Tulalip filmmaker protrays the beauty of Native culture

Tribal member Derek C. Jones showchased five short films at the Tulalip Hibulb Cultural Center on October 25th.

Article and photo by Jeannie Briones

TULALIP, Washington-  Tribal member Derek C. Jones is a filmmaker, musician, and programmer with over twenty short films to his credit at the young age of twenty-four.  He continues to pursue his vision and passion to help people understand each other by breaking down barriers and stereotypes through his film work.

On October 25th, Derek showcased five short films at the Tulalip Hibulb Cultural Center Film Series. “Raising Our Arms in Thanksgiving,” “Puppet Reporters,” “Who Am I,” and “Happiness” are early works that were co-directed with his younger brother, Aaron. Derek also presented a short storytelling film about Coast Salish history and art. This video is shown to third and fourth graders at theMuseum ofHistory and Industry.

“I really want to provide positive images of indigenous Native Americans and the beauty of our culture,” said Derek. “A large part of my artistic inspiration is drawing out small details and interactions that people have with each other and with nature and placing those interactions into a larger context,” said Derek.

A large part of his film storytelling is a reflection of his life. Derek is in the creative stages of writing and creating new material. He plans to travel and experience life and expand his knowledge to help build his craft in filmmaking.

“A lot of projects I’m working on are related to race, gender, and sexuality,” said Derek. “One topic that resonates strongly is gender, because when you look at a lot of the media today, it’s skewed towards the male perspective. We have Hollywood films with only one out of three speaking roles for women.”

“Something I have been thinking about a lot is the power that comes with presenting someone’s story. As far as media goes, we are to be mindful of how we share stories and present stories because those do have affects on how we view and treat people. I think when you look at race, genders, and sexualities there are a history of denigrating or stereotyping. I am really keen in providing positive images of people,” said Derek.

At the 2007  Tulalip Film Festival Awards, “Raising Our Arms in Thanksgiving” won Best Original Score and has been shown at several film festivals, including the Seattle International Film Festival and Cowichan International Aboriginal Film Festival. His work has also been shown at the Smithsonian National Museumof the American Indian’s Film andVideo Center.

For more information on the Tulalip Hibulb Cultural Centers’ up-coming events visit http://www.hibulbculturalcenter.org/ and check out www.aseasonintherain.com to view Derek’s film work.


Jeannie Briones: 360-716-4188; jbriones@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

Community members can help prevent child abuse

Instructor Leila Goldsmith educates the participants through a program called “Stewards of Children”. This training is aimed to help prevent sexual child abuse from happeniing.

Article and photo by Jeannie Briones

 TULALIP, Washington – “Stewards of Children is an evidence-based program targeting adults to help give them tools to protect children from sexual abuse. It’s the only evidence-based program in the nation, which means its gone under a lot of research, over many years and has shown to be effective in preventing child sexual abuse,” said Leila K. Goldsmith, J.D., Child Advocacy Coordinator for Tulalip Legacy of Healing Children’s Advocacy Center.

  The Stewards of Children, a new program available at Tulalip Legacy of Healing Children’s Advocacy Center, is designed to educate adults about sexual abuse, how to look for signs that your child may be targeted or a victim, and how to prevent it in children.

 “I’m excited about giving community members and service providers’ tools to protect children,” explained Leila. “It’s meant to help to empower adults to know what actions they can take to protect children.”

Nearly 70 percent of all reported sexual assaults occur to children ages 17 and under. The lack of education and information puts these children at risk.

Programs like Stewards of Children equip participants with simple proactive steps in protecting children from sexual abuse. This effective program helps adults see signs beforehand and prevent abuse from happening, so children can live a happy life, a world free from fear and shame. Sexually abused children blame themselves and live in a world of secrecy. Without proper help these children are at much higher risk for future problems with violent crime, have higher rates of teen pregnancy, and are at much higher risk of substance abuse.

Adults participating in the Stewards of Children training program are introduced to concepts of consciousness, choice, personal power, and relentless compassion. These four tools become a part of their personal tool kit for protecting children.

The Stewards of Children program is offered to community members who are interested in protecting children in their community. Next training will be offered on November 30th, 12:00 noon – 2:30 p.m. at the Tulalip Legacy of Healing Children’s Advocacy Center conference room. Light refreshments will be served and please respect that the location of the training is considered a safe zone.

