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.

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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 strongheartshelpline.org.
  • 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

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: communications@suquamish.nsn.us


New Suquamish Museum Exhibit- We Are The Ancestors

On September 16, 2017 the Suquamish Museum will unveil their newest exhibit We Are The Ancestors – Photography: Through the Eyes of Suquamish. The exhibit features photographs taken by Suquamish Tribal Members of contemporary life on the Port Madison Indian Reservation.

Suquamish Museum Curator, Lydia Sigo (Suquamish), and community curator, Heather Purser (Suquamish), invited Suquamish Tribal members to submit photographs for the exhibit, giving them the opportunity to tell their own stories through images. Originally proposed by Purser, the exhibit was additionally appealing Sigo as a way to continue adding images to the extensive photograph collection documenting contemporary Suquamish families begun with the Museum’s founding Oral History program in the 1970s.

The photographs will be displayed in the Museum’s smaller gallery through March 11, 2018.  The Museum is open to the public daily from 10 am to 5 pm (excluding Holidays).  Visit the Suquamish Museum online for more information or contact them at (360) 394-8499 or @SuquamishMuseum on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

About the Suquamish Museum
The Suquamish Tribal Council chartered the Suquamish Museum in 1993 to collect preserve, study, exhibit and teach the living culture and history of the Suquamish Tribe and its Salish neighbors.  Located in the heart of Suquamish Village, the permanent exhibit Ancient Shores ~ Changing Tides chronicles the Tribe’s presence since time immemorial.

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 facebook.com/ suquamishtribe. More infomration about Toma Villa’s artwork, including murals, can be found online at tomavilla.com

Spotlight on PME’s Jay Mills

Spotlight on PME is a monthly article featuring employees of Port Madison Enterprises who have proven to be key to the success of Suquamish businesses. This month, Kiana Lodge Manager Luther “Jay” Mills talks about his experiences and the changes he has seen in nearly four decades working for the Suquamish Tribe.

Luther "Jay" Mills Jr teaching a salmon filleting class during a traditional foods workshop in Suquamish.

Luther “Jay” Mills Jr teaching a salmon filleting class during a traditional foods workshop in Suquamish.

After 38 years of professional experience with the Suquamish Tribe, Jay Mills couldn’t be happier with the tribe’s growth. Right out of high school Jay had the opportunity for his first job as Night Watchman at the Smoke Shop, the tribe’s first business venture. Just two years later Frieda Scott and Lawrence Webster gave Jay the opportunity to be the Smoke Shop Manager. In 1981 the Smoke Shop was turned into the Liquor store making Jay the Liquor Store Manager. After 15 years of devotion to that position, Jay took the opportunity to become the Bingo Hall Assistant Manager in 1994. Jay later became the Bingo Hall Manager for three years before moving on to Slot Manager at the Clearwater Casino. In the six years as Slot Manager, Jay found independent contractor, Brent Brown, as a mentor to teach him everything he needed to know about the gaming world. As much as Jay enjoyed gaming he accepted the position as Kiana Lodge Director when the Lodge was purchased by the Tribe in 2004. In the last 11 years, Jay has enjoyed the Award Winning Kiana Lodge and looks forward to many years to come.

“My motivation and devotion to my career and family couldn’t have been possible without the support of my parents Delores and Luther Mills. They taught me about hard work, helping others and having respect for those around me. I also couldn’t be the person I am today without my wife of 37 years, Joanie Mills and our five children and 15 grandchildren. When it comes to a professional career I find it most important to thank anyone who has ever worked with me. Without those who worked hard and went above and beyond- I couldn’t have had the successful career I’ve had without them. Thank you everyone for your hard work,” said Jay.

Jay has had the honor of serving on the Suquamish Tribal Council for over 20 years, 2 as Tribal Vice Chairman and the other 18 as a Council Member, Jay was selected as Indian Gaming Magazines “Extraordinary Employee” September of 2004. An additional accomplishment that reflects on the hard work of Jay and his staff at Kiana Lodge, it was voted the Best NW Wedding Venue in both The Knot and South Sound Magazines in 2013. Kiana Lodge also won the Couples Choice Award for Demonstrating Excellence in Quality, Service, Responsiveness and Professionalism in 2015 on WeddingWire.com.

Jay is a current Tribal Council member, a former Leadership Kitsap Board member, is currently sitting on the Suquamish Seafood Board and the Suquamish Foundation Board. In his spare time finds joy in being a Suquamish Tribal commercial fisherman as well.

The future of the Suquamish Tribe has been bright from the moment Jay stepped out of high school. Watching the growth of the tribe in the last 38 years has made Jay proud to be a tribal member.

The opportunities within the tribe are endless, with the multitude of job and education opportunities; Jay understands the importance of the tribal youth for our future. “To all tribal members, seize the opportunity for a higher education and job opportunities that will get you your dreams. I started as a night watchman and am now the Director of Kiana Lodge. Hard work and motivation are key to obtaining your dreams; don’t be afraid to ask for help, as you never know who is willing to support you along the way.”