A New Tune: Snohomish County Music Project makes key changes to better reach community

Music Therapists of the Snohomish County Music Project help young adults heal through the medicine of music at a “yoU Rock” jam session pre-COVID19.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

“I think music is important because I feel like it can have a message and it can help people through a hard time. I feel like music lifts people up,” expressed Tulalip tribal member, Tyler Fryberg.

Music is a universal language. Spoken through drum patterns and chord progressions, music helps communicate how you feel – happy, sad, angsty, dance-y, nostalgic or smitten. And whether you are the songwriter or a carpool karaoke master, music helps you emit that emotion that you might otherwise bottle-up or bury. Many people often tie emotions to music, so when they hear a song on the radio or on their shuffle, they are momentarily taken away to a certain era in their lifetime.

For Indigenous people, music played a significant role in our ancestor’s spirituality and culture. Offering songs to the Creator, the earth and the water is a common practice that is held prior to gatherings across Native America. Songs that tell stories and offer blessings are sung in traditional languages and passed on through the generations. Some songs are so sacred and powerful that they are only performed during ceremony. And that connection Natives feel when hearing those drums and singing those songs with your fellow tribal members is indescribable.

When speaking of emotional and mental health, music can help alleviate extreme feelings and give you the courage and confidence to get some serious healing work done. More and more people are coming to realize what Native people have known for generations; music is medicine.  

The Snohomish County Music Project (SCMP) is continuing to have a meaningful impact on the Tulalip community in the wake of a worldwide pandemic. With services offered at the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy (TELA) and Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary (QCT), as well as several other schools throughout the Marysville School District (MSD), the music project assisted close to 500 tribal students either enrolled Tulalip or with another sovereign nation.

“We’re a music therapy organization and we’re here to support individual and collective well-being,” explained SCMP Music Therapist, Vee Fansler. “We have an anti-oppressive approach and a trauma informed approach, so everything we do is coming with an awareness of the bigger context that shape our internal health.”

Added Colby Cumine, Music Therapist, “We are a non-profit and we provide music therapy services to the greater Snohomish county area. We have a lot of different programs and people we work with ranging from infants to adults; adults with dementia, adults and kids with disabilities, kids with trauma, veterans and in-patient psych hospitals.”

Natives withstood years of violence as the U.S. Government attempted to erase our culture and identity. The forced assimilation era, and the unspeakable acts that happened at the boarding schools, were traumatic experiences that involuntarily trickled down through the generations. And without a complete understanding of how generational trauma affects one’s well-being, many people’s mental state went untreated for a number of years and certain cycles continued or in some situations, escalated. 

SCMP has taken an approach to help people heal and work through traumatic life events by using music therapy. For the past several years, Vee’s voice has become widely recognizable amongst the youth as they built a strong bond together through the common language of music. Colby is another positive influence on the Tulalip youth as he also hosts music therapy sessions, both individual and group, with TELA and MSD elementary students and the weekly ‘yoU ROCK’ rock band rehearsals, which have become quite the social happening amongst young adults living with special needs.

The music project was in perfect rhythm, reaching a large volume of people and providing them with the necessary tools, resources and outlets to heal after life altering events. But then the team reached a caesura, a short abrupt break in the music, when the coronavirus struck and the SCMP was forced to switch tempos.

“There are so many needs that are present in our communities, we needed to make ourselves available to support people’s mental health, in the context of the pandemic, and not put people at more risk,” expressed Vee. “We did a lot of outreach to children and families because we usually contact people through schools, especially at Tulalip, most of our work happens in the schools.”

Opting to continue providing services to their clients during the pandemic, the music project decided to go completely digital and since the beginning of the pandemic, their clients have grown their knowledge about music by working on arrangements that they are familiar with and that appeal to them. The music they work on, both individually and as a group, crosses barriers and multiple genres ranging from classic Disney sing-a-longs to old school hip hop and even country-western. 

“We created a series of YouTube videos. Some of the therapists recorded songs to send out to people in the community who are stuck at home for the first time and maybe in need of things to do or activities,” said Colby. “I started a weekly livestream on Facebook, we have a YouTube playlist that families can use at home to interact with their kids, and we will be having these weekly livestream jam sessions. And in addition to that, reaching out to everyone I typically see in a small group setting or in a one-on-one capacity, for me that was mostly kids in the behavioral program, and seeing if they would be able to do telehealth.”

