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Anyone that heard about the recent Amnesty International report on the sexual assault and rape of Native American and Alaska Native women via the NPR coverage of the issue also heard about a Native American women's shelter in South Dakota that is closing due to lack of funding.

I'm looking for volunteers to help with a fundraising effort to keep the shelter open.  Contact me via comments (below) or at:

Want to contribute?  Donate here!

The shelter is the Pretty Bird Woman House, established by Jackie Brown Otter after the kidnapping, rape and murder of her sister.

Given the impressive success of recent fundraising efforts by the dkos community for BYU students, contributing to keep this shelter open should be a viable project.  Interested in helping?  Here's a quick list of things that need to be done.

  • Contact the Pretty Bird Woman House to get a sense of budget needs: how much cash is needed to stay open for one month?  For one year?  Just recieved an email from the Director with information about the program.  See my comment "First contact" below.  Still waiting to hear more about financial need so we can set a fundraising goal.  I set a (somewhat) arbitrary fundraising goal of 25000 for now, after a phone call with the Director.  They're in a tough spot--a few hundred bucks will keep their phone lines on, the full 25k could keep them open long anough to get additional funding.
  • Create a Chipin page to collect donations. Chipin page created; text needs work.  Page is here.
  • Write some text to explain the whats and whys of the fundraising effort. I took a first whack at this, but could really use some editing help; marketing is not my strong suite.  Happy to hear suggestions, happier to see a complete rewrite: Page is here.
  • Organize a fundraising push This one is awfully important, and it's an area where I'll need the most help; I'm awful at marketing. Areas where we might focus attention (it would be great if folks could explicitly volunteer for any of these:
  • On dailykos.
  • On other left blogs.
  • Radio media (including local SD/ND stations and possibly Air America).
  • Follow up with NPR to try to get an "update" o the story.
  • Other, traditional fundraising sources?
  • Calling all writers.  We could really use some folk to contribute clear, compelling writing, both for the fundraising effort, but also for the web page.  I've purchased and would like to see it grow into a home page for the shelter.
  • The list is a work in progress; as the project moves forward it will continue to be refined.  But it's at least a starting point.  Anyone interested in taking on one or more of these items?

    Update: More information about the program is available in the comment "First Contact," below.

    Update: Chipin Page is Created.  Anyone know how to embed a widget in a diary?

    Update: First Donation!  Thanks!.   I'm on the road all day today, with dubious internet access at the end of the trip.  If any of you can keep moving this forward while I'm away from the 'net, it would be extremely helpful.

    Originally posted to nbier on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 08:30 AM PDT.

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    Comment Preferences

    •  I'd like to help (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ice Blue, marykk

      I'm not very tech savvy but I would be more than willing to help with the project.

      I found this online.

      $126,000 might be a starting point for an annual budget. I would have no problem giving a call to them but I'd hate to get their hopes up unless you can get more people committed to the project. I also would have no problem donating to such a worthy cause. I am a child that grew up in an abusive relationship and the impact of that childhood was painful for a long time. If I can stop another child from having the baggage I will gladly donate my time or my money.

    •  Called, waiting for a response (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Devilstower, bronte17, Fabian, Ice Blue

      I called and talked with one of the volunteers at the shelter; she didn't have a clear sense of what their needs are, so she suggested I email her boss.  That email is sent, so I should be getting an email or call when the boss gets in later today.

      Little Politicos -- defeating republicans, 1 baby at a time.

      by nbier on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 08:48:01 AM PDT

    •  Suggestion (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bronte17, Ice Blue

      I heard about 'fundraising widgets' on the radio last night. Maybe if you use this as a focal point you can not only raise money but also gain good publicity since it's such a novel Internet tool.

    •  Contact Radio Stations (0+ / 0-)

      Maybe some station in South Dakota (or neighboring state) would be willing to help out.  

      "Constitutional Crisis Forthcoming"

      by egarratt on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 09:03:50 AM PDT

    •  Please keep me informed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      When we have some way to get these folks what they need, I'll be happy to get it what attention I can.

      Thanks for your effort.

    •  those women need to find a husband! (0+ / 0-)

      And yes, I'n being ironic.

    •  Once there is a fundraising (0+ / 0-)

      mechanism in place, I'd be glad to donate some money (no, I'm not rich, so it wouldn't be a lot, but I at least want to throw a little something in the pile).

