Tim Leeds Havre Daily News email@example.com
The Chippewa Cree Tribe of Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation has announced that the U.S. Department of Justice has awarded the Tribe nearly half-a-million dollars to fund a program to help victims and perpetrators of domestic violence. “When you take a child out of a domestic violence situation you basically take them out of a war zone; and that aspect of wraparound service isn’t even addressed,” said state Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy, a member of the Chippewa Cree tribal council. The $419,000 grant, administered by the Department of Justice’s Office of Violence Against Women, will be implemented with the goals of the Ojibwa Ne-i-yah-w Initiative, a Tribal department formed last January to include cultural aspects of the Chippewa, or Ojibwa, and Cree tribes in dealing with issues on the reservation including drug use and violent crime. The grant, which is focused on victim-based services, will help create and operate a 24 hour crisis hotline, shelter services, law enforcement, court training and advocacy for the next two years, said Windy Boy, who spearheaded the creation of ONI at the reservation. The program will use culturally based approaches to address domestic violence and the effects on children exposed to violence. It will also utilize the direction and advise of the ONI Native Women’s Advisory Council, Windy Boy said. That council is composed of Tribal members Louise Stump, Ethel Parker, Helen Parker, Theresa Tendoy, Geri Racine, Pearl Whitford, Florence Sun Child, Ruby Stump, Patsy Gopher and Zellah Nault. “The key to the success of this project is relying on the experts, in this case our elders hold that key,” Windy Boy said. “We have always implemented programs without the input of our elders, and they’re concerned. This putting the cart before the horse approach Should be a thing of the past; we need to slow down and listen to what our elders and people have to say.” Windy Boy said that in 2000, the National Institute of Justice published a report on the findings of the national Violence against Women survey which revealed that one in three Indian women reported having been assaulted. The success of this grant award will serve to provide services and safety for victims of domestic violence and their children in order to reduce the number of assaults. This program's cultural approach will also provide positive and supportive services utilizing tribal elders and tribal teachings, Windy Boy said.