By Sean Parrish
The StrongHearts Native Helpline, which is the 1st National Native American Domestic Violence helpline, is a culturally-appropriate, confidential service for Native Americans affected by domestic violence and dating violence. StrongHearts Native advocates visited Haskell Indian Nations University’s campus to educate students and conduct informational presentations in the auditorium on Dating Violence, Two Spirit/Native LGBTQ communities, and the importance of NativeLove.
Mallory Black (Diné) is the communications manager for the StrongHearts Native Helpline. When asked what she wanted Haskell University students to learn from these presentations Black stated, “What I hope is that Haskell students feel the support and love that we have for native students across the country, I hold a special place in my heart for native students. Also I hope that if there is a student in a relationship that is experiencing violence or if anyone is concerned about a friend or relative and wants to talk, we really encourage them to reach out to StrongHearts. I want students at Haskell to know we are here for them.”
Bry Smiley (DIné): Senior, majoring in Indigenous and American Indian Studies had these thoughts on the “Two-Spirit/LBGQT Communities” presentation,
“It really opened up a new perspective of how I see different forms of bullying that I have heard about, seen, and experienced. I want to bring awareness to the campus about the Two-Spirit community by utilizing my own voice to be a leader for the Two-Spirit natives here on campus. The Two-Spirit community, which is prevalent, has a lack of representation here on campus. It’s, in a sense, ignored and stored away for students, such as myself. I notice the flaws and now it’s time to take those flaws and change it into something that will perhaps blossom or perhaps plant a seed for future students to know about the Two-Spirit community here on campus. “
Smiley is also in the process of establishing a language philosophy dance club called Yíhoo∤áah which means “They are learning”. In this club he will use his Associates of Arts Degree in Diné studies degree to promote the importance of native languages here on campus.
If you are going through relationship problems you can contact Elyse Towey, Victim Assistance Advocate, by calling (785) 832-6626 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or you can also speak with a StrongHearts advocate at no cost by calling 1-844-7NATIVE (1-844-762-8483) Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. CST when you are ready to reach out.