Vee explained that initially the SCMP attempted to transfer all of their services to an online format, but quickly learned that Zoom and teleconference music sessions come with a whole new set of challenges, such as timing.

“We can’t do live music very well with another person over the computer,” Vee stated. “That [timing] lag has been a struggle, and doing music with very young children has been a struggle. Prior to the pandemic we had a lot of individuals we saw at early learning that involved a lot of moving through space together and playing instruments together, and that is so different on a computer screen. The programs that have really translated the best have been with older children, ages 10 and up, who have a lot of experience with technology and interest in planning out sessions and practices for themselves.”

One key emphasis the music therapists are focusing on during this time period is how to navigate through these COVID-19 times safely, and how to process those emotions in a healthy, productive manner. 

    “There were a lot of folks who were grateful and happy we were able to continue to meet over Zoom,” Colby said. “They were overjoyed to interact with their peers again. Initially there was confusion in terms of what things were going to look like, because we still didn’t know if school would be coming back anytime soon. So in those therapy sessions, the focus was working through those feelings of confusion and sudden change in routines and schedules. And also working through those anxieties and uncertainties of the school year ending, and people expressing sadness of not being able to say goodbye to their friends who were graduating or moving on to a new school.”

When MSD canceled in-person lectures for the safety of their students and faculty, they in-turn provided their students with Chromebooks in order for them to continue their education online, which included music therapy sessions.

“The Chromebooks gave us access to kids and families,” said Vee. “For us to know the families had the necessary tools and technology for telehealth sessions, we were able to do instrument loans during the pandemic.”

“I am learning the ukulele with Colby,” happily reported Tyler. “I am learning how to play ‘You Got a Friend in Me’, and I have learned how to play happy birthday songs. I may not practice every day but I do practice between thirty minutes to one hour when I do practice.”

The music project has also continued with the rock band project, holding weekly rehearsals in which bandmates can catch up, converse and create. 

“The rock band has grown in size since the pandemic,” Vee said. “That’s our group with young adults with developmental disabilities. The goal of that group has always been giving people the opportunity to connect with their peers. Especially since we know that disabled children tend to be separated from their peers a lot. And when they get out of the school system, all of those social supports that were built sort of just fall away. I think that’s a group where their top priority was just wanting to see each other, and they didn’t care as much if the musical product was perfect in terms of the timing. They mainly just wanted to chat, share their songs, listen to things together, and laugh. That has translated really well into telehealth.”

During a time when many are self-isolating, the unknown that tomorrow may bring weighs heavy on a lot of minds. Many are experiencing loneliness and that’s why it’s important programs like the SCMP are available to those seeking assistance with their mental health.

“It feels great to have Colby and the music project because I still get to do music class on Zoom during this time,” Tyler expressed. “I still feel like it is the same no matter how we have to do the music. It is rewarding and you get to have fun and be around people and learn music. Rock band sessions really help with social skills and being confident with yourself. I had a hard time feeling confident but with Colby’s help, it made me feel better in myself.”

The Snohomish County Music Project is currently accepting new clients. If you or your children are interested in learning a new skill, while equipping yourself with the emotional tools to navigate the coronavirus and end trauma cycles, please reach out to the music project at (425) 258-1605 or visit their website, Facebook or YouTube pages for more information. 

“I enjoy working with these kids and their families,” said Colby. “I enjoy their personalities and who they are. I appreciate being able to work and interact with them. This is a very difficult, confusing and challenging time but we will be able to work through it together. I’m happy there is a strong community and that we’re able to be a part of it with the Tribe.” 

Vee added, “The main thing I hope the people know is we are here for anyone in the Tulalip community who has any difficulties that are coming up in terms of mental health, in feeling connected with their children or needing resources in continuing to care for children, in dealing with the trauma that comes with the pandemic and other traumas that have layered on top of that. I’m really thankful that we’ve been able to stay connected with this community and to keep having the relationships with the kids that we really care about.”

Hibulb Cultural Center reopens after months of hiatus

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Nine years ago, a grand opening was held in a newly constructed building located on the Tulalip reservation. Nearly 23,000 square feet, the building would serve as a gateway, where visitors could get a glimpse into the lifeways, as well as learn the true history, of the original caretakers of this region. During those nine years, thousands of people walked into the doors of a museum, perhaps on a field trip with a local school, or a romantic getaway while staying at the Tulalip Resort Casino, or maybe just to kill time. Whatever the case, many people walked out with a new perspective and at least a little more knowledge than provided in local history classrooms. 

