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Pretty Bird Woman House: A women's shelter and education program on the Standing Rock Reservation
Pretty Bird Woman House Rises From The Ashes!
Pretty Bird Woman House: Misconceptions and Myths

The Story of Pretty Bird Woman House
Jackie Brown Otter created The Pretty Bird Woman House after the brutal rape and murder of her sister, whose Lakota name means Pretty Bird Woman.

PBWH provides emergency shelter, advocacy support, and educational programs for women on the Standing Rock reservation who have been victims of domestic violence or sexual assault. Its services are badly needed; according to the Amnesty International report Maze of Injustice - The failure to protect Indigenous women from sexual violence in the USA:
High levels of sexual violence on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation take place in a context of high rates of poverty and crime. South Dakota has the highest poverty rate for Native American women in the USA with 45.3 per cent living in poverty. The unemployment rate on the Reservation is 71 per cent. Crime rates on the Reservation often exceed those of its surrounding areas. According to FBI figures, in 2005 South Dakota had the fourth highest rate of "forcible rapes" of women of any US state.

Making things worse, Standing Rock Reservation has a tiny police force to patrol all 2.3 million acres. [Note: That's about the size of Connecticut.] At the time of the murder of Pretty Bird Woman, Standing Rock had only one police officer on duty during the night shift. As a result, it took over a day for anyone to even come out to start to investigate the disappearance. Since then the night patrol has doubled in size... 2 officers for 2.3 million acres each night.

Recently, the Pretty Bird Woman House was forced to move out of its original location after a number of break-ins through the exterior walls left it in such bad condition that the women could not safely remain there. The day after they left the empty shelter was the victim of an arson attack.

PBWH used to be eligible for State, Federal, Victim Advocacy, corporate, and private charitable foundation grants - and had recently won a large Federal grant. Since their building was destroyed, they no longer have a physical shelter and are no longer eligible for any of those types of grants. (The building was on loan to them from the tribal council, so there is no insurance coming.)
Pretty Bird Woman House already has two potential replacement houses in mind. Both offer significantly more space than the previous building. Georgia described how they both had full basements, storage room and would house more than double the families and women than their previous building. Both buildings have yards which means possible playgrounds for children.

One house has a major advantage in location - a police station across the street.

Because of difficulties obtaining loans (banks are allergic to both Native Americans and poverty) the best solution lies in purchasing the house outright. The Tribal Council could hold the mortgage but coming up with the mortgage payments every month creates an ongoing problem. Since both houses are on the market, they could be gone anytime. Depressed property values on Standing Rock mean that $60,000 gets the house. An additional $10,000 is required to make them secure, with proper fencing, video cameras, reinforced doors and other measures. Neither house is in great shape, but both offer shelter and that remains the bottom line for the survival of Pretty Bird Woman House.

$70,000 is what they need to get a shelter and become self-sustaining. They've already raised a little over $32,500, so they are well on their way. Donate Now

Pretty Bird Woman House is a 501(c)3 charitable organization, and thus eligible to be counted as a charitable deduction on your taxes.


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April 2017

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