Everett Municipal Building receives Coast Salish makeover

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Tulalip’s neighboring city to the south, Everett, is the seventh-largest city in all of Washington State by population, and it’s by far the largest city in Snohomish County. Established in 1890, the city of Everett is situated on a peninsula. Its city boundaries are designated by the Snohomish River to the east and the Salish Sea to the west.

In precolonial times, long before imaginary map borders, the land Everett was built upon was home to our Tulalip ancestors. As a sustenance people who lived off the land and natural environment, they flourished in the ideal fishing location. But that was then. And this is now.

To live in the now is to recognize and embrace the many ways modern Tulalip people have adapted while continuing to flourish well into the 21st century. One such way is evident through our boundary-redefining, limit-pushing artists who refuse to placate a binary system that deems their work traditional or non-traditional. Instead, they embrace challenges to create visionary works of art as they routinely use the latest technologies available in order to manifest their inspired visions via a multitude of mediums.

The latest example comes from a truly vibrant collaborative effort between the city of Everett and Tulalip master carver, James Madison. The Everett Mayor’s office desired an artist’s touch to remake the outside of the Everett Municipal Building, located at the intersection of Wetmore Avenue and Wall Street. After a call went out for artists, James was rewarded with the job.

His vision for the project, titled Save Our Salish Sea, was unveiled in late October. Taken together, this enormous metal fabrication installation made up of bold red, yellow, and black colors is impossible to miss for pedestrians and commuters alike. But forged into the durable aluminum and medicine wheel colored pallet is a traditional teaching that has been passed down from one Tulalip generation to the next.

“With this project, I wanted to pay respect to our culture as this region’s first people,” explained James. “I tried to showcase our culture and who our people are, while paying respect to the Salish Sea through the blackfish, salmon, and our stories that have been passed on for generations.

“The salmon run that wraps around the building represents Sockeye,” he continued. “They used to be so abundant in our local waters, but now their runs are really short and even desolate in some places. It’s important that we continue to raise awareness of the dwindling salmon runs because their well-being is interconnected with the well-being of both blackfish and human populations. My grandpa always told me that it’s up to us to keep the blackfish and salmon alive because if they go away, then humans will go away as well.”

At the heart of this latest collaboration between a local city and one of our artists is a respect for the cultural heritage that pre-dates the urban landscapes that have taken over Coast Salish territory. 

By adorning municipal buildings, ferry terminals, college campuses, and other widely visited public spaces with Tulalip art embedded with iconic cultural imagery, local municipalitiesare finally moving in a positive direction to help preserve the vibrant traditions, intricate artistry, and spiritual symbolism that define our Native culture.

Cultural teachings continue with new story poles at Tulalip


Tulalip Master Carvers Joe Gobin and James Madison and sons.
Tulalip Master Carvers Joe Gobin and James Madison and sons.


By Kim Kalliber, Tulalip News


“We’re not petrified, we’re still alive”


These strong words by James Madison were spoken by his grandfather, Frank Madison, before him. And that is the message Madison wishes to convey to the next generation of Native youth, keep us alive.

Maintaining our culture is of the upmost importance to Indigenous communities like Tulalip. On March 7, Tulalip tribal leaders, tribal members and tribal employees gathered outside the Tulalip Administration Building to welcome two beautiful new story poles, one featuring an orca, the other an octpous, that take position outside the entrance to the building. The poles, made from red cedar, were created by Tulalip master carvers, Joe Gobin and James Madison.

Orca pole created by Joe Gobin.
Orca pole created by Joe Gobin.


Octopus pole created by James Madison.
Octopus pole created by James Madison.


The unveiling of the poles began with a prayer followed by singing and drumming. Gobin and Madison then shared the meaning of the poles.

Gobin, who carved the Orca pole, explains that, “we’re killer whale people. The person on top is our spirit of the whale.” The eagle design represents the eagles that watch over our gatherings.

The octopus pole features a diving rock. This represents the power of the Native people. Madison’s grandfather told stories of this water power, and how they would jump into the water with a diving rock and get water power for protection.

Madison, with a hand on the shoulder of each his two sons, spoke of how proud his grandfather is for us putting our culture into our tribal buildings.


