We at the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center are extremely thankful that we have been selected to again serve as the National Indian Resource Center to End Violence Against Native Women. We will continue our leadership in providing culturally grounded, grassroots advocacy to end gender-based violence in indigenous communities and to support tribal sovereignty. Recently, the NIWRC, and 118 Tribal Nations and organizations, filed an amicus brief urging the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to rule in favor of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s motion for partial summary judgment. In the amicus, we urge the Army Corps to consider the increased levels of violence Native women and children in the Bakken region will face if the pipeline is permitted to cross the Missouri River at Lake Oahe and commence operations. This brief is the latest our VAWA Sovereignty Initiative, an NIWRC project focused on defending the constitutionality and functionality of federal law and policy related to the protection of Native women and children.
This 2017 Spring/Summer edition of Advocate! Beyond the Shelter Doors e-newsletter includes: a warm welcome to our newly nominated Southeast Region Board member Tina Marie Osceola (Seminole Tribe of Florida), a listing of NIWRC’s new digital resources, an update from February’s Hill Briefing in Washington DC with co-sponsors Indian Law Resource Center and Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center, an update from our youth program NativeLove and events promoting Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, spring/summer awareness months activities and calendar, and a special Speaker’s Bureau spotlight on Mary Kathryn Nagle and her newly written play, Fairly Traceable, that opens on March 10, 2017.
In the Featured Art section, we share a new art exhibit opening in March 2017, Connecting Lines, at the Center for Contemporary Native Art in the Portland Art Museum. The artists, Brenda Mallory (Cherokee Nation) and Luzene Hill (Eastern Band Cherokee), will feature their work focusing on issues of violence against Native women and themes of disruption, repair and renewal of Cherokee history. 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 preventing and healing from domestic or family violence. Suggestions welcome!
We would like to thank each advocate, each mother, each sister, each aunt, each daughter, each grandmother, each man, and each child for their continued support of the movement to end domestic violence and for making NIWRC the valuable organization it is today. We look forward to traversing this new landscape together and to the enhanced advocacy that arises.
Lucy Rain Simpson
Executive Director, NIWRC
Tina Marie Osceola is an enrolled member of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and a lifetime resident of Naples, Florida, a beautiful town on Florida’s Southwest Gulf Coast. Tina is a tribal associate judge for her Tribe and owns several small businesses. Tina completed her undergraduate studies at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL (BA, Political Science) and her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Nova Southeastern University. Tina is also well known as a public speaker for both local civic organizations as well as a keynote speaker for national associations and formats. Tina is married and the mother of two, and grandmother of one.
February was Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month! All month, NativeLove has asked people to share how they see teen dating and healthy relationships as part of the awareness month activities to encourage and foster community conversations, share stories and learn more about what healthy love is. We used the #NativeLoveIs hashtag to foster the special month of conversation. For new Twitter Chat users, we also created a GuideBook for the occasion, as a resource tool on the “How-To’s” so all ages and level of technology could join.
The NativeLove Project hosted a Intertribal Indigenous TDVAM Tweet Circle (Twitter chat) for youth, activists, advocates, educators, tribal community members, tribal and community leaders, allies, and survivors. Our NativeLove and Violence Against Women movement is deeply rooted in culturally specific social justice and is fueled by the philosophy of 7 Generations. For Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, NativeLove created an opportunity to share our diverse and unique experiences as views of what healthy NativeLove means, to all age groups across all nations!
During the Question and Answer formatted chat, we discussed topics including:
- What is consent? What does it mean to you?
- What are your characteristics for healthy relationship?
- What are some cultural ways to heal our hearts, minds and bodies if we have been hurt physically or emotionally?
- Do you have someone safe/trusted you can go to if someone you know is in an unhealthy relationship?
- And we asked various other Q&A to get youth and adults thinking about the process, if we are in an unhealthy relationship, what would next steps be? And how do we heal? Do we know when we are in a healthy or unhealthy love?
It was a simple, but powerful circle-time that was intended to drive home the message that healthy teen dating relationships is important to all of us and our consent is our autonomy! As our first Tweet Circle/Twitter Chat, we had humble real-time participation, but there is a silver-lining, post Tweet Circle, participation can continue the conversation for days after. In total the Intertribal Indigenous TDVAM Tweet Circle conversation had 1500 direct Tweets, 5,454 direct engagements, 8,874 impressions, and 16,500 total reach for the overall campaign.
