top of page

7th Annual CAM™ & Red Sands Event

Coming Together for Community Grieving & Healing

Support Our Survivor Led Work

Donate to our 8th Annual CAM™ & Red Sands Event in 2024.

Support our MANA NOW

An award created by survivors for survivors of violence. We use money as medicines and believe that healing happens when advocacy, community, and justice intersect. 

Support our Daughters of Tradition

Donate to strengthen Indigenous girls leadership and support our Daughters of Tradition upcoming trip to the United Nations in New York.  

hoan bridge -02.png
Support us through Shine a Lite

Dedicate a bulb to a loved one today only and support our work through Light the Hoan's Shine a Lite program sponsored by Miller Lite. 

Event Dates
Calling Our Relatives

Calling In our Relatives to Heal

At our CAM™ and Red Sands event we focus on addressing the vicarious trauma, secondary trauma, toxic stress, and moral injury that occurs when personal healing intersects community loss and grieving. We are calling you into our Circle of Care™ - it's your time to be supported in community care. We hold this event to be with our relatives, community helpers, and community healers as they stand on the frontlines of MMIWR activism, advocacy, and outreach. If you are not doing well the energy and intention that you bring to your spaces will drain you vs. feed you. This can leave you fatigued, anxious, and unrested. At these events we want to help your wellness so you can be hopeful, inspiring, and innovating for long-lasting change.

We will have Indigenous speakers, a talking circle, vigil walk with a memorial area of our sisters and relatives who have been taken too soon. There will be a fire going, songs, ceremony, and prayer. We will have our Mental Health Without Borders™ CAMPsite™ team onsite to provide immediate grief and emotional support. 

We are a survivor and women-led matriarchal organization. We hold space for our communities to gather to grieve, honor, remember, and heal as a community. Creating safe spaces doesn't mean discomfort, dis-ease, or disagreements won't happen. It means learning to work through these feelings with others as we build trust, vulnerability, and reciprocity.  Join us and explore ways to heal your inner world. Together we grieve, honor, and heal for our ancestors, people, and our future generations.

"Safety is not the absence of threat, it is the presence of connection"

 

- Gabor Mate

HIR Story

HIR Story: A Call to Action 

Our first CAM™ & Red Sands Missing and Murdered Indigenous Woman and Relatives (MMIWR) event was in 2017 and envisioned by HIR Wellness Founder & CEO Lea S. Denny. Denny recognized the complex loss and grief. She recognized the impacts of MMIWR, suicide, homicide, overdose and their connection to historical trauma. She felt that to heal, not only do we need awareness and advocacy for the victims, we also need a way for our communities to grieve and heal. From this she developed and coined the term Community Activated Medicine™ (CAM™). The heart-work of CAM™ is "Inform to activate healing" and "the people are the medicine".
 

The CAM™ & Red Sands event was a call-to-action around the epidemic of MMIWR. This event was for collective grieving and community healing. It was Denny's belief that when we come together we can address the individuals’ and the community's mental health. The Red Sands Project is an international creative activism earthwork. The project was created to raise awareness, vulnerability, and social justice action around human trafficking. Bridging the concepts of CAM™ & Red Sands Project together created a space for healing the land and the unseen. Today the CAM™ & Red Sands event has grown into an annual event with large gatherings. Every year our relatives intergenerationally come together to practice CAM™ our social justice healing-informed practices.

IMG_7103_edited.png

"In shifting our language to being trauma informed and healing informed, grounded in my research around Indigenous historical and intergenerational trauma, understanding Persistent Toxic Systems and Environments™ (PTSE™), it was evident that we must change our mental health language to decolonize mental health.

 

"Clients = Consumer = Commodity

"Relatives = Connection = Community

 

"If connection is currency, then relationships are priceless."

 

- Lea S. Denny 

Check out images from our previous healing CAM™ events below!

Survivor Stones
Pouring of the Red Sands
Medicine Wheel Dress
Indigenous Drum
Stones for Survivors
MMIWR Ribbon Skirt
Indigenous Drum
Community Fire
Therapy Horse
Pouring of the Red Sands
Heart shaped embers
"I pledge" wall. a commitment to MMIWR
Paper Moccasins
MMIWR Social Justice Walk
Red Sands Pouring
Coloring
Stones for Survivors
3rd CAM™ and Red Sands Event
MMIWR Social Justice Walk
Red Sands Pouring
MMIWR Red Ribbon Skirt
MANA NOW Award Ceremony
MANA NOW Award Ceremony
Red Sands Pouring Talking Circle
Addressing MMIWR

Addressing MMIWR Through Mental Health & Social Justice 

We have had the commitment to raise awareness and serve MMIWR victims, survivors, their families, and communities. We do this through mental health services, advocacy, outreach, trainings, CAM™ events, and policy change. The root causes of the MMIWR epidemic connects to the colonization of Indigenous communities. We recognize these roots in the...

  • Patriarchