Tulalips hand out $2.5 million

TULALIP — The Tulalip Tribes gave away more than $2.5 million to local organizations and charities during a ceremony at the Tulalip Amphitheatre.

Arts groups, school districts, police agencies and other recipients of the donations gathered Friday at the ceremony and, one by one, thanked the tribes for their support.

Lt. Bob Wright of the Washington State Patrol said last year’s donation from the tribes helped purchase Taser stun guns for every police officer in District 7. This year’s donation of $75,000 will go toward speed-monitoring devices, he said.

“I want to thank the tribe for helping our officers work in a safe manner,” he said.

Over the past 15 years, the tribes have given away nearly $26 million, said Patti Gobin, a tribal member and Friday’s master of ceremonies.

One of the tribes’ first gifts was to the Tulalip Bay Fire District, which was a volunteer fire company at the time. The district used the money to hire its first paid employee. This year, the district received $200,000.

“The tribe needs your service,” said Stan Jones, a Tulalip elder and a member of the tribal Board of Directors. “That’s why it’s so rewarding to pay back like this.”

The tribes are required by their gaming compact with the state to donate 1.5 percent of the net proceeds from their casinos, according to the compact’s most recent amendment.

“Some people say we’re giving back against the negative impacts from our casino, but I truly believe that our casino has only brought good things,” said Steve Gobin, deputy general manager of Quil Ceda Village, the entertainment complex that includes the Tulalip Casino.

Tribal singers performed to kick off the event, and the tribes offered a salmon lunch for all the recipients.

Reporter Krista J. Kapralos: 425-339-3422 or kkapralos@heraldnet.com.

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