‘Tulalip from my Heart’ showcased at Fairhaven World Issues Forum
“[Harriette Shelton Dover] was someone to be respected, somebody with poise, someone who was a true leader.”
Patti Gobin, Natural Resource Treaty Rights representative for the Tulalip Tribe, teared up while speaking about her personal mentor, grandmother figure and focus for the school year’s first World Issues Forum, Harriette Shelton Dover.
The forum began with a crowd that filled the Fairhaven Auditorium, discussing the life and work of Dover, running roughly an hour beyond its scheduled time.
The World Issues Forum focused on Dover’s book, “Tulalip From My Heart,” the Western Reads selection for this school year. Titled “Honoring the Work and Legacy of Harriette Shelton Dover,” the forum event featured the book’s editor, Darleen Fitzpatrick, and three members of the Tulalip tribe with connections to Dover.
Fairhaven College senior Grey Rinaldi was especially looking forward to hearing from Harriet Dover’s relatives and friends.
“As soon as the indigenous speakers were talking, it was incredibly powerful. I think the feeling in the room was very tangible when Patti Gobin was talking,” Rinaldi said. “She was a very commanding presence and was very heartfelt, and I think she was the highlight of the whole presentation.”
Patti Gobin spoke about her grandmother, who was the first generation to be forced into assimilation boarding schools, and about Dover, who became a mentor and grandmother figure in Gobin’s childhood.
The anthropologist editor who compiled Dover’s book, Darleen Fitzpatrick, attempted to convey that the Tulalip tribe thinks differently about storytelling, Rinaldi said. The tribe’s form of storytelling is topical instead of chronological, which is shown in the format of “Tulalip From My Heart,” they said.
“I think Patti and Raymond Fryberg [another speaker at the event] both said they hear Harriette’s voice in the book, and it’s absolutely there,” Rinaldi said. “It’s long sentences, connected thoughts and a long stream of consciousness that will jump from topic to topic with ease, so it seems like you are sitting down and listening to someone tell their life story.”
Rinaldi attended the event because they are studying Dover’s book as part of their independent study project. They are helping professor Kathleen Young on her personal research of those who lived on Western’s land prior to the Treaty of Point Elliott in 1855.
The event was helpful for Rinaldi because Dover has familial connections to people who lived in the Sehome area prior to the treaty, and they are interested in the indigenous routes of the area. The treaty was referenced throughout the forum as a topic within Dover’s book.
“[The 1855 Treaty of Point Elliott] basically forced the native populations of Snohomish tribes to secede their land to the colonists,” Rinaldi said.
Fairhaven College senior Shawnee Lang knew very little about the book or topic of the forum prior to the event, but attended as a member of Fairhaven’s World Issues course, which incorporates the weekly forums into the curriculum, she said. Her class was given selected passages from “Tulalip From My Heart” to get an understanding of the content before attending.
“I read the book two pages at a time and cried the whole time,” Gobin said during the forum. “Because it was everything she’d ever said to me. I knew her voice, and she’s always with me. She is my grandmother.”