We at the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center have been supporting and praying for the Water Protectors at the Oceti Sakowin Camp these past few of months. In our open letter/statement we called for the community to acknowledge the relationship between extractive industries and increased incidents of violence against women in communities impacted by extractive industries, and further, to hold perpetrators and industries accountable for these violent crimes. One of our current endeavors includes linking extractive industries to violence against Native women. We partnered with Liveyourdream.org, who recently published an article I wrote titled “Oil Development (DAPL) & Violence Against Native Women.” We continue to send our support and prayers to the Water Protectors and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
This 2016 Winter edition of Advocate! Beyond the Shelter Doors newsletter includes: a welcome to our new board member Wanette Lee and staff Kaycee Sherrard; heartfelt congratulations on awards received by NIWRC staff Gwendolyn Packard and Princella RedCorn; along with updates on our NativeLove youth program, the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center, winter awareness month activities, our new journalist resource page on covering violence against Native women, guest contributor Molly Ryan-Kills Enemy and her views on advocacy, and a special Speaker’s Bureau spotlight on Rebecca Nagle and her work honoring survivors or rape and abuse at the Oceti Sakowin Camp.
In response to the changing political climate and our mission to be of service to those advocating for domestic violence survivors, we have an expanded Wellness Circle section which includes NIWRC’s message of hope, an article from Norine Hill, Executive Director of Native Women in Need, and a personal essay from Rebecca Balog, NIWRC’s Grants Compliance Manager.
In the new Featured Art section, we share videos from Native filmmaker Erica Tremblay who aims to amplify the voices of Native women in her work and the trailer for “The Hunting Ground”, a documentary exposing the reality of rape crimes on U.S. college campuses. The Featured Art section is where 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 this shared continued work in such a robust and fulfilling movement.
Lucy Rain Simpson
Executive Director, NIWRC
Wanette Lee (Native hawaiian) currently works as a certified substance abuse counselor for Ka Hale Pomaika’i, Moloka’i’s premier Recovery Community Organization. She provides both group and individual counseling for those with substance use disorders. She has a vast amount of clinical and cultural experience in the field. She has also been a long time advocate – both in paid and volunteer positions – assisting victims of domestic violence. She was born and raised on Moloka’i.
She is a mother of 7 and a grandmother. She is the full time care provider for her mother in Kaunakakai. In her free time, Wanette enjoys being with family, participating in her church and especially likes her outdoors paniolo activities. Wanette is a survivor of domestic violence, sexual abuse and a recovering addict for 13 years. She has worked with individuals that are incarcerated or put into the Molokai/Maui Drug Court 2 year program which includes Family Court Drug Court. Wanette was also the supervisor of Hale Hoomalu Women’s and Children’s Shelter in Molokai and continues to advocate as a relief worker at the Shelter. Wanette also works with the mentally challenged community working night shift as a caregiver and responsible adult at the Molokai residential facility.
Wanette volunteers with the following groups: 1) Hui Malama O Moomomi- a group of people that takes care of the resources located on westend of Molokai; 2) I Ola Ka Piko – A group formed by women/mothers to address our concerns and find healing for our children and community; 3) Molokai Meth Task force member; 4) Molokai High School Rodeo treasurer; 5) Helped create and build from ground up a youth 21 day program based on Hawaiian cultural values as well as Ho’oponopono (family resolution). Teaching kids to be healers. The program was founded by her brother Wayde Lee who now runs the program in Waianae, Oahu working with teens that are high risk and may head to incarceration. Teens from the judiciary system are referred to the program.
Gwendolyn Packard, NIWRC Program Specialist, received an “Excellence in Lifetime Impact” award. At the 20th Anniversary Celebration Awards Banquet, the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Woemn (CSVANW), gave an“Excellence in Lifetime Impact” Award to Gwen, for all the work she has done in New Mexico to address violence against women and children and for supporting the CSVANW in becoming a 501(c)3. The Award says “thank you for your commitment to stopping the violence against Native women and children and you lifetime impact on CSVANW.”
Princella RedCorn, NIWRC Communications Officer, received a “Native American 40 Under 40” Award. During the 40th Annual Indian progress in Business Awards Gala in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Wednesday, November 16th, 2016, the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development (NCAIED) presented RedCorn and other recipients the prestigious “40 Under 40” Award. This award is a special recognition created to acknowledge emerging Native American, Alaska Native, and First Nation citizens who demonstrate leadership, initiative, and dedication to achieve significant contributions to Native communities throughout North America. Be sure to check out the “40 Under 40” Mannequin Challenge!
The NativeLove team was invited by the Northern Pauite for three exciting days of learning, teaching, sharing and powwow and community outreach for Domestic Violence Awareness month.
What we shared: NativeLove is intended to raise awareness and help end violence among Native youth by encouraging and empowering them to redefine NativeLove and what it means to them. Those of us in Native communities often hear jokes about “Indian Loving” as waking up with a hickey and a black eye- that’s not love, it’s dating violence. This project gives us the opportunity to think about what NativeLove really is, so we can create change in our thinking and restore our traditional ways of loving, which are characterized by respect honor, kindness and compassion.
While there, the NativeLove team had age appropriate presentations with youth ages K-12 and interactive roundtable with staff from Tu-Wa-Kii Nobi (The Kid’s House) program. We also held an Advocates Training with local child and domestic violence advocates and elementary school staff. For community enrichment, we had a NativeLove information booth with interactive activities, spoke at the powwow about domestic violence awareness month, celebrated the crowning of the Northern Pauite Tribal Queen, and also held a youth only dance special on the second day of the powwow.
What we learned: It is their time in history, the validation of youth experiences, the calls to action from youth voices that create opportunities for the next generation to end violence and crisis in our communities. What are youth needs? We heard action plans on ending bullying, ending teen dating violence, and overall community support are what is important to them. If we can focus on supporting youth to build bridges across populations and within their own student body we all can guide their peer-to-peer action through activism, storytelling and mentoring.
Want NativeLove to visit your community?
Please contact us as [email protected].
Last week, survivors and our supporters gathered at the Oceti Sakowin Camp to stand together in honor and healing. KIK TA /Wake up was a weekend of events is to honor survivors and take action to heal together and raise awareness about the parallels between the abuse of Kunsi/Unci Maka (Grandmother Earth) and Women. We held four days of Monument Quilt making workshops, healing circles, Winyan (women) networking, and an honoring ceremony for survivors of rape and abuse.
As one participant said, “Over 100 people joined our walk of support for survivors. We marched down the highway in silence and in prayer. There were a lot of tears, there was a lot of healing. It was a very powerful moment for us as Native women.”
WATCH: Video about “Kik Ta” by Indigenous Rising Media.
North Dakota produces more oil than any other state, and most of this extraction happens on tribal lands. Due to a 1978, Supreme Court Decision, Tribal Nations are prohibited from prosecuting non-Native perpetrators who commit rape, murder, sex trafficking and child abuse on their lands. This jurisdictional loophole has created a crisis in Indian Country. 1 in 3 Native women are raped, abused or stalked EVERY YEAR and 9 out of 10 of these perpetrators are non-Native. The oil industry which bring “man camps” to the outskirts of reservations, has already been cited for doubling and tripling calls for service for rape and assault, according to Native advocates.
The current violence happening against the water and women of Native Nations is part of the on-going genocide of Native people in the United States.
LISTEN: Rebecca Nagle in “At Standing Rock, Two Artists Help Women Confront the Trauma of Sexual Violence.”
*Rebecca Nagle is on NIWRC’s Speaker’s Bureau listing and she was also honored in November 2016 by NCAIED and named one of “Native American 40 Under 40” for her work in Indian Country to support survivors and end sexual assault and domestic violence. Rebecca Nagle is the Co-Founder and Co-Director of The Monument Quilt. The Monument Quilt is an on-going collection of stories from survivors of rape and abuse. Having collected over 1700 storied, the quilt is building a culture where survivors are publicly supported, not shamed. Survivors, loved ones and supporters are invited to make a quilt square. Congratulations Rebecca!
In the News
November 2016 (Resource available)
- WATCH: November 30th NIWRC Webinar “Shelter Rules: Who Needs Them?”. In the beginning, the movement to end violence against women started as a grass-roots effort of women helping women. Soon shelters were started to create a safe, temporary space for women and their children who were fleeing the violence. With the advent of shelters came the institutional process of housing women in rule-driven environments. The subject of rules in shelter is a topic that comes up again and again. This timely and important webinar asks the question, “What would happen if there were no rules? Please join tribal domestic violence shelter directors and advocates as we explore the multitude of issues and challenges that come into play such as: age/sex of children; chores; medication; alcohol and drug use; confidentiality; food; curfew; support groups and sign-in/sign-out sheets.
January 2017 is National Human Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month & National Stalking Awareness Month
- Wednesday, January 11: National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
- Wednesday, January 25: WEAR ORANGE and help UN Women’s Empowerment group celebrate their second year anniversary! Wear Orange, take a selfie with your friends, post to social media & tag #NIWRCStrongHearts #UnitetoEndViolence in efforts to end violence against women internationally! This supports the UN Project: Native Women’s Empowerment group.
- Coming in Early January, NIWRC will share “Sex Trafficking Native Women Curriculum.” (Watch our website and social media for this resource!)
- How much do you know about Stalking? Take the quiz on Stalking Awareness Month’s resource page. Stalking Resource Center is also on Facebook with new articles and resources.
- Special Spotlight on University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s journalism college course titled, “Social Justice, Human Rights & the Media.”
February 2017 is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
- Tuesday, February 14: NativeLove, NIWRC’s youth program will host a Facebook live news feed auction of a NativeLove beaded medallion, made by NativeLove staff, just in time for Valentines day! Support healthy relationships and get your Valentine something sweeter than chocolate.
- Wednesday, February 22: NIWRC Webinar “Indigenous healing: Mind, Body & Spirit”. (Watch our website and social media to sign up for this!)
- Saturday, February 25: WEAR ORANGE, take a selfie with your friends, post to social media & tag #NIWRCStrongHearts #UnitetoEndViolence in efforts to end violence against women internationally! This supports the UN Project: Native Women’s Empowerment group.
- #NativeLoveIs….mutual respect, honesty, protection or heart-shaped frybread? Tell us what you think NativeLove Is by using #NativeLoveIs on your social media accounts. Like NativeLove on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with NIWRC’s youth program!
- WATCH: a webinar by NIWRC-“Native Teens: Meeting Them Where They Are & Promoting Their Leadership”. This webinar focuses on efforts to engage Native youth in becoming part of the solution to ending violence in their communities.
- Share what your youth organization or community is doing to celebrate Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month and we’ll promote them on our social media accounts! Send your event to [email protected].
- RESOURCES: The Native Health News Alliance has two news stories on youth health that are free to download and share in your tribal newspaper or newsletter by signing up with their website. 1. “International team forms to combat youth suicides in Indian Country” and 2. “Higher rate of risk factors endanger mental health of Native youth.”
- NativeLove will be sharing youth resources (video, posters, etc) in collaboration with the Burns Paiute Tribe in Oregon!
Allies in Action
Pre-AFN annual convention, October 19, 2016 at Tanana Chiefs Conference’s David Salmon Tribal Hall in Fairbanks, Alaska, the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center (AKNWRC) hosted the 2nd Unity Meeting to Increase the Safety of Alaska Native Women and the play Sliver of a Full Moon. The AKNWRC organized the day’s events in partnership with the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Indian Law Resource Center and the National Congress of American Indians and with the generous support of tribes, tribal organizations, the Office on Violence Against Women, and many others.
The purpose of the events was to increase understanding of violence against women facing Native women and Alaska tribes, update on grassroots organizing efforts by village-based advocates, tribes and their allies at the local, state, national and international levels to advocate for social change, and begin discussions with tribal leaders about what changes in tribal, state and federal responses are critical to implement to increase women’s safety.
Mike Williams, tribal leader of the Akiak Native Community stated, “The Unity Meeting and the play Sliver of a Full Moon are tribal grassroots organizing efforts to provide updates, share stories, and ensure discussion among tribal leaders, elders, advocates, and survivors from all tribes across Alaska. Through regular, annual Unity Meetings before each AFN, we can work together to resolve local problems by identifying changes in laws and policies at the tribal, state and federal levels. I look forward to working with our Alaska tribes, the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center and our many allies to end the high statistics of violence, suicide and other injustices our people face.”
National Institute of Justice released their informational video, “Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women and Men”
This video describes the findings of a National Institute of Justice (NIJ) supported study on the prevalence of violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women and men. Specifically, the study provides estimates of sexual violence, physical violence by intimate partners, stalking, and psychological aggression by intimate partners over the lifetime of American Indian and Alaska Native women and men as well as victimization estimates over of the past year (based on 2010 data). It also provides estimates of interracial and intraracial victimizations and briefly examines the impact of violence. The results should be used to raise awareness and understanding about violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women and men.
The study used a large nationally representative sample from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS). The NISVS was launched in 2010 by CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, with the support from the Department of Defense and NIJ.
Read about the study in the NIJ Journal article “Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women and Men.”
