Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

Tribal & Rural Communities Addressing Gender-Based Violence

By Carla Storm, Brighter Days Program Supervisor
On July 27th, the Sokaogon Chippewa Community hosted The Northern Training: Tribal & Rural Communities Addressing Gender-Based Violence conference. The event was a collaboration between Brighter Days, American Indians Against Abuse (AIAA) and End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin.


The conference opened with a welcome by Kerry Fox, Brighter Days Director, and Denise Johnson, AIAA. Songs were sung by Dillon Wagnitz, Eric Amundson and John Skenandore of the Swamp Creek Singers throughout the two day conference. Tina Van Zile gave a powerful and emotional presentation of the fight against the Exxon Mine.


Jeremy Nevilles-Sorell and Greg Grey Cloud with WICA AGLI (To Return a Man) spoke about their mission to reclaim traditional understandings of manhood, tied with responsibility, protection and respect. They are building a movement of engaging men and youth to increase awareness and bring further understanding on historical trauma, childhood sexual abuse and societal messages, that contribute to men perpetrating domestic violence and sexual assault.



A panel was organized by Shira Phelps from the Human Trafficking Capacity Building Center. There were members from the Wisconsin Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force and the MMIW Task Force. Attendees discussed specific considerations for human trafficking in Native American communities, missing and murdered Indigenous relatives, developing a collaborative and multi-disciplinary response, supporting victims in their healing journey, and learning about resources to support their anti-trafficking work.


Wednesday evening, Wade Fernandez, a professional musician, songwriter and composer who teaches a mixture of Menominee style and modern blues, rock, country, jazz, soul and folk music, performed.


On Thursday, Anita Barber, with the assistance of her sister Teresa Barber-Buch, shared their knowledge of the Pipe Ceremony. They needed spring water for the Ceremony, which was collected from the stream running through the Hoffman Property on Sand Lake Road. During the Ceremony, people were invited to share their memories of anti-violence leaders who were lost in recent years, including C.J. Doxtater, Lola Smith and Judge Eugene Whitefish from FCPC. There was much laughter and many tears that were shed, but at the end of the ceremony everyone felt very supported.


Thank you to the community members that joined us.