Upcoming events at the Family and Friends Center

There are some exciting events going on at the ʔiišədalʔtxʷ ʔə ti suq̓ʷabš (Suquamish Family and Friends Center) over the next few weeks.

Here’s a quick round-up: 

  • Father’s Day Keychain Class – This online class continues on Tuesday, June 8 AND 15 at 6:30pm.  Kits are still available for distribution. Call or email to request a kit. (Details for the online class are in the kits.)
  • Tween Self Care Kit Distribution —  This is for youth ages 10-12, on Wednesday, June 9, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.  Call or email to sign up for a kit.
  • Port Madison Eats: PMEats Facebook Live BIG FOOT’S HOMEMADE PIE cooking demonstration on Thursday, June 10, at 4pm.  Kit distribution is Wednesday, June 9, from 11am to 1pm. Call or email to sign up for a kit. Post a picture of your HOMEMADE PIE on our Facebook page with the hashtag #PMEats by Thursday, June 17, to be entered into a prize drawing.
  • Family and Friends Center Survey–The ʔiišədalʔtxʷ ʔə ti suq̓ʷabš (Suquamish Family and Friends Center) Needs and Facility Assessment Survey is still open for your input. This survey is intended for Tribal Members and Tribal Member Households to provide their valuable feedback. Please take a few minutes to fill out this survey to help us gain a better understanding of what activities and programs are of interest to you. This helps us plan seasonal activities that YOU want to do. By completing this survey you will also help to identify ways in which we might improve and expand our facility to better meet the needs of the youth in the community. Your opinion is valued by our department, so please be honest and share with us what you think.  CLICK HERE FOR THE SURVEY Thank you!

Please call (360) 394-8576 or email fandfcenter@suquamish.nsn.us to request a kit or to get clarification on Family and Friend Center activities.

Suquamish Tribe Chairman and ATNI President Leonard Forsman interviews Dr. Anthony Fauci

Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House advisor and Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, joins Leonard Forsman, Chairman of the Suquamish Tribe and President of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, for an online discussion during ATNI’s annual spring gathering on May 24, 2021.

 

S’Klallam Tribe and Suquamish Tribe Host Youth Vaccination Clinic on May 17 and May 26

All Tribal youth or any youth living in North Kitsap aged 12 to 17  now eligible to receive Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

UPDATE: The vaccination clinic for youth will be repeated on May 26. Make an appointment at https://bookpgst.timetap.com

The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe and the Suquamish Tribe are partnering to host a COVID-19 Youth Vaccination Clinic on Monday, May 17 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Elders Center on the PGST government campus.

Tribal youth or any youth living in North Kitsap aged 12 – 17 are invited to get vaccinated at the clinic. An appointment is required and can be scheduled online at https://bookpgst.timetap.com. Vaccinations are provided free of charge.

There are 300 appointments available at this clinic. Participants will receive their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. A second follow-up shot will be provided three weeks later. All participants will be expected to return to the same location for their second dose on June 7.

Parental consent is required for anyone under the age of 18. Parents or legal guardians can accompany their child to the appointment or provide a signed consent form along with a phone number should they need to be reached. Consent forms are available for download after setting up an appointment.

The Pfizer vaccine was recently approved by the FDA, CDC, and Washington State Health Department for youth as young as 12 years old.

The two Kitsap County tribes have worked hard to vaccinate adult members of their communities, as well as local teachers, school district staff, and other neighbors. Now, they are coordinating to ensure area youth can get vaccinated as quickly as possible.

“We’ve understood from the beginning that the best way to protect our Tribe from COVID-19 is to ensure as many people as possible get vaccinated, especially those in our Tribal community, their close contacts, and our staff, neighbors, and friends,” said Jolene Sullivan, PGST’s Health Director, who has been on the front lines coordinating the Tribe’s response to the pandemic. “Being able to administer vaccines to young people is an exciting next step in helping us move forward towards a pandemic-free life and we’re happy to be able to play a role in that.”

“This clinic is a major step towards safeguarding our families, schools, and the whole community,” said Cherrie May, Suquamish Tribe’s Emergency Operations Center manager. “We’re excited that youth throughout North Kitsap will be joining adults in getting vaccinated, and we’re looking forward to when we can fully reopen schools, gather for cultural activities, and travel in safety.”

While, generally, younger people haven’t experienced the worst symptoms of COVID-19, experts agree that vaccinating this group protects everyone. This includes limiting the potential for asymptomatic spread and variants that may be resistant to current vaccines. In addition, while teens and young adults are less likely to die from COVID-19, long-term symptoms can be serious and significantly impact quality of life.

