Editor's Note | Vol. 19 | Issue 3
It is an honor to serve as the Editor of Restoration Magazine. In assuming this role, I give thanks for how I arrived at where I am today. I am here because of the lifelines of relationships that the Creator has blessed me with. I volunteered at a women’s shelter in 1994 and met Jax Agtuca, the former Restoration Magazine Editor. Connecting with women and children in the shelter was a lifeline I needed as I struggled after losing a partner and my Mom. I was reminded that my life was not my own to take and that I have a responsibility to women and children who had come before me, were living in the present, and the unborn.
In 1995, Jax recruited me to help open the Violence Against Women Grants Office (now the Office on Violence Against Women or OVW) at the Department of Justice after the signing of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). During my years at OVW, just under 11 years, I was blessed with making relatives and more lifelines with Native peoples nationwide who helped me to heal from my traumas, taught me so much, and helped to shape me into who I am today. Many of my relatives continue advocating for sovereignty and safety, some have stepped back to enjoy their families, and some have crossed over, like Beryl Rock, Liz LaPrairie, Patty McGeshick, CJ Doxtater, Shirley Moses, and my mask’e (sister friend) Tillie Black Bear.
Tillie called me in 2009 after I had left OVW and said it was time for me to return to work to help my Native sisters, which I have been doing since. Like many others, I believe we have a responsibility to restore safety for Indigenous women.
“If the women of the First Nations of this land cannot walk free of the terror of rapists, batterers, stalkers, and murderers, no woman can be truly safe.”1
We do this work as much to restore respect for ourselves as we do for all women. Thank you to those whom I call friends and family. I hope to continue your legacy, as Editor of Restoration Magazine, which has shared many truths worth reviewing here and in future editions. I value past teachings and lifelines to guide our present and future advocacy. These teachings light the path forward.
Articles in this edition reflect the maturation of our political advocacy, organizing, and centering solutions from Indigenous worldviews. We are approaching 20 years that Restoration Magazine has served as a communication bridge to organize and inspire the grassroots movement. Communicating the truths and experiences of Indigenous women and nations has been key in our strategy of restoring sovereignty and safety for women.
Indigenous women’s voices have provided the political will for social change reflected in the amendments made to VAWA from 2000-2022, the passage of the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2009, the Not Invisible Act, and Savanna’s Act in 2021, and changes in laws, policies, and social norms at the state and international levels.
Last month thanks to the leadership of Secretary Haaland in response to the decades-long outcry by Indigenous peoples, the Interior Department removed “sq---” from geographic features nationwide.2 California’s Governor also recently signed a new law removing “sq---” from geographic features and place names in California.3 While barriers remain, the path forward is clearer when we open our strong hearts and minds to past teachings and understand our responsibilities as relatives caring for each other and all life. What changes we effect in the future will replace the terror that Indigenous women have experienced since colonization with respect, peace, health, happiness, and living to their full potential.
We are excited about NIWRC’s partnership with advocates who formed the Pouhana O Nā Wāhine (Pillars of Women, PONW). Last month, in partnership with NIWRC, the PONW secured the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant award to serve as the Native Hawaiian Resource Center on Domestic Violence (NHRCDV). Congratulations! Our strong-hearted advocacy provided the political will for the federal government to appropriate $1 million for an NHRCDV, helping to fulfill the federal government’s trust responsibility to Native Hawaiians to assist with safeguarding the lives of Native Hawaiian women. We welcome working with our Native Hawaiian relatives to fulfill their vision and mission for sovereignty and women’s safety.
Our movement has grown, welcoming new organizations and relatives, including the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center, StrongHearts Native Helpline, Alliance of Tribal Coalitions to End Violence, and now the PONW. The opportunities to restore protections rooted in Indigenous traditions are as important today as ever. No matter how governments and systems fail to uphold women’s rights to safety, health, education, and housing, we uphold the belief of women as sacred. Centering Indigenous traditions is how we will remove barriers and make connections “beyond the shelter doors” as Tillie called on all of us to do.
"As Indian women, we have survived. As Tribal Nations, we have survived. We have survived because of our beliefs, teachings, and traditions."
—Tillie Black Bear, Sicangu Lakota
Honoring what my relatives who began Restoration Magazine shared in the first edition:
“This publication is a result of 'one heart, one mind.' Individuals and organizations coming together,..to offer knowledge, thoughts, and energy will restore safety for Native women… We... want to acknowledge the thousands of Native women who are battered and have experienced sexual assault. These women are mothers, grandmothers, aunties, sisters, daughters, granddaughters, nieces, and cousins. It is the collective voice of Native women that is represented in this publication. We dedicate this publication to our relatives, the seen and unseen. Our grandmothers and grandfathers suffered and died so that we might live. We feel the spirits of our ancestors every day and are thankful for the strength and fortitude they bring to this call for action.”
It is my honor to share this lifeline relationship of our movement through Restoration with you and our communities.
Paula S. Julian (Washté Wiya, Good Woman), Filipina
Editor, Restoration of Native Sovereignty and Safety for
Native Women & Senior Policy Specialist
1 Karen Artichoker et al., Overview, Restoration Magazine (2004), 4.
3 https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billAnalysisClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220AB2022 and https://aclucalaction.org/bill/ab-2022/