The idea was to provide the Tulalip experience to non-tribal members while also showcasing, preserving and reclaiming various keepsakes such as tools, art, jewelry, baskets, drums, photos, and carvings, to name a few, that were passed on through individual families throughout the generations. And by sharing their story, and hosting countless culturally focused events and community driven classes, the Hibulb Cultural Center and Natural History Preserve (HCC) has become a favorite spot to frequent amongst locals who visit often, whether to tour the exhibits with the family or attend a lecture or art lesson instructed by a Tulalip tribal member or Indigenous peoples from other tribes. And due to the popularity within the greater Snohomish county region, including the Marysville, Arlington, Everett and Stanwood communities, the museum is highly recommended to out-of-towners seeking a one-of-a-kind visual, interactive and sometimes eye-opening experience.

Aside from Mondays, the only day of the week the HCC is closed, the museum opened their doors every day, inviting the public to explore and learn more about the sduhubš way of life, whether about treaty rights, forced assimilation, or ancestral teachings and traditions. That is, until the coronavirus hit causing the HCC to close for an extended period of time for the safety of the museum staff and visitors alike. 

Now, with new safety measures and precautions in place, the Hibulb re-opened their doors to the public on August 4, 2020, after several months of closure and merely days before the museum’s ninth birthday. 

“It feels exciting,” exclaimed Mytyl Hernandez, HCC Marketing and Public Relations. “We were closed for a really long time and it’s refreshing to be back with all of our co-workers and to see everybody again. We opened back up and are operating on normal business hours, but we are not doing any tours or events just yet.”

The key exhibits are still fully accessible, save for a few hands-on interactive stations. During a walk through, return visitors can still view some of their favorite displays and new guests will continue to get an understanding of the Tulalip people and their journey since pre-colonial times to present day. Signage is posted throughout the museum, offering a friendly reminder that masks are required, as well as indicate displays that are temporarily unavailable or restricted to a certain amount of people at a time.  

“It’s essential and required to wear a mask,” Mytyl explained. “We have markers to encourage and keep people social distancing. We’ve got hand sanitizing stations. Our cashiers are wearing gloves and we’ll also have Plexiglas shields for them. We’re using only one entrance and exit, so we can keep track of how many people are in the building. Certain exhibits are limited to a certain amount of people, whether it’s three of four, and the gift shop is limited to six people. We’re doing our best to keep our team and our guests safe and healthy. We’ve got a lot of hands on deck and we’re doing lots of cleaning in the exhibits in between guests. Just about every hour we’re wiping things to down to keep sanitary.”

Before the COVID pandemic occurred, the HCC was granted access to display the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliot by the National Archives as a part of their History of Tulalip Literacy exhibit, in which many Tulalip writers and storytellers were featured. The museum closed only weeks after the Literacy exhibit was launched, and the historic treaty that defined the inherit rights of not only the Tulalip people, but several surrounding tribes as well, received less attention than originally anticipated due to the pandemic. 

“We do still have the treaty on display,” Mytyl happily reported. “The National Archives will be deciding how much longer we can keep it on display. So, we have it for now, and as soon as we find out how long we can keep it, we will definitely get that news out into our community.”

The HCC is back to their regular scheduled hours of 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. For more information, please contact (360) 716-2600, or visit the Hibulb Cultural Center’s Facebook page.

“We’re really excited to be back,” expressed Mytyl. “We had a good response from our community and guests, and they are super excited for us to be open. It feels great to give people something else to do, and we believe that we can do it safely.” 

Distance learning at Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

The Marysville School District (MSD) recently announced their plans to begin the school year online. With the coronavirus pandemic still looming overhead, many businesses, institutions and organizations are finding themselves at a crossroads, having to decide whether or not to return to ‘business-as-usual’ and the way of life we grew accustomed to pre-COVID-19, or hang tight for a few more months to see if the nation’s current state improves. 

On the education side of the coin, a strong debate could be made on behalf of the students who thrive in group settings and benefit from in-person interactions between both their teachers and peers. Another point could be made for Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary (QCT) students specifically who also learn about Tulalip culture, in addition to their basic educational foundation, as many songs, stories and teachings are interweaved into the lesson plans and activities at the elementary school. 

