2017 In Review

TERO wins award for excellence

Puyallup’s TERO team: (Back row): Ricki Williams, Compliance Officer; Justin Satiacum, Administrative Assistant; Ty R. Satiacum, Compliance Officer. (Front Row): Penny Fryberg, TERO Dispatcher; Michelle McClendon, Compliance Officer; Ronice Goforth, TERO Director. Photo courtesy of TERO Dept.

The Puyallup Tribal TERO Department had something to celebrate in early 2017 as recipients of the first-ever Edwards/Navarro Award for TERO Excellence. Announced during a Council for Tribal Employment Rights (CTER) legal updates conference in Las Vegas, the award was presented by CTER Ex-Officio Board Member and Co-Founder John Navarro and CEO/President Lee Adolph. Puyallup TERO Compliance Officers Ty Satiacum and Michelle McClendon were there to receive the honor.

Ty Satiacum said that the award is in recognition of the department’s overall excellence and for being a consistent source of leadership for TEROs nationwide. In addition, a recent CTER audit of Puyallup TERO showed that the department is exemplary.

“We had a very clean audit,” he said. “Based on that, and everything else that we’ve done with TERO nationally, regionally and everything like that we received the award.”

Jackie Salyers remembered lovingly on anniversary of her death

Shelby Rideout wore this one-of-a-kind artwork. Photo courtesy of Jim Rideout

Jan. 28, 2017 was the one-year anniversary of the death of Jackie Salyers and she was honored in the most beautiful ways. Starting that Saturday afternoon, her family, friends and many loved ones gathered at the Little Wild Wolves Youth and Community Center for an afternoon of blessing her memory with songs, drumming, prayers, sharing of thoughts and a delicious lunch to enjoy together. Later that evening, everyone gathered at the Tribal Cemetery where Jackie is buried for a community burning to honor all the ancestors. This was followed by a gathering at the Tribal Administration Building where candles were raised and lighted lanterns provided by Puyallup elder Ramona Bennett were released to the sky in a touching tribute to this young Puyallup woman whose life, and that of her unborn child, were cut short by a police officer’s bullet.
“It was so nice and such a great turnout,” Jackie’s mom Lisa Earl said. “I couldn’t have been happier with the help and support it got from Sylvia miller and Tribal Council. Sylvia has been right there to help me through everything. She has helped me so much to get through this time. And the burning brought me some relief to get that taken care of.”

Commencement Bay Cannabis celebrates grand opening

Puyallup Chairman Bill Sterud cuts the ribbon with Tribal Councilmember Annette Bryan (to his right), CBC staff and members of the Fife-Milton-Edgewood Chamber of Commerce.

With a quick snip of the scissors, the ribbon was cut to officially open the Puyallup Tribe’s new Commencement Bay Cannabis (CBC) retail shop on a most appropriate day – April 20. Attracting participation from members of the Puyallup Tribal Council, the Fife-Milton-Edgewood Chamber of Commerce and area business owners, this happy occasion presented a big day for Fife with the opening of its first retail cannabis store.

Puyallup Chairman Bill Sterud had the honor of cutting the ribbon. “I want to particularly thank all the staff that have been working their butts off putting this together,” he said to the gathered crowd.

Tribal Youth Council formed

Puyallup Tribal Youth Council (from left): Mieko McCloud, Angelina Dillon, Emilia LaPointe Rosas and Molly Bryant. Not pictured are Madi Keller, Julyssa Coats and Shane Coats.

After more than two years of planning, organizing and presenting proposals to Tribal Council, the Puyallup Tribal Youth Council held their inaugural meeting on April 25. There, the young members elected officers, started to learn about the purpose of the Youth Council and their roles and responsibilities as Youth Council members. Puyallup Tribal Councilman Tim Reynon led the efforts to propose and organize the Youth Council, and he and the Youth Council members are looking forward to a busy 2018.

