Mar 13, 2013 - Immediate Release: HOPE Conference 2013, Billings, MT April 4-5

For too long, generations of voiceless victims of child sexual trauma have suffered silently throughout Indian Country. The epidemic of sexual trauma and sexual abuse is well documented and yet remains prevalent among Native people. The urgency is now to address this issue from a culturally appropriate perspective. In response to the necessary call to action to end this plague in Indian Country, the 3rd Annual HOPE Conference will be held at The Billings Hotel & Convention Center in Billings, Montana April 4th & 5th, 2013. The HOPE Conference coincides with the 45th Annual MSU-Billings Powwow at the Alterowitz Gym on Friday April 5th and Saturday April 6th. The purpose of the conference is to address the issue of child sexual trauma within Native communities, and to bring to light this epidemic which has torn at the fabric of Indian Country communities for generations. The Conference will focus on the PAST, PRESENT, and FUTURE of this issue, highlighting healing and resilience.

The conference will cover the historical traumas that were inflicted upon Native people by government sponsored institutions, religious institutions, and other avenues of abuse. We will address the current state of child sexual trauma in Indian Country today. Also, to be featured are successful programs that are currently operating in communities. The conference also consists of sessions by leading law experts addressing this issue from a justice perspective. Finally, dynamic advocates working in Indian Country today present how communities can mobilize and work together to decrease the incidents of sexual trauma.

Attendees will experience a multitude of presentations, entertainment, workshops, and activities highlighting the rich tapestry of the Native American perspective towards healing, recovery and justice. The conference will be opened by Anna Whiting-Sorrell and will be facilitated by Theda New Breast. Keynote speakers include Cecilia Fire Thunder and Dr. Arne Graff. The presentation roster includes Dr. Deborah Pace, Kathleen Little Leaf, Cheryl Eagle, Vito de la Cruz, Ken Bear Chief, John Shuster, Linda Thompson and Melissa Merrick. Banquet entertainment will be provided Apsaalooke’s own Chris Parrish aka Supa Man. The Lame Deer Singers from the Northern Cheyenne tribe will be the host drum and the colors will be posted by the Lodge Grass JROTC Indian Battalion Special Invited Color Guard Instructed by Col. Michael Thilges.

In addition to the 3rd HOPE Conference, the organizing committee will produce a series of feature stories relating to the issues of child sexual abuse and healing. Read the stories on Buffalo’s Fire, the online news site run by the renowned Native journalist Jodi Rave. We will also maintain an active web presence via the conference website, facebook and other social networking sites. Resources for professionals and survivors, news relating to sexual abuse lawsuits and other information will be posted on our facebook page and will be distributed to participants.

The 3rd HOPE Conference endeavors to eliminate child sexual trauma in Indian Country by calling upon community leaders, social justice & victim advocates, legal experts, counselors, survivors and community members to join us to address this issue. Together we can find solutions that guarantee the full protection of children from sexual abuse. The conference is open to the public. Registration details, speaker roster and more information can be accessed at Please ‘Like’ our facebook page: The Hope Conference.

Last Real Indians