Inaugural National Conversation:

Sexual Assault Awareness, Denim Day, & MMIW/G

HIR Wellness Institute hosted a panel discussion for National Sexual Assault Awareness on Facebook LIVE Panel on Denim Day- April 29th, 2020. We discussed: the Intersectionality of Sexual Assault, Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women/Girls(MMIW/G), Historical and Intergenerational Trauma; the Healing Process for Survivors and Caregivers; Actionable Steps for Social Justice; and Survivorship to 'Thrivorship'. Our focus was to raise awareness and deepen the conversation around these critical issues impacting Indigenous people.

Click here for a list of definitions of terms used during the discussion


HIR Wellness Institute was awarded the Department of Justice Victims of Crimes Act (VOCA) grant to provide mental health and advocacy services to American Indian and undeserved Victims of Crimes (VOC)

A note from our CEO & Founder: 

Welcome Relatives & Guests,


     At HIR we provide culturally rooted mental health and victim advocacy at no cost to our relatives because I believe it shouldn’t cost to heal. It is critical that our work remains at the forefront in serving Victims of Crime. I developed Community Activated Medicine, or CAM, because the people are the medicine. You are the medicine. I believe with each of you listening, engaging, and committing to this, that people will heal. Together we hold space for the silenced, raise awareness on the need for social justice, and bring forward the healing needed for all nations.


     It is my honor and privilege to introduce to you our HIR Wellness Institute team and community partner for this special event. Each panelist, an Indigenous woman and 'Thrivor', shares their heartfelt story and experience that shines light onto what is often kept in the darkness. Mahalo (thank you) for bringing your energy to this conversation. We encourage your feedback, your voice matters --please consider supporting our movement to ensure our voices are heard and not silenced. By joining this conversation today, you add your voice to the collective volume of these words. 


With Aloha, 

Lea S. Denny 

Curator and Panelists

Curator | Lea S. Denny | Pacific Islander

Lea is the CEO & Founder of HIRWI. She has curated this event to deepen the conversation and activate social-justice in support of MMIW/G. Ms. Denny has over 20+ years working within the mental health field, is a licensed counselor, and is a Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT) Trainer. She is an international speaker, community organizer, and specializes in working with people impacted by complex and developmental trauma. Her research focuses on the impact of Historical Trauma and pathways towards Intergenerational Healing. Ms. Denny's vision is to transform the mental health field through Community Activated Medicine. Through establishing HIRWI, her vision grew to provide an intergenerational and interdisciplinary healing space for the next generation of healers and leaders. 

Panelist | Barbara Blackdeer-Mackenzie | Ho-Chunk

Barbara is the HIRWI Board President. She has been enthusiastic and driven to add to the difficult conversations around teaching and talking about building resilience and healing our communities from the relentless impact of Historical Trauma and systemic oppression. In moving our families and communities forward from what I see as unhealthy to healthy ways of being," to Alive, to Surviving, to Thriving".  Barbara believes strongly in encouraging and mentoring our Indigenous women and women of color for leadership roles and community engagement.

Panelist | Jamie Kellicut | Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe

Jamie is the HIRWI Community Engagement and Indigenous Affairs Director. She has a profound love and passion for our indigenous and underserved communities. Her life's work has been to use my heart, spirit and energy to heal others whether that be through music, storytelling, educating or community work. As a survivor of domestic violence, sexual assault and addiction she is living proof there is hope and that your current situation does not have to be your forever destination. She vowed to serve indigenous communities and use her experiences as inspiration to move others toward a world free of fear, abuse, trauma and inequality. Through intentional acts of love and care for our communities, she believes together we will heal.

Moderator | Alaina Hanks | White Earth Ojibwe

Alaina is a HIRWI Community Advocate and she comes from spaces across the Midwest. She transitioned from Student Affairs into the mental health field to shift her focus in understand trauma and learning how to build advocacy and social justice into her practice. In pursuit of affecting change within the field, she is an active member of the American Counseling Association and she works closely with our Native American Concerns group within that realm to provide training and education and connect with other Native counselors within the field nation-wide. 

Panelist | Malia Chow | Native Hawaiian

Malia is the HIRWI Community Healer. She is an artist, musician, dancer, teacher, environmental advocate, and mother; who believes that participation in cultural and artistic practices are an important part of healing, especially for Indigenous people. She believes that rediscovering and honoring our connection to each other, and the  ‘āina (land) keeps us grounded and helps to promote balance- physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Panelist | Jeneile Luebke | Bad River Ojibwe

Jeneile is a HIRWI Community Partner, she has practiced nursing for 20+ years in various settings including pediatrics, maternal child health, and community health. She brings several years of experience working with tribes across Wisconsin and Minnesota, primarily for community health nursing. Currently, she is a doctoral student at UW-Milwaukee completing her PhD in nursing and research on the health impacts of intimate partner violence in the lives of Wisconsin American Indian women.



  • Stronghearts Native Helpline: 1−844-762-8483

  • National Human Trafficking Hotline:  1 (888) 373-7888

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233



Learn More​

Take Action





Reading Recommendations - A special thanks to our Community Partner, Jeneile Luebke!

"Illness becomes wellness when I becomes We"
Healing Intergenerational Roots for All Nations-One Tribe 

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