BARAGA, Mich. (WLUC) – October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Keweenaw Bay Indian community today held its 12th annual Awareness Walk in memory of member Chelsey LaFernier.
The march began with a welcome from the tribal chairman, a drum song by Woodland Singers and a prayer for Chelsey LaFernier and other victims of domestic violence. LaFernier was 23 when she was murdered by her significant other in 2009.
“She had a plan. She left that person. She actually had a ticket for him to leave. But apparently that didn’t happen. says Carole LaPointe, organizer of the march.
Up to 1 in 4 Aboriginal women experience domestic violence before the age of 21. LaPointe says she gets about 100 calls a year asking for help with abuse.
KBIC organizes awareness walks every year to raise funds for survivors living at Niimigimiwang, a halfway house.
“Grants do not cover survivors’ personal effects at home.”
The route of the walk remembers the tragic death of LaFernier… “This route goes through where it happened, and we want to keep in mind that it happened and try to educate people on ways not to have violence in their lives.”
The KBIC airs PSAs on Eagle Radio all month, voiced by LaFernier’s daughter, Lexi.
Plans are underway for an additional halfway house. “By 2023, we will have another house on the L’Anse side, and we will have two units available for men.”
If you need domestic violence help and are a member or descendant of a KBIC member, you can call the 24/7 crisis line at 906-353-4599.
For more information on domestic violence in Michigan, go here.
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