Tulalip tribal drummers and singers.
Tulalip tribal drummers and singers.

Tulalip Tribal Chairman Mel Sheldon and various tribal board members gave thanks to the artists and the art work, while emphasizing the importance of the teachings being passed on.

Wrapping up the unveiling was a singing and drumming performance by Quil Ceda Elementary students.


Quit Ceda Elementary students
Quil Ceda Elementary students


Crowd gathered at the Tulalip Administration Building for the totem pole unveiling.
Crowd gathered at the Tulalip Administration Building for the totem pole unveiling.




Tulalip Boys & Girls Club Youth Sports

Tulalip Boys & Girls Club flag football

By Tulalip News staff

TULALIP – The Tulalip Boys & Girls Club flag football team the Chargers, ages 5 to 6, took on their first opponent on April 18, with a game against the Saints from the Everett Boys & Girls Club. No score was kept but the Chargers kept the Saints on their toes and performed beyond expectations. Great Job Chargers!

Six spots are still available on the Chargers team. Head coach is Deyamonta Diaz and assistant coach is Selena Frajman. Practices are every Thursday, 4:30 -5:30 p.m., and Friday 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Tulalip Boys & Girls Club features five flag football team, one t-ball, one coach pitch and two volleyball teams.

Flag football coaches are Michael Hunter, Aletha Tatge, James Madison, Jay Fryberg and Issac Elliot. T-ball coach is Charlita Davis with Gregory Moses coaching for coach and pitch. Jamie Orth and Becca Marteney coach volleyball.

If you are interested in having your child join any of the available teams, please contact Tori Torolova at360-716-3400.


Tulalip Boys & Girls club flag football


Tulalip Boys & Girls club flag football

See standout Northwest artists’ works at Camano gallery


By Gale Fiege, The Herald

Sculptor Karla Matzke of Camano Island helped national author E. Ashley Rooney write the recently released coffee table book “100 Artists of the Northwest.”

Rooney has written other books highlighting regional artists in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, the Midwest and the South.

Beginning March 1, the Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park features 25 of the 100 artists featured in the Northwest book. A book signing, opening party and potluck goes from 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday. The gallery and park are at 2345 Blanche Way on Camano Island.

People can see the show on weekends through April 13.

The 25 artists showing represent the artistic vibrancy of the Northwest region, Matzke said.

“Using paint, sculpture, glass, oil, clay, wood and other contemporary mediums, these 21st century artists combine, redesign, and transform their materials into pieces of works that change the way we perceive art in the Northwest,” Matzke said.

The artists, including Matzke, are Sabah Al-Dhaher of Seattle, Liana Bennett of Bothell, Brian Berman of Bainbridge Island, Lance Carleton of Lake Stevens, Shirley Erickson of Bellingham, Kathleen Faulkner of Anacortes, Aaron Haba of Camano Island, Karen Hackenberg of Port Townsend, Phillip Levine of Burien, James Madison of Tulalip, Lin McJunkin of Conway, Merrilee Moore of Seattle, Richard Nash of Oak Harbor, Peregrine O’Gormley of La Conner, Doug Randall of Portland, Debbi Rhodes of Camano Island, David Ridgway of Bellingham, Sue Roberts of Guemes Island, Ethan Stern of Seattle, Donna Watson of Camano Island and Bill Wentworth of Poulsbo.

The book, which includes a guide to galleries, sculpture parks, museums and schools, is available for sale for $38 at the gallery.

On April 25, 26 and 27, Matzke will host her Stone Carving Workshop and Retreat for beginning carvers and more experienced sculptors.

Instruction by master carver Alexandra Morosco will cover history, concepts, processes, techniques, materials and tools associated with the creation of three dimensional forms in stone.

Register by March 1 at www.matzkefineart.com or call 360-387-2759.

Tulalip artist James Madison remains true to his heritage

Dan Bates / The HeraldArtist James Madison carves amazing artwork, depicting his ancestral tribal culture, and stories passed down through the ages.
Dan Bates / The Herald
Artist James Madison carves amazing artwork, depicting his ancestral tribal culture, and stories passed down through the ages.

