Pathfinder Center-Protecting and Finding Purpose for Victims of Human Trafficking.

Thursday, September 21, 2017
Pathfinder Center: Protecting and Finding Purpose for Victims of Human Trafficking.
CategoriesArchived News

StrongHearts Native Help Line

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Speak with a StrongHearts advocate at no cost by calling 1-844-7NATIVE (1-844-762-8483) Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. CST when you are ready to reach out. The StrongHearts Native Helpline is a culturally-appropriate, confidential service for Native Americans affected by domestic violence and dating violence.

View the site  here StrongHearts Native Helpline

Looking Back at the First Annual Circle of Advocacy for Victims Conference

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

About 50 people came together in Rapid City on October 6, 7, and 8, 2016 to improve their advocacy skills.  

We were honored to have Tanaya Winder and the Sing Our Rivers Red earring display with us on the first day of the conference.  Learn more about the Sing Our Rivers Red project, which focuses on missing and murdered Indigenous women, here.


Next up was storytelling.

Amanda War Bonnett presented on internet safety for survivors and advocates.

On Friday Arlanna Bettelyoun and Norma Rendon presented on interactive interviewing.  We then adjourned to the Civic Center to hear Bonnie Clairmont speak on sex trafficking, which was sponsored by Wiconi Wawokiya, Inc., The Native Women's Society of the Great Plains as well as the SDCEDSV.

On Saturday we enjoyed a Domestic Violence Awareness walk.

Marlin Mousseau spoke on forming men's groups.

The conference closed with the HeSapa Wacipi grand entrance, with the Silent Witnesses, at the Civic Center in Rapid City.

CategoriesCurrent News

Taking a Stand

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


This term follows the 1400’s onslaught of murder, rape and dehumanization of the Indigenous women and People of the “Americas”.  Times have not changed since the 1600’s here in the Tetons or among any other Nation of Indigenous relatives anywhere on the soil of America.  America was supposedly built upon the concept of freedom for all, erroneously, to be free from religious persecution, free of government repression and oppression experienced in their homelands.   This was attained for the People from other countries after the murder and dehumanization of millions of the indigenous Nations with many of the Tribes being totally obliterated.

The rape of our land is not the only rape occurring.  There are many sex traffickers of young women, men and even elders accompanying this trafficking atrocity inflicted upon the Indigenous Communities of this land.  The oil moguls and the government that allows them to destroy our Nation for the sake of greed are the true transgressors of society.  There is no stronger form of repression as the white privilege given by society to many.  Throughout history Europeans have dehumanized the Indigenous women in efforts to make slaves out of them, through sex, exploitation, and cheap or no pay at all for services rendered.  These oil field workers exploit their white male privilege with such severity that they don’t even care if they are being video-taped in their acts of sexual exploitation and solicitation. 

Attached is a video of a white male oil worker in Iowa soliciting the daughter of Marisa Miakonda Cummings.  The perpetrator slowly travels along a long line of women protesting the pipeline that will eventually make it through their State of Iowa if it can’t be stopped at the North Dakota access. The women at the beginning of the line were not women of color, and as he drove toward the end of the line he saw these two beautiful Indigenous Women.   He then spews out the degrading and dehumanizing question, “How much for that little girl?” Fully knowledgeable of the fact that he was being taped was of no consequence to him because he possesses white male privilege and his employment (empowerment) rights given as a part of the industry that leads the Nation of Corporate America.  He knows nothing will happen to him.  The mother of the victim was immediately disheartened and could not believe what she heard, had this not been taped she would not be able to believe that any human being could act out in such an atrocious manner.  Her daughter is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in Health Administration.  The mother knew her daughter had been targeted because they were the only women of color in the walk.

The culmination of the event is even more disturbing, as the women contacted law enforcement to press charges, they are declined to file a complaint.  The responding official refused to take a statement because he had contacted the Prosecutor and was told they would refuse to prosecute even though they had such substantiated evidence of solicitation of a woman.  This is clear testimony of the blatant travesty of justice in America.

Our Native women and children have been under attack since the colonization of America.  During the Indian Wars the slogan of all military men was, “kill and scalp all, big and little” and “nits make lice”.  The dehumanization of people in times of war is predominant and according to the US government the war against the indigenous people of this land is a continued declaration, specifically toward our women and children.  This is evident in the high rates of domestic violence and sexual assault.  The Boarding School era when the United States government “knew” they had the right to take children away from their parents at the age of 3 and 4 to be raised in a concentration camp with a number attached to them, not a name.  In 1886 the Commissioner of Indian Affairs writes: “It is admitted b most people that the adult savage is not susceptible to the influence of “civilization” and we must therefore turn his children, that they might be taught to abandon the pathway of barbarism and walk with a sure step along the pleasant highway to Christian civilization… They must be withdrawn, in tender years, entirely from camp and taught to eat, to sleep, to dress, to play to work, to think, after the manner of the white man.”

