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Special Collection: Cultural Competency/Humility & Ally-Building in Indian Country

Published Date: 
Wednesday, November 20, 2019



This Special Collection is developed to support cultural competency/humility initiatives, and educational or research projects requiring Native specific information and resources. The Special Collection provides background reading, research, organizational information, ally-building and cultural competency resources focused on Indian Country and domestic and sexual violence. This Collection includes recommended readings on: Domestic & Sexual Violence Against Native Women & Children, Action Guidance, Indigenous/Native/Tribal Domestic & Sexual Violence Resource Centers, and Indigenous/Tribal Organizations and Ally-Building-Cultural Competency/Humility-Anti-oppression Trainers/Consultants resources. The section titled Sovereignty, Federal Law & Jurisdictional Issues is unique and integral to work within Indian Country. Unlike other disenfranchised/minority groups within the U.S., the safety and status of Native women and other Native survivors is directely tied to the sovereignty of Tribal Nations, especially in the context of colonization.



The intention of this Special Collection is to promote cultural competency/humility supporting:

  • collaboration between non-Native/Indigenous organizations such as national resource centers, state coalitions and community-based shelters, and similar Native/tribal organizations and programs
  • tribal sovereignty as integral to the safety of Native women
  • efforts ensuring Native/Indigenous survivors are provided appropriate advocacy
  • educational and research projects involving Native/Indigenous peoples


This Special Collection is focused on non-Native/Indigenous advocates, policymakers and organizations, media, students and researchers. However, Native/Indigenous advocates and others will find information and resources helpful in their work addressing domestic and sexual violence, and social change and justice in the context of Indigenous culture, colonization and tribal sovereignty.


