Educators learn from, about Tulalips

TULALIP – The Tulalip Tribes invited teachers from around the region to a special Educators’ Night at the Hibulb Cultural Center to learn about the history of the Tulalip people.

More than 30 teachers attended the 3rd annual event.

Teachers said they were impressed with the interactive exhibits, educator resources, storytelling and food.

Tracey Kawabata teaches about Native Americans in her Washington State History class.

But she wanted her students to connect more with their local Native American community, so she attended the event.

Kawabata is in her 10th year of teaching at Olympic View Middle School in Mukilteo. She said their textbook focuses a lot on tribes, but not that much on the Tulalips.

At the event she was hoping to find resources so her students could “touch and feel the Native American perspective.”

Cedar rope crafting with Shelbi Hatch in one classroom provided a great hands-on activity.

In the center’s longhouse, Cary Williams sang a song, Chrissy Dulik Dalos gave a presentation and Kelly Moses shared traditional storytelling.

Kawabata said her school is more diverse than people think. She wants to expose her students to tribes from all over. In the past she said she had someone come in and talk about the Makah Tribe on the Washington coast at Neah Bay and its tradition of whaling.

Cathy Reighter, a learning support teacher at Hazelwood Elementary School in Edmonds, decided to attend with a teachers aide and friend, both of whom were interested in gaining insights into local Native American culture.

“The more I get to know about our students and their background and culture, the better,” Reighter said, adding she works with fourth- through sixth-graders.

One of her students is Blackfoot Indian. She said gaining a better understanding of Native American culture in general, and finding ways to develop teaching and lesson plans that resonate with all students, is important.

With the Tulalip Tribes so close by, she appreciated the opportunity to share in Educators’ Night.

The Tribes also invited Laura Lynn to talk with teachers about the Since Time Immemorial (STI) curriculum. It’s required in Washington to teach about the state’s 29 federally recognized indigenous nations, just as they teach U.S. and state history.

School districts that have adopted the STI curriculum, encourage participation with local native nations, with the goal to teach with tribes, rather than about them.

Lesson plans speak to local Native American cultures with topics such as “Exploring Washington State – Tribal Homelands, improve student knowledge of indigenous history and culture, foster cross-cultural respect and understanding, and bolster cultural sensitity in all students.

The hope is that teachers and principals will have a solid working knowledge of the curriculum by next spring to share with a wider educational audience.

Mytyl Hernandez, who does marketing and public relations at Hibulb, said the evening went well.

“The teachers were pretty engaged in all of the event activities, viewing all the exhibits, and the food,” Hernandez said. “The storytelling; they’re always fond of that.”

Many teachers said they were interested in returning again.

That’s our goal, Hernandez said: “To bring them in. Then, we hope they will bring back their classes for student tours.”

Hibulb features a main exhibit, temporary exhibit, two classrooms, a longhouse, research library and gift shop. It also features a fully certified collections and archaeological repository.

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