2021 Indigenous Communities Fellowship

Selected

Waking Women Healing Institute

Healing and justice for Missing Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit people

Team Lead

Kristin Welch

Solution Overview

Solution Name:

Waking Women Healing Institute

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One-line solution summary:

Healing and Justice for Missing Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, Two-Spirit through Arc GIS Online and Story Maps

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Pitch your solution.

The problem of MMIWG2S is both a historical and global issue rooted in settler colonialism and institutional racism that has exacerbated the rates at which indigenous women go missing and murdered and face acts of sexual violence. Contributing factors to this epidemic are lack of just, culturally founded responses to these crimes, and lack of proper representation in data and media.  

Through Arc GIS Online and Story  Maps indigenous peoples could capture their own data, heal through traditional storytelling, and increase access to culturally founded services for survivors of sexual violence and families of MMIW with the use of cloud based software and interactive maps.  If this were scaled to properly this would connect survivors to culturally founded resources for healing and justice around the Great Lakes level including Canada,  improve coordinated responses to missing and murdered, and provide collaborations across many jurisdictions to eliminate further violence against indigenous peoples. 

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Film your elevator pitch.

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What specific problem are you solving?

It is estimated that indigenous women are murdered at a rate 10x higher than the national average, and 84% will experience acts of violence in their lifetime.  Murder is our 3rd leading cause of death.  Historical policy such as the Doctrine of Discovery, Indian Relocation Act, and Boarding School Era are documentation of institutional racism that laid the foundation for the current epidemic of MMIW and sexual violence we see today. The intentional erosion (from US institutions) of our tribal nations ability to self-govern, prosecute major crimes within our boundaries, jurisdictional confusion, and lack of visibility in data and media; have left our Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit (LGBTQ) targets of violence.

The results, our indigenous relatives are human trafficked at disproportionate rates, rarely see justice within the court systems, and are not provided the media attention to bring awareness to these horrific acts of genocide. Many times, our families of MMIWG2S are left to navigate the justice system alone and are forgotten in the data and responses. Efforts to combat this violence are primarily led by grassroots efforts that remain segmented and under sourced.  There is no single space to coordinate these efforts, collect data, stories, and solutions.

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What is your solution?

With the use of Arc GIS Online and Story Maps we would be able to improve both healing and justice issues for families of MMIWG2S and survivors of sexual violence.  Arc GIS Online and Story Maps would create interactive story maps connecting data to the land to increase awareness, systems change, and use traditional tools of storytelling for healing these traumas.  Arc GIS Online allows for one virtual space where we can collaborate across systems and jurisdictions to create interactive maps, store and analyze data, and coordinate solutions in connection to place and time.  

These maps can identify patterns of responses or lack of by systems, locate culturally founded services for MMIWG2S and survivors of sexual violence, and document our stories through an indigenous and survivor centered approach.  MMIWG2S is a complex problem that spans multiple jurisdictions, so our response must be equally as calculated and coordinated. These interactive story maps will use a combination of spatial analytics and traditional tools for healing such as storytelling, to provide a scope of the problem, gaps in care/systems, which we than will use to provide indigenous led solutions to the problem through analysis of the data collected to prevent further violence.

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Strong preference will be given to Native-led solutions that directly benefit and are located within the Indigenous communities. Which community(s) does your solution benefit?

We currently serve families of Missing Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit and Indigenous survivors of sexual violence across Wisconsin and the Great Lakes Region.  We are located in between 2 federally recognized tribes Menominee and Stockbridge; however due to the gravity of MMIWG2S and lack of supports available, we serve many families across the Great Lakes.  

We are a survivor and indigenous led organization who engage our families of MMIW and survivors in all stages of work from development to implementation.  Arc GIS Online and Story mapping would allow our families spaces where their voices can be uplifted,  part of preventing further violence, and help identify culturally founded referral sources.  We have seen the immense healing work through storytelling, and when paired with spatial analytics will be a powerful tool to increase access to culturally founded care as well as provide data necessary to create solutions to this epidemic.

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Which dimension of the Fellowship does your solution most closely address?

Improve healthcare access and outcomes, including around mental health and substance use disorders
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Explain how the problem you are addressing, the solution you have designed, and the population you are serving align with the Challenge.

 Arc GIS Online and Story mapping will improve access to healthcare by identifying  regionally and internationally  where culturally founded services for families of MMIW and survivors (both grassroots and agency) are located as well as how to access them.  In addition we will collect and analyze data through survivor voice, agency expertise, and grassroots collaboratives that will identify gaps in systems responses in relation to land. Once data is analyzed the collaborative will use  mapping to create solutions that will reduce and eliminate violence against indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit, while creating culturally founded spaces of healing.

