AAA Tulalip Tribe Member Selected for 2020 School Safety Patrol Hall of Fame

Bellevue, WA (May 7, 2020) – In recognition of her dedication to traffic safety, community stewardship and leadership, Arielle Valencia, a fifth-grade student at Allen Creek Elementary in Marysville, was recently chosen for induction into the 2020 AAA School Safety Patrol Hall of Fame. 

As a long-standing tradition, a panel of judges from AAA Washington, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Washington Traffic Safety Commission chooses ten top patrollers for induction into the AAA Washington School Safety Patrol Hall of Fame. Nominations require input from both the patroller and their advisor, including responses to a series of essay questions. This year, the panel received nearly 45 nominations from across the state to review and evaluate. 

Valencia impressed the panel of judges with her problem-solving skills. Last fall, she started meeting bus patrol members on arrival at school, and handing out their safety vests. Since those patrollers no longer needed to go inside to pick up their vests, they could help supervise the kindergarten students immediately. Valencia also suggested a new location for kindergarten students to wait for their buses; under cover and out of the rain. 

According to patrol advisor, Sue Diamond, “Valencia’s focus is on what she can do to ensure safety always comes first. She has done this by coming up with solutions for the improvement and success of our patrol team at Allen Creek Elementary.”    

The 2020 AAA Washington School Safety Patrol Hall of Fame class includes seven girls and three boys from rural and urban communities across Washington.2020 AAA School Safety Patrol Hall of Fame InducteesCameron Boness, Ritzville Grade School – RitzvilleElana Bronsther, Echo Lake Elementary – ShorelineBrooke Chisholm, Moran Prairie Elementary – SpokaneCameron Cook, Syre Elementary – ShorelineIsabelle Crochet, Carson Elementary – PuyallupAdelyn Etzel, Marcus Whitman Elementary – RichlandBrian McGann, Hamblen Elementary – SpokaneVictoria Ngo, Tiffany Park Elementary – RentonSabine Pasinetti, Forest View Elementary – EverettArielle Valencia, Allen Creek Elementary – Marysville 

In addition to naming the 2020 AAA School Safety Patrol Hall of Fame class, AAA Washington is honoring one member of an Everett patrol with a AAA Lifesaver Award. While on patrol in January, Garfield Elementary student, Morgan deLeur, saved the life of a peer, pulling her out of the path of a car driven through a crosswalk. 

Patricia Boudreaux is the 2020 AAA School Safety Patrol Advisor of the Year for her 26 years advising and leading student patrollers at Adams Elementary in Spokane.

AAA created the School Safety Patrol 100 years ago, and has been inducting outstanding patrollers into the local Hall of Fame for 29 years, and partners with local agencies to bring the program to elementary schools across Washington.  

About AAA Washington:AAA Washington has been serving members and the traveling public since 1904.  The organization provides a variety of exclusive benefits, including roadside assistance, discounts, maps and personalized trip planning, to its 1.2 million members. In addition, its full-service travel and insurance agencies provide products and services for members and the public. Additional information is available through the company’s stores in Washington and northern Idaho, at, or by calling 1-800-562-2582.

National Museum of the American Indian highlights

Pontiac hood ornament, 1951
Pontiac was an Ottawa war chief who defeated the British in the 1760s. The city near Detroit is named for him, as was the General Motors brand of cars, which featured a hood ornament in the form of an Indian-head profile. During the 1950s its design was meant to suggest jet planes and rockets. The last Pontiac rolled off the assembly line in 2010.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

In the heart of Washington D.C. is the world’s largest museum complex, known as the Smithsonian Institution. Among the many museums, libraries and research centers that make up this diverse information paradise is the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). 

According to the museum’s website, NMAI cares for one of the world’s most expansive collections of Native artifacts, including culturally significant objects, photographs, treaties, and media covering the entire Western Hemisphere. From its indigenous landscaping to its wide-ranging exhibitions, everything is designed in collaboration with tribes and tribal communities, giving visitors from around the world the sense and spirit of Native America.

“I feel a profound and increasing gratitude to the founders of this museum,” said museum director Kevin Gover (Pawnee). “We are here as a result of the farsighted and tireless efforts of Native culture warriors who demanded that the nation respect and celebrate the contributions that Native people have made to this country and to the world.”

