2016 Fall Edition-September


From the Executive Director…

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We at the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center are proud to announce our partnership with the National Domestic Violence Hotline, in development of the new StrongHearts Native Helpline! The goal of the StrongHearts Native Helpline is to ensure that Native victims of domestic violence can access safety in a culturally relevant manner and eventually live their lives free of abuse. We are currently hiring six full time positions to staff the helpline.  Be sure to apply or share these job announcements with those interested!

The 2016 Fall edition of Advocate! Beyond the Shelter Doors newsletter includes: fall awareness months coming up, the FVPSA Tribal Peer to Peer meeting, guest contributor Gretchen Carroll on her sexual assault activism, the United State of Native Women PSA campaign, updates from the congressional briefing on the findings from the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey and a personal essay from NIWRC’s Secretary Diane Spotted Elk and her experience camping at the Sacred Stone Camp. Get involved by signing your organization up with the NIWRC letter “Standing in Solidarity with Standing Rock” and by signing your organization up to support a National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls.

In the new Featured Art section, read about Luzene Hill, a Cherokee Multi-media artist, whose recent installation, “Retracing the Trace” addresses the issue of violence toward women, a work completely connected to the artist’s own experience as a survivor of sexual assault. If you have an idea for the Featured Art section please let us know. We share art forms as a means of social change including; new documentaries or films, art exhibits and positive/uplifting projects connecting to domestic or family violence. Suggestions welcome!

As always, we are grateful to be a part of our shared continued work in such a robust and fulfilling movement.


Lucy Rain Simpson

Executive Director, NIWRC

In The News

Awareness Month’s Coming Up…

Mark your calendars for

September 2016 is National Alcohol & Drug Addiction Recovery Month

  • 13710566_1067514183330118_2195808670217424964_oSaturday, September 25th: Wear Orange, take a selfie with your friends & post to social media tagging #NIWRCStrongHearts and #UnitetoEndViolence in efforts to end violence against women internationally! This supports the UN Project: Native Women’s Empowerment group.
  • Wanting to plan a Recovery Month event in your community? Use this toolkit from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. A list of personal recovery stories are available in video here.
  • Help through Alcoholics Anonymous is an Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem.
  • Help through Narcotics Anonymous is a global, community-based organization with a multi-lingual and multicultural membership. We offer recovery from the effects of addiction through working a twelve-step program, including regular attendance at group meetings. The group atmosphere provides help from peers and offers an ongoing support network for addicts who wish to pursue and maintain a drug-free lifestyle. Our name, Narcotics Anonymous, is not meant to imply a focus on any particular drug; NA’s approach makes no distinction between drugs including alcohol. Membership is free, and we have no affiliation with any organizations outside of NA including governments, religions, law enforcement groups, or medical and psychiatric associations.

October 2016 is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and LBGT History Month


November 2016 is Native American Heritage History Month

  • Tuesday, November 1st: Medicine Women documentary premieres nationally on PBS Plus. Call your state’s PBS station to ensure they broadcast Medicine Woman!  NIWRC Communications Officer Princella RedCorn produced this documentary and this will be her second film on PBS.
  • Share what your organization or community is doing to celebrate Native American Heritage History Month and we’ll promote them on our social media accounts! Send your event to [email protected]
  • Friday, November 25th: Wear Orange with your family, take a selfie with your friends & post to social media tagging #NIWRCStrongHearts and #UnitetoEndViolence in efforts to end violence against women internationally! This supports the UN Project: Native Women’s Empowerment group.




NIWRC is now hiring for the new StrongHearts Native Helpline in Austin, TX!

The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) in partnership with the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH), is excited to announce that the StrongHearts Native Helpline, to be staffed by Native advocates, is scheduled to launch on January 4, 2017. The goal of the StrongHearts Native Helpline is to ensure that Native victims of domestic violence can access safety in a culturally relevant manner and eventually live their lives free of abuse.

StrongHearts Native Helpline will provide confidential, cost free crisis intervention information, safety planning, culturally appropriate support, and referral services to Native victims of domestic violence calling its toll-free number. NIWRC has focused development of information and referral resources in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska. Outreach to the Southwest (AZ, NM, UT, NV) and Alaska has been initiated and is ongoing.

As a result of an unexpected acceleration of our development timeline, NIWRC has agreed to house StrongHearts in Austin, Texas with the National Domestic Violence Hotline, to allow StrongHearts staff to receive direct support and mentoring from the NDVH. This is important in building a strong base aimed at enhancing services and outreach to tribal communities and Alaska Native villages. New Hires are expected to live in Austin, TX for initial start up time frame, then relocate to permanent Helpline office in Tulsa, OK. 