One-on-one training is also available by request. For appointments, information on future training or information about the program, contact Leila K. Goldsmith at the Tulalip Legacy of Healing Children’s Advocacy Centerat 360-716-4100. To report child abuse call 1-866-363-4276 or contact the care crisis line at 1-800-584-3578 if you need to talk to someone for help 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Jeannie Briones: 360-716-4188; jbriones@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

M.O.M.s group offers support to mothers and other caregivers

Article by Jeannie Briones        

TULALIP, Washington – Parenting is a tough, often overwhelming job that takes a lot of skill and patience. It has been referred to as the toughest job for which we receive the least training. Mothers, expectant mothers, grandmothers, or any women who take care of children can benefit from extra support and encouragement – and they can find that much-needed support at Tulalip.            

M.O.M.s (Making Opportunities for Mothers) is a support group for tribal and non-tribal females of all ages who are caregivers of children. The group meets every Tuesday from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Tulalip beda?chelh conference room.  There is no obligation or application process, it’s very simple, all you have to do is show up.

Designed to provide support for female caregivers, the group meets in a casual environment, where women feel safe enough to talk about their concerns and share their experiences with child rearing.

“Our focus of the group is to offer support,” emphasized Teri Wood, beda?chelh  Child and Family Therapist. “It’s a place for female caregivers to come and talk about real life.”

M.O.M.s group coordinators, Teri and Tamara Brushert, Administrative Assistant for beda?chelh, encourage open discussion on subjects like self-care, safety, culture, and community, allowing participants to gain knowledge and skills that enhance positive parenting practices.

Other benefits of the M.O.M.s group include monthly guest speakers and a free home cooked meal. And to make it even more worry-free, children are welcome to attend with the caregivers supervision.

If you would like more information, please Tulalip beda?chelh  at 360-716-3284.


Jeannie Briones: 360-716-4188; jbriones@tulalipbribes-nsn.gov

Children’s television series on KANU TV

Article by Jeannie Briones; photos courtesy Roger Vater, KANU TV

 TULALIP, Washington –  Tulalip KANU TV is delving into family programming. “WaposBay”, a wonderful family television series, had its first airing on November 5th on KANU TV Channel 99.

This award winning children’s animated show is an educational program for the entire family. Set in a fictitious Cree community in remote Northern Saskatchewan, Canada, the series follows the adventures of three children, ten -year-old T-Bear, 9-year Talon, and 6-year-old Raven, as they explore the world around them and experience extraordinary adventures while learning self-discovery with the help of their elders.

Through traditional ancestral teachings, children learn valuable life lessons about respect, cooperation and honesty. These teachings give kids a sense of growth and a moral compass that will equip them in decision-making in a fast-paced modern world filled with technology. Children will learn the importance of family and culture, while learning how to live in balance with the old ways and the new.

“WaposBay” airs daily at 8:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m., and 6:30 p.m. For more information on this and other Tulalip KANU TV programs, visit www.kanutv.com.


Jeannie Briones: 360-716-488; jbrionestulaliptribes-nsn.gov

Watch D.O.G.S., heroes for a day

First Watch D.O.G.S. volunteer Paul Allen assisted his daughter Chloe at Totem Middle School

Article and photo by Jeannie Briones

 TULALIP, Washington – Ever wonder what it’s like to be a hero for a day? Ask any Watch D.O.G.S. volunteer, like Paul Allen. On October 25th, Paul, wearing his official Watch D.O.G.S. shirt and badge, greeted students at Marysville Totem Middle School as they arrived, officially kicking off the volunteer program that promotes male role models in schools. 

Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) is an innovative program created by the National Center for Fathering, which focuses on safety and education in schools by using the positive influence of fathers and father figures. On the day of their participation, Watch D.O.G.S. volunteers are given a short orientation with the school representative and are given a daily schedule of responsibilities.

“I think having a male role model is a positive influence that really helps the kids to see there are people who care about them,” said Paul. “I really want to make sure they are doing well in school and that the kids treat others with respect.”

Paul, a former Marysville Grove Elementary School, has witnessed a boost in morale and better behavior among the students, simply by having male role models on hand to bond with them.

