New year, new goals, same us

Snowy Tulalip Bay photo by Niki Cleary, Tulalip News

By Shaelyn Hood, Tulalip News

Towards the end of every year, it becomes a time of reflection, what all we have accomplished, exciting events in our lives, and maybe some challenges we endured. The next day, the New Year reigns and brings opportunities for people to have a fresh start, to reinvent themselves, and create better and healthier habits. Historically, the most common trend is New Year’s resolutions.

About 4000 years ago, the ancient Babylonians were the first people to start New Year’s resolutions. During that time, it was a 12-day religious festival that incorporated promises to the gods to pay off debts, return things they had borrowed, etc. And in return if the Babylonians followed through on their promises, the gods would bless them with good crops, and bestow favors on them.

The modern-day version is less about praying to the gods, and more about setting up personal endeavors and a time to start over and pursue new habits. Some of the most common New Year’s resolutions include exercising more, saving money, paying off debt, losing weight, spending more time with family, traveling more, and reducing stress. According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, 45% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. However, only 8% of those people achieve their goals. 

So, if almost half of the country sets these resolutions, why do only 8% achieve them? In a 2021 article from Business Insider, psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert talked about three reasons why it may be hard for people to follow through on their goals; Your resolution isn’t specific enough. You must be able to mark your progress, or else it becomes hard to stay motivated. Therefore, if your goal is to lose weight, make milestones of weight you’d like to lose by certain dates and timeframes.

Secondly, you aren’t framing your goal in a positive manner. If you’re making a goal to stop doing something, it becomes a shameful message to yourself. It becomes something you’re avoiding rather than creating a positive focal point on what you’d like to accomplish. Lastly, your resolution isn’t about you. Alpert said, “So often, people seem to be influenced by their friends, their family, what they see in society.” Rather than trying to fulfill expectations of others, remember that these goals are about you and your life. 

Setting resolutions/goals for ourselves are important because it is an essential tool that we can use on a personal and professional level. Setting goals are linked with higher motivation, self-esteem, self-confidence, and autonomy. It gives meaning to our every-day lives and creates a vision for what we would like for our lives to look like. And though New Year’s is typically the time where people like to set goals, everyone is capable of setting goals at any point in their life. 

So where do we start? 

Imagine the results you want to see. Visualize the time and effort it will take to reach that result, and do you think it is worth it? 

Utilize the SMART method for creating your goals. S- Specifc, M- Measurable, A- Attainable, R-Realistic, T-Time-bound

Write down your goals. Statistics show that when you write down your goal, they become more tangible, rather than an indistinct thought. You can also place the written goal somewhere you can see it every day, as a daily reminder of what you are aiming for

Create a plan or a roadmap to your goal. Every goal has micro-steps and milestones that lead up to it. The more you understand what steps you need to take and the action route that you must follow, the more broken down your goal is and easier it is to digest and move towards. If you aren’t sure about how to create this, you can also utilize resources and experts to assist you

Create a timeline. Once you understand the steps and milestones your goals require, create a deadline for each of them. It creates a sense of urgency and keeps you moving in a forward direction

Pull the trigger. Now that you set yourself up for success, dive into the deep end. The sooner you start, the sooner you will reach your goal

Don’t be afraid to re-evaluate and assess your progress. Check in on your progress, throughout your timeline. If you’re falling behind, you’ll be able to assess where you need to catch up. If you’re moving in the right direction, you will feel re-motivated and work even harder to finish out your goal

Some Tulalip tribal departments and staff have already set out their goals for the new year. 

The Higher Education Department said their goals included increasing enrollment, seeking more internship opportunities with some of the tribal departments, reaching out to more tribal colleges, and creating more educational programs for the membership.

The Problem Gambling Program will work to increase knowledge on Gambling Disorder behavior and reach community members interested in addressing their own issues with gambling or a loved one’s issues related to gambling behavior. They hope to continue to partner and collaborate with other departments in effort to strengthen outreach to the community. They also would like to continue expanding and developing their expertise with Gaming and Social Media addiction to best support youth, parents and families experiencing negative consequences related to screen activity.