Available on our website are the current vacancies as well as the individual job announcements and application forms below. Please feel free to forward these on!

NIWRC’s positions available are:

Strong Hearts Advocate

Strong Hearts Assistant Director

Strong Hearts Communications Manager

Strong Hearts Data Specialist

Strong Hearts IT Coordinator

*Please review individual job announcements for details. To submit your application electronically you must first DOWNLOAD THE PDF.

Please contact Tang Cheam if you have any questions at [email protected]


NIWRC’s Diane Spotted Elk, stood in Solidarity with Standing Rock

3 DianeDiane Spotted Elk, Secretary for the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, shares her experience camping at the Sacred Stone Camp in August. Diane supported the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and many other tribes representing across the nation, to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline from building on tribal land. To read more #NoDPAL please go here.

Diane Spotted ElkWe arrived late Friday night. I traveled with around 20 other Cheyenne’s on a bus provided by Northern Cheyenne Tribal Historic Preservation Office Department. Upon our arrival we were greeted with lulu’s from the women and warrior cries from the males in camp. The security then escorted us to the tipi’s where they have the daily council meetings (the photo of the tipi’s that are all connected) and told us this is where the Cheyenne’s camped prior to the battle of Greasy Grass. They also mentioned our covenant being there at the same time. A very humbling feeling.

We set up our tents in the dark but security came and offered wood, blankets and anything else we might need. We could see many campfires and hear drumming and singing from the many different small camps in the area. Very beautiful under a start sky. When morning came you can hear the many prayers being said in different languages a group of about twelve women walking the whole perimeter of the camp, all praying for peace and protection of the people, land and water. People of many nationalities walking around. A young man came to our camp and gave us an agenda of what was going to take place Saturday and rules to follow while in camp he also pointed out where the kitchen was and supply tent if we were hungry or needed anything.

An announcer with a PA system could be heard encouraging the camp to continue prayers for the day. Behind us along the river another group of people were blessing the water. Prayers were constant. I felt very safe among so much prayer a calmness yet excited to be able to witness and be part of such a gathering. Beyond the camp’s as you near the blockade, which is about a 1/2-hour drive into Bismarck, the feeling changes to fear, of all the police units that are directing traffic to another longer route.

The announcer at camp stated that the Crows were here, and when the Crows entered camp again everyone welcomed them with lulu’s and warrior cries. As they (the Crows) passed through the gates they were singing. Men were dressed in regalia and women in Elk teeth dresses. The elderly Lakota man spoke his language and sang a beautiful song. Although we didn’t understand his language it was felt and obvious that he was welcoming them in a sacred manner. He then spoke of unity between tribes regardless of the past. All this for water.

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To sign your organization on to NIWRC’s Stand in Solidarity with Standing Rock letter of support, supporting the exercise of the tribes sovereignty and stand against the perpetrator of violence against Mother Earth, the Dakota Access Pipeline,  please go here.


Tribal Peer to Peer Meeting


The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) program hosted and partnered with the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) to co-facilitate a Tribal peer-to-peer mentoring meeting August 9th-11th in Denver, Colorado. FVPSA funded Tribal programs from regions 2, 5, 7 & 8 participated in the 2 ½ day meeting.  The meeting was rich with presentations and dialogue on pressing issues like safe housing options, the intersection of substance abuse, mental health and domestic violence, and supporting male victims of domestic violence.
“The Tribal Peer to Peer Mentoring meeting provided an outstanding opportunity for tribal domestic violence programs, shelters and advocates in FVPSA Regions 5, 7 and 8 to come together, connect, learn from each other and support one another as we journey onward in addressing the violence in our communities.” Said Gwendolyn Packard, Program Specialist for NIWRC. “This gathering represented a unique partnership with the FVPSA office and the NIWRC; it was an amazing movement building, grass roots alliance to end the violence.”

The meeting yielded great suggestions on how to better serve victims of domestic violence such as creating safe houses, instead of only offering communal living options to help reach the needs of male victims, and building a type of program that addresses substance abuse as a family unit. “Great information I can’t wait to take what I have learned back home,” said a participant.

