We at the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center welcome the spring months coming up and celebrate this time of renewal and growth. While we released a statement in January about not receiving any distribution royalties from the feature film “Wind River”, we remain ever committed to the work for safety for Native women and their children. Even during these winter months, we have seen thousands of Native women take to the streets during national and local women’s marches, raising awareness of violence against women and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. This past February, NIWRC Board of Directors and policy staff members were able to attend the NCAI Winter Session and visit with tribal and national leadership. We congratulated the Native American Women candidates who won their Congressional and State elections on this past November 6th election! In our interactions with these leaders, they expressed their commitment to helping raise awareness of the ongoing crisis of violence against Native women and working to create real change. They inspire a new generation of Native women and girls to become leaders in government and change-makers in their communities and in the world in which we live.
In this 2019 Spring edition of Advocate! Beyond the Shelter Doors e-newsletter, you will find: a warm welcome to new staff, congratulations to our Board Treasurer Wendy Schlater, Spring Awareness Months resources coming up, an update on extended operating hours from the StrongHearts Native Helpline, guest post from Cindy Martin of the NIWRC Speaker’s Bureau, highlights from NCAI Violence Against Women Task Force Meeting, and posts on the MMIW Database moving to Sovereign Bodies Institute and part 1 of the Pixel Project inspirational interview with NIWRC’s Caroline LaPorte.
In the Featured Art section, we share the “Warrior Women” documentary, streaming now on PBS World channel, by filmmakers Christina King (Seminole) and Elizabeth Castle. “Warrior Women” is the story of mothers and daughters fighting for indigenous rights in the American Indian Movement of the 1970s. The film unveils not only a female perspective of history, but also examines the impact political struggles have on the children who bear witness. 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.
Lucy Rain Simpson
Executive Director, NIWRC
Congratulations Wendy Schlater!
Congrats to the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center’s Board Treasurer, Wendy Schlater, on being sworn in, Sunday March 3rd, as the new Vice-Chairwoman of the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians! Read Wendy Schlater’s profile.
Welcome Brenda Hill and Kendra Root!
Brenda Hill joins NIWRC as the new Director of Technical Assistance & Training! Brenda Hill (Siksika) has been an advocate for ending violence against Native women and their children for over 30 years. Her work creating social change through advocacy that confronts the root causes of violence/ oppression, and women-centered, inclusive, trauma-informed approaches, is based upon a grass roots, proactive, culturally-base perspective. Making connections and relationship building are central to her philosophy.
Before coming to NIWRC, Brenda was an independent consultant/ trainer, following her position as the Native Co-Director for the South Dakota Coalition Ending Domestic and Sexual Violence (SDCEDSV). Prior to that position, Brenda was the Education Coordinator for Sacred Circle, National Resource Center to End Violence Against Native Women for over 11 years. Her work includes the development of culturally-based educational materials, creating and facilitating trainings, technical assistance and consultation to tribal programs, coalitions and allies. She is a founding mother & former Director of the Women’s Circle Shelter Program on the Lake Traverse Reservation. She was also faculty for the Sisseton‑Wahpeton Community College where she developed and taught courses for a chemical dependency degree program.
Brenda earned a B.A. from New York University and an M.A. and certificate in alcohol and drug studies from the University of South Dakota, but attributes her expertise in the area of advocacy to the many grassroots women who have honored her with their stories and trust in her as an advocate, her personal experience as a survivor, and her relationships with grass root advocates.
Kendra Root serves as the Program Assistant for the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center. A citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation she was raised in the heart of Creek Country, Bristow, Oklahoma. Her family’s roots are strong in Bristow, as her families have ties going back five generations on her paternal side and five generations on her maternal side. She is a decent from the Euchee/Creek Snow family of the Polecat Stomp ground region.
In 2011, she received Volunteer of the Year from the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Mvskoke Women’s Leadership Initiative. The Initiative recognized her efforts and continuing volunteerism in numerous Muscogee (Creek) Nation tribal and communal events. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Exercise Science and a Master of Arts degree in Native American Studies from the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma. Her undergraduate research work focused on; Native Americans and Diabetes. As a master’s student, her research focused on; Congressional Native American Policy as it relates to Native American Health and Wellness. She has a passion and love for research, learning and reading books pertaining to history, policies, traditional and cultural ways, understanding, serving, and advocating to increase the health and wellness for all Native communities.
She has worked in Indian Country for a number of years in different capacities; from working for a native owned law firm, specializing to maintain sovereignty for many Oklahoma Tribal governments, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s Department of Justice, and a small native owned federal contracting company. She continues to serve in her position in a support role, to advocate and fight for sovereignty and health and wellness for many Native American families throughout Indian Country.
