2017 Winter Edition


2017 Winter-From the Executive Director…

We at the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center are excited to share that we are set to receive future distribution royalties from the feature film Wind River by writer/director Taylor Sheridan. On Thursday, November 2, 2017 some NIWRC staff and board were spoke at an NIWRC Fundraiser and Honoring by Taylor Sheridan in Helena, MT. Sheridan was on location for his new series Yellowstone. NIWRC honored Sheridan and his wife Nicole with a sweet grass braid and star quilt. Since the announcement, NIWRC has been flexing our voice a bit more in media. Recently we have issued numerous statements, press releases and aided in a number of news articles all related to the issue of violence against Native women.  We are humbled and grateful to continue our leadership in providing culturally grounded, grassroots advocacy to end gender-based violence in indigenous communities and to support tribal sovereignty!

In this 2017 Winter edition of Advocate! Beyond the Shelter Doors e-newsletter, you will find: updates from the StrongHearts Native Helpline, NIWRC’s presentation at the 11th Annual Missing & Unidentified Persons conference, upcoming fall awareness months activities and calendar including resources and events for Sex Trafficking Awareness Month and Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, the 2017 NativeLove Challenge winner announcement, a wellness circle post on “Finding Healing in Helping” and save the date for our upcoming 2018 Women Are Sacred Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico!

In the Featured Art section, Tribal Justice POV documentary is about two Native American judges that aim to address the root causes of crime, they are providing models of restorative justice that are working. Mainstream courts across the country are taking notice. 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 wish everyone happy holidays and 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.

Lucy Rain Simpson
Executive Director, NIWRC

NIWRC Fundraiser and Honoring with cast/crew of Taylor Sheridan’s upcoming series “Yellowstone” in Helena, MT Nov. 2, 2017.


NIWRC Updates

SAVE THE DATE: NIWRC’s “2018 Women Are Sacred” Conference

SAVE THE DATE: NIWRC CONFERENCE | Women Are Sacred (WAS) Conference – June 26-28, 2018.

The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) is pleased to announce that we will be hosting the Women Are Sacred (WAS) Conference at the beautiful Hotel Albuquerque on June 26-28, 2018. Mark your calendars and watch our website for more details, including registration and agenda.

Resilience: Walking in Ancestral Footprints, Carrying Our Medicine”

This year’s theme “Resilience: Walking in Ancestral Footprints, Carrying Our Medicine” is who we are as Indigenous peoples and our journey—where we came from and where we are going. It speaks to the many different directions and cultures we come from, what was taken from us, what was lost along the way. We survived calling upon the cultural strength, resilience and Indigenous knowledge we carry with us into the future: our medicine. It speaks to the deep cultural roots we come from and the deep roots we need in our movement to lead in social change in ending the violence across all relations. With deep roots, we cannot be washed away. Let us all walk together on this journey!

The Women Are Sacred Conference is one of the oldest and largest gatherings of advocates, survivors, tribal domestic and sexual violence programs, tribal community members, tribal leadership, law enforcement and tribal court personnel dedicated to ending violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women and children. WAS offers state of the art training opportunities designed to increase the capacity of tribal nations, tribal domestic violence and community-based programs to address violence in tribal communities. Conference presenters include emerging Indigenous leaders and experts in the movement to ending violence.

As authorized by Sherriann Moore, Deputy Director for Tribal Affairs, Office on Violence Against Women, OVW is not requiring a Grant Adjustment Notice (GAN) to be approved by your OVW grant program manager for the WAS which will be held June 26-28, 2018 at Hotel Albuquerque.

OVW Tribal Coalitions Program, you do not need to submit a GAN for up to TWO people to be able to attend.
OVW Tribal Governments Program, you do not need to submit a GAN for up to THREE people to be able to attend.
OVW Tribal Sexual Assault Program, you do not need to submit a GAN for up to TWO people to be able to attend.
OVW Tribal Jurisdiction Program, you do not need to submit a GAN for up to TWO people to be able to attend.