    •  First contact (0+ / 0-)

      Just got an email back from the shelter; while they haven't given me enough information to set a clear fundraising goal, they have sent a lot more information about the program:

      Total Population to be served will be the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in the amount of 10,859 people. There is a total of twelve (12) communities that will be served by this project.

      Proposal: B
      The purpose of this proposal is to create and enhance domestic and sexual violence services on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation located on the North Dakota/South Dakota border.  Standing Rock Reservation has a land base of 2.3 million acres or 3,575 square miles and is one of the poorest reservations in the United States.

      Advocacy and crisis intervention services in remote rural communities will be developed.  Relationships will be created with other reservation-based programs to further the safety of victims and increase batterer accountability.

      Description of Need:
      Standing Rock Indian Reservation is located on the North Dakota/South Dakota border and has a land base of 2.3 million acres with 10,859 enrolled members.  The per capita income on the reservation is $8,615 with over 41% of the people living below the poverty line.  (U.S. Census)  Unemployment rates vary from 60—85% creating agonizing economic hardships for many of the people, namely the elderly and women and their children.  Three of the nation’s ten most destitute counties are home to reservations in South Dakota and one of them, Corson County, is located on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

      The previous domestic violence shelter program on the reservation discontinued services in 1996.  Geographic isolation, extreme poverty, and a lack of resources are major barriers to victims of domestic violence and coupled with having to travel up to 130 miles to the nearest program, victims of domestic violence often have little or no hope of establishing a life free of violence for themselves and their children.

      In addition, cross-jurisdictional issues are of major concern to Native Women who are battered and/or raped.  The State and county law enforcement agencies are not always responsive and effective.  Tribal law enforcement resources are stretched to the breaking point and much work needs to be done with both law enforcement and the tribal court systems to make them more responsive to battered women’s safety needs.  

      In 2005, the South Dakota Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (SDCADVSA) contracted with a local domestic violence advocate, Georgia Little Shield, to manage Pretty Bird Woman House and provide emergency services and transportation for victims of domestic and sexual violence.  The SDCADVSA contract will expire in May 2007 and no further funding is available through the Coalition.  

      The State of South Dakota—Victim Services/DSS was approached and a request was made for funding Pretty Bird Woman House.  The request was denied due to a funding freeze for new programs.  Other State and federal funding options have been explored, but without a longer record of accomplishment of providing services to victims, funding is not available.

      Today, a Board of Directors is in place for the Pretty Bird Woman House.  The program is incorporated with the State of South Dakota and in July received notification of their approval as a 501© (3) private non-profit program designed to provide services to victims of domestic and sexual violence.  The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe donated a shelter house to the program.  Pretty Bird Woman House staff plans to move into the new site on or about October 2, 2006.

      Project Narrative:
      It is difficult to measure the true rate of domestic violence due to the many barriers victims encounter as they try to report family violence in rural communities.  In remote areas, reporting is less frequent due to the lack of transportation, slow response times for law enforcement, (and the fear of law enforcement for some), as well as the slow response time for emergency personnel.  All of the above factors increase the lethality factor, and coupled with having no access to legal assistance and economic depression it is a wonder that any person is able to escape the violence.  Existing support systems in culturally close and traditional communities are often very victim-blaming, making women reluctant to turn to them for help.  

      The staff and volunteers of the Pretty Bird Woman House maintain a 24-hour crisis line and have a service area of 2.3 million acres or 3,575.8 square miles.  Standing Rock is one of the largest reservations in the United States.  Twelve (12) communities exist on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation making transportation costs exorbitant.  Travel to and from court appearances, medical appointments, social services, etc. are all essential to assist and support battered women and their children.  To date, the Pretty Bird Woman House program has provided services to 108 women and 102 children all of whom were   victims of domestic and sexual violence.