By Gale Fiege, The Herald

Computers, scanners and other bits of high tech play a part in what is produced at the studio of famed Tulalip Tribes artist James Madison.

At the heart of his carvings, paintings, glass and metal sculptures, however, is what Madison learned as a boy sitting at his grandfather’s kitchen table — the way to hold an adze, respect for Coast Salish and Tlingit cultural traditions, a good work ethic and an appreciation for beauty.

“Everything my grandpa knew, he taught me and my cousin, Steven. He was grooming us to carry on,” said Madison, now 40. “He taught us the stories and their messages, and how to carve. It was like learning to walk. It was just something that happened naturally.”

Madison’s artwork is displayed locally and throughout the state and country. It even has been featured on the TV show “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Named Snohomish County’s 2013 Artist of the Year by the Schack Arts Center, Madison is busy this week putting up a show at the Russell Day Gallery at Everett Community College.

“Generations 2,” which includes work by Madison, his grandfather, father, uncle, cousin and young sons, opens Feb. 10, with a reception set for 6 p.m. Feb. 13 at the college gallery. It will be exhibited through March 14. A previous show, “Generations,” also included artwork by family members.


“The show pays respect to the people who taught me and gave me the tools I use today,” Madison said.

Madison’s sculptural work can be seen on Colby Avenue in downtown Everett, on the community college campus, on the Tulalip reservation and in the form of a bronze husky in front of the University of Washington football stadium.

“That sculpture was important to me because football has always been a part of my life, too,” he said.

One of Madison’s major works is the 24-foot story pole in the hotel lobby at the Tulalip Resort and Casino. His sculptures also can be seen at the Hibulb Cultural Center, in Cabela’s at the Tulalip shopping mall, at Lighthouse Park in Mukilteo, Kayak Point County Park, Providence hospital, the Burke Museum and in the cities of Stanwood, Marysville, Shoreline, Whistler and New York.

Along with learning traditional arts, Madison was still a child when his father was attending art school and learning about abstract painting.

“Dad gave me the fine arts side,” Madison said. “It gave me the means to take what I do and give it a modern twist.”

After graduating from Everett High School and Everett Community College, Madison earned a degree in fine arts from the University of Washington.

“I am in a position now to publicly express our history to non-Indians, so they can know who we are,” Madison said. “I am trying to do my best to keep our culture alive. I bring my sons with me as much as I can, so they can learn in the same manner I did.”

Among other things, Madison currently is working on another story pole. It is being carved from the same 998-year-old, 135-foot cedar log — a blow-down from the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest — that was used for the story pole at the Tulalip Resort.

Looking around his warehouse-sized studio, Madison said sometimes his success feels “surreal.”

“This is a dream come true for all of us,” he said, motioning to friends and relatives working nearby.

“Being named artist of the year last February, at age 39, made me proud of all of our hard work. It was an accolade that gave me satisfaction and made me feel that it is possible to do anything.

“I push myself because that is how I was raised. And the more I do, the more I can acknowledge my people and my family.”

“Generations 2” also will include the work of the late Frank Madison Sr., Steve Madison, Frank Madison, Steven Madison and James Madison’s sons, Jayden, 8, and Jevin, 6.

The Russell Day Gallery, 2000 Tower St., is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays.

See Native American Artwork by James Madison and Family Feb. 10-March 14 at EvCC

James Madison stands next to his “Transformation of the Seawolf” sculpture in downtown Everett.
James Madison stands next to his “Transformation of the Seawolf” sculpture in downtown Everett.

EvCC press release

EVERETT, Wash. – See traditional and contemporary Native American artwork by renowned Tulalip Tribes artist James Madison and family members at Everett Community College Feb. 10-March 14.

The “Generations 2” exhibit at EvCC’s Russell Day Gallery will feature traditional Salish and Tlingit artwork in contemporary mediums such as glass, bronze and stainless steel. See the artwork and watch a performance by Native American dance troop Northern Star Dancers at a reception at 6 p.m. Feb. 13 in the gallery.

This is the second family exhibit that Madison, a Tulalip Tribes member, master wood carver and art consultant, has created. It represents the work of Madison, who attended EvCC, his sons Jayden and Jevin Madison, father Richard Madison, grandfather Frank Madison, Sr., uncle Steve Madison and cousin Steven Madison.

