Working to End Violence Against Native American Relatives 

Mending the Sacred Hoop, Inc. is a Native-led non-profit organization dedicated to addressing and ending  violence against Native relatives. We organize on issues surrounding violence against American Indian/Alaska Native relatives in our home community of Duluth, MN and throughout the State of Minnesota. Nationally we work with Tribes and Native communities that are addressing the issues of domestic and sexual violence, dating violence, sex trafficking and stalking in their communities. We provide training to strengthen Tribal and Native community responses to these crimes, including advocacy and systems responses, community understanding and awareness, engaging our relatives in the work to end violence against our relatives, and coordinating community responses that provide safety and uphold offender accountability.

WHAT FRAMES OUR WORK

Native women are the highest victimized population in the United States by perpetrators of all races. (Bureau of Crime Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice. American Indians and Crime Report. Washington: 1999).

Violence against women is a social problem that affects individuals, families, and communities (including schools, medical, and judicial institutions), and as such, requires societal change.

Colonization is based in a belief that one group has the right to exert their will over another and use people and resources for their own gain.

Domestic and sexual violence is about establishing power and maintaining control.

Acculturated values and beliefs have eroded our Indigenous structures and lifeways.

We must reclaim our own Indigenous teachings on culture and values to create social change in and for our communities.

OUR MISSION

Mending the Sacred Hoop works from a social change perspective to end violence against our Native relatives and children while restoring the safety, sovereignty, and sacredness of Native women. We are dedicated to strengthening the voice and vision of Native peoples. Our approach is founded on grassroots organizing within communities, restoring the leadership of Native women in addressing domestic and sexual violence.

OUR LOGO

The Hoop, or Circle is one of the most powerful Native American symbols for wellness and creative problem solving. It represents wholeness, health, and harmony with self, family, community, nation, and the universe.

Mending the Sacred Hoop’s logo references Indigenous people healing from the devastating effects of European migration. The Sacred Hoop, broken by the effects of colonization, is being mended, beginning in the seventh generation.

Our logo represents the healing of our communities based on the teachings of the Medicine Wheel. Each section of the Medicine Wheel represents one of the four cardinal directions with a corresponding color. The outer rim shows the Hoop as being broken, and the ribbon signifies our work – we are in the process of mending the Sacred Hoop. The turtle represents Earth, North America/Turtle Island, wisdom, longevity, and woman. As women are at the center of our work, our families, and our communities we place the turtle in the center of the Sacred Hoop.

SACRED HOOP COALITION

Sacred Hoop Tribal Domestic Violence Coalition organizes to raise the voices of Native relatives throughout Minnesota, building the capacity of survivors, advocates, Native organizations, and victim service providers to end intimate partner violence against American Indian relatives.

TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PROJECT

Mending the Sacred Hoop provides training and technical assistance to Tribes to support them in their efforts to address domestic/sexual violence, sex trafficking victims and our missing and murdered relatives in their communities.

OUR STAFF

Cinnamon Bankey headshot

Cinnamon Bankey: Executive Director

Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota
Cinnamon is a member of the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community, granddaughter of Chairman Saros, daughter of Vice Chairman Ronneng and a proud mother of two sons and five grandchildren. Assisting survivors through direct services while navigating the judicial system, she knows first-hand the challenges of working across multiple jurisdictions when working with Indigenous survivors of DV/SA. She has provided leadership and collaboration working with tribes and tribal SA programs nationally for over 22 years. Cinnamon coordinated the first National Tribal Conference on Sex Trafficking in Indian Country; co-authored the tribal section of the Office on Victims of Crime Toolkit; and provided training and technical Assistance (TTA) to OVW Tribal program grantees for 15 years. Cinnamon has assisted in curriculum development for the Tribal SA Forensic Examiner Training & Tribal SA Forensic Examiner Clinical Skills Lab, the Tribal SA Advocacy Curricula, and the American Indian Women’s Educational Support Group curriculum. She has led one of the first eight Tribal SART pilot project trainings in rural and reservation areas. Cinnamon coordinated SA multidisciplinary response team protocols and created the Native Women’s Crisis Line Training Protocol & Resource Manuscript. She has developed sexual violence advocacy programs in rural reservation and urban Tribal communities and worked as a program director in an urban program serving Indigenous victims/survivors. Cinnamon twice assisted drafting VAWA resolutions for the National Congress of American Indians. Cinnamon is one of the founders of the MN Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition (MIWSAC) and served as a Circle Keeper (board member) for 9 years.

TBD Cultural and Engagement Coordinator

Headshot of a Rebecca Balog

Rebecca Balog: Training and Technical Assistance Program Development Coordinator

Rebecca has a deep-rooted identity as a survivor advocate. She brings over 22 years of healthy relationships and anti-violence work through local shelter services, hotline management, national and grassroots activism, and youth engagement. Firmly committed to raising  cultural awareness, Rebecca believes cross-cultural bridges and unified voices across communities are the foundation for social change and ending violence. Rebecca has been a facilitator of TA/training in various capacities: domestic violence, sexual assault, racial justice, sex trafficking, homelessness intervention, reproductive justice, economic equity/justice, intergenerational trauma, disabilities, leadership building, mentor projects, anti- oppression, and works in specialized capacities with Indigenous youth and youth-led community programming. Rebecca invests in the restoration of sovereignty for Native people to ensure safety for future generations by working with youth as leaders of the next generation. She also focuses on the premium importance of allyship to collectively challenge both visible and invisible privilege that impedes upon safety and security of all people of color and marginalized identities. Through the teachings of her mentor, Rebecca firmly believes “Healed People Heal People and Hurt People Hurt People” and that is a philosophy that can heal intergenerational trauma and end lateral oppression. Rebecca was born and raised in the mountains of Pennsylvania and is the mother of three boys. She is Oglala Lakota, Mohawk, and Hungarian-Slovac Romani/Gypsy descent. She lives in the Mid-Atlantic region and offers DV/SA advocacy to Natives and non-Natives as a professional and community volunteer.