Chief Leschi celebrates 20 years

Commemorative white T-shirts with this design were seen everywhere.

Chief Leschi Schools held its 20th anniversary celebration on June 3 with a festive all-school assembly. After enjoying a delicious lunch of salmon, crab, buffalo and elk, everyone gathered in the gymnasium for an afternoon of sharing memories and honoring alumni, staff, supporters and everyone who helped make Chief Leschi what it is today.

“We honor Chief Leschi and the ancestors that allowed us to be here,” said Connie McCloud, former school board member and parent and grandmother of Chief Leschi graduates. “Today we give thanks for our people who came together to make this school.”

Elder Ramona Bennett, a founder of Chief Leschi Schools, talked about how the school got its name. “When Chief Leshi was murdered, he was buried first at Nisqually. People thought he was going to be a martyr and the Indians would do an uprising so they moved him right to the Puyallup cemetery. There he was, right there with us. What I’ve been told is that with the ancestors, if you say their name it makes them smile and Chief Leschi was treated so horribly that we wanted to honor him, recognize him and remember him. So we named the school after him.”

PTHA graduates resident physicians, welcomes new ones

Brooke Elizabeth Parker, DO; Jesse Lee Klebba, DO; Kira Nell Bendixen, DO; Sunil Bhat, DO

Gathering June 16 at the Brown’s Point Improvement Club on land that the Puyallup Tribe has made its home for millennia, four resident physicians of the Puyallup Tribal Health Authority (PTHA) were celebrated and honored in a traditional graduation ceremony. There with family and friends were Dr. Jesse Klebba, Dr. Sunil Bhat, Dr. Kira Bendixen and Dr. Brooke Parker, the third graduating class of residents since PTHA established its residency program in 2013.

After three years of honing their skills, and hearts, serving the tribal community, these four special physicians were reintroduced to the community with their new role as not just qualified family physicians, but as healers, an important distinction as explained by PTHA Executive Director Chris Henry.


“Part of the importance of our residency program is that the people in our community need someone we can trust,” she said. “We won’t go to just anybody, and we definitely won’t talk to just anybody – you have to feel that connection in order to say that’s the person I want to help me. These healers have fulfilled that role. In my mind they’re not just doctors, they’re there for the whole person. The elders that they’re helping through that time, there isn’t any other doctor that could feel the way that our healers feel.”

Dr. Klebba joined PTHA in September; Dr. Bhat went on to a fellowship in osteopathic medical therapy; Dr. Bendixen will also be doing fellowship in osteopathic nuclear therapy; and Dr. Parker is doing part-time work in Seattle and will remain a part of PTHA as well.

Four new residents were warmly welcomed with a special ceremony on June 30. There to meet their new community were Jarrett Bruno, DO; Heather Dimmitt, DO; Sara Wagner, DO; and Jim Hooper, DO – all from different areas of the country and brought together on the Puyallup reservation to not only become knowledgeable physicians, but caring healers as well. These four represent the sixth group of interns that PTHA has welcomed since this first-of-its-kind residency began in 2013.

Puyallup Tribal Council welcomes one incumbent, one new member

The full Puyallup Tribal Council: (front row) Sylvia Miller, Chairman Bill Sterud and Annette Bryan; (back row) Tim Reynon, Vice Chairman Larry LaPointe, James Rideout and David Bean.

It was standing room only in the Puyallup Tribal Council Chambers on June 15, as tribal community members gathered for the official swearing in of two council candidates who came out winners of the 2017 election – Tim Reynon and James “Jim Jim” Rideout.

Incumbent Tim Reynon gave much thanks to the Puyallup tribal community for voting him in to continue his service that began three years prior. Jim Rideout launched into his first term as a brand new Council member, even though for years he has been a visible face out in the community doing great things for the membership, youth in particular.

“It’s the highest of honor to stand in this position today,” Jim Rideout said at his swearing in. “I don’t want to let anybody down and I’m going to give it my absolute best.”