2017 Winter Awareness Months Coming Up…

December 2017 

  • JOIN: NIWRC emailing list. During the months of December, January & February NIWRC will be sharing resources to honor Human Trafficking Awareness Month, National Stalking Awareness Month and Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month.
  • WEAR ORANGE: Monday, December 25th-Help UNite to End Violence Women’s Empowerment!Organize a morning run, wear orange, take a selfie with your group and post to social media using #UNitetoendviolence & #NIWRCStrongHearts.
  • WATCH: NIWRC’s Webinar from Dec. 13th-“Effective Use of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) for Case Resolution.” The number of missing and unidentified persons in the United States poses one of the biggest challenges to law enforcement, medical examiners, and coroners tasked with resolving these important cases.  The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) is a national information clearinghouse and resource center which offers technology, forensic services, and investigative support to help resolve cases.
  • WATCH: NIWRC’s Webinar from Dec. 14th-“Increasing Safety and Improving Housing Options for Native Survivors of Abuse.” This webinar will provide an overview of the current federal laws in place regarding shelter and housing in Indian Country and the responsibilities expressly outlined in the Violence Against Women Act. The webinar will also focus on the disparity in tribal housing and shelter in Native communities; will review ONAP’s recent report; and will give an overview of why victims of abuse need access to housing as a matter of survival. Participants will learn about HUD’s final rule and its application to Indian Country housing and shelter options. This webinar will also explore culturally responsive best promising practices to promote safe housing options for American Indian and Alaska Natives.

January 2018 is Human Trafficking Awareness Month & National Stalking Awareness Month

  • JOIN: NIWRC emailing list. During the month of January, NIWRC will be sharing resources to honor both Human Trafficking Awareness month and National Stalking Awareness Month.
  • WEAR ORANGE: Thursday, January 25th-Help UNite to End Violence Women’s Empowerment!Organize a morning run, wear orange, take a selfie with your group and post to social media using #UNitetoendviolence & #NIWRCStrongHearts.
  • See more at: https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-17-624


    • DOWNLOAD: United States Accountability Office Report to Congressional Requesters’s “Human Trafficking: Information on Cases in Indian Country or that Involved Native Americans” (July 2017).
    • LISTEN: Native America Calling’s “Exposing Sex Trafficking” (Aug. 23, 2017). The Navajo Nation added a new law this month criminalizing sex trafficking within its boundaries. It’s the latest attempt to fight what tribal officials say is the pervasive threat by those who prey on naïve or desperate young girls. And last month the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a survey indicating half of tribal law enforcement officials believe the sex trafficking problem is actually worse than is reported. We talk to people on the ground trying to help Native people taken away from their homes and forced into prostitution. We’ll look into the problem and find out what can be done.
    • DOWNLOAD: Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children & Families’ Office of Trafficking In Persons’ and Human Trafficking-Look Beneath the Service’s “Fact Sheet: Human Trafficking” (Nov. 21, 2017) Human trafficking is a public health issue that impacts individuals, families, and communities. Traffickers disproportionately target at-risk populations including individuals who have experienced or been exposed to other forms of violence (child abuse and maltreatment, interpersonal violence and sexual assault, community and gang violence) and individuals disconnected from stable support networks (runaway and homeless youth, unaccompanied minors, persons displaced during natural disasters).
    • DOWNLOAD:Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children & Families’ Office of Trafficking In Persons and Administration for Native Americans’ “Native Youth Toolkit on Human Trafficking-Combating Trafficking” (Nov. 21, 2017). The purpose of this toolkit is to raise awareness and prevent trafficking of Native youth by educating them on what human trafficking is, available resources, safety tips, and ways to get involved in their communities. This resource considers the unique cultural aspects of this issue for Native youth, tying in the fact that trafficking is outside of Native traditions, and encourages youth to speak with tribal Elders in their community. Native resources, such as the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center and Strong Hearts Native Helpline, are also listed as resources for youth to learn more.

February 2018 is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

  • FEBRUARY 5-9TH: NativeLove Staff will be in Nebraska and South Dakota, hosting sessions for TDVAM with UMOn’HOn Nation youth, University of South Dakota college students, Young Women’s Group in Sioux City, IA and more!
  • FEBRUARY 12-15th: NIWRC Staff will be at the NCAI 2018 Executive Council Winter Session.
  • Tuesday, February 13th: TWEET CIRCLE 5pm PST/7CST/8 EST NativeLove, StrongHearts Native Helpline, We R Native and That’s Not Cool will host a Tweet Circle on Twitter to celebrate Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM). Details forthcoming check NativeLove Twitter page for updates and using #TDVAM
  • Wednesday, February 14th: Valentines Day!
  • Saturday, February 24th: Haskell Indian Nations University will host their first ever Two-Spirit Powwow in Lawrence, KS. Check out their event page for more details!
  • WEAR ORANGE: Sunday, February 25th-Help UNite to End Violence Women’s Empowerment!Organize a morning run, wear orange, take a selfie with your group and post to social media using #UNitetoendviolence & #NIWRCStrongHearts.

#GivetoNIWRC through paypal or Smile.Amazon

AmazonSmile proceeds

The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) is participating in the AmazonSmile, with exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization.

