Mending the Sacred Hoop Staff

Tina Olson – Yaqui (MSH, Inc. Executive Director) is a founding member of Mending the Sacred Hoop, and has worked on issues surrounding domestic violence for over 20 years. She has organized such domestic violence trainings as Law Enforcement, Building a Coordinated Response, Creating a Process of Change for Men Who Batter, and In Our Best Interest, a women’s group facilitator curriculum. Tina has taken various roles in the work to end violence in her Duluth, MN community: working as a women’s advocate and men’s group facilitator; a group facilitator for women who use violence; as well as aiding in the development of Mending the Sacred Hoop’s Coordinated Community Response between the Fond du Lac Reservation and Carlton and St. Louis counties in northeastern Minnesota. She has served on the Board of Directors for American Indian Housing Program, Dabinoo’Igan Shelter for Native Women; and on the board of Women in Construction, an economic justice project developed to provide livable wages to women by training low-income women to work in the building trades.

Jeremy Nevilles-Sorell – White Earth Ojibwe (MSH, Inc. Training & Resource Director). Growing up witnessing violence in the home and experiencing its after-effects led Jeremy into the work to address violence. Wanting to work with children who have similar experiences, he began his career in 1994, supervising visits and exchanges in cases involving intimate partner violence at the Duluth Family Visitation Center and running the Children’s Program at Women’s Transitional Housing Coalition in Duluth, Minnesota. In 1998 Jeremy began working with Mending the Sacred Hoop providing training and technical assistance. Jeremy has conducted groups with teenage boys and girls on abusive relationships, and has facilitated groups for Native men who have battered. He speaks locally and nationally on his firsthand knowledge of the dynamics children experience in violent homes, community organizing and education, and working with men who batter.

Holly Oden - Anishinaabe (TA Project Resource & Information Specialist) began working with the Technical Assistance Project in 2002 as an editor and writer of Mending the Sacred Hoop manuals, such as Addressing Domestic Violence in Native Communities and the Sexual Assault Advocacy Guide. As a Resource & Information Specialist, she provides training and technical assistance to tribes nationally on addressing violence against Native women in their communities. In addition to her work with Mending the Sacred Hoop, she has taught acting at Purdue University and acting and theatre arts as an assistant professor in the School of Fine Arts, University of Minnesota Duluth. Her experiences growing up with domestic violence have informed her work as a theatrical artist; she has used theatre as a means of bringing violence against women issues to the forefront of community awareness as an artistic director, actor, and director in various theatre companies. She has co-facilitated DAIP’s Crossroads Program for Women Who Use Violence in Duluth, MN and participated on the Duluth Committee on Restorative Justice. Holly received her master of fine arts degree from Purdue University in 1994 and her bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth, where she graduated cum laude in 1991.

Patti Larsen – Anishinaabe (Sacred Hoop Tribal Coalition Director) Patti brings with her twelve years of being a foster parent to Native American teen girls. She has worked closely with incarcerated Native men who batter, using a cultural perspective to help them end their violence against the women in their lives. Patti was a guardian ad litem for the Sixth Judicial District Court system focusing solely on ICWA cases, many of which shared the dynamics of domestic violence and sexual assault; and has been a trainer for the State of Minnesota’s Foster/Adoption/ and Kinship Program. In 2012, she became shelter director for Dabinoo’Igan, a Native shelter for battered women in Duluth, MN; and worked diligently to bring culture back as a component of the healing process for women who came to the shelter. In 2013, she became program director for the American Indian Community Housing Organization (AICHO). Patti coordinates AICHO’s legal advocacy services program, which provides advocacy to Native women and children in legal crisis due to domestic violence. Patti is a staunch grassroots advocate and organizer for the rights of survivors of domestic violence and sexual violence. She will receive her master’s degree in social work in May of 2015.

 Alyxis Feltus – Grand Portage Ojibwe (Sacred Hoop Coalition Outreach Coordinator) is committed to ending all forms of violence against Native women and children. She has been a member of the Sacred Hoop Coalition since 2010, while working as the Native women’s resource advocate for the Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP) in Duluth, MN. As the Native women’s advocate, Alyxis provided direct services to domestic violence victims and facilitated the women’s education group for domestic violence survivors. She also coordinated and facilitated DAIP’s Women’s Non-Violence Program (a group for women arrested for use of force against an intimate partner), and the Council on Non-Violence, a coordinated community response to domestic violence between Carlton County and the Fond du Lac Reservation in northeastern MN. Alyxis is a graduate of Praxis International’s Advocacy Institute and is currently in the Blandin Foundation’s Reservation Community Leadership Program. She coordinated the Greater Northern Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force sub-committee on the trafficking of Native women in northeastern MN and is a founding member of the Native Sisters Society, which focuses on the impact of sex trafficking of Native women within Duluth, MN and the surrounding areas. Alyxis has a bachelor’s degree in American Indian studies, with a minor in natural history from the University of Minnesota Duluth. During her internship with the Fond du Lac Cultural Museum, Alyxis helped in gathering the natural resources to build a birch bark canoe and learned about birch bark baskets, quill work, beading, moccasin making and plant uses. To keep balanced, Alyxis follows the Ojibwe traditions and spiritual practices.