NativeLove is still on the Moccasin Trail in 2018!

By Rebecca Balog, Princella RedCorn, & Rose Quilt

Since 2013, the NativeLove Project has continued a successful partnership with Verizon. Our focus is youth- driven activism meant to inspire, empower, and mobilize tribal youth to engage in meaningful discussions with their peers, families, and communities to raise awareness about ending violence to restore balance in relationships and promote healthy lifestyles. We support their efforts to create social change and encourage them to be good relatives to one another and our homelands. On the trail, we are constantly reminded and inspired by youth and their ability and willingness to lead. NativeLove aims to create safe spaces, empowering them to redefine NativeLove.

Generally, NativeLove offers customized programming intended for youth (K-12 and college students). We coordinate with sexual assault and domestic violence programs, tribal and non-tribal schools (with Native students and youth allies), universities, athletic teams, tribal community programs, tribal coalitions, and tribal leaders (both political and traditional structures). We have also worked with tiny tots, providing age-appropriate activities like the 2016 Burns Paiute Criss Cross Applesauce NativeLove Workshop with 2- to 7-year olds.

What we know: Young people must have the opportunity to lead change within their own communities to encourage each other, including boys and young men to respect girls and women, and empower one another to become grassroots leaders and allies in ending intimate partner, sexual, and teen dating violence.

What we have learned: Youth activists can and do take healthy relationships very seriously. They empower each other to build/expand leadership opportunities, to take their rights into their own hands, as well as become leaders and allies in the movement. As young advocates, they can organize within their community, develop strategies to inform public policy, and educate their peers. Similar to the tight weavings of basket-making, youth are coming back around our circles offering 360-degree mentoring to inform our work and eliminate gaps by helping adult educators and advocates successfully develop strategies to engage in youth outreach activities.

What we understand: The Violence Against Women movement is nearly 40 years young. With our mentors, leaders, and Movement Uncis (grandmothers), we are still learning to break down silos between our ethnicities, tribes, able-ism, gender, sexuality, faiths, and identities. Youth bring forth an expectation that their work is for “all.” Their work seems more undivided in nature. Their activism is all, where the movement is still building bridges. We continue to learn from youth, that while we honor our Movement Grandmothers, there is always change, always new ways to reach deeper in the work. The “together” values are very inspiring. Ending violence for all was the dream. The next generations will show us new ways as we follow the footprints of those who started the trail.

NativeLove Visits UMOn’HOn Nation School and University of South Dakota for TDVAM!


Following the screening of Wind River participants of the campus event listen to NativeLove team members and USD faculty and staff, present on violence against Native women on the campus and surrounding community.

NativeLove has been busy on the trail! For February 2018’s teen dating violence awareness month (TDVAM), the team traveled to Nebraska and South Dakota to provide middle-school to college age youth programming. In close coordination with Visa Stabler (Culture and Language teacher) with the UMOn’HOn Nation School in Macy, Nebraska, the team was invited to present about healthy relationships, bullying, respecting boundaries, and being a  good relative and to also provide information and warning signs about youth sex trafficking. They were interested in hearing about examples of both healthy and unhealthy dating signs and shared their experiences of what dating looks like among their peers.

On the following day, the NativeLove team visited the University of South Dakota-Vermillion to take part in two events on campus as a result of our close coordination with Marisa Miakonda Cummings, ICARE Program Coordinator. Together, we provided a closed and culturally appropriate talking circle with college students and faculty to discuss sexual assault. The talking circle included experiences of what can happen when a sexual assault or rape is reported while in college, with many young men offering their thoughts and support for the women. After the talking circle, we provided a free screening of Wind River, complete with a community dinner at the student center.

February 9, 2018, University of South Dakota-Vermillion, Elise Boxer (Native Studies program), Marisa Miakonda Cummings (USD I Care Program) , and Rose Quilt (NIWRC NativeLove team) provide post-screening comments about Wind River, left to right.

A post-film speaking panel with Elise Boxer (Native Studies program),

Marisa Miakonda Cummings, and Rose Quilt and Princella RedCorn (NativeLove team) provided comments about the film, including critical discussions about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, statistics, tribal jurisdictional issues, and grassroots advocacy and policy efforts being done at the local, regional, national, and international levels. The NativeLove team also provided copies of NIWRC’s Restoration Magazine along with brochures, information, and valuable resources, including the StrongHearts Native Helpline.

Join Us!
Listen, Read, and Learn About NativeLove’s National TDVAM Events

NativeLove speaks on Native America Calling on Safe Teen Dating for Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. NativeLove Youth Ambassador, Kristen Butcher (Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Nation), and 2017 NativeLove challenge winner and volunteer, Tanae Le Claire (Yankton Sioux), were interviewed on Native America Calling to feature a special TDVAM broadcast: Listen to the show at: (…)

NativeLove youth-driven national statement in response to the devastating mass shooting in Florida, which occurred on Valentine’s Day: NIWRC and NativeLove Youth Respond to School Shootings Youth, Schools, Guns, and Intimate Partner Violence. (…). The statement was accompanied with a fact sheet and resource tool: NativeLove: Youth, Schools, Guns, and Intimate Partner Violence: Important Facts for Your Family, School, Tribes, Programs, and Community Conversations. (…

NativeLove Celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8! In honor of this day, we lifted and celebrated Grandmother, Christine Morreo (tribal elder of the Torres Martinez Tribe, Grandmother to NativeLove Youth Ambassador Kristen Butcher, and mother to Faith Morreo). We also honor Faith who passionately supports her daughter’s leadership and youth advocacy including the work of NativeLove! To see the NativeLove statement: (…).

NativeLove release of TDVAM digital card statements on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and also co-hosted a Tweet Circle on Twitter for youth: “Play the Game of #N8vLove” with That's Not Cool, We R Native, the StrongHearts Native Helpline, and the Native Alliance Against Violence (NAAV).


Domestic violence and dating violence are not our traditional ways.


Does your partner ever...

  • Call you names or put you down?
  • Keep you from seeing or talking to family or friends?
  • Threaten to hurt you, your children or your pets?
  • Control the money you share for food, medicine or transportation?
  • Push, slap, strangle or hit you?

If you answered ‘yes’ to even one of these questions, you might be in an unhealthy or abusive relationship.
Call the StrongHearts Native Helpline (1-844-7NATIVE) for support. It’s safe, free and confidential.

For more information, visit