A century ago, photographers recorded the tribal culture
By Gale Fiege, The Herald
TULALIP — There he is.
In 1905, Everett photographer Norman Edson, then 26, jumped into the middle of his shot, knelt on one knee and squeezed his shutter release.
With his newsboy cap, dapper suit and bowtie, Edson’s attire contrasts with the heavy shawls of the Tulalip women at his side. They are weavers, sitting cross-legged on mats on the ground. One smiles, the other concentrates on her work.
Edson was one of several pre-World War I photographers who captured life on the reservation, creating a valuable record of the Tulalip people more than 100 years ago.
The lecture examines the work of Edson (1879-1968), Marysville-based photographer Ferdinand “Ferd” Brady (1880-1967) and J.A. Juleen (1874-1935) of Everett. In addition, it was at Tulalip that the well-known Seattle photographer Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952) began his nationwide quest to photograph all the North American Indian tribes.
“Each of these men left important bodies of photographic work, remarkable images of the Tulalip tribal community a century ago,” Dilgrad said.
Of the three photographers featured in Dilgard’s presentation, Juleen’s work survives most prominently in prints at Hibulb and in the collection of his glass negatives at the Everett library.
Juleen was known for his four-foot panoramas of Northwest landscapes.
At Tulalip, Juleen took photos of important events: the celebration at a newly completed longhouse and the dedication of a story pole by artist William Shelton, as well as portraits of Shelton and many others.
“Unlike Curtis, however, Juleen didn’t put people in tepees or pose them with other trappings,” Dilgard said. “He took pictures of people as they were and left us photographs of high quality.”
Edson was a student of Bert Brush, who had a photography studio on Wetmore Avenue. Dilgard calls Edson a renaissance man. He played the violin, studied birds and hand-tinted his black-and-white photos.
Brady was known in Snohomish and Skagit counties for his commercial work and his photo records of industry and development.
“There are wonderful images by Brady of the paper mill at Lowell, full of women employees who wore white blouses and their hair tied up in big bows,” Dilgard said. “Brady is one of the forgotten masters of the craft. He used available light at Tulalip, instinctively shooting photos that would become historically and culturally important.”
Mary Jane Topash, tour specialist at Hibulb Cultural Center, said that most of the photos in the museum from the early part of the 20th century are by the photographers Dilgard plans to talk about.
“It’s great to have the photos of special events such as Treaty Days, canoes landing at Tulalip Bay, important funerals,” Topash said. “They provide a time capsule and offer a wealth of information the tribes would not have without these photos.”
Dilgard said he is pleased to present information about the photographers.
“Hibulb is all about the families, language and culture of the Tulalip people,” he said. “To be invited in as an outsider, as these photographers were, is flattering, as I’m sure it was to Juleen, Brady and Edson.”
Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; email@example.com.
Tulalip’s early photographers
A presentation about the photographers who captured life on the Tulalip reservation in the early 1900s is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the Hibulb Cultural Center, 6410 23rd Ave. NE, Tulalip.
The program is free with museum admission, which is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, $6 for students, $6 for military personnel and veterans and free to members of the Tulalip Tribes.
Wildlife biologists from the Stillaguamish and Tulalip tribes are testing a new way to track the population of the Nooksack elk herd using the animals’ scat.
Tribal biologists have partnered with Western Washington University’s Huxley College of the Environment to determine the most efficient way to collect DNA from elk scat. Genetic material can be found in the intestinal mucus coating the pellets. This winter, biologists sampled fresh scat using toothpicks and cotton swabs, submitting the samples to a genetics lab to determine which method is most effective at providing an animal’s unique genotype.
“This is a non-invasive method that does not require collaring animals or helicopter time to survey them,” said Stillaguamish biologist Jennifer Sevigny.
While the current method of using tracking collars and aerial surveys is expensive, it allows state and tribal wildlife managers to determine the bull-to-cow and cow-to-calf ratios needed to set harvest levels. To fit elk with tracking collars, the animals must be captured and tranquilized.
In the spring, the Stillaguamish and Tulalip tribes plan to coordinate a large population survey, sampling elk scat in the North Cascades Mountains, including forested landscapes that are hard to monitor during aerial surveys.
“Once individual elk are identified by their DNA, a population estimate can be obtained by re-sampling an area and comparing the number of originally identified individuals – the marked animals – to the newly identified animals – the unmarked animals,” said Tulalip wildlife manager Mike Sevigny.
