The Marysville Globe-The Arlington Times asked 11 local agencies what their plans are for 2015. This response came from the Tulalip Tribes.
By Les Parks, Tulalip Tribes
When our children’s grandchildren read the history books and study the year 2014 it will be with sorrow for those who lived through the horrific tragedies of that year. The Oso landslide and the Marysville-Pilchuck High School murders will never be forgotten, and the people who make up Snohomish County will never be the same. Our hearts and souls are forever bound together in the wake of these tragic events. As we continue to rebuild our communities the Tulalip Tribes, Marysville, Arlington and Oso stand united.
As we enter a new year the Tulalip Tribes and its membership will focus on healing. In particular, we will find ways to enhance programs for our youth. In our Indian culture, we place much reverence on our elders, but right next to them are our children. We cannot be one without the other. This next year we will dedicate a new sports field and a skate park to our youth, as well as build on existing programs in the Boys and Girls Club and the Tulalip Youth Center. We will also open our new and much-anticipated Early Learning Academy that is dedicated to pre-natal to 5-year-old education programs. Of all the programs that we could create, I am particularly excited to witness the Early Learning Academy, which will profoundly change the lives of future generations. We also anticipate breaking ground on a new Gathering Hall for our people where community functions will take place. We will continue to bring a restored cultural emphasis to our teachings. All of this work is being done in the name of our children, our most precious resource.
We recognize and understand the obstacles facing our youth today and the intense pressure they are under. We will be focused on providing quality before and after school programs that will emphasize our cultural identity, while also remembering that we live in a world where cultural identities are many, and that all must be respected, for none is better than the other. Knowing who you are and where you come from, is of particular importance to get where you are going, in a most spiritually beneficial manner. Our past is what defines our future. We wholeheartedly believe this.
In that very direction then, we are going to create a program that focuses on our history. Our history began with the last ice age retreating 13,000 years ago, and there is so much to be told of a people who subsisted on this land and in these waters before the arrival of the settlers. Our people were living in a veritable paradise, or God’s Country, as I like to call it, with year-round food sources and the beauty of our rich lands providing all that we needed to subsist and thrive. Our youth need to hear the story of their ancestors. The Tulalip History Project will be a vital piece to educating not only our young ones but for all of us who call this area “God’s Country.” Why would we want to live anywhere else? The rain, the rivers, the green, and yes, the sunshine too. It provides us with a piece of heaven on earth, and we are all fortunate to be a part of our beautiful Snohomish County. The Tulalip History Project will tell a story of a proud people. And not like 2014, it will tell a story of sorrow and heartache, but ultimately, one of healing.
The Tulalip Tribes continue to expand upon our efforts to diversify our business enterprises. As we are always exploring potential opportunities to enhance the lives of our members we are considering several proposals that could prove to be real game-changers. While they may not materialize in 2015, we will continue with our philosophy of research and development. We realize of course that our business development is not only a benefit to our Tulalip members but also to our neighbors in Marysville and all of Snohomish County. Our 3,500 employees, many of whom are non-Tulalip, is a
testament to the past successes of the Tulalip Tribes. Our future successes will be your success too. We will share in this together.
We at the Tulalip Tribes wish the best for all of you, with wishes of love and happiness in this New Year just around the corner. Tulalip is our heaven on earth, and may your heaven on earth be in your back yards and sense of family. Farewell 2014 and a big huge welcome to 2015.