wildfires on the west coast, more frequently and at a larger magnitude. In 2018, the United States had sixteen extreme disasters, totaling a record $306 billion in damages and 355 fatalities.

“We’re located far away from the hospitals, far from help,” expressed JD. “We need to be able to help our own people in any way we can, until the first responders get here. It was exciting. It’s important for the youth to be involved. In case a disaster or if anything happens, everyone should have an idea of what to do and how to help.”

Throughout the week, the youth were taught how to react and respond in emergency situations, practicing everything from fire safety, medical operation and triage, team organization, utility control, damage assessment, and search and rescue. 

“We broke the days up by themes,” said Critical Ops Trainer, Chelsea Treboniak. “The first day we focused on home and personal preparedness. We looked at what a bugout bag is, how to look at your surrounding environment and understand what you might need in case of an emergency. The next day we got a bit more broad in nature and attacked fire at large. We went over what a fire extinguisher is and how to use it, and we practiced skills with the fire department. We talked medical operations, everything from search and rescue to how to leverage and crib to rescue someone who’s stuck. And, also how to treat, triage and set up a causality collection point. Which brought it all to the disaster simulation where they got to put all those skills into practice.”

The teens were visited by a number of guests during the five-day training including the Tulalip Bay Fire Department and members of the Everett Fire Department, as well as local search and rescue dogs. 

“The dogs were well-trained and they help people out,” said Teen CERT alum Quintin Yon-Wagner. “They help retrieve different items, find people and they are a great comforting companion especially during disasters or after traumatizing events.”

Quintin returned this year to assist with Teen CERT, offering his insight and encouraging his peers during the hands-on training. 

“There are certainly times where I had to use my CERT training in real life scenarios,” he stated. “Just today, a kid hurt himself on the field and I was able to help him out. A lot of kids don’t want to come out and spend their summer learning, but you can use this training in real life and you get certified. I encourage kids to bring their friends next year and treat it as a social event, it’s super fun to learn about things you probably never heard of, or never will, in school. It’s a whole different perspective on how to help and give back to your community. When disaster strikes, we need people to step up because the first responders aren’t necessarily going to be nearby.” 

After spending a week at the Youth Council room learning how to be properly prepared for disaster, the teens joined their younger peers who were concluding their time at Lushootseed Language Camp with a performance. In front of a gym full of language warriors and supportive community members, the Teens received their CERT certifications on the morning of August 16. To commemorate the moment and congratulate the teens, the young Lushootseed campers offered a traditional song to the CERT graduates. 

“This year was a success,” expressed Ashlynn. “Throughout the week they learned how to work as a team. They now have some tools and skills and are able to help. Every year we are getting more student involvement, interest and participation. I hope their main take away is to share this with their families, that way they’ll be more prepared individually and know that they are a just as important as everyone else and can play a big role in saving people’s lives.”

The Tulalip Office of Emergency Management will continue hosting their regularly scheduled CERT trainings, the next one held this upcoming fall. To stay updated on the latest storm information in the Tulalip area, text the word ‘STORM’ to 30644 for text alerts regarding inclement weather, road closures and more. 

Young minds empowered at Lushootseed Language Camp

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

“Sqʷəbayʔ,” exclaimed young Lushootseed Language Warrior, Andrew Contraro. “That means dog. Dogs are cool, so sqʷəbayʔ is my favorite word that I learned this week. I also learned the welcome song, I like that one a lot. I had lots of fun, I made my first cedar mat and I’ve never done weaving before, it was new to me. I learned a bunch about Lushootseed and all the different stories, and I enjoyed it because it’s keeping Lushootseed alive.”

The Tulalip Lushootseed Language department recently wrapped up another successful Language Camp, celebrating its 24th year. The week-long camp, held in two sessions every summer, instills the traditional vocabulary of the Snohomish people into the young minds of their direct descendants. With over sixty participants during the first week in July and nearly seventy-five campers during the second week, well over one-hundred kids assisted in the preservation and revitalization of the sacred language this year. 

“Language Camp started in the mid-90s,” explained Lushootseed Language Teacher, Natosha Gobin. “That was while the program was under the direction of Hank Gobin. Shelly and Joy Lacy were vital in the beginning of Language Camp; we give a lot of thanks to them for the vision that they had bringing the camp together. We still bring the kids together as a group to open with an message each day, reminders of our core teachings.”

At any given moment during the day camp, the language could be heard throughout the entire Don Hatch Youth Center. Through a number of interactive stations, the kids practiced words and phrases. Not only did the campers play games like stick games, they also participated in a variety of art projects. 

“My favorite part was painting clamshells,” said camper Zaylen Veliz. “I painted mine blue and it looks really cool.”

“I’d have to say my favorite activity was art,” added young Jada Smith. “We painted, beaded, made tie-dye shirts, I made some clams with rocks in it and a necklace made of Devil’s Club. It really was fun because you want to keep the teachings of the past going and going.”

