---- — AKWESASNE — Nearly $600,000 in grant funds will be used to combat domestic violence against Akwesasne women on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation.
The Three Sisters Program will receive $566,071 in the next three years and plans to create a safe house for battered women and hire a nurse specially trained in sexual-assault evidence gathering.
The funding, obtained through the Violence Against Women Tribal Governments Program, will also track orders of protection, make victim notifications about an offender’s release and provide an advocate for criminal-court appearances.
The procedures and policies developed with the grant funds will include partnerships with the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council and its police department, health-services agency, social services office, the Franklin County District Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“Native women suffer 2½ times more violent crime than the national average,” Three Sisters Program Manager Amber Montour said in a news release. “Statistics show that 4 out of 5 perpetrators are non-Indian.”
Tribal chiefs praised the agency’s work and its successful grant application.
“Our people are our most important resource, and we have to do everything we can to protect them,” said Chief Randy Hart.
“We are no longer going to tolerate violence against women,” Chief Ron LaFrance said. “Everybody in this community knows it’s wrong and that it needs to stop.”