Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition (MIWSAC) Serving as National Tribal Sexual Assault Resource Center

By Jolene Engelking, White Earth Descendant, Program Coordinator, and Paula Julian, Filipina, Senior Policy Specialist, and Restoration Magazine Editor, NIWRC

FVPSA Culturally Specific Sexual Assault Capacity Building Centers

Last October, MIWSAC was awarded to serve as the National Tribal Sexual Assault Resource Center (NTSARC) under the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act. MIWSAC is a statewide Tribal coalition and national Tribal technical assistance provider grounded in survivors’ voices, community needs, and Indigenous values. MIWSAC has worked since 2001 to end gender-based violence and enhance Tribal, state, and federal responses to sexual violence and sex trafficking. MIWSAC uses culturally-based training, technical assistance, strategies, resources, and various events and activities to engage and support survivors of sexual violence, advocates, service providers, community, and allies working to end sexual violence and sex trafficking. MIWSAC works across Minnesota’s eleven federally recognized Tribal Nations, urban Native bases, and Tribal communities nationwide. MIWSAC’s work is grounded in the philosophy that each of us has a role, purpose, and place in eradicating sexual violence.

NTSARC will provide nationwide training and technical assistance (TTA) to enhance the organizational capacity of a variety of stakeholders including sexual assault and domestic violence programs; Tribal and state coalitions; Indian Tribal governments and Tribal organizations; federal, state, and local government agencies, including FVPSA state administration agencies; national, statewide, and local community-based organizations; allied professionals; and other key stakeholders.

TTA will strengthen stakeholders’ capacity to provide culturally relevant, linguistically appropriate and accessible, trauma-informed, survivor-centered sexual assault prevention services.

Portrait of Jolene Engelking. Photo courtesy of Nedahness Rose Greene

MIWSAC will host listening sessions and develop virtual and in-person training opportunities, resources, and other ways of enhancing support for advocates. MIWSAC will also focus on policy development at the Tribal, state, and federal levels to highlight and advocate for the needs of Indigenous survivors of sexual violence. MIWSAC’s partnerships with the other Culturally Specific Sexual Assault Capacity Building Centers (CSSACs) - National Organization of Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault (SCESA), National Organization of Asians and Pacific Islanders Ending Sexual Violence (NAPIESV), and Mujeres Latinas en Acción - will strengthen and expand our work across communities.

Jolene Engelking is excited to serve as NTSARC Program Coordinator for MIWSAC. Her previous role at MIWSAC focused on helping communities build effective and sustainable responses to

Indigenous survivors of sex trafficking in urban areas through MIWSAC’s Project Beacon (funded by the Office for Victims of Crime). Jolene received her Master’s in Divinity and Master’s in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago and is a Licensed Independent Social Worker in Minnesota. She has been in the anti-sexual violence movement since 2006. After years in direct community-based advocacy, she has been doing national training and technical assistance for the last six years. Her technical assistance experience began at Praxis International through the Advocacy Learning Center and continued at the Sexual Violence Justice Institute at the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault. These settings focused on supporting advocates, systems professionals, and sexual assault response to strengthen the response to sexual violence and support survivors. An advocate at heart, Jolene thrives when talking with communities about increasing genuine collaboration and reimagining justice, accountability, and advocacy to meet all survivors’ needs better and create safer communities.