* Notes non-Native/ Indigenous author

  • The Beginning and End of Rape: Confronting Sexual Violence in Native America, Sarah Deer
    • How to address widespread violence against Native women—practically, theoretically, and legally—from the foremost advocate for understanding and change. This book makes available the powerful writings in which Sarah Deer, who played a crucial role in the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in 2013, has advocated for cultural and legal reforms to protect Native women from endemic sexual violence and abuse. These essays point to the possibility of actual and positive change in a world where Native women are systematically undervalued, left unprotected, and hurt.
  • Sharing our Stories of Survival: Native Women Surviving Violence, Sarah Deer; Bonnie Clairmont; Carrie A. Martell
    • A general introduction to the social and legal issues involved in acts of violence against Native women, this book's contributors are lawyers, social workers, social scientists, writers, poets, and victims. The stories and case-studies presented are often painful and raw, and the statistics are overwhelmingly grim; but a countervailing theme also runs through this extremely informative volume: 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 that it can be changed, if only with much effort and education.
  • Introduction to Tribal Legal Studies, Sarah Deer
    • In clear and straightforward language, Justin B. Richland and Sarah Deer discuss the history and structure of tribal justice systems; the scope of criminal and civil jurisdictions; and the various means by which the integrity of tribal courts is maintained. This book is an indispensable resource for students, tribal leaders, and tribal communities interested in the complicated relationship between tribal, federal, and state law
  • Not For Sale: Feminists Resisting Prostitution & Pornography, Christine Stark
    • Including the latest research on prostitution and pornography, this essay anthology shows how the sex industries harm those within them while undermining the possibilities for gender justice, human equality, and stable sexual relationships. From sex industry survivors to social activists and theorists such as Taylor Lee, Adriene Sere, and Kristen Anderberg, this volume addresses from a feminist perspective the racism, poverty, militarism, and corporate capitalism of selling sex through strip clubs, brothels, mail-order brides, and child pornography.
  • *Conquest: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide, Andrea Smith
    • This book reveals the connections between different forms of violence—perpetrated by the state and by society at large—and documents their impact on Native women. Beginning with the impact of the abuses inflicted on Native American children at state-sanctioned boarding schools from the 1880s to the 1980s, Smith expands our conception of violence to include the widespread appropriation of Indian cultural practices by whites and other non-Natives; environmental racism; and population control. Connects these and other examples of historical and contemporary colonialism to the high rates of violence against Native American women—the most likely to suffer from poverty-related illness and to survive rape and partner abuse. Outlines radical and innovative strategies for eliminating gendered violence.
  • Garden of Truth: The Prostitution and Trafficking of Native Women in MinnesotaMelissa Farley, Nicole Matthews, Sarah Deer, Guadalupe Lopez. Christine Stark, Eileen Hudon
    • This report reviews findings from an assessment of the life circumstances of Native women in prostitution in Minnesota, a group of women not previously studied in research such as this. Findings showed that about half of the women interviewed met a conservative legal definition of sex trafficking which involves third-party control over the prostituting person by pimps or traffickers. Yet most (86%) interviewees felt that no women really know what they're getting into when they begin prostituting, and that there is deception and trickery involved.
  • Shattered Hearts: The commercial sexual exploitation of American Indian women and girls in Minnesota. Alexandra (Sandi) Pierce
    • This material examines trends in prostitution among Native American women, including age and mode of entry; the factors that facilitate entry, including intergenerational trauma and homelessness; and barriers to exiting the sex trade. Recommendations are provided for future action.
  • Restoration of Native Sovereignty and Safety for Native Women, magazine, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center
    • The Restoration of Sovereignty & Safety magazine is a publication dedicated to informing tribal leadership and communities of emerging issues impacting the safety of American Indian and Alaska Native women.  The name of the magazine, Restoration of Sovereignty & Safety, reflects the grassroots strategy of the Task Force that by strengthening the sovereignty of Indian nations to hold perpetrators accountable the safety of Native women will be restored. The magazine is a joint project of the NCAI Task Force and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.  It is produced and made available during national NCAI conventions and the annual USDOJ – Tribal VAWA Consultation.
  • *Reflections from the Field on Victim/Survivor Advocacy: Summary Report from an Advocates Roundtable, Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. DOJ Jan. 2017
    • Victim advocacy requires that advocates on-the-ground address the realities and needs of all survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking at the individual, systems and community levels. To gauge the current state of advocacy, the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) convened a roundtable of 15 invited, community-based domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking advocates on October 5-6, 2016 in Washington, DC. OVW convened this roundtable to hear directly from advocates in the field about current advocacy practices and trends in order to inform and enhance its training, technical assistance, and policy efforts.
  • *Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women and the Criminal Justice Response: What is Known, Ronet Bachman et al
    • Based on a synthesis of the empirical literature and original data analyses, this report presents an overview of the epidemiology of violence against American-Indian and Alaska-Native women as well as a review of the criminal justice responses to this violence
  • *Maze of Injustice: The failure to protect Indigenous women from sexual violence in the USA; 2007, Amnesty International USA
    • The report, Maze of Injustice, released in 2007 unraveled some of the reasons why Indigenous women in the USA are at such risk of sexual violence and why survivors are so frequently denied justice. At the one year mark of the release of Maze of Injustice, there is significant, even historical, opportunity for change but there is also real danger that the follow through that is so desperately needed will not happen. It will require working together on all levels to fulfill the promises made. This update presents the main achievements of the past year in detail and identifies urgent priorities going forward.
  • *Attorney General’s Advisory Committee on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence: Ending Violence So Children Can Thrive 
    • Highlights the recommendations of the Attorney’s General’s Advisory Committee on American Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence. Established in 2013 by Attorney General Eric Holder, this Committee was charged with making high-level policy recommendations for ways to address, prevent, and mitigate problems related to AI/AN children exposure to violence. Published in 2014.
  • Walking In Two-Worlds: Understanding the Two-Spirit & LGBTQ Community, Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition
    • This brochure includes key terms and definitions, highlights the prevalence of violence against Native LGBTQ/Two-Spirit individuals, and offers tips for supporting Native LGBTQ/Two-Spirit survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
  • Intergenerational Trauma: Understanding Natives’ Inherited Pain, Mary Annette Pember
    • While it’s important to acknowledge the neurological causes of inherited trauma, author Mary Annette Pember, an accomplished journalist who has spent many years reporting on the concept, also understands – from personal experience – the actual life events that can impact every generation of American Indians. In this Free Report [Indian Country Today], she helps put a human face on abstract theory and practice, sharing personal stories that are gritty, poignant and factual.


