Indian Country Conference Well Attended
The “Family Matters in Indian Country” Conference was held May 17 and 18 at the Blue Lake Casino & Hotel in Blue Lake and attended by approximately 200 hundred tribal members and service providers seeking to better understand and address challenges facing local tribal communities.
The conference was presented by the Northern California Tribal Healing Coalition, which currently consists of seventeen entities, including local tribes and tribal agencies and the Humboldt County District Attorney Victim Witness Program. According to Victim Witness program coordinator and coalition co-chair Joyce Moser, the coalition was established in 2008 and continues to grow each year.
“Coalition members want to support an event that allows tribal and non-tribal agencies as well as advocates, health professionals, law enforcement and others to come together to better understand and address elements that tear families apart in Indian Country,” Moser said. “The conference focused on domestic violence, stalking, teen dating violence and bullying, among other things.”
Presenters at the conference included Alex Graves, Branch Chief of the Firearms Division at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center, Olin Jones, Director Native American Affairs at the California Attorney General’s Office, Sally Hencken, Chief of the Victim Witness Section for the California Emergency Management Agency, and others. The event also featured local tribal members and cultural speakers who shared traditional stories, prayers and songs.
“The information was important,” noted Moser. “But the greater value was in connecting tribal and non-tribal community members—giving them an opportunity to meet, breakdown stereotypes and better understand and prepare to work together to address the challenges we face in this community. If this conference did only that, then we were successful.”
“Humboldt County is unique in that we have eight tribes that are different in many ways. We are told that this kind of collaboration does not happen anywhere else and we are very proud of the coalition’s accomplishment,” added coalition co-chair Linda Gillette