During the past two decades, tribal and state co-managers completed numerous habitat restoration projects to improve forage for the Nooksack herd, which had declined to about 300 animals by 2003. According to 2012 aerial surveys, the herd has rebounded to as many as 1,400 elk.
EVERETT — Between 2005 and 2009, billions of oyster larvae began dying at hatcheries around the state before anyone knew what was going on or could do anything about it.The state’s $270 million shellfish industry, which employs about 3,200 people, is in danger.
One oyster farm, Goose Point Oysters in Willapa Bay, has begun raising oyster larvae in Hawaii because it can no longer grow them here.
The reason, scientists say, is ocean acidification.
“The problem’s not going away,” said Ian Jefferds, general manager and co-owner of Penn Cove Shellfish in Coupeville.
On top of pollution and loss of habitat, rising acidity in Washington waters is the latest hazard faced by marine life, including the lucrative shellfish and fishing industries.
Acidification of marine waters is caused primarily by the ocean’s absorption of carbon emissions, scientists say. Other human activities, such as agricultural runoff, contribute. The oceans are rapidly becoming more acidic after thousands of years of stability, scientists say.
The Northwest is particularly vulnerable to the problem because it receives naturally upwelling carbon-laden water from deep in the Pacific Ocean.
Terry Williams, commissioner of fisheries and natural resources for the Tulalip Tribes, was concerned enough about the phenomenon to be one of several people to approach former Gov. Chris Gregoire in 2011 to form a panel to study the problem.
Reducing the effect of human activities is one place to start, the panel concluded. Carbon emissions represent a much broader and tougher challenge.
Still, work has to begin now, experts say.
“Godzilla is still small. Let’s not wait until he’s big,” said Brad Warren, director of the Global Ocean Health Program, a Seattle-based group formed to address ocean acidification and its effect on fisheries.
Warren, a member of the state panel, spoke at an informational meeting on the topic in Everett last Thursday.
About 120 people attended. Panel members have been conducting the meetings around the state by request of local officials.
The committee made several recommendations, including reducing agricultural runoff into local waters; investigating water treatment methods to control the problem in targeted areas, and ultimately, finding ways to reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuels.
Rep. Norma Smith, R-Clinton, served on the state panel. She’s convinced ocean acidification is a legitimate threat and is concerned for Penn Cove shellfish.
Still, she would have liked more effort to involve the agricultural community before recommending that farm waste be reduced.
“You have to look at this holistically,” Smith said. “We need to recognize that we need both; we need aquaculture and we need agriculture.”
Smith said the panel’s call for stricter regulations on pollutants, while not yet specific, are getting ahead of the game.
“That’s backwards,” she said. “You build solid models, you create a solid scientific foundation, then you move forward with the regulatory practices that are warranted.”
Some people still look at ocean acidification with the same skeptical eye as they do at climate change, Warren said. While both conditions are caused by carbon emissions, they’re not the same thing, said Terrie Klinger, an associate professor in the school of marine and environmental affairs at the University of Washington, a member of the study panel who spoke at the Everett meeting.
Scientists are just scratching the surface about ocean acidification, but a few facts have been established, according to scientists on the panel.
About 30 percent of carbon emitted into the atmosphere from human activity is absorbed by the oceans, Klinger said.
High acidity reduces calcium carbonate levels in the water, preventing mollusks from properly forming their shells.
Acidification is known to affect pteropods — tiny, plankton-size snails — along with krill and some types of prawns that are staple foods for fish, whales and other sea life.
“These species are known to be sensitive to acidity and they’re a large part of local food webs,” said Shallin Busch, a research ecologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Seattle. She’s also a member of the study panel.
The ocean’s surface pH level — which measures the acidity or alkalinity of an environment — was about 8.1 for millennia, as far back as carbon dating tells us, Klinger said. The lower the number, the greater the acidity.
Just since 1850 it’s fallen to 8.0, and at the current rate will hit 7.8 by 2094, she said.
When it comes to acidity in the water, one-tenth of a point is a big difference, Klinger said.
“It’s dropping like a rock,” she said.
In measurements taken at Tatoosh Island on the Washington coast in 2000, the level was 7.5, Klinger said.
There are some unknowns as well. Some species, such as the Suminoe oyster native to Asia, are comparatively immune to the effects of acidification, Busch said.
In inland marine waters such as those in Western Washington, it’s difficult to measure acidity with consistent accuracy because of the influx of river water and substances in runoff, experts say.
