The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) Niimigimiwang Transitional Home (Ojbwemowin word for "Dancing in the Rain,") is located at 755 Michigan Avenue in Baraga, MI on the reservation of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community int he Western UP of Michigan on the shores of Lake Superior. The local population is 8,500 of which 1041 of the population are Tribal members residing on Tribal Reservation lands. A map of the L'Anse Reservation Territory is included in the appendices of this application.
Violence in the home, especially during the Covid 19 pandemic, has increased immensely. According to the Tribal Police records, calls or assistance in intimate partner violence incidents more than doubled between 2020 and 2021. Shutdowns and stay-at-home orders has caused KBIC to see an increase in substance abuse also. This has attributed to the increase in violence that the KBIC is experiencing. The northern Michigan location of already causes isolation. The area is rural and winters are long and harsh. Covid-19 has exacerbated these difficult conditions.
The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) Niimigimiwang Transitional Home is approaching its 10th year of providing services for abused women and men in the community. However, the Tribe's awareness of, and commitment to, both serve victims, and prevent intimate partner violence can be found in a 1983 Resolution by the Tribal Council to support Baraga County in establishing a Shelter Home. Shortly after, in 1988, KBIC secured s first funding from IHS to provide community based education and awareness around the crises of intimate partner violence.
Substance abuse and violence are prevalent in the KBIC. The data reflects this. Tragically, in 2020, an episode of domestic violence on Tribal land resulted in homicide. This is not the first case of homicide that KBIC has experienced. The most recent Tribal Court data shows a 48% increase in criminal cases in 2021. This is a direct reflection of the data seen in the Niimigimiwang Transitional Home. Out of 326 criminal cases in 2021, 15 were domestic violence, 1 was dating violence, 3 were sexual assaults of adults, 3 were sexual assaults of children and 3 documented elder abuse cases came forward, but were not filed in the Tribal Court. during this time, Niimigimiwang provided 275 shelter nights.
The KBIC DVP grant project will bring the Tribal and larger local community together in a cross-collaboration effort to provide services and prevention activities to lower the occurrences of intimate partner violence. The goal of the Community Coordinated Response (CCR) Team is to raise the knowledge base of community professionals who will be the first to respond to domestic and sexual violence, child maltreatment, and suspected sexual assault and human trafficking. CCR professionals will also collaborate to identify those individuals who are at risk of violence, maltreatment, assault and trafficking. Identifying those at risk early will allow our community to reduce service delivery gaps, barriers and systemic challenges. The understanding of the dynamics of intimate partner violence will also streamline law enforcement agency response times.
A key function of the prevention activities proposed for the DPV project will be to prioritize screening efforts as a tool in identifying AI/AN people who are at risk for intimate partner violence, or sexual exploitation/human trafficking so that these individuals can be referred for appropriate services. A key piece of program objective completion will be the collection and analysis of data to make any required adjustments to the plan in order to achieve the purpose and objectives of DPV.