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Tulalip Tripes Donates to Tsunami Relief

14 January 2005

SEATTLE, Washington – (PRESS RELEASE) -- Acknowledging their respect for the humanitarian efforts of Mercy Corps, and their wish to contribute to "families torn apart by this tragedy," the Tulalip Tribes today presented a check for $150,000 to Mercy Corps founder, Dan O'Neill, and nationally respected journalist and relief worker, Margaret Larson. Larson, just back from a two-week assignment in Banda Aceh helping the agency's emergency response team in Indonesia, accepted the donation during a disaster relief briefing for journalists.

The Tulalip Tribes' donation, accepted by O'Neill and Larson, will help fund Mercy Corps programs, including fishing boat repair, emergency response, debris cleanup, and the Agency's innovative "Cash-for-Work" program-which offers disaster victims the opportunity to help rebuild their communities and bring desperately needed cash to their families.

Making the presentation on behalf of the Tribes were Tulalip Tribes Board Secretary, Mel Sheldon and Board Member Les Parks. In his introductory remarks, Sheldon cited his feelings of solidarity for the fishermen in the region who lost everything: "As a commercial fisherman, the images of all those fishing boats destroyed and those families torn apart made this tragedy very real to me." Sheldon and Parks offered the donation on behalf of the Tulalip Tribes, the Board of Directors, tribal members, and employees of Quil Ceda Village and Casino.

"We raise our hands to you," Sheldon said, using the traditional Tribal gesture of respect for the Mercy Corps volunteers. O'Neill and Larson accepted the donation with gratitude.

Larson, formerly of Dateline NBC, likened the devastation in Aceh Province, Indonesia, to scenes of devastation created by the nuclear blasts of World War II. Larson said that in 25 years of reporting from major disaster and war-torn regions, "I've never seen anything like this....As far as the eye can see, there was nothing but devastation." When asked how the sights and sounds of the devastation affected her, Larson replied that it was impossible to remain objective: "I went to Indonesia with a journalist's eye, but a mother's heart," she said. Larson went on to describe families torn apart and whole coastlines decimated.

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