Tillie Black Bear (Sicangu Lakota) was a mother, grandmother, activist, and advocate bringing awareness to domestic violence. She is considered the grandmother of the movement to end violence against Indigenous women, including domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking and sex trafficking. In 1978, Tillie was the first Indigenous woman to organize and testify before Congress bringing awareness to the violence against Indigenous women.
She led the charge in advocating for Congress to exercise the Federal trust responsibility to assist Indian Tribes in protecting Indigenous women. Because of her grassroots advocacy with many others, we have the changes in federal laws and policies reflected in the reauthorizations of the Violence Against Women Act of 2000, 2005 and 2013. Tillie also organized and hosted healing camps to support the healing process for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence and talk about their stories in a space that was supportive and safe. It is in this spirit, the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center is pleased to continue Tillie’s legacy by offering seasonal virtual healing camp sessions.