Tribe breaks ground for new elders assisted living facility

Breaking ground for the facility were (from left) Puyallup Tribal Councilmember Sylvia Miller; Planning & Land Use Services Special Project Manager Charlene Matheson; Puyallup Tribal Councilmembers James Rideout, Annette Bryan and David Bean; Monae Wright; Puyallup Elders Advisory Committee Member Don Finley and Chairman Frank Griese; Puyallup Chairman Bill Sterud; and Puyallup elder Raymond McCloud. Photo by Matt Nagle

After many years of anticipation, the day finally arrived on July 7 for the Puyallup Tribe to break ground on a new elders assisted living facility. Gathering at the site next to the Tribe’s House of Respect Elders Center, Tribal Council, along with those in the Tribe who have long worked on the project, representatives from ARC Architects, and Andersen Construction representatives, all assembled to take part in the blessing ceremony and to see the first shovels of dirt overturned.

“This has been a dream for a long, long time,” said Puyallup Chairman Bill Sterud. “There are 16 (Puyallup) tribal elders scattered throughout Tacoma and Pierce County in different assisted living places. They’re all going to come home here. They’re going to be around us. They’re going to have that spirit brought back.”

“Like many have said before me, we owe so much to our elders and ancestors and this is one step in that circle of life,” said Tribal Council Member David Bean. “It’s an honor to be part of a community that has brought this vision to life. An important lesson we’re taught at Chief Leschi in circle is that we honor our elders for their wisdom. They’re not cast aside but continue to hold a place of honor within our families and community. This facility is away of honoring those folks who have tread such hard ground – tougher ground than any of us will know – and for that I express gratitude.”

Cheech and Chong visit the rez

Cheech and Chong (second and fourth from left), Puyallup Chairman Bill Sterud (second from right) and staff from the tribe’s Medicine Creek Analytics cannabis testing lab stopped for a photo op at the tribe’s Salish Cancer Center in Fife.

On July 22, Commencement Bay Cannabis welcomed Richard “Cheech” Marin and Tommy Chong for a meet and greet event before the pair would present their comedy show live at Emerald Queen Casino later that night. The Grammy Award–winning comedy duo was so popular that the line of fans stretched from inside the cannabis shop at the budtender’s counter, through the front of the store, past the security guards and back outside. Judging by the laughing, nearly everything that came out of either comedians’ mouths sounded funny to the fans.

Following a quick visit to the Puyallup Tribe’s Salish Cancer Center, in the same building that houses the Tribe’s Medicine Creek Analytics cannabis testing lab, the highly adored duo arrived at CBC in a retro ride, the familiar vintage green VW van driven and owned by Chairman of the Puyallup Tribe Bill Sterud. Soon as the side door slid open, fans began cheering and Chong was the first to step out but the character who told a movie cop that his name was “Pedro De Pacas, man, that’s my name” was also quickly encircled and the duo became separated by their eager devotees.

“It was a was a really fun experience. I’ve long been an admirer of their sense of humor,” Chairman Sterud said of Cheech and Chong’s visit. “I learned how normal they are – really laid back guys. The store looked great, the staff was happy and they put on a killer show at the Showroom.”

Second annual Lushootseed Language Institute further strengthens Puyallup identity

The smiles on their faces tell the real story of the impact that the Lushootseed classes had on each and every student. Being immersed for two weeks learning the language together fostered a beautiful bond among all the learners that went deeply into their spirits.

The Puyallup Tribe’s second annual Lushootseed Language Institute (LLI) wrapped up on Aug. 11 following two weeks of full immersion classes held at the University of Washington-Tacoma. Presented by UWT and the Puyallup Tribal Language Program, LLI welcomed predominately Native students from many tribes – Puyallup, Nisqually, Snoqualmie, Suquamish, Sauk Suiattle, Tulalip, Quileute, Salish, and Jicarilla Apache, in addition to Chief Leschi Schools staff.