NativeLove also held a “Seven Generations for NativeLove-Seven Days of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month” digital postcard campaign via social media. These digital postcards shared statistics on TDVAM, data, information about teen dating as well as quotes from youth. NativeLove Ambassador, Kristen and her Mother Faith, both participated throughout the month in our Verizon funded TDVAM campaigns.
Please keep an ear to the ground for opportunities to request a NativeLove training/event in your community or school. NativeLove will be traveling to visit with youth in Alaska for Sexual Assault Awareness Month. If you would like NativeLove to visit your community to talk about Health NativeLove please email [email protected].
To follow NativeLove on Twitter
To follow NativeLove Youth Ambassador on Twitter
To join the NativeLove Facebook Page
Fairly Traceable is a new play written by Cherokee playwright and attorney Mary Kathryn Nagle, and produced by Native Voices at the Autry, with Native Voices Artistic Director, Randy Reinholz (Choctaw) and Jean Bruce Scott as Executive Producers.
Nagle’s latest play tells the romantic story of two young Native attorneys (one a citizen of the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma, the other a citizen of Pointe-au-Chien, a Tribe located along the bayou in southern Louisiana), fighting to save their love, and Tribal Nations, from climate change.
At a time when Tribal Nations—and many non-Natives—are standing in solidarity with Standing Rock, Fairly Traceable presents a critical Native perspective on what it truly means to be an environmentalist. As one of Fairly Traceable’s characters, SUZANNE, states to a non-Native law professor:
We don’t need your “environmental law” to tell us our homes are worth saving. We’ve known that since we came into existence. Under our law, we recognize the Earth as our Mother because we come from her. She gives us life. And as Native women, we give life. The future generations of our Nations come from our bodies. So we, Native women, we’re the environment. We’re inseparable. Without us, our Nations cease to exist.
As Native women, are very familiar with the connection between respect for our lands and safety for our women. In fact, this is the point made in the amicus brief NIWRC filed on February 21 in the United States District Court, District of Columbia.
We find ourselves at a point in time when Native perspectives on protecting the sacred—our way of life, our lands and our waters—are vitally important. Native Voices at the Autry’s production of Fairly Traceable presents a unique opportunity to celebrate the talents of Native theatre artists and educate non-Natives on issues related to tribal sovereignty and saving the environment.
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In the News
March 2017 is Women’s History Month and National Native American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
- March is Women’s History Month: Nominate an Inspiring Native Woman from your community & we’ll add to our Facebook album promoting her story on all our social media platforms! Send short 2-3 sentence bio, photo & relevant link to [email protected]. Women can be from your tribe’s history or current role model.
- EXPLORE: Medicine Woman, a 60-minute documentary about Native Women healers and video clips on PBS. Medicine Woman premiered on PBS Plus last November and is produced by NIWRC’s Communications Officer, Princella RedCorn. She was America’s first Native doctor, breaking barriers of race and gender to heal her traumatized people. A century later, Native women from many tribes follow in the footsteps of Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte. How can they hope to mend wounds of body and spirit that history has created? And what have they learned about new ways of healing that can help us all? Medicine Woman documents their stories.
- March 14-15: It’s Complicated: Intersections Between Substance Use and Domestic Violence Register for this workshop here. Many Native people, young and old, have survived a lifetime of violence that has profoundly impacted their lives in many ways. This workshop will provide participants with information about the history and effects of alcohol and other drugs, addiction treatment practices, the dynamics and impact of trauma, and how a trauma-informed response facilitates the healing process for victims/survivors. This highly interactive workshop will give attendees the opportunity to participate in trauma-informed and culturally based activities that can be used in virtually any setting.
- Monday, March 20th: National Native American HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Check out NNHAAD for products, audio PSAs and many more resources to share with your community!
- Saturday, March 25th:WEAR ORANGE and help UNite to End Violence Women’s Empowerment! Wear Orange, take a selfie with your friends, post to social media using #UNitetoendviolence & #NIWRCStrongHearts.
April 2017 is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
- April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Check out this website for downloadable resources to share and raise awareness with your community.
- Tuesday, April 25th:WEAR ORANGE and help UNite to End Violence Women’s Empowerment! Wear Orange, take a selfie with your friends, post to social media using #UNitetoendviolence & #NIWRCStrongHearts.
- Sunday, May 14: Mother’s Day!
- Wednesday, May 17, 2017 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM CDT– NIWRC Webinar: Domestic Violence Safety Issues When Meth is Present. Register for this webinar here.
- Thursday, May 25th:WEAR ORANGE and help UNite to End Violence Women’s Empowerment! Wear Orange, take a selfie with your friends, post to social media using #UNitetoendviolence & #NIWRCStrongHearts.
