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Tulalip Tribes honor charities


Christopher Andersson

Tulalip Tribal Chairman Mel Sheldon Jr. talks about community charities at the Tribes' Raising Hands celebration on Oct. 22.

The Tulalip Tribes thanked hundreds of non-profit organizations for their contributions to the community as part of their annual Raising Hands event on Oct. 22.

About 420 organizations were invited to the event, representing the more than $7.6 million that the Tulalip Tribes have given to local groups over the past year.

"Our communities are healthier, we are stronger and our life is better because of the work that you do. We have not forgotten what it was like to go without," said Tulalip Tribal Chairman Mel Sheldon Jr.

Raising Hands is meant to provide thanks to the non-profit organizations that help the local communities.

"We're in a position to give back and help all of you, but the reality is you guys are the ones doing the work, out on the street and giving back in any way to your community," said Tulalip Tribal Board Member Glen Gobin.

Tribal members highlighted some of the local non-profit organizations they have given back to as part of the event.

Organizations like the West Sound Wildlife Shelter which is the largest western Puget Sound animal shelter.

"As we all move in, we're also trying to share the land with the bear, with the coyotes, with the eagles, with the hawks, with the owls and something's got to give, but someone's remembering them," said Mel Sheldon Jr.

The Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development association supported clean energy solutions and looked for ways they could be adopted at broader scales.

They were "the only non-profit focused on community-scale clean energy solutions for our region," said Gobin.

St. Joseph's House Community Clothing Bank in Marysville currently has more than 4,500 clients supporting more than 6,000 children in the community according to Tribal Board Member Theresa Sheldon.

"I remember growing up. My mom, she was a single mom and sometimes there was no place to turn, so thank goodness for St. Joseph's," said Mel Sheldon Jr.

Other groups supported kids, like the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation's Camp Oasis, which provided a supportive place for children with inflammatory bowel diseases, which can often be isolating or embarrassing.

Mari's Place in Everett provides a creative space for children where they can learn painting, dancing or other arts.

At other locations "many of these programs are so expensive that they are prohibitive," but Mari's Place provides an accessible alternative, said Gobin.

Mel Sheldon Jr. said that the highlighted organizations made it clear that "everyone had a gift or a calling to make their community better," and thanked everyone that goes out to make a difference in someone else's life.

He said the Tribes will continue to support those organizations.

"As we succeed as a community, we have a responsibility to give back," said Mel Sheldon Jr., pointing out that the Tulalip Tribes have seen a large amount of growth and success recently.

"Remembering what it used to be. Most of my life [the Tulalip Resort Casino location] was an ammunition dump site or a Boeing test site, off limits to us for many years, and to see where it is now is just amazing," said Gobin.

Mel Sheldon Jr. expects those positives to continue. "There's so much more opportunity up ahead," he said.


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