Suquamish Foundation Announces A Time to Gather

The New Year is here. What does it hold for us? Times may feel uncertain.  And yet, one thing is absolutely certain; for those who treasure the sacred, priceless beauty of the cultural, historic and environmental values of the Puget Sound, it will be a year of true celebration and accomplishment.  It is truly a year to honor that, to share that, and, yes, to thoroughly enjoy that at a party!  Let us joyfully celebrate together at the Suquamish Foundation’s 2017 “A Time To Gather” community event on March 24th.  This will once again be held at Kiana Lodge, one of the most beautiful seaside venues in Washington State.

It has now been 12 years, since the Suquamish Tribe chartered its’ non-profit organization, the Suquamish Foundation.  The Foundation invited a wealth of enthusiastic partners and supporters to raise $20 million dollars to launch an incredibly successful “Building for Cultural Resurgence Capital Campaign “. Together we realized a vision for a renovated downtown Suquamish with a beautiful new Museum, Community House,  Community Dock, new Early Learning Center and a brighter  future.

This work goes on!  It is exciting to see such positive change in a few short years, to recognize the generosity of so many contributors and come together to support and celebrate our on-going work and mutual benefits.  The Suquamish Foundation will now focus on a new Community Playground, a vigorous fight against drug and alcohol addiction, and enhancing the cultural collections at the Suquamish Museum.

At A Time To Gather, March 24th from 6 to 9 p.m., we will be providing dinner and cocktails, an amazing cultural performance and a brilliant art auction of original pieces as well as auctioning unique cultural experiences such as a voyage in one of the Tribal canoes.  Please join us for this vibrant event and revel in our successes and support our brighter future.  We will wrap you in a metaphorical blanket of honor, love and solidarity. To purchase tickets, click here! To see photos from last year’s event, click here.

Suquamish Police: Training That Matters

Suquamish Police attending the Shop with a Cop event in Poulsbo, WA.

Did you know that Suquamish Police Officers get over 400%  more training each year than the State of Washington requires? Or, that we have the toughest ongoing fitness requirements for Patrol Officers in the United States?

Today, training is incredibly relevant to Law Enforcement.  The most important areas of training are topics which are called “High Risk/ Low Frequency” events. Those are things that don’t happen often, but that are dangerous or life-and-death when they do occur, such as armed robberies and performing CPR. If we do something every day, like traffic stops, we get pretty good at them. If we only do something once every 2 or 3 years, then we don’t get much practice, so we need to train to maintain the skill.

Many tasks performed by police officers have a “physical skill” element. If we think of our children’s sports teams, we see the best model for developing physical skills; regular practice. Imagine If you sent your child to participate in a sport, and the coach said “OK, we’re going to have one practice next Friday for 8 hours, and then we won’t practice again for 5 months, when we will play for the championship!” All of our eyebrows would go up; we know that our team wouldn’t perform well if they hadn’t worked together as a team for 5 months, or developed our basic skills and abilities. Part of practicing is learning to deal with the time-pressure and split second decision making in practice, so we make good decisions during the game. Police work is no different.

What kind of basic training do police officers receive? Well, first they are screened. All officers who work for the Suquamish Police Department meet the same standards as any other officer in Washington State. They have all passed a Physical Fitness Test, a polygraph examination, a psychological examination by a psychiatrist, a criminal records check, a detailed background investigation, drug testing, a written test and multiple selection boards; one with police officers from Suquamish and neighboring communities, and a second with Council members, elders, youth and community representatives.

Then, those who qualify are sent to a basic academy. In Suquamish, we use both State and Federal Academies depending on where there are vacancies. The Federal Academy is about 660 hours long, and the State Academy is 720. If we send an officer to the Federal Academy at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), they are also sent to a State Equivalency Academy for an additional 80 hours, receiving a total of 800 Academic training hours.

After completing the Academy, they return to participate in Field Training with a Field Training Officer (FTO). This program is an additional 4 months working under the supervision of a senior officer, learning the community, geography, and specific laws, policies, report writing systems and of the things that are specific to Suquamish.  The FTO completes a daily scoring sheet on the officer, and they immediately correct any mistakes. This training would also include spending time with Detectives, Fisheries Officers, at CENCOM/ 911 and with neighboring agencies. By the time the officer is ready to work alone without supervision, they have been training for the better part of a year.

