Virtual Event

2022 Tillie Black Bear Women Are Sacred Day: Virtual Healing Camp



According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention1, compared with other racial/ethnic groups, American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) have a lower life expectancy, lower quality of life, and are disproportionately affected by many chronic conditions. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health also reports similar disparities for Native Hawaiians.2 A 2016 National Institute of Justice study3 found that Native women experience rates of violence far exceeding rates in other populations, including: 

  •   Over 55% have experienced physical violence; and 
  •   Over 56% have experienced sexual violence.

Title VIII Section 801 of the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization of 2022 found that Native Hawaiians experience a disproportionately high rate of human trafficking, with 64 percent of human trafficking victims in the State of Hawai’i identifying as at least part Native Hawaiian.

In honor of Tillie Black Bear, Wa Wokiye Win (Woman Who Helps Everyone) Women Are Sacred Day, and inspired by healing camps that Tillie organized on behalf of survivors of sexual assault, NIWRC is offering a virtual healing camp for survivors of domestic violence and sexual violence and advocates. Events and activities are scheduled throughout the month of October, beginning October 1, 2022. While we have a lot of work to do to achieve social change at the tribal/local, state, national and international levels, we should take a moment to remember that individual and collective healing is possible and available. Indigenous women are more than the trauma of domestic violence they have experienced, and these activities/tools can help move survivors through and release the trauma to reconnect with not only ourselves but with those who offer support. Wa Wokiye Win offered hope and healing and inspired generations of survivors and advocates, and we hope this inspires everyone to more intentionally plan and regularly implement self-care throughout the year to improve overall health outcomes for Indigenous women. 

Organized by Tillie’s daughter Connie Brushbreaker and her family on October 1, 2022, at 9 AM MDT is a Tillie Black Bear Tribute Celebratory Walk on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation with a traditional opening provided by Waycee His Fancy Horse. From wherever you are at that time, please join us in a moment of celebration for Wa Wokiye Win.

We invite everyone to join, participate and share widely as we center support and healing with and for survivors and advocatesThe following facilitators will share approaches to self-care and healing. 

October 1 | 9 AM MDT: Tillie Black Bear Tribute Celebratory Walk on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation with a traditional opening provided by Waycee His Fancy Horse. Organized by Tillie’s daughter Connie Brushbreaker and her family, from wherever you are at that time, please join us in a moment of celebration for Wa Wokiye Win.



