February 13, 2014 –
MAYETTA: Two staff members from the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation (PBPN) Tribal Victim Services’ (TVS) program received awards this morning at the Sunflower Safety Breakfast held at the Topeka Ramada Inn. The breakfast was sponsored by the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence (KCSDV) and several members of the PBPN Tribal Council and staff also attended the event.
Shirley Rice and Samantha Wahquahboshkuk, who are also PBPN members, were given awards. Rice was given an award for thirty years of service to KCSDV and Wahquahboshkuk received the Project of the Year Award for heading the SAFESTAR (Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Safety Training, and Resources), project on behalf of the Tribal Victim Services Program.
The PBPN SAFESTAR program began last year and is one of only two in the nation. Overall, there are 20 SAFESTAR volunteers and the PBPN has six of those 20. SAFESTAR involves teaching volunteers to help victims of sexual assault through oftentimes difficult and medical and law processes.
SAFESTAR is sponsored by the Southwest Center for Law & Policy (SWCLAP) that provides trained attorneys, nurses, and social service providers, to come to communities where they teach an intensive 40-hour course. Last summer, SWCLAP trainers were on the Potawatomi reservation and were impressed at the outpouring of support for the program. SAFESTAR founder, Cordelia D. Clapp, RN, BSN, who was one of the instructors for the PBPN told the Potawatomi News how impressed she was at the positive response and support that was given from various tribal departments and the PBPN government.
SAFESTAR is an approved program by the Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime and International Association of Forensic Nurses and is in its sixth year.
The PBPN Tribal Victim Services program was also nationally recognized in 2013 by the Department of Justice for its Healing Through Arts program when Attorney General Eric Holder presented a Professional Innovation in Victim Services Award to the PBPN during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. The TVS provides education and services for victims of abuse and is part of the tribal administration.
The KCSDV is a statewide network that includes 29 advocacy groups that provide direct support services to all counties in Kansas. The network is in its thirtieth year and is advised by a state-wide board of directors.
(Front row, left to right) SAFESTAR volunteers Iva Long, Shirley Rice, Samantha Wahquahboshkuk, Josette Whitlock, and Joy Matchie attended the breakfast along with members of the Tribal Council, administration and the Tribal Victim Services program. The sixth SAFESTAR volunteer, Keirsten Hale, was unable to attend.
Samantha Wahquahboshkuk (left) received the Project of the Year Award from Kathy Ray, director of Advocacy, Education & Rural Projects for the KCSDM.
Shirley Rice was honored for Thirty Years of Service with the KCSDV.