During clinical trials, the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer was 100% effective at preventing infection among those aged 12 – 15.

Appointments for the May 17 Youth Vaccination Clinic are being accepted now at https://bookpgst.timetap.com. After check-in and vaccination, each participant will be asked to remain on site for 15 minutes for observation to ensure no adverse side effects. The Port Gamble S’Klallam government campus is located at 31912 Little Boston Rd. NE in Kingston.

This vaccination clinic follows an earlier series of vaccination clinics in which both tribes administered Moderna vaccinations to North Kitsap School District teachers and staff.

About THE PORT GAMBLE S’KLALLAM TRIBE

The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, originally known as the Nux Sklai Yem or Strong People, are descendants of the Salish people who have been well-established in the Puget Sound basin and surrounding areas since 2400 B.C.  In the late 1930s, the Port Gamble S’Klallam reservation, located on the northern tip of the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington State, was established. Many of the Tribe’s members, who total about twelve hundred, still live there today.

For more information about the S’Klallam Tribe, please visit www.pgst.nsn.us.

About SUQUAMISH TRIBE The Suquamish Tribe is a federally recognized sovereign tribe located on the Port Madison Indian Reservation along the Puget Sound west of Seattle, Washington. D’suq’wub, meaning “place of the clear saltwater”, has been home to the Suquamish people since time immemorial. It is the ancient place on Agate Passage, the site of Old-Man-House village, the winter home of Chief Seattle and the heart of the Suquamish People. It is here, past, present, and future, that the Suquamish People live on the land of their ancestors and of their great-grandchildren.

Gambling Commission and the Suquamish Tribe reach tentative agreement on a sports wagering compact amendment

(The following was released on May 3, 2021 by the Washington State Gambling Commission.)

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Washington State Gambling Commission has reached a tentative agreement with the Suquamish Tribe to amend its Class III gaming compact to add sports wagering. The Tribe operates its Class III gaming facility located on the Kitsap Peninsula on the Port Madison Indian Reservation. (Full Amendment here).

This is the second sports wagering tentative agreement in the state and this amendment establishes the framework for sports wagering at the Tribe’s Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort.

“I am grateful for the thoughtful and cooperative approach taken by the Tribe and State in reaching this tentative agreement and this compact amendment continues to recognize the Tribe’s sovereignty and successful operation and regulation of gaming,” said Washington State Gambling Commission Chair Bud Sizemore. “This agreement ensures sports wagering will be conducted with the highest integrity while protecting the public by keeping gambling legal and honest. Completion of these negotiations allows us to focus more on the black market in our state.”

“We are pleased with the progress of the compact amendment and the partnership it represents with the Governor, Legislature, Gambling Commission and citizens of Washington,” said Leonard Forsman, Chairman of the Suquamish Tribe.

“Revenue from sports wagering will help support the Suquamish Tribe’s important governmental services offered to both tribal members and the non-tribal community. This compact means guests at the Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort will enjoy additional exciting activities while ensuring that sports wagering revenues remain in Washington.”

This amendment allows the Tribe and State the ability to effectively address the Legislature’s primary sports wagering policy concerns now codified in the Gambling Act: licensing, agency funding, regulation, criminal enforcement, money laundering, sport integrity, and responsible and problem gambling.

The Gambling Commission anticipates it will have draft rules to its Commissioners for their review at the agency’s June 10, 2021 public meeting. Details for this meeting can be found on the agency’s website.

For questions for the Suquamish Tribe please contact: Rion Ramirez at rionramirez@clearwatercasino.com.

Public comments regarding this compact amendment may be submitted to: compactcomments@wsgc.wa.gov.

BACKGROUND:
This tentative agreement must now go through a state and federal approval process. The next steps in this process are:

  1. Legislative Hearings will be held in the Senate Labor, Commerce, and Tribal Affairs and House Commerce and Gaming Committees.
  2. The Gambling Commission will view and vote on this compact amendment at June 10, 2021 public hearing. If approved by the agency’s Commissioners, the proposed compact amendment will be forwarded to the Tribal Chair and then the Governor for signature.
  3. Once signed by both the Tribal Chair and the Governor, the Tribe will send the amendment to the Secretary of the United States Department of Interior for consideration and publication in the Federal Register.
  4. The compact amendment is not final, and sports wagering cannot begin, until it is published in the Federal Register.

