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Fundamentals of Advocacy for Tribal Communities Webinar

Fundamentals of Advocacy for Tribal Communities Webinar PowerPoint

What is a Community Based Advocate?

This type of advocate may be employed by a tribal domestic violence, sexual assault program or by a non-tribal community based non-profit organization not under tribal government direction. The primary function of a domestic violence or sexual assault advocate is to be the primary support person to victims and their children, to provide confidential, victim-centered, culturally appropriate services and information on options available to victims. This type of advocacy is centered on centralizing the physical, emotional, social and spiritual safety of American Indian/Alaska Native women as expressed by them individually to help them regain control of their lives. An arm of advocacy is to provide social and systems change to address and change the climate where violence occurs by supporting efforts to create safety, hold offenders accountable.

What is the difference between a community based and systems-based advocate?

A systems based advocate is a victim advocate who may be based out of a law enforcement agency,  prosecutors office, or a federal agency such as the FBI Victim Assistance Program that are available to assist victims through a federal, state, or tribal criminal justice process-accompanying victims to court, referring them to services, and victim compensation. However, a systems-based advocate may only be available for the duration of an ongoing investigation or may be limited in what they are able to provide if there is not an active investigation, in addition, confidentiality is not ensured with a systems-based advocate if their role is tied to prosecution, investigation, or triaging victim needs and referrals. The Leech Lake Tribal Police Department is an example of a systems based advocate that works within tribal law enforcement. 

Are there tribal resources for domestic violence and sexual assault advocates?

Sharing Our Stories of Survival: Native Women Surviving Violence was created by the Tribal Law and Policy Institute, the Sharing Our Stories of Survival is a general introduction to the social and legal issues involved in acts of violence against Native women. The stories and case-studies presented here are often painful and raw, and the statistics are overwhelmingly grim; but there is a countervailing theme: Many of the women who appear in these pages are survivors, often strengthened by their travails, and the violence examined here is human violence, meaning it can be changed. This publication also has a companion trainer's manual that can be downloaded for free. (2008)

National Tribal Advocate Center at the Red Wind Consulting, Inc., developed the advocacy center to fill a void in Indian Country and created comprehensive native-specific training designed to enhance the capacity of tribal advocates. Each of the 40-hour advocate training sessions will provide tribal advocates with a native-specific approach to providing advocacy that will strengthen their ability to work effectively with those they serve.


SAFESTAR developed by the Southwest Center for Law and Policy is designed for those American Indian/Alaska Native communities currently without the capacity to support universal access to SANE services, the SAFESTAR project provides intensive training and technical support to specially selected laypersons and traditional healthcare providers. SAFESTARs complete a United States Department of Justice (Office on Violence Against Women) approved 40-hour, intensive training course delivered by Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs), lawyers, Native community health experts, advocates, traditional healers, and experts on tribal governance and community organizing.

Sexual Assault in Indian Country: Confronting Sexual Assault developed by the  National Sexual Violence Resource Center, this pamphlet addresses sexual assault in Indian Country by highlighting certain types of sexual assault evidence and by presenting it within the historical treatment of native populations, jurisdictional problems, and prevalence of violence, while the pamphlet was created in 2000, the information is still relevant today.

Victim Services: Promising Practices in Indian Country developed by the Office on Victims of Crime (OVC) resource-Victim Services in Indian Country highlights promising practices for assisting victims of violence and abuse in twelve Indian Country locations throughout the United States, describing tribal program’s keys to success, while the resource is from 2004, the promising practices are relevant.

Video Resources for Raising Awareness to End Violence Against Native Women

Listen to The Grandmothers Video Guide - and Resource - Incorporating Tradition into Contemporary Responses to Violence Against Native Women, developed by the Tribal Law and Policy Institute, the Listen to The Grandmothers Video Guide - and Resource features Native elders and provides a historical overview of violence against Native women, traditional responses to such violence, and an analysis on incorporating cultural traditions into contemporary responses to violence against Native women. (2008) Click here to access the video.

Video about Sexual Assault in Indian Country — A Fight for Sovereignty - (video, 7:57) In December (2015) the Supreme Court heard Dollar General Corporation vs Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. A ruling in Dollar General's favor would be the biggest blow to Native sovereignty in over fifty years, making it even harder for Native Americans to seek justice.

Video-To the Indigenous Woman (video, 3:14)  developed by the Indian Law Resource Center Safe Women, Strong Nations to raise Awareness and Help End the Epidemic of Violence against Native Women in the U.S.—Native women are murdered at 10 times the national rate; 1 out 3 Native women will be raped in her lifetime, and 3 out of 5 physically assaulted, while many of the perpetrators are non-Native there is limited prosecution under tribal jurisdiction.

Rape on the Reservation a video created by Current TVs correspondents Mariana van Zeller and Producer John Henion examine the increased incidence of rape committed on South Dakota's Rosebud Indian reservation against young women residents. This report brought to light the violent epidemic and the disturbing acceptance of this behavior by perpetrators who saw these crimes as part of normal behavior.

Advocacy Toolkit created by the Strengthening Tribal Response to Violence Against Native Women Initiative goes through the basic fundamentals of advocacy in tribal communities. This toolkit provides examples of shelter and safe housing practices, advocacy fundamentals, privacy, etc. 

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