“We need more sophisticated instruments,” Klinger said.
Penn Cove Shellfish grows mussels near Coupeville and at another site on the Hood Canal.
“We’ve seen some incidents in our Quilcene Bay site and at Penn Cove that we don’t have an explanation for,” Jefferds said.
Specifically, some of the mussels have been having trouble clinging to the mesh socks on which they’re grown. The company has enlisted NOAA to study the problem.
Tulalip tribal fishermen have been noticing a decline in fish and shellfish populations for more than a decade, Williams said.
It’s hard to tell, though, how much of the decline is caused by pollution and loss of habitat and how much it might be because of ocean acidification.
That’s why the tribes plan to hire scientists to do detailed studies of local waterways to try to learn more, Williams said.
One thing everyone seems to agree on is that getting started working on solutions is important.
“This is the first state in the country to launch a comprehensive attack on this problem,” Warren said.
Tulalip veteran Wes Charles, Jr., was born July 4, 1942 at the “Old Indian Hospital” off Star Route at Tulalip. “A Native American born on the 4th of July! You can’t get more American than that,” exclaimed Wes. It is his common retort to the gleeful responses elicited by those who learn his birth date.
His father was Wes Charles, Sr., a Snoqualmie Indian of the Tulalip Tribes and his mother is Helen Wise Singson, a Native of Nanaimo and NitiNat First Nations, B.C., Canada.
Wes’s maternal grandfather was Bill Wise, Sr., a Chief of the Nanaimo Band, B.C., Canada. His dear grandmother, Hazel Wise, was NitiNat of Vancouver Island, B.C. “They were a blessing in my life,” said Wes.
“Being an urban Indian and raised here in the city [Seattle], my one great regret is that I didn’t get to know my people at Tulalip. I have relatives at Tulalip, some I don’t know and I feel truly sorry and ashamed for not knowing them,” said Wes.
Of his Tulalip family, Wes has two half-sisters, Audrey and Diane Charles. “They live on the Tulalip reservation and I wish that I saw them more” His father, Wes Charles, Sr., has passed, as have his two uncles, Leo P. Charles and Joseph Charles, Jr.
Wes is grateful to have kept in touch with his Tulalip cousin Don (Penoke) Hatch whose generosity and habit of doing good without accolade he praised.
A second regret among the few of his life is not receiving his Indian name. “It is one sad aspect of urban living away from the people and culture of the reservation,” said Wes.
He spent much time with his grandparents at Nanaimo. His Nanaimo Indian Band has a family Sacred Mask dance and song, “SkweSkwe” that has been in his family for generations.
Of his Nanaimo, NitiNat, and Filipino family, Wes has three half-brothers, Marvin “Bunny” Singson who lives at Hoodsport, Sonny “Marciano” Singson who lives in Lacey, Mike “Butch” Singson who lived on the east coast but passed from cancer, and two half-sisters, Marilyn “Lynn” Singson who lives with his mother, Helen Singson, 90, in Renton, and Marian “Snookie” Singson who also passed from cancer
Wes said his has been a full life. “Like most Indian families, in my childhood, I experienced issues with family alcoholism, but my life was mostly good. I don’t like to think about the negative.” He was raised in Seattle and graduated from Garfield high school in 1960.
Wes was raised by his mother and his stepfather, Marciano Vincent Singson, a Filipino American who loved Wes and who taught him to cook specialty Filipino dishes loved by his family. “Dad raised six kids and worked with Great Northern on the railroad,” said Wes, adding that his family in B.C. was very fond of him.
Marine Corps Military Service
Wes served eight years in the Marine Corps where he traveled all around the world, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Philippines, Mexico and many U.S. states, Hawaii, Florida, North Caroline, and Guam
In Chu Lai, a seaport in Nui Thanh district, Quang Nam province, Vietnam, Wes made five major operations, engaged with the enemy. “Chu Lai was all scrub pine. We were guarding the Seabees and made an airstrip for jets to land.”
Preparing to return from Vietnam in 1967, Wes was asked to choose three possible discharge stations in preferred order. Wanting to discharge close to home, he chose Sand Point, Bangor, and Camp Pendleton in that order. Instead sent to Marine Corps Base Camp LeJeune, a 246-square-mile United States military training facility in Jacksonville, North Carolina, later determined to be a toxic site. Wes was honorably discharged from Camp LeJeune after a year of final service, leaving the Marine Corps with the rank of Sergeant E5.