The Tulalip Tribal Court plans are to merge into in-person hearings for all case types, and resume jury trials.

The Youth & Family Enrichment Department plans to bring our youth and community together in a safe and productive manner. They would love to bring in more family-based programs, along with cultural, health & fitness programs. They plan on offering various sports conditioning, a variety of sporting competitions, the Get Drugs Off Our Rez car parade, the Autism Awareness car parade, monthly Coastal Jams, various sports leagues, Youth Awareness Talking Circles, different arts and crafts programs, in school and after school programs, and various other events within covid 19 guidelines.

With 2022, let’s make it our year. Share your goals, spread positivity, and motivate others to do the same. 

Honoring our Indigenous educators

Indigenous educators recognized for having 20+ years of experience.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

While the vast majority of students were enjoying their winter break and anxiously awaiting what would become Snowmageddon, a special gathering took place among the Indigenous educators of Marysville School District. Co-hosted by MSD’s Indian Education and Tulalip’s Positive Youth Development teams, all Indigenous educators within the District, and their families, were invited to Heritage High School’s commons area to be honored for their united goal of decolonizing education. 

Decolonizing education means to dismantle a colonial system. In this case, the specific colonial system is education, which wasn’t integrated until the 1970s after decades of legal battles. So then how can a system that separated white people and people of color for hundreds of years, a system that was created and maintained by white people for the benefit of white people, all of a sudden become an inclusive system that prioritizes the success of all? Put simply, it can’t. 

Tulalip elder Dawn Simpson, with 50 years of education work, stands beside Heritage counselor Shonta Paul.

In order to achieve such a lofty goal, it’ll require the tireless pursuit and often underappreciated life’s work of Native culture bearers who are fully aware that they are raging against the machine and regularly feeling like no matter how much they do it’s never enough. Yet, for these special few, they know the deck is stacked against them but they’ll answer the call anyway. They take the college classes, get the required degrees, and receive the necessary accreditations to gain entry into colonized school systems as Indigenous educators. 

Armed with traditional teachings and ancestral wisdom, and fueled by a relentless love for their people, it’s the Indigenous educators who are fighting to change the education system from within. From their positions they can actively provide an environment where Native students can learn about, and be proud of, their history and culture. It is these educators who were celebrated on that December evening. 

“I’m going on my eighteenth year now working in education. In my new position I’m so honored to be working with all of you, the beautiful Indigenous educators of our District. As far as I know, this is the first time a celebration like this has been held exclusively for you all,” remarked Matt Remle, MSD Indian Education coordinator, to all in attendance. “The thought behind this event is simple. We want to honor, encourage, and uplift our Native educators because what you all do every day is remarkable and worth celebrating.”

“I want to thank you all for being here and allowing us to acknowledge you together as our Indigenous educators,” added Jessica Bustad, executive director of Tulalip Education. “Words can’t express how important you are, and the work that you do to positively impact our youth is immeasurable. But we do know how important it is for us to support each other.


Heritage teacher Marina Benally (center) with her son and daughter who both work as educators
within the District.

“We know that these systems we work in were not built for our Indigenous students,” she continued. “Times are difficult right now, but it’s never been easy doing the kind of work we do. What keeps us going is a shared dedication to our students’ success and a passion to do what we can to help them thrive in and out of the classroom. The Indigenous students within the District need and depend on us. They are so fortunate to have educators who genuinely care for them, and I hope you all know how much of a difference you make.”

Public education was among the first colonial institutions deployed over Native American tribes as a tactic to subordinate, confuse and debilitate. The effort to forcibly assimilate Native children through education took place all of the United States. Today, we refer to this effort as the Boarding School Era; when Native children were removed from their families and placed in faraway boarding schools to eradicate Native culture. Whether the boarding schools were sponsored by the church, state or federal government is of little difference. The Native students were stripped of their traditional languages, clothing, and teachings. They weren’t able to see themselves in the curriculum nor in those individuals appointed as teachers.

