Solidifying its voice in the movement for the safety of Indigenous peoples and tribal communities, StrongHearts Native Helpline has officially launched into history as its own national Native non-profit organization on October 1, 2021.
“Establishing ourselves as an independent non-profit organization is an exciting step for StrongHearts Native Helpline,” said Lori Jump (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians) director, StrongHearts Native Helpline. “StrongHearts would not be where it is today without the support of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) and the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline). We look forward to working alongside these organizations to advocate for Native American and Alaska Native victim-survivors.”
In 2012, the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center and the National Domestic Violence Hotline prioritized the need for a domestic violence hotline to support tribal communities across the United States. Together with input from tribal leaders, a Native women’s council, domestic violence experts, and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Program, NIWRC and The Hotline developed a plan to establish StrongHearts Native Helpline, a Native-centered hotline staffed by advocates with a strong understanding of Native cultures, as well as issues of tribal sovereignty and law. StrongHearts launched its services in March 2017 in Austin, Texas — home to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which provided initial infrastructure and technology support.
As StrongHearts follows the original thoughtful plan created by the NIWRC and The Hotline to become an independent non-profit organization with its own board of directors, there has been no impact or disruption to advocacy services. As a program under NIWRC, StrongHearts received advocacy training, financial oversight, as well as technical support and mentorship in the areas of technology, communications and policy development. NIWRC will continue to support StrongHearts by sharing resources and providing technical assistance and peer support.
“Creating more voices advocating for Indigenous survivors of violence has always been the goal, and we could not be prouder of the incredible work accomplished by the StrongHearts team to date,” said Lucy Simpson (Diné), executive director, NIWRC. “Our hearts are heavy with hope and healing for the future as StrongHearts carries this good medicine forward for our people.”
StrongHearts Native Helpline is funded by the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; the Office for Victims of Crime: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.