Wellness Court is now in session

Tulalip Police Officer Joe Dyer poses with participant Robin Hood during a Wellness Court session, displaying the new relationship between TPD and recovering addicts in the Healing to Wellness Court program.


By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 


The heroin and opioid epidemic has hit America hard in recent years. According to a study conducted by the University of Washington Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, thirty-one percent of deaths statewide can be credited to drug overdose. The epidemic has unfortunately claimed the lives of many loved ones nationwide. Previously, addicts who wanted to become clean would often fail because they were not provided with the proper resources and tools while attempting to become sober. In many cases, addicts are eventually caught with possession of drugs, and sometimes turn to thievery for the intent of supplying their high, and are reported to the authorities. The traditional court is a flawed system when it comes to dealing with individuals who committed a non-violent crime fueled by their addiction. For this reason, drug courts were invented. Drug courts can be found nationwide and are utilized by individuals who are battling addiction and were convicted on drug-related charges.

The state of Washington sees approximately three thousand deaths annually due to drug abuse, according to the Washington State Department of Health. In Snohomish County there are around six to seven hundred drug related casualties per year, with the largest amount of overdoses occurring in Everett, Marysville and Tulalip.  Tulalip has made an enormous effort to help heal their people in the form of the Healing to Wellness Court. There are many similarities between drug court and Tulalip’s Wellness Court, such as random drug tests, required court appearances, and numerous resources. Tulalip has modified the drug court model to fit the needs of addicted tribal members, ensuring that there’s an emphasis on culture and community with the new Wellness Court.

“The difference from drug court is mostly the integration of the cultural programs and the community the program is in. In Wellness Court we ask our participants to be in the community,” states Wellness Court judge, Ron Whitener. “A lot of the participants have to rebuild their relationships with the community because a lot of them have burned some bridges on their way into Wellness Court.  It is something positive they can work on while they are also working on their treatment and education. We want to help reintegrate them back into this community.”

Wellness Court is held once a week on Tuesdays, and participants are required to stay for the entire duration of court. The court sessions, typically an hour long, display a new twist to the traditional courtroom scene. Participants approach the podium to speak to Judge Whitener directly about their struggles and successes each week. Wellness Court uses a system of sanctions and incentives to help keep their clients on track. Sanctions include increased court appearances, community service hours and writing assignments. While incentives include gift cards, movie passes, decreased court appearances and later curfews.

“Our goal is to heal the individual completely, not just the addiction,“ states Wellness Court Coordinator Hilary Sotomish.  The Wellness Court team works as a cohesive unit, meeting weekly to review each participant’s progress, ensuring that everybody is on the same page as communication is key amongst the Wellness Court team.  The team is comprised of members from several departments including Behavioral Health and Recovery, the Healing Lodge, Housing Hope, Tulalip Housing, the Karen I. Fryberg Health Clinic, University of Washington Tribal Public Defense Clinic, and the Tulalip Police Department.

The Tulalip Police Department assigned three officers to the Wellness Court team. The officers take on a new role, at least from the participant’s perspective, as they interact in a positive, supportive manner while encouraging participants during their road to recovery. Current participants are happy to see the officers in the community and often converse with the officers about their weekly progress.

Tulalip Police Chief Carlos Echevarria states, “Wellness Court allows my law enforcement officers to have greater interactions with the participants. Often the officers will stop by and say hello and ask them how they are doing. We ensure we are providing positive feedback and often the officers will take the time to listen to what the participants have to say. They are building great relationships with each other.”

The five-stage program has no fee with the exception of a fifty-dollar GPS ankle device, which is used to monitor the location of the participant as well to ensure that curfews are met. Cultural activities such as sweat lodge, red road to sobriety and other local events are encouraged.

“Our goal is to keep people involved and to work to help them. As long as the individual is showing they are committed to working and trying, we are going to keep working and trying,” states Hilary.

Tulalip tribal member Robin Hood approached the judge on his twenty-fifth day sober -an accomplishment met with tremendous applaud from the judge and the courtroom, to talk about his past week. Robin is currently staying at the Healing Lodge and attended two more than the required group therapy sessions. However, he missed one of his daily call-ins and received a write-up from the Healing Lodge, which resulted in sanctions of two hours of community service and a one-page written essay on why he missed his daily call in.