Because of our Indigenous educators’ efforts, the same cannot be said for Native students within Marysville School District. They have opportunity to see themselves in Since Time Immemorial curriculum, and to learn traditional teachings from their elders who unapologetically display their Native cultures in the school setting. From intricately handwoven cedar to vibrant ribbon skirts and beaded earrings, to Lushootseed words and the heartbeat of hand drums, the sights and sounds of a thriving Native culture is embodied by these educators.

During the celebratory dinner, within the commons area of Heritage High School, the sentiment was shared how fitting the location was. The high school located on the Tulalip Reservation, dreamt of by past leaders, serves as a model that can redefine and inspire Indigenous education. Nationally, many Native students struggle with low academic achievement and only about half graduate from high school. Contrast that with Heritage High recently setting records for overall student enrollment and total number of seniors earning their diploma. It becomes easy then to understand the importance of allowing Native youth to learn in a community-led, culturally-rich environment.

Marina Benally has been teaching Tulalip’s youth for twenty-three years. Most recently as a teacher at Heritage where she is routinely spoken highly of by her students, past and present. Before the intimate gathering, Marina asked her son, Terrance, and daughter, Amanda, to stand with her. Her kids have inherited their mom’s passion for educating the next generation, as they both work as Indigenous educators in the District as well.

“We love being here and are forever grateful to be entrusted with educating your students,” said an emotional Marina. “Ray and Sheryl Fryberg recruited me to come here and help the Tulalip youth back in 1999. Since then, we’ve made Tulalip our home, and you all have helped make us feel like we belong. We thank the Tulalip community for upholding us. Like each and every one of the Indigenous educators out there, we stand on the shoulders of giants who came before us.”

 Quil Ceda 4th grade teacher Tanya Houle (Turtle Mountain Chippewa) sharing her educational journey. 

There were songs shared, traditional medicines offered, and many messages of encouragement between the group of educators. After a hearty meal, a special recognition of those who had 20+ years working in education ensued. Each offered more good words on the mic before being blanketed. Tulalip elder Dawn Simpson received a huge ovation when she announced she now has over 50 years helping her people achieve their academic goals, and she’s still working.

“Dawn was the lifeline for many of us educators here today,” shared Quil Ceda assistant principal Chelsea Craig. “When we were the young students attending schools within the Marysville School Districts, we may not have had much support, but we had Dawn. She was always there and some of us may not be doing the work we are today if it wasn’t for Dawn paving that foundation.”

Imagine how many Native students within the District these awe-inspiring educators are impacting every year. How many kids are excited to go to school and learn from teachers who look like them, or are emboldened to wear traditional regalia, even if it’s just accessories, because their teachers sparked that Native pride? Now, envision just a fraction of these students being inspired to create real change because their educators made them believe it was possible. That’s a kind of cultural legacy powerful enough to take down a system, maybe even to decolonize education.

Damming the West: Northwest tribes battle the legacy of energy colonization

Tribes and supports hold ‘Free the Snake’ flotilla to protest Snake River dams. Photo by Idaho
Rivers United

By Rae Rose of Last Real Indians

“The Indian will be allowed to take fish. . . .at the usual fishing places and this promise will be kept by the Americans as long as the sun shines, as long as the mountains stand, and as long as the rivers run.” Treaty of Walla Walla, June 9th, 1855, spoken by Isaac Ingalls Stevens 

One hundred years later, after the Treaty of Walla Walla was signed, tribes watched their sacred rivers and waterfalls being dammed one after another.  The fishing wars had begun as the American government tried to take away treaty rights from Northwest tribes.  

Today, the fish are dying and no longer able to return home navigating through mass pollution, warming waters and massive dams that block their only way home to spawn.  Spawning grounds have been built over.  Many of the great forests have been clear-cut, destroying precious spawning grounds. Another broken treaty.  

Here, in the Northwest, short-termed thinking of American policymakers mutilated and deformed the beautiful Columbia Basin as they pursued the energy needs of the settler colonizers at the expense of Tribal communities and the environment by constructing dam after dam. 

