Pretty Bird Woman House is a women’s shelter on the Standing Rock Lakota Sioux reservation in South Dakota. The refuge was opened in January 2006 against incredible odds and with almost no resources in one of the poorest places in the United States — 45% of Native American women in South Dakota live in poverty, and the unemployment rate on Standing Rock Reservation is 71%. But they stayed open continuously, thanks in part to creative outreach efforts for grassroots funding through the Internet. This year, with a staff of three women, the shelter answered nearly 400 crisis calls, helped 16 women get medical assistance, and gave emergency refuge to 188 women and 132 children. For these courageous and life-saving efforts, they have had to face down the hatred of some violent, controlling men. After two break-ins at the shelter house, the staff went back to using an old, unheated office space and transferring women to far-away shelters off the reservation. The day after they evacuated, the building was firebombed and burned down. They have been operating without an on-site house out of an unheated office in below-zero temperatures, while they reach out to find the money to build a new sanctuary from violence.
In order to rebuild, PBWH is trying to raise $70,000 by the end of next month. They have raised over $50,000 and you can help them reach their goal. Any donation will help immensely (most of what they have raised so far has come from small donations). To learn more about Pretty Bird Woman House, or to follow their progress, you can read more at their blog. Andy Ternay at Street Prophets has an in-depth history of Pretty Bird Woman House, an overview on the violence faced by women on Standing Rock Reservation, an explanation of the shelter’s immediate needs, and comments from the director, Georgia Little Shield.
You can make a contribution immediately online through PayPal:
Or you can send a check made out to
Pretty Bird Woman House to:
Pretty Bird Woman House
P.O. Box 596
McLaughlin, SD 57642
All donations are tax-deductible. Please give whatever you can. And please use your blog, e-mail, or whatever means you have at your disposal to let your friends and contacts know about this effort. Pretty Bird Woman House must, and will, rise from the ashes, and together we can help make that happen as soon as possible.