“Wellness court can be an easy process, you just got to show up every day and do what is required. It’s only hard if you make it hard, that’s my motto. My experience is going fine. I’m doing this because I know that other people will follow so I’m trying to be a leader. I think this is a positive thing for myself and for my community, and it’s working,” Hood states. “Like my dad always says, ‘it works, if you work it’. Another quote I like is, ‘chase your sobriety like you chase the dope man.’ That’s exactly how sobriety works; you got to want it. If you ain’t wanting it, you ain’t getting it. I’m really glad I’m here. The wellness team has been there to support me one hundred percent. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be clean and sober.”

For more information about the Healing to Wellness Court please contact (360) 716-4773.

9th Cir. Hammers Out Tribal Fishing Rights

By JUNE WILLIAMS, Courthouse News Service

(CN) – A Ninth Circuit panel ruled the Suquamish Indian Tribe aren’t barred from fishing in areas the Tulalip Tribe claims as their own.
Monday’s decision is the latest in a lengthy dispute going back to a 1974 injunction by U.S. District Judge George Hugo Bolt in U.S. v. Washington that affirmed certain tribal fishing rights the state had been denying.
Among numerous sub-proceedings, the Tulalip in 2005 requested a permanent injunction to prevent the Suquamish from fishing in waters outside their usual and accustomed grounds, an area determined by the Ninth Circuit in 1990.
The Suquamish were accused in that case of fishing on the east side of Puget Sound, in violation of court order.
U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez last year clarified “the geographic scope” of the Suquamish fishing grounds in Bolt’s decision. He said Bolt “relied heavily” on the reports of anthropologist Dr. Barbara Lane, who testified about various tribes’ traditional fishing areas in the 1974 case.
Martinez said it was “nearly certain” Bolt intended to include Possession Sound and waters at the mouth of the Snohomish River as the Suquamish’s usual and accustomed grounds.
“On the other hand, there is an absence of evidence in her report regarding Suquamish fishing in the waters on the eastern side of Whidbey Island such as Skagit Bay, Saratoga Passage and its connecting bays Penn Cove and Holmes Harbor, and Port Susan,” the July 29, 2013, ruling says. “Therefore the court finds that Judge Bolt did not intend to include these areas in the Suquamish U&A.”
The Tulalip appealed.
On Monday, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit affirmed the lower court’s decision, finding The Tulalip “did not meet its burden to demonstrate that there was no evidence before Judge Bolt supporting Suquamish fishing or traveling through the western contested waters.”
Circuit Judge Richard Paez, writing for the panel, said the panel drew on other litigation between tribes stemming from Bolt’s 1974 decision. To win exclusive fishing rights, the moving tribe must prove the encroaching tribe’s usual and accustomed fishing grounds were ambiguously determined by the court.
The moving tribe must also show there was no evidence before Bolt that indicated the contested area was included or excluded in the determined fishing area of the encroaching tribe, Paez said.
The panel found that there was evidence the Suquamish fished or traveled in the eastern and eastern waters contested by the Tulalip.
“This general evidence, too, constitutes some evidence before Judge Bolt and supports the district court’s determination that Judge Bolt did not intend to exclude these contested bay areas from Suquamish’s U&A,” Paez wrote.
Tulalip’s attorney, Mason Morisset did not immediately return a request for comment.
In a statement, Suquamish Tribal Council chairman Leonard Forsman said, “”We appreciate the court’s work on this litigation and look forward to continuing our role as a co-manager of our treaty resources in our usual and accustomed fishing areas.” 

Flowers are Sunshine for the Soul

Debbie Brown, owner of Bouquets of Sunshine. photo/Kim Kalliber
Debbie Brown, owner of Bouquets of Sunshine.
photo/Kim Kalliber


By Kim Kalliber, Tulalip News 

As famously quoted by Luther Burbank, a botanist, horticulturist and pioneer in agricultural science,  “Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.”

Giving flowers to someone special, on any occasion, is one of the best ways to let that person know you’re thinking of them.  A good florist can make life much easier by helping you choose the perfect floral bouquet. With the rise of online delivery florists it’s easy to forget that a floral shop isn’t just a store, it’s an experience. With the vast array of bright, beautiful colors and delightful smells, a visit to the florist is sure to put a smile on your face.

Local residents are in luck that there is such a shop right on Third Street in Marysville. Owned by Tulalip Tribal member, Debbie Brown, along with her business partner, Shonta, Bouquets of Sunshine makes choosing creative floral bouquets an adventure in art, design, history and fun. From what flowers are best suited for certain occasions or seasons, to classic flowers or modern designs, Bouquets of Sunshine has it all.