President Roosevelt called those who objected to the dam’s construction, short-sighted. He referred to our great rivers as a ‘national possession’, disregarding the Tribal communities that lived along these rivers and their treaty rights to fish in those rivers. The ensuing construction of these dams led to mass destruction of habitat, loss of traditional tribal fishing grounds, ones that were promised in treaties. It was sold to the American public as progress.  Anyone who spoke against destruction caused by the dams were labeled as unpatriotic by America pro-dam policymakers.

Mother Earth, a living, breathing planet, her life allows us to live, yet to a small, but powerful, corrupt few who see the disfigurement and destruction of Mother Earth as progress.  To me, any disfigurement or destruction of our beautiful planet can only be seen as reckless destruction of our children’s future.  This idea of ‘progress’ at the expense of destroying the planet, is achieved by the direct manipulation of the American public through the spread of mis-information by energy companies and their government puppets.  

Behind the propaganda, lies the underlying true cost of America’s industrial “progress.”  The destruction and the death of our beautiful river systems, loss of plant and animal species, loss of tribal lands and broken treaty agreements. These dams leave a legacy that speaks volumes for their cruel disregard for the original peoples, the land, our waters, and certainly our other animal and plant relatives.  What strikes me as the saddest fact, is it also speaks volumes to pro-dam backers’ blatant disregard of their own children.  They don’t care if anyone, including their own children and grandchildren, have clean water, food, or a living planet to live upon.

A Native American family is show standing near Celilo Falls, a longtime fishing and trading spot for Native Americans, on the Columbia River in this undated photo. The falls were flooded when The Dalles Dam was constructed in 1957. (Yakima Valley Museum, courtesy photo)

Addressing the legacy of dams 

In NOVA’s Planet Earth the Undamming of America by Anna Lieb, Frank Magilligan, a professor of geography at Dartmouth College explains. “Over 3 million miles of rivers and streams have been etched into the geology of the United States, and many of those rivers flow into and over somewhere between 80,000 and two million dams. “We as a nation have been building, on average, one dam per day since the signing of the Declaration of Independence,” 

The first peoples, who have lived in these lands since time immemorial, have a history of co-existing with the land and waters.  We lived, hunted, worked, and navigated the mighty rivers, forests, hills, and valleys.  It frustrates me that there are people who use clean water, who eat food that is grown from the land, but advocate for destroying and depleting our precious, finite resources.  It hurts me because these are the same people who seem to hate and ridicule those of us who do cherish the waters and land.  I have never understood why they hate us for loving the land that also cares for their loved ones too.

As a guest in the lands of the Coast Salish people of the Pacific Northwest, I have seen elders speak to the loss, the death, and the desecration of land and water by the corrupt mentality of ‘progress’.  These brave elders talk about what was once there, how life once was, and the heartbreaking loss when it was stolen away. 

In speaking about the damage done after the loss of Celilo Falls, Elmer Crow, Nez Perce had this to say in the Damnation documentary. “Celilo Falls is gone. I knew what was there, and I knew what they had done.  The wind changed because of the flat surfaces coming up the Columbia, the temperatures of the water changed.  The dead water makes it harder for the fish.  It means nothing to me. All it means is what they took away.  What these dams have done; they completely tore my country apart”.

Celilo Falls after construction of the Dalles Dam.

In speaking with elders from Coast Salish tribes, I have heard over and over again how the health of the people, the salmon, our land and our waters are all connected.  Each important in their own right, but always a reflection of one another.  If the salmon are suffering, so are the people.  When the waters are cut off and polluted you will see it reflected in the lives and health of the people, of the salmon.  We are all related, never separate, always connected.

It is indisputable that dams have damaged habitat placing natural fish runs and animal habitats in danger.  Over 80,000 dams have altered or completely destroyed Indian Country.  Each dam should be reconsidered, re-evaluated and removed. We have no excuse not to re-evaluate these invasive and costly structures.  There is enough solar, wind, and other new clean renewable energy sources to create real energy needs solutions. It is inexcusable to not reconsider each, and every dam built in America.

While there are numerous dams throughout the Northwest, there are specific dams we need to address, ones that are causing more harm.  This article targets four dams on the Snake River.  The Little Goose, the Lower Monumental, the Lower Granite, and the Ice Harbor dams.