Kendra is active and participates in many of her own tribal ceremonial and cultural activities as well as the Plains Tribes traditional ways with her daughter and husband, as they are citizens of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma. In her spare time, she loves to sew and craft, exercise, be outside, garden, cook, watch the humming birds in the spring and summer and most of all, spending time with her family.
Her mother taught her to be a strong native woman and empower other women and continues this teaching with her daughter. Her step-father encourages her to continue her walk in two worlds with one spirit daily.
March 2019 is Women’s History Month, International Women’s Day & Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
- DOWNLOAD: February 2019 edition of Restoration Magazine here: http://bit.ly/2tTs7WR. Order your hard copy subscription and have each issue delivered to your home! Keep up to date with the latest national and international issues on violence against Native women. $30 Individual/$100 Institutional subscriptions. RESTORATION OF SOVEREIGNTY & SAFETY MAGAZINE, 2003-2019 More than a decade ago during the reauthorization process of the Violence Against Women Act, several national organizations came together to take a stand for the safety of Native women: Sacred Circle National Resource Center to End Violence Against Native Women, Clan Star, Inc., the National Congress of American Indians, and the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. It was recognized that to fully participate in the national movement to create the changes needed to increase safety for Native women, broad communication was essential. The Restoration of Sovereignty & Safety magazine emerged to fulfill this task. 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.
- WATCH: NIWRC’s Recorded Webinar Learning to Love Ourselves: Incorporating Compassion Care in our Work (February 2019). This webinar focuses on love, healing and self-care. Dr. Duran will introduce the pillars of compassion and how through loving and taking care of ourselves we become better advocates, better human beings and more grounded and rooted in our work of ending the violence. Presenter: Dr. Bonnie Duran, Director, Indigenous Wellness Research Institute, University of Washington.
- READ: NIWRC’s March Women’s History Month Statement. The national theme for this year’s Women’s History Month is “Visionary Women: Champions of Peace & Nonviolence.” This year’s theme honors “women who have led efforts to end war, violence, and injustice and pioneered the use of nonviolence to change society.”
- SHARE: NIWRC will honor and share from the #InspiringNativeWomen album highlighting inspiring Native Women profiles & photographs. If you have a story of an inspiring historic Native woman to share, please let us know! We would love to hear from you–please contact us at [email protected]
- SHARE: Friday, March 8th, International Women’s Day postcard! The NIWRC and the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NRCDV) collaborated on a special International Women’s Day postcard on the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls (#MMIW) with artist Cody Hammar (Cherokee/Muskogee). Download card here and share on your social media this International Women’s Day.
- TESTING: Wednesday, March 20th-Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day-a day to consider the impact of HIV/AIDS on American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. The annual awareness day is set aside to promote HIV education and testing in Native communities. Check your local IHS/health care facilities for HIV/AIDS testing in your community and learn more information here: https://aidsinfo.nih.gov/understanding-hiv-aids/hiv-aids-awareness-days/150/national-native-hiv-aids-awareness-day.
- WATCH: NIWRC Webinar “Native Wellness HIV/AIDS” (2015).
April 2019 is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month
- WATCH: NIWRC Webinar “Sovereignty of the Soul: Confronting Sexual Violence Native America” (March 2018). Understanding the scope of sexual assaults committed against American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) within the context of intimate partner relationships and supporting timely tribal government responses can help reduce the trauma experienced by Native victim survivors of sexual assault. This webinar will focus on historical and contemporary sexual violence experienced by AI/ANs and share policy recommendations focused on the intersection of sexual assault and the related crimes of domestic violence and other related issues and limitations faced by tribal nations. The webinar aims to reduce disparities in the response to sexual assault of tribal victims by increasing awareness of the need for adequate and culturally appropriate responses to sexual assault in tribal communities. Partner/Presenter:Sarah Deer (Muscogee (Creek) Nation) has worked to end violence against women for over 25 years and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2014. Her scholarship focuses on the intersection of federal Indian law and victims’ rights. Prof. Deer is a co-author of four textbooks on tribal law. Her latest book is The Beginning and End of Rape: Confronting Sexual Violence in Native America, which has received several awards.
- WATCH: National Institute of Justice’s “Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women and Men” (2016). 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 the study on NIJ.gov: https://nij.gov/publications/Pages/publication-detail.aspx?ncjnumber=249736
- EXPLORE: “Sexual Assault” topic in NIWRC’s Online Resource Library for more information!
