By SCOTT MCKIE B.P.
ONE FEATHER STAFF
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has been awarded three grants from the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) totaling $1,720,442. The grants will be used to combat domestic violence and improve public safety and victim services.
“For the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program itself, the grant will continue to fund the efforts of the program to address violence against Indian women by 1) providing transitional housing to victims, 2) coordinating outreach and awareness activities through the Intervention Project Coordinator position, 3) offering workshops targeted to tribal youth, and 4) providing a point of contact throughout the civil-legal system to aid victims through the process,” said Sunshine Parker, EBCI Public Health and Human Services Division health services director. “With this funding, the EBCI Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program will 1) fund staff positions for a paralegal and intervention project coordinator; 2) assist clients with legal services that are available through the Domestic Violence Program, 3) fund, sustain, and improve the Transitional Housing Program, and 4) coordinate outreach services and awareness activities within the community.”
She added, “This is a partnership with the Cherokee Indian Police Department, Attorney General’s office, and other Tribal programs to plan and implement this project.”
In a joint statement, Hannah Smith, EBCI Attorney General’s Office, and Bonnie Claxton, EBCI Legal Assistance Office, related, “Two of the grants were written to work together in maximizing the Tribe’s existing resources by using data to improve outcomes in domestic violence and child abuse cases through coordination of law enforcement, the Attorney General’s office, and Public Health and Human Services. Using data will allow stakeholder programs to ensure that their resources are utilized to their full potential, thereby ensuring that our tribal members are being served to our best abilities. The goal of both grants is to measurably reduce the rates of violence and abuse over time by increasing enforcement and services to families.”
They went on to state, “A second and important initiative that the grants will provide is the education and training to develop trauma-informed systems. Systems that are trauma-informed will help improve intervention and prevention efforts around violence in our community.”
When the grant awards were announced, U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose, stated, “Federal grants are an important funding source for a broad spectrum of agencies in the Western District (NC). Local law enforcement, non-profit service providers, community organizations, and tribal governments count on federal grants to supplement their resources, launch new initiatives, support existing programs, and provide important services to their communities.”
Other grants awarded in the Western District of North Carolina include: City of Charlotte ($1,431,708); Mecklenburg County ($718,794); 30th Judicial District Domestic Violence-Sexual Assault Alliance ($600,000); Haywood County ($450,000); and Helpmate, Inc. ($350,000).