Tillie Black Bear Women Are Sacred Award 2023

“Native women have survived, Indian nations have
survived, because of our beliefs and teachings.”
–Tillie Black Bear

The Tillie Black Bear Women Are Sacred Award

Tillie Black Bear, Wa Wokiya Win, Sicangu Lakota, is known by many as the Grandmother of the Battered Women’s Movement. Her advocacy and leadership to end violence against native women spanned almost four decades. This leadership resulted in the passage of the Violence Against Women Act, from 1994 to 2013. Tillie’s understanding of social change, organizing, movement building, and leadership seen through the lens of an indigenous perspective, are her living legacy.

Raised on the lands of her people, the Sicangu Lakota Nation, Tillie believed in the teachings of White Buffalo Calf Woman. One of the first teachings White Buffalo Calf Woman brought to the Lakota people was that, even in thought, women are to be respected. This understanding was integral to her life way and work. Her relationships with women, survivors, and advocacy were rooted in Lakota culture. The understanding that we are all related guided her life and advocacy to end violence against indigenous women and their children.

Honoring Tillie’s Life Work 

As we pause to reflect on Tillie’s life, the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center wishes to honor Tillie’s legacy through a biannual award to recognize outstanding grassroots advocates that exemplify the teachings and dedication that Tillie instilled in our movement to restore safety for Native women. We ask you to consider nominating an indigenous woman in the movement that advocates from a woman and survivor-centered, culturally grounded approach, is known for leadership in social change initiatives and uplifts our connections as relatives, and also works within a tribal/native community.

The nominee would exemplify culturally based, grassroots advocacy and leadership, and be an Indigenous woman who advocates primarily for and with Native women and other survivors within Native communities and/or organizations.

NIWRC staff and the Board of Directors are not eligible to be nominated for this award.

Nomination Process

Nominations must be received by Friday, May 5, 2023You’ll receive confirmation that NIWRC has received this nomination by May 12, 2023.   

Questions or More Information

Please contact Brenda Hill (bhill@niwrc.org) or Kim Zahne (kzahne@niwrc.org).