- WATCH: NIWRC’s Webinar “Protecting the Seventh Generation: IPV, its Effect on our Children, and the Solution of Resiliency” (2017). The goal for this webinar is for participants to engage in critical thinking about how their coalition/advocates and communities are actively practicing resiliency with youth who witness or experience domestic violence/intimate partner violence in their homes. Our panel consists of Victoria Sweet from NCJFCJ, Haley Merrill from CASA, Dr. Alaina Szlachta, PHD from NDVH, and Caroline LaPorte from NIWRC.
- WATCH: NIWRC’s Webinar “Building Girls’ Protective Assets in Indian Country: Intentional Girl-Centered Program Design” (Sept. 2018).
May 2019 National Day of Awareness for Missing & Murdered Native Women & Girls
- DOWNLOAD: NIWRC’s “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.
- WATCH: NIWRC’s Webinar “Effective Use of the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) for Case Resolution” (2017). 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. Funded by the National Institute of Justice and managed through a cooperative agreement with the UNT Health Science Center, NamUs offers all services at no cost to agencies or families of the missing. The online NamUs databases are accessible to all, with secure case information accessible only to registered and vetted criminal justice users. Forensic odontology and fingerprint examination are offered through NamUs to support case comparisons, and DNA analyses and forensic anthropology services are offered through affiliated UNT Center for Human Identification laboratories. This webinar will focus on how technology can be a valuable resource to tribal nations working to build their capacity to respond to missing and murdered Indigenous peoples, and case studies will be provided to illustrate the effectiveness of the NamUs databases and forensic services. BJ Spamer, Director/Forensic & Analytic Services/NamUs and Gwendolyn Packard, Facilitator.
- WATCH: NIWRC’s Webinar “Honoring Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women” (2017). In 2005, the movement for the safety of Native women led the struggle to include under the Violence Against Women Act a separate title for Native women called Safety for Indian Women. One of the findings of this title was that during the period of 1979 through 1992, homicide was the third-leading cause of death of Indian females aged 15 to 34, and 75 percent were killed by family members or acquaintances. Since that time, a study by the U.S. Department of Justice has found that in some tribal communities, American Indian women face murder rates that are more than 10 times the national average. Over the last decade awareness of this national issue has increased but more must be done at all levels to stop the disappearances and save lives. To address an issue it must first be acknowledged. Please join us on May 5th as we honor missing and murdered Indigenous women and together increase our national awareness. Partnering organizations: Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center, Healing Native Hearts Coalition, Indian Law Resource Center, Sacred Hoop Coalition, Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains, and National Congress of American Indians.
- WATCH: NIWRC’s Webinar “Missing and Murdered Native Women-Public Awareness Efforts” (2016). In 2005, the national movement for the safety of Native women led the struggle to include in the Violence Against Women Act a separate title for Native women called Safety for Native Women. One of the findings that justified creation of the title was that during the period of 1979 through 1992, homicide was the third-leading cause of death of Indian females aged 15 to 34, and 75 percent were killed by family members or acquaintances. Since that time, a study by the U.S. Department of Justice has found that in some tribal communities, American Indian women face murder rates that are more than 10 times the national average. Since 2005, there has been increased awareness of the pattern of the disappearance of Native women and the failure of the criminal justice system to adequately respond to the crisis. This webinar is designed to provide an overview and discussion of this crisis and the importance of increased public awareness. The Native Women’s Association of Canada will share lessons from its Sisters in Spirit awareness and organizing efforts. Terri Henry will share efforts and the importance of creating a National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls in the United States.
- EXPLORE: “Missing and Murdered Native Women” topic in NIWRC’s Online Resource Library for more information!
- DOWNLOAD: Urban Indian Healthy Institute’s “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.
- LISTEN: Native America Calling’s Audio Interview “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.
- Sunday May 12th is Mother’s Day, watch NIWRC’s video “Happy Mother’s Day from the NIWRC.”
Highlights of the Feb. 11, 2019, NCAI VAW Task Force Mtg. during NCAI’s Executive Session in Washington, D.C. Please read February 2019 edition of Restoration Magazine for policy updates and pending legislation discussed with the Task Force.
Task Force Co-Chairs Juana Majel and Michelle Demmert facilitated:
Updates from and discussions with federal officials from
- Office on Violence Against Women
- annual VAW government-to-government consultation scheduled for Aug. 21-22, 2019 location TBD
- circulated an invitation Feb. 8th for nominations for 904 Research Task Force
- Office for Victims of Crime
- 196 applications received 2018 for tribal VOCA set aside with 178 applications that made it through to Phase 2
- Phase 2 will be awarded by April 15, 2019 for 3 -year awards through 2022
- Introduction of tribal VOCA TA provider to assist with financial management TA
- 2019 tribal VOCA set aside applications within CTAS deadline March 12, 2019
- National Institute of Justice
- Presented on NAMUS for assistance with missing and murdered Indian women and girls (see attachment here). NamUs handout maps out the missing and unidentified persons cases in the system as of January 30, 2019. NIJ will start updating these figures on a quarterly basis. Also attached to the file is a map listing the NamUs Regional Program Specialists and their contact information along with the program’s booklet.