Tribal flags across Native America
There are currently 574 federally recognized tribes. Hanging proudly from the vaulted ceilings of NMAI are the illustrative flags from each tribe, including the iconic killer whale representing the Tulalip Tribes.
Muscogee bandolier bag, ca. 1814
This bandolier bag is said to have been captured at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, the climatic clash  of the Muscogee civil war of  1813. An estimated eight-hundred men died.
Bald eagle feather and flute, ca. 2000
In November 2002, U.S. Navy Commander John Bennett Harrington – a member of the Chickasaw Nation – made history as the first Native American to board the Space Shuttle Endeavour. On his journey, Commander Herrington carried a flute made by Cherokee tribal member Jim Gilliland, a decorated eagle feather beaded by a Yankton Sioux citizen Philip Lane, and a Chickasaw Nation flag.
Both significant cultural items, the flute and eagle feather travelled to space with Commander Harrington. After arriving at the International Space Station, he placed both items within the airlock where they floated together in the zero gravity environment.
Pipe tomahawk, ca. 1788
This pipe tomahawk bears two incised British flags and the names “Bowles” and “Tustonackjajo.” It is thought that William Augustus Bowles, the self-appointed director-general of the Muscogee Nation, presented the tomahawk to Muscogee leader Tustenuggee Hajo.

Quil Ceda teacher caravan brings positive energy to rez students

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

School is out for all Washington State students for the rest of the academic year because of Governor Inslee’s stay-at-home order aimed at minimizing the coronavirus contagion. It’s been nearly two months since the devoted teachers of Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary (QCT) experienced the rambunctious youth they are normally responsible for educating on a daily basis. Over that span, both teacher and student have grown quite restless from their powerful bond being swiftly taken away thanks to an unforeseen global pandemic.

  That student-teacher connection was briefly reestablished on the afternoon of Tuesday, April 28, when QCT educators eagerly assembled for a positivity-filled parade through the Tulalip Reservation. Over 70+ vehicles, many of which were decorated with loving messages to their students like ‘We miss you!’, ‘You are amazing’ or ‘Stay safe!’, formed a caravan that was escorted by a bright yellow school bus to the reservation’s many residential neighborhoods.

“We’re Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary and we do everything together,” explained caravan coordinator Toni Otto. She also serves as a family support liaison at QCT. “As most people know, we are a crazy bunch of people who really love our students and there’s nothing we wouldn’t do for them.

“Our biggest message for our kids is that just because we aren’t in school together doesn’t mean we’re not here for you,” continued Toni. “We are very much here for you still and can’t wait to have you all back in school.”

As the caravan maneuvered through the reservation, going from neighborhood to neighborhood, it was greeted by eagerly awaiting students beaming with smiles and continuous waving once they caught glimpses of the familiar faces. Several students made their own signs to proudly display as the caravan rolled through.

“I miss school,” shared 6-year-old Keenan Sicade as he waited curbside for the chance to show his teachers his bright green sign. “I miss my friends, I miss school, and I miss getting my brain bigger.” 

A group of QCT students ranging from kindergarten to 3rd grade, Michael, Mackenzie, Aubrey and Andrea could barely contain their excitement while waiting in their parent’s van to see their teachers. “I miss math and homework!” yelled out one of the super enthusiastic foursome, while another admitted to “missing recess more than anything.”

The teacher-led caravan lasted over 2-hours and created countless memories for everyone involved. From hand written messages on vehicle windows ranging from classroom rosters, like that of Ms. Cawley and Miss Breezy, to Lushootseed inspiration, like Ms. Sablan’s hand crafted roof ornament, the QCT educators brought joy, positivity, and air hugs galore to their home-bound students.

“My heart is bursting!” exclaimed Tony after the caravan’s conclusion. “We have the most energetic, dedicated, and loving staff. Thank you to everyone for making this a great success.

“Seeing our students and their families is exactly the medicine we all needed. As professionals who work in the education field, we need our students. Would we rather have them in our classrooms and in our school?  Absolutely!  Does this minor substitution help to ease the heartache of not being able to have them with us?  Totally! I believe we made memories today that will last a lifetime in our hearts as well as our students’ hearts.”