It was a team effort to bring the second LLI to life, combining the talents of UWT Assistant Professor of American Indian Studies Danica Miller with Puyallup Tribal Language Program staff Zalmai Zahir, Lushootseed Language Consultant; Amber Hayward, Language Program Director; Chris Duenas, Media/Web Developer; and Language Instructor Archie Cantrell.

The Language staff worked the whole year to produce Lushootseed class content to present the lesson units completely in Lushootseed, with Zalmai Zahir overseeing the Language Program staff in the creation of immersion units for LLI. The Language staff was also very intentional about how they put together the schedule for this year’s LLI, taking into consideration student comments from last year, and staff observations, to create a healthy, positive and loving environment to encourage language use.

Honoring Our Medicine canoe journey announced

The smiles on these faces (with Councilmember Annette Bryan in front, center) tells the story of Puyallup tribal members’ experience at Campbell River and the excitement building for Honoring Our Medicine 2018. Photo by Mark Gauti

Freshly back from the August 2017 Canoe Journey to Campbell River, the Puyallup Canoe Family and others in the tribal community got right to work to plan the 2018 Honoring Our Medicine Canoe Journey that the Puyallup Tribe will host this summer. There is a lot to do in a relatively short period of time and pulling off such a massive event will take “all hands on deck” where the Puyallup community is concerned. But the whole effort has been blessed from the start and this was evidenced beautifully at Campbell River when the Puyallup Tribe was gifted as keepers of a very special Talking Stick that the Tribe will hold as hosts of next year’s Honoring Our Medicine then present to whichever Tribe steps forward to host Canoe Journey in 2019.

“One thing we learned at Campbell River is that we have to give back to the roots of tribal journeys,” said Chester Earl, Chairman of the Puyallup Tribal Canoe Committee. “I hear this a lot – to go back to the reason we started and that is to honor our medicine. That consists of taking care of our elders, being respectful to one another, taking care of our children, passing on the teachings and receiving the teachings. We want to do this in a way our ancestors did it.”

Tribe hosts 2017 Basket-weavers Association Gathering

The Puyallup planning committee: (left to right, back row): Carolyn DeFord, Billie Barnes, Co-Chair Teresa Harvey, Co-Chair Connie McCloud, Peggy McCloud, Co-Chair Karen Reed; (left to right, front row): Denise Reed, Sharon Reed, Misty Kalama Archer (not pictured: Angeline Totus).

This year the Puyallup Tribe had the honor of hosting the 23rd annual Northwest Native American Basketweavers Association’s Gathering, Oct. 6 and 7 at the Emerald Queen Showroom. A highlight of this all-ages event was seeing so many youth alongside talented elders teaching their young students the skills of weaving in order to keep this beloved tradition and culturally important art form alive and vibrant in this 21st century and beyond.

A planning committee of nine Puyallup women got together to bring the Gathering to the reservation, co-chaired by Teresa Harvey and Connie McCloud. “We’ve been working pretty hard over the past year on this,” said Teresa, who wrote the proposal for the Puyallup Tribe to host this year. Puyallup tribal members Clinton McCloud and Harvey Anderson served as masters of ceremonies, and the Puyallup weavers staffed 10 tables for weavers to work at. The weekend included weaving of all sorts of items, from hats and keepsake hearts to shawls and floor mats, with a special room off to the side where elders worked side by side with youth, both showing each other their family’s weaving techniques so that everyone learned something new.

Puyallup Tribe welcomes code talker Alfred Newman

Honored by Tribal Council. Seated: Diné Code Talkers Executive Director Vicky Jarvison; Alfred Newman, 3rd Marine Divison; wife Betsy Newman; and Betsy’s brother Leo Denetsone. Standing: Tribal Councilmembers Tim Reynon and David Bean; Vice Chairman Larry LaPointe; Councilmembers Jim Rideout and Annette Bryan; and former Councilwoman Nancy Shippentower.