- Committed to working with tribes to address violence against women and tribal justice issues.
Regional updates on local organizing efforts and development of resources were also provided by tribal coalitions and other key partners in attendance, including:
Allies in Action
Today, the StrongHearts Native Helpline (1-844-7NATIVE) announced the expansion of its hours of operation, which are now 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CST, seven days a week, in order to better serve those impacted by domestic violence and dating violence in tribal communities across the U.S. Callers reaching out after hours may connect with the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE) by selecting option 1. To date, the StrongHearts Native Helpline has received more than 2,100 calls from victims, survivors, concerned family members and friends, service providers and more, helping to close a gap in culturally-appropriate resources for those facing abuse.
“After hearing from so many tribes and advocates about their community needs, we are so pleased to expand our operating hours to better serve Native victims of relationship abuse,” said StrongHearts Assistant Director Lori Jump (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians). “Domestic violence impacts our relatives every hour of every day, so it’s critical for us to be available as much as possible. Yet, we also understand we can’t do this work alone. We are honored to be working alongside tribal advocates and programs doing this good work to help Native people seek lives that are free of abuse.”
With the support from the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Program, StrongHearts established its official call center in Eagan, Minnesota. The helpline also increased its advocate staff in order to respond to callers, many of whom are seeking support as they navigate difficult barriers to justice, healing and safety. For more information about the StrongHearts Native Helpline, visit www.strongheartshelpline.org.
The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Database has a new home and launch with Sovereign Bodies Institute (SBI)!
Sovereign Bodies Institute (SBI) builds on indigenous traditions of data gathering and knowledge transfer to create and disseminate research on gender and sexual violence against indigenous people. SBI is committed to:
- conducting, supporting, and mobilizing culturally-informed and community-engaged research on gender and sexual violence against indigenous people
- uplifting indigenous researchers, knowledge keepers, and data visualists in their work to research and disseminate data on gender and sexual violence against indigenous people
- empowering indigenous communities and nations to continue their work to end gender and sexual violence against indigenous people, through data-driven partnerships that enhance research efforts and develop best practices.
SBI is a home for generating new knowledge and understandings of how indigenous nations and communities are impacted by gender and sexual violence, and how they may continue to work towards healing and freedom from such violence. In the spirit of building such freedom, SBI is strongly committed to upholding the sovereignty of all bodies indigenous peoples hold sacred–our physical bodies, nations, land, and water–and does not accept grants from colonial governments or extractive industries. Similarly, SBI’s work is not limited by colonial borders, concepts of gender, politics of identity or recognition, or ways of knowing. SBI honors the epistemologies and lifeways of indigenous peoples, and is bound by accountability to the land, our ancestors, and each other. SBI is an Affiliate of Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples.
EXPLORE: Sovereign Bodies Institute website- https://www.sovereign-bodies.org/
LIKE: Sovereign Bodies Institute Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/Sovereign-Bodies-Institute-332248684055342/?__tn__=HHH-R
This past December, the Pixel Project approached the StrongHearts Native Helpline and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center on doing an in-depth inspirational interview with Caroline LaPorte (Senior Native Affairs Advisor). The 10 questions were broken up into a two-part series.
The Pixel Project is a complete virtual, volunteer-led global 501(c)3 nonprofit organisation whose mission is to raise awareness, funds and volunteer power for the cause to end violence against women through campaigns, initiatives, projects, and programmes at the intersection of social media, new technologies, and popular culture/the Arts. We are a worldwide coalition of grassroots activists and volunteers who strongly believe that men and women must take a stand together for the right of women and girls to live a life free of gender-based violence. Our team, our allies, and our supporters use the power of the internet to mount a global effort to raise awareness about and hopefully mobilise communities around the world to get involved with ending violence against girls and women.
- How and why did you join the movement to end violence against women (VAW) and how did you come to work with the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC)?
When I started thinking about why I wanted to attend law school, I knew it was to ultimately end up in federal Indian law and policy. But it was not until I worked in a human rights clinic that focused on gender justice that I realised how integral the anti-violence aspect of this work would become with regards to my own identity. I was a victim of stalking and sexual assault myself, but I had not envisioned going into this field when I was starting out. Now that I am here, I feel that I have found my sisters and that we are doing work we can all be proud of. This work is an incredible responsibility and we all share in that obligation. I look at my position as an opportunity to be a steward of the good work that has always been done in this space, and I take the weight of that very seriously.