“Vietnam changed everything in my life. It took a long time to adjust after I returned. Night was my best friend. I was afraid to go to sleep, so I took long walks and sat in the park and reflected,” said Wes. “For a long time, I slept with a knife under the pillow and a pistol nearby.” He had gone to Vietnam with 125 men. Only 22 of them returned. For years, he was haunted by survivor guilt and the question, “Why did I come back, and not all those guys?”
Answers came unexpectedly in his recent viewing of a documentary film. A Sioux veteran with long gray hair related his return from Vietnam and ensuing years of depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and terrible nightmares. He then went to a sweat lodge purification ceremony and talked to an elder.
Wes was surprised when the Sioux veteran asked the same questions haunting him since Vietnam, “Why did I not get hit? Why did I come home and not them?” The elder replied, “You did get hit, but the bullets passed through you because the Creator had other things in store for you.” After 44 years, these words comforted. He could finally reconcile having been spared and accept that while he was not hit, he had his wounds, and that Creator had other things in store for his life. “I hope I’ve achieved my life purpose,” said Wes.
Another striking revelation from the documentary was that, due to stereotypes, other Native veterans had been required to serve as point man on military operations. This was often the case during Wes’s Vietnam experience. There was a stereotypical assumption that Indians have some innate gifts as guides. Of course, serving as point man also meant greater risk to life or limb.
Wes acknowledges discrimination in the Marine Corps. At the same time, “Throughout my military and law enforcement career, I saw a lot of prejudice against all colors. I saw people hungry for power. I saw people efficient at their jobs. I saw people in high places that are just collecting a check.”
In his ensuing law enforcement career, Wes was often approached for advice and support by veterans from various military branches “who had seen heavy fighting in Nam.” He noted, “It was something I did gladly. It worked both ways; it was a healing process for them and me.”
Asked about service-related health issues, Wes said he was exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam. “A lot of guys had a lot of diseases, lupus, cancer, arthritis, and rashes. I can’t go out into sun or I get a rash.”
Eldest son William James Charles (BJ), now age 37, had always wanted to join the service and enlisted in the Marines early in the Iraq occupation. He wanted to go to Iraq, but was instead sent to Military Occupational Service in Florida. “He made Private First Class right out of boot camp,” Wes proudly declared.
Ironically, Wes’s younger son, Nicholas Ryan Charles (Nick), now age 34, didn’t want to go to war, but joined the Marines in order to be with his brother, yet he was sent to Iraq where he sustained a perforated ear drum from an IED. “Nick made Honor Platoon out of boot camp,” said Wes.
Wes appreciated that the Tulalip Tribes invited his sons and him to have their portraits, as veterans, included at the administration building and the Hibulb Cultural Center.
His dad, Wes Charles, Sr., was also a veteran and had served in the Army Airborne in World War II. He was in many different campaigns and ultimately lost his toes during war. Wes’s uncle, Joe Charles, was killed in Korea. Brothers Marvin and Mike Singson also served, but they were in the Air Force.
Wes had joined the service with three buddies going back to junior high school. A best part of his service is that the four returned and have remained lifelong friends. Kal lives on Capitol Hill and calls Wes every Fourth of July on his birthday. Ed moved to Hawaii and they still keep in touch. His third buddy, Pete, is also his cousin and he lives on Bainbridge Island.
“The Love of My Life”
After returning from Vietnam, a friend introduced Wes to Laurie who would become his bride. Laurie was a beautiful woman of Norwegian, German, and Irish descent. He offered her a ride in his brand new 1966 GTO. “It was loaded,” said Wes. He put the top down and took her on a cruise around Lake Washington, but ended up with a ticket for excessive lane change. Laurie felt badly, but he assured her “it was worth it just being with you,” and they started dating.
Wes and Laurie married two years later in 1969. They were married for the next 44 years. “She was the love of my life,” said Wes, pointing to a portrait of the young Laurie. He spoke of their happy years together, of their symbiotic sense of humor, and shared photo albums and walls of portraits reflecting their happy life.
Wes lost his beloved Laurie to brain cancer on January 1, 2011. “She had breast cancer resulting in double mastectomy, which spread to her lymph nodes and other organs, but they didn’t realize it had spread to her brain.” They made at least 180 trips to the hospital during that time, sometimes going to three appointments in one day, for blood work, radiation, chemotherapy, blood transfusions, and labs.
