By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians got word on Thursday, Sept. 24 that it is the recipient of a $900,000 grant from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to fight domestic violence.
“This is a three-year grant which will provide vital services to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking victims and their children,” said Iva Key, EBCI Domestic Violence program manager. “The award will provide general office supplies, funding for salaries, travel and training for five staff which include an administrative assistant, a domestic violence advocate, a sexual assault advocate and two intake worker positions. It is vital to have professional, well-trained staff to provide quality services to the members of our communities.”
Key said the grant will also provide funding to contract private attorneys to provide legal services, free of charge, to violence victims. “Eligible services provided are assistance with domestic violence protective orders, domestic violence related child custody, domestic violence related divorce and other family law matters that pertain to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.”
The grant is made through the DOJ’s Coordinated Tribal Assistance Solicitation (CTAS).
“We are excited about this grant because it specifically targets violence against women within the reservation,” said U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins. “Building and sustaining a safe and secure environment in our tribal region is a priority for my office and this grant will help put an end to the unacceptable rate of violence against women in Indian Country.”
In proclaiming October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, President Obama stated, “I call on all Americans to speak out against domestic violence and support local efforts to assist victims of these crimes in finding the help and healing they need.”
According to the DOJ, “Rates of domestic violence against Native women in Indian Country are now among the highest in the entire United States. Half of all Native American women – 46 percent – have experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, according to a recent nationwide survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”