 Paul’s two daughters are used to their dad participating at school. His 7th grade daughter, Chloe, attends Marysville Totem Middle School, and likes when her dad volunteers for school activities.

“I glad that my dad helps kids that are struggling,” said Chloe Allen.

 Paul spent his successful volunteer day assisting kids in the classroom, supervising during lunchtime, and monitoring kids for good behavior. Paul encourages other fathers to volunteer and to set a good example by being a role model, not only for their own kids, but for the entire student body.

Fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, uncles and male father figures are asked to spend at least one day at their student’s school volunteering.  They will support the school by monitoring the school property, working with kids one-on-one or in small groups, reading, helping with homework, helping with sports, or whatever needs to be done to plant seeds of success in the lives of the students. 

For information on volunteering, contact  Marysville Totem Middle School at 360.653.0610. Learn more information about the Watch D.O.G.S. program by visiting www.fathers.com/watchdogs.


Jeannie Briones: 360-716-4188; jbriones@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

Community members “walk in the shoes” of domestic violence victims

Elishia Stewart, tribal member and Manager of the Tulalip Legacy of Healing Advocacy Center and Safe House, introduced herself and the program she manages before the “In Her Shoe” workshop started.

Article and photo by Jeannie Briones

TULALIP, Washington – Domestic Violence can happen to anyone. Victims of domestic violence usually turn to family and friends for help, so staff at the Tulalip Legacy ofHealingAdvocacyCenterand Safe House is working to educate the community about the realities of domestic violence, and teaching empathy rather than sympathy.

‘In Her Shoes’, a series of interactive workshops created by the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence (WSCADV), debuted at the TulalipAdministrativeBuildingthis month. These workshops are designed for learning about domestic violence through audience participation.  Participants act out real life scenarios of battered women – essentially putting themselves in their shoes. The October 18th workshop, ‘In Her Shoes, Economic Justice Edition,’ focused on the added struggles that low-income battered women face and how the community can help bring justice to these survivors.

“‘In Her Shoes, Economic Justice Edition’ pays close attention to each one of these survivor’s stories and how finances and poverty impact their situation and create barriers that make them more unsafe and at risk,” said Traci Underwood, Program Coordinator for WSCADV.

During the workshop, participants stepped inside the victim’s world through an interactive exercise about life choices.  Participants were given cards printed with a real story of a victim and abuser. These stories are unique and the victims in each share a similar background, involving a lack of money and resources. Through these cards, participants make “life choices” concerning school, housing, legal situations, social services, friends, etc. These choices send them in different directions in life to face the consequences.

“When you are walking through the interactive process, you learn what happens in a woman’s life with domestic violence,” said Elishia Stewart, tribal member and Manager of the Tulalip Legacy ofHealingAdvocacyCenterand Safe House.

During the workshop wrap-up session, audience feedback was followed by an open discussion period where workshop participants were given the opportunity to voice concerns and questions about domestic violence.

On October 30th, the second workshop in the series, will feature a Native twist, focusing on the struggles that pertain to Native American victims and their abusers.

For more information, call the Tulalip Legacy of Healing Advocacy Center and Safe House at 360-716-4100, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and more information about the “In Her Shoes” series, visit WSCADV at www.wscadv.org

Tulalip Resort Casino first tribal hotel to be honored with “Outstanding Property of the Year” award

Tulalip Resort Casino

Press Release, Ken Kettler, President & COO, Tulalip Resort Casino

TULALIP, Washington –Tulalip Resort Casino is honored to be the first tribal hotel to receive the “Outstanding Property of the Year” award from The Washington Lodging Association (WLA).  With the receipt of this accolade, Tulalip will qualify to be considered for the “National Outstanding Property” award by the American Hospitality Lodging Association.

“This tribute really belongs to our incredible hospitality team, for their passion and continuing dedication to creating an exceptional experience for our guests,” says Kenneth Kettler, Tulalip Resort Casino President and COO.  “The WLA’s recognition is a perfect complement to the acknowledgement the hotel has received from AAA with the presentation of the Four Diamond award.”

