November is Native American Heritage Month, a time to celebrate Native Americans’ and Alaska Natives’ rich and diverse cultures, traditions, and histories and to acknowledge the important contributions of Native people. It is also an excellent time to educate the public about Tribes and raise awareness about the challenges Native people have faced in the past and those they face today.
Tribal artwork at the Tulalip Tribes’ Health Clinic
As November comes to a close, here’s a glimpse at what some Washington Tribes have done to celebrate and educate during Native American Heritage Month 2021:
The Tulalip Tribes held several workshops at the Hibulb Cultural Center, including weaving, bead making, rattle making, and kids’ crafts like cedar mat weaving. The Tribe also hosted the Tulalip Native Bazaar, where local tribal members showcased and sold art and crafts. In addition to these in-person events, the Tribe prepared a list of virtual events held by Tribes across the country.
Puyallup Tribe of Indians – “The Land of the Puyallup People”
Suquamish TribeChairman Leonard Forsman and other Tribal leaders from around the United States joined leaders from the Biden/Harris administration at the 2021 Tribal Nations Summit on November 16. Chairman Forsman spoke on the urgency of responding to the climate crisis and the need for the federal government to follow through on its obligations to Tribes, including protecting ecosystems that support salmon, shellfish, and other treaty resources. You can view Chairman Forsman’s comments on the 2021 White House Tribal Nations Summit Day Two recording.
Have a Native American Heritage Month activity you’d like to tell us about? Connect with us on Facebook!
Preserving Culture Through Traditional Food Programs
Understanding and practicing food traditions is essential to preserving Tribes’ cultures. Since time immemorial, Tribes throughout what is now Washington state have relied on berries, plants, roots, salmon, shellfish and wild game for food, health and cultural and spiritual practices. Several Tribes have introduced programs to promote health, sustainability, food sovereignty and cultural preservation by strengthening tribal members’ connection to traditional foods and food practices. Here’s a glimpse at a few such programs:
Jamestown S’Klallam Traditional Foods and Culture Program
The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s Traditional Foods and Culture Program offers experiential learning opportunities based on S’Klallam culture and traditions of healthy eating, physical activity and seasonal cultural practices. Using traditional learning styles, tribal members learn from Elders and cultural knowledge keepers and participate in traditional physical activity and healthy eating activities. Groups learn about harvesting and processing foods and the cultural and medicinal uses of plants, bark, and roots.The program recently won the North Olympic Land Trust’s 23rd annual nəxʷsƛ̕əy̕əkʷáʔnəŋ of the Year Award for its innovative and culturally based project. [This year, the Land Trust is using “nəxʷsƛ̕əy̕əkʷáʔnəŋ” (gatherer of food in the Klallam language) in place of “farmer”.]
Learn more about the Jamestown S’Klallam Traditional Foods and Culture Program.
Squaxin Island Garden
Squaxin Island Garden, also known as Salish Roots Farm, was established by the Squaxin Island Tribe in 2016 to increase community access to culturally relevant foods and locally-grown organic produce. The farm offers many programs, including traditional food and medicine classes, harvesting workshops, and a partnership with the Squaxin Child Development Center.
Processing Camas (photo credit: Salish Roots Farm on Facebook)
The farm and its programs promote sovereignty and community self-sufficiency; build skills in food production, food preparation and preservation, traditional food and medicine knowledge; promote nutrition and healthy living; and are increasing food security and health for the Squaxin Island community.
Tulalip Bay Wellness Garden and Trail
The Tulalip Bay Wellness Garden and Trail were created in 2013, when Veronica “Roni” Leahy, Diabetes Program Coordinator for the Tulalip Health System, sought to bring practical application of diabetes prevention into the everyday lives of Tulalip tribal members. The garden is a community hub where tribal members can learn or share knowledge around cultivating foods that encourage health and healing.
Visiting the Tulalip Bay Wellness Garden
Learn more about the garden and the Tulalip Food and Nutrition Education Program on Facebook.
Washington Tribes Support Responsible Gaming
Tribes are encouraging healthy lifestyles and working on multiple fronts to address problem gambling. Every year, spend millions to support responsible gambling education, prevention, treatment and wellness programs. Tribes are also tackling problem gambling through self-help programs, awareness-building campaigns, casino self-exclusion and ban requests.
Providing treatment is also critical to these efforts. Tribes offer culturally appropriate, tribal-focused interventions. They are also financially supporting treatment programs run by the state, tribal governments, and local nonprofits.
Addressing addiction is an evolving effort, and tribes are committed to continual learning and refining their efforts to prevent and treat problem gambling.
Earlier this year, the Washington Indian Gaming Association launched a digital media campaign to raise awareness of problem gambling resources. The campaign is targeting people who are searching online for help.
Need help now? Call the Washington State Problem Gambling Helpline: 1-800-547-6133.