Tester Announces $2.7 Million to Combat Violence Against Native American Women

(U.S. Senate)-Senator Jon Tester announced today that Montana tribes will receive $2.7 million in funding to help prevent and prosecute violence against women.

“Violence of any kind is a blight on Montana communities,” Tester said. “But domestic and sexual violence is unacceptable and needs to be outright eliminated. These additional resources will provide the tools tribal law enforcement needs to crack down on violence against women and provide survivors of abuse with the justice and support they deserve.”

The funding comes from the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office on Violence against Women’s (OVW) Tribal Grant Program.

The breakdown of awards is as follows:

Chippewa Cree Tribe – $839,451
The Chippewa Cree Tribe plans to improve upon and expand the scope of its current support services by hiring two new advocates who will provide direct support to victims of domestic, dating, or sexual violence on the Rocky Boy’s Reservation.

“I am very, very happy to receive this award to help our domestic violence and sexual assault victims, their children and families,” said Rose Saddler, Interim Director for the Office of Victims Services for the Chippewa Cree Tribe. “This funding will give the Tribe much needed assistance to combat domestic violence and provide the healing that’s moving us toward a violence-free community.”

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes – $450,000
This funding will go toward providing advocacy, counseling, and support services for victims of domestic and sexual violence throughout Lake County and the Flathead Reservation. It will also be used to provide transitional housing support to victims while funding healthcare, employment, and education programs.

Northern Cheyenne Tribe – $485,000
The Northern Cheyenne Tribe plans to use this award to hire a full-time attorney who will assist 35 sexual and domestic assault survivors a year. The funding will also be used by The Survivor’s Legal Project to hold at least four outreach or community education events each year.

“This award will allow the Tribe to continue to be effective as we expand our services to victims of domestic violence through our Healing Hearts Program,” said Meredith McConnell, Healing Hearts Program Director for the Northern Cheyenne Tribe.

A fourth award comes from OVW’s Technical Assistance Initiative, which provides state, local and tribal entities with the technical equipment and expertise they need to implement OVW projects.

National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) – $500,000
This award will allow the NIWRC to continue serving as the comprehensive technical assistance provider to Tribal Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition Grant Program (TDVSAC) grantees. This includes providing training and technical assistance to these organizations, while also offering training and networking opportunities so grantees can develop advocacy and communications skills to ultimately broaden their reach.

Earlier this year, Tester helped pass the 2017 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Act out of Committee, which invests $481.5 million in the OVW. Tester also supported the 2013 Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act which ensured continued funding for the Tribal Grants Program, while providing greater resources for Indian Country to combat domestic violence.

Earlier this month, Tester secured even more money to help support survivors of domestic and sexual violence throughout Indian Country, including a $336,976 grant to the Montana Native Women’s Coalition and $265,632 in OVW funding for the Fort Belknap Indian Community.