Washington State was the first state in 2020 to enact a new sports wagering law. The Gambling Act (RCW 9.46) contains all sports wagering state laws, including additional money laundering and sport integrity provisions to protect gambling and sporting events occurring in the state and around the country.

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act of 1988 provides that Indian tribes may conduct Class III gaming activities on Indian lands when the gaming is conducted in conformance with a tribal-state compact. RCW 9.46.360 provides that the Gambling Commission negotiate those compacts on behalf of the state. The Suquamish Tribe’s tribal-state compact for Class III gaming was originally signed in January 1995, and this is the fourth amendment.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Brian J. Considine
Legal and Legislative Manager
Washington State Gambling Commission
(360) 485-8921 (mobile)
Brian.considine@wsgc.wa.gov

 

Chief Seattle stood up for the survival of the Salish Sea, what will we do for future generations?

The following op-ed by Suquamish Tribe Chairman Leonard Forsman appeared in the Seattle Times and Kitsap Sun as part of Earth Day 2021.

 

We are approaching an Earth Day like no other, as dangers posed by environmental emergencies have never been clearer.  Opportunities to address these multiple crises have never been more available than they are today.

I am from Suquamish, dxwsəq’wəb, the Place of the Clear Salt Water – a place where, too often, sewage and oil spills from other parts of Puget Sound have washed up on our shores.

We have lived here for thousands of years, relying on salmon, shellfish and other traditional foods to support our way of life. Now our foods are scarce as climate change heats the water, spawning habitat is destroyed or made inaccessible to returning salmon, and toxins make shellfish unharvestable.

The 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott, signed by our ancestral leader Chief Seattle, established the Port Madison Indian Reservation (where we continue to reside today) and guaranteed our right to fish and hunt in our “usual and accustomed” areas.  Despite the promises made in the treaties, federal land policies resulted in the loss of most of our lands.  Our grandparents were forcibly taken as children to residential schools, where they were punished for practicing our culture and speaking our language. And pollution, habitat destruction, and overfishing diminished our traditional foods and assaulted our ways of life.

Chief Seattle, showed in his famous speech that he understood we faced the possibility of an end to our peoples and ways of life — and that non-Natives could suffer a similar fate:

“A few more moons, a few more winters, and not one of the descendants of the mighty hosts that once moved over this broad land or lived in happy homes, protected by the Great Spirit, will remain. … Your time of decay may be distant, but it will surely come. …  We may be brothers after all. We will see.”

The threats are real.  Global warming is causing more frequent droughts, wildfires, and storms that endanger the web of life.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, the waters are becoming warmer and more acidic, threatening the ecological web that supports salmon, orca, and our ways of life as Native peoples. Rising sea level and coastal erosion force coastal tribes to relocate. As conditions in other regions worsen, we can expect more people to move here, creating more impacts from desperate climate refugees.

We, the seventh generation since Chief Seattle, survived great transitions thanks to the foresight and sacrifices of our ancestral leaders. Our resilience has lessons that others could learn from. Among them, is the principle of making decisions based on caring for the earth and its residents including the marine creatures, animals, plants, and ourselves.

This principle is a direct challenge to the short-term thinking of today’s world.

Acting on behalf of seven generations means we invest now in cleaning up Puget Sound and restoring salmon habitat, while protecting the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales. It means rebuilding obsolete sewer infrastructure so spills don’t contaminate our waters and marine life, and it requires that we replace or remove culverts that block fertile salmon spawning streams. It means breaching the Snake River dams that will otherwise condemn to extinction salmon species that have, since time immemorial, fought their way through thousands of miles of ocean and river systems to faithfully return to spawn.

And protecting seven generations means confronting the climate crisis, which threatens us all. This means a commitment to act in the fierce urgency of now, as Rev. Martin Luther King Jr said.

As the people living seven generations after Chief Seattle, let our generation make good use of the gifts we have inherited from our ancestors to assure future generations will also have the gift of life to pass along to their children.

Leonard Forsman is chair of the Suquamish Tribe and president of the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians.

Suquamish Tribe seeks new Finance Director

The Suquamish Tribal Council and Executive Management are seeking highly qualified applicants for our full-time Finance Director position to oversee the financial management of the Suquamish Tribal Government.