June 2017 is LGBT Pride Month and PTSD Awareness Month
- June is LGBT Pride Month and we will be celebrating on our social media accounts at Facebook (NIWRC & NativeLove for youth) and Twitter. Be sure to like us, as we’ll be sharing videos, articles, resources and your community events! Use #NativeLGBTPride in your posts and we’ll share.
- June is also PTSD Awareness Month: Explore the February 2017 NIWRC Webinar “Indigenous Healing-Mind, Body, Spirit.” This resource webpage includes the entire webinar recording with Bonnie Duran, description and handouts on mindfulness resources.
- Sunday, June 18th: Fathers Day!
- Sunday, June 25th:WEAR ORANGE and help UNite to End Violence Women’s Empowerment! Wear Orange, take a selfie with your friends, post to social media using #UNitetoendviolence & #NIWRCStrongHearts.
- Saturday, August 26th: Women’s Equality Day.
- Wednesday, August 23 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM CDT-NIWRC Webinar: Reviving the Movement, Voices of Advocates. Register for this webinar here.
- Friday, August 25th:WEAR ORANGE and help UNite to End Violence Women’s Empowerment! Wear Orange, take a selfie with your friends, post to social media using #UNitetoendviolence & #NIWRCStrongHearts.
Allies in Action
Congressional Resolution Aimed at Creating Awareness on Missing and Murdered American Indian and Alaska Native Women
The reported rates of abduction and murder of American Indian women and girls are alarming. However, Native women advocates say too often these terrible crimes are ignored by law enforcement and the media.
“Indigenous women go missing twice—once in real life and a second time in the news” said Amanda Takes War Bonnet, Public Education Specialist of the Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains. War Bonnet was part of a panel during the Moving Ahead In Addressing Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women and Efforts to Address Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls congressional briefing held Feb. 15, to provided legislators and the public with an overview of this urgent issue.
“These are not new crimes, but a pattern of crimes that has existed for decades upon decades,” said Terri Henry, Secretary of State, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Co-Chair, NCAI Task Force on Violence Against Women, and Board Chair, Indian Law Resource Center. Henry says colonization and the policies that followed has created circumstances of vulnerability for Native women and children. “As governments, we are here today to begin the process of acknowledging missing and murdered American Indian and Alaska Native women so that as governments we can act to stop these horrific crimes.”
To help bring attention to these tragic, often undocumented crimes, Montana Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester introduced Senate Resolution 60 on Monday, Feb. 13 — a resolution calling for the designation of May 5, 2017 as a “National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls.” Senators James Lankford (OK), Cory Gardner (CO), Al Franken (MN), John Hoeven (ND), and Tom Udall (NM) co-sponsored the resolution. Speaking at the briefing, Sen. Daines noted that May 5th was chosen because it is the birthday of Hanna Harris, a Northern Cheyenne woman who went missing in July 2013 and was found murdered several days later.
“We all know someone,” said Tami Truett Jerue, Executive Director, Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center. “I remember as a child hearing my mother, my aunts and their friends at the kitchen table lowering their voices and whispering about those women in our families who went missing or were murdered.” Alaska Natives are 16% of the population in Alaska, but 28% of the murder victims according to statistics. “I hope this resolution will increase awareness and alert villages and programs to develop protocols for an immediate response. I hope it will inform the criminal justice system’s response to view a disappearance for what it is– extremely dangerous.”
“Before we can address and end any injustice, we must first acknowledge the injustices,” said Cherrah Giles, Chairwoman, Board of Directors, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center. “This Senate Resolution is the beginning of that acknowledgment. Stand with us on May 5 to acknowledge and honor Indian women who are missing or murdered. As we come to understand the roots of violence against Indian women, we can continue to remove the barriers to their safety.”
Nearly 200 tribal, national, and state organizations have supported the resolution, which calls for designating May 5, 2017 as a day to honor the lives of those missing and murdered and demonstrate solidarity with families that have lost a loved one through violence. Speakers urged participants to contact their Senators and ask them to co-sponsor the resolution.
The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, the Indian Law Resource Center, and the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center co-sponsored the briefing in cooperation with Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Senator Lisa Murkowksi, along with Senators Daines and Tester spoke at the briefing. Juana Majel Dixon, Co-Chair, NCAI Task Force on Violence Against Women, and member of the Traditional Legislative Counsel, Pauma Band of Luiseno Mission Indians gave the traditional welcome and opening prayer.