After completing their basic training, officers must receive continuous in-service training to maintain their skills. The Standard required by the State of Washington is 24 hours of “In-Service” training per year, to maintain police certification.  Testing and Qualification courses do NOT count towards this training time; testing is separate.  One of the advantages of being a Sovereign Government is that the Tribe has the ability to set its own standards.  The Suquamish Tribe exercises its Sovereignty by requiring it’s police to meet a higher standard than the State of Washington. We require each officer to meet a minimum of 40 hours of training per year, rather than the 24 required by the State. That is our minimum, but we never strive to meet the minimum.  In 2016, our average training hours per officer was 108.2 hours. This is 400% more than the State of Washington requires, and 250% above our own higher standard.  Some in-service training topics include handcuffing, legal updates (Federal, State and Tribal), emergency vehicle operation, communication skills, policies & procedures, investigations, patrol procedures, DUI and drug impaired drivers, domestic violence updates, ethics, crisis intervention & mental health, narcotics investigations and many others.

In 2016, we also hosted 2 different 40-hour conferences for all of the Law Enforcement agencies in our region.  One was on “Crisis Intervention Training”, which gives police officers up to date detailed information on the best ways to interact with people who are suffering from mental health challenges.  The other was “Transformative Use of Force Practices for Supervisors and Trainers”, which focused on the most current best practices in the area of police use of force.  It was taught by folks who are involved in the development and restructuring of the Seattle Police use of force training, to ensure it meets the constitutional demands and civil rights standards of the modern era.

Every Trimester, the officers are required to pass a fitness test to ensure they are maintaining a condition of readiness to respond to emergencies. The test may be the State standard of a 300 meter sprint, 1.5 mile run and sit-up and push-ups, but we also vary the tests to keep them interesting, and ensure that our officers don’t become injured by over-training in the same events all of the time. Much of our fitness training is geared towards maintaining mobility, and “injury-proofing” our officers.  We also develop practical skills like pushing, carrying and dragging heavy objects, so that we can pull folks out of burning cars or houses (which we’ve done).  Fit officers handle stress better, and make better decisions under pressure. No other agency in the State of Washington conducts mandatory fitness testing each Trimester. Most departments do nothing, and a few test once a year, but passing the test is usually not required. Some give financial incentives to officers who stay fit; we feel it’s already a basic part of the job. Our position is that you pay for police officers who are able to respond and assist you in an emergency, and you deserve to have officers who are trained and prepared to do so. The officers are given on-duty time to maintain their fitness levels.

If you have any questions regarding law enforcement training, please feel free to contact me!

Ribbons of Resilience

Suquamish Foundation thanks community for support, pledges to host another fashion showcase next year.

Suquamish Tribal Council Member Sammy Mabe was one of several elected officials to showcase ribbon apparel at the event.

by Angela Flemming

We want to thank all of you who joined us for the Suquamish Foundation’s inaugural Ribbons of Resilience fashion show at the Whitehorse Golf Course Ballroom on October 21st. This fun evening event celebrated Tribal history and traditions as well as the individual creativity and artistry of our community members. At the same time, it raised donations for and awareness of the Suquamish Foundation, which has supported programs and projects that benefit the Suquamish community since its’ inception in 2005.
An illuminated catwalk and a live deejay’s music mix featured the stylish modeling of male and female community members of all ages, as well as the full complement of the Suquamish Tribal Council, including Chairman, Leonard Forsman, and many of the very youngest and most adorable members of the Suquamish Tribe. Robin Sigo, Treasurer of the Suquamish Tribal Council and Director of the Suquamish Foundation, the non-profit branch of the Suquamish Tribal Government, emceed the event with obvious enjoyment, story-telling, infectious humor and pride. Each of the beautiful and original ribbon shirts, garments and baby outfits told an individual story through its colors, patterns and ribbons. Each, indeed, were wearable art pieces.
Ribbons for Resilience showcased beautiful ribbon shirt and dresses from many community members and families, including original multi-piece collections by E’thayta’ ae (LynDee Wells) and Xoputsee (Alaina Capoeman). Styles included traditional stars and salmon motifs, as well as contemporary Seahawks and Star Wars designs. One of the most hauntingly beautiful garments was a ledger art shirt, worn by Chairman Forsman, with an illustrated tribute to upholding sovereignty rights guaranteed in the treaty.
Our nearly 150-person audience engaged with the energy of the models and artistry of the garments with such enthusiasm and charitable generosity that we have already started planning for next year’s event. The Ribbons of Resilience event was joyful and beautiful. Again, we thank you for your attendance and for collaborating with us in continuing to support a diverse and cohesive community working together for positive change.

To see additional photos, please visit our online gallery at  To donate or to order a # Sovereign Style shirt, please call Margeaux Lewis at (360) 394-8453.