“With the news that the Marysville School District is going to be doing a remote learning start, we want to prioritize student safety, community safety, staff safety, family safety above all else,” said QCT Principal, Sarah-Marie Boerner. “We recognize it’s a difficult decision and that it is going to create challenges for everyone. What we’re looking at, at this point, is identifying what are our priorities and what are the things we can learn from our spring experience and do better; refine, polish, adjust, change, so that we are better meeting the needs of our student population and our families. That isn’t to say we don’t have an incredibly dedicated staff that put in their all last spring, but a huge part of being an educator and being a part of a learning institution is recognizing that we also have to learn and grow.”

The virus outbreak occurred before the last quarter of the 2019-2020 school year began. When Washington State Governor Jay Inslee issued a stay-at-home order and people went into lockdown mode, MSD handed out over 1,000 Chromebooks to their student body in order to finish out their school year amidst a world-wide pandemic. The students held on to their Chromebooks during the summer months, and with school starting in a few short weeks, they are already prepared for what the district is dubbing ‘Continuous Learning 2.0’.

Continuous Learning 2.0, Principal Boerner mentioned, will be a more detailed approach to distance learning, or the online learning experience that occurred at the end of last school year, with a strong emphasis on garnering more engagement from the students and their family. 

“These times right now are very difficult for our families,” said QCT Assistant Principal Yolanda Gallegos-Winnier. “Businesses are closing; people are getting laid-off from work – people are figuring out what’s next for their family. Unintentionally school can be put to the wayside, so how do we think outside of the box and develop opportunities for learning?”

She continued, “A lot of our kids come from traditional fishing families. My husband is enrolled Yakama and we fish on the Columbia. As a teacher, my mind started thinking about how can we model this for staff; how do we learn more about Indigenous ways and teachings. I started taking photos of my daughter fishing, I was inspired by Natosha Gobin’s videos. I’m going to narrate as my daughter pulls fish up and uses the net, and while she is cleaning and cutting we’ll talk about math and how many fish she caught for the day. If we can get to a point where we can disseminate that information to the Tribal parents, maybe we can do something together similar to the online powwows where we incorporate those teachings into our lesson plans and involve the community. Perhaps we have a kid who is crabbing narrate the process– that is essentially writing an essay about what it means to crab for his people and bring food to the table. Kids out here are so smart, they know about the seasons and the specific crabs, they know about fish; blueback from a sturgeon to a steelhead. We have to connect those things quickly so we can have more engagement.” 

A lot of conversation, debate and intention went into planning for the upcoming school year, both at the individual school level and at the district level. Several sub-committees were created, as well as task forces who sent out numerous surveys via e-mail and phone calls, trying to get a better idea of how to best serve their students and community during such trying times. Continuous Learning 2.0 is actually just the first phase in a three-step plan that will ultimately help kids transition back into the classroom by the end of the 2020-2021 academic year. The first phase is strictly online, while phase two is a hybrid model that will require participation both in the classroom and online. In phase three, lessons will be ‘100% in-person instruction’.

Bearing all of that in mind, there are many checkpoints that must be made along the way back to the classroom to ensure both staff and student guardians are on the same page. Which brings us to the five key areas that QCT plans on prioritizing during the first quarter of the year and will likely extend into the long-term planning for the elementary.  

“Priority one is thinking about our model for distance learning,” Principal Sarah-Marie explained. “We’re thinking about how we can have clear consistent guidelines to make the schedule easily accessible and easier for families to navigate. We’re also thinking about the essential standards that we need to identify for student learning, so our kids are still getting those core foundational pieces that are going to serve them well all the way through, in both this distance model, the hybrid model and going back to a traditional schoolhouse at some point.

“Priority three is about the engagement of students and families. One of our biggest areas of growth and possibility is better engaging our students on the online format. Because honestly, many of us haven’t done this before. We have professional learning resources we’re engaging in with our staff.

“We’re also thinking about equitable access and our kids who are furthest from educational justice. Not only identifying who those students might be, but also thinking about tailoring some additional support for those families. And the final priority is recognizing we need to step up our communication. We aren’t going to have as many opportunities through person-to-person contact, so recognizing that we need to be planning how we’re going to communicate consistently, regularly and provide two-way communication with families.”