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In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?

Gresham, WI, USA
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What is your solution’s stage of development?

Prototype: A venture or organization building and testing its product, service, or business model.
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Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution.

We are in the prototype stage for implementing Arc GIS Online with Story Maps as we have built the regional work and responses to MMIWG2S, and are documenting the work and outcomes independently.  We are ready to implement Arc GIS Online and Story Maps within our partnerships across the Great Lakes. Direct work with our MMIWG2S Families and survivors of sexual violence  have identified the need for a cloud based system to 1) identify other resources and grassroots doing this work, 2) physically map scope of issue and survivor story, 3) have multiple access points for one data storage system 4) recognize connection to land, space, and data.  We've witnessed some indigenous researchers collecting data separately on the intersecting issues of MMIWG2s, however still see the need for shared collaborative spaces across regions that would create implementable solutions based on data,  survivor voices, and done in a culturally founded way.

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Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Kristin Welch

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Please indicate the tribal affiliation of your primary delegate.

Menominee Nation

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Is your primary delegate a member of the community in which your project is based?

No
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More About Your Solution

Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new application of an existing technology
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Describe what makes your solution innovative?

While the issue of MMIWG2S are not new, it is only recently that solutions and work to address are being presented.  Awareness of the scope and depth of this violence are still barriers advocates face in both media and data.  The lack of data and incorrect identification of indigenous peoples is another form of institutional erasure of the original peoples of this nation.  The common approach from western systems is to first study the problem and then create solutions around the problem.  Indigenous approaches are strength based and culturally founded, such as our proposal to utilize Arc GIS Online and Story Maps to focus on solutions built across nations, rather than simply highlight the problem.    

Our relatives from Canada and across Turtle Island (USA) have had to utilize the very oppressive system which has caused this epidemic to potentially solve or stop this violence.  We have yet to see any meaningful actions from their approach: research the problem, create a report, create recommendations.  Our approach combines traditionally storytelling with spatial data analysis to connect grassroots helpers and agency across regions and nations, collect real time data in connection to land and space, and uplift survivor experiences to implement solutions for change.  This has not been done and could easily be scaled globally to truly address this historic issue.

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Provide evidence that this technology works. Please cite your sources.

Arc GIS Online and Story Mapping

Arc GIS Digital Story Mapping

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Ancestral Technology & Practices
  • GIS and Geospatial Technology
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Select the key characteristics of your target population.

  • Women & Girls
  • LGBTQ+
  • Minorities & Previously Excluded Populations
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Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 3. Good Health and Well-being
  • 5. Gender Equality
  • 15. Life on Land
  • 16. Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
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In which state(s) do you currently operate?

  • Illinois
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin
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In which state(s) will you be operating within the next year?

  • Illinois
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin
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How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?

We currently serve 5-10 families of MMIWG2S and 45 survivors of sexual violence per year.  We estimate that number to increase 75% as our service area expands with capacity within the next year.  Within 5 years of implementing Arc GIS Online and Story Maps we will be able to effectively serve MMIWG2S families across 4 states (Great Lakes Region) and into Canada.  By year 5 we look to serve 20+ families of MMIWG2S and 100+ survivors of sexual violence per year.  

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About Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

Nonprofit

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How many people work on your solution team?

1 Full Time 

5 Part Time

10 Volunteer

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How long have you been working on your solution?

We have been working on this issue for 6 years, however as a formal organization since December 2020

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Why are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

Our team is majority indigenous women survivors of sexual violence and families of MMIWG2S who have been working in the field of advocacy, healing, justice, and systems work from 8- 20+ years.  We have both a western systems education paired with our indigenous oral histories and developmental life span models in connection to land and spirit.  This allows us to create culturally founded and survivor directed spaces for healing, and justice work.  

We also have allied partners who work in the fields of detective work, retired law enforcement, prosecution, and social justice issues.  Two of our part time volunteers are PhD indigenous survivors, who use their personal experience to use research to benefit the most targeted peoples, such as indigenous survivors of sexual violence and MMIWG2s highlighting importance of culturally founded services and barriers to seeking care.  Our board is a combination of  majority indigenous women, and MMIWG2s family members.

  

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Partnership & Prize Funding Opportunities

In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Financial (e.g. improving accounting practices, pitching to investors)
  • Legal or Regulatory Matters
  • Monitoring & Evaluation (e.g. collecting/using data, measuring impact)
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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

Yes, I wish to apply for this prize

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the Innovation for Women Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

Yes, I wish to apply for this prize

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Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The AI For Humanity Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.

No, I do not wish to be considered for this prize, even if the prize funder is specifically interested in my solution

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Solution Team

  • Kristin Welch Founder and Executive Director, Waking Women Healing Institute
 
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