Brenda has been an advocate for ending violence against women and their children for over 26 years. Brenda is a consultant, providing training, technical assistance and public education materials for programs with missions focused on ending domestic and sexual violence, and their allies. She is known nationally for her passion and commitment to creating social change that confronts the root causes of violence/ oppression and women-centered, inclusive, trauma-informed approaches that inspire hope and promote concrete change. Her work is based upon a grass roots, proactive, culturally-base perspective. Making connections and relationship building are central to her philosophy and work.
Brenda is an Associate with the National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma and Mental Health, providing workshops on trauma-informed approaches to advocates and other helping professions with focus on battering and substance abuse. Previously, Brenda was the Native Co-Director for the South Dakota Coalition Ending Domestic and Sexual Violence (SDCEDSV) for over six years. She had been an active member of the SDCEDSV since 1990. Prior to that position, she was the Education Coordinator for Sacred Circle, National Resource Center to End Violence Against Native Women for over 11 years. Brenda’s expertise includes developing culturally-based educational materials, creating and facilitating trainings, technical assistance and consultation to tribal nations throughout the United States, in addition to organizing workshops and conferences. She is a founding mother & former Director of the Women's Circle Shelter Program on the Lake Traverse Reservation. Prior to Women's Circle, she was faculty for the Sisseton‑Wahpeton Community College where she developed and taught courses for a chemical dependency degree program.
Some of the workshops and webinars developed and facilitated by Brenda include: “The Basics of Advocacy to End Violence Against Native Women,” “Necessary Distinctions: The Difference Between Conflict, Abuse, Violence, Domestic Violence and Battering,” “Substance Abuse and Battering,” “Historical Trauma and Domestic Violence,” “Connections Between Violence Against Women and Other Forms of Oppression,” and “Coalition-Building.” Workshop agendas, power points and materials are tailored to the cultural background and needs of the organization.
Materials developed by Brenda include: “Confidentiality: Cornerstone of Safety,” “Shelter Development From the Roots Up,” “Traumatic Brain Injury and Battering” booklets, “Rape: Toward Understanding and Healing,” "Our Voices” poem; "Domestic Violence: Bruises on the Mind, Body and Spirit," in addition to numerous newsletters, articles, posters, brochures and fliers on topics ranging from consensus-decision-making, dating violence, partying and rape, stalking and making social change to end violence.
She also has expertise facilitating strategic planning, shelter and personnel policy development, public speaking and organizing community events.
Brenda earned a B.A. from New York University and an M.A. and certificate in alcohol and drug studies from the University of South Dakota, but attributes her expertise in the area of advocacy to the many grassroots women who have honored her with their stories and trust in her as an advocate, her personal experience as a woman who was in relationships with men who chose to be violent aka survivor, and her relationships with grass root advocates throughout the country.
Brenda is Siksika/Blackfeet.