This month StrongHearts Native Helpline observes five years of successful operation. More than 20,000 contacts have been received since the organization’s launch in 2017.
Significant organization milestones over the past five years include:
- An increase in operating hours to 24/7/365
- Launch of a new website
- Addition of sexual violence advocacy, chat and text advocacy
- Opening of a branch office in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan (in addition to the national headquarters in Eagan, Minnesota)
- Launch of the Michigan Enhancement Project to expand that state’s existing domestic and sexual violence advocacy services to support tribal programs and their contacts (a partnership with the Division of Victim Services at Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services, which also provided the funding)
- In October 2021, StrongHearts became an independent, national Native non-profit 501(c)3 organization with its own board of directors
“In 2021, StrongHearts Native Helpline continued its commitment to provide culturally-appropriate advocacy despite the continuing Covid-19 pandemic — it is through the resilience of our ancestors and our own experience with hardships that we were able to stay the course,” said Lori Jump (Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians) director, StrongHearts Native Helpline. “With tenacity, we will continue our mission to restore power to Native Americans and Alaska Natives impacted by domestic, dating and sexual violence by providing a system of safety, sovereignty and support in 2022 and beyond.”
StrongHearts Native Helpline History
In 2012, the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center (NIWRC) and the National Domestic Violence Hotline (The Hotline) prioritized the need for a domestic violence hotline to support tribal communities across the United States. Together with input from tribal leaders, a Native women’s council, domestic violence experts, and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Program, NIWRC and The Hotline developed a plan to establish StrongHearts Native Helpline, a Native-centered hotline staffed by advocates with a strong understanding of Native cultures, as well as issues of tribal sovereignty and law. StrongHearts began its services in March 2017 in Austin, Texas — home to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which provided initial infrastructure and technology support. On October 1, 2021, StrongHearts Native Helpline became a national, Native non-profit 501(c)3 organization with its own board of directors. StrongHearts is a proud partner of the NIWRC and The Hotline. StrongHearts Native Helpline is funded by the Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Family and Youth Services Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; the Office for Victims of Crime: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.