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PSA: The United State of Native Women

In June 2016, the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center staff and board members attended the first United State of Women Summit in Washington, DC. Advancing the status of women was the main theme as various speakers presented on their area of work. Speakers included President Barrack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, First Lady Mechelle Obama and television star Oprah Winfrey. Hundreds of organizations took the pledge including NIWRC!
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The United State of Women created a short video that inspired and moved the audience at the summit. Not seeing any Native women represented in the video, it was then, that Native Women in Film & Television and National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center collaborated to produce a short video and PSA campaign, featuring Native Women at the summit.
Join the movement, make a pledge and upload your photo or video, sharing your tribe and statement of unity on social media using #UnitedStateofNativeWomen.

Native Women in Film & Television, Inc. is a Resource for Native Women’s Rights, is dedicated to promoting equal opportunities for American Indian & Indigenous women, encouraging the creative narrative by native women, exploring and empowering portrayals of women in all forms of global media, expanding empowerment initiatives for native women and girls, in the arts, media, social justice, civic engagement, economic empowerment, research, training and international relations, NWIF serves under its fiscal partner American Indian & Indigenous Arts & Culture non-profit organization Red Nation Celebration Institute (RNCI).

Congressional Briefing: Findings from the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey

On June 16, 2016, a briefing was held at the Capitol Visitor’s Center in Washington DC on “Violence Against American Indian Women and VAWA 2013 Special Domestic Violence Criminal Jurisdiction and Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women and Men: Findings from the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey” by the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Indian Law Resource Center and the National Congress of American Indians.

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Group photo after the briefing. From left to right: Theresa Sheldon (Councilwoman, Tulalip Tribes), Cherrah Giles (NIWRC Board Chair), Deborah Parker (NIWRC Board Member), Leanne Guy (NIWRC Board Secretary), Wendy Schlater (NIWRC Board Treasurer), Carmen O’Leary (NIWRC Board Vice Chair) and Dr. Andre B. Rosay (Director, Justice Center, University of Alaska Anchorage).

On May 5, 2016, the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) published its latest research report examining the prevalence of intimate partner and sexual violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women and men. Using a nationally representative sample from the 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, the report provides estimates of sexual violence, physical violence by intimate partners, stalking, and psychological aggression by intimate partners. It also provides estimates of interracial and intraracial victimization and briefly examines the impact of violence on the victims. VAWA 2013 authorizes Indian tribes to exercise special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction within Indian country over certain non-Indian defendants. This report increases awareness about American Indian victimization to inform policies and practices surrounding implementation of VAWA 2013 special domestic violence jurisdiction over non-Indians. In addition, the report highlights a critical need for further measures to intensify and strengthen the response to violence against American Indian women, and particularly Alaska Native women.

Key findings from the report:

 More than 4 in 5 American Indian and Alaska Native women have experienced violence in their lifetime. This includes:

  • 1% who have experienced sexual violence
  • 5% who have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner
  • 90% of women who have experienced sexual violence by an interracial intimate partner perpetrator

*Briefing Resource page will be out soon including video, photos and press release. 

Allies in Action

FEATURED ART: Luzene Hill Multi-media Artist

Luzene Hill is a multi-media artist, best known for conceptual installations addressing the issue of violence against women.  Her work reflects interdisciplinary scholarship in visual art, women’s studies, Native American culture – topics that are integral to her background and personal journey. Through work informed by Pre-Contact culture Hill advocates for indigenous sovereignty – linguistic, cultural and personal sovereignty.  These concepts form the basis for her installations, performance, drawings and artist’s books. An enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Hill lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia. Her awards include the 2016 Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Fellowship in Visual Arts, the 2015 Eiteljorg Museum Fellowship and 2015 First Peoples Fund Fellowship.  Hill’s work is featured in Susan Powers’ book, “Cherokee Art: Prehistory to Present” and in Josh McPhee’s book, “Celebrate People’s History!: The Poster Book of Resistance and Revolution”.


In recent drawings and installations I addressed the issue of violence toward women in an abstract and personally detached way. Retracing the Trace marked a shift in my approach to making work about this issue. Each aspect of this work reflected my identity and involvement, from making the body imprint to removing the last cord from the floor and attaching it to the wall. The gallery was a metaphor for my body, as I drew attention to the number of sexual assaults that go unreported, and renounced the traces of my own trauma.

As a Native American woman I often reference Pre-Conquest culture in my work. The khipuwas pertinent to this work, as a device made from cords, and as an endangered Native American language. I metaphorically connected the silencing I experienced when I was raped to the silencing of Native American culture and voices.