Treasury to begin distribution of COVID-19 relief monies to Indian tribes consistent with court order

May 5, 2020 

The Tulalip Tribes and the Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation in Washington state, the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians in Maine, three Alaska Tribes, and other Plaintiff Tribes from across the country filed suit on April 16, 2020, after the Secretary of Treasury indicated that he would use monies intended for Tribal governments to fund Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs). In a joint press release, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt today announced that $4.8 billion in funds from the COVID-19 Relief Fund will be made available to Tribal governments beginning today, exclusive of ANCs. 

On April 27, 2020, in Chehahis v. Mnuchin, District Judge Amit Mehta granted the Plaintiff Tribes’ motion for injunctive relief and prohibited the Department from distributing funds Congress intended for Tribal governments to for-profit Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs). The Court held that “presently, no ANC satisfies the definition of ‘Tribal government’ under the CARES Act and therefore no ANC is eligible for any share of the $8B billion allocated by Congress for Tribal Governments.” 

Plaintiff Tribes and the U.S. Department of the Treasury, filed a Joint Status Report Friday May 1, 2020, as required by the Court. The Court had ordered Treasury to “update the court on any developments in the disbursement of Title V funds to federally recognized Indian tribes, as well as any funds withheld from ANCs pursuant to the court’s preliminary injunction order.” The Plaintiff Tribes continued to demand that Treasury distribute coronavirus relief funding to federally recognized Indian tribes without further delay. The Tribes told the Court last Friday that they will take additional legal action if the payments were not immediately forthcoming this week. 

“We are pleased that Treasury will begin to release relief funds to tribal governments starting today, consistent with the Court Order,” Tulalip Chairwoman Teri Gobin says. “Federally recognized Indian tribes from every corner of the United States have been in critical need of the CARES Act funds that Treasury has been inexplicably withholding,” stated Gobin. “Without these funds, Tribal governments cannot provide essential government services necessary to protect their communities from the virus. Every day wasted jeopardizes the health and economies of the communities Tribal governments serve.” 

Chehalis Chairman Harry Pickernell Sr. adds, “The Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation is pleased that the Secretary of the Treasury has finally begun disbursement of CARES Act funds to federally recognized Indian tribes. However, the need in Indian Country is great, and Tribal governments need all of the $8 billion Congress set aside for them now. The Secretary should immediately reverse his decision to withhold CARES Act funds for for-profit ANCs. 

The three Alaska co-plaintiffs are the Akiak Native Community, the Asa’carsarmiut Tribe, and the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island. The Plaintiffs subsequently filed an amended complaint to add the Navajo Nation, Quinault Indian Nation, Pueblo of Picuris, Elk Valley Rancheria, and San Carlos Apache Tribe. Two other lawsuits followed and have been consolidated with the original case. 

COVID-19 Healthy Habits

By AnneCherise Jensen, Photos by Micheal Rios 

Oftentimes people use the excuse, “I just don’t have enough time” when it comes to achieving goals. Important goals like getting enough exercise, eating healthy and cooking nutritious meals are often put aside. Fortunately, during these unprecedented times, we have been blessed with an abundance of time to tackle these goals firsthand. Though we are not able to control things like our jobs and the economy, we can control our health by practicing preventative lifestyle choices. 

For anyone reading this article, I challenge you to spend a couple hours a day practicing and developing healthy habits that will benefit you and your household. Not only will you feel better physically, but chances are you will feel better mentally as well. The best way to start, is to set small, tangible goals. Try one new habit every day. The more you do them, the easier and more natural they become.


In order to obtain and tackle goals, we must set in motion actions of self-discipline. Self-discipline is the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it. However, this can often be the most challenging process. The upside is once you start to slowly tackle your goals, it tends to get easier and easier. With trial, error and repetition, proactive healthy lifestyle choices will eventually become habits. Taking accountability for your actions, understanding failures are inevitable, and having the courage to stand back up again is a huge part of the process. Whatever you do, don’t give up on yourself.  If you can, find a support group of friends and family who will encourage you along the way. Encouragement from loved ones will help keep you motivated and accountable. Remember, you CAN do this! 