To preserve her dignity, Wes refused caregiver services. He took care of her bathing, toilet needs, dressing, and the household duties. “She was more comfortable with me doing it,” said Wes. “Thankfully, I had recently retired from King County, so I was able to care for her full-time and had excellent health care benefits.”
Wes described Laurie’s generosity and her charitable work. She was committed to the work of Doctors without Borders and supported the American Cancer Society, the USO and Disabled American Veterans, local food banks, Food Lifeline, and countless poverty organizations. Wes pointed to a tablet listing 25 or more organizations and annual donation amounts of $50 to $100 each, contributions that he continues in her honor.
Wes’s life, today, is filled with cherished memories of his life with Laurie, of raising their two sons together, and now seeing his son’s establish their own lives. While he points to a life well lived, he admits that it was not without challenges.
Adding to the issues associated with Vietnam, like some in his family and many in Native communities, Wes started a pattern of problem drinking established in his service years. “You’re not a Marine unless you drink boos and it was cheap in the military. But when my first son was born, I told Laurie that I was going to quit. She was surprised and asked if I could do it on my own. I said I could and I did. That was 37 years ago and I haven’t touched a drink since! My word is my bond.”
Distinguished Law Enforcement Career
Wes began a 37-year career at the Seattle Police Department jail where he served for four years as a special police officer. A sergeant inquired whether he could handle a gun and whether he had served in the military, and then urged Wes to apply for a newly created position of Court Detail Officer. Wes was hired as one of the original group that received special training to handle high-security prisoners.
When King County and the Seattle City Council merged jails to save money, his job became a part of King County Adult Detention. It was the largest jail in the northwest, housing as many as some prisons. “It was a dangerous time in the late seventies when there was a lot of gang activity,” said Wes.
Wes said, “I’ve seen a lot of Natives come through jail. In the seventies, with local laws such as Drunk in Public (DIP) or Urinating in Public (UIP), I saw a lot of Indians being arrested.” He sometimes saw 98 bookings in those days, many of them Natives. Asked whether DIP and UIP actually helped alcoholics on the street, he replied, “Yes. It allowed “Three squares and a flop.” It allowed many to come in and dry out in a safe environment, to get three square meals and a chance to sleep in a cell where it was safe. “It was important to those Indians who would be targeted when they received their checks, especially the Indian kids who were often brought into jail after having been beaten up. They were safe to sleep.” Then, Wes realized the bookings had dropped off. Due to alcoholism’s classification as a medical issue, the state determined the DIP law violated the rights of the accused. “A lot of alcoholics disappeared after it was no longer a crime. We stopped seeing them at all.” Asked where they had gone, Wes surmised it was to the detox center, but it worried him..
In the late seventies, conflict occurred when prisons became over-crowded. The Washington Correction Center in Shelton announced it wouldn’t take any more prisoners. The King County jail backed up and something had to be done with over-crowding affecting the prisoner’s demeanor, well-being, and the safety of the officers.
Finally, a King County Superior Court judge ruled that the Washington Correction Center at Shelton had to accept convicted felons sentenced to prison.
Wes was put in charge a special detail transporting 75 prisoners in three (3) busses to Shelton. He appointed officers in charge of each bus and notified all law enforcement agencies between Seattle and Shelton of their plans. The officers had shot guns and Wes had a machine gun. To Wes’s surprise, the Chief arrived in a news helicopter, and after a status report thanked him and the men for a job well done. Wes received a nice letter of commendation, one of m any he would receive over the years.
After superiors nudged him, Wes took the sergeant’s examination. “I was competing against college educated applicants, but I had my Marine Corps training.” He took written and oral tests and scored just above average on the written examination, but scored first place on the oral board over nearly 90 applicants. He was promoted to sergeant and served for five to six years, then took the lieutenant’s test repeating the same test results. After serving for about six years as lieutenant, he was then promoted to captain and served in that role for the next 20 years.
Throughout his career, Wes processed many high-profile prisoners and addressed significant incidents. In 1984, Wes was taken hostage at jail by a prisoner who later admitted he planned to kill his parents. Five to six years into the incident, with SWAT on the roof and unable to access the prisoner, it was decided that Wes would take the prisoner down. He had a gun held to his head twice during the incident. Ultimately, Wes overpowered the prisoner and took him back into custody.
At the 1999 WTO, he said, “rabble-rousers came up from Oregon and the jail coordinated with Seattle Police Department.” His shift booked over 600 prisoners.