      Services currently being provided by Georgia Little Shield and volunteers include that of public education and awareness activities, educational presentations, support and advocacy for battered women and their children, court accompaniment, emergency legal advocacy, transportation, medical advocacy and information and referral.  
      From January 2005 to August 2006, 125 domestic violence cases were filed with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Court—15 cases per month.  Pretty Bird Woman House was involved with most of those cases, and without that program’s help, many cases would have been ignored or withdrawn.  If Pretty Bird Woman House does not receive continued funding after its contract expires, it is a foregone conclusion that the women and children who would have been served by the program will have to struggle along on their own.  Domestic violence on the Standing Rock Reservation will not be addressed and families, who constitute the spirit of the Reservation, will be weakened and disenfranchised once again.

      The funding provided through this request will be used to continue the work that Pretty Bird Woman House has struggled to make available to the Reservation.  It will fund a director for the program, two advocates, and a children’s advocate, food and supplies for the shelter, and transportation for families who need to go places to find related services or to relocate completely in order to escape the violence in their lives.  The proposed budget has been designed to provide adequate services to the families and to provide accountability for the program through employment of a bookkeeper and personnel to maintain careful records of services provided.  

      As a member of the South Dakota Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Pretty Bird Woman House will have access to experienced trainers and technical assistance.  Training will be provided not only to shelter staff, but also to law enforcement, the courts, medical facilities, and communities at no expense to Pretty Bird Woman House.  This prevention work is imperative if the Standing Rock Reservation is to reduce the incidence of domestic violence and become a good and safe place for women and children.

      The Program will continue to look for other funding sources through Private Foundations for services that will help us to continue after the grant has been exhausted.  With funds found from private foundations we will be able to continue the work of the Pretty Bird Woman House.

      Little Politicos -- defeating republicans, 1 baby at a time.

      by nbier on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 12:09:31 PM PDT

    •  Feedback on sending the money... (0+ / 0-) seems to require that you use a paypal account to collect money for a campaign (their documentation claims that for a fee they'll mail you a check instead of using paypal, but there doesn't seem to be an option for setting that up when creating a campaign).  I plugged my own paypal address in for this campaign (assuming I'd cut a check to the shelter from the donations), but I'm realizing that this could look rather shady.  PBWH doesn't have a paypal account.  Does anyone have any other suggestions, or am I worrying over nothing?

    •  Hi, Nbier--as far as editing the text on Chipin-- (0+ / 0-)

      I have experience writing and editing.  I think what you wrote is good, but it needs editing for typos (mostly just words run together). There might be some changes I'd suggest, but not much. It's brief, informative, and to the point.  Can you tell me how to access the copy on CHipin to correct the typos?  Or should I copy it, correct the copy, and forward that to you?  Yeah, that's probably the thing to do. So I'll send it to the email on your profile.

      I don't have much time in any given week, but I should be able to help write copy for the website.  Actually designing a web site, however, is beyond me.

      My email is  I'm not a civilized member of the internet generation yet, and don't remember to check my email daily, but I'm working on becoming more consistent.

      Typo-edited copy shortly.

    •  Thanks for this (0+ / 0-)

      Came in through a link at FireDogLake.

      Be good to each other. It matters.

      by AllisonInSeattle on Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 05:22:16 PM PDT

    •  if you're still reading this thread... (0+ / 0-)

      I would be glad to do a little writing if you need it.

      I also have a lot of anecdotal/historical color I could bring to the picture.  I grew up in Montana, lived in eastern Wyoming ten years and know a bit about the area.  Two of my foster brothers were from "the Rez" and I grew up with all kinds of Indian friends.

      Glad to help however possible.

      I've also sent you an email but for some reason emails sometimes disappear between here (Mexico) and the US.

      "Stonemason" has nothing to do with "Freemasonry." We build architecture with stone.

      by stonemason on Mon Apr 30, 2007 at 12:53:32 PM PDT

    •  We can use FREECYCLE for clothing donations (0+ / 0-)

      There have been posts here and elsewhere from people wanting to send women's and children's clothing, diapers, shoes etc.

      I wanted to suggest that everyone check out their local freecycle group. I'm writing from Long Island and last year a woman got a huge box of clothes together for Iraqi children by requesting them from the list.

      Before I do this around here (I swear, here, half the people on the list are getting rid of baby clothes), I wanted to see if anyone has spoken to the shelter director about exactly what they need in this area. I've seen general things, but really, if you go through Freecycle you can get tons of stuff and I don't want to get a pile of stuff to ship that's not appropriate.

      Any definite things I can ask for?

      What does everyone else think of the Freecycle idea anyway?

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