The Finance Director Responsibilities:
Works closely with the Suquamish Tribal Council, and Executive Director to develop strategies for short and long-term financial planning, and the development of a master budget to ensure financial stability and economic success of the Tribe. The Director will be responsible for the day-to-day leadership and management of all fiscal operations of the government including planning, organizing, and controlling financial resources and expenditure processes. The Director is responsible for leading 10 FTE Finance personnel, and oversite of BIA, IHS, grant, and tribal funding, cash management, debt management, purchasing and investment policy. The Finance Director will prepare indirect cost proposals, assists in preparation of the annual audit and is responsible for maintaining accurate records of all expenditures by fund source. Is responsible for the hiring and management of finance staff, and ensuring compliance with all regulations, standards and legal requirements affecting the tribe’s finances.

Click here for more information and how to apply.

Tribal Council saddend to announce loss of Suquamish Elder

The Suquamish Tribal Council is saddened to announce the loss of our treasured Tribal Elder Nancy McPherson.

She died from injuries sustained in a tragic accident when she and her husband Donald were hit by a vehicle while the couple were on their daily walk in Suquamish on April 6.  The accident occurred as they were crossing Suquamish Way near the House of Awakened Culture.  Donald is in serious condition at Harborview Medical Center.

“Nancy was a treasured member of our community and will be dearly missed,” said the Council in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Don and the rest of Nancy’s family.”

The Suquamish Tribe’s Human Services Department is assisting the family with arrangements. Details on a memorial service will be announced as they become available.

The accident is currently under investigation, but initial reports indicate speed or intoxication were not a factor.

Suquamish Tribe Elects Leaders to Tribal Council

The Suquamish Tribe voted on March 21 to fill five Tribal Council positions up for election this year at the Tribe’s annual General Council gathering.

The Council members re-elected are:

  • Chairman: Leonard Forsman
  • Position 1 Rich Purser
  • Position 2 Sammy Mabe
  • Position 3 Luther (Jay) Mills Jr.

The new member on the Council is Windy Anderson, elected as Secretary. Anderson is the General Manager of Suquamish Evergreen Corporation, the Tribe’s cannabis enterprise. The previous Secretary, Nigel Lawrence, chose not to run for re-election. His services on Tribal Council were acknowledged and appreciated by Tribal members during the General Council.

The Chairman and three at-large members who were re-elected, along with the new Tribal Council Secretary, join Vice-Chairman Wayne George and Treasurer Robin Little Wing Sigo, whose seats were not up for election this year.

The Suquamish Tribal Council is the governing body of the Suquamish Tribe, elected by Tribal citizens during their annual General Council meeting.

Tribal Council is composed of seven positions: Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and three at-large council members. Candidates elected to Tribal Council serve in three-year staggered terms.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, last year’s General Council was canceled to protect the health of Tribal members. The terms of the two positions that were up for election last year – Chairman and Secretary – were extended for an additional year. To retain the staggering, this year’s General Council meeting elected those two positions to two-year terms. These seats, along with the three at-large council member seats, brought the total number of positions on the ballot to five.

With the pandemic ongoing, this year’s General Council was held online. Hundreds of Tribal members participated in a full weekend of reports, resolutions, and discussions via Zoom. Voting was conducted in person via drive-thru balloting on March 21. There was also an option for walk-up voting.

With approximately 1,200 citizens, Suquamish Tribe is a federally recognized sovereign nation. The village of Suquamish and seat of the Suquamish Tribal Government are located on the Port Madison Indian Reservation, along the shores of the Puget Sound near Seattle. The election of Tribal Council members is one of the many ways Tribal citizens exercise their sovereignty as Tribal citizens.

Suquamish Tribe to Vaccinate North Kitsap School District Staff and Teachers

 

SUQUAMISH, WA — The Suquamish Tribe will soon begin vaccinating essential staff and teachers at North Kitsap public schools under an agreement announced today.

Teachers and other staff will begin receiving the vaccinations on March 10th at the drive-thru clinic the Tribe set up in early January to vaccinate Tribal Elders and families, and the staff of the Tribal government and the Tribe’s business enterprises. The Tribe will vaccinate an estimated 600 of the School District’s 950 staff, including all who opt-in for the two-shot series. Vaccinating the teachers and other staff of the North Kitsap School District is the most ambitious expansion of the Suquamish Tribe’s vaccination program to date.

“Suquamish has a tradition of hospitality, and that extends to our commitment to the health of all that live around us,” said Suquamish Chairman Leonard Forsman. “Having vaccinated the majority of our Tribal citizens and their families, and government and enterprise employees, we expanded to offer shots to essential Kitsap 9-1-1 dispatch staff and to other American Indians living in Kitsap County who are not Suquamish Tribal members.”