As an artist, Wes’s design skills were sought on several occasions. When an honor guard was created, he helped design the uniform in likeness to the Marine Corps uniform. He also helped draw and design the patches on the jail uniforms.
Commenting on what success such as his required, Wes said, “A lot of it is attitude and preparation. I took the basics, first aid, CPR, weapons, and any extra management training I could.” He also volunteered for the worst shift, graveyard, because it provided him the best experience. “Time passed quickly and I wasn’t afraid of the responsibility. Most importantly, said Wes, “In order to be a good leader, you have to be able to listen to people.” He had 75-80 officers on a shift. “I worked for 37 years in the jail and could easily have done 40 because I loved it so much.”
In 2000, Wes received a letter from King County stating he had been nominated for the Medal of Valor. The second highest award of the department, it was a unanimous nomination. Wes was the only captain to receive the Medal of Valor. “Throughout my military service and law enforcement career, I had to prove myself over and over and over again. This said I handled myself pretty good,” said Wes who served as a Captain for over 20 years.
A Life of Purpose
Wes is a gifted artist who draws and sketches in pencil and colored pencil. He “I’m thinking about doing some more carving,” said Wes, adding, “I did a little carving when I was younger and carved a few pieces, including an owl for Laurie.” Though humble, Wes is also a gifted photographer, capturing spectacular shots of nature, flowers, and scenery from his lovely home perched high atop the hill in West Seattle with expansive views of the cityscape and mountain. Daily walks to the park with his dog, Gus, provide endless opportunity to capture “Mother Earth’s bounty” as Wes put it. His son and daughter-in-law were so impressed with his photography that they had a collection of his remarkable photos captured in a bound book.
Also for fun, Wes occasionally makes the trip north to the Tulalip casino, proudly stating it is the only one he’ll visit.
Wes’s eyes light up as he announces that his son Nick and daughter-in-law Kim are expecting their first child and his first grandchild. In a recent conversation, he excitedly reported, “They just called to say I am going to be a grandfather and it’s a girl! She will be named Isabella Laurie Kathryn Charles and will be born near the end of June.” Wes happily tells of Nick and Kim’s marriage in a traditional Korean ceremony last year, adding, “It was very special and beautiful.”
Asked whether he ever considered relocation to the reservation, Wes said it was not an option, adding, “A lot of urban Indians don’t live at the rez because there’s just no housing. Also, I had my career at King County and the commute with a young family was not a possibility.”
“Besides my children being born, Laurie, and law enforcement and the Marine Corps were highlights of my life. As I look back, I hope I have fulfilled my life purpose.”
TULALIP, Wash. – on January 22, 2013, the Tulalip Tribes will join the annual Point in Time Count to gauge the local homeless population. By counting the homeless, Tulalip may become eligible for federal funding to assist the homeless with permanent housing.
This is a nationwide survey that emergency shelters, transitional housing programs, permanent supportive housing programs, renting assistance programs, homeless resources and outreach centers, feeding programs and food banks are required to conduct.
The importance of this homeless count is to survey the un-sheltered population that includes people who live in cars, parks, sidewalks, abandoned buildings, and on the street. The homeless count is to understand the size of the homeless population and to determine federal homeless funding.
The count will take place during Tulalip Food Bank hours at the Tulalip Church of God from 10:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Sandy Tracy and Homeless Shelter staff, along with staff members from Housing Hope, and the Director of the Tulalip Food Bank, Frances Morden, will work attentively on getting an accurate count of the homeless
The count consists of community members that come in that day. Each person who is considered homeless will be asked to fill out a basic questionnaire form with assistance from volunteers in the community. The survey does not require a name or personal information, but it will ask about the person’s status as a veteran, their living situation, disabilities, and if they’re homeless due to domestic violence.
“We will be approaching people when they’re getting their food from the food bank and asking them if they’re homeless and if they’re willing to participate in the survey. It’s important for Native Americans that we get an accurate count because the number of homeless we find in the county determines what federal funds will be available,” said Sandy.
Having not received funding in the past, Sandy states that next year Tulalip Tribes should be eligible for federal funding to help with the rising issues of homelessness in the community.
“We are part of this national effort to come up with the most accurate numbers. According to the federal government, the amount of homeless has decreased from the past year. In our specific area, it’s seems like the majority of the long-term homeless are due to chemical dependency issues. So until we get a better handle on the chemical dependency issues, we are going to have this ongoing problem,” said Sandy.