NIWRC is committed to ending violence. NIWRC’s vision is to restore the safety of Native women by upholding the inherent sovereignty of Native nations and building the capacity of Indigenous communities.  Through public awareness and resource development, training and technical assistance, policy development, and research activities, NIWRC provides leadership across the Nation to show that offenders can and will be held accountable and that Native women and their children are entitled to: 1) safety from violence within their homes and in their community; 2) justice both on and off tribal lands; and 3) access to services designed by and for Native women based on their tribal beliefs and practices.

You can help! 

  1. Online shopping with Amazon: Go to smile.amazon.com to begin your online shopping with Amazon. Select a charity tab, enter “NIWRC” in the ‘pick your own charitable organization. Hit Search. Select button for National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center. Click box next to “Yes, I understand that I must always start at smile.amazon.com to support National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.” Click “Start Shopping” button. Do your online shopping and qualified items contribute a small percentage towards NIWRC, Thank you!
  2. Forward this email and postcard on to friends, family, and colleagues to inform that NIWRC is on AmazonSmile.
  3. Spread the word by using the attached postcard on social media with #GivetoNIWRC.

May Creator bless each and every one of you during this wonderful season of giving, giving back and giving thanks!


To learn more about donating to NIWRC:


In the News

NativeLove Announces 2017 Challenge Winner!

2017 NativeLove Challenge Winner is……Tanae LeClaire (Yankton Sioux Tribe), congratulations Tanae! More information about this announcement coming soon! NativeLove, with StrongHearts Native Helpline had a table display at the Welcome Back Powwow  and presented workshops at Haskell Indian Nations University in September 2017. Workshops were on Youth Dating-Healthy and Unhealthy relationships, Two-Spirit/LGBTQ Bullying with presenter Lenny Hayes and a special film screening for Haskell students, staff and Lawrence community of the feature film Wind River. NativeLove presented the 2017 NativeLove Challenge during the visit where Tanae entered!

Tanae LaClaire, Yankton Sioux Tribe

Currently the Haskell community is now hosting a Two-Spirit Powwow for this coming February 2018! Follow the Haskell Two-Spirit Powwow event page for more information and read this Indianz article highlighting Cordell Smiley, the student behind the organizing efforts!

Allies in Action

NIWRC’s Speakers Bureau: Brenda Hill

Brenda Hill, from Brenda Hill Consulting, is a member of NIWRC’s Speaker’s Bureau. Brenda Hill has been an advocate for ending violence against women and their children for over 28 years. She has provided consultation, technical assistance and training to hundreds of Indian Tribes, tribal organizations, non-profits and communities.

Brenda identifies as a survivor of battering. She honors her teachers – other survivors and grassroots advocates, by working to end violence & reclaim traditional values and life ways. She is Siksika/ Blackfeet and the mother of a son and daughter. She has eleven wonderful grandchildren and four gorgeous great-grandchildren.

Brenda is currently hosting a workshop, “From Oppressed to Oppressor: Moving Beyond Lateral Violence in the Workplace,” December 14 & 15th, 2017 in Rapid City, SD. Download more info here: DEC.2017brochure.  Brenda Hill recently co-facilitated a three day workshop, Trauma, Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse: Culturally-based Healing in October 2017 I Rapid City, SD with Karen Artichoker of the Indigenous Women’s Justice Institute. Forty-eight people from across the country (including Alaska!) participated, sharing their expertise and commitment to address the profound impact that layers of trauma across generations has on Native people.  This workshop considered how trauma-informed approaches can grow from indigenous understandings and practices.  Greg Grey Cloud & Aldo Seoane, of Wica Agli, inspired everyone with their presentations about programming for Native youth and offenders, equine therapy, storytelling and other culturally-based activities.

NIWRC Presents at the Missing & Unidentified Persons Conference

The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center presented at the 11th Annual Missing and Unidentified Persons ConferenceSeptember 1921 in Atlanta, GA. This conference was hosted by the National Criminal Justice Training Center (NCJTC) of Fox Valley Technical College and the National Association For Search And Rescue (NASAR).

The theme for the conference was “Multiple Victim Events and Serial Crimes – Implications for Investigation, Search, Rescue and Recovery.” The conference featured presentations on effective and advanced approaches for locating and recovering missing and unidentified persons, particularly those who fall victim to tragic circumstances such as criminal and catastrophic events or natural disasters. This includes new and innovative technology, effective collaboration models, and responding to the mental health needs of search and recovery professionals, victims, and families.

WATCH: NIWRC’s Webinar on the “Effective Use of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) for Case Resolution” from Dec. 14th, 2017.




NIWRC Celebrates Domestic Violence Awareness Month at NCAI

October 15-19th, 2017 the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center with StrongHearts Native Helpline, celebrated the 30th Anniversary of Domestic Violence Awareness Month at the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) 74th Annual Convention and Marketplace conference in Milwaukee, WI.