An added benefit to shopping for flowers at a shop, versus the local street carts or grocery stores is that flowers are perishable, and shops carry the freshest blooms and can teach you how to treat them for longer lasting enjoyment. Flowers sold in open markets are susceptible to damage from temperature changes and attacks from bacteria and mold.  And during holidays when flowers are in high demand, you can place an order ahead of time and beat the rush.

Debbie talks with Tulalip News and explains a bit about what led her to the floral industry and how she ties Native American culture into her designs.


Bouquets of Sunshine’s current specialty is tropical plants and orchids. Photo/Kim Kalliber
Bouquets of Sunshine’s current specialty is tropical plants and orchids.
Photo/Kim Kalliber


You’ve spent years working in tribal leadership, what prompted you to open a floral business?

Working 20 years at the Tribe, I achieved executive level. My last job was C.O.O of the Tulalip Casino. I always wanted a flower shop; I guess it was my dream job.  I love delivering flowers the joy is indescribable. I’ve had my own floral business for 15 years, this September, and was ready to expand.  We opened our doors on Third Street on June 15th.


What are some of the challenges in the floral industry? 

Definitely 1-800 numbers and places like that where you can order flowers on the Internet. For me, right now, the challenge is getting the word out that my shop is here. But we are a member of FTD.com and Bloomnet.net so you can send flowers across the country. Please visit our website at www.bouquetsofsunshine.com.


Where do you look for your inspiration and do you incorporate traditional Native plants into your designs? 

I am continually challenged by all the beautiful work I see others do.  I have created specialty items for funerals, graduations and weddings.  And my husband Howard does work on the design forms I use.  As far as Native plants, I use Sword fern, huckleberry and salal.


So far, what is your career highlight as a florist?

I think for my current career as a floral designer, initially it was graduating from Seattle Floral Design School.  I discovered a talent I didn’t know I had.  Sometimes I’m designing a floral arrangement and thinking about the person I’m designing it for and voilà it’s finished and oh so beautiful.  A lot of times I look at it and can’t believe I even created it.


Classic red roses are perfect for Valentines, anniversaries and other occasions. Photo/Kim Kalliber


What is your favorite flower and favorite flower combo?

My favorite flower used to be a Stargazer lily, but now I’m allergic to them!  I think a colorful arrangement is the best expression of how someone feels that day; cheerful is always good! Our specialty right now is plants, especially tropical, orchids and anthuriums.


Do you have suggestion/tips for what types of bouquets to send for certain situations? 

Definitely roses for an anniversary, the more the better, and always in her favorite color.  For weddings, definitely come here, I›m less expensive than anyone else.  Often you can›t even do it yourself for what I can make them for. I love to stay at the ceremony too so that I can see that everything is perfect for the bride to walk down the aisle. Funeral arrangements are always a hard part of loss. Tulalip does a great job expressing their love and support through flowers.  I can bring my flower books to the family›s home or meet them at the Funeral home.  Now I’m just a few blocks away from Schaeffer Shipman.  I try to take into consideration the family›s choice of flowers and colors and coordinate all other orders with what the family has ordered.  Thank you and other arrangements are generally a very affordable $15 to $35.


Besides walk-ins, what is the best way to place an order with Bouquets of Sunshine?

Most of my orders come through phone calls or emails.  I am available by also text at 425-501-5406.  You can visit our website at www.BouquetsofSunshine.com and like us on Facebook. We have lots of choices to help you find the right flowers for any occasion.  I’m open 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday – Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.   My shop is located at 1512 3rd Street, at the same place Marysville Floral was previously, just down from Hilton Pharmacy. The shop number is 360-716-2626. I’m also the first business uptown to use Salish networks phone service.




Contact Kim Kalliber, kkalliber@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov




Pushing Boundaries receives $10,000 grant from Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund


Source: RemondReporter.com

Pushing Boundaries, an exercise-based paralysis recovery center in Redmond, has received a $10,000 grant from the Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund, which will go toward the organization’s general operating support.

There are approximately 70,000 people in the Puget Sound region that are living with some form or paralysis. Pushing Boundaries works with clients experiencing paralysis from any neurological disorder, including spinal cord injuries, MS, traumatic brain injuries and stroke to regain and maintain health and independence.

“Support from the Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund demonstrates their deep and long-standing commitment to a healthy community,” said Pushing BoundariesExecutive Director Tricia Lazzar. “We are honored to be recognized and included among the many organizations supported by the Tulalip Tribe.”

Pushing Boundaries is Washington’s only comprehensive exercise therapy focused on regaining function and independence in those who are paralyzed with neurological conditions.

For more information about the Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund, visit www.tulalipcares.org.