* Notes non-Native/ Indigenous author

  • Reauthorization of VAWA: Safety of Native Women and Sovereignty of American Indian and Alaska Native Nations, Jaqueline Agtuca, 2018
    • This article urges involvement in the passage of VAWA, highlighting the voices of Native women who are both survivors and advocates.
  • VAWA 2018 and the Legacy of the Tribal Grassroots Movement, Jax Agtuca, Restoration of Sovereignty & Safety for Native Women, Oct. 2017
    • In context of VAWA reauthorization and Native grass roots advocacy, this article responds to the questions: How did the movement win these victories? What was the foundation—the strategy, framework, and guiding principles—of the movement’s efforts?
  • Safety for Native Women: VAWA and American Indian Tribes, Jacqueline Agtuca and Dorma Sahneyah, 2014
    • A powerful presentation of the impact of colonization of American Indian tribes on the safety of Native American women and the changes to address such violence under the Violence Against Women Act. This essential reading reviews through the voices and experiences of Native women the systemic reforms under the Act to remove barriers to justice and their safety. It places the historic changes witnessed over the last twenty years under the Act in the context of the tribal grassroots movement for safety of Native women. Legal practitioners, students and social justice advocates will find this book a powerful and inspirational resource to creating a more just, humane, and safer world.
  • Restoration of Native Sovereignty and Safety for Native Women, magazine, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center
    • The Restoration of Sovereignty & Safety magazine is a publication dedicated to informing tribal leadership and communities of emerging issues impacting the safety of American Indian and Alaska Native women.  The name of the magazine, Restoration of Sovereignty & Safety, reflects the grassroots strategy of the Task Force that by strengthening the sovereignty of Indian nations to hold perpetrators accountable the safety of Native women will be restored. The magazine is a joint project of the NCAI Task Force and the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.  It is produced and made available during national NCAI conventions and the annual USDOJ – Tribal VAWA Consultation.
  • Improving the Relationship Between Indian Nations, the Federal Government, and State Governments, Jerry Gardner, Tribal Law & Policy Institute
    • Provides background and tips for the development and implementation of cooperative agreements between Indian nations, the federal government, and state governments. The publication overviews the unique sovereign status of Indian nations, examines contemporary problems between sovereigns, provides examples of current efforts towards collaboration, and concludes with practical tips. (2000)
  • *Promising Strategies: Public Law 280, Primary Authors: Duane Champagne, Carole Goldberg; TLPI
    • This Promising Strategies publication highlights unique ways in which tribal and state jurisdictions have entered into collaborations to overcome barriers to effective justice provision in PL 280 jurisdictions. Their areas of interaction include government-to-government recognition, concurrent jurisdiction, cross-jurisdictional enforcement of domestic violence orders of protection, cross-deputization, and civil commitments. (2013)
  • *Uneven Ground: American Indian Sovereignty and Federal Law, David E. Wilkins and K. Tsianina Lomawaima
    • In the early 1970s, the federal government began recognizing self-determination for American Indian nations. As sovereign entities, Indian nations have been able to establish policies concerning health care, education, religious freedom, law enforcement, gaming, and taxation. Yet these gains have not gone unchallenged. Starting in the late 1980s, states have tried to regulate and profit from casino gambling on Indian lands. Treaty rights to hunt, fish, and gather remain hotly contested, and traditional religious practices have been denied protection. Tribal courts struggle with state and federal courts for jurisdiction. David E. Wilkins and K. Tsianina Lomawaima discuss how the political rights and sovereign status of Indian nations have variously been respected, ignored, terminated, and unilaterally modified by federal lawmakers as a result of the ambivalent political and legal status of tribes under western law.
  • *Alaska Natives and American Laws Third Edition, David S. Case & David A. Voluck, 2012
    • Alaska Natives and American Laws is still the only work of its kind, canvassing federal law and its history as applied to the indigenous peoples of Alaska. Covering 1867 through 2011, the authors offer lucid explanations of the often-tangled history of policy and law as applied to Alaska’s first peoples. Divided conceptually into four broad themes of indigenous rights to land, subsistence, services, and sovereignty, the book offers a thorough and balanced analysis of the evolution of these rights in the forty-ninth state. This third edition brings the volume fully up to date, with consideration of the broader evolution of indigenous rights in international law and recent developments on the ground in Alaska.
  • *A Roadmap For Making Native America Safer: Report To The President And Congress Of The United States by Indian Law & Order Commission and US Sentencing Commission Tribal Issues Advisory Committee 2015
    • This report from the Indian Law and Order Commission presents findings and recommendations based on one of the most comprehensive assessments ever undertaken of criminal justice systems serving Native American and Alaska Native communities. Topics include jurisdiction and intergovernmental collaboration, strengthening tribal justice systems, detention and alternatives to detention, and juvenile justice reforms. The Indian Law and Order Commission was created by the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 to advise the President and Congress on federal, state, and tribal reforms to strengthen criminal justice for the 566 federally recognized Indian tribes and nations. 
  • *A Quiet Crisis: Federal Funding and Unmet Needs In Indian Country by US Commission on Civil Rights 2003 (see NCAI site for 2018 update)
    • This study reveals that federal funding directed to Native Americans through programs at these agencies has not been sufficient to address the basic and very urgent needs of indigenous peoples. Among the myriad unmet needs are: health care, education, public safety, housing, and rural development. The Commission finds that significant disparities in federal funding exist between Native Americans and other groups in our nation, as well as the general population.
  • *Broken Promises: Continuing Federal Funding Shortfall for Native Americans Briefing Report, United States Commission on Civil Rights
    • In December 2018, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released Broken Promises: Continuing Federal Funding Shortfall for Native Americans, which evaluated whether the federal government is meeting its trust responsibilities, and examines budgets and spending of federal agencies that sponsor Native American and Native Hawaiian programs, including the Departments of Health and Human Services, Interior, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, and Education.
  • *Attorney General Guidelines Stating Principles for Working with Federally Recognized Indian Tribes, U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Register.
    • The Attorney General Eric Holder issued guidelines stating principles for working with federally recognized Indian tribes.
  • *43 CFR Part 50: Procedures for Reestablishing a Formal Government-to-Government Relationship with the Native Hawaiian Community, Federal Register.
    • Department of the Interior issued 43 CFR part 50 to create a pathway for reestablishing a formal government-to-government relationship with the Native Hawaiian community. The rule sets out an administrative procedure and criteria that the U.S.
  • *2009 Apology To Native Peoples of the United States (see page 45) Public Law 111–118
    • Within Public Law 111-118, President Barack Obama issued a historic apology to Native peoples
  • *1993 Apology to Native Hawaiians Joint Resolution Public Law 103-150


