CN declares October ‘Domestic Violence Awareness Month’
Principal Chief Bill John Baker, bottom center, with Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, One Fire Victim Services Director Nikki Baker-Limore and One Fire Victim Services staff attend a proclamation signing declaring October as “Domestic Violence Awareness Month” on Oct. 24 at the W.W. Keeler Complex in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Flowers float on the One Fire pond east of the Tribal Complex on Oct. 24 during a “Flowers on the Pond” ceremony to honor victims and survivors of domestic abuse following a proclamation signing by Cherokee Nation officials to declare October as “Domestic Violence Awareness Month.” LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation and CN One Fire Victim Services officials proclaimed October as “Domestic Violence Awareness Month” on Oct. 24 with a proclamation signing and a “Flowers on the Pond” ceremony.
Domestic violence is defined as when a person is an intimate relationship with another, such as a spouse, and an abuser attempts to gain and maintain control of the victim by using physical violence and psychological intimidation.
The proclamation, signed by Principal Chief Bill John Baker in the Tribal Complex, states CN officials support One Fire Victim services in the protection of victims, gaining access to legal and psychological support structures, gaining financial independence and being safe.
“And whereas the social responsibility inherent to the intervention and prevention of this crime is recognized and is an essential measure for the safety and protection of domestic violence victims and the future generations of the Cherokee Nation,” the proclamation states.
After the signing, the public was invited to attend a “Flowers on the Pond” ceremony at the One Fire pond east of the Tribal Complex to release flowers into the water as a way to honor victims and survivors of domestic violence.
The ceremony was inspired by a poem from the viewpoint of a domestic violence victim leading up to her funeral where she received flowers.
“That’s an event we don’t want to receive flowers for, and so we hope to bring awareness to the purpose of fighting domestic violence,” One Fire Victim Services Director Nikki Baker-Limore said. “Domestic violence touches everyone. It doesn’t matter what walk of life you have, what job, the color of your skin, if you’re old, if you’re young. However, Native Americans do suffer domestic violence at a higher rate. Eighty-four percent of Native American women will suffer domestic violence sometime during their lifetime compared to 35 percent of the general population.”
One Fire Victim Services provides aid to people through civil legal assistance, advocacy, divorce, and other services, and are available 24 hours a day. For more information, call 1-866-458-5399.