Our HERstory

    Waking Women Healing Institute (WWHI) recognizes that we as indigenous peoples are the solutions to these issues and institutional violence that has attempted to remove us from identity, land, and language.  As a survivors led organization we felt we must create a place of learning and healing through re-building kinships amongst indigenous women to our land, original ways of being, and languages.  WWHI is a new organization, (December 2020) however we are not new to the work of serving our MMIW families and systems change. We are currently led by indigenous survivors, allies, and partner agencies who  represent areas in WI, MN, MI, and Chicago.  With our office located in Gresham WI,  we are also able to be mobile in services delivery.  We have been working to address the issues of MMIW and sexual violence for years and find value in our collective knowledge and indigenous ways of organizing.  We dedicate full time staff/volunteers and resources to be able to provide the following 3 tenants, RESTORE. UPLIFT. IGNITE. Once we have opportunity to connect to our identity and cultural tools for healing, the outcomes we will see are the reclamation of just, equitable governance structures, and systems of care that benefit all peoples now, and 7 generations from now.



    All of our MMIW and sexual violence survivors’ direct services  are culturally founded and land-based that connect to women's medicine and development in connection to spirit across the life-span


    We use survivor centered approaches that empower through offering choice and uplift survivor voice by creating visibility in community, media, and systems


    We have formed a regional working collaborative of support that works to support MMIW families,  de-colonize policy and institutions, and create environmental protections that are equitable and sustainable that spans the Great Lakes Area


    The problem of Missing Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) and sexual violence against indigenous women is a historical issue that is deeply rooted in inequity and systemic racism. Since first contact of settlers here in the US, indigenous peoples, especially women have faced incredible acts of racism and violence. We have been trafficked and murdered by settler colonials for hundreds of years, the MMIW movement seeks to address this violence and racism. It is estimated that indigenous women are murdered at a rate 10x higher than the national average, and 84% will experience acts of violence in their lifetime


    Historical policy such as the Doctrine of Discovery, Indian Relocation Act, and Boarding School Era are documentation of institutional racism that laid the foundation for the current epidemic of MMIW and sexual violence we see today. The intentional erosion (from US institutions) of our tribal nations ability to self-govern, prosecute major crimes within our boundaries, jurisdictional confusion, and lack of visibility; have left our Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirit (LGBTQ) targets of violence.


    The results, our indigenous relatives are human trafficked at disproportionate rates, rarely see justice within the court systems, and are not provided the media attention to bring awareness to these horrific acts of genocide. Many times, our families of MMIW are left to navigate the justice system alone and must conduct searches themselves for their lost loved ones.  These issues are further exacerbated by resource extractive industries who purposely route pipelines and mines through rural and tribal lands. In areas of resource extraction violence against indigenous women increases by nearly 75%, which includes, increased acts of sexual violence and human trafficking. 

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