2018 Winter Edition


2018 Winter-From the Executive Director

We at the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center want to wish all our relatives a happy holiday season! As we track national policy efforts on the 2018 Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and other legislation impacting safety for Native women, we acknowledge all the tribal, federal, state and VAW partners and allies who contributed to this life-saving work.

In this 2018 Winter edition of Advocate! Beyond the Shelter Doors e-newsletter, you will find: 2018-2019 Winter Awareness Months coming up (including the release of a new resource on Sex Trafficking), an update from the StrongHearts Native Helpline, an article by Karen Artichoker from NIWRC’s Speaker Bureau, updates on issues related to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and a wellness circle article for survivors and advocates.

In the Featured Art section, we share a song from The Reds and Blues called Missing.  The Reds and Blues is an all Native rock/blues trio from Lawrence, KS and their song is dedicated to missing and murdered indigenous women. 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, and all the men who continue to support the movement to end domestic violence and for making NIWRC the valuable organization it is today. As we wrap up 2018, let’s join our resources and efforts to ensure safety for all Native women and children in the upcoming new year.

Lucy Rain Simpson
Executive Director, NIWRC

NIWRC Updates

2018-2019 Winter Awareness Months Coming Up…

December 2018

  • REGISTER: Tuesday, Dec. 12th NIWRC Webinar “Confidentiality Between Victim Advocates and Survivors in the Tribal Criminal Justice System.” This timely and important webinar will discuss the challenges that victim/survivors face as they participate in the tribal judicial system. It will also offer best practices for advocates in understanding and supporting victim confidentiality and privilege. Presented by: Rob (Roberta) Valente, Domestic Violence Policy & Advocacy.
  • DOWNLOAD: Women Are Sacred 2019 Monthly Calendar with Awareness Months & Days. The 2019 Women Are Sacred calendar includes awareness months and days reflecting the safety for Native women movement along with beautiful color photographs, artwork and images. Awareness months and days include introductions, definitions and resources on Human Trafficking Awareness Month, National stalking Awareness Month, Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Child Abuse Prevention Month, National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Domestic Violence Awareness Month and International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Comes with print instructions.
  • WATCH: NIWRC Webinar “Building Girls’ Protective Assets in Indian County: Intentional Girl-Centered Program Design.” (Sept. 19th) Girl-centered protective asset programs have been shown to help girls in different parts of their lives. These include having greater confidence, lower chances of experiencing sexual assault, better school performance, more health knowledge, and enhanced life planning skills. The webinar will describe how the protective assets approach is being adapted for girls in Indian Country, and how you can join an initiative to help you build such a program in your own community.

January 2019 is National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month And National Stalking Awareness Month

  • 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.
  • EXPLORE: NIWRC’s Online Resource Library for “Sex Trafficking”.
  • EXPLORE: NIWRC’s Online Resource Library for “Stalking”.
  • JOIN: NIWRC’s Mailing List here and be on the lookout in January 2019 for an announcement on the new NIWRC Resource “Sex Trafficking of Native Women As Intimate Partner Violence: An Orientation Manual” by the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center and developed by Alexandra (Sandi) Pierce PHD, Othayonih Research.

February 2019 is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

  • EXPLORE: The NIWRC’s youth project NativeLove page for youth statistics, toolkit for youth and educators, multimedia and more!
  • JOIN: NIWRC’s Mailing List here and be on the lookout in February 2019 for an announcement on the two new NIWRC Youth Resources “Strong Families Respect Each Other: What Native Youth Need to Know About Domestic Violence” and “Strong Families Respect Each Other: What Native Youth Need To Know About the Connection Between Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence”.
  • WATCH: Native Youth Voices-NativeLove at Northern Paiute Powwow.


Building Lasting Partnerships: NIWRC and AKNWRC

One of the culminating products is the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center’s new website, aknwrc.org.

The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) provides contract support to the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center (AKNWRC) for communication and technology branches. The AKNWRC’s Communications Coordinator has worked closely with NIWRC’s Technology Director to build capacity by leveraging platforms necessary for quick and efficient dissemination of information to the field. During FY2018 the work focused on website development, social media presence, IT support to staff, and an email campaign platform.

We met weekly for 1-hour sessions, reviewing the prior week’s tasks and setting new ones.  These meetings provided both guidance and support in identifying what would work best for AKNWRC. Our approach was not to necessarily replicate, but to custom build systems that matched our needs. Our partnership with NIWRC enabled us to take on the challenges of building components that would serve as platforms for engagement less daunting because we were able to benefit from their earlier missteps. Additionally, AKNWRC also partners with NIWRC on the policy side of our work and successfully organized a Conversations with the Field (CWTF) after our annual Unity Meeting in Anchorage this year prior to AFN. This was made possible, in part because we were able to use the framework shared by NIWRC.

“The partnership with NIWRC has been invaluable for us as a new and growing organization. To be able to have such great resources to guide us through the growing pains and help guide our growth through their own experience of failures, in my opinion, has helped us be a lot further in our development today than we would have been without that guidance.”