About the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center
The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, Inc. is a non-profit organization that provides technical assistance and training, policy development and system management, materials, and resource information on violence against Native women and the development of tribal strategies and responses to end the violence. (www.niwrc.org)
About the Indian Law Resource Center
Founded in 1978, the Indian Law Resource Center is a non-profit organization established and directed by American Indians and dedicated to protecting the rights of Indian and Alaska Native nations and other indigenous peoples throughout the Americas. The Center’s Safe Women, Strong Nations project works to end the epidemic levels of violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women and children and to strengthen Indian nations. (www.indianlaw.org)
About the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center
Organized in 2015, the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center (AKNWRC) is a tribal nonprofit organization dedicated to ending violence against women with Alaska’s 229 tribes and allied organizations. AKNWRC board members are Alaska Native women raised in Alaska Native Villages and have 141 years of combined experience in tribal governments, nonprofit management, domestic violence, and sexual assault advocacy (both individual crisis and systems and grassroots social change advocacy at the local, statewide, regional, national and international levels), and other social service experience. AKNWRC’s philosophy is that violence against women is rooted in the colonization of indigenous nations.
Brenda Mallory and Luzene Hill
Center for Contemporary Native Art
Portland Art Museum
March 11 – October 29, 2017
In 1838, the Cherokee People were forcibly and illegally removed from their homelands in the southeast United States and resettled in northeastern Oklahoma. Some remained in the original lands (either by returning or hiding during the round up). Brenda Mallory (Cherokee Nation) and Luzene Hill (Eastern Band Cherokee) are members of these two bands who met during their 2015 Eiteljorg Fellowship. Their work will be featured together in the fourth exhibition in the Portland Art Museum’s Center for Contemporary Native Art, opening in March 2017.
Luzene Hill’s work included in this exhibition will focus on issues of violence against Native women, female empowerment, and native sovereignty—topics that Hill has addressed in her past work. Through a series of new works, she is merging her interest in the history and materiality of cochineal dye with the epidemic of sexual violence against Native women. Cochineal dye is a natural red dye developed from the carminic acid that is produced by a specific type of adult female insect in order to protect itself from predators. The dye has been used in Central America for coloring fabrics yet was taken from and hoarded by the Spanish from the Mixtecs and others. Her large-scale hanging work of dyed silk and figural forms will also connect with the number 6956, which is the average number of Native women who report being sexually assaulted each year (and it’s important to note that only about 16% of sexual assaults are ever reported).
Created during her Eiteljorg Contemporary Art Fellowship in 2015, Brenda Mallory’s installation entitled Recurring Chapters in the Book of Inevitable Outcomes consists of tall shapes resembling charred timbers or skeletal plant stalks surrounded by colorful, lively spore-like forms. The ruin-like floor pieces speak to what was left behind, but the resilience and hope shows in the spore-like forms that scatter across the walls and floor like blowing seeds. Her work is inspired by a rereading of Cherokee history, and addresses ideas of disruption, repair, and renewal.
This exhibition includes text panels written by each artist, bilingual titles in English and Cherokee syllabary, and an essay written by Cherokee scholar Ashley Holland.
About the Artists
Brenda Mallory (Cherokee Nation) is a Portland-based artist whose work ranges from individual wall-hangings and sculptures to large-scale installations. She works with mixed media, mining natural and found materials to create multiple forms that are joined with crude hardware or mechanical devices to imply tenuous connections and aberration. She is interested in ideas of interference and disruptions in systems of nature and human cultures. A resident of Portland for many years, Mallory grew up in Oklahoma and is a member of the Cherokee Nation. She has a BA in Linguistics & English from UCLA and a BFA from Pacific Northwest College of Art. Mallory has received awards from the Oregon Arts Commission, Ford Family Foundation, and Regional Arts & Culture Council and Crow’s Shadows Institute of Art. She was a 2015 Eiteljorg Contemporary Native Artist Fellow, was awarded a 2016 Native Arts and Culture Foundation Fellow in Visual Arts, and is a Mentor in the MFA Applied Craft and Design Program at PNCA+OCAC.
Luzene Hill (Eastern Band Cherokee) 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”.
About the Center for Contemporary Native Art
The Museum’s Center for Contemporary Native Art is a dedicated gallery for presenting the work and perspectives of contemporary Native artists. After its opening in Fall 2015, the Center will host two rotating exhibitions each year and feature a range of related programming. At the core of this Center’s mission is the Museum’s commitment to partner with Native artists in co-creating the exhibitions, interpretation, and programming for the space. The Center’s exhibitions parallel the institution’s larger curatorial vision of intentionally bridging the past and present through integrating more contemporary artwork into the Native American galleries. This approach allows visitors to take away a greater understanding of Native peoples as not only still living but as sophisticated, dynamic, and changing.
