"As a girl growing up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota in the 1970s, Connie Brushbreaker sometimes saw her mother, Tillie Black Bear, beaten by the man who lived with them. It typically happened when Black Bear’s partner, a member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, was drunk. They’d be home watching TV or driving in her mother’s tiny green and black Mustang when he’d become violent.
Soon, though, Black Bear’s abuser did something she couldn’t take: He started hitting her young daughters. In response, Black Bear took his belongings, tossed them in her front yard and calmly told him to leave her house. He did.
Black Bear, who died in 2014 at age 67, went on to do more than anyone else in history to prevent violence against Native women and girls. 'Before Tillie, no one was focusing on Native women in a national way,' says Suzanne Blue Star Boy, a prominent Native activist from the Yankton Sioux Tribe who worked beside Black Bear for many years. 'She took in the national movement that was happening to raise awareness around domestic violence and refocused it on Indian Country.'”