Tribe raising awareness for domestic violence problem

Wyandotte Nation signs proclamation in support of Domestic Violence Awareness Month; hosting Scarecrow Run to benefit local shelters

 By William Swaim | Wyandotte Nation

The Wyandotte Nation continued its ongoing support to protect victims of domestic violence by signing a proclamation Thursday in support of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Chief Billy Friend signed the proclamation on behalf of the Tribe.

Wyandotte Nation Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Advocate Cesilie Hale (left) and Lisa Arnold (right), Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Advocate/Educator Supervisor, look on as Chief Billy Friend signs the proclamation. (William Swaim/Wyandotte Nation)

Chief Friend thanked the Wyandotte Nation domestic violence and sexual assault victim advocates.

“They work tirelessly around the clock many times, advocating for those in this area, being an advocate for those who have been victims of domestic violence,” Chief Friend said. “We appreciate them and we appreciate the work that they do.”

Friend said he believes they have one of the best staffs in the State of Oklahoma that are very passionate about the work that they do.

“Part of this proclamation is honoring those who work each and every day in this field,” he said. “It is not an easy job, it is not something that is a lot of fun to do.”

Lisa Arnold, Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Advocate/Educator Supervisor for the Wyandotte Nation, said 1 in 3 women are victims of domestic violence, and that 1 in 7 men are victims at some time during their lifetime. She said those numbers are not okay.

“We have over 10 times the amount of files open that are clients, victims that we are serving then what we did since I first started here — and that has not even been two years,” Arnold said after also recognizing the effort of Cesilie Hale, Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Advocate for the Wyandotte Nation.

“That should give you a small idea of what we are dealing with. There is not a week that goes by that we don’t have new clients, there is not a week that goes by that we’re not working the evenings and weekends serving the people in our community that need our help.”

Arnold also thanked the Wyandotte Nation for being so supportive.

She said in addition to the proclamation, they also hold a healing circle each month, which is a support group for those affected by domestic violence and sexual assault.

“At those meetings, people are able to talk, and we give them coping mechanisms – things to deal with anxiety, things to deal with depression,” she said. “It lets them have a network of friends that have been where they have been. It is hard for a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault to go out and talk to anybody about what they have been through, what they have experienced.”

The Wyandotte Nation is also hosting the annual Scarecrow 5K and 1-Mile Fun Walk this Saturday, Oct. 5, 8 a.m., at the Bearskin Healthcare & Wellness Center. More than 300 are expected to take part in the event with donations for the Community Crisis Center of Miami being accepted in lieu of a race fee.

As for the proclamation, it stated, in part:

“Whereas, the Wyandotte Nation, recognizes that our sovereign status empowers our nation to formulate public policies and prevention strategies to decrease the incidences of violent crimes against American Indian and Alaska native women in our Indian Country…

“Now, therefore be it resolved, the Wyandotte Nation dedicate ourselves to protecting vulnerable members in our community and in an effort to promote the health, safety and welfare of our women and children declare October as Domestic/Family Violence Awareness Month and urge our citizens to support victims of violence and the Wyandotte Nation Family Violence Prevention Program in their work to assist victims and to eliminate the roots of violence in our tribal and neighboring communities.”

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