Operations Coordinator named Natasha Kingbird

Natasha Kingbird: Operations Coordinator

She is an enrolled Band member of the Red Lake Nation. Both of her parents are from Red Lake( Little Rock) and Ponemah(Makwambe) her maternal grandfather was an enrolled in the White Earth Band of Ojibwe.
She has spent 6 years working in the Ombishkaa Program(Rising Up) 3 years of those in a Leadership position for the Program. The Ombishkaa program helped indigneous relatives who are coming home from correctional facilities. The knowledge she has gained thorughout her journey and the Anishinabe lifeways she lives by were instrumental in her contribution to helping develope the pilot Healing House model utilized by women returning home from incarceration. She helped develop a native focused Safe Harbor program that involved safety protocols for Sex Trafficking and sheltering homeless community members, Healing Ceremony’s and a trusting environment.
She is a community advocate, and have helped organize events in Bemidji area, and has knowledge of the Anishinabe worldview and utilize her lived experience in helping those in need. She is currently working on her Indigenous Leadership degree at the Leech Lake tribal college. She is a trained faciliatator in the Duluth Model, Family Peace Initative, and Peer Support Specialist and several certificates that include working with people.
Another part of her experience that she has helped her understand the broader aspect of the DV/SV movement, and Sex Trafficking isthat she was fortunate enough to sit on the Violence Free Minnesota’s board of Directors 3 years , Northwoods battered women’s shelter 1 year and is a member of the MMIR office advisory Council and MNCASA. She has achieved 2 awards The Unitedway Women’s Tribute Award in 2022, and recently the Virginia Mcknight Unsung Hero Award 2023 for my contributions for volunteer and community work.

Cinnamon Bankey
Cinnamon BankeyExecutive Director
Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota
Cinnamon is a member of the Mendota Mdewakanton Dakota Community, granddaughter of Chairman Saros, daughter of Vice Chairman Ronneng and a proud mother of two sons and five grandchildren. Assisting survivors through direct services while navigating the judicial system, she knows first-hand the challenges of working across multiple jurisdictions when working with Indigenous survivors of DV/SA. She has provided leadership and collaboration working with tribes and tribal SA programs nationally for over 22 years. Cinnamon coordinated the first National Tribal Conference on Sex Trafficking in Indian Country; co-authored the tribal section of the Office on Victims of Crime Toolkit; and provided training and technical Assistance (TTA) to OVW Tribal program grantees for 15 years. Cinnamon has assisted in curriculum development for the Tribal SA Forensic Examiner Training & Tribal SA Forensic Examiner Clinical Skills Lab, the Tribal SA Advocacy Curricula, and the American Indian Women’s Educational Support Group curriculum. She has led one of the first eight Tribal SART pilot project trainings in rural and reservation areas. Cinnamon coordinated SA multidisciplinary response team protocols and created the Native Women’s Crisis Line Training Protocol & Resource Manuscript. She has developed sexual violence advocacy programs in rural reservation and urban Tribal communities and worked as a program director in an urban program serving Indigenous victims/survivors. Cinnamon twice assisted drafting VAWA resolutions for the National Congress of American Indians. Cinnamon is one of the founders of the MN Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition (MIWSAC) and served as a Circle Keeper (board member) for 9 years.
Natasha Kingbird
Natasha KingbirdOperations Coordinator
Natasha Kingbird

I am enrolled Band member of the Red Lake Nation. Both my parents are from Red Lake( Little Rock) and Ponemah(Makwambe) my maternal grandfather was an enrolled in the White Earth Band of Ojibwe.
I have spent 6 years working in the Ombishkaa Program(Rising Up) 3 years of those in a Leadership position for the Program. The Ombishkaa program helped our indigneous relatives who are coming home from correctional facilities. The knowledge I gained thorughout my journey and the Anishinabe lifeways I live by were instrumental in my contribution to helping develope the pilot Healing House model utilized by women returning home from incarceration. I helped develop a native focused Safe Harbor program that involved safety protocols for Sex Trafficking and sheltering homeless community members, Healing Ceremony’s and a trusting environment.
I am a community advocate, and have helped organize events in Bemidji area, and have knowledge of the Anishinabe worldview and utilize my lived experience in helping those in need. I am currently working on my Indigenous Leadership degree at the Leech Lake tribal college. I am a trained faciliatator in the Duluth Model, Family Peace Initative, and Peer Support Specialist and several certificates that include working with people.
Another part of my experience that has helped me understand the broader aspect of the DV/SV movement, and Sex Trafficking. I have been fortunate enough to sit on the Violence Free Minnesota’s board of Directors 3 years , Northwoods battered women’s shelter 1 year and am a member of the MMIR office advisory Council and MNCASA. I am honored to say I have achieved 2 awards The Unitedway Women’s Tribute Award in 2022, and recently the Virginia Mcknight Unsung Hero Award 2023. Both for my contributions for volunteer and community work.

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