Tulalip Tribal Chairwoman Teri Gobin delivers the 2022 State of Tulalip address on July 29


Tulalip Tribal Chairwoman Teri Gobin talked about economic development and the impact of recent legislation at the 2022 State of Tulalip address.

Gobin delivered the address on July 29 at the Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce’s monthly meeting.

Tulalip continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Over the last two and half years we went through many changes in government in Tulalip,” said Gobin. “We lost nine of our elders, which was really devastating because they are our history-keepers.”

There have been indications that the economy is recovering.

“Our businesses have rebounded back from the pandemic and our doing really well,” said Gobin.

The Tribes continue to increase their revenue with a number of plans for future businesses.

Due to a state bill, federally recognized tribes can now host sports betting in their casinos and the Tulalip Resort Casino is partnering with sports betting company DraftKings to feature that option soon.

“There will be a big celebration and we look forward to opening with them in August,” said Gobin.

New businesses are also being planned.

“We’re still in the planning phase of our new car wash,” said Gobin.

The current building for the Tribes' liquor and smoke shop will also be demolished eventually and replaced with a new facility that will sell liquor, tobacco and cannabis products.

While construction is underway the liquor store will be temporarily relocated into the former Quil Ceda Creek Casino building.

The Tribes are also planning more social services that are currently being worked on by local officials.

“We are scheduled to open our MAT [medication-assisted treatment] clinic in August,” said Gobin.

MAT clinics are meant to help people with substance abuse disorders and prevent overdoses in the community.

The building will be located near the Tulalip Court building.

“It will help those in need and we will have counseling services there,” said Gobin.

As part of a tax compact agreement with the state, the Tribes have agreed to construct a residential treatment facility in the county that will be run by the state.

Officials are continuing work on that facility.

“The project has been scaled down to a 32-bed unit for dual diagnosis,” said Gobin.

“The mental health crisis has increased throughout all the community. We need residential treatment facilities to get our people well,” she added.

Public housing is also something that the Tribes have been building up.

There are five transitional homes built, and another 17 on the way, that are meant to provide a space for homeless individuals to come and have stability.

“This will be an entire community that has wrap-around services to help get them back into the workforce eventually,” said Gobin.

Natural resources also continue to be a priority for the Tribes who will continue to advocate for improving stream and forest environments.

“The environment, the streams and the forest are all very important parts of our culture. We will continue to be there to protect the salmon,” said Gobin.

Many roads in the state that have been built over streams use culverts to move the water under the road, however these are often barriers for salmon.

Removing those culverts has been an initiative that Tulalip officials have pushed and will continue to work toward, said Gobin.

“The county and the state are working with us to prioritize the salmon-bearing streams to make sure that those culverts are fixed now,” she said. “We really need all of the local towns and cities to step up and do their part to clear those culverts as well.”

Washington state’s most recently passed budget also includes significant financial investments that are meant to remove those culverts and replace them with bridges that are better for the environment.

Gobin also met with U.S. President Joe Biden during Earth Day this year as he came to Seattle to sign a federal bill meant to protect forests.

“It helps make sure that our nature will still be there and we won’t overdevelop in areas that need to remain pristine,” said Gobin. “Too long we’ve operated like we are separate from nature.”

A number of bills from the Washington state legislature that passed this year have also had some positive impacts for the Tribes.

Growth management is now meant to be a more collaborative process in the state with work done between local tribes and county officials.

“The county and the Tribes have separate planning codes and some of them may not mesh together,” said Gobin. “This bill brings us all to the table to make sure that all voices are heard."

Other bills will change policies to make it easier for elders to access medical services on reservations with Medicaid funding or to enter into agreement with the state to house prisoners convicted in tribal courts.

Bill 1571 will help bring the bodies of tribal members who have passed away back to the tribes they are from.

“This requires coroners to return tribal bodies to their families or to the tribe,” said Gobin. “We need to bring all of our members or families back home. Some of them may not have a next of kin, but they have a tribe.”

Another recently passed law will require the state to create an alert system for missing Indigenous people, similar to the Amber Alert system.

“This would send out alert notices when there is a missing Indigenous person so it gets the word out early to save lives,” said Gobin.

The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women movement has been working to bring recognition to the disproportionately high amount of Native women that go missing and the law is meant to take some steps towards addressing that problem.

“Indigenous people go missing or are murdered at a higher rate than any other nationality,” said Gobin.

Gobin also celebrated the new Tulalip Tribal board of directors, which for the first time featured five women in the seven positions.

“Our women have long worked in tribal government but now they are helping to lead the Tribes,” she said.

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