The Columbia Riverkeepers are working to save the Snake River, revitalize the salmon runs, while building a better economy for the surrounding communities.  They reached out to Last Real Indians to help advocate for the removal of the Little Goose, Lower Monumental, the Lower Granite, and the Ice Harbor Dams.  The Columbia Riverkeepers are a collective of tribes, activists, and professionals who have all come together for a healthy river system and a return of our salmon.

In an Interview with Miles Johnson, attorney for Columbia Riverkeeper, he admits that there is a lot of information to process when you are talking about the large-scale energy companies. Taking down all dams is not immediately possible and that is not their goal. Columbia Riverkeeper is asking for the removal of the above-named dams on the Snake River.  

In their efforts to remove the dams, Johnson is adamant that Columbia Riverkeeper is taking into consideration all populations living alongside or by the Snake and Columbia rivers.  Columbia Riverkeeper envisions subsidies for farmers, hope for commercial growth, and economic stimulus, the return of tourism, all alongside the return of our rivers and salmon.

These four dams are all over 100ft high making it virtually impossible for salmon to maneuver home to their spawning grounds.  These dams besides being no longer needed are taking away taxpayer’s money from our communities and the programs we need to survive.  The water does not flow, locked up behind concrete gates the water dies. When the water dies, so do the fishing, and recreational boating, kayaking, that go along with healthy waterways.

It is a simple truth, the blood in our bodies circulates to maintain healthy tissue and muscle while cleaning and disposing of waste.  Mother Earth’s system of rivers is much like the blood in our bodies. When our blood is unable to flow tissue dies and you risk losing that part of your body, or even death. When the blood of our Mother Earth dies or is forcefully pooled, the land and life surrounding that dead body of water are also lost to us.

The first study, Lower Snake River Feasibility Study, cost taxpayers 35 million dollars and was done by the Army Engineering Corporation.  It highlighted the fact these four dams only produce 4% of the electricity used in the Pacific Northwest in the spring.  This 4% is easily replaceable using wind and solar resources, resources that constantly renew without any harm to the environment, economy, or habitat.  Jim Waddel, former Army Corp. Engineer lost his job to blow the whistle on this study’s findings.  

The second study was done by an independent source, the Lower Snake River energy replacement study. This study also shows the inefficiency of keeping these dams in place.  Just the tax dollars for its upkeep would go a long way to revitalizing the communities by the Snake River.  I could find no reason in either study to keep these dams operating.

Both studies found the dams to cause detrimental harm to salmon habitat, and to the outlying economies, while not even producing enough energy to be necessary or in any way beneficial.  Washington and Oregon taxpayers are footing the bill for these dams upkeep, but we are not receiving any benefits for the money taken.  The cost is too much. It is a waste of taxes to continue paying into these outdated and unnecessary relics of “progress” at the cost of environment, habitat, and restoration of our Mother Earth’s beautiful river systems. 

There is so much propaganda and deliberate manipulation of the facts, it is hard to wade through all the information to finally get to the simple and honest facts regarding these four dams.  The first misleading fact comes from the Bonneville Energy Company.  As soon as you open their website, the first thing you will see is a picture of a dam with big bold words stating “NATIONAL HYDROPOWER DAY!” above this reads, “Half of the region’s power comes from hydropower,” beside it, “HYDROPOWER FLOWS HERE.”

To someone like me, before researching this issue, this ad makes dams look pretty “damn” good.  “More than half of the hydropower generated in the region is made by federal dams and marketed by Bonneville Power Administration.” In the first paragraph Bonneville Power admits this is a business and much like Puget Sound Energy and Seattle City Light, they are harnessing our natural resources, using our tax dollars to pay for and to maintain, for these power companies to monopolize and to profit from.  

Lower Granite Dam, one of the four dams on the Lower Snake River that are driving all remaining Snake River salmon toward extinction. Photo by Chris Jordan-Bloch/ EarthJustice.

Our rivers, the extinction of wildlife are all resources that have been perverted by power companies to control outcomes, profit from natural resources, and justify their destruction of natural habitat.  It is a man-made disaster; we have to correct these mistakes before it is too late.  

