[music playing].WENDY BREMNER:.We have a beautiful culture..[drumming].MICHELLE FARR:.It's a very rich culture..We have powwows,.we have sun dances..So there's a lot of tradition,.but there's a lot of new energy.as well..[drumming and singing].All the tribes,.they're very different--.their culture, their tradition,.and their language..WENDY BREMNER:.Historically, our people.treated each other with respect.and we had.a very healthy society..When someone's victimized,.it affects the whole community,.and I think that's what's unique.to Indian Country.because we're all closely knit..RENEE BOURQUE: The people.are very giving of themselves..They're a very proud people,.but it can be.a tough place to be,.because there is a lot of crime..[siren].Our ability.to believe victims is powerful..If another person can provide.the resources, the support,.they have a higher likelihood.of being able to come out.of a victimization..WENDY BREMNER:.It gives me a lot of hope.that we come from.a very healthy, strong people,.and we can definitely.get back to that..So that's what drives me.to do what I do..WENDY BREMNER:.Because of the high levels.of trauma and violence.that we see,.it's really important to have.another Indian person beside you.in Indian communities..I want justice to be served.and I want our victims.to have services..LANISHA BELL:.The Victim Assistance Program.was created in 2008.to respond to victims,.to ensure that their rights.are afforded to them,.as well as provide.essential services..A huge part of why the BIA.Victim Assistance Program.was established.was to fill a gap.between the federal.and the tribal system..It's well-documented,.the rates of violence.that occurs within.our own tribal communities..There is a great need.for comprehensive services.to really identify.what those gaps are,.and that's what we've.tried to do at BIA..We're uniquely designed.to really respect.the sovereignty of tribes.and to really provide responses.in the tribal.as well as the federal system..We interact.with the tribal system,.the federal system,.all of the social service.agencies,.and the victims themselves.and their families.to try to bring somebody.to healing,.but also to bring change that.helps heal our whole community..We're all Native..Many of us come.from our own communities..It's important.to have someone.that is from that community.and that can understand.the political,.the familial implications.coming forward and reporting--.all of the ties that come in.when you're addressing crime.in your own community,.in your own family..Thank you again, Desiree,.for coming into the office....MICHELLE FARR: We maintain a relationship.with the victim..It really begins right.at the time of their trauma,.and it can end years later..Our role as a Victim Specialist.can run from being available.at a hospital,.to working with family members.and friends,.to acting as a liaison.for law enforcement..My priority is the victim,.and law enforcement is.an absolute partner in that..VALAURA IMUS: We work.with tribal communities.to service crime victims.regardless of what kind.of crime it is..ROBYN SIMMONS:.My job as a Victim Specialist.is to make sure, number one,.the victims are safe..MICHELLE FARR:.Some of our core services.are providing.crisis intervention,.emotional support,.providing referrals.to overcome the trauma.that they're going through..LANISHA BELL: Tribes have.community-based programs.for ongoing counseling,.shelter services,.support groups,.legal advocacy..Victim Specialists would refer.victims to those programs..We provide.the guidance, the information,.the resources, whether it's.mental health counseling.or traditional healing..LANISHA BELL:.Our Victim Specialists.are criminal justice.system-based advocates..It's important to differentiate.between a system-based.specialist.and a community-based advocate..The key distinction.is confidentiality..When our Victim Specialists.are working.alongside law enforcement,.they're required.to notify the victims.that information will be shared.with our prosecution team..Also, there are things.that the community-based program.can provide.that we may not be able.to provide,.so our BIA Victim Specialists.would refer victims.to those community-based.programs..Our victims are in need.of many, many, many resources,.so it's important.for us to partner.and meet the needs that exist.for victims in Indian Country..ROBYN SIMMONS: There are so many.challenges in Indian Country..MICHELLE FARR:.Being the Victim Specialist.providing services throughout.a large mass of land.with a large population.can be very challenging..WENDY BREMNER: All of our.systems are over-tasked..They're underfunded,.and it's really difficult.to meet the challenges of our.population because of that..ROBYN SIMMONS:.Most tribes don't have.a shelter on the reservations.or certified SANE nurses..Victims have to travel 45 miles.away to have an exam done..VALAURA IMUS: The tribes that I.serve are 3-hour drives..My shortest drive is 2 hours..WENDY BREMNER: Another challenge.is the victims usually have.nothing to fall back on..A lot of times they don't have.very much family support..RENEE BOURQUE: I work real close.with the shelter in Rapid..It's just that a lot of people.do not want to leave their home,.they don't want to leave.their family..And they shouldn't have to..VALAURA IMUS: So it's up to us.to be creative,.to call local area services..We find alternative ways..This is Robyn..How are you?.ROBYN SIMMONS: I work a lot with .other programs that are able to assist.and able to have the funding.to help in certain areas..I had a situation.where a family lost their home..Someone burned their home down..And one of the local businesses.in Ruidoso,.they offered some gift cards.for them to get.the basic necessities.until they were able to get.established and to rebuild..[hammering].LANISHA BELL: Trauma.in Indian Country is high..We're looking at issues.compounded.with historical trauma..We have beautiful traditions.that we come from,.but we also have.these compounded issues.that we need to address.so that this cycle.doesn't continue..ROBYN SIMMONS: Indian people,.just in general,.having historical trauma,.and then a lot of our victims.and families.that have been through.a traumatic experience or event,.not knowing how to deal with it.in a healthy way..They need to be able to work.through those layers of trauma..So, that's where I feel we have.an important role, also,.as Victim Specialists.is to really educate.our community about that..Just being accessible to people.has made a huge difference.in overcoming.some of the barriers.of building relationships..ROBYN SIMMONS: Once I'm able to.interact with community members,.I have that opportunity.to explain,."This is my role..I'm here for you.".And so prior, the community.members had the attitude of,."I'm not going to report it.because nothing will get done.".And now they are seeing.a difference..The referrals can.come in through law enforcement,.through the hospitals,.through the schools,.through other victims..ROBYN SIMMONS:.I've had community members.just come into the office,.and they're like,."Can we speak with Robyn?.A family member said that you.helped somebody out,.so can you help me?".And I'm, like, "Absolutely.".We have a lot more tribes.that are constantly inquiring,."How can we get.a Victim Specialist?,".because they hear the success.stories of the communities.that we are providing services..LANISHA BELL: We have.567 federally recognized tribes.that have unique.political structures,.unique customs,.unique traditions,.unique sacred practices.and rituals..The vision forward would be that.every tribe have the opportunity.to develop programs and services.to meet the needs.of their crime victims..WENDY BREMNER: These are.the most traumatic moments.of our people's lives..We have to make sure.that they have a voice,.that they have somebody.standing by them..RENEE BOURQUE:.What we do matters..Usually it's victims.who remind me.that I've made.a difference today..MICHELLE FARR: I know that.the need is being fulfilled.in terms of being able.to help people.who didn't have services before..ROBYN SIMMONS: I want.to make sure that our victims.are being treated fairly.and they get the services that.they're entitled to receive.as victims..[music playing].