The kids rotated throughout the stations each day, spending time and absorbing knowledge from every Lushootseed instructor. Singing songs with Michelle Myles, learning about the many uses of Devil’s Club with Natosha, weaving with Shelbi Hatch and Sarah Miller, and tie-dying t-shirts with Celum Hatch. Along with creating clamshell art with Maria Martin and Nikki St. Onge, playing outdoor games with Oceana Alday, Shawna Reeves, and Danika Hatch-Auguilar, and reciting stories and jamming with Thomas Williams. 

The students also spent time utilizing modern technology, following along a series of visual lessons on tablet computers. The kids enjoyed throwing on a pair of headphones and watching animated videos of traditional stories each day. By utilizing the Acquisition of Restored Native Speech (ACORN) app, Lushootsed Media Developer, David Sienko, customized the tablets to include teachings with cartoons, videos and games. According to Zaylen, the tablets were ‘one of the most awesomest parts about the camp’.

Mid-morning of August 16, the students entered the Youth Center gymnasium proudly drumming, dancing and singing. As they took their seats in the bleachers, Natosha welcomed the many friends and families of the young Language Warriors and explained the inspiration behind the teachings of the 24th Annual Lushootseed Camp.  

“This year we dedicated the 24th Annual Lushootseed Camp in memory of Elizabeth 

‘Lizzie’ Krise,” she said. “Many of the children who are participating are descendants of Lizzie, whether they’re great grandchildren of hers or if she was their great auntie, she has a lot of connections within this group of kids.” 

The highlight of the performance was when the entire group stood up and recited Lizzie’s Clam Digging story together in Lushootseed as one voice. After sharing Lizzie’s story, camper Tashina Cortez provided an English translation. 

“Lizzie paddled in her canoe to Camano head with her dog, Rover, and she dug up some clams. When she went home her mom was surprised about how many clams she dug up. Her dog sat in the back of the canoe and he was a good captain.” 

“For passing on the language, I think it was very powerful to hear all of the kids tell the story together,” Natosha stated. “Usually we’ll pick a traditional story and we’ll figure out who will be the characters, who will speak, how many narrators we will have. This year, since the story was short, we decided to have them recite it together. It was powerful and it kept everybody engaged. It really helped the ceremony flow together and I feel that the kids are going to take a lot home from that experience of being together as one.”

The language campers received a standing ovation from their families after the ceremony came to an end. 

“It felt amazing to not just see my boys learn their culture and be fully immersed in it, but to hear there was seventy-five kids who participated was incredible,” says Tribal parent, Dinesha Kane. “I loved watching their growth this week, from the beginning of the week where they didn’t know what to do or how to speak the language, to proudly singing and sharing stories. I believe it’s important for any Native child to follow in their traditions and teachings to not lose our culture. Our children will be here long after us, and their children well after them. I want them to know where they came from, I want them to know what we stand for and I want them to pass on our teachings.”

Tribal member, Tony Hatch, prepared a lunchtime clambake for the campers and their families. Additional cooks provided salmon and desserts. The Language Camp students passed out gifts such as beadwork and artwork to everybody in attendance, wowing the crowd with their crafty art-making abilities. 

“Without our language, we lose a vital part of our culture,” Natosha explained. “We have a lot of documents that are still in our language, untranslated. They are critical pieces of who we are, where we come from, what’s important to us, our sovereignty, that is still connected within our language. Quite a few years back we started empowering the kids by calling them Language Warriors. We try to empower our staff by calling each other Language Warriors because we really are fighting for the language, the culture, the history, everything that makes us who we are.” 

For more information about the Annual Lushootseed Language Camp, please contact the Lushootseed Language department at (360) 716-4499, or visit their website at

The Tulalip Police Department is committed to halting the sale of drugs on our reservation

The sale and use of illicit drugs is an epidemic, not only on the Tulalip Reservation, but across the nation. The Tulalip Police Department is committed to halting the sale of drugs on our reservation.

On Thursday August 15, 2019, detectives of the Tulalip Tribal Police Drug Task Force, assisted by uniformed patrol officers, executed a search warrant on a residence in the Y-Site neighborhood of the Tulalip Reservation. This search warrant comes after a month-long investigation into the sale and distribution of illegal drugs from this residence. One suspect is in custody at this time. 

This latest arrest is part of the ongoing effort by Tulalip Tribal Police to address drug dealing on the Tulalip Reservation and specifically in tribal housing. We understand that for families in our community, no criminal investigation can happen quickly enough. We want to assure you that although you may not always see our progress, we are actively working to stop the sale of drugs on our reservation. That means being meticulous in our investigations, so that convictions result from arrests. All of these efforts take time. 

The best way to help us put dealers out of business for good is when you see something, say something. If you see suspicious activity, call our tip-line, 360-716-5990, and help us build a better Tulalip.