NIWRC had a table display at the NCAI Market place where guests could contribute hand-written messages of wishes for DVAM on quilt squares, pick up the Oct. 2017 issue of Restoration Magazine and wear purple ribbons during the conference. NIWRC helped with the NCAI Task Force On Violence Against Native Women meeting and helped with collaborative organizing efforts for the entire NCAI audience of tribal leaders to participate a short video saying “Domestic Violence is not our tradition!”

Callers Representing More Than 50 Tribal Nations Reach Out To StrongHearts Native Helpline

In its first eight months of operations, the StrongHearts Native Helpline (1-844-7NATIVE) has taken calls from Native people affected by domestic violence representing 53 tribal nations across 38 states, demonstrating the widespread need for culturally-rooted resources to support tribal communities impacted by intimate partner abuse. Since March, the StrongHearts Native Helpline has responded to the unique needs of Native victims of domestic violence by providing emotional support, information and education, and referrals to culturally relevant resources. Advocates are available Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. CST. The service is anonymous, safe, free and confidential. Visit strongheartshelpline.org for more information and helpful resources.

Featured Art: “Tribal Justice” POV Documentary

In the winter edition of the Featured Art section we share the Point of View (POV) PBS documentary Tribal Justice by filmmakerAnne Makepeace. Tribal Justice premiered in August 2017.

Tribal Justice is about two Native American judges reach back to traditional concepts of justice in order to reduce incarceration rates, foster greater safety for their communities, and create a more positive future for their youth. By addressing the root causes of crime, they are providing models of restorative justice that are working. Mainstream courts across the country are taking notice.

Find more by using #TribalJusticePBS on social media!

The Wellness Circle

The Why and How of Creative Wellness

For many tribes, the circle or Medicine Wheel is a powerful symbol. It has representations of the four directions (or more/less quadrants depending on the tribe) and is a powerful traditional tool for healing.  These quadrants can also symbolize the four seasons, four (or more) directions, stages of our lifespan (baby, child, adult, elder), and the make-up of fluid and natural healthy life-ways (the balance of emotional, mental, physical and spiritual).

While in advocacy and activism of the anti-violence and social justice movements, we can feel it is emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually engaging.  Creative Wellness is another way to process this Sacred work we do for our families, our communities, tribes and nations. Creative Wellness is not meant to be intimidating for those who may not feel ‘artistically inclined”.  Creative Wellness can come in forms we already engage in. These can be tactile arts (painting, drawing, beading, quilling, looming, sketching, etc.), visual arts (digital, film, photography, writing), audio arts (singing, drumming, music, spoken word, flutes, instruments), and culinary arts (cooking for your family, community, sharing of traditional foods, or…. for the cook shack!). All of the Creative Wellness activities simply caress our hearts and spirits in different and very personal ways such as: a calming moment of introspection, a boost of bravery, or compassion or healing when we are hurting (or those are hurting around us). Your Creative Wellness can take care of you, your family and community, and is often a way to express love and inspire those around us. ‘Justice Art’ and ‘Cultural Pop Art’ reaches youth in a way that InfoGraphs and FactSheets may not, Music the way stories may not. Creative Wellness links generations together.

These Creative Wellness skills can flex our personal strengths and intra-community resiliency. It can mean different things to different people.

The definition of Art Therapy or in a cultural sense, Creative Wellness, is a form of expressive therapy that uses the creative process of making art to improve a person’s physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional well-being.

Our ancestors practiced each of these creative ways and each way can be healing by directly connected to our past.  Technical and medical Western Art Therapy is used in working with youth and adults of all ability or Disability as is a process to heal and reduce the pain of certain experiences, such as PTSD. Native people have been doing this since the beginning (as even found in storytelling and ancient cave drawings).  As we become more engaged with our own ways of  Creative Wellness, we learn that without the pressures of “Being an Artist”, we already express ourselves artistically, work through our behaviors, problem-solve our own feelings, eliminate stress, improve self-esteem, and connect this to our work. In our work, we can raise awareness to issues while practicing Native wellness.

This benefits both the artist and those we share our Creative Wellness with. And most importantly link our daily lives to the value of our own traditional Creative Wellness as it directly links us to our ancestors.

-Rebecca Balog, NIWRC

More Resources for Wellness:

  • EXPLORE: 4 Ways to Take Accountability for Your Life and Actions After Trauma. “We can not control everything that happens in the world. We can only control how we respond to situations like trauma. There is a process of natural human emotions such as denial, anger, and depression after someone has hurt us. However, you will eventually come to a crossroad where you must chose to begin healing, or do further damage to your mind, body, and spirit. Healing will not choose you, you must choose it.”
  • DOWNLOAD: Self compassion pause.