As a Lakota winyan, as an Indigenous Winyan…..this is what advocacy means to me, to find my voice, to know my worth, to reclaim my power…. It is to bring all women, all nations back together, to stand in Solidarity with all women around the globe. To bare our scars, our pain, our history of being silenced for over 500 years. It is to stand up and to help the others stand up, who have suffered for too long. It is for us to sing our songs of pain and our songs of healing….. To help other women who have suffered as I have suffered, to help them reclaim their power as I have…..by simply talking of my own suffering AND my own healing……it is to raise awareness that Beauty lies in the shadows of pain.–Molly Ryan-Kills Enemy
Photographs from advocacy event: One Million Mothers Rally at the Colorado State Capital in Denver, CO on November 8th, 2016. One Million Mothers Rally allowed indigenous people to come together as women and as mothers to rise together on national election day.
Photographs by Antonio Sanchez.
September 17-20th, 2016-The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center presented a session at the 2016 Excellence In Journalism Conference in New Orleans, LA. The session “Covering Domestic Violence Against Native Women” was co-presented by Princella RedCorn, NIWRC Communications Officer, along with Native journalists Suzette Brewer and Mallory Black. The resource page from this session is now available for Native, non-Native journalists and the general public. Resources include: audio from the session, power point presentation, photographs, tips for reporters, links to published stories and more!
“I felt it was important to talk about the historical context in regards to violence against Indian women since the beginning of European Contact in the Western Hemisphere.” Said Suzette Brewer. “From the minute Columbus and the Spaniards landed on our shores, Indian women – and children, for that matter – were targets of sexual violence, so much so that it was written about by nearly everyone, including average soldiers, priests and even Columbus. himself. It set the pattern of ongoing behavior that was perpetuated with each new colonial power and in one form or another, continues to this day, with little or no consequence for perpetrators. This, I think, is beginning to change with the work being done by the NIWRC and other organizations committed to protecting Native women and children.”
“I provided an overview of some of the historical and recent jurisdictional challenges to tribal courts as a way to give participants an idea of how this issue has persisted for years.” Said Mallory Black. “The legal loopholes that allow crimes against Native American women on reservations to occur don’t exist for other racial groups in the U.S. As Native journalists, we look to non-Native journalists and media organizations as allies in bringing these crucial social issues of race and justice to light.”
This session was important to present to Native and non-Native journalists “Because civil and criminal issues within Indian Country can be very complex, in regards to jurisdiction and forum, etc. Non-native journalists, for example, have a difficult time wrapping their heads around “tribal sovereignty” and what it means when a non-native commits a crime on Indian land. But I continue to believe that unless and until tribes have full right to prosecute crimes on their own land, Indian people will continue to suffer at the hands of non-natives committing criminal acts and skating free because of a jurisdictional no-man’s land.”
The Wellness Circle
A Message of Hope and Inspiration from NIWRC’s Executive Director
by Lucy Rain Simpson, NIWRC Executive Director
From my heart to yours, I extend a warm handshake to each and everyone reading this message. As we embark on this new journey, this undiscovered country, I call on each one of us to stand strong and to continue the important work we have before us, the work that was started by those who have gone before us and the work we will pass on to those who come behind us, the work to end violence in our communities.
As Indigenous people of this great Turtle Island, we honor our sacred connections to this planet, knowing that we are guardians and protectors and bear a tremendous responsibility to protect all life on this planet. Our great leaders have said that “The earth does not belong to us, we belong to the earth.”
During this time of thanksgiving and giving thanks, we are thankful for the countless gifts and blessings we receive. We are thankful for the survival of our people, and for the wisdom and spiritual strength of our ancestors. We know that our presence here today is a direct result of the prayers of our ancestors. Our lives have meaning and purpose, we each have a gift. We each have a voice, a song to sing.
The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center is extremely thankful that we have been selected to once again serve as the National Indian Resource Center to End Violence Against Native Women and to continue our leadership in providing culturally grounded, grassroots advocacy to end gender-based violence in Indigenous communities and to support tribal sovereignty.
We believe and base our work on traditional values, remembering that we are all related to one another, to the plants and animals, to the lakes and rivers, to the rocks and earth, to the sun and moon, to the wind and the fire.
We would like to take a moment to reflect on the Grandmothers of our movement such as Tillie Black Bear and her prolific knowledge and spiritually rooted teachings that guide our path in prayer, hope and belief that tomorrow will bring changed hearts and minds of peace, tolerance, respect and love for one another as good relatives.
I thank each and everyone of you for helping to make the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center the valuable organization it is today, and look forward to our continued journey together.