The areas of dead water, near-extinct species, and the amount of taxpayers’ dollars wasted should be enough to relook at and rethink our current energy crisis.  Big energy companies like Bonneville Power Company, Puget Sound Energy, and Seattle City Light tell consumers there are no other natural solutions.  They put millions into making the public believe our only choices are to rape our Mother Earth for fossil fuels or to disfigure Our precious Mother Earth for hydropower.  

Even beyond the moral issues, switching to renewable non-invasive power solutions is more efficient for long-term stability.  These dams are not solutions, they do not produce enough power to even be considered necessary. These four dams being marketed as clean renewable energy is misleading and irresponsible.  

Crippling our planet and downplaying the importance of natural habitat creates dangerous illusions. Even beyond the fact that it is wrong, detrimental, and divisive, it is taking away from every American citizen and all of our generation’s right to a future.  Not to mention it is only feeding an already corrupt existing system of power and wealth monopolies for the few at the cost of us, the many. 

Columbia Riverkeeper is fighting to remove these 4 ineffective and environmentally harmful dams. More importantly, the National Congress of the American Indians and the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians also support comprehensive legislation to remove these dams for the greater good.

Miles Johnson, attorney for Columbia Riverkeeper, was kind enough to speak with me about the dams, what they are trying to restore, and why it is important.  He estimates before the dams were built there were 10 to 15 million salmon returned to the Columbia River basin every year.  You could hear the salmon from the shore. There were so many.  The salmon created an economy for Native and then non-native settlers, the communities thrived when the rivers ran free.

 Miles continues to tell me about the loss of pink salmon in the Columbia River entirely, beloved rivers, great falls all gone.  In less than a century of damming our waterways, we have cut off, and we have destroyed great areas of habitat necessary for salmon, trout, steelhead, and countless other species to thrive.  To Native Americans who have been here since time immemorial, these rivers and falls are sacred.  The blood of a mother who has provided and cared for them always.  To see the damage inflicted upon mother earth is the same as watching a loved one maimed, tortured, and injured for no reason.

Even beyond the love for our lands and waters lies a brazen truth.  Taking down these four dams will allow the Snake River to heal.  A beautiful and powerful river flowing free will attract tourists creating an economy to help the communities around the Snake and Columbia Rivers to prosper.  As the river heals the fish and wildlife will return creating opportunities for fisheries to reopen, family farms will also be able to prosper from returning tourists.  

We have also seen several dams removed successfully.  It has been a powerful testament to the natural world’s ability to heal and persevere.  “I got to watch what happens when a river gets its teeth into a dam, and in about an hour, I saw what would otherwise be about 10,000 years of river evolution.” Grant a hydrologist spoke about what happened after the Marmot Dam was removed in the Undamming of America article

We have seen the recovery of nature, habitat, and the return of salmon.  To me, who fell into this research on a request, it is a simple solution we owe to our Mother Earth, the fish, wildlife, and to our future generations.  

Something we need to address dam by dam.  We also need to push for new power companies to stop the monopoly of power by big business companies like Bonneville Power Company, Puget Sound Energy, and Seattle City Light.  Instead, I would love to see community organizations led by diverse community groups bring forward large-scale conversion operations to revitalize long-term energy changes especially centering on wind and solar-powered solutions.

Community-led project, the Recovery Café, receives $25,000 anonymous donation

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News; Photo courtesy of the Tulalip Problem Gambling Program

“This project is important because we have nowhere for our people who are sober and clean, or want to get sober and clean, to gather,” expressed Tulalip Recovery Liaison, Helen Gobin-Henson. “We have so many people who are homeless, who are hungry, they could come to the café and enjoy a meal. And the people who are sober and clean can get together as a group and connect there at the café – a safe and supportive place to gather.”

Nearly two years ago, a group of Tulalip and Marysville community members met at the Tulalip Administration Building to attend a four-day training, spanning over the course of two weekends. By successfully completing the training, hosted by the Tulalip Problem Gambling Program, each participant earned certification and the official title of a recovery coach. 