Tulalip Resort Casino is located on the Tulalip Indian Reservation near Marysville. The 12-story, luxury hotel opened August 15, 2008 and includes 370 guest rooms with numerous specialty suites, such as the 3,000 square-foot Tulalip Suite, the 2,000 square-foot Player’s Suite; the Technology Suite; and two Asian-themed suites. All standard rooms at the hotel sport granite countertops, dark African wenge-wood trim, 47-inch flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, triple-headed showers and floor-to-ceiling windows. Authentic tribal art, valued at more than $1 million, is incorporated into the hotel’s interior design.

The Washington Lodging Association, incorporated in 1920, is the non-profit trade and professional association dedicated to the interests of the lodging industry in Washington State. They are a resource for news and events, member benefits and programs, directories and publications. WLA members are represented by hoteliers and hospitality professionals from the Pacific Northwest.

For more information about Tulalip Resort Casino visit www.tulalipresort.com.  To learn more about the Washington Lodging Association, visit www.walodging.org.


About Tulalip Resort Casino

Award winning Tulalip Resort Casino is the most distinctive gaming, dining, meeting, entertainment and shopping destination in Washington State. The AAA Four Diamond resort’s world class amenities have ensured its place on the Condé Nast Traveler Gold and Traveler Top 100 Resorts lists, as well as Preferred Hotel & Resorts membership. The property includes 192,000 square feet of gaming excitement; a luxury hotel featuring 370 guest rooms and suites; 30,000 square feet of premier meeting, convention and wedding space; the full-service T Spa; and six dining venues.  It also showcases the intimate Canoes Cabaret; a 3,000-seat amphitheater; and Seattle Premium Outlets, featuring more than 110 name brand retail discount shops. The Resort Casino is conveniently located between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. just off Interstate-5 at exit 200. It is an enterprise of the Tulalip Tribes. For reservations please call (866) 716-7162.


Two Indians, by Matika Wilbur

By Kim Kalliber; photos by Matika Wilbur

SEATTLE, Washington – Photography can have such an impact on our lives. Discovering nature’s beauty and exploring new cultures and opening minds to new ideas, these concepts are all found in the work of Matika Wilbur.  Her emotionally complex photographs examine how Native people face cultural dualities and the connection between their culture and contemporary pop culture.

Matika is from the Swinomish and Tulalip Tribes. Her work has been shown in regional, national and international venues, such as the Royal British Columbia Museum of Fine Arts, the Nantes Museum of Fine Arts in France, the Seattle Art Museum and the Burke Museum.

Now you can find Matika’s latest project on Kickstarter, a funding platform for creative projects. Kickstarter is an online site full of independent, ambitious and imaginative projects that are brought to life through direct support of others.

Matika’s project on Kickstarter, 562 A Photo Project Documenting Native America, is currently accepting donations.  The goal is to create a publication, exhibition, and lecture series documenting all 562 Tribes in the United States, although the ultimate goal is education. Matika will be traveling the United States in a photo studio equipped RV, paying a visit to all 52 states, and all 562 Federally Recognized Tribes. She will be using these donations for travel expenses, film and darkroom supplies and website development.

“I am so excited about my upcoming journey,” said Matika. “I feel as though all of the work that I have done up until this point has prepared me for a project of this magnitude.”

My mom, Matika Wilbur

Matika goes on to describe events in her life that led her to explore Native cultures through the camera  lens.

“When I was 17 years old I got sober, and have remained sober for the last 11 years and it was because of this experience that I had the courage to pursue higher education at The Brooks Institute of Photography. After I graduated, I took my first internship with Round Earth Productions photographing indigenous people in South America, where I realized that I hadn’t ever photographed my own people – so I came home, and began ‘We Are One People,’ a series of character study portraits documenting Coast Salish Elders. ‘We Are One People’ hangs in the Tulalip Admin Building, and has been shown at several museums. The success of ‘We Are One People’ catapulted my career into projects that explore our “indian-ness.”

Organic vs Origin, Matika Wilbur

“All of those experiences led me back to Tulalip Heritage High School to teach photography, where I learned so much working with our youth, and really had the opportunity to re-connect,” Matika continued. “I didn’t realize that all of that travel, exhibition and teaching would lead me to this- but I’m glad that it did. I’m so grateful for all of the support that I’ve received from my family and friends, I feel so blessed.”

