Hoopa Walk of Honor Set for Wednesday, April 23

Pam Risling, Jewel Frank and Jackie Alford from Hoopa's Project Connect coordinated the first annual walk of honor in collaboration with the Hoopa TANF program./Photo by Kristan Korns, Two Rivers Tribune

By KRISTAN KORNS, Two Rivers Tribune

Project Connect is sponsoring the 2014 Walk of Honor on the Hoopa Valley High School track to mark Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month on Wednesday, April 23.

Pamela Risling, Project Connect’s program manager, said, “Our mission is to fight against the war on women. Nationally, one in three Native American women have been assaulted sometime during their life.”

Participants will be able to pick up and sign respect cards at the event, pledging to help end sexual assault on and around the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation.

Jewel Frank, the project’s crisis advocate, said, “Those cards will be around town too. We’re inviting the community, and we’ll be handing out t-shirts and a bag to raise awareness.”

All four of the candidates running for the Humboldt County’s District Attorney’s seat – Allan Dollison, Elan Firpo, Maggie Fleming and Arnie Klein – were invited to attend.

Risling said, “We’re also working on a program to keep people safe within dating relationships.”

Domestic violence is a large problem in the community, with large numbers of cases in Tribal Court.

Chief Judge Richard Blake said, “The majority of the cases we hear in Tribal Court are domestic violence cases.”

People can apply for domestic violence protection orders by turning in forms at the Tribal Court. The papers are reviewed by the Judge, who’ll determine if an order should be issued.

Law Clerk Michelle Krieger said specially-written protection orders could also be set up if the domestic violence is caused by other issues.

“The Court could put an order together to require them to seek out help for mental health or substance abuse problems,” Krieger said.

Jacqueline Alford, an educator with Project Connect, said, “I hope to bring healing and wellness, and educate the entire community so there’s an awareness of the problem.”

One of the hurdles they face, Alford said, is lack of accountability. “We have a whole lot of people who don’t want to be accountable.”

She said that included not just the perpetrators, but community members who turned a blind eye to the large numbers of sexual assaults in the area.

The Project Connect team pointed to alarming statistics that one in three female and one in six male children will experience sexual violence before the age of 18, and 80 to 90 percent of sexual assaults are committed by someone the survivors know.

Frank said, “We’ll be educating about safety, so come join in the walk.”

Join the community for the Walk of Honor from 10-2 pm on Wednesday April 23, 2014 at the Hoopa High School Track.

Know your resources. Protect yourself. Get the fact, and tell others.

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April 23rd, 2014

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