For the sixth year in a row, the Silent Witness silhouettes were carried into Saturday evening’s grand entry, Sept. 7, 2013 at the 44th Annual United Tribes International Pow Wow at the United Tribes Technical College’s campusfor web in Bismarck, N.D, where thousands gather for one of Indian country’s top pow wows. Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains, First Nations Women’s Alliance, Fort Berthold Coalition Against Domestic Violence and North Dakota Council on Abused Women Services and domestic violence advocates carried the silent witnesses to promote awareness with the life-sized images of women and children who died in acts of domestic violence in Indian country.

The pow wow announcer did a great job of educating the crowd of the silent witness project and the issues Native women face with domestic violence. Using the silhouettes during grand entry at pow wows is an effective way of promoting awareness on the impact of domestic violence on women and children.

The coalitions also updated tribal leaders on VAWA 2013 at the tribal leaders summit which is held in conjunction with the pow wow.

The Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains Final Fall 2013 NWSGP Newsletter is short summaries of the impact of VAWA 2013, an article on the concerns of the proposed man camps near Indian country in South Dakota and North Dakota. The VAWA 2013 articles are condensed from the Restoration of Native Sovereignty and Safety for Native Women June 2013 magazine. A full version of the magazine can be found online at http://www.niwrc.org/resources/restoration-magazine/current-issue. The 4-page UPDATE letter can be printed out and presented to tribal leaders or community as it capsizes the important components of 2013 VAWA.

Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains and Minnesota’s Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition ‘Empowerment of Sister Coalition’ training will be May 30 & 31, 2013 at Prior Lake, Minn.  The two coalitions teamed up to provide two days of training for their memberships which will include presenters Janice Bad Moccasin, Cecilia Fire Thunder, Guadalupe Lopez, Carmen O’Leary, Amanda Takes War Bonnett and Linda Thompson. The topics will be on traditional healing, traditions as deterrent to violence against Native women, history and services of the LBGT community and community awareness. The Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains will hold their annual membership board meeting on Wednesday, May 29, the day before the training institute.  For more information on the training days contact Carmen O’Leary at (605) 850-1640 or 1332 ore Guadalupe Lopez at (651) 646-4800. 

For three days in January, 2013, more than 20 people came from Spirit Lake Nation, Fort Berthold Reservation, men's group for websiteWinnebago Nation, Santee Sioux Tribe, Wind River Reservation, Oglala Nation, Rosebud Reservation and Yankton Sioux Reservation to gain new information and to refresh their skills in facilitating domestic violence men’s groups.  Roy and Gene Red Hail of Onieda Nation’s Social Services in Wisconsin worked with the group to provide information and hands on interactions in communications, ice breakers and group exercises.  The three day session was sponsored by Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains and First Nations Women’s Alliance of North Dakota.

Members of the Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains and First Nations Women’s Alliance carrying the ‘silent witness silhouettes’ during Saturday’s grand entry at the 43rd Annual United Tribe International Powwow in Bismarck, ND on September 8, 2012. For the last several years, this has been done during Saturday evening’s grand entry to promote awareness of domestic violence and it effects in Indian country. The ‘silent witnesses’ are life-sized images which represent the women and children who have been battered, raped and killed in acts of violence. The grand entry awareness event was the conclusion of the three day ‘Stepping Up In Defense of Our Women & Children’ conference in Fort Yates, ND. The conference focused on topics of grant fraud awareness, the effects of childhood trauma, a sanctuary model for healing for children in Indian country, prostitution and human trafficking of Native women, the physical and intergeneration effects of childhood trauma, sexting and texting information for tribal communities and high schools, healing through art and music with Jackie Bird and self-care, healing and survival for who people who help others.

In the last year, the staff of Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains has been conducting a 11 question survey at their booth at various locations which included several conferences on victim assistance, the HeSapa Wacipi Black Hills Pow Wow, the Annual United Tribes International Pow Wow on the United Tribes Technical College campus  and at the Annual Lakota Nation High School Basketball Tournament in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The sexual assault survey has a statistical value and will provide insight into the public’s perception of what constitutes their understanding of sexual assault and whether or not they may have been a victim and to promote the awareness of barriers in the ‘silence factor’ of sexual assault. The final report will be valuable to NWSGP membership as it seeks to fill in gaps as far as providing education and training materials which can help in the reduction of sexual assault and raise the consciousness of the topic in general.  Small incentives such as the popular Society cardboard fan, water bottles, ice scarpers, t-shirts, pens were provided to those who completed the survey. NWSGP membership brochures and literature on domestic violence and sexual assault were also provided.

In April, the annual NWSGP meeting and training conference was held at Niobrara, Neb at the Niobrara State park campground with membership attending. Aside from training sessions, a five year vision plan was developed with the help of Lesley Kobotie and Montoya Whiteman of First Nations Development Inc. The plan includes more support from membership network, improved communication, a resource library and an increase of materials developed for awareness. Trainings sessions included healing from sexual assault, sexual assault perpetrated by spiritual leaders, consensus decision making and developing resources.

Today, Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains and First Nations Women’s Alliance will be guest on Native America Calling. The calamity at Penn State concerning a former coach molesting young boys has shed a national spotlight on the issue of sexual abuse. Native women and children are victims of more acts of rape and violence than white or black women and children. Often, these violent acts are committed by someone within their own community, which leads to the crime being swept under the rug. Is violence against Native women and children being kept quiet to protect the reputations of the guilty? Guests are Linda Thompson (Chippewa) Director/First Nations Women’s Alliance, and Carmen O’Leary (Cheyenne River Sioux) Director/Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains. The link to listen is at Native America Calling.

On October 10 to 13, 2011, Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains will be sponsoring a Men’s Re-Education Facilitator’s Meeting at Cedar Canyon Camp in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Facilitator of the training will be John Eagle Shield. Priority in registration will be to NWSGP membership. This Men’s Re-Education training can be used to enhance Batterers Intervention classes. For more information click here for the Information Flyer and for the Registration Form. Click here for Directions to Cedar Canyon Camp.

Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains board of directors membership will be having a business meeting on the evening of June 20 and 21, 2011 in Billings, Mont. On Tuesday and Wednesday, June 21 and 22, 2011 membership will receive training on Program Management Capacity Building coordinated by First Nations Development Institute. For more information contact Carmen O’Leary at 605-850-1332 or 605-200-1844.