The Center for Contemporary Native Art is supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and generous gifts from Mr. Mark J. and Dr. Jennifer Miller, Taffy Gould, Anonymous, and Exhibition Series Funders.
NIWRC Digital Resources Now Available!
- Special Collections: For Teens is developed to highlight the issues, resources and other suggestions for engaging Native youth in our communities about healthy relationships and related tools. This is designed for Native youth programs, tribal coalitions, domestic violence programs, educators, advisors, and community members to obtain resources, education and other material to use in their delivery of services.
- Special Collections: International Advocacy To Help End Violence Against Native Women is intended to provide information and resources on how to use international advocacy in our work to end violence against Native women and girls. Designed for advocates, grassroots efforts, and Alaska Native and Native women.
- February 2017 Restoration Magazine Volume 14, Issue 1: The Restoration of Sovereignty & Safety magazine is a publication dedicated to informing tribal leadership and communities of emerging issues impacting the safety of American Indian and Alaska Native women. The name of the magazine, Restoration of Sovereignty & Safety, reflects the grassroots strategy of the Task Force that by strengthening the sovereignty of Indian nations to hold perpetrators accountable the safety of Native women will be restored. The magazine is a joint project of the NCAI Task Force, the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, and Clan Star, Inc. It is produced and made available during national NCAI conventions and the annual USDOJ – Tribal VAWA Consultation. Print Delivery Subscriptions Available $ 30/Individual, $100/Institutional (Institutional subscriptions receive three (3) print copies per issue).
Nebraska Educational Telecommunications (NET) TV: Sex Trafficking Documentaries
- “Sold for Sex: Trafficking in Nebraska” (30 Minutes) examines how trafficking happens in the state, the fight to stop it and what is being done to help victims.
- “Sold for Sex: Survivor Stories” (28 Minutes) focuses on women who have been trafficked. This program includes:the powerful stories of three different Nebraska trafficking survivors; interviews with experts on how people become trafficking victims, and why the crime is often not reported or punished; and perspective from more than 20 Nebraska trafficking survivors compiled for a new report.
- NET’s Sold for Sex Resource Page.
Nebraska’s Commercial Sex Market Report
The report, “Nebraska’s Commercial Sex Market,” is the first look at empirical data of what the commercial sex trade looks like in Nebraska, said Meghan Malik, trafficking project manager at the Women’s Fund of Omaha.
“It clearly illustrates that this is in all of our backyards,” she said. “No ZIP code or neighborhood is immune — sex trafficking is happening in our communities.” The Human Trafficking Initiative (HTI) is supported by the Women’s Fund of Omaha and funded by The Sherwood Foundation. The research of HTI is conducted through the Heider College of Business at Creighton University.
STAND WITH US: Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women in Quebec
The Wellness Circle
Welcome to NIWRC Wellness Circle!
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. What does Love mean to you? Is love defined by healthy actions, trust, compassion, kindness, respect? As we focus on these key principles of defining love as healthy love, we have to wonder, “How is my self love?”
Do we love ourselves with intentional healthy actions? Do we trust our intuitions? Have compassion for our own wellness, have kindness, and respect for our own balance in todays’ world? With the philosophy of Seven Generations, we know our actions today impact future generations- are we guiding and teaching by example the importance of self-care and self-love? As an important track of our work in the ending Violence Against Women and social justice movements, in February, NIWRC provided a trail to wellness and healing practices with resources and discussion on The Indigenous Presence: Decolonizing Our Minds and Cultivating Our Happiness.
Mind body spirit health and healing starts with you. When you make the choice for healing mind body and spirit, you reclaim your power and become an active participant in your healing process. To take time for yourself, in practice of wellness and self-care, please take a moment to check-out the following resource. You deserve this self-love.
The Indigenous Presence: Decolonizing Our Minds and Cultivating Our Happiness.
Understanding the mind body spirit connection, using its power and accessing its’ benefits is the basis of holistic healing. The concept of mind body spirit has been rooted in the culture and traditions of Indigenous peoples for thousands of years and is central to our belief and healing systems. Our healing systems and cultural practices took advantage of the power of belief or mind over body.
Thank you to Gwendolyn Packard, NIWRC Training and Technical Assistance Specialist and Bonnie Duran, associate professor in the Department of Health Services, University of Washington School of Public Health and Director of the Center for Indigenous Health Research at the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute for this exceptional resource.