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BHSU Hosts Indigenous Women’s Conference


An indigenous women’s organization is targeting justice issues for Native people, including the Indian Child Welfare Act, environmental protection and human trafficking.

The North American Indian Women’s Association (NAIWA) conference starts June 12 in Spearfish.

Jace DeCory, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe, uses a mix of Lakota and English to explain the theme of the North American Indian Women’s Association conference.

“It’s a Lakota term, it’s a big, long term in Lakota, but it translates as Law of Women and Virtues of our Lakota women, and that’s what the Lakota (speaking Lakota),” says DeCory.

DeCory says the organization not only networks, but offers support to Native people everywhere who have dealt with drug abuse, alcoholism and other social issues. She says one theme of the conference is improving the justice system and legal outcomes for Native women.

“We try to focus on how to make our lives better, so we focus on the solutions and we talk about issues but we talk about action, what can we do to make changes better for our people and especially for our Native women. How can we make our lives better,” says DeCory.

DeCory says NAIWA members from Canada are concerned about human trafficking and missing indigenous women. She says the conference includes various speakers on the Black Hills State University campus, including two Bush  Foundation fellows.

She says that although the conference has a registration fee to attend all events, those interested in going to one or two are welcome to attend free of charge.

You can find more information you can contact conference treasurer Diane Booth or visit NAIWA's Facebook page.