 Aiming to keep the lifeways of the Tulalip people a central focal point of their teachings, QCT plans on sticking with some of the traditions put in place many years ago to continue highlighting the Tribe’s culture such as Lushootseed lessons, and continuing to start each day with a traditional Tulalip song, famously known by the students as ‘the morning song’. The school is also making an extra effort to ensure that at least one Indigenous staff member sits on the various committees, guaranteeing that the Native voice is heard, valued and considered during decision-making processes.  

“We’re moving forward with a thoughtful three to five-year plan,” said Assistant Principal Gallegos-Winnier. “Our vision and dream for the school is following the Tribe’s voice and the Tulalip people’s expectations for their children. Lushootseed is absolutely a part of that. We as Indigenous people have always had traditional ways of knowing, learning and teaching. School walls don’t define education for our people or our children. Our schooling and education have always been developed in our families, in our community and with the knowledge and teachings of our elders and ancestors.”

“Although school is online, we will continue to fish, hunt, sing, and support each other within our families and overall community as a people,” she continued. “There is writing in our hunting experiences. There are speech and math opportunities in our knowledge and skill set of our young fishermen and women who have been fishing and crabbing with their families.”

QCT is reaching out to you, the Tulalip parents, family, students and community, for any feedback on how to better engage the students at the start of the school year to ensure they are receiving the knowledge of the Tulalip people and implementing it when necessary into their daily teachings. 

“I miss the kids; the staff misses the kids,” Yolanda expressed. “There’s a lot of grief in not being able to have those one-on-one class relationships. Just walking through the hallways, it’s so quiet and empty, wondering when will we be safe to open up and have the kids back. Right now, my hope is that as a community we can come together and figure out how to be able to make a successful online educational program for our students here at Quil Ceda Tulalip. In closing, the question is, how do we tie all of that into online learning and make the connection between school and home for your student. We need your help in this process, we can’t do this without you. Please call or email us for ideas, suggestions and feedback.”   

For more information, please contact Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary at (360) 965-3100.

Janet D. “Kah-My-Yah-Wit” Patrick

February 2, 1951 – August 2, 2020

Janet was an enrolled member of The Tulalip Tribes. After graduating from Marysville High School, Janet enjoyed learning the Culinary Arts. This was where she blended her love for food with the love of her people as she prepared meals for many, many people when she opened a food stand at Tulalip’s Boom City. For many years, Janet shared her infectious smile and fun-loving sense of humor across Tulalip. She fostered children when she could as her door was always open. She worked as a Table Games Dealer at the Tulalip Casino. She worked for bedachelh and she worked as a CHR Driver. Janet mentored many people and offered as much as she could if someone were in need. She spent numerous years on the Election Committee ensuring that everything was completed when the time came. She had quite a group of friends on that committee and cared deeply for all of them.

Janet’s family life was spent with her mate Charles R. Sneatlum Jr. and their two sons Charles III and Edward. She especially enjoyed her time with her special in-laws at the Muckleshoot Reservation. She enjoyed planning family reunions and, just as much, honoring the family history and culture by preserving as much information and teachings with her younger family members and other members of her family and the community.

Janet is survived by her son Charles R. Williams III (Jenny) and Timothy Jones, her siblings Arthur H. Williams, Thelma J. Williams (Cyrus), Marsha Judi Patrick, special son Francis Williams Sr., nineteen grandchildren, two great grandchildren and two dogs. She is also survived by her favorite nephew Jobey Tom Williams and favorite niece Valene Comenout. Janet also is survived by numerous nieces, nephews, her special Mamason Carolyn Moses, and her caregiver Raetta Zackuse. Preceding her on her journey were her parents Wesley and Joyce Patrick, her mate Charles R. Sneatlum Jr., her son Edward King George Sneatlum, her uncle Amos A. Bob, her siblings Leonard Abner Van Pelt, Daniel Lee Patrick, Emeline Sally Patrick, her grandson Michael Sneatlum, her nieces Cheryl Bagley and Justine Comenout.
Janet’s family had a private Interfaith Service at one of the family homes on August 5, 2020. Visitation was held at Shaefer ShipmanFuneral Home on August 6, 2020 with burial at Mission Beach Cemetery at Tulalip, WA.

