Tulalip is ‘Raising Hands’ to the community


Tulalip youth open the Raising Hands Ceremony with a welcoming song.
Tulalip youth open the Raising Hands Ceremony with a welcoming song.


By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 


Once a year the Tulalip Tribes hosts a gala to honor and thank local charities for their impact on our communities. The event, dubbed Raising Hands, is a nod to a Tulalip tradition of raising hands as a sign of gratitude and recognition for hard work.

“Everyone here tonight had a calling,” Chairman Mel Sheldon stated. “They had something they wanted to do to help better society and they went out and did it. Now, each and every one of them is making a difference. That’s why we’re here, to celebrate your journey. We are all in this canoe, helping each other out, pulling together in the right direction. For the work that you do, we thank you and raise our hands to you. Thank you for helping make a stronger, greater community with Tulalip.”

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 allows tribes to conduct certain types of gaming if they enter into a gaming compact with the state.  Tulalip’s compact, like most, includes a provision to donate a percentage of gaming earnings to organizations impacted by gaming (fire, police, etc), as well as other charitable organizations.

Tulalip leaders long ago decided that the money would support organizations that demonstrate the same ideals that Tulalips cherish. Over 400 charities and non-profit organizations received grants from Tulalip this year, bringing the total amount donated to over $7 million. This year, Tulalip broke the record for most money donated by a tribe in a single year.

Tulalip Board of Director Glen Gobin explained that after years of success, the Tribe is more than happy to help support organizations that have a positive impact in Washington.

“We weren’t always this blessed,” Glen reminisced about Tulalip before gaming revenue. “I remember years ago when there was no TRC (Tulalip Resort Casino) and no outlet mall. That area used to be just trees. We’re now very blessed to have the opportunity to give back to our community.”

The event, held in the TRC Orca Ballroom, brings together representatives from each of the organizations who received funds from Tulalip over the previous year. The idea is that when change makers are in a room together, they have the opportunity to network and build connections that can strengthen their efforts.

Among all those present, six organizations were singled out and their efforts highlighted with videos that provide a glimpse into the hard and selfless work that it takes to run charities and non-profits.

For more information about the Raising Hands gala or Tulalip charitable giving, check out the website www.tulalipcares.org.