So some may be thinking to themselves that was so long ago.  All the way up to 1977 they were sterilizing Native women without their consent or knowledge in efforts to wipe out the undesirables. There are women my age and younger that do not have children due to this sterilization process.  When you look at the rates of sexual assault, sex trafficking and domestic violence of the Indigenous Women of this country they are far higher than any other nationality of women in the US. There is a war against women of color in this country.

The Standing Rock area is a multi-component site, there is layer after layer of events that have happened on this site, some were powerfully inspirational, spiritual and fulfilling but most were hideously detrimental and destructive.  When I think about the history of the Nation as I stand on the occupied ground I can envision and hear our ancestors that suffered the same pillage as we do today.  What has changed, “progress”, freedom”, NO!  Since the inception of “America” we have a history of violence and persecution, specifically to the Indigenous People and to our Mother, Earth.  

Equality is something that many white Americans fear.  Equality means the loss of white privilege.  Equality means the loss of the ability to oppress and dehumanize those who are different.  Equality takes away the ability to believe white Americans are superior physically, mentally and spriritually.  Equality ends the acceptability of sexual abuse of women, particularly women of color in this country. Equality ends the entitlement that some men feel towards women’s bodies.

As the black snake slithers across four states and just over 200 waterways it is guaranteed that there will be spills, explosions, pollutants and inevitably poison the water and land devastating 17,000,000 Americans that depend on the Missouri River and other waterways for clean water.

View this video for the story of the woman who was harassed in Iowa.



Native American Women Verbally Harassed Near Pipeline Site

"How much for the little girl?” — A pipeline worker catcalled a mother and her daughter protesting near the construction site

Posted by NowThis on Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Native Women Attend Conference on VAWA in St. Paul, MN

Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Native Women attend VAWA conference

First Annual Circle of Advocacy for Victims

Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Join us for an important learning experience for advocates and others!

Sex Trafficking Prevention Training and Red Sand Project Awareness Event

Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Sept. 1 & 2, 2016 - Sex Trafficking Prevention Training and Red Sand Awareness Event
CategoriesCurrent News

Thank You Dakota for the Great Resource on Cyber Laws and Safety

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Thank you to our young friend Dakota for suggesting we include this as part of our resource.  Her and her mother messaged us:  "Hi there, How are you? daughter, Dakota, wanted to reach out to you about your web page, Your page has great information that we were able to explore and bookmark for our internet safety and bullying campaign for our community. :) During the summer, Dakota and I, like to do fun mother/daughter projects. We like to accomplish different projects that can contribute to our community. Anywho! While googling for some more resources, Dakota found this informational guide - She was thinking that it'd be a valuable resource for your page. Do you mind adding it? I know she'd be delighted to make a valuable contribution and maybe help out other kids. Looking forward to hearing back," Dakota's mom.

Here you go Dakota.  Please keep up the great work.  You are awesome.  And please continue to talk to all your friends about Cyber safety.

Cyber Laws and Safety

This article was approved by Jim Adler

Using the Internet is a common activity. If you have ever used a computer or a tablet to find information or to talk with a friend, you have used the Internet. Although the Internet can be convenient and useful, there are also some dangers lurking. You may enjoy using social media to stay connected with friends and family. However, online predators and cyberbullying are two common threats that exist for kids on the Internet. Follow your parents’ rules about Internet use and safety. Any time you feel uncomfortable about something on the Internet, tell an adult right away.

Social Media

Hanging out on social media websites can be fun. You probably enjoy chatting with friends, looking at pictures, and seeing other people’s updates. As nice as it is to connect with others online, you need to be careful how you do this. Remember, you can never take something back or erase it once it’s been on the Internet. This means that pictures you share or words you publish will stay on the Internet even if you remove them later. When you use social media websites, you need to control what others can see about you. This means that your account settings should be set to keep your profile private. Don’t allow anyone that you don’t know in person to have access to your profile on social media.