In a nation where opioid overdose related deaths continue to climb, the support of a recovery coach can be an effective tool for those on the road to recovery. According to the CDC, more than 93,000 people died of drug overdose in the U.S. during 2020. A near 30% increase from 2019. Last July, the Washington State Department of Health reported that there were 40 more drug overdose deaths in the first three months of 2021 than the first three months of 2020, and that the state’s overdose rates were ‘on pace to break another record in 2021’, based on that preliminary study.

“Our philosophy is to help the community heal from within,” said Problem Gambling Counselor, Robin Johnson. “The more people that we can teach to be recovery coaches, and have them in the community and available to others, that is just going to snowball. A recovery coach is someone in-between a sponsor and a counselor. They’re there to help, depending on the individual’s needs – finding out what those needs are, and meeting them there. This is not the first recovery coach training that we’ve had, but it was the most successful and we’ve had a better response and incorporated not only chemical addiction, but also gambling addiction.”

Throughout the pandemic, the recovery coaches stayed in-touch with each other, with a shared focus and passion of helping their fellow community members, who are battling addiction, attain and maintain a sober and healthy lifestyle. While brainstorming ways on how to reach more people and better service the local recovery community with their newly acquired knowledge and skills, the coaches landed on the idea of opening a Recovery Café in the Tulalip-Marysville area.

Since 2004, Recovery Cafés have been popping up throughout the country, after the first café was established in Seattle. The cafés provide a positive environment for those struggling with addiction, and offer an opportunity for addicts to interact with others who share the same goal of getting clean. Participants can also attend group sessions at the café, which ultimately helps individuals create a strong support system for their recovery journey while also assisting others who are on a similar path. Recovery Cafés have also been a safe space for the homeless populations in multiple cities, as they offer warm and dry shelter and a place for people to grab a bite to eat. 

With a desire to open up a Recovery Café as soon as possible, the group instantly began planning by scouting locations, designing a logo, raising funds and establishing a dedicated team of professionals to help navigate the process of opening up the café. 

Currently, the team consists of those six recovery coaches, as well as Tulalip Tribal Prosecutor Brian Kilgore, Tulalip Recovery Liaison Helen Gobin-Henson, Tulalip ODMAP Social Worker Jackson Nahpi, and Robin Johnson and Sarah Sense-Wilson of the Problem Gambling program. The Tulalip Foundation has also lent their expertise to the project, helping the Recovery Café become a non-profit organization, as well as apply for and obtain grants. 

Shortly after announcing the plans to open a Recovery Café locally, the group received a generous anonymous donation to help kick the project off. 

“It was a nice surprise, we got a $25,000 donation, and it showed up in the mail actually,” said Nicole Sieminski, Tulalip Foundation Executive Director. “It came with a nice letter from a company that manages private donations. It was a pleasant surprise and I think it will get the Recovery Café off to a good start as we are looking for funding sources and funding opportunities. There’s actually funding available through the Recovery Café Network, but part of that funding is contingent on raising other funds. By receiving this anonymous donation, it will allow us to access other additional funding in the near future. All around it is a great benefit and a great help.”

While the team continues searching for a space for the Recovery Café, they are also working to establish a board of directors, recruit additional volunteers, finalize the Recovery Café logo and raise more funds. The recovery coaches will also be doing community outreach in the coming months. 

If you are interested in helping get this project started and helping people maintain a clean and healthy lifestyle, please contact the Problem Gambling program at (360) 716-4304 for more information. 

Said Brian, “I think that the power of having a physical place, around which to build services, is going to be really transformative for all the work we’re doing. Government, non-government, volunteers, we’re all working the same problem – we’re trying to save lives, trying to get parents back to their kids and rebuild families and communities and stop people from dying, but we just haven’t had a physical place to do it. I’m really excited about this group of people. I think that they’re going to go out into the community and they’re going to create a physical space where people can come in and get wraparound support and services.”

