North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Tulalip Tribes help raise awareness, remember overdose victims

 

September 6, 2017 | View PDF

Christopher Andersson

Local Whaakadup Monger paints a rock for the commemorative rock garden at the Tulalip Tribes' Overdose Awareness event on Aug. 31.

The Tulalip Tribal community participated in International Overdose Awareness Day with their own event commemorating those who have passed, and raising awareness about overdose issues on Aug. 31.

"We wanted to create awareness. We've lost a lot of lives recently and this is an opportunity to bring the community together and to focus in on what we need to do to end this problem," said Jenna Bowman, director of the Community Health Department at the Tulalip Tribes.

Attendees helped paint rocks that were sealed and placed in front of the building as part of a commemorative rock garden.

"Really creating something that is symbolic to the families who have lost someone," said Bowman.

Local tribal member Whaakadup Monger participated in painting rocks to help remember his son who passed away about two years ago.

"Our son died in that pond right there," he said. "He was one of the four in the rollover," referring to a truck rollover that happened in August 2015.

Monger said that the awareness event was "awesome" and that he enjoyed the fry bread food and community there.

Officials at the overdose awareness event also spoke about the signs and symptoms of overdose.

"By the time we get to most scenes, it's already at the point where we have to do CPR," said Sergeant William Santos of the Tulalip Police Department.

"If we can get there before that point, the chances of survival are greatly enhanced," he said.

"That's why we want people to recognize the early signs of someone who is in trouble," he added.

The Tulalip Tribes also recently passed a Good Samaritan law, which protects people from prosecution for calling for medical assistance for someone who is overdosing.

"The person it was named after was actually lost to overdose and the people were afraid to call in, so her family got together to help make this law to make others understand that it's okay to call 911, we just want to save a life," said Bowman.

Santos said the police officer's first priority with an overdose call is not to make an arrest.

"I've never arrested anyone with a warrant on a call like that," he said. "It's not the time or the place to do that."

The event was held at the Tribes' new Community Health Department building.

Bowman said that the event also served as a way to introduce people to the new building and the Community Health Department in general.

"We wanted to let people to know who we are as a department," she said.

The department helps run programs like community health nursing, hospital liaisons, prevention education and advocating for families that need basic healthcare "of any kind."

They moved into their new building at 7615 Totem Beach Road, Building A, about a month ago.

The new location formerly served as the Tribes' Bureau of Indian Affairs office, a smoke shop and an old administrative building.

Christopher Andersson

Tulalip Tribes police sergeant William Santos speaks to attendees at the Tulalip Tribes' Overdose Awareness event on Aug. 31.

"This building has been a lot of things, so we feel blessed to have it," said Bowman.

A trail of empty shoes running from Marine View Drive to the building also helped guide people to the new building.

"We've had a lot of people stop. They've noticed our trail of empty shoes and asked a lot of questions," said Bowman.

This is the first year that Tulalip has had an Overdose Awareness event but Bowman said they look forward to participating next year as well.

"We want to continue this every year and be supportive of the international day," she said.

More information about the Tulalip Tribes' Community Health Department is available at the Tribes' website at http://www.tulaliptribes-nsn.gov.

 

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