I am currently the Technical Assistance Coordinator for NIWRC. I attended the Turtle Mountain Community College in Belcourt, ND. I come from a very large family, being the only girl to boot! My family relocated to the Black Hills of SD in the early 80’s and I have lived in the heart of Lakota Country most of my life. I feel a strong connection with the traditions and culture of the Lakota, although I still honor my birth heritage from the Chippewa/Ojibwe. I am still looking for my Indian roots from my maternal Grandmother who was from Maricopa County in Arizona. My mother was taken from my Grandmother as an infant and she was never able to regain contact with her mother. I have tried several times to search for this lost Grandma and her family, and hopefully one day I will find my lost southwest heritage. My immediate family and brothers all live within a states distance drive and I have many nieces and nephews running around. My daughter is the sunshine ray in my daily life. I like to write and read the written word, as well as play guitar, bow a few notes on the cello now and then, and enjoy amateur photography.
My life became intertwined with the dark presence of domestic violence in childhood. As a child of a survivor, I now know that the violence perpetrated against my mother was because she is a Native woman. I know firsthand that grassroots mobilization and sisters helping sisters is essential to ending violence against Native women. I have been and continue to be mentored by strong tribal women leaders and advocates, such as Tillie Black Bear and Karen Artichoker. I have been raised around the kitchen table of women who have dedicated their lives to advocating for our Indian sisters, and I try to honor their teachings and work everyday. My mother is the matriarch of the family and plays a vital role in my growth as a Native woman, continuing to teach me how to live as a strong Native woman, to walk the red road and not forget who I am and always honor my traditional values.
I started working as a volunteer for Black Hill’s shelters and SD reservation areas in 1995. When Ohitika Najin Win Oti opened, the first Indian women’s shelter in the heart of the Black Hills, I worked as an advocate and house mother. I started working at Sacred Circle National Resource Center to End Violence Against Native Women in 2007 as Program Assistant, then trained into Data Coordinator. In mid 2009, I became the Training Event Coordinator and by mid 2010 I was asked to take the role of Program Manager. I truly value all of the experience and knowledge from working at Sacred Circle. I am also one of the organizers and original founders of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, now located in Montana. I continue to work for NIWRC and consider it an honor to work along side these great and dedicated Indian women.