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Coast Salish Nation Says 'We Will Heal as One' in Midst of Tulalip Tragedy

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Swinomish, Wash.—Representatives from dozens of Pacific Coast First Nations and Western Washington Tribes issued a statement on Friday about the shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in the Tulalip community.

The Coast Salish Nation is comprised of more than 60 British Columbia First Nations and Washington Tribes, from the white caps of the mountains and beyond to the white caps of the Salish Sea.

We come together in prayer and support for Tulalip and share this message for all.

“Shock and sorrow spread throughout the Coast Salish First Nations and Tribes from this tragedy,’ said Swinomish Chairman Brian Cladoosby. “We are one people in the Salish Sea, and when one community suffers, all of us suffer together.”

“For generations, the Coast Salish communities have come together in celebration, war and sorrow. On this day, our Coast Salish bloodlines stand by our Tulalip family as they lay a young man to rest. Our Coast Salish values and traditional teachings uphold our youth as sacred, as they are our future, our seventh generation. Our hearts carry the victims of this tragedy and bless the families who grieve the loss of loved ones.”

“Words can't describe the sadness and sorrow we all are feeling now for our brothers and sisters in Tulalip,” said Sumas First Nation Chief, Dalton Silver. “I pray that the Creator is with the families to give the strength and wisdom to overcome the very difficult times that are upon them.”

Throughout this week, messages from Coast Salish First Nation Chiefs and Washington Chairmen have streamed into the Tulalip community. Tulalip Chairman Herman Williams Jr. said it best: “These are all of our children, on either side of the freeway, and we will protect them and provide them the support to heal from this devastating tragedy in our hometown.”

First Nations Summit Co-Chair Ray Harris, a cultural and political leader in the Coast Salish Nation added, “We are the Coast Salish People, and we will heal from this tragedy, but it will take us all to stand together and support our Tulalip relatives. We are one people, and we will heal as one.”