  • October 4 | 11 AM MDT: Session 1: Purification Ceremony through the Sweathouse/lodge presented by Lila Kills In Sight: Indigenous people believe that culture and spirituality are essential to healing; and wisdom from our ancestors taught us that sweating is a way to purify our heart, mind, body, and spirit. Everything from cleaning and caring for the grounds, gathering the rocks, building and tending the fire, and covering the lodge is done in a sacred manner. Lila Kills In Sight from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe will share how this ceremony can help survivors cleanse/purify, pray, release, and heal. 
  • October 5 | 12 PM MDT: Session 2: Exercise and Healthy Diet presented by Connie Brushbreaker and Marc Marshall:  This session is intended to promote how we can nourish our physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual health through healthy eating, exercise, and regular movement with our bodies. 
  • October 7 | 10 AM MDT: Session 3 presented by Roxanne Sazue and Violet Mousseau. Healing Through Songs and Dances presented by Roxanne Sazue: Roxanne will help us to remember the healing and regenerative power of songs and dances. Please share with us your favorite songs and dances. Breadmaking with Rosebud Auntie Vi presented by Violet Mousseau: This session will share gabooboo bread (skillet bread) making in one community on the Rosebud Reservation as one example of comfort foods helping to provide emotional comfort and well-being. Please share with us your favorite breads and comfort foods. Please feel free to have the following supplies on hand during this session: flourbaking powdersalt, a quart of 1% milk, and vegetable oil.
  • October 11 | 3:30 PM MDT: Session 4: Healing through the Arts presented by Connie Brushbreaker: This session is intended to explore art as a way of healing since this involves creative activity and is unique to individuals. Art can be a way to reconnect with ourselves and others and heal physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Connie will share how she makes ribbon skirts. Please share with us artwork that has helped with your healing.
  • October 13 | 11 AM MDT: Session 5: Healing together: Talking Circles presented by Carmen O’Leary: In our time together we will talk about having inclusive, healing, and functional talking circle events you will hold in your community.  Not only will we talk about procedures but what to do to set an environment that is safe and the topics that can be covered.  The goal is to help you feel secure in holding space for those you serve so they can share and heal.
  • October 14 | 12 PM MDT: Session 6: Energy Work presented by Alexsis Colombe: This session is intended to shed light on energy work with the help of essential oils, including the following oils listed below. The goal of energy work is to help restore the balance of energy to support physical, mental, and emotional well-being.  As Indigenous people, we understand that the traumas we carry physically, spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically impact our bodies.  Energy work helps to facilitate healing and re-align the energies of the body. Please feel free to have these oils on hand to use with Lexi’s guidance: Sandalwood, Ylang ylang, Lemongrass, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Cedarwood, Frankincense, and Violet.
  • October 18 | 10 AM MDT: Session 7:  Voices of Native Youth: More Than That presented by Rosebud Brushbreaker: This session will share a rebuttal video with More Than That that two classes and their supporters from the Rosebud Sioux Tribe teamed up to create after the 2011 ABC 20/20 special "Hidden America: Children of the Plains," More Than That shares the voices, truths and strengths of Native youth in the face of barriers and challenges their people have lived through. In the face of many barriers, including domestic violence and the lack of resources, Native youth rise above and are resilient and deserve to be loved, respected and fully supported.
  • October 19 | 1 PM MDT: Session 8: Laughter is Medicine presented by Ernie Tsosie: As another healthy release, humor and laughter are amazing tools and definitely medicine for the soul. Join us to connect and laugh with stand-up comedian Ernest Tsosie III, co-founder of “James & Ernie”. Ernie performs and presents comedy with a positive message and his comedy serves as a healthy and fun way to pass along some very important messages.
  • October 20 | 1 PM MDT:  Session 9: Walking/Running in Wellness presented by Marlin Mousseau: The session will share Marlin’s reflections of his journey as a recovering abuser including the importance of healing body, mind and spirit as we work to restore sovereignty, Indigenous women’s safety, and the roles and responsibilities of Indigenous men.
  • October 25 | 1 PM MDT: Session 10 - Part 1: In this session, Lisa Marie Iyotte will share with participants how making and sharing talking sticks can help with a survivor’s healing journey. Lisa will talk about what you can do to make a talking stick. We encourage you to do this on your own at your own pace after this session or with others who support you. Participants are welcome to share your stick during the 2nd session. Supplies needed: glue gun, regular glue or glittered glue, glitter, ribbon in different colors, plastic bead, lettered beads, bells, string, yarn, regular thread or embroidery floss, pom pom balls, and scrap fabric or felt.
  • October 27 | 1 PM MDT: Session 10 - Part 2: In this session, Lisa Marie Iyotte will share how making and sharing her talking stick has helped with her healing and welcomes participants to share their talking sticks.
  • October 26 | 12 PM MDT: Session 11: Implementing a Self-Care/Wellness Staff Schedule presented by Nicole Matthews: In this session, Nicole Matthews, Executive Director of MIWSAC will share the importance of implementing a new work schedule for MIWSAC staff to maximize staff contributions and support their wellness and self-care needed for their advocacy work.

In the spirit of honoring Wa Wokiye Win, her teachings and all that she gave from her heart, we will hold a virtual give-away during each session (must participate in the session) by gifting items that at least five participants (per session) can use to support healing. We hope that each gift received will help you on your healing path. These virtual healing camp sessions are supported with FVPSA and nonfederal funding.


This project was made partially possible by Grant Number # 90-EV-0533 from the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

(Subject to Change)
3  André B. Rosay, "Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women and Men," (2016),…