Navajo code talker Alfred Newman, 3rd Marine Division, paid the Tribe a visit during the week of Veterans Day. With him were his wife of 69 years Betsy Newman, brother Leo Denetsone and Vicky Jarvison, executive director of the Diné Code Talkers organization, a New Mexico-based non-profit group whose mission is outreach, education and preservation of the Navajo code talkers history and legacy.

For four days this 93-year-old veteran and his family were guests of honor at numerous events and meet-and-greets on the Puyallup reservation, and they were treated like royalty as was deserving of such a man who, with his tribal brothers, put his life on the line to help defeat the Japanese in World War II. Mr. Newman and his family were constantly given many hugs and thank-you handshakes, gifts, standing ovations and pure love such that they had never before experienced in their travels around the country to educate the public on what the code talkers did for America.

As guests of Councilman Jim Rideout, he escorted Mr. Newman, Betsy, Leo and Vicky everywhere they went and stayed attentive to anything Mr. Newman needed as he was being driven around to his appearances. It was Rideout who extended the invitation to Newman this past summer at the National Gathering of American Indian Veterans in Chicago, which he attended with Puyallup Tribal Veterans who were also of a mind that Mr. Newman should visit the Tribe.

“It’s an honor to have you here, especially near Veterans Day,” Councilman Rideout said in Council chambers. “I felt love and kindness from you, Alfred, when I first met you and I felt compassion for you and your legacy – what you want to leave behind for your tribe and your community. I can’t thank you enough. This is an historic Veterans Day week that we’ll never forget.”

Puyallup Tribe tackles homelessness with Flames of Recovery

Flames of Recovery “house mother” Linda Dillon (left) and Tribal Councilwoman Sylvia Miller worked hard together on getting the house up and running.

The Puyallup Tribe stepped up to take action and help our area’s homeless population by opening Flames of Recovery, a residential house turned homeless services center just off Portland Avenue.

Located at 1437 E. 31st St., Flames of Recovery opened on Oct. 11, just in time for the cold, wet weather that moved in for the winter. The house is open to not just homeless Native Americans, but anyone living on the streets in need of a place to rest for a while, get warm and have a hot cooked meal – and these are just a few of the many services Flames of Recovery offers. There, visitors can browse racks of clean clothes for men, women and children; receive non-perishable food items, hygiene packages and first aid kits; do laundry and take a shower; and enjoy lots of soft couches and chairs to sit and stay awhile to just watch TV and relax. Flames of Recovery also offers Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings for anyone who wishes to engage in these programs.

Puyallup Tribal Member Linda Dillon is Director of Flames of Recovery, with Puyallup Tribal Councilwoman Sylvia Miller working closely by her side.

“I raise my hands to Linda for all she has done for our homeless friends and neighbors,” Sylvia said. “She has been doing this kind of work for such a long time, and she has put her heart and soul into making Flames of Recovery happen. We could not do it without her.”

Tribe leads fight against LNG

Victory was celebrated outside the courthouse when Dakota Case and Chester Earl (behind flag) were exonerated for civil disobedience actions.

When word began to spread that a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility was coming to the Tideflats at Port of Tacoma, Puyallup tribal member Water Warriors led the charge to do something about it. Their approach was twofold: to raise awareness of the extreme risks involved in having such a plant within residential and business areas and to protest the plant itself invading Puyallup territory without the Tribe ever having been involved in whether or not to have it on their lands. The Water Warriors’ organizing efforts attracted folks from all walks of life who looked to the Tribe for leadership and direction, with some of the water protectors arrested for their brave efforts. Going into 2018, the Tribe has been invited to join the Port, City of Tacoma and Pierce County to take part in formulating what is called a “sub-area plan” for the Tideflats so that these entities can work together to plan the future of the Tideflats and prevent any future fracking operations and other such threats to our local environment.