 – Candy Keown , Communications Coordinator, AKNWRC


“We are honored to have partnered with AKNWRC in their historic first year! It has been a wonderful experience working with such a talented team of advocates and staff whose dedication to ensuring the safety of Alaska Native women and children is unmatched.”

– Tang Cheam, Technology Director, NIWRC


The AKNWRC is excited for the future and looks forward to continued partnership with NIWRC as we continue to grow as an organization.


On the Move – StrongHearts Native Helpline Selects Minnesota for National Headquarters

The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center is pleased to announce that its project, the StrongHearts Native Helpline, is moving this winter from Austin, Texas, to its permanent home in Eagan, Minnesota, a city in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metro area where its national headquarters will be based.

“We are proud to call Minnesota as StrongHearts’ new home because of its rich Native history, Native population, and its status as a hub for Native-led organizations,” said StrongHearts Assistant Director Lori Jump (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians). “Organizations in Minnesota are also known for being very proactive and progressive in the work that is being done around domestic violence, which goes hand-in-hand with basing our operations in a supportive environment with a built-in network that fits StrongHearts’ mission and goals.”

StrongHearts (1-844-762-8483), a partnered project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, serves as an anonymous, confidential, peer-to-peer helpline for American Indians and Alaska Natives affected by domestic violence and dating violence. Advocates are available Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. CST. After hours callers have the option to connect with the National Domestic Violence Hotline or may call back the next business day. To date, StrongHearts has received more than 1,200 calls.


StrongHearts’ Lori Jump Receives Bonnie Heavy Runner Victim Advocacy Award

On December 7, 2018, Assistant Director of the StrongHearts Native Helpline Lori Jump was recognized for her lifetime service to victims and survivors of crime in Indian Country during the closing ceremony of the 16th Annual Indian Nations Conference: Justice for Victims of Crime in Palm Springs, California. Jump was awarded the Bonnie Heavy Runner Victim Advocacy Award alongside four fellow strong-hearted leaders in the movement to end violence in Tribal communities as well.

Bonnie “Sim‐sin” Heavy Runner, a member of the Blackfeet Nation, grew up on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Montana. Heavy Runner was a strong advocate for victims in Indian Country, serving as a tribal court judge, administrator and consultant before she walked on in 1997. Her legacy award continues to honor individuals and organizations serving Native people impacted by violence. The awards are presented by Bonnie’s surviving family members at each Indian Nations Conference. Special thanks to the Tribal Law and Policy Institute and the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) for coordinating this year’s event. The NIWRC-StrongHearts team is so proud of all of Lori’s hard work. Congratulations, Lori!

Allies in Action

Updates on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls

Report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls by Urban Indian Health Institute

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls: A Snapshot of data from 71 Urban Cities in the United States is a report from Abigail Echo-Hawk (Pawnee), MA of Urban Indian Health Institute and Annita Lucchesi (Southern Cheyenne), of the MMIW Database. This study sought to assess why obtaining data on this violence is so difcult, how law enforcement agencies are tracking and responding to these cases, and how media is reporting on them. The study’s intention is to provide a comprehensive snapshot of the MMIWG crisis in urban American Indian and Alaska Native communities and the institutional practices that allow them to disappear not once, but three times—in life, in the media, and in the data.

NIWRC’s Tribal Community Response When a Woman Is Missing: A Toolkit for Action

DOWNLOAD Tribal Community Response When a Woman Is Missing: A Toolkit for Action. Coping with the disappearance of a loved one or community member is very difficult. The fact that American Indian and Alaska Native women experience higher rates of domestic violence and sexual assault than any other population of women in the United States has broad ramifications. One consequence of this reality is that domestic and sexual violence occurs on a spectrum of abusive behavior and can include abduction and murder. If a woman you know is missing, taking immediate action is very important. The quicker you respond, the faster she may be located and provided the help needed.

White Bison Free Silent No More Documentary Screenings

The White Bison organization provides free copies of their one-hour documentary Silent No More along with downloadable information packet, discussion guide, marketing materials so you can set up a screening and discussion in your community. Silent No More presents an authentic look at missing and murdered Indigenous Women. Families from Pine Ridge, South Dakota and Lame Deer, Montana share their stories of suffering in this film. By sharing their experiences, they hope to bring awareness to these issues and start a dialogue in order to create change.

Native America Calling’s Audio Interview on  MMIW

Native America Calling’s show “Justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women remains elusive.” (Nov. 29, 2018) A new analysis finds more than 500 cases of missing or murdered women and girls in the United States since 1943. The authors of the study from the Urban Indian Health Institute say that is likely far lower than the real number. They point to poor record-keeping, bad information- sharing between local and tribal law enforcement agencies, and institutional racism as the main barriers to getting the full picture. Any legislation at the federal level to help remedy the situation remains stalled. We’ll hear recommendations from the researchers and get updates from women’s advocates about this ongoing issue.

Nebraska Efforts on MMIW

“Two Nebraska state senators who have teamed on other Native issues and projects will introduce a bill in January to investigate missing Native women and cases of violence against them…”

Read more here.