“And today, we’re announcing a joint project with the North Kitsap School District to vaccinate teachers and staff, assuring that our community’s schools can reopen safely.”

When the North Kitsap School District staff learned of the news during a Zoom call this morning “the response was overwhelming,” according to Jenn Markaryan, North Kitsap School District Communications Coordinator. “Hands raised up in gratitude, and a system-wide sense of relief to have a definitive pathway to vaccination.”

“The Governor’s announcement yesterday was met with excitement, but left folks nervous because appointment availability is scarce,” she added. “It is truly a great day.”

Dr. Laurynn Evans, superintendent of the North Kitsap School District, said: “I want to express my deepest thanks to the Suquamish Tribe. I am grateful to the Tribe for providing this opportunity for NKSD employees, and I appreciate their ongoing partnership with NKSD to support our students, our staff, and our greater school community.”

Further extending its commitment to the community, the Tribe also plans to vaccinate residents of the Cedar Glen Mobile Home Park located on Highway 305, on the Port Madison Indian Reservation.  Most of the residents are elderly and many have mobility issues that prevent them from accessing the COVID-19 vaccine.

Northwest Tribes have a long and devastating experience with pandemics. According to historian Robert Boyd, an estimated 30 percent of the Northwest Coast native population died from smallpox in the 1770s at a time when the Tribes were first in contact with European explorers. By the time settlers arrived in the 1850s, waves of measles, influenza, and additional outbreaks of smallpox had devastated tribal communities, reducing populations to an estimated quarter of their previous size.

Today’s COVID-19 pandemic has also been devastating to Tribal communities, with a mortality rate nationwide among Native Americans and Alaska Natives that is nearly twice the rate of non-Hispanic White people, according to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Suquamish Tribe took precautions early on, activating its Emergency Operations Center in March 2020. Tribal government offices were closed to the public, and staff worked from home or went on furloughs. These early actions helped the Tribal community and its employees to escape some of the worst of the pandemic impacts.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Tribal community health nurses have offered COVID-19 testing to the Tribal community and its employees on-demand and conducted contact tracing when a positive test has been received. The Tribe’s nurses also offer drive-thru flu vaccinations to avert the possibility of multiple illnesses spreading through the community.

The Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort was completely closed for nine weeks, until high-tech screening and COVID safety protocols could be put in place. The Casino Resort has since reopened with limited capacity, shorter hours, and thorough screening and safety protocols.

Beginning in early January 2021 — led by emergency managers, drawing on the expertise of Tribal police and with the help of staff from Tribal government and enterprises — the Tribe turned a floor of the Clearwater Casino parking garage into a drive-thru clinic, and mass vaccination began as soon as supplies of the Moderna vaccines became available.

First to be vaccinated were Tribal Elders, health care staff, and a handful of essential government workers. Tribal members and their families followed quickly, along with the staffs of the Tribal government and the Tribe’s business enterprises.

As of March 2, 2021, Suquamish Tribe Health nurses have administered 1,976 first doses, 1,247 second doses; for a combined total of 3,174 Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses. In addition to the doses administered to Suquamish Tribal households, this number includes:

  • 288 of the Tribal government’s 385 employees, for a total of 75 percent of employees.
  • 75 non-Suquamish Native American household members living within Kitsap County.
  • 29 Kitsap 911 dispatchers and essential support staff.

As of the end of February, 73 percent of the Port Madison Enterprise’s 737 employees had been fully vaccinated; 82 percent have had one of the two-shot series.

In spite of the large numbers who have been vaccinated, Tribal government and business enterprise staff continue to wear masks and practice COVID safety protocols, while COVID-19 testing continues. The Emergency Management Office staff and Tribal leaders continue to monitor the situation as new developments arise with time.

All of these precautions have been costly to normal operation of businesses and government, and enormously time-consuming, and the precautions have forced the cancellation of cultural practices that are foundational to the Tribe’s way of life.

Nevertheless, taking aggressive, science-based action has helped keep the Tribal community, and those in surrounding the community, safer. Vaccinating the teachers and staff at North Kitsap Schools is a major additional step towards safeguarding the health of all residents of the larger community.

“Vaccinating the teachers and staff at the North Kitsap School District brings the area closer to the day when schools can fully reopen, which is an important first step in recovery for the whole community,” Forsman noted.

 

Feb Suquamish News