Regular Sleep Schedule 

A regular sleep schedule is extremely beneficial to our overall health. The CDC recommends 7-10 hours of sleep per night for adults. Even though staying up late and oversleeping can be tempting during this time, it is also a slippery slope to feelings of anxiety and depression. A poor sleep schedule could lead to unwanted weight gain, increased sedentary behavior, and unwanted hormonal imbalances. Sleeping while it is dark out helps keep us on our natural, rhythmic, hormonal sleep schedule. For best sleep, put electronic screens down 60 minutes before bed and stretch for at least 15 minutes before lying down. Experimenting with a variety of essential oils / oil diffuser can also help create a calm and peaceful night’s rest. I personally like to put peppermint and eucalyptus oil on my forehead before going to bed, it helps me get a solid night’s rest. 

Organized Clean Spaces 

Cleaning your home is a great way to stay busy and optimistic during the quarantine closure. Not only that, but it can help ease feelings of depression and anxiety. Personally, it is a great way to help me destress. Having a clean space is a key to inviting a happy, peaceful and calm atmosphere into the home. It is important at this time, we are also keeping our homes as germ free as possible. We want to limit germ and viral interactions as much as possible to prevent illness. I challenge you to spend at least 30-60 minutes a day cleaning and/or organizing your home. 

Three Nutritious Meals a Day

Now is the perfect time to pass on cooking skills to your children and loved ones. Practice making family meals together at home. Have meaningful conversations at the dinner table. Share favorite recipes with friends and family, it’s a great way to stay connected. Try making twice the amount of portions so you have leftovers for the next day.  Practice finding the perfect balance of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, dairy and healthy fats. For more details on a healthy diet, check out for USDA guidelines. 

Fresh Air + Sunshine 

Opt outside! Enjoy the fresh air and sunshine while getting a healthy dose of Vitamin D. Many of us who live in Washington State tend to have a Vitamin D deficiency. Now more than ever is the perfect time to soak up all the extra sunshine and replenish those low levels. Vitamin D/sunshine is great for mental clarity, healthy skin, and strengthening our bones. Though many local parks and trails are closed, we are free to explore areas in nearby neighborhoods. Take a walk in the woods, explore nearby beaches that are open, and remember to stay six feet away from others. 

Physical Activity 

Physical activity really is the best medicine! Physical activity helps boost the feel good hormones in our brain, helping us feel more content and happy. Physical activity can also help us sleep better while preventing us from a wide variety of chronic diseases. The CDC recommends 150 minutes a week of brisk physical activity and at least two days a week of activities that strengthen muscles. Activities you could do at home include going on a walk, gardening, foraging, playing with your kids, home improvement projects, online fitness classes, yoga, walking your dog and even organizing/deep cleaning can count! If interested in online fitness classes, check out the YMCA online page for a wide variety of classes, from easy to moderate levels.

Limit Sweets, Salts, Alcohol, Processed & Fast Foods 

Too much of these foods can make us feel tired, groggy and even grumpy. Excessive amounts of sugar, salt, alcohol and unhealthy fats are bad for our health. Too much of these things could lead to weight gain, Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, stroke and certain types of cancers. With the Covid-19 virus lingering, it’s important we limit these foods as much as possible to help keep our immune system healthy and strong. Our bodies are more resilient to disease when we feed them properly.

Drink Lots of Water 

Getting enough water every day is very important to our overall health. The CDC recommends we drink at least 8 cups (½ gallon) of water per day. Water is the healthiest beverage choice for many reasons. It helps eliminate toxins and unwanted bio waste lingering in organs. Water helps regulate the digestive system, lubricate the joints, regulate blood sugar, lowers body temperature when needed, maintains electrolyte balance and boosts overall energy. Try drinking at least one 1-2 cups of water with every meal to help keep yourself hydrated. 

Limit Screen Time 

The average person generally consumes 7-9 hours’ worth of screen time per day. However, the CDC recommends only 1-2 hours of screen time per day for teens and adults. Though it can be hard for many individuals working at home, try putting your phones and electronic devices down as often as you can. Go outside and play, have a picnic, read a book, play a board game, or practice your favorite hobby instead. It’s good for the brain.

Be Kind + Positive 

Practice gratitude, forgive, use positive language, encourage others, be intentional with your time. Share love, be loved and use loving words. These are scary times, the more joy and happiness we share with others, the easier we can all get through this TOGETHER! 