My personal journey involves having been sexually assaulted when I was jogging in a city park twenty-two years ago.  I had the benefit of therapy for several years and processed that trauma, considering it a private, personal issue.  I never intended to address that topic in my art.   I began working seriously on art in 1996 and after a few years was confronted with the realization that the trauma came through in my drawings and paintings.  I slowly began to claim that work, then eventually exhibited it, in a tentative way.   In 2009 I was invited to make an installation on the subject of human rights.  Inspired by Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, “Ruined”,  I created “ . . . the body and blood”, which addressed sexual assault within a global context and from an abstract point of view.  The response to that work was intense and showed me that personally identifying with the work was important.  Also, when I was researching statistics for that work I was shocked to learn about issues surrounding assaults on Native women.   From that knowledge and experience I created “Retracing the Trace”.  In all my installations I aim to present a contemplative, quiet space in contrast to the chaotic violence that characterizes sexual assault.

04_RTTI recently was awarded a Fellowship from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation and am currently developing new work that continues my exploration of violence against women.   My goal is to continue to draw attention to the inordinate proportion of assaults on Native women and the profound silencethat overlays this issue. My website   www.luzenehill.com has images of my installation, “Retracing the Trace”, which is currently on exhibit at the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis.



Sexual Assault Activism: Gretchen Carroll for SlutWalk Omaha


My name is Gretchen Carroll.  I am a citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma.  I have been part of the Omaha community for over 20 years.  This August I got to be a part of Omaha’s 2016 SlutWalk.  The SlutWalk brings awareness to end victim blaming and slut shaming.  We live in a society where rape culture is too prevalent.   The way someone dresses, or being blacked out, or not being taken seriously when the answer they give is “NO”, is not an invitation to be raped, abused, degraded, or victimized.  We need to change this attitude.

There were about 150 people who came out to the SlutWalk to march with signs and bring awareness.  I personally was glad to be there representing the Native American community.  Native Americans are at the greatest risk of sexual violence.  Native Women are 3 times more likely to get raped than any other group in the United States.  I set up a table representing the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center and had many people stop by with great interest and taking with them the information provided.  I also was able to write a poem (see video below) and was one of the speakers they had presenting at the SlutWalk.  Thanks to the Organizers Kristy Leahy and Billie Mari Grant for making this a wonderful event!!!

I love my heels and the way that I walk
The toss of my hair when I’m about to talk
Somedays my skirt is a little too short
Somedays my boobs look just right with some good support
I love to flirt and greet you with a big smile
Love the attention when you notice my style
My lips might be a bit too pink
Somedays I think my shit don’t stink
I accentuate my assets with some tight fitting jeans
An open invitation it is not by any means
I feel the sexiest when I’m all dolled up
Head held high as I perfect my strut
But do you think my self-confidence is your permission to shame me
Taunt me, beat me, rape me and blame me
I’m not a slut just because of how you see me
And it doesn’t matter if my dating style is little too carefree
I dress and act this way for my own benefit
Don’t need raunchy remarks from a low down degenerate
It doesn’t excite me when you give your catcalls
Or see me as any easy target through your perverted eyeballs
My body is MY sacred place and I get to choose
Don’t need to feel degraded, shamed and misused
My body is my temple and there’s no need to call me a slut
So don’t envision me or imprison me in your little world of smut
I will keep dressing this way and keep seeing who I see
gretchen carroll (copyright) 2016


NIWRC Updates

SIGN UP: Standing in Solidarity with Standing Rock

Standing Rock letterPlease share widely and add your program name to the sign-on letter! Attention Tribal Coalitions, National Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalitions, DV/SA Programs, Social Justice Projects, and program, projects and organizations as Allies in Action: Please click the link below to add your program’s name to this important sign-on letter from the NIWRC.

Together, we stand with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to protect Mother Earth, Sacred Water, sovereignty, and the safety of women and Mother Earth. Last day to sign: September 19th, 2016. Please join us in supporting Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Tribal Sovereignty against extraction and pipelines by having you organization sign here: https://goo.gl/forms/ymponN41nGKtD3773


SIGN UP: To Support A National Day of Awareness for Missing & Murdered Native Women & Girls!

Support A National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls in the United States! “The harsh reality of our lives as Native women is that we witness our sisters, mothers, daughters and community members disappear and nothing is done, We strongly support the resolution calling for a National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women to help increase awareness and shed light on the countless tragedies involving our Native sisters.” Lucy Simpson, Executive Director of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC). Read more of the press release here.

Board President of the NIWRC Cherrah Giles shares why signing on is vital!

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Co-Chair of National Congress of American Indians Task Force on Violence Against Native Women, Teri Henry shares why signing on is vital!

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Sign on here:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdc3cvKuaruY2XQNzaeeeMoBDhqHWDf10CtdGpEFw2s-y2sDA/viewform?c=0&w=1