NIWRC’s Speakers Bureau: Karen Artichoker

Karen Artichoker is our featured Speaker’s Bureau member this newsletter. She has been involved in the movement to end violence against native women for thirty (30) years when she co-coordinated the first “Indian Nations: Justice for Victims of Crime” conference. At that time, she was an employee and later a consultant for the South Dakota Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. In that capacity, she served on board of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) in support of her long-time friend and mentor, Tillie Black Bear, the first native woman Chair of the NCADV Board of Directors. Karen provided a native voice in the drafting and passage of the Violence Against Women Act. She has twice testified in front of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and created many relationships that led many national organizations to ally with native women and organizations.  These relationships, along with the hard work of many other native women, have moved native women out of “invisible” status.

Karen is a founding mother of Sacred Circle, National Resource Center to End Violence Against Native Women. Sacred Circle became the fifth resource center in the national technical assistance and training network that was created through the Violence Against Women Act. Sacred Circle provided the first opportunity to create native specific information and materials specific to violence against native women and solidified native voice on the national level. After a decade, Sacred Circle evolved into the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC). She is also a founding mother of Cangleska, Inc., an award- winning domestic violence prevention and intervention program that was located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Karen’s country of tribal member citizenship.

Over the years, Karen expanded her work to the substance use/dependence and mental health fields. She has seen many positive changes in all fields as the intersections between violence, substance use, mental health and trauma has progressed over the years. More recently, Karen has partnered with Brenda Hill Consulting in providing training opportunities that address these many intersections. She is also interested in driving training, discussion and strategies on how internalized oppression and the impact of lateral violence is a stopping force in the creation of effective strategies and responses as we struggle to respond to the overwhelming issues facing tribal families and communities.

Karen lives in Rapid City, SD. She is the mother of four (4) daughters and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She still maintains a vision of a world where women are valued and respected as sacred.  She still imagines a world without violence.  She is available for technical assistance and consultation and her contact information can be obtained through the NIWRC Speaker’s Bureau at www.niwrc.org/speaker/karen-artichoker. 

FEATURED ART: The Red & Blues “Missing” song

LISTEN: The Red & Blues Missing 

This song is for the missing and murdered Indigenous Women, our hearts go out to everybody affected by these tragedies. The Red and Blues is an all Native rock/blues trio from Lawrence, KS.

The Wellness Circle

Wellness Circle-Winter Solstice (December 21)

An important and precious time for many to share, create, give thanks, and remember all that has come before us as the world begins to prepare for the future and the blessings of another Spring. There are so many family traditions passed on during this time and done so in a wider diversity of tribal traditions. To be able to do is the ultimate cry of Indigenous rejoicing for our restored and revitalized revolution of Sovereignty.

During the busy Winter Solstice and winter holiday season many celebrate (as many families share diversity of faiths as diverse as intertribal families), we see so many faiths intersecting around and near this time. A few of these include Bodhi Day (the Buddhist holiday that commemorates the day Buddha experienced enlightenment), Hanukkah (a beloved and joyous eight-day Jewish festival and holiday), Christmas (often commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, but is also a non-religious family holiday celebration for many), Kwanzaa (not a religious holiday, nor is it meant to replace Christmas but an African American Diaspora Celebration of Family, Community and Culture). While we  rejuvenate ourselves and remember our ancestors, let us remember to build healthy communities, and healthy relationships, healthy youth, and provide for our relatives and resilient elders.

Many of us are balancing busy end of year work schedules, huge movement specific emerging issues such as MMIW and VAWA, Savannah’s Act, etc. and many will have lots of travel, the often heightened needs of shelter for the homeless, and increased DV/SA crisis in our communities, and then balancing winter holidays and then keeping our families safe, sound, fed, warm, and enjoying each other’s time and stories.

Remember to self-care, we as advocates and movement activists will reflect on the year of good moments and bad moments (and all the areas in between).  Then we add advocacy for others where systems often provide barriers not services. Whether we are in a “good” day or “bad” day, somehow, we push our individualism aside, and give our energy stores to others in need.  There is something special about advocates. Remember to see the resilience you are born from and become inspired as a goal to push on.  Our mentors often remind us, “Take care of yourself, too. Make sure you seek support and help if you are feeling overwhelmed.”

We are sending you a Wonderful Winter Solstice- Where Wellness is the Way.

Where there is Wellness for ALL, there is Wellness in you.

Support the NIWRC!

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Subscribe to NIWRC’s Restoration Magazine!

Support the development & distribution of Restoration Magazine by purchasing a yearly subscription for your individual use ($30/year) or for your institutional use ($100/year). As always, Restoration Magazine will be available for free online. Your subscription dollars not only ensure you have a hard copy but also go towards sustaining the development and distribution of the magazine using Non-Federal funds! 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 and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.  It is produced and made available during national NCAI conventions and the annual USDOJ – Tribal VAWA Consultation.

Donate Your AmazonSmile Proceeds to NIWRC

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: