CKA powers up Carving Den with new solar array

Chief Kitsap Academy is showcasing Suquamish Tribe’s traditional values with a modern twist at the school’s new Carving Den. Thanks to a $39,000 grant from Puget Sound Energy’s Green Power program, the academy’s new solar array is now online, illuminating the way towards a greener future while honoring age-old traditions.

This cutting-edge addition to Chief Kitsap Academy’s campus comprises solar panels that harness the power of the sun, providing clean energy totaling 11.8 kilowatts. The array is not only another practical symbol of sustainability, but also serves as a tribute to the tribe’s rich cultural heritage, where respect for the environment has been ingrained for generations.

“The Suquamish Tribe is proud to partner with PSE to illuminate our Carving Den through the power of the sun,” said Brenda Guerrero, Director of the tribe’s Education Division. “This endeavor aligns with our traditional values of environmental stewardship, where we strive to care for our lands and resources as our ancestors did. It’s a testament to our commitment to a sustainable future for our community and the environment.”


The Suquamish Tribe has been at the forefront of adopting solar power in Kitsap County. Last year, the tribe installed its first solar array at the Family & Friends/Fitness Center complex with another PSE grant. Applications are in the works for several additional solar projects across tribal government.


The Carving Den serves as a space where students, staff, and tribal community mentors come together to learn and preserve traditional carving techniques. “The integration of solar power underscores the idea that tradition and innovation can coexist harmoniously, highlighting both our adaptability and resilience,” said Guerrero.

Empowering our teens to create healthy relationships

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month is an opportunity to create awareness about Teen Dating Violence, uplift youth voices, and healthy relationship skill building, and connect young people with resources to help cultivate safety in their relationships.  Many Native peoples have the teaching that we are all related, our clans and kinship systems show us how we are connected to each other. Taking care of ourselves and each other is how we practice being good relatives. It starts with cultivating healthy relationships when we are young.

Teen dating violence is an issue in Indian Country that we should understand and actively work to end. It often occurs between the ages of 13-19 but can start as young as 11 years old. 1 in 12 US high school students experience physical dating violence and 1 in 12 experience sexual dating violence.  These numbers are very high though this issue is often hidden from others. Many young Native people are suffering in silence. Nobody deserves to be abused. We should be talking about the reality of Teen Dating Violence even if many do not see it. Relationships should be based on respect and care and not power and control.

Native teens deserve to be taught healthy coping and relationship skills like consent and boundaries and prevent Teen Dating Violence. We need support services for survivors of teen dating violence so young people can get the help they need.  TDVAM is an opportunity to empower youth to help their peers know where to go or who to talk to if one of their friends confides in them about experiencing dating abuse.

NativeLove and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) work to raise awareness and create educational tools about Teen Dating Violence to support advocates working in Indian Country. Our goal is to empower teens to demand safety in their relationships and uplift their voices. Help support Native youth by raising awareness about Teen Dating Violence and promoting healthy relationships.

Follow, Like, and Share @NativeLoveIs on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook.

Teen Dating Violence, Defined

Teen Dating Violence is a type of relationship violence that occurs between young people. It is defined as when a person uses a pattern of abusive behavior toward their partner to gain power and control over them. Teen Dating violence can include one or more types of abuse, and can look like this:

  • Physical abuse—pushes, shakes, slaps, kicks, or spits on you. Holds you down. Throws or breaks your personal belongings (ex. books, cell phone, etc.)
  • Emotional abuse—insults you, calls you hurtful names, or embarrasses you in public. Constantly accuses you of cheating. Threatens to hurt you or expose secrets about you.
  • Sexual abuse—unwanted kissing or touching, pressures you to have sex or makes you feel guilty for not wanting to have sex or demands that you send them sexually explicit photos or videos.
  • Digital abuse—constantly calls, texts, or DMs you to find out where you are or who you’re with, tells you who you can be friends with on social media, or sends mean messages on social media either directly from them or anonymously, tracking you, or sending sexual messages without consent.
  • Cultural/Spiritual abuse—makes fun of your religious beliefs or cultural responsibilities to make you feel shame or embarrassment.
  • Financial abuse—steals money from you. Controls how you spend your money.

Some signs of dating violence can include when a partner:

  • Acts extremely jealous or possessive of you, follows you home or to school, or shows up wherever you are unannounced.
  • Is annoyed or upset when you spend time on the phone with other people.
  • Interferes or stops you from doing things alone or getting support from others.
  • Tells you who you can or cannot be friends with, starts rumors, or threatens to start rumors about you.
  • Excessively texts you or sends non-stop DMs.
  • Checks your phone for who texts or calls you.
  • Tags you in hurtful social media memes, posts, or pictures.
  • Criticizes your dreams, goals, family, or friends.
  • Tells you what to wear or how to dress.
  • Explodes in anger toward you or acts aggressively when they’re upset.
  • Kisses, grabs, or touches your body without your permission.
  • Forces you to take sexually explicit selfies or videos.
  • Threatens to hurt themselves or commit suicide if you don’t do what they want.

If you know a young relative that is being abused:

  • Call or text StrongHearts Native Helpline at 1-844-762-8483 or chat at
  • Create a safe space and tell them you’re concerned about their safety.
  • Be a good relative and listen to their story when they’re ready to share.
  • Let them know the abuse is not their fault and they do not deserve it.
  • Ask how you can help them.
  • Offer support and encourage your friend’s strength and courage.
  • Share resources available online or locally from your community.
  • Learn about dating violence and the signs of relationship abuse.
  • Avoid confronting the abusive person hurting your loved one. It can escalate the situation and put your young relative in danger.

If your friend or relative is being abusive, find ways to let them know their behavior is not acceptable. Ignoring their bad behavior condones and supports it.

Helpful Resources and Activities:

Grant funding helps CKA students through pandemic challenges

Chief Kitsap Academy is putting $125,000 in federal grant money to good use with new computers, school supplies, and a staff counselor focused on easing attendance and adjustment challenges among students as the school emerges from the pandemic.

The funding comes from the U.S. Education Department’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, or ESSER for short, part of a $123 billion in emergency financial assistance provided to public school districts across the country last year.

Chief Kitsap Academy is using ESSER funds to support student learning recovery and acceleration by purchasing student computers for home and school use, purchasing supplies for Summer School, as well as restocking protective supplies including masks and hand sanitizers.

Meanwhile, as part of the grant, Ashley Kennedy – who previously worked for the Suquamish Tribe Wellness Center – is now helping students with the social and emotional transitions that have come with being back in the classroom.

If you have any questions, contact CKA principal Rex Green at (360) 394-8597.

Education Resources and Help Available

Suquamish Tribe Seeking Education Superintendent

Honoring Suquamish Graduates

Are you or a loved one getting ready to graduate in 2020?

There’s no way around it, this is a crazy year to graduate.

That’s why we’d like to help you celebrate. If you are a Suquamish Tribe member, descendant, or family member, or Chief Kitsap Academy senior, please fill out this short form and we’ll feature the graduate in an upcoming edition of the Suquamish News.

NOTE: If you experience a problem submitting this form, please send your information via email to:


Passing on Knowledge: The Art of Smoking Salmon

Making Waves at CKA

Mural artist Toma Villa, right, assisting students painting the new mural at Chief Kitsap Academy

Mural artist Toma Villa, right, assisting students painting the new mural at Chief Kitsap Academy

Oregon artist and Yakama Tribal Member Toma Villa has a unique approach to creating murals in Tribal Schools. He incorporates student learning into the process by working directly with Tribal youth to create the artwork. Work on the Chief Kitsap Academy Mural (CKA) began in January when Villa visited with students in a classroom setting. He spoke with them about art and later learned what images and shapes were important to them during a sketching workshop. The artist also met with family and community members during his initial visit, learning as much as he could about the Tribe and the school. Villa says inspiration for his initial sketch of the mural included stories he heard about orca visiting Suquamish Tribe journey participants in recent years. Salish designs and the CKA school mascot were also incorporated in the piece as a result of student sketches. In February, Villa returned to Suquamish with a complete rendering, and worked with students to create the 30-foot by 30- foot mural that now calls the CKA Gym home. CKA students and community members assisted Villa with the outline and fill to complete the mural in just 5 days. “It’s amazing, the students, staff and families are just thrilled with it,” said CKA Principal Fabian Castilleja. The CKA Mural Project was funded by the Suquamish Tribe Sports and Recreation Department, and spearheaded by Program Manager Kate Ahvakana. A time lapse video of the project is available on the Suquamish Tribe Facebook page at suquamishtribe. More infomration about Toma Villa’s artwork, including murals, can be found online at