Funding levels vary on Kickstarter and each pledge level offers the backers specific items in return. For instance, with a pledge of $10 or more, backers will receive a digital copy of the “562” book, while a pledge of $2,500 or more will entitle backers to join Matika on the road for two days as she explores Indian Country, along with receiving the awards offered at the $1,000 level.

Matika will be having an “End of Kickstarter” bash on October 28th in Seattle, with live music performed by Kore Ionz and Bakra Bata. Visit www.matikawilbur.com for more information and location of this event.

This project will only be funded if at least $30,000 is pledged on Kickstarter by Novemer 1st. For information and to become a backer, visit www.kickstarter.com and enter 562 under “search projects.”

For more information on Matika Wilbur, visit www.matikawilbur.com.

Building relationships through open communication

Totem Middle School teachers reach out to parents

 Article and photo by Jeannie Briones

TULALIP, Washington – Teachers are always looking for ways to better communicate with their students, and now they are reaching out to the parents. Community Partnership, a new program at Totem Middle School, is simply designed for teachers to meet one-on-one with parents outside of the classroom, at their homes or any other location of the parents choosing.

These out-of-classroom visits enable the teachers and parents to form better relationships and build trust. Questions such as, what are your child’s hopes and dreams, bring both teachers and parents to a common understanding about the kids needs and academic standing.

Daniel Natividad, Native Equity Access Specialist and Interim Associate Principal for Totem Middle School is elated with the progress the program has made so far. In the few months that the program has been in operation, school staff has seen an improvement in attendance and test scores and a decrease is suspensions and expulsions, along with less vandalism around the school.

 “It’s been a positive program,” said Daniel, referring to the positive changes in the children’s behavior.

Staff is striving to make 60 home visits to parents by the end of the first quarter of school. 25 visits have already been made, ten of these to tribal member families. 

Teachers have received warm welcomes from the families, many of which give thanks to Totem Middle School staff for taking the time to show they care about their child’s education.

“It’s all about building a relationship, and once we have that relationship, everyone is going to be successful,” said Daniel.

Staff are available to meet with parents after school and weekends. For more information, contact Daniel Natividad at 360-653-0608 or email, Daniel_natividad@msvl.k12.wa.us.

Watch D.O.G.S. brings dads to school

Totem Middle School

Article and photo by Jeannie Briones    

TULALIP, Washington – Something exciting is happening at Totem Middle School.  New to the school this year is Watch D.O.G.S. – Dads of Great Students –a program that encourages fathers to get more involved at their child’s school. Father, grandfathers, step-dads, uncles, and all father figures are encouraged to volunteer at the school to provide positive male role models, and work with the kids to enhance their learning environment.

These mentors assists in a variety of ways, such as monitoring the school lunch room, helping out in classrooms, and other activities assigned by the school’s administrative staff. Their presence also provides an extra set of eyes and ears, which reduces signs of bullying.

 Daniel Natividad, Native Equity Access Specialist and Interim Associate Principal for Totem Middle School is one of the dedicated employees working to get this project underway. As an advocate for Native American kids, David feels that this positive program helps kids grow socially and academically, creating a solid foundation for their future.

 “We are in the opening stages of this program. We had 21 dads sign up for different days throughout the school year, to help out in the classroom, lunchroom, and on campus,” said Daniel.

Through the Watch D.O.G.S. program, these role models are asked to volunteer for at least one full day during the school year

“We are trying to increase male positive role models on campus. Kids can feel like they are cared for, especially the kids who don’t have a positive role model at home,” Daniel continued. “The first dad is coming in this month, and he’s going to help out with the classroom and buses.”

Daniel encourages all tribal and non-tribal parents to participate in the program, saying,  “One the big goals this year is to make sure the community understands that education is not a one sided street. It’s not a one person process, it requires everyone, the teachers, students, and lastly the parents.”

Watch D.O.G.S., an educational initiative of the National Center For Fathering, has been in operation since 1998, helping children thrive through father and father figure involvement at schools across the nation. For Totem Middle School it means a step in the right direction to enhancing children’s lives, especially for kids dealing with challenging issues at home like poverty, drug abuse, abuse, and the lack of parental guidance.

For information on volunteering at Totem Middle School, contact Daniel Natividad at 360-653-0608. For information on the Watch D.O.G.S. program, visit www.fathers.com/watchdogs.