How Mending the Sacred Hoop Started
Mending the Sacred Hoop grew out of regional organizing efforts and a Native women’s advocacy and support group for survivors of domestic violence in Duluth, MN in the 1980s. We began as a Native program operating within the Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP), with the goal of changing the way systems and service people respond to American Indian people. Our first funded project was conducting systems advocacy and intervention: organizing a Coordinated Community Response (CCR) to domestic violence with Carlton County and the Fond du Lac Reservation in northeastern Minnesota.
As a result of expanded programming within DAIP, Mending the Sacred Hoop began developing more services and special projects. We established Native men’s re-education classes for men who batter, developed training specifically for Indian people, and hosted community gatherings to address domestic violence against Indian women, in addition to overseeing the intervention project in Carlton County.
The passage of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994 made funding available for tribal programs to address violence against Indian women. The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs created the Violence Against Women Office to create public policy and direct funding efforts to state and tribal grantees. To provide additional support for grantees, funding for technical assistance projects was made available for Native organizations to assist S.T.O.P. Violence Against Indian Women Discretionary Grant Program recipients in addressing domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. With the work Mending the Sacred Hoop and DAIP had already been doing in the area of training and institutional intervention, we entered into a cooperative agreement with the Department of Justice in 1995, thus creating Mending the Sacred Hoop S.T.O.P. Violence Against Indian Women Technical Assistance Project, or MSH-TA for short.
In 2006 Mending the Sacred Hoop separated from DAIP and became our own non-profit organization. We continue to provide training and technical assistance on responding to violence against Native women to Tribes and Native communities nationally, and we organize locally and throughout the state of Minnesota to address domestic violence against Native women through the Sacred Hoop Tribal Domestic Violence Coalition.