Working to End Violence Against Native American Women

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Mending the Sacred Hoop, Inc. is a Native-led non-profit organization dedicated to addressing and ending  violence against Native women. We organize on issues surrounding violence against American Indian/Alaska Native women 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 men in the work to end violence against women, and coordinating community responses that provide for women’s 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.

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OUR MISSION

Mending the Sacred Hoop works from a social change perspective to end violence against Native women 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.

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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 women throughout Minnesota, building the capacity of survivors, advocates, Native women’s organizations, and victim service providers to end domestic violence against American Indian women.

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TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE PROJECT

Mending the Sacred Hoop Technical Assistance Project (MSH-TA) provides training and technical assistance to the USDOJ Office on Violence Against Women Tribal grantees to support them in their efforts to address domestic and sexual violence against women in their communities.

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OUR STAFF

Cinnamon Bankey: Executive Director

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 four grandchildren. Cinnamon knows first-hand the challenges of working across multiple jurisdictions when working with Native survivors of DV/SA; she has helped to raise her nephew whose mother has been missing for 23 years. 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 13 years. She has provided leadership and collaboration working with tribes and tribal SA programs nationally for over 21 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 13 years. For 10 years, she provided direct services to Native survivors of SA, helping them navigate the judicial system. 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 Native communities and worked as a program director in an urban program serving Native victims/survivors. Cinnamon twice assisted drafting VAWA resolutions for the National Congress of American Indians.

Holly Oden: Resource and Information Specialist

Anishinaabe
Holly 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, the Sexual Assault Advocacy Guide, and Returning Men to Honor, a guidebook for developing batterer intervention programs in Native communities. As a Resource & Information Specialist, she provides training and technical assistance to tribes and Native programs nationally and statewide 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.

Jennifer Hommerding: Sacred Hoop Coalition Coordinator

Jennifer (Jen) joined Mending the Sacred Hoop as the Sacred Hoop Tribal Coalition Coordinator in August of 2022. She has worked as an advocate for a sexual violence resource center and most recently as the supervisor of a tribal police department’s victim services program. Jen has spent significant time as a sexual assault multi-disciplinary team coordinator and has a passion for systems change. She assisted a case file review for Beltrami County’s system response to cases of sexual violence and is a former member of the Beltrami County Domestic Violence Advisory Council. She has served as a board member of the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Recently her primary goal was to empower advocates who are working within the realm of sexual violence, domestic violence, and sex trafficking. Jen lives in Bemidji with her two dogs.

Amy Switzer: Institutional Analysis Project Coordinator

Amy joined Mending the Sacred Hoop in March 2022 as the Institutional Analysis Project Coordinator, researching the gaps in systems responses to survivors of domestic violence in the city of Duluth, with the goal of enhancing system responses with practices that better ensure victim safety and offender accountability. Amy has worked with both offenders and victims, as a MN POST-certified law enforcement officer and an advocate for victims of domestic and sexual violence. Her work in both roles included educating the public on safety in relationships, specializing in services for victims of intimate partner violence, and trafficking victims. As an advocate she served on the board of directors at the Minnesota Coalition against Sexual Assault, actively working towards changing the MN statute of limitations for perpetrators in positions of authority. Amy attended the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College where she obtained an associate degree in law enforcement. She holds bachelor’s degrees in criminology and Hispanic studies from the University of MN Duluth. Amy is intimately aware of the intersections of racism and sexism and the dynamics of intimate partner violence. She strives to create meaningful systems change centering on victims/survivors and their safety.

Cinnamon Bankey
Cinnamon BankeyExecutive Director
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 four grandchildren. Cinnamon knows first-hand the challenges of working across multiple jurisdictions when working with Native survivors of DV/SA; she has helped to raise her nephew whose mother has been missing for 23 years. 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 13 years. She has provided leadership and collaboration working with tribes and tribal SA programs nationally for over 21 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 13 years. For 10 years, she provided direct services to Native survivors of SA, helping them navigate the judicial system. 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 Native communities and worked as a program director in an urban program serving Native victims/survivors. Cinnamon twice assisted drafting VAWA resolutions for the National Congress of American Indians.
Holly Oden
Holly OdenResource and Information Specialist
Anishinaabe
Holly 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, the Sexual Assault Advocacy Guide, and Returning Men to Honor, a guidebook for developing batterer intervention programs in Native communities. 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.
Jennifer Hommerding
Jennifer HommerdingSacred Hoop Coalition Coordinator
Jennifer (Jen) joined Mending the Sacred Hoop as the Sacred Hoop Tribal Coalition Coordinator in August of 2022. She has worked as an advocate for a sexual violence resource center and most recently as the supervisor of a tribal police department’s victim services program. Jen has spent significant time as a sexual assault multi-disciplinary team coordinator and has a passion for systems change. She assisted a case file review for Beltrami County’s system response to cases of sexual violence and is a former member of the Beltrami County Domestic Violence Advisory Council. She has served as a board member of the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Recently her primary goal was to empower advocates who are working within the realm of sexual violence, domestic violence, and sex trafficking. Jen lives in Bemidji with her two dogs.
Amy Switzer
Amy SwitzerInstitutional Analysis Project Coordinator
Amy joined Mending the Sacred Hoop in March 2022 as the Institutional Analysis Project Coordinator, researching the gaps in systems responses to survivors of domestic violence in the city of Duluth, with the goal of enhancing system responses with practices that better ensure victim safety and offender accountability. Amy has worked with both offenders and victims, as a MN POST-certified law enforcement officer and an advocate for victims of domestic and sexual violence. Her work in both roles included educating the public on safety in relationships, specializing in services for victims of intimate partner violence, and trafficking victims. As an advocate she served on the board of directors at the Minnesota Coalition against Sexual Assault, actively working towards changing the MN statute of limitations for perpetrators in positions of authority. Amy attended the Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College where she obtained an associate degree in law enforcement. She holds bachelor’s degrees in criminology and Hispanic studies from the University of MN Duluth. Amy is intimately aware of the intersections of racism and sexism and the dynamics of intimate partner violence. She strives to create meaningful systems change centering on victims/survivors and their safety.

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