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Traditional Lifeways Key To Culturally Appropriate Advocacy

Historical Trauma, Reviving Culture and Finding Justice

StrongHearts Native Helpline is working to uplift the voices of survivors by recognizing the strength and resilience of Indigenous peoples. We acknowledge that domestic and sexual violence has lived in our communities for far too long and that victim survivors are often denied justice.

“Our history was never written through the eyes of our people who narrowly survived the forces of colonization,” said CEO Lori Jump. “In the eyes of elders, we can see historical trauma without them speaking a word. We know that domestic and sexual violence was used as a means to control us and to control each other. We must dispel the belief that we were born this way by teaching our children about our real history.”

For example, in 1791, William Bartram (American naturalist) wrote about the Creek and Cherokee nations: “An Indian never attempts, nay, he cannot use towards a woman amongst them any indelicacy or indecency, either in action or language. I never saw or heard of an instance of an Indian beating his wife or other female, or reproving them in anger or harsh language.”

Domestic and sexual violence is not a traditional practice. We must strive to revive our culture and acknowledge that our values are historically based in humanity, love, respect and honor. We must also uplift the voices of victim survivors and seek justice in our courts to hold perpetrators responsible for their crimes.

Inadequate Resources

Part of StrongHearts’ mission to restore power to Native Americans impacted by domestic and sexual violence, includes the development of a unique, culturally specific database that incorporates Native-centered resources on top of those resources utilized by mainstream advocates. As such, we know that there simply are not enough resources available to our relatives.

For instance, there are 576 federally recognized tribal nations and only 250 native centered resources identified and listed in the StrongHearts database. When it comes to safe shelter, the situation is even more dire, with less than 60 culturally appropriate shelters nationwide. Given the epidemic level rates of violence our relatives experience, this is nothingless than tragic.

More funding is necessary at not only the federal level, but also the state level. The federal government must do better to meet their trust responsibilities and states must do better to meet the needs of all residents in their states - especially those populations plagued by violence.

Culturally Appropriate Advocacy

At StrongHearts, all of our advocates are citizens of tribal nations and have been trained to understand Native cultures and traditions, the unique barriers to justice and the need for accessible Native-centered service providers.

Core Values and Guiding Principles

It is an essential component of StrongHearts advocacy that we adhere to core values and guiding principles that were set forth by our ancestors. That we must honor their teachings in our advocacy and in doing so, we adhere to seven principles: culture, balance, interrelatedness, humility, bravery, resiliency and trust.

Culturally appropriate support and advocacy means that StrongHearts advocates embrace the resilience of our people and the strength found in restoring our traditional lifeways. For safe, confidential and anonymous support and advocacy, StrongHearts Native Helpline’s advocates are available 24/7.