Jodi Rave: Indian women turn to YWCA shelter
"Karen Neumiller led a small group of Native women through a “talking circle,” carving a path for what will be a weekly Tuesday discussion on domestic violence.

About 50 percent of the abused women who use the Missoula YWCA women's shelter are Native, said Neumiller, a clinic coordinator at the Missoula Indian Center. So the center and YWCA have created a space for Native women to talk about what's happening in their lives.

“Many of our clients turn to the Indian Center for help,” said Bridget Hanna, YWCA emergency shelter manager. “The YWCA jumped on this opportunity to partner with them to make the support groups comfortable for everyone.”

The talking circle, a concept rooted in Native culture, will meet at the YWCA every Tuesday from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at 1130 W. Broadway.

“The YWCA strives to be a safe and welcoming place, and we want the women we serve to feel as comfortable as possible when they come to our groups, especially given all they've had to overcome in their lives,” said Patty Murphy, YWCA transitional housing program manager.

Neumiller, an Assiniboine and Ho-Chunk, and Tina Snell, also of the Indian Center, invite Native women to participate in the group, a first of its kind in Missoula. The goal is create a safe haven for women to talk about their abusive relationships. Neumiller said she can speak to women based on her own experiences.

She moved to Missoula when she was 15 years old, arriving from the Fort Belknap Reservation. About two years later, she was a victim in an abusive relationship. At age 22, she sought help at the YWCA's Missoula shelter."

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Jodi Rave: Indian Center, YWCA form circle of caring (The Missoulian 6/14)

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