- NIWRC’s mission is to “support and uphold grassroots advocacy by creating and enhancing the capacity of Native communities to end gender based violence through technical assistance, education, public awareness and policy development”. How did NIWRC come to be founded and what your approach is to stopping violence against Native women and girls?
Until violence against Native women is eradicated, there will always be a need for a National Resource Center that specialises in gender-based violence from a tribal perspective and with tribal expertise. It is a truly unique area of both law and policy and of the domestic violence movement. We were created specifically to fill that role. Primarily, NIWRC enhances the capacity of American Indian and Alaska Native (Native) tribes, Native Hawaiians, and tribal and Native Hawaiian organisations to respond to all forms of gender-based violence.
Our approach in this work strictly centers on restoring safety to Native women by upholding the sovereignty of Indian and Alaska Native tribes. We seek to achieve this mission in partnership first with Indian nations, but also with national partners, Native organisations, nonprofit tribal/state coalitions, domestic violence advocates, survivors and various federal agencies. But again, our primary goal is to make sure that a sovereignty framework is applied to the response to gender-based violence in tribal communities. If you think about the root causes of violence in Indian Country, which are genocide and colonisation, the remedy to that is to restore to what was taken from us… our sovereign ability to respond as sovereigns.
READ: The the rest of part 1 Inspirational Interview here: http://bit.ly/2VGEku5
In the 1970s, with the swagger of unapologetic Indianness, organizers of the American Indian Movement (AIM) fought for Native liberation and survival as a community of extended families. “Warrior Women” is the story of mothers and daughters fighting for indigenous rights in the American Indian Movement of the 1970s. The film unveils not only a female perspective of history, but also examines the impact political struggles have on the children who bear witness.
Warrior Women is the story of Madonna Thunder Hawk, one such AIM leader who shaped a kindred group of activists’ children – including her daughter Marcy – into the “We Will Remember” Survival School as a Native alternative to government-run education. Together, Madonna and Marcy fought for Native rights in an environment that made them more comrades than mother daughter. Today, with Marcy now a mother herself, both are still at the forefront of Native issues, fighting against the environmental devastation of the Dakota Access Pipeline and for Indigenous cultural values.”
CHRISTINA D. KING | Director & Producer
An enrolled member of the Seminole Tribe of Oklahoma, Christina D. King’s work spans broadcast news, commercials, documentary, film, and television with a focus on human rights issues, civic engagement through storytelling, and democratizing filmmaking opportunities for marginalized voices.
ELIZABETH A. CASTLE | Director & Producer
Dr. Castle brings almost 20 years of experience as a scholar, activist, and media maker working in collaboration with Native Nations and underrepresented communities. Warrior Women is based on the research done for her book “Women were the Backbone, Men were the Jawbone: Native Women’s Activism in the Red Power Movement.”
WATCH: “Warrior Women” documentary streaming online!
The Wellness Circle
I am an Indigenous mother from a native community in Ontario. I have worked in my community for many years promoting traditional health, volunteered as a fire fighter and involved with community sports. I continue to enjoy walking, writing, singing, paddling, golfing and archery to help me be healthy.
Traditionally, my identity follows my mother and we belong to the turtle clan from the Cayuga Nation. My three grown children are turtles as well. As the Haudenosaunee, we are Ambassadors of Peace. My traditional name is Eahwahęwi’ and means “Carrier of News”.
The Creator gave me a vision to help native people reconnect to self, family and culture. It is based on the Great Law teachings of the Peace Maker’s message for those who seek peace, strength and a good mind. I followed my own wellness path which led me to my relatives and friends who helped me with ceremony, traditional medicine and songs. Guided by my vision, my ancestors and my relatives, all three helped me heal from abuse and sexual assault. My three-year healing journey validated our traditional ways to heal my body, mind, spirit and soul. When I achieved peace, strength and a good mind…my purpose is to help my people recover, rebuild and reclaim self from abuse, violence and trauma.
Cindy/Eahwahęwi’s book Recover. Rebuild. Reclaim Self: The Empowerment of Eahwahewi’, is an Indigenous healing journey to find peace, strength and a good mind. A quest of empowerment, self-care and coping with complex emotions. A spiritual awakening and a deeper understanding of purpose. Eahwahewi’ is a survivor of violence, abuse and sexual assault – this is her story of resilience. Eahwahęwi’s story was given voice in a women’s film documentary, W’at About Us, world premier on May 9, 2019 at the Fox Theatre in Toronto Ontario Canada.