Tulalip Tribes mark $5.8M in giving at Raising Hands gala

TULALIP — The Tulalip Tribes gave $5.8 million in charitable donations to over 360 organizations in the past year.

On Saturday, the tribes celebrated those recipients in their annual “Raising Hands” gala.

Over the past 23 years, the tribes have given $69.5 million to numerous causes around the region.

At the annual banquet, the tribes usually highlight a small number of nonprofits that have been doing exemplary work.

Tribal chairman Mel Sheldon Jr. said that the community is stronger because of the work done by these organizations.

“We also know we have a responsibility to give back, to say thank you for the good that comes our way,” Sheldon said.

He alluded to last year’s banquet, which came less than a week after the shootings at Marysville Pilchuck High School and tore a wound in the Tulalip-Marysville community.

“We thank you for standing with us during some of the toughest times in Tulalip history,” Sheldon said.

At the banquet at the Tulalip Casino and Resort Saturday, the Tulalips called attention to six nonprofits or agencies:

  • Sound Action, an environmental watchdog group based in Vashon;
  • The Snohomish Regional Drug and Gang Task Force, the multi-jurisdictional effort to combat drug trafficking and gang violence and enhance local cooperation;
  • The Washington state chapter of Alzheimer’s Association, which supports research and care for patients and families of those with the disease;
  • Horses Healing Heroes, a Monroe nonprofit that provides horse therapy for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and other forms of trauma suffered in the military;
  • Mount Baker Theatre, a performance space in downtown Bellingham, and
  • Christmas House, the Everett-based nonprofit that allows low-income families and children to select free holiday gifts.

The evening’s program began with an invocation by Tulalip board member Bonnie Juneau in both Lushootseed and English and included singing and dancing by children from Quil Ceda Tulalip Elementary School.

Chelsea Craig, a cultural specialist at the school who led the children in song, recalled that her own grandfather was a survivor of the boarding school era, when native culture was actively suppressed.

Now, both tribal and non-native children sing Tulalip songs every morning in the school in order that they come together stronger.

“We’re here representing our ancestors and the idea of healing,” Craig said.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

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