The Madison cousins grew up immersed in their culture and learned to carve at their grandfather’s table. Richard Madison, an abstract painter, taught James contemporary art mediums and how to understand European artwork when he was a child.

Many of James Madison’s large-scale pieces can be seen at the Tulalip Resort and Casino, including a 24-foot story pole. His work has been displayed in Washington, New York, New Mexico and Canada, including in downtown Everett and at Everett Community College, and on the TV show “Grey’s Anatomy.” He was named Snohomish County Artist of the Year in 2013. He earned his bachelor’s degree in fine arts at the University of Washington and created a bronze sculpture for Husky Stadium.

The Russell Day Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays, noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays and is closed Saturdays and Sundays.

For more information, visit www.everettcc.edu/gallery or contact Kammer at gkammer@everettcc.edu.

Schack honors Tulalip artist

James MadisonSource: The Herald

Tulalip artist James Madison is known for putting contemporary twists on traditional Salish and Tlingit Northwest Native Art.

For instance, Madison will create an aluminum sculpture depicting salmon in a fish ladder that represents the life of the Snohomish people, one of the Tulalip tribes.

Madison puts that modern twist on tradition in his upcoming exhibit, “Generations,” at the Schack.

That exhibit will show Madison’s commitment to sharing traditional native art using a contemporary approach and it also honors Madison as the Schack’s pick for 2013 Artist of the Year.

In a prepared statement, Madison said that he strives to “create art with an open mind in the sense that I am always thinking of new ways to add a modern twist to a traditional piece. This allows for me to help keep my culture alive. As we move into the future, so does the teachings of my ancestors.”

Madison was surrounded by art and the culture of the Tulalip Tribes as a child. At the age of 8, Madison learned how to carve at his grandfather’s kitchen table. Madison’s father, an abstract painter, encouraged Madison to try sculpting. And his uncle, a teacher, shared stories of American Indian culture.

Madison said these influences led to his intense interest in art and his native heritage.

Madison’s work can be seen beyond the Schack.

He is best known for large-scale pieces, including a 24-foot story pole, at the Tulalip Resort and Casino. He has pieces displayed at many of Washington’s state parks, as well as museums and galleries in New York, Alaska and Canada.

“Generations” opens with a catered reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 15 and is on view through Sept. 21 at Schack Art Center Main Gallery, 2921 Hoyt Ave., Everett. For more information, go to schack.org or call 425-259-5050.

Providence partners with Tulalip Tribes to offer support to tribal members during medical care

Article by Monica Brown, photos by Brandi N. Montreuil

Tulalip Community RoomTULALIP, Wash.- Recently Providence Medical Center and Tulalip Tribes have been strengthening their relationship so that both may benefit; staff at Providence will have more knowledge about what tribal member’s needs are in times of crisis and tribal members will feel more at ease while in the their care.

The old surgery waiting room has been remolded and is designed to accommodate traditional practices when tribal members are hospitalized.   The new room called the Tulalip Community Room has been set-aside for tribal members to use and features a variety of sitting areas, a TV, phone, a small kitchenette, a computer with Internet access. The room also features elegantly carved art pieces by James Madison and Joe Gobin that decorate the walls,Tulalip Community Room and a large timeline of Tulalip Tribes history welcomes visitors as they walk in.

Tulalip Community Room is designed to provide comfort and privacy for family members and space to accommodate large gatherings.

“Especially in crisis time, all of our friends and family want to be there to give them [each other] a handshake, a hug. That’s how we are during crisis,” stated Don about the larger and quieter rooms.

Tribal member Dale Jones reads the Tulalip Tribes Past & Present timeline piece.
Tribal member Dale Jones reads the Tulalip Tribes Past & Present timeline piece.

Providence and Tulalip plan to meet every six months in order to address any underlying issues that may occur while tribal members are hospitalized.

“You’re an important and special part of our community,” said CEO of Providence Medical Center David Brooks. “I appreciate meeting here today and having open communications.”


Monica Brown: 360-716-4189; brown@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov