Skincare with Sheniece

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Tulalip tribal member, Sheniece Lane, found her passion at a young age while working at the Tulalip Resort Casino. After years of working in the Guest Service department, she decided on a new venture with the luxurious 14,000 square-foot T Spa. During her tenure there she gravitated toward an array of products such as toners, serums and moisturizers, learning how certain skincare products are catered to specific skin types. 

With an established interest in beauty cosmetics, including makeup and lashes, as well as self-care, Sheniece found her true calling as an esthetician while in a managerial position at the spa. This allowed her to gain as much product knowledge as possible and experience a number of services including facials and waxes. During her early days at the spa, Sheniece could usually be spotted on the retail floor with a box of exfoliator in one hand and an eye-cream in the other, carefully studying the ingredients to get an understanding of what the products did and who they were made for. Sheniece would also often pick-the-brains of the T Spa estheticians, inquiring about which masks and peels were best for particular individuals, whether they were dealing with acne, wrinkles or rosacea. 

After months of learning, she pursued an esthetician license by enrolling in a beauty academy. Now a couple years down the road and after many exciting life events, including a baby and a recent engagement, Sheniece is a highly-recommended esthetician at the place where it all began, the T Spa, and she’s ready to help her community learn about their skincare needs.

Lets begin with your personal skincare journey. What made you decide to become an esthetician?

Working at the casino offered a lot of different opportunities for me. One of the top roles I had was working at the T Spa. The environment was so supportive of where I wanted to go with skincare; it was informative. I was able to grow and learn about the skincare industry and how to sell products. Having all that product knowledge really opened my eyes to the benefits of skincare and made me want to educate other people in the same sense. That was the number one reason that made me want to pursue my esthetician license and career. 

Skincare is something that is often overlooked, why do you believe taking good care of your skin is important?

Our skin is the largest organ of our body. It’s also the largest barrier against infection. If we have cuts and are not taking good care of our skin, we’re exposing ourselves to infections, toxins or environmental factors. It’s really important to maintain a proper daily skincare regimen that’s going to help prevent any early signs of aging and wrinkles. The overall goal is to continue to provide a strong barrier for your skin because that’s how we stay away from getting sick or any illnesses.

For those who are new to skincare, it might be surprising to learn that certain products are geared toward specific skin types. What are the different types of skin?

I can go into huge detail about that, but I’m going to try to summarize it; a lot of people have normal skin. There’s normal skin, dry skin, couperose skin, mature skin and oily skin.

People with normal skin typically have smaller pores; they have a really good firm muscle texture to their skin. They’re going to be rosy around the cheeks and they have really good smooth texture on their skin. No pigmentations or lesions because they have an ideal skin type.

Dry skin is obviously going to be lacking circulation. 

Couperose skin are people who have telangiectasia or rosacea, so they either have dilated capillaries like red veins or their skin looks flushed and red.

Mature and acneic skin are self-explanatory. While people with oily skin types have more thick skin and a little bit of texture to their skin. 

How would one assess their skin type?

If someone is breaking out quite a bit, I’d recommend seeing a dermatologist because it’s usually due to an allergy. 

I also advise people to come and get a skin consultation with an esthetician at the T Spa. It’s better to do it in person because it’s easy to self-diagnose ourselves, but most of the time we’re wrong. If someone has questions, everyone is really helpful and if they’re looking for a product we can suggest that for them really quickly.  

What kind of skincare treatments do you offer at the T Spa?

The primary treatment I’m doing at the spa is the European facial. It’s essentially a customized skincare facial that’s super relaxing and educational for the client. I ask if they have any concerns, and most people don’t have any they just want to come in for the relaxation portion of it, but some people will come in and say they have clogged pores, hyperpigmentation – which is also known as dark spots that’s from an overextended period of time of sun exposure – or they have acne problems. I customize any of the products we have to target those skin concerns. What’s most important is educating my clients to use the proper skincare line. If you were to come in and say, I’m breaking out and I want to get rid of this, I’d suggest some products to you that would fit specifically towards your needs.

Another great facial to book is definitely the T Spa signature facial. That’s a good way to figure out if you wanted to do further anti-aging treatments or peels. If you wanted to get a regimen going at home, we can target what your skin needs at that time.

Lets talk about establishing an at home regimen. What skincare products are essential? 

The biggest thing people need to do is exfoliate and the reason I say that is because our skin layers are always shedding every day. When we’re not exfoliating we get buildup of oils, dirt and debris. What you want to do is exfoliate two times a week at a minimum, three time at the most. That helps bring circulation to the skin, it helps slough off your skin so you have supple, texture-free skin. 

Serum’s are important too because they have anti-oxidants. Antioxidants help detoxify and create a barrier against the elements. You ideally want to have a moisturizer on, because it’s cold out now and that takes away the moisture from our skin. Use that serum under a moisturizer to help prevent dehydration in the skin, combat signs of early aging and hyperpigmentation. 

And also any moisturizing cream that you like to use. Those three things I feel are a great start for people because most people claim to just use a bar of soap while in the shower and that’s it. Oh, and an eye-cream too! Because that’s another place where we start to show early signs of aging. 

What are your top three favorite products?

Monoi H Corrective Exfoliating cleanser. It’s my number one product I recommend to people. It’s gentle enough to exfoliate your skin but it’s still hydrating, it’s not going to strip your skin of any of its oils.

My next product I like is a Rose Hips Seed Triple C and E Firming serum. Vitamin C and E are really good for your skin because it helps maintain your moisture and hydration levels, it helps fight free radicals, wrinkle prevention and targets dark spots. It’s really like an all-in-one serum and that’s something I tell people to use under their moisturizer.

My third favorite is Bearberry Eye-Cream by Eminence because it helps target pigmentation under the eyes as well as inflammation and puffiness. And also their Artic Berry Peptide Illuminating Cream, that helps with uneven complexion and it looks like your skin is glowing.

What are the products to stay away from?

Stay away from St. Ives mango scrub or apricot scrub. Those microbeads are so bad for your skin. You don’t want those big beads tearing away your skin because that opens your skin to bacteria. And when you’re opening your skin to be that susceptible, then you’re getting more breakouts. They’ve been a little more proactive about not using microbeads in products anymore because it’s harmful for fish, sea life and the creatures of the ocean. 

And I don’t want to bash them, but I don’t encourage people to use Proactive. Their products were found bleaching people’s washcloths. So for the product to be that potent, those ingredients are not safe for people’s skin, especially those with acne. The biggest misconception people have is when they get a breakout, they immediately think they have acneic skin, and no, you’re having a breakout. The biggest contributors to breakouts are diet and stress. Stress plays a huge role, so it’s important to incorporate meditating, disconnecting or journaling because there’s so many ways our bodies communicate with us and that shows up as acne.

You mentioned diet playing a role in our skin health, can you expand a little more?

Most people typically are eating an inflammatory diet. The best thing for your skin is to always stay hydrated. Try to drink at least eight, 8oz glasses of water a day and carry a water bottle with you. Hold yourself accountable to staying hydrated because what that’s doing is completely detoxifying our system. Try to eat non-processed foods, anything that comes in a package. Try to eat wholefully, like vegetables and fruits. Fish is really good for our skin because of those omega-3’s, that helps oil production and collagen production, which helps keep us looking younger and our skin glowing. 

So our ancestors knew what they were doing?

They really did! I think that speaks for itself because a lot of our Native elders don’t have really bad wrinkles, they look youthful.

Any tips on staying consistent with your daily skincare regimen?

I struggle with that too, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes if I’m not wearing makeup during the day, I’ll want to skip it. Which is okay. If you’re a guy or not a frequent makeup wearer, it’s still important to incorporate some type of toner at the end of the day because if you’re around any dust or dirt, that’s still holding onto your skin.

The best advice I have to staying disciplined is before you get into bed, go to the bathroom, wash your face after you brush your teeth and make it a routine. It’s important to remember that when you’re sleeping, your skin is regenerating.  I skipped out a couple of times. I just got over a bad breakout, I wasn’t cleaning my skin and was eating terrible, and it was showing. I didn’t want to do anything, I was hiding away and wearing hats. It affects your self-esteem when your skin isn’t doing good. If you think about it, you’re taking care of yourself; it’s great self-care. And you’re setting yourself up for success for the next day, because for me, when I wake up in the morning and see that my skin looks really good, that sets the tone for the rest of my day to perform at my peak. 

 

Sheniece is currently working weekends at the T Spa and encourages anyone with skincare questions to visit. To book a facial or skin consultation, please contact the spa at (360) 716-6350. Sheniece is also working to expand her brand, recently investing in an organic skincare line named Beauty Counter, that avoids using several harmful ingredients that are banned in countries other than the U.S. She will also be hosting a number of pop-ups throughout the Tulalip reservation, using the new product line to conduct skin evaluations and mini-facials. 

“I hope that I’m able to reach anybody in the community who wants more skincare product and knowledge,” she says. “I’m making myself more accessible to the community so I can offer what I learned and pass that on to people that have no idea where to begin with skincare.”

Be sure to follow Sheniece’s Instagram page, @sol.beauty, to stay updated on her latest skincare and beauty news, as well on any upcoming pop-ups with her new Beauty Counter skincare line.

Our treaties are the last line of defense

Tulalip Tribes educates community on Treaty Rights

Indigenous women were at the forefront of Seattle’s Women’s March on January 21, 2017. Photo by Micheal Rios, Tulalip News.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

If you’re an avid Instagram user, and let’s face it most of us are, chances are you’ve stumbled across somebody’s profile that is filled with gorgeous photos of mountain ranges, waterfalls, beaches and tall evergreens. Every day, more and more people are exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest, hiking hidden trails in search of breathtaking views and secret camping grounds. 

A 2016 study, conducted by the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, reported that outdoor recreation generated over twenty billion dollars in this state alone. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, outdoor recreation is a three-hundred-billion-dollar industry and is continuing to grow exponentially. And while it’s important to disconnect, inhale fresh air, enjoy scenery and experience the great outdoors, it’s equally important to remember that this land is sacred and has strong spiritual ties to the original caretakers of this region, who have lived off its resources since time immemorial.  

Let’s use the power of imagination to travel back about two-hundred years or so. You’re a young Coast Salish hunter who has been tasked to provide food for your family and village. After many years of cultural teachings, you’re finally ready to head into the woods to get your first elk.

 While you’re trekking up to the mountains, you recall all of the stories about elk roaming about in abundance in an area your family has hunted for generations. But you arrive only to see that there are hundreds of people hanging out, sleeping beneath the stars and enjoying themselves in a not-so-quiet manner. Because of all the people and constant foot traffic, there isn’t an elk in sight. So, you decide to try nearby areas to see if the elk have migrated, but instead you’re met with more people. Now you face the dilemma of providing another source of sustenance for your people, who depend on that meat for the upcoming winter months. 

Although crowded hunting grounds weren’t an issue two hundred years ago, you can see how big of an impact it would’ve had on tribal villages. When the Coast Salish people signed their treaty one hundred and sixty-four years ago, they kept the right to hunt and harvest on the same lands their ancestors had since the beginning of time.

Fast forward to the summer of 2018. A story was released by a popular local radio broadcast, KUOW, with the headline reading, ‘Seattle Hikers: You may be trampling on tribal treaty rights.’ Within the article, Tulalip Natural Resources Fish and Wildlife Director, Jason Gobin, shared a similar story but in modern time, claiming that many outdoor adventurers are showing a total disregard to the tribe’s ancestral lands. He expressed that due to over congestion, the areas for tribal members to conduct their spiritual work, whether it be hunting, gathering cedar or harvesting huckleberries, has decreased substantially since the signing of the Point Elliot Treaty of 1855. 

The story spread like wildfire across Facebook and Twitter as people shared the link, voicing both their support and concern. Over the course of a few months, the article inspired several outdoor recreational organizations and non-profit conservation groups to reach out to the tribe in an effort to learn more about tribal sovereignty. Because of the inquires, the Tulalip Natural Resources department hosted a daylong event for local non-governmental organizations to learn about treaty rights and the history of the Tulalip Tribes.

On the morning of January 9, around thirty individuals from recreational and conservation groups gathered at the Hibulb Cultural Center to begin the day with a tour of the museum. While having fun with the interactive displays, the group gained a basic understanding of tribal lifeways.

“It was a very powerful cultural exhibit, I learned so much I didn’t know before,” expressed Erika Lundahl of the outdoors publishing company, Mountaineers Books. “Particularly about the woolly dogs and also to see the special relationship the people share with the salmon in the area, as well as the weaving and the residential schools. It was powerful to hear first person accounts, it’s a lot to take in. There were things I’ve heard before, but getting a chance to hear the full story is something we all need to look at very closely to get an understanding of the impacts of generational trauma.”

The group then journeyed across the reservation and made their way to the Tulalip Administration building. In conference room 162, Natural Resources’ Environmental Liaison, Ryan Miller, spoke passionately about protecting the treaty rights his ancestors fought to keep. 

Ryan Miller, Tulalip Tribes Natural Resources Environmental Liaison, speaks on the importance of treaty rights and the need to protect them.

“Treaty rights are an inherent right,” he explained. “Treaty rights were not given to tribes, it’s a common misconception that the government gives Native Peoples special rights. That’s the exact opposite of how it works. Tribes are sovereign nations, they give up rights and they retain rights. Treaty rights are rights that are not given up by tribes and they’re upheld by the federal government as part of their trust relationship with the treaty tribes. The tribes right to self-govern is the supreme law of the land. It’s woven into the U.S. constitution as well as many legal decisions and legislative articles. The constitution says, congress has the power to make treaties with sovereign nations and that treaties are the supreme law of the land. 

“We all love the Pacific Northwest,” he continues. “Other people love it here too and they keep coming back, it’s really getting aggravating. I’m not talking about one person going out and hiking. That’s not the issue. What we’re concerned about, just like the population increasing, is that those people are coming here for what we all love to do, get out into nature. They want to see all those places that you love and I love, that I have a spiritual connection to. We have to figure out a way that we can provide that for people in a way that protects not only the inherent rights of tribes but the resources, so all of us can enjoy it.”

Libby Nelson, Natural Resources Senior Environmental Policy Analyst, gave the group an in depth look at the Point Elliot Treaty. During her presentation, she familiarized the participants with the term, ‘usual and accustomed grounds’. She also touched on the Boldt Decision and spoke of the Tulalip’s current co-stewardship with the U.S. Forestry department, which dedicated an area solely for spiritual use such as berry picking and the annual mountain camp for tribal youth during the summertime. 

Natural Resources Special Projects Manager, Patti Gobin, shared a personal and moving story about her grandma, Celum Young, who was a first generation Tulalip boarding school student. As she shared her grandmother’s painful experiences, she quickly followed with a heartwarming story of Celum, depicting her as a woman full of love who struggled loving herself. Because of years of forced assimilation, Celum endured physical abuse for speaking her language and practicing her traditions while at the boarding school. And as a direct result from the boarding schools, Patti admitted that her grandmother never spoke Lushootseed or taught the language to her children and grandchildren, in fear that they would be punished just as she was. 

Patti Gobin, Tulalip Tribes Natural Resources Special Projects Manager, speaks passionately about the boarding school era and asks that attendees honor the tribal treaties.

Native children who were around Celum’s age also experienced these atrocities at the boarding schools. Indigenous languages slowly began to slip away from their respective tribal communities. It wasn’t until recently that the language saw a major revitalization within the Tulalip community. Patti shared all this information, weaving together tales of happiness during dark times, to paint a picture that showcases how the trauma from the boarding schools trickled down generation after generation. 

Patti then asked the group to help honor tribal treaties, now that they are equipped with more knowledge and understanding of treaty rights and the tribal experience. She suggested signage depicting the tribe’s history as well as murals, such as the ones that will be displayed shortly in Skykomish and the San Juan Islands. 

“You don’t have to tell the intimate story of the Stu-hubs people,” she stated. “You can simply begin with the most general knowledge, that there are Indian tribes in the area and we will respect their treaty rights.”

At the end of the presentations, Ryan handed out a list of principals to the recreationalists and conservationists, stating that the tribe wants to be included in any project proposals and to build strong relationships with each organization. He urged them to bring the principals back to their team and discuss and modify the list to meet their mission and values. 

“Protection of treaty rights protects endangered species and habitat for all of Washington citizens, not just for tribes,” he said. “All the places that you love, all the species you care about, the orca, the salmon; our treaties are the last line of defense. When our state’s governor was telling the Trump administration that they couldn’t drill for oil off of our coast, he said it would be a violation of tribal treaty rights. We’re the last vanguard, help us protect it. Treaties are the supreme law of the land. They’re living documents and they have as much importance today, to us as Indian People, and they should to you as Washington citizens, as they did the day they were signed.”

The Tulalip Natural Resources Department plans on hosting several more Treaty Rights events like this throughout the year, tailoring their presentations to groups such as environmentalists and governmental entities. For more information, please contact Natural Resources at (360) 716-4480. 

Related Articles: 

The Treaty of Point Elliott: A living document

Tulalip prepares for Treaty Days

Tulalip youth exercise treaty rights, learn hunting safety

New colonizer in chief, same fight to protect our treaty rights

Tulalip educates community on habitat restoration and treaty rights

Point Elliott Treaty, 159 years later

Tulalip Tribes stewardship recognized by the Harvard Project

Pacific Northwest Tribes unite to protect and defend salmon

 

 

Accomplishing New Year goals with SNAP-Ed’s AnneCherise Jensen

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

Tulalip Tribes SNAP-Ed Nutritionist, AnneCherise Jensen

As we welcome a new year, many of us look to begin anew. Whether it’s reading more, meeting new people, learning a foreign language or picking up a hobby, people across the globe look at the start of the new calendar year as an opportunity to work on themselves. One of the most common goals individuals set is bettering their overall health, which includes creating healthier eating habits and incorporating exercise into their daily routines. Although we begin each year with our best intentions, after the motivational ‘new year, new me’ phrase loses its luster a few weeks down the road, we tend to slip back into our old ways and think, ‘meh, maybe next year’. One of the many challenges people face when setting resolutions is sticking to them. 

The Tulalip Health Clinic offers a variety of programs and classes throughout the year in which community members can participate to help stay true along their health journey. Programs like Diabetes Prevention and Care offers cooking and gardening classes, encouraging citizens to grow their own produce and prepare their own meals to limit sugar and sodium intake. The Eat Smart, Be Healthy course, offered by the Tulalip SNAP-ED program, teaches about the nutritional value of food as well as how to budget, shop and prepare tasty meals to enjoy at home. SNAP-Ed Nutritionist, AnneCherise Jensen recently sat down with Tulalip News to offer ideas and tips on how community members can set and accomplish their New Year goals for 2019.

Its a new year. A lot of people are beginning their health and fitness journey, any tips for those just getting started?

What I usually recommend for people who are starting out their new year is to set realistic expectations and set small feasible goals that will eventually lead up to big goals. If their goals are to reverse diabetes or lose weight, it’s good to meet with professionals to set small realistic goals by changing your lifestyle in order to get there. 

People like to work on their physique this time of year, what are a few recommendations for getting back into shape? 

Getting at least thirty minutes of exercise a day, that’s a really great way to do it. I know many people don’t have access to gyms. One recommendation I like to give is find what you like to do, whether it’s Zumba, yoga, fitness or weight training, and just watch YouTube videos. YouTube is a really easy way to have a gym at your house without having to go somewhere,you can have your own space and privacy. It’s a lot about lifestyle changes and mostly exercise and slowly modifying your diet. 

What are the benefits of exercise and why is important for our bodies?

Muscle is the organ of longevity. The more muscles we have, the longer our bodies are going to stay physically strong and active. Really focusing on, not getting buff or anything, but just maintaining healthy muscle mass is important. Muscles are one of our main calorie burning sources, having more muscle keeps us thriving for a longer period of time, prevents osteoporosis and overall exercise keeps our bodies active for more years in our life. I recommend trying to increase muscle mass, even if it’s just with small weights. 

Other benefits of exercise are it helps with depression and anxiety. It gets rid of all the toxins in our body. We all probably have a diet high in sugar and caffeine, some of us smoke cigarettes or drink. That stuff can last in our bodies for a couple of weeks, and if we continue to put those toxins into our bodies, overtime it can damage our DNA synthesis. They’re carcinogens and if we don’t flush those out of our system every now and again it could eventually lead to cancer. It’s always good to have phases in our lives where we eliminate those from our body and we include more exercise and more water because it does give us more mental clarity, it helps with our emotions and our moods and it helps make our bones stronger so we don’t have osteoporosis later on in life. I consider daily exercise our daily form of medicine because it does so many things to our body; it’s good for the mind, body and soul.

You mentioned water. Can you talk about the significance of staying hydrated and ways to increase your daily water intake?

At our house we always have a big glass of water in the morning and one before we go to bed. I encourage myself to have a glass with every meal. It can be a little challenging because today, we have all these fun drinks and nobody wants to drink water. But water is chemically one of the most unique compounds because it’s comprised of hydrogen and oxygen and it could dilute or dissolve more compounds than any other acid in the world. It really helps keep our organs healthy, because if our organs are dehydrated and our brain is dehydrated, we don’t absorb our food as well, we don’t digest our food as well. Drinking water helps increase our metabolism and also helps flush out any toxins in our body. If you’re looking to get into yoga, water helps with flexibility. Water helps a lot with gaining muscle, you can’t gain muscle unless you’re fully hydrated. 

In the winter months where we have a tendency to get sick, water is good to keep our immune system going, keep the white blood cell count high and get rid of bacteria and viruses. Including fruits and berries into your water is a great way to add more flavor and more phytochemicals to help fight off those diseases and bacteria. If you have a hard time drinking water, what I like to do is drink ice with La Croix or some kind of sparkling water, that helps, especially if you’re a pop drinker. If you replace one glass of soda a day with water, it’s going to help with your mental clarity, weight and overall biochemistry.

Any advice on where to start for those who are looking to switch up their diet and make healthier eating choices?

Make breakfast your most important meal of the day because that’s what kick starts your metabolism. Try to focus on three meals a day with snacks in between. It can be overwhelming because there are a lot of diet crazes out there. What I recommend for people who may feel overwhelmed with nutritional information is stick to whole foods. If the food you’re eating was around 100 years ago, it’s probably good for you. 

You really want to step away from the processed foods and fast foods. I call them sometimes foods, where you only have them on occasion instead of a daily basis. Also using herbs and spices and the natural foods found out here on the reservation like nettles. Using what you have available for flavor instead of salt and sugar can help against diabetes and hypertension, which are two of the major killers in the United States.

Meal prepping is really big right now. What are your thoughts on meal prep? Is there any downside?

The weeks when I meal prep, my week goes by much smoother. I spend a lot less time thinking about what I’m going to eat, I save money and it decreases the chances of me going through a drive-through. Because you have a guaranteed meal, you don’t have to worry about what you’re going to eat. Many prepare all their food for the week on Sunday, the downside to that is the meals can get boring. What I like to do is make a few meals on Sunday and then again on Wednesday to add a little variety.  There are a lot of health benefits to meal prepping, you just have to stay consistent. It might be a little hard and challenging but it’s developing a habit that will lead to positive change.

Tulalip SNAP-Ed is gearing up for a big year, hosting several new classes including Mindful Movements, a yoga class offered to elders at the Senior Center on Tuesdays in February; the Food Smart class, similar to the Eat Smart, Be Healthy course but less intensive. SNAP-Ed will also continue their fan favorite programs this year like the Walking Club, Family YMCA Nights and of course the Eat Smart, Be Healthy course. For further details, please contact SNAP-Ed at (360) 716-5632.

 

Healthy Fruit Smoothies

  • Pick a Fruit: Frozen Mixed Berries, Mango, Pineapple, Peaches, Kiwi, Strawberries, Blueberries, Bananas, Pears, Grapes
  • Add Some Greens: Spinach, Kale, Avocados, Chard, Mixed Baby Greens, sprouts
  • Choose a Base: Milk, Almond Milk, Soy Milk, Low Sugar Fruit Juices, 
  • Coconut Water, Water, Coffee, Iced Green Tea 
  • Thicken It Up: Greek Yogurt, Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Cottage Cheese, Coconut, Oats, Ice Cubes
  • Power Boost: Protein Powder (casein, whey, vegetable), Ground Flax Seeds, Chia Seeds, Fish Oil, Vitamin Powder, Probiotics, Bee Pollen, Wheatgrass, 
  • Flavor Savors: Cinnamon, Honey, Coco Powder, Nutmeg, Vanilla Extract, Ginger

Creamy Raspberry Coconut Smoothie  

  • 1 cup almond milk 
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries 
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon 
  • 2 tablespoons shredded coconut 
  • ¼ cup raw cashews 
  • 3-4 ice cubes 

Berry Banana Oat Smoothie 

  • 1 banana
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free oats
  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries
  • 1 cup light coconut milk or low fat milk. 
  • 1 Tbsp. Peanut Butter 
  • 1 tsp. ground flax seeds 
  • 1 scoop protein powder 

Spinach Pineapple Green Smoothie

  • 2/3 cup low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup pineapple
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach, packed
  • ¼-1/2 cup coconut water or low fat milk
  • 3-4 cubes ice 
  • 1 Scoop Vitamin Powder 

Joseph Davis and Jacoby James journey to Ohio

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The recent big buzz around the reservation surrounded the Tulalip Hawks 12-u team and their performance at the Pro Football Hall of Fame World Youth Championship. However, they weren’t the only Tulalip tribal members vying for a national title. Youngsters Joseph Davis and Jacoby James were also in Canton, Ohio at the same time playing under the Marysville Tomahawks banner.

Marysville Pilchuck’s feeder team, the 11-u Tomahawks, won-out in their age bracket at Northwest Regionals and in doing so earned an invitation to the Hall of Fame tournament. The Tomahawks feature Joseph at lead running-back and middle linebacker, while Jacoby plays special teams and back-up safety. 

“It’s been really fun traveling with the team and just exciting to be here in Ohio,” said Joseph at his team’s Media Day. “We’ve been practicing in the cold weather back home to get ready for the games here. We’ve gotten used to it and I’m looking forward to having fun and kicking some butt.”

“It’s good to get our program on the map and make it so we get more good football players,” added Jacoby. “I’m excited because it’s a once in a lifetime experience to play football in Ohio.” 

From December 11-16, Joseph and Jacoby, along with their families, got in on the Hall of Fame experience both on and off the field. Their first game was played against the Louisiana Knights. The 1st half was all defense as neither team found the end zone, leaving the score tied 0-0 at intermission.

At halftime, Jacoby’s grandmother Verna Hill shared her thoughts on what Ohio meant to their family. “For both boys to represent their family name and their tribe is a wonderful thing,” she said. “I have twenty grandchildren and Jacoby is the only athlete out of all of them. Watching him play is amazing! He is one of the two smallest players on the team, but his energy and quickness give him an edge.”

Moments into the 2nd half, tragedy struck for the Tomahawks when their do-it-all player Joseph absorbed a helmet to helmet hit that knocked him out of the game with concussion-like symptoms. Without Joseph his team wasn’t able to compete at the level they are used to. The Tomahawks went on to lose to Louisiana, and struggled again without Joseph in their next game versus the Columbus Bucks.

  Off the field, the Davis and James families made the most of their time in Ohio, no more so than when together they toured the Hall of Fame museum and were awed by Native American sports legend, Jim Thorpe’s exhibit and bronze statue. 

“It was an amazing trip and I’m thankful to spend the time with my boys,” reflected Joseph’s father, Sam Davis. “Ohio was something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives. It meant a lot to Joseph to travel with his team and play on the national level. It was a proud dad moment for me to watch my son lead his team because he works so hard all year round to be in that position. Football has allowed him to grow not just into a well-rounded athlete, but a leader as well. Even injured, he was on the sidelines with his teammates cheering them on and keeping his guys pumped as best he could.”

Joseph’s final message before departing Ohio was, “Thank you to everyone back home for all the support in getting us here.” He’s already looking forward to next season and coming back to lead his Tomahawks team to victory. 

Twenty-three students celebrate TERO graduation

TVTC grad, Jackson Bascue (Tulalip), is ready to build a better tomorrow, equipped with proper certifications and new tool belt.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

“It feels great,” says TERO Training Vocational Center (TVTC) graduate and Tulalip tribal member, Joseph Henry. “It’s a blessing to be a part of this program. It gives us a lot of opportunities, opens many doors for us. It’s the stepping stone of where we want to go. What I learned from this program is to be humble, utilize all your tools. It gives us a career, more than just a temporary job. I have several trades that I wouldn’t mind pursuing, cementing, masonry or carpentry, that really caught my eye. The goal is to build my own house one day. We’ve gained so much skills, it’s really an honor to be Native and take part in a program like this.”

TVTC is a hands-on learning experience that trains Native Americans, from all tribal nations, and their family members in the construction trades. During the sixteen-week course, the students learn several skills that they can apply at a variety of well-paying jobs including carpentry, cementing, plumbing as well as electrical and mechanical work. In addition, they also earn their flagging, first aid and safety certifications. 

TVTC is well known throughout the nation and has welcomed Indigenous Peoples from many tribes. It is one, if not the only, Native pre-apprentice program in the United States. Most recently, the training center began adding new vocational trainings for their students such as marine technology and medical pre-apprenticeship. 

On the morning of December 17, friends and family of twenty-three TVTC students gathered at the Hibulb Cultural Center longhouse to witness their loved ones graduate from the program.

With fifteen Tulalip graduates, seven graduates from other tribal nations and one Tulalip spouse, this latest graduating class saw a whopping twenty-two students complete the construction program and one student successfully finish the medical apprenticeship program. TERO strives to provide ‘training for a better tomorrow’ by teaching tribal members how to work with their hands, giving them the tools and foundation to build a new future for themselves.

“Our construction students did sixteen weeks of intense training,” explains TERO Director, Summer Hammons. “That’s five hundred and sixty-hours and twenty-eight college credits. They’re walking away with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) training, forty-hours of HAZWOPER [Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response] training, forty-hours of scaffolding, flagger certification, CPR/First Aid training and boom, scissor, and fork-lift certification. 

“Our medical apprenticeship program, we started at our health clinic,” she continues. “It’s about a year-long and we worked with the Washington Association of Community and Migrant Health Services. They do forty hours a week, completing a 2000-hour apprentice program in the medical field, requiring additional online classes, ten to fifteen hours a week, plus three Saturday, full-day clinical workshops. And bringing the cultural element, we’ve also brought a new aspect called marine technology and that’s working with the waters and the fishing component, so that our students can learn how to fabricate their boats and work on their engines.” 

Indigenous mother and TVTC graduate, Katrina Black Elk (Fort Belknap), with her kids who proudly display their mom’s achievements for student of the quarter and perfect attendance.

The TVTC participants work on a number of projects throughout the course, all while developing important and necessary skills like time management, finance and resume building. The program is largely based on creating a brighter future for tribal families. Therefore, TVTC puts a special emphasis on including the families throughout their loved one’s journey, hosting fun family nights and providing a number of resources for children, to parents who are enrolled in the classes. 

As the graduation ceremony continued, the students received their diplomas as well as a tool belt they can put to use once they’ve landed their first job. Upon receiving their certificates, it was easy to see that each student shared a unique connection with their instructors Mark Newland, Billy Burchett and Lisa Telford.

“When I first started I wasn’t sure if I would complete it because my whole life I’d quit things before finishing,” expresses Tulalip tribal member and TVTC grad, Rose Runningwater. “Lisa pushed me really hard to do this for myself. I completed this class because I wanted it and I realized that because she pushed me. It was a really good experience and I know today that I’m a woman who can spread my wings, fly and get what I want out of life.” 

 Many students offered hugs and even shared a few words of appreciation about their teachers, gifting them with items such as paddles and blankets. 

“I can’t describe it; it makes me want to well up right now,” says Mark after receiving a beautiful Eighth Generation wool blanket. “I’m so humble, I just try to pass on what I know to the people of my community. We had a large class – lots of strong personalities, leaders and also six strong women to help out. We built four tiny houses that will be utilized here in Tulalip and we also built some looms for this museum that are on display right now. It was a really fun class and I’m excited to see where this will take them.”

Committing to a program that takes months to complete is no easy feat by any means. Although a majority of the class lives locally, a handful of student’s live hours away from Tulalip and made a long-distance trip every day, including Warm Springs tribal member, Nalani Brisbois, who lives nearly one hundred miles away in Nisqually. By befriending fellow classmate and Colville tribal member, Annette Squetimkin, Nalani fortunately did not have to make the entire commute alone.

“I would wake up at 3:30 every morning, get ready and hit the road by 4:30,” Nalani says. “I’d stop in Tukwila and pick up Annette and we’d get here around 7:30. It was kind of hard – early mornings every day. Sometimes I didn’t want to come back but I kept at it and I’m happy because it was really worth it.” 

Puyallup tribal member, Sandy Dillion, can relate to his classmates as he had early mornings as well and would return home late evenings after traveling through stop-and-go traffic, taking away much needed family time from his wife and kids. 

“It was pretty tough,” he says. “Waking up at 4:30 in the morning and having to leave the house at 5:05. It was worth it for me though because just thinking about it, in the long run, driving this far every day to make some money in my future is definitely going to pay off. Our TERO department [in Puyallup] is not as big as this one, so for them to reach out to other tribal members to get them educated and started on a career path is important. I’m really appreciative of this opportunity and I want to thank the Tulalip Tribes.”

Several union representatives were in attendance, looking to introduce themselves and recruit new employees. The TERO department recognized two local construction business owners, Chris Winters and Gordy Sansaver, who acted as liaisons, assisting TVTC graduates find work throughout the years. Many TVTC Alumni sat amongst the crowd, supporting the new graduates. Alumni took a moment to share their success stories and experiences with the program, encouraging other tribal members to consider a career in the trades. 

“If you have any interest at all, come sign up,” said Mark. “You’ll find out that working with your hands, working outside and building a future is for you because the rewards are tremendous. The Tulalip TERO program has paved the way for so many students. It’s there for the taking, you just have to reach out and put your mind to it and go for it.”

The TVTC pre-apprentice construction program is accredited through Renton Technical College and South Seattle Community College and is funded by the Tulalip Charitable Fund and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. There is no cost to enroll in the apprenticeship and the program comes highly recommended from previous students. 

For further details regarding the TVTC program, please contact TERO at (360) 716-4747.

Healing to Wellness Court graduate, Verle Smith, proves recovery is possible

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News 

The Tulalip Police Department issued a recent press release that included a report from the Washington State Department of Health, stating that there were eighty-one deaths linked to fentanyl in the first half of 2018. An increase of nearly seventy percent from the previous year. Last year there were approximately 72,000 deaths nationwide, which was shocking on its own. This latest news means that the opioid epidemic is still very much on the rise in America, as families and communities continue to search for solutions to help their loved ones recover. 

At the beginning of 2017, the Tulalip Tribes decided to take different approach to help heal their people struggling with addiction by introducing the Healing to Wellness Court. Similar to a state drug court, Tulalip’s five-stage program also requires addicts convicted on drug-related charges to take random drug tests and attend mandated court appearances. When conjuring up the idea of the wellness court, the tribe put together a team dedicated to reinstilling traditional values that tribal societies hold so dear, community and culture. 

“We take in what’s called high-risk, high-need,” explains Healing to Wellness Court Coordinator, Hilary Sotomish. “High-risk to reoffend criminally and a high-need addiction, meaning they can’t do it [sobriety]by themselves, they need a team to help them through it. Our program is about eighteen to twenty-four months and depending on how well they go through each stage determines how long it takes. For some people it takes eighteen months, but we expect relapse to happen. If they have relapses or have things that they can’t get done, we require them to take life skills classes and have a job or be in schooling. We don’t go over twenty-four months. Research has shown that if you have somebody in a wellness court or drug court for over twenty-four months, it’s not successful.”

Tribal member Verle Smith joined the Healing to Wellness Court a few short months after the program began. For nearly two years, he’s followed the program, rebuilding relationships with his family and within the community, rediscovering who he is.

“At the beginning it was a struggle, I didn’t know which way to go,” he says. “I had to give it to my higher power, listen up and work on myself. It slowly got brighter.”

Verle mentioned that he relapsed during the course of the program but didn’t let that dark moment deter him from his path to sobriety. He instead used the relapse as a learning experience, a reminder of what was truly important to him. On December 10, Verle’s family, friends and supporters gathered at the Greg Williams Court to proudly cheer him on as he became the first graduate of the Healing to Wellness Court.

“There was one struggle in between but I brightened up and just punched forward,” he states. “Life became so lovely. I now have the opportunity to be around family. I love it. I still struggle today but every morning I have the opportunity for another day, so I’m living it one day at time. I do my mediation prayer and I believe that’s the key, make sure you say your morning prayers. I talk to a lot of people every day, like my best friend. Him and my family are my inspiration to fight harder for other people who need it. I love that people still have my back after everything.”  

Hilary and the Wellness Court team presented Verle with three gifts in recognition of his accomplishment; a blanket, a drum and plaque that showcased the five coins he received when completing each phase of the program. Over the course of an emotional two hours, Verle’s friends and family members offered teary congratulatory speeches as well as many long embracing hugs and a couple traditional songs. All six Tulalip Board of Directors expressed their happiness of Verle’s success, including Les Parks who helped get the Healing to Wellness Court started.

“This was initially a pilot project that is obviously working,” Les expressed. “The wellness court team is tasked with ascertaining who is on highest risk, highest need in our community. Our court identified nineteen high-risk, high-needs and I bet you there are over two hundred members out there who would love to take part in this program, who don’t fall under that category. We need to expand this program and keep working to bring on some of those low-risk, low-need people.”

Every Tuesday, wellness participants attend court at the Tulalip Justice center and speak directly with Judge Ron Whitener about their struggles and successes. Depending on their setbacks or progress, Judge Whitener awards the participants with either a sanction or an incentive. 

“Tulalip, like most communities, are facing a lot of issues with heroin,” says Judge Whitener. “Programs like the wellness court are a more traditional way of doing things. Regular drug court is very hands off, not very supportive and the person’s expected to go and fix themselves. You got to work with them, try to get through it with them, knowing it takes a long time. I think that process is really more appropriate for Tulalip. 

Just as Board Member Parks said, we’re looking to expand the ideals of this wellness court, which is for our highest risk people, and move those ideals down into the other cases and try to make the whole court look more like the wellness court. I’m really proud of Verle, I’ve known him a long time and he’s a good person. I’m really happy he was our first graduate. We have serval others coming up, so we’re looking to make these celebrations quite regular in the community.”

The Healing to Wellness Court is on track to present seventeen more plaques to recovering addicts, who are slated to graduate from the program throughout 2019. 

The wellness court participants developed their own community of support and often encourage each other to stay focused on their journey. Each participant was in attendance of Verle’s graduation and a few even spoke, stating that Verle serves as an inspiration to his fellow participants. This was something that Verle was pleased to hear and reassured the community that he’s willing to help others and hopes that his story shows that recovery is possible through hard work and determination.

“My son is here with me today, you have no idea what that means to me,” Verle emotionally expressed. “My daughter was by my side all day today, like she wasn’t going to let me go again. If it wasn’t for the wellness court, I don’t know where I’d be – if I’d even still be here.  They gave me the opportunity to experience something that works for my life. I didn’t know which way to turn, so I figured I’d try something different and I’m grateful for it. When I first went to treatment, I told my wife that I’m in the place that I need to be. I want to thank the wellness court for it all. I now plan to go through the rest of my life bringing the next person closer to where they’re supposed to be, to where they’re needed.”

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

Holiday season kicks off with Festival of Trees

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

 Extravagantly festive Christmas trees and wreaths, each decorated with its own unique theme and style, brightened the Orca Ballroom at the Tulalip Resort Casino during the 33rd annual Festival of Trees. 

The week-long celebration kicked off November 27 with Opening Night festivities, continued with the excitement-filled Gala Dinner and Live Auction on November 30, and concluded December 1 with the family friendly Teddy Bear Breakfast.

Each year, thousands of community members take part in the Festival of Trees – including volunteers, sponsors, and attendees – to raise funds for Children’s Services at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett. For more than three decades, Providence Children’s Center has been providing comprehensive, family-oriented care and highly specialized therapies – such as physical, occupational, speech and feeding therapy – for children with a wide variety of special needs.

“Knowing this is one of the largest charitable events for Snohomish County, it is appropriate for us to host and participate with goodwill and sharing the opportunity to help all children in need,” explained Marilyn Sheldon, manager of Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund, on the importance of hosting the Festival and being the title sponsor. “We recognize that over 50% of Tulalip’s population is 0-24 years of age and Providence is our local hospital for care most tribal members use for emergency situations and other needs. Also, this event brings many people to our facilities for the week and encourages them to come back and host their own business/charity event at our venue.”

A highlight of the holiday season, the Festival of Trees provides entertainment for countless families and children. Whether it’s a black-tie evening with a three-course dinner or a free afternoon with cookies and Santa, the Festival’s variety of events offer holiday cheer for all kinds of crowds. The stunningly decorated Christmas trees won’t soon be forgotten as their specialized themes like ‘Tiding of Comfort’ and ‘Christmas with Rudolph’ to ‘Escape with Alaskan Wildlife’ and ‘Holiday at Hogwarts’ capture the imagination.

During the elegant Gala Dinner and Live Auction, the dazzling Christmas trees and wreaths were sold to the highest bidders, with proceeds going to Providence Children’s Services. Several of the trees were reserved to be put on display throughout the Children’s Center as a special treat for the kids this holiday season.

“We continue an annual tradition that has raised more than $11 million over the past 33 years for children and families who come to Providence for care,” stated Festival Chairs, Sean and Lisa Kelly. “Funds raised will not only provide critical support for pre-term and at-risk infants, but will also touch the lives of thousands of children in our community, from birth through age 18.”

The generosity of the donors and Festival attendees support Providence in growing and expanding the specialized therapies, equipment and educational classes that do so much to change young lives. All funds raised will support Providence programs and services such as Pediatrics, the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, the Children’s Center, the Autism Center, and Camp Prov, a summer camp for children with special needs. 

For nearly two decades, Tulalip Tribes has been an important partner to Providence in the Northwest Washington Region, by helping provide the funding and support needs to care for the health of our growing community. Contributions made by Tulalip to Providence General Foundation since 2002 have totaled more than $700,000. For their dedication to the Festival of Trees, the Tulalip Tribes were honored with the third annual Spirit of Festival Award.

“The lives of thousands of children, that includes Tulalip tribal children, will be helped thanks to the generosity received from the Festival of Trees fundraising efforts,” said Board of Director Mel Sheldon, thirteen-year member of the Providence General Foundation. “We are very fortunate to have a relationship with Providence Medical Center and to support such an amazing opportunity that really looks at the bigger the picture. We all want to do our part to create a sustainable and healthy community.”

One of Snohomish County’s largest and most well attended holiday events, the Festival of Trees has been a beloved community tradition for 33 years. The magical setting and community spirit at the Festival is a wonderful kick-off to the holiday season. 

Subaru Shares the Love with the Tulalip Foundation

Robb McCalmon, Roy Robinson Subaru General Sales Manager, with the Tulalip Foundation display.

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

You may recall a heartwarming TV commercial from last year’s holiday season where several families and individuals sang a cover of the popular song, Put a Little Love in Your Heart. Towards the end of the commercial it was revealed to be an advertisement for Subaru, with a message of spreading love throughout the local communities of America. The company stated that for every new Subaru sold or leased during the holidays, they would donate $250 to the purchaser’s choice of charity, for a campaign known as the annual Subaru Share the Love event.

Their latest television spotlight showcases that over the past ten years, Subaru donated approximately $140 million through Share the Love, claiming the money raised help protect over one hundred National Parks, rescue over 50,000 animals, deliver over 2 million meals to elders across America and grant 1,800 wishes for youth living with life-threatening illnesses; donating the funds to the National Park Foundation, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Meals on Wheels America and Make-A-Wish Foundation respectively. 

In 2013, Subaru afforded each dealership the opportunity to choose a local charity or non-profit as a fifth option for their customers to choose from each year. Out of six hundred and thirty dealerships nationwide, six hundred and twenty-eight participate in the Share the Love event annually, including the friendly crew at Marysville Roy Robinson Subaru.

“We used to do Make-A-Wish, the Washington and Alaska chapter, but this year wanted to do something more local,” says Robb McCalmon, Roy Robinson Subaru General Sales Manager. “The Subaru Share the Love event is a campaign that Subaru does with their retailers starting each November and running through the new year. They allow us to partner with a hometown charity and it hit us last year that the community does so much for us, we want to return that love and show our appreciation. We reached out to some of the elders of the tribe and we discussed where the donation would best benefit the community, and with their guidance, we selected the Tulalip Foundation.”

The Tulalip Foundation is a non-profit organization that’s been dedicated to empowering the wellbeing of the Tulalip reservation and surrounding communities since 2007. The Foundation works with a number of programs to create a brighter future for the tribe; programs that are based on three important values to many tribal families: education, culture and justice. 

The organization originally began as a way to raise the remaining million dollars needed to open the Hibulb Cultural Center. Since the museum’s opening, the Foundation has raised money, accepted donations and applied for a number of grants to provide several programs and departments with money for events, incentives and services including the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy Parent Committee, Tulalip Office of Civil Legal Aid, Tulalip TERO Vocational Training Center and the Tulalip Veteran’s Quilt Project. Additionally, the Foundation also hosts a number of fundraisers throughout the year such as the Hibulb Cultural Center Salmon Bake and the Foundation’s annual Giving Tuesday event.  

“It was a huge surprise that we were selected for the Subaru Share the Love Event,” says Tulalip Foundation Executive Director, Nicole Sieminski. “We have to give credit to Gus Taylor. He’s a friend of one of the upper management team members at Roy Robinson. They mentioned to him that they were looking for a local charity for the event this year, Gus shared that information with Marjorie James, one of our trustees, and together they got the ball rolling.”

In recent years, the Share the Love event has generated upwards of $40,000 each year at the Marysville dealership, a number that Robb is hoping to match but Nicole and the Foundation isn’t necessarily anticipating, stating she’s happily thankful for whatever amount is raised. Because the final donation remains to be unknown until the end of the event, the Tulalip Foundation Board of Trustees will determine how the donation is distributed once the total is revealed. Robb ensures that his crew is dedicated to working hard this holiday season, with a goal of delivering a ‘big check’ to the foundation. Roy Robinson also created an information kiosk located inside the dealership so people buying or leasing a new car can learn more about the Tulalip Foundation when determining which of the five charities they can select. 

“Anybody who wants to buy or lease a new Subaru, we’ll give them the opportunity to donate that $250 towards the Tulalip Foundation,” he says. “It’s an awesome event during the holidays and we’re hoping for a successful season like we’ve seen over the past few years.”

The Tulalip Foundation is assisting with the upcoming Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy Christmas Concert & Silent Auction and is also raising funds for the Tulalip Veteran’s Quilt Project by selling hand painted stone pendants, created by Tulalip Artist David Spencer Sr., at the Hibulb Cultural Center gift shop.

“We are so thankful to be selected as the hometown charity for Roy Robinson’s Subaru Share the Love event,” expresses Nicole. “We have a pretty broad umbrella and we now have the opportunity to support even more programs and help a lot of people. We’re excited to partner with a company that has such a large presence in the greater Marysville area and hopefully this will help get our name out there too, because right now we’re still pretty small in terms of a non-profit.”

 For more information, please visit Marysville Roy Robinson Subaru or contact the Tulalip Foundation at (360) 716-5400.

November’s students of the month

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Marysville School District’s very own Equity, Diversity, and Indigenous Education department created the Student of the Month Awards to recognize outstanding students who have demonstrated commendable academic success in the classroom. Student awardees in the past have displayed an admirable dedication to their school work and active involvement amongst their peers.

Previously, only one girl and one boy student were honored, but the program has grown to include one impressive student from each of the elementary, middle, and high school levels. For their commitment to excellence in the classroom and backed by strong recommendations from school faculty, 3rd grader Leah Stacy of Kellogg Marsh Elementary, 8th grader Hudson Reyes of Cedarcrest Middle School, and 9th grader Jaycynta Myles-Gilford of Heritage High School were announced as students of the month for November.

The three students, all Tulalip tribal members, received special recognition and were given a commemorative certificate during the Marysville School District’s school board meeting held on Monday, November 19.

Leah Stacy, 3rd grade, Kellogg Marsh Elementary.

Special Education Liaison Amy Sheldon introduced Leah to everyone in attendance. “Leah is an amazing little girl and works very hard on her school work,” said Amy. “She has made significant academic growth. In fact, over the last year Leah has made a tremendous jump in her reading skills.”

Leah’s teacher Ms. Whitfield added, “Leah is becoming a wonderful citizen at school and is so kind and polite to others. She works hard through so many challenges and doesn’t give up until she accomplishes what she needs to.”

Next up, 8th grader Hudson was described by Native Liaison Terrance Sabbas. “We’ve noticed a lot of growth from Hudson this school year, especially with his improved attendance. His grades have gotten a lot better, but most importantly as an individual he has matured into a very respectful and awesome person to be around.”

Hudson Reyes, 8th grade, Cedarcrest Middle School.

High school student of the month honors went to freshman Jaycynta, daughter of Lushootseed Teacher Michelle Myles. Heritage High School’s Acting Principal praised the 9th grader by sharing, “When I first met Jaycynta there were two things I noticed right away. First, she’s a super talented athlete, to the point when she’s playing her sports she is so intense and focused. But secondly, when she’s away from sports she’s super personable and kind. I was very happy to see this duality in her as a young woman. Jaycynta is a member of ASB and contributes to our Lushootseed weather program. She’s just amazing.”

Jaycynta Myles-Gilford, 9th grade, Heritage High School.

While receiving her award, the usually unassuming Jaycynta shared she aspires to be a pediatric anesthesiologist or neo-natal nurse. “I really want to study medicine and use that knowledge professionally to help children, especially our youngest ones who are in the most need,” she shared.

Going forward, a selection committee will review all student nominations based on their academics and school engagement. Each month three students (representing elementary, middle and high school levels) will be recognized as students of the month.