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WASHINGTON To avoid closure due to difficult financial hardship, the Emmonak Women's Shelter in the Yup'ik Eskimo village of Emmonak, Alaska has received $50,000 in emergency funding, Acting Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Del Laverdure announced on Friday.
Emmonak Women's Shelter Received $50,000 in Emergency Funding
The village's only facility offering domestic violence protection is facing imminent closure due to a funding shortfall.
“By providing this one time funding, the Bureau of Indian Affairs re-emphasizes the Administration's support for the prevention of domestic violence,”
“The protection of American Indian and Alaska Native victims of domestic violence is a priority for me and Secretary Salazar, and it is important that the Emmonak Women's Shelter be able to continue offering help to those who need it.”
The 34 year old facility serves families that live in the Emmonak region, including 13 rural villages surrounding Emmonak, and reportedly serves about 500 women and children each year. It is currently operating under a grant from the US Department of Justice's Office of Violence Against Women, but is not expected to receive notification of new awards until September.
This is not the first time the shelter has faced difficult times. In 2005, the State of Alaska defunded rural programs and the shelter was closed for a short time. During the time of the closure, it was reported that women who were victims of abuse hid out under turned over boats to avoid more violence.
“If the women's shelter closed again the women and children would just have to live in fear of where to go and would get abused. There would be an increase of substance abuse, drop outs, domestic violence, suicide, sexual abuse, and all the horrible things that can happen,”
according to the posting by Emmonak Women's Shelter staff on their Facebook page.
The BIA Office of Indian Services provided the one time emergency funding to the Emmonak Village, a federally recognized tribe, under its Tribal Priority Allocation authority. The tribe, in turn, will send the funds to the shelter.
Emmonak Village is located approximately 500 air miles northwest of the city of Anchorage, and the Emmonak Women's Shelter is one of two in the state that offers domestic violence shelter and services for Alaska Natives living in the state's rural areas. The other is the Tundra Women's Coalition in Bethel, several hundred miles from Emmonak.
The Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs oversees the BIA, which is headed by a director who is responsible for managing day to day operations through four offices - Indian Services, Justice Services, Trust Services and Field Operations - that administer or fund tribally based infrastructure, law enforcement, social services, tribal governance, natural and energy resources and trust management programs for the nation's federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and villages through 12 regional offices and 85 agencies.
posted July 2, 2012 8:30 am edt