Native Women in Need Offer Variety of Healing Services
by Norine Hill, Executive Director, Native Women in Need
WATCH: Ellena’s Story-A Video in collaboration with Native Women in Need and Seattle Goodwill. Ellena’s voice was full of regret, guilt, and grief as she recalled the events of “that night.”As Ellena began the difficult work of re-entering society, she joined a support home for Native American women. With healing and affirmation at home, Ellena was looking for a way to do something positive. That’s when she found Seattle Goodwill. “I was walking by Goodwill one day and thought maybe they could help me get back into a career.”
Native Women In Need is a grassroots Native women’s organization offering cultural services, advocacy and mentorship supporting the success of Native women in pursuit of healing from historical and intergenerational trauma. Custom designed culturally informed healing services fill in the gaps of mainstream services to underserviced populations of Native women. We collaborate with local Tribes and off-reserve native and non-native agencies. Services are custom designed with Tribal Program Directors to support specific social service programs including problem gambling, shelters, and women’s groups.
The goal of our services is to inspire participants to reclaim their cultural identify, overcome obstacles to a life free from violence and trauma. By acknowledging the past to re-learning who we are as an Indigenous People, participants transform their path to a journey of natural leadership and wisdom built on the strength of our ancestors. Changing the dynamics of historical and intergenerational trauma portrays the beauty, strength and sacredness of Native Women. Our cultural services includes over 20 cultural healing workshops with teachings, Gathering of Women sweats, Native Chemical Dependency Groups, including building sweats and young warrior sweats. In addition we offer training to front-line staff, advocates and Tribal Leadership in areas of grief and loss, historical trauma, sexual abuse and the impacts of violence against women on survivors, family and community.
The mentorship program consists of 10 mentees per year consisting of former participants interested in joining the NWIN family mentored by Elders sharing their legacy in teachings, workshops, Talking Circles, and Advocacy to continue to grow the vision of the organization and support Mentees to further their healing beyond trauma.
Wellness, Self Care and the Meaning of Treating Each Other As Relatives
By Rebecca Balog, NIWRC Grants Compliance Manager
Violence. Fear. Bullying. Lateral Oppression. Politics. Environmental Crisis. Treaty Rights. Racism.
What is the right answer? Is there only one right answer? How will we make it through these challenges?
This may be the answer:
#WWMAD or #WhatWouldMyAncestorsDo
In many cultural teachings, the ultimate action plan was to support each other within the community with selflessness, earning respect by leadership, working hard to help, giving of available resources, food, kindness in supporting healing practices, respect and the most valuable–prayer.
Returning to the action plans of our ancestors may be an answer to the challenges we face today. Treating each other as relatives is a way to self care and wellness, a way to be united with the old-ways. The old-ways that are consistently represented at Standing Rock and the various camps in the Water Is Life movement. They are protecting (not protesting). They are collectively praying (not engaging in war).
Decolonizing is a way to work with these natural cycles. The seasons dictated how our ancestors mapped the day. Taking shelter from the weather, gathering stores, and making sure all were provided for. These days it is easy to act as if the seasonal changes (or political changes) are irrelevant to our reactions in a modernized life. But we are not helpless, we can act. Act like our ancestors did. If tomorrow is a challenge our strength feels low, maybe we could decide on how to manage by asking, “What would our ancestors do?”
NIWRC partner and filmmaker Erica Tremblay (Seneca-Cayuga) directed a video for Elle Magazine, with hoop dancer Lisa Odjig in solidarity with the #NoDAPL pipeline protest. “As a Native filmmaker, I look for every opportunity to amplify the voices of Native women in my work.” Said Tremblay. “When the opportunity came along to make a piece about movement for ELLE Magazine I knew that Lisa Odjig and her hoop dance would be perfect. We wanted to allow Lisa to use her voice and movements to define who she is and to express her traditions in her own way. We also wanted to take the opportunity to show solidarity with the #NODAPL water protectors.”
In honor of January being both National Stalking Awareness Month, with an upcoming Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month for February, we wanted to share the groundbreaking documentary “The Hunting Ground.”. “The Hunting Ground” is a startling exposé of rape crimes on U.S. campuses, institutional cover-ups and the brutal social toll on victims and their families. Weaving together verité footage and first-person testimonies, the film follows survivors as they pursue their education while fighting for justice — despite harsh retaliation, harassment and pushback at every level.
WATCH: Trailer for The Hunting Ground. To watch the entire film, click here for options.
To learn more and become involved in the conversation surrounding college rapes and sexual assaults, visit http://thehuntinggroundfilm.com/.