For more information go to Jim Alder & Associates

CategoriesCurrent News

KEVN: Human trafficking survivor shares her story ahead of Sturgis Rally

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

CISS hosts July 4th event:

Human trafficking survivor shares her story ahead of Sturgis Rally

KEVN. by Eliana Sheriff, July 4, 2016

Watch newscast on KEVN

Windie Lazenko says, "It's very real, it's very very real."
Tammie Brock says, "Human trafficking is a huge part of the motorcycle rally that nobody wants to talk about."
So, how do you spot sex trafficking?
Windie Lazenko says, "Anytime someone is traded for any kind of sexual purpose, or labor trade for any form of power, it can be money, drugs, a safe place to stay."
And, how can we end it?
Windie Lazenko says, "A lot of people are not aware that the average age of entry into prostitution in America is 12-14 years old."
Windie Lazenko founded 4her three years ago after hearing about the human trafficking surrounding North Dakota's oil boom.
She has since mentored dozens of girls to be a resource of hope, empowerment and restoration.
Windie Lazenko says, "I was trafficked at 13 years old, so now I'm using my voice to be a powerful tool to raise awareness on the issue and the reality of sex trafficking in America."
Using her own tragic experience and knowledge to make a difference.
Windie Lazenko says, "Everyday, everyday it's still a journey."
She says connecting with victims can be hard because most girls don't know the reality of their situation.
Windie Lazenko says, "This is not a rescue mission, we can't go bust down doors and rescue girls."
Which is why she says 4her focuses on outreach.
Windie Lazenko says, "We just create awareness and gain relationships with the girls and then empower them to seek healing and then watch restoration happen."
And the dark side of the Rally lurks in the shadows of seemingly legitimate job offers, luring young women into being t-shirt or bikini girls with promising pay which never comes.
Windie Lazenko says, "Girls are thrown into campsites here, I've seen it, I've lived it. I was here as a young runaway."
Tammie Brock says, "All campgrounds should be trained on the signs of human trafficking."
So her message this year is to be aware your surroundings.
Windie Lazenko says, "Calling the police and saying I think I see prostitution might not get a patrol car there really quickly but calling and saying I think I'm seeing human trafficking I can pretty much guarantee you're going to get a quicker response from law enforcement."
Tammie Brock says, "See something, say something, that's what we need to do."
Windie made a flyer which she plans on putting throughout all the bathrooms in Sturgis to make sure girls that could be victims are reached.
Carla Marshall says, "I think it's very important to get that information to them and in a place where they are going to see it, they're not going to come to a booth or a trade show where we're going to have the information for them."

CategoriesCurrent News

Supreme Court Case Highlights Issues Of Domestic Abuse, Right To Counsel In Indian Country

Friday, July 1, 2016

Supreme Court Case Highlights Issues Of Domestic Abuse, Right To Counsel In Indian Country

Jun 15, 2016

The U.S. Supreme Court has reinstated the conviction of a domestic abuser in Indian Country. A USD law professor says the case highlights the disparity between the right to counsel for Native and non-Native offenders. In tribal court, Native Americans aren’t guaranteed the right to an attorney, like they are in state and federal court.

In response to high rates of domestic violence against Native American women, Congress made it a federal crime to commit domestic assault within Indian Country if that person has at least two prior convictions for that offense. Michael Bryant Junior is a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe in Montana. His attorneys argued that because his first two convictions were in tribal court, and he wasn’t represented by an attorney, they couldn’t be used make him eligible for the enhanced sentencing. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Bryant’s attorneys, but the U.S. Supreme Court overturned that decision and reinstated the conviction. Frank Pommersheim is a law professor at USD and an appellate judge for a number of tribes. He says the case raises some questions.
“There has to be, in my opinion, a consistent approach by Congress, and by tribes themselves to treat all defendants who appear in tribal court and all defendants who appear in federal court, to make sure they are always treated the same in a constitutional sense,” Pommersheim says.
Pommersheim says that may be difficult because it requires more resources.
Norma Rendon is the Native Co-Director for the South Dakota Coalition Ending Domestic and Sexual Violence. She says she’s glad the Supreme Court reinstated Bryant’s conviction. She says Native women have a hard time finding justice.
“There has been a war against Native women and children of this country, and it exists to this day,” Rendon says. “And they say well how is it existing today? Well it’s existing through men being able to rape our women, and there’s no consequences. So what is that telling the male population of America? If you’re going to rape anybody rape an Indian woman because nobody cares, you’ll get away with it.”
Rendon says there needs to be more education, and more support from lawmakers on bills protecting women and children.

Listen to NPR interview.

CategoriesCurrent News
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