* Notes non-Native/ Indigenous author

  • Indigenous Ally Toolkit, Dakota Swiftwolfe
    • The toolkit is broken down into three steps that non-Indigenous people can take to have a better relationship with Indigenous people. The first step focuses on best practices for folks who feel inclined to join Indigenous causes. It recommends making sure one’s involvement is not driven by ego or funding possibilities, and to not hijack space from Indigenous voices. Step two of the tool kit provides a breakdown of proper terms, grammar and common misconceptions. Step three, the ultimate goal of the Indigenous ally toolkit, is to have allies absorb the knowledge within, and then take action.
  • CultureCard: A Guide to Build Cultural Awareness; American Indian And Alaska Native by SAMHSA; Cultaware.-samhsa.pdf
    • This guide enhances cultural competence when serving American Indian and Alaska Native communities. It covers regional differences, cultural customs, spirituality, communication styles, the role of veterans and older adults, and health disparities.
  • *Diversity, Multiculturalism & Anti-Oppression: A Manual for Domestic Abuse Programs in Wisconsin, Access Committee of the Governor’s Council on Domestic Abuse, WI
    • Created by the Access Committee of the Governor’s Council, this Anti-Oppression Manual for domestic abuse programs in Wisconsin was created to help explore ways in which an anti-oppression framework can be applied to our work on a daily basis to end domestic violence.
  • Reclaiming Native Truth: Changing the Narrative About Native Americans, Echo Hawk Consulting ( and First Nations Development Institute (
    • The Reclaiming Native Truth (RNT) Project, was an unprecedented two-year, $3.3 million public opinion research and strategy setting initiative from 2016-2018 that was co-designed and co-led by IllumiNative founder Crystal Echo Hawk and Echo Hawk Consulting. Its findings, released in July 2018, resulted in comprehensive data and learning about the challenges and opportunities that Native Americans face in educating Americans and changing public perceptions.
  • *12 Steps to Mt Recovery from Racism, Carol Maicki
    • Long-time activist and advocate against racism and violence against women, and strong ally of Native women, Carol Maicki outlines the transformative steps she took in confronting her own racism.
  • *Creating Inclusive Trauma-Informed Environments, Services and Organizations Cultural Considerations, National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma and Mental Health
    • This article is from the NCDVTMH’s Tools for Transformation: Becoming Accessible, Culturally Responsive, and Trauma-Informed Organizations — An Organizational Reflection Toolkit, outlining steps to create safe and welcoming environments



Notes non-Native/ Indigenous author



Sarah Curtiss, Co-Executive Director | Contact: [email protected] or (218) 727-1939 ext. 109

Ed Heisler, Co-Executive Director | Contact: [email protected] or (218) 727-1939 ext. 108

“Race, Equity & Liberation” 2-3 day workshop; offer tailored workshops

  • Rita Smith

International Expert, Violence Against Women | Contact: [email protected] or (720) 341-5858