October 31, 2019
Gender-based Violence among AI/AN Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit People
Violence against women, children, and two-spirit people are not traditional AI/AN ways; in AI/AN cultures, women and children were historically honored and considered sacred. It was not uncommon for tribal societies to be matriarchal, and two-spirit people were often revered in AI/AN communities. Brunner (2013) illuminates the colonial context of violence against Indigenous women in her testimony, stating:
Human trafficking of Native women in the United States is not a new era of violence against Native women, but rather the continuation of a lengthy historical one with the colonization of America through wars, and forced removal from their homelands to reservations, boarding schools, and urban relocation. Domestic human trafficking in the United States has a longstanding history. (para 1)
AI/ANs experience higher rates of gender-based violence than almost any other racial group in the country. Six out of ten (56.1%) AI/AN women have experienced sexual violence; 84% of AI/AN women have experienced physical violence; 66% of AI/AN women have experienced psychological violence (Rosay, 2016). Furthermore, homicide is the third leading cause of death among AI/AN women and girls ages 10 through 24 (Daines, 2017; Ross et al., 2018). Previous legislation has attempted to address this epidemic, but ultimately fallen short. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), despite added provisions in its 2013 Reauthorization, still left AI/AN tribes unable to fully prosecute sexual assault offenders. Unfortunately, the protective value that VAWA did hold for AI/AN women and girls has been nullified, as the legislation expired during the recent government shutdown.
Conclusion and Ideas for Advocacy
Human trafficking and other forms of gender-based violence among AI/AN women, girls, and two-spirit people have a devastating impact on the survivors as well as on their families and communities. The legacy of colonialism is evident in the high rates of racialized poverty, economic exploitation, hunger, and violence within AI/AN communities and the exploitation they experience at the hands of non-AI/AN people. AI/AN activists are on the frontlines of naming the concerns, addressing systems contributing to the continued oppression of AI/ANs, and cultivating cultural practices to promote healing and wellness. Building on these efforts and the extant literature, we offer some advocacy recommendations to end human trafficking and assist survivors in the healing process.
Three Things to reach out to me for:
We purchased the property in April with the help of Susie from C21 and Columbia Bank. They both worked hard to make this miracle happen. So many organizations donated time, money and effort to build this facility. George Weaver, owner of Alpha and Omega Construction was our benefactor from the beginning and as is his expertise, called, set up and managed all the sub-contractors needed to finish this project. So many companies donated their time and discounted their supplies. Stimson Lumber, who continually supports our shelter program, donated the lumber. Avista granted us insulation and light bulbs. All who donated were honored with a balloon on our kid’s Dr. Suess wall. Those who were honored are No Limits Construction, Bitteroot Plumbing, Patriot Construction, Lake City Church, Columbia Bank of Priest River, ACI Northwest, WeHaul Movers, Areocet, Creation Construction, Northern Lights Electrical, Floors and More, PR Ace Hardware, and all our amazing volunteers.
The efficiency and effectiveness in providing service to our community, especially those in crisis, has always been a high priority to PRMAFW. Now with all our services in one building we can meet the high expectations we had set for this organization and, our clients benefit. The Priest River office provides Lydia’s, our free clothing center , and the opportunity for our community to receive personal and household supplies each month. We also offer a learning lab with computers where clients can look for employment, write resumes, take classes on line and recieve assistance with acquiring documents such as birth certificates. Domestic and sexual violence services continue with advocacy, counseling, paralegal assistance, shelter, transportation and support. Our childcare/respite facility is secure and delightful. It is open for our client’s children, both in advocacy and Lydia’s, providing safety and care, snacks or lunches, diapers, formula and an in room bathroom. We are assisting approximately 300 clients in the Priest River office each month. We have two projects for this office that we are working to fund. One is an outoor secure fence area for our children to play and the 2nd is an outdoor, heated dog kennel for our families pets who are also escaping violence.
We have just moved our Sandpoint office to a much larger facility. We are located at 502 N 2nd Ave. We were given the opportunity to lease 3 spaces on the bottom floor from Life Choices Pregnancy Center. We are thrilled to be working along side of this amazing non-profit as many of clients intersect. We have now open “Tabitha’s Closet” where we will provide children’s clothing 12 mo and up. We also provide free household and personal supplies. We are currently open M-W 12-4, with counseling and paralegal assistance available at other times by appointment. If you are interested in volunteering or in donating children’s clothes, please come to the office and talk to our advocates.
During the winter last year in Spirit Lake, children walking home from the elementry school began stopping at Phoebe’s, our free clothing center located in our advocacy center. At first they came in to get a break from the cold as the traveled home, but they were also hungry. We started providing snacks. Each day, all the rest of the school year, aprx 8-12 children stopped to warm up and get a snack. When summer came, more children came. In July at the request of a few boys, we asked someone to make sandwiches and bring them for our kids. Within a week we were giving out 50 sandwiches per week, and snacks and water. We asked Lake City Church if they would find volunteers to make sandwiches and deliver them each Monday for the rest of the summer. They did. By the end of summer we were feeding an average of 28-38 children each day. Sometimes mom’s would come too and they would eat with their kids. It was difficult at best to accommodate children, clients coming to Phoebe’s for clothes and the advocacy center as our number’s exceed 250 per month. Now that school has started again, we are not providing sandwiches, and our numbers for snacks is around 20 per day. But looking to next summer, and realizing that God has presented us with a need and challenge, we are looking to set up a food shack for our community children to receive free lunches. So our project for Spirit Lake is to provide fencing and a coffee stand building of sorts before next summer. And to engage volunteers who want to build healthy realtionships with these kids by working at “Martha’s Place” a couple hours a day.
It is an amazing miracle to see God work in this ministry that started as a bible study for women who had or were experiencing domestic or sexual violence in 2002. Now we shelter over 150 women and children and their pets per year. We are the only community domestic and sexual violence organization in Bonner County. We receive no assistance from our county, state or government to run our shelter program therefore we depend on foundational grants, businessess, churches, corportaions and individuals for our support. We are always looking for volunteers, as we are primarily a volunteer organization. It takes a special kind of committment to volunteer in PRMAFW. Our clients depend on us in their time of crisis. Our volunteers are the backbone to this organizations success, receiving little recognition but they provide immeasurable kindness as they live out their service to God at Priest River Ministries-Advocates for Women.
By Rhonda Encinas, Executive Director of Priest River Ministries
November 5, 2019 | Idaho
One way to contribute to your community is to vote on local issues, so don’t miss out on this opportunity. Also, a reminder that you can vote before November 5!
Save the Date | Collective Thriving
Wednesday, December 4 – Thursday, December 5, 2019 | Boise State University, Boise, Idaho
Tuesday, December 3rd – Pre-Conference
Reclaiming Our Spiritual, Healing and Ancestral Wisdom in Social Justice Movements
Space is limited
The Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence invites you to join us at Collective Thriving (previously Compassionate Communities), a conference where we will explore ways to repair the harm from our culture of domination, extraction, and violence and to re-imagine a world rooted in interdependence, resilience, and regeneration.
Registration is now open on https://idvsa.org/collective-thriving/. The conference is filling up fast, so don’t miss out!