The Osage Nation’s Domestic Violence program is getting an upgrade.
The Department of Justice awarded the Nation’s DV program $877,882 on Sept. 16. The money will allow the Nation’s DV administrator, LaVina Clark, to hire more staff.
“It’s very exciting,” Clark said. “We’re usually pretty full and right now we don’t have enough staff and our monitors are overworked. As soon as this grant kicks in I can start making new hires. I can have up to three part-time shelter advocates, I lost one and now we’re down to two. While we have this lull, we’re not taking anybody new until we can hire somebody else.”
However, they are still servicing clients. If a DV victim needs help or a shelter, the DV staff will transport them there, she said.
With the grant money she plans to hire two more shelter advocates, a client advocate and counselor. The counselor is needed to treat the DV victims when they first reach the shelter. She also needs the additional staff to help with transporting the DV victims and their children.
Recently, the Pawhuska community has been shocked by brutal killings stemming from domestic violence. The community has taken to Facebook to express their outrage and concerns, with many posts wishing for a bigger DV facility to help more women.
Clark said the Nation is answering the call. She said after Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear and Asst. Principal Chief Raymond Red Corn took office, they had a meeting and told her one of their priorities was to build a new women’s shelter.
“The first thing they did was come to me and tell me they wanted to build me a new shelter, and we’ve never been on the front lines of anything. I was shocked,” Clark said, who has worked for the Nation for 10 years. “I didn’t believe it until we had the meeting with the architect.”
Bruce Cass, Tribal Development and Land Acquisition director, said he and Clark met with Sand Springs-based Robert Johnson Architects, LLC, on Sept. 10 to go over the architectural design and engineering for the new shelter.
Cass said the architectural design process will continue for the next few months. Once construction begins the shelter will be finished within eight months.
Clark said the shelter will be a 5-bedroom, house-type setting, with a common area and a playground in the backyard for kids. It will be safe, secure and hidden – unlike the previous women’s shelter; a two-story house on the Nation’s main campus and everyone knew where it was located.
Domestic Violence Awareness Month
The DV program is hosting and helping with events in October for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
- Oct. 16: Six Nations Walk, begins at 2 p.m. in Ponca City. Osage/Otoe-Missouria attorney Wilson Pipestem is the guest speaker and the ON Police Department and Osage Tribal Princess will also be in attendance.
- Oct. 17: Honoring Osage Sisters Dance, Wakon Iron Hall
- Oct. 21: Walk A Mile In Her Shoes, in Pawhuska, a partnership between the Community Coordinator Response team, District Attorney’s office, Sheriff’s office, Department of Human Services and Indian Child Welfare. Time to be decided.
Clark’s staff has recently received training. Dolores Davis, client advocate for the DV program, completed a weeklong training at the Oklahoma Victim Assistant Academy, sponsored by the Oklahoma District Attorney Council. Clark said it’s an intense training and Davis is a valuable member to her team.
For more information about the Nation’s Domestic Violence program or questions about the upcoming events, call (918) 287-5422.
According to the DOJ award announcement, the DOJ gave out $97,378,762 in grant money to 16 tribes in 26 states.
Oklahoma tribes awarded:
Absentee Shawnee Tribe: $974,995
Cherokee Nation: $936,872
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes: $852,590
Choctaw Nation: $664,709
Comanche Nation: $900,000
Eastern Shawnee Tribe: $784,000
Iowa Tribe: $449,948
Kaw Nation: $1,084,265
Muscogee (Creek) Nation: $1,634,412
Osage Nation: $877,882
Quapaw Tribe: $962,752
Chickasaw Nation: $1,898,685
Wyandotte Nation: $533,691
Total Funding for Oklahoma: $12,554,801