By Tom Albright
November is Native American Heritage Month, or as it is often referred to, American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.
The month is a time to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of our First Peoples. In the U.S. there are 567 federally recognized tribal nations and Alaskan Native villages. Heritage Month is also an opportune time to educate the public about tribal nations and to raise awareness about the unique place many of us now call home. The Lushootseed word for Tulalip is dx’lilap, which refers to the bay meaning “far towards the bottom”. dx’lilap has been home to the sduhubš (Snohomish) and other allied bands of the Coast Salish peoples since time immemorial. Today, traditional elders along with the Lushootseed language department work to bring back their traditional stories and language. We are proud partners in this work with The Tulalip Tribes.
The city of Marysville and the Marysville School District are fortunate to be a neighbor to a Sovereign Nation. The Tulalip Tribes give back and support the Marysville and Tulalip communities in so many ways, and we thank them for their contributions to improve the lives of children and adults through supporting education, protecting the environment, addressing homelessness, the opioid epidemic, and meeting many more human service needs in our community and beyond. The Tribal Youth Services partnered with our school district for Unity and Wellness Month (October) and helped to raise awareness around suicide, bullying, domestic violence and substance abuse prevention.
The Equity, Diversity and Indigenous education program is excited to announce the recently elected Indigenous Education Parent Committee. The committee works to ensure that the needs of students and families are met in accordance with federal policy and procedure. They are a dedicated group of individuals working together along with The Tulalip Tribes and Marysville School District to improve the lives and educational experiences for Native American students and their families. Those on the new parent committee include: Jenna Bowman, chairwoman; Deanna Sheldon, vice chairwoman; Ginny Ramos, secretary; Ray Sheldon, elder representative; and Nickie Richwine, Tom Thompson and Desire Day, parent representatives. Thank you to Summer Hatch (former chairwoman) and the former committee members for their service . In honor of Native American Heritage Month, the elders, leaders and families who make up The Tulalip Tribes encourage you to learn more about their rich history and culture online at www.tulaliptribes-nsn.gov/Home/WhoWeAre.aspx. Or go to the Since Time Immemorial Curriculum at www.indian-ed.org/. And be sure to visit The Hibulb Cultural Center.
In Lushootseed, the Native language of the Coastal Salish people, we say ‘ut’ig’icid č’’ “We thank you”.
Tom Albright is president for the school board for the Marysville School District, which runs a monthly column in this newspaper.