Tester Announces Funding to Protect Families Throughout Indian Country

(U.S. Senate)-Just weeks after securing over $2.8 million in funding for domestic abuse and sexual assault survivors throughout Montana, Senator Jon Tester announced today that the Montana Native Women’s Coalition (MNWC) will receive $336,976 to continue their work to end sexual and domestic violence in native communities.

“By connecting public officials and community leaders from tribes across our state, the Montana Native Women’s Coalition is doing crucial work to combat violence against women and children across Indian Country,” said Tester. “This funding will empower women, protect children, and strengthen families across Montana.”

The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women. Specifically, its Tribal Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalitions Grant Program, which allocates funds to recognized coalitions to increase awareness, help support survivors, and enhance tribal, state, and federal responses to violence against Native women.

The Tribal Coalitions Program is made possible by the 2013 Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA), which Tester helped pass through the Senate, allowing it to ultimately become law. VAWA also provided greater resources for Indian Country to combat domestic violence.

“This award will allow MNWC to continue our work to address sexual and domestic violence in Montana’s Indian Country,” said MNWC Executive Director Toni Plummer-Alvernaz. “Specifically, this funding will go toward specialized trainings for tribal advocates, law enforcement, courts and prosecutors, as well as a public awareness and education campaign, while also improving resources, services and support for native survivors of sexual and domestic violence.”

The MNWC aims to foster coordination and collaboration between community leaders, government officials, and local survivor support programs from cities and tribes across the state in order to raise awareness, improve access to resources, and ultimately end domestic and sexual violence among Montana’s native communities.

MNWC includes participants from the Fort Peck, Fort Belknap, Rocky Boy’s, Little Shell Chippewa, and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, as well as the Blackfeet, Crow and Northern Cheyenne Nations. The Coalition’s service area also includes Billings, Missoula, Helena, and Great Falls.