Welcome your census takers, Indian Country needs to be counted

Submitted by Lindsey Watkins, Marketing Manager, Tulalip Tribes

Beginning August 10, if you have not completed your census survey, a census enumerator will visit your home to ensure that you and your family are counted. Census enumerators are your neighbors–people from your community, hired by the Census Bureau, to go door-to-door and collect census information from residents that have not completed their 2020 Census. Census enumerators can be identified by ID cards displayed openly, their official Census bag, and are likely members of your community, so welcome them when they arrive—the whole process should not take more than 10 minutes. The census taker or field representative will present an ID badge that includes their name, their photograph, a Department of Commerce watermark, and the expiration date. They will have an official bag and Census Bureau-issued electronic device, such as a laptop or smartphone, bearing the Census Bureau logo. Census takers and field representatives will conduct their work between the hours of 9 am and 9 pm.

  If a census enumerator comes to your door, they will interview you so they can count all the residents of each household. They will ask you approximately ten questions on their electronic form and fill in your answers. Even if you just forgot to complete your form, the census taker still must ask you the questions and complete the form with your answers. They cannot let you fill out their form for them. They will be wearing a face mask and staying outside your door following CDC guidelines and not ask to come into your home.

  They will not ask for your social security number, and your information is confidential and can’t be shared with anyone outside of the Census Bureau, including law enforcement.  If no one is home at the time of the visit, the census enumerator will leave helpful follow-up information to make sure your household is counted.

  Remember, this is your chance to make sure Indian Country is accurately counted. Funding for schools, roads, health clinics, and other facilities depends on it. An accurate count may trigger reapportionment, ensuring we are properly represented in Congress. An accurate count gets Tulalip a fair share of grants and other funding; it makes sure your share does not go to neighboring cities or towns. For everyone who is not counted, the Tulalip community could lose approximately $3,000 per person, per year, for the next ten years!  

  Currently, the Tulalip Census self-response percentage rate is about 10% lower than the rate for Washington State. If you have not already done so, you can avoid having a Census Taker come to your household by responding now online at 2020census.gov, by phone at 844-330-2020, or by mail if you complete and return a Census questionnaire that was mailed to your home.

Indians are everywhere

Northwest Coast Barbie doll, 2000. From 1992 to 2000, Native American Barbie modeled various looks, from “modern powwow” to “Eskimo,” that kept her tribal affiliation a mystery. The Northwest Coast Barbie was the first tribally specific doll. The Tlingit-influenced Barbie, complete with a chilkat robe, has long dark hair and tan skin, but she hasn’t lost her Barbie essence.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

It’s so strange that nearly all that can be named or sold has at some point been named or sold with an Indian word or image. If this seems normal, that’s because it has become normal. It started before the United States was colonized and continues today.

American Indian images are everywhere. From consumer products to Hollywood big screens to local high school, collegiate, and professional athletics mascots. American Indian names are everywhere too, from state (e.g. Alaska, Dakotas, Oklahoma), city (e.g. Seattle, Tacoma, Snohomish) and street names to the Tomahawk missile. And familiar historical events such as Pocahontas’s life, the Trail of Tears, and the Battle of Little Bighorn remain popular reference points in everyday conversation.

Americans, a major exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, highlights the ways in which American Indians have been part of the nation’s identity since time immemorial. It delves into the power of story, surrounds visitors with images, and invites them to begin a conversation about why this phenomenon exists.

Brave Eagle lunchbox and thermos, 1950s. Brave Eagle was one of the first television shows to feature an American Indian as the lead and hero. The half-hour episodes focused on the settlement of the West from the Native American perspective. The premiered in 1955 and ended in 1956.

The images accompanying this article are worth a closer look. What if they are not trivial? What if they are instead symbols of great power? What if the stories they tell reveal a buried history and a country forever fascinated, conflicted, and shaped by its relationship with American Indians? Pervasive, powerful, at times demeaning, the images, names, and stories reveal how we have been embedded in unexpected ways in the history, pop culture, and identity of the United States.

Indian Chief motorcycle, 1948. A classic, the Indian is considered the most stylish of mass-produced motorcycles. In 1897, American-made bicycles named Indian were sold overseas. The name stuck when the company sold its first motorcycles in 1902. It became a true brand, with a feathered headdress as the logo and the Indian Red as the signature color. In the 1930s, models could be customized with colors such as Mohawk Green, Seminole Cream, Navajo Blue, and Apache Gray.
This model’s fender ornament is an Indian figure with headdress, and the word Indian is written in stylish script on the tank. The company’s first advertising executive said, “No more popular or wealth-producing name could have been chosen.”
Though the Indian Motorcycle Company has changed hands many times, its name and distinctive logo have endured.

