The NIWRC, or National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, is doing big things around the world. But their main office is in a tiny town on the Northern Cheyenne: the town of Lame Deer, Montana, where Executive Director Lucy Simpson works tirelessly to advocate for Native American women who have suffered domestic abuse.
The NIWRC mission, in their own words, is to “to provide national leadership to end violence against American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian women by supporting culturally grounded, grassroots advocacy.”
Mallory Adamsky (Diné) is the Director of Communications and Advancement for the NIWRC, and she explains the kind of work they are doing, saying that the NIWRC “is a national, Native women-led nonprofit organization dedicated to ending violence against Native women and children by upholding the sovereignty of Native nations. One of our primary goals is to provide national leadership in advocating for the safety of Native victim-survivors of violence by lifting up the voices of tribes and grassroots advocates working to address gender-based violence, including domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking, sex trafficking, and missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.”
The NIWRC doesn’t only service Montana, but offers support to, as Adamsky says, “tribes, programs, and grassroots advocates as they build capacity in serving and advocating for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian victim-survivors of violence in their communities.”
Adamsky has worked with the NIWRC for four years. She joined in 2016 after being invited to speak at a media conference as an independent journalist covering violence against Native women. She says that “the previous communications officer told me about the opportunity to be a part of the first domestic violence hotline for American Indians and Alaska Natives,” and ever since she has it “has been an honor to grow with and learn alongside the incredible stronghearted advocates that make up NIWRC’s family.”
The NIWRC has many national and tribal partners, including Battered Women’s Justice Project, the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, the Indian Law Resource Center, National Congress of American Indians, and the Tribal Law and Policy Institute.
Adamsky says that there are many resources for anyone, especially Native Americans, who are the victims of domestic violence. If you or someone you know are a Native American and have been the victim of domestic violence, she says that the NIWRC also encourages “reaching out to StrongHearts Native Helpline, which is a culturally-based domestic violence, sexual violence and dating violence helpline for our relatives. It is a free, national service that provides peer support, information and education on domestic and sexual violence, and referrals to tribal and Native support programs every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT.”
StrongHearts can be accessed anonymously and confidentially by calling 1-844-762-8483 or chatting online at strongheartshelpline.org. StrongHearts is a helpline created by and for Native people and is a collaborative project of NIWRC and the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
If you would like to contribute to NIWRC’s work, you can make a donation at niwrc.org/support-us or visit their website to designate a specific fund for your donation at niwrc.org/donate.
Adamsky ends on a note of thankfulness for those who want to help: “We are so appreciative of allies and donors who want to support our efforts to lift up and strengthen the work of tribes and advocates to protect Native American women and children in their communities.”
Thanks to the work of NIWRC and its partners, many Native American women and children who have suffered from domestic or sexual violence now have someone to talk to. Someone who understands and can help.
God bless you, NIWRC. Yours is a fight eminently worth fighting.