Sacred Hoop Coalition Native Women’s Advisory Board
The purpose of the Native Women’s Advisory Board is to build the capacity of Native women throughout the state of Minnesota by organizing, educating, and addressing the needs of Native survivors in Native communities in both a Tribal and Statewide arena. The Board informs the Coalition’s work through identifying issues faced by their communities, on and off-reservation, regarding violence against Native women, with the goal of creating change at both the government and community level to barriers faced by Native survivors of intimate partner violence. The Coalition has three priorities which the Board helps implement within their tribal communities:
- To increase statewide education on the issues faced by Native survivors and increase the visibility of Native survivors of domestic violence.
- To enhance the capacity of Native programs and advocates.
- To identify emerging issues and needs as identified by coalition members in order to organize and provide training and technical assistance.
The current Sacred Hoop Coalition Native Women’s Advisory Board members and their affiliated communities are:
Beth O’Keefe– Upper/Lower Sioux Reservations
Beth is an enrolled band member with the Lower Sioux Indian Community in Minnesota. Beth is currently an advocate providing assistance for Native victims of domestic and sexual abuse in Redwood Falls, MN for the Minnesota Indigenous Women’s Society. Beth is a current board member with the Women’s Society of the Great Plains. As an advisory board member for the Sacred Hoop Coalition, she provides insights into the issues of violence Native women are experiencing living on the Upper and Lower Sioux Communities in addition to building programming geared towards Dakota traditions, values, and teachings.
Darlene Lussier– Red Lake Reservation
Darlene is an enrolled member of the Red Lake Nation. She has been the Equay Wiigamig Director since 1997, seeking funding to build the shelter, which opened its doors in February of 1998. She has also been on the Advisory Council for the Office of Justice Programs on Domestic Violence from 1998 to 2000. Darlene currently holds a seat on the Sacred Hoop Coalition Advisory Board, the Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition Board, the Red Lake Multi-Disciplinary Team, and the Red Lake Political Education Team. Darlene provided ICWA advocacy for five years prior to becoming Shelter Director, and was an out-patient counselor with the Chemical Health Program for three years before that. She has worked for the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians for over forty years in various capacities; her college education is in the teaching field. Darlene is the mother of six children she raised with her husband; they have eleven grandchildren and have been married for thirty-two years.
Deb Northrup– Fond du Lac Reservation/Sawyer
Deb is a Mille Lacs Band member who makes her home in Sawyer, Minnesota with her husband of thirty-eight years. She is the mother of two children, grandmother to eight grandchildren and a great grandmother to two children, and is very involved in her grandchildren’s lives. Deb embraces the traditional Ojibwe culture through Midewiwin and the Big Drum Society. She is a believer in the everyday heroes who aid their fellow sisters and brothers in finding their way to health and healing. Deb’s work experience is largely in the human services field: she has worked as a group home counselor, in Indian education for a Tribal grant school, and as a traditional health assistant. She has been trained in conflict mediation, group facilitation, and basic helping skills. Deb also spends her time doing volunteer work for the Minnesota American Indian Institute on Alcohol and Drug Studies, where she sits on their planning committee.
Jacki Kozlowski– Grand Portage Band of Chippewa
Jacki is an enrolled member of the Grand Portage Band in Minnesota. She grew up in Duluth and Grand Portage. After college, she moved back to Grand Portage and worked as the Education Director for the Band for eight years. Jacki participated in the local Indian Education Committee, the State of MN Indian Education Committee, and the MN Indian Scholarship Committee, all three of which promote education for American Indian students. She has been actively involved with the Child Protection Team and Adult Care Team Boards for the last two years. Jacki is very involved in her community and cares about the health and safety of band members. For the last six years, Jacki has been a part of the first responder team located within the Grand Portage reservation. For the last eight years, she has sat on the Housing Board of Commissioners, which helps maintain safe and healthy living for all band members. Currently, Jacki is the mental health worker and domestic violence advocate for Grand Portage Human Services. She is involved in ending violence against Native women because she sees domestic violence in many forms throughout the reservation and believes that women and children need a safe and confidential space to tell their stories and to have someone available that will listen, believe, and stand with them no matter what. Jacki believes strongly that the violence needs to stop, so she has currently joined the Sacred Hoop Coalition as an advisory board member to help bring awareness to violence happening within tribal communities and eliminate the invisibility of Native survivors.
Lorraine White– Minneapolis Urban Area
Lorraine is an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota Tribe in South Dakota. She attended a boarding school just outside of Sisseton until the age of twelve and then finished school in Minneapolis, MN. She has over twenty-five years of experience working with youth and families from diverse backgrounds, addressing multiple issues dealing with personal growth and development. Lorraine has a strong commitment and dedication to working with Native American youth and families. She was instrumental in the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center (MIWRC) Family Stabilization program receiving a National Award from the Anne Casey Foundation for outstanding work in program development. She continues to be involved in and partner with various committees and organized groups to strengthen programs in the community that she works and lives in. Lorraine currently is the Family Stabilization Program Director for the MIWRC. Her work experience is in management and supervision, domestic violence and sexual violence, advocacy, parenting, life skills, substance abuse, systems advocacy, and program development. Because Lorraine is a survivor of childhood trauma, she is inspired to work with youth and their families, and to seek appropriate resources that promote living healthy and substance free lifestyles.
Loreen Estey – White Earth Reservation
Loreen is an enrolled band member with the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota. She graduated from Bemidji State University with her Criminal Justice Degree in Victimology. Her experience involves working alongside women on the White Earth Reservation fighting against domestic violence. She helped advocate in the court system for survivors of domestic violence and she also participates in peaceful protests against the drug epidemic plaguing the White Earth Reservation. She now works as a Student Success Coordinator for a school where she advocates for children and parents. Loreen also volunteers in her community, transporting/rescuing animals. Loreen is a mother of 2 young boys and is a survivor of domestic violence. She has dealt with trauma as child growing up and she is able to use this in a positive way to bring understanding and awareness for our children
in the school system.
Deanna Reder – Duluth Urban Area
Born and raised in Las Vegas, NV, Deanna Reder has always had a passion for wanting to make a difference in the community. Deanna attended DePauw University in Greencastle, IN, and received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Anthropology in 2016. Deanna currently serves as the Legal Advocate for Dabinoo’Igan Domestic Violence Shelter. She provides legal advocacy by assisting with filing OFPs/HROs and helps navigate victim/survivors through the judicial system. Deanna also serves as an Overnight Women’s Advocate at Safe Haven Shelter & Resource Center. The victim/survivors that Deanna works with are a true inspiration because she is able to watch them become empowered and foster healthy relationships. Deanna wants the families to have their voices heard and provide the necessary support they need so that they feel they can succeed in the community by fostering and creating strong community connections for the families that she works with in her field. Fun fact: Deanna loves cats and is surrounded by four fur-babies.
Open Advisory Board Positions:
Leech Lake Reservation- Open
Bois Forte Reservation- Open
Prairie Island Indian Community- Open
Bemidji Urban Area – Open
Mille Lacs Reservation – Open
The Sacred Hoop Coalition is supported by Grant No. 2016-IW-AX-0014 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Dept. of Justice. Points of view in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.