Brian Angelo Bill

October 2, 1963 – December 24, 2021

Butter was born on October 2nd, 1963 in Bellingham, Washington to Joseph D. Bill and Geraldine Bill. Brian went to Ferndale and then, Chemawa Indian school Salem, OR. where he graduated. He played football, baseball and basketball. He also, coached the football team. He was a fancy dancer. He sang with the Eagle Mountain singers. He was a fisherman and sained with the fisherman’s in Bellingham and Alaska. He worked at Trident seafoods. He also, worked for the Tulalip Utilities for 15 years and became a supervisor. He loved Boom city. He worked with Dizzy and soon became a stand owner, known as “Rolling Thunder”. 
Butter was well respected throughout Indian country in United States and Canada. He was a leader in the Smokehouse. He leaves behind his BH family and BH children. 
He leaves behind the love of his life of 30 years Stephanie Williams. His daughters Chelsie and Jesilyn Bill. His son’s he took in as his own Alex, Michael Jimenez and Jordan Solomon. 
He leaves behind his sister’s Inez Bill, Jolene Bill and Kristy Bill-Solomon.
Proceeded in death by his beloved parents Joseph A. Bill of Lummi, Geraldine Bill of Tulalip (Tom). Brother: Joseph A. Bill. Sisters: Donna J. Houle, Kathy G. Bill, Miriam J. Bill. Nieces: Margianne Solomon and Chenoeh Bill. Nephew: Joe-Joe Bill. Grand neice: Donna L. Bill-Tom.

A celebration of his life will be held Monday, January 3, 2021 at 10:00 AM at the Tulalip Gathering Hall with burial to follow at Mission Beach Cemetery. Arrangements entrusted to Schaefer-Shipman Funeral Home.

Cornelius Clinton “Neil” Green Jr.

January 8, 1961 – December 23, 2021

It is with deep sorrow and much love that we mourn the passing of Cornelius “Neil” Clinton Green Jr. of Tulalip on December 23rd, 2021, at the age of 60 years. Neil was born on January 8, 1961, in Darrington Washington. 

He is survived by his Spouse Becky Green of Tulalip; Father Cornelius (Neil) Green Sr. of Darrington; Mother Eleanor Nielsen and husband Eddy, Sister Linda Aranda (Carlton), Brother Brad Green all of Tulalip; Sister Nina Reece, of Arlington; Sister Teresa Meece (Richard), of Darrington; His Son Brian Green (Kari) of Tulalip; his Son Joshua Geithman of Twisp; his Daughter Kirsten Moore-Green of Everett; his Daughter Brianna (Chris) of Japan and Alivia Moore-Green of Marysville. Stepchildren Anthony, James, Darin & Kaitlyn. The lights of his life grandchildren Ciara, Brennan, Savannah, Cayden, Chloe, Blake, Scarlett, Blair, and his great grandson Bentley. Step-grandchildren Brantley and Kalleigh. He also leaves behind many nieces, nephews, and tons of cousins.

Neil is reunited in Heaven with his Brother David Hunter, Sister RoseAnn Green, Nephew James Michael Emhoolah, Maternal Grandparents, Bernice Sheldon Williams and John Miller, and Paternal Grandparents Roy and Maggie Green.

After Graduating from Darrington High School Neil went into the Army National Guard for 6 years. He worked in the Logging industry in Darrington and Hoquiam. Neil also spent some time working at Hewlett Packard and Boeing. It was time for an adventure, so Neil went to Eastern Montana and North Dakota to work in the oil rigs. He came back home and started his own landscaping business with his best Friend Mike Terhaar and then started working at the Tulalip Resort Casino as the Facilities Director. 

Neil spent his entire life hunting and proudly displayed his trophy elk and deer. When he wasn’t hunting, he loved being outdoors anywhere with his faithful companion Miss May. He could always be found at one of the beaches of Tulalip, and he loved a good fire side chat. Neil dared to live life to the fullest and enjoyed the finer things in life but most of all he loved his children. He was very charming and Charismatic, and everyone loved him especially the love of his life his wife Becky who was always by his side. 

If you knew Neil, you loved him including his Elvis impersonation and his yearly polar bear plunges! He will be forever in our hearts and deeply missed by his family and friends. 
A funeral service and dinner for Neil will be held Thursday, December 30th, 2021 at the Tulalip Gathering Hall at 10:00AM, despite the snow.7512 totem Beach Rd, Tulalip, WA 98271.