Again, if you aren’t already, I challenge you to fill your days with as many of these healthy lifestyle habits as possible. I promise, you won’t regret it. If you would like help setting up healthy habits, need assistance with healthy recipe ideas, or would like some words of encouragement at this time, please feel free to email me at I am available Monday through Friday, 9am–5pm.

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

John McCoy retires from Washington Senate after 17 years of effective lawmaking

Senator McCoy (center) with Swinomish chairman Brian Cladoosby (left)  and Governor 
Jay Inslee (right) at the Olympia capital building. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

After 17 years of service in the Washington State Legislature, Senator John McCoy announced his retirement after submitting a resignation letter to Governor Jay Inslee. His retirement is effective Friday, April 17.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve the people of the 38th Legislative District and our entire state,” McCoy said in a Senate Democrats statement. “When I first came to the Legislature in 2003 as a member of the House of Representatives, I was humbled to represent such warm and vibrant people in Everett, Marysville and Tulalip. 

“Through changes in committees, leadership roles, and even chambers over the course of my legislative career, it was always an immense privilege to represent my neighbors,” continued McCoy. “Thank you for trusting me with such an important job – elevating your voices and building a state where every one of us can thrive.”

The Tulalip tribal member and longtime Democratic lawmaker leaves behind a legacy of steady leadership and commitment to serving his community. He brought a career in military service and years as a computer technician to his work at the Legislature, culminating in a lawmaker who effectively advanced economic development and equality of opportunity for his district. His work is characterized by tireless advocacy for Native American communities, expanded access to high-quality education, and environmental sustainability.

Sen. John McCoy, D-38

Reflecting back on what motivated him to pursue a political position, he recalled numerous issues in the way of Tulalip’s economic development and then-Chairman Stan Jones simply saying, “Get the job done.”

Before McCoy became one of the longest serving Native American legislators in the state’s history, he led efforts to bring better telecommunication infrastructure to the Tulalip Tribes. He also helped bring to fruition the economic powerhouse that is Quil Ceda Village. This community triumph ultimately earned him the Puget Sound Business Journal’s Executive of the Year award.

“Our elders of the late 1800s had a vision that in the northeast corner of the reservation there would be a giant trading post. They had the vision and we just had to get there,” explained the Tulalip lawmaker on the inspiration behind the tribal-owned shopping hub that draws tens of thousands of visitors every day. “Quil Ceda Village allowed us to diversify our economic base while fulfilling that vision our elders had.”

During his five terms in the Washington State House of Representatives, McCoy fought for students, for the environment, for a healthy economy and for tribal communities. He sponsored policy that expanded support for students struggling with behavioral and emotional health needs, protected water rights and access, and integrated comprehensive tribal history and culture education into teacher preparation programs.

Senator McCoy pledged to get a bill passed so all students can learn first-hand about the 29 federally recognized indigenous nations in Washington State. He authored Senate Bill 5433 and in May 2015 Governor Inslee signed the bill into law, making it mandatory for schools to educate students about the history and governance of northwest coastal tribes. The State has since worked diligently with Native Nations to develop a first-of-its-kind curriculum, Since Time Immemorial: Tribal Sovereignty in Washington State.

During a visit to Tulalip’s Early Learning Academy, Senator McCoy listens intently to the joyful messages of a young student. (TN Photo/Micheal Rios)

“It is so important our kids become educated with an accurate understanding of the relationship between the tribes and the state. As the STI curriculum is implemented in school districts across the state, that understanding of our relationship continues to grow and improve,” said McCoy.

After he was elected to the Washington State Senate, McCoy led victories like the passage of the Native American Voting Rights Act to expand voting rights access in tribal communities, and passage of a groundbreaking dental therapy bill to expand dental care on reservations. He also established Native American Heritage Day, honoring tribal history the day after Thanksgiving.

McCoy was elected by his colleagues to serve as chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus in 2016, and most recently served on the Natural Resources Committee, the Agriculture, Water, Trade and Economic Development Committee, and the Rules Committee. 

His retirement will allow the now 76-year-old to focus on his health and enjoy full-time Elder status. McCoy said he looks forward to spending more time with his wife, three daughters, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.