As American Indians, we are estimated to comprise just 1% of the entire U.S. population. Yet everywhere you go in the United States, you can see images of us. Why?

How is that Indians can be so present and so absent in American life? One reason is that the land of the free and home of the brave is still trying to come to grips with centuries of wildly mixed feelings about us. Are we the merciless Indian savages described in the Declaration of Independence or are we the noble Indians who strive to be stewards of the Earth? Domestic dependents granted special privileges by the U.S. government or sovereign nations free to govern ourselves?  The answer to both questions is somewhere between nether and both. 

Savage Arms bullet box, 1950. Things aren’t always what they seem. Savage Arms, whose guns are widely used in police department, is named after its founder, Arthur Savage.

We have been seen as both authentic and threatening, almost mythological yet deeply appealing. In present day America, citizens of all cultural backgrounds can surround themselves with dream catchers, have Pendleton accessories, and describe a football game as a trail of tears because they know that Indians are in the country’s DNA. They know we have shaped this nation from the beginning and have convinced themselves that the best way to honor us is by filling the void left by cultural genocide with cultural appropriation. 

Chicago Blackhawks infant onesie, 2016. How do you decide what sports team to cheer for? Well, in many cases you don’t. Your parents decide for you. They clothe you in adorable onesies and bibs form the hometown team. The onesies give way to T-shirts, hats, and family outings to games. Before you know it, you can’t remember a time when you weren’t a fan.
Similarly, you don’t choose the name. Team owners do. In 1926, Frederic McLaughlin decided to name his new hockey team after Chief Blackhawk, who sided with the British in the War of 1812. Why name a team after a leader who fought against the Americans? One reason is the American tradition of linking military might and fighting skill to American Indians.

The objects, images, and stories shown here are not just what they seem to be at the surface level. They are insistent reminders of larger truths and an empathic refusal to forget our shared history. 

Wild West tribal Lego set, 1997. The Tribal Chief figure, most recently knowns as the Lego Movie character Chief from the Old West, is part of the 1997 Lego System. The chief’s accessories include a headdress, a steed, a spear, an oval-patterned shield, a green bush, and a black snake. 

Darlene Taylor

June 23, 1948 – July 28, 2020

Darlene was born in Seattle and grew up in various places in Washington State, where she graduated from Snohomish High School and met the love of her life in her junior year.

She married on August 19, 1967 to Harold Wolfer in Snohomish, WA. Their love was so strong they married two more times; one on their 25th wedding anniversary in 1992 and again in 2008, when they changed their last name to Taylor.

She was a housewife, mother, a grandmother, a driver for a children’s transportation company, and went to school for her medical assistant certificate. She also held a few positions at the Tulalip casino before her retirement.

Darlene loved children and helping others. She and Harold fostered five children over the years and adopted an additional one. She also became very close friends with the woman she took care of in her last job as a caregiver.

She touched a lot of hearts in her lifetime with her kindness and generosity and will be greatly missed by all those that love her. 

She is survived by her husband: Harold (Wolfer) Taylor, son: James Wolfer, daughter: Natialene Schopf, granddaughters: Ashley Schopf and Brittney (Ian) Martens, sister: Lois Satterthwaite, brother: William Harris, sister in law: Elaine Reed, best friend: Paula Lauderback, neighbors: John and Veronica Campbell, as well as many others; including sisters and brothers in law, nieces, and nephews, and all of her fur babies.

She was preceded in death by her father: James L. Harris, mother: Velda Dunlap, step mothers: Pam Malm and Jane Harris, father in laws: John Wolfer and Dallas Taylor, mother in law:  Margie Fitchen, brothers: ErnieReed and Royce Harris, sister in law: Fay Harris, brothers in law: Gary Fitchen, Glenn Losey, Walter Taylor; along with fur babies: Pedro, Peanut, Sam, Prince and many others.

Services will commence on Friday August 7, 2020 as follows:

Schaefer-Shipman Funeral Home in Marysville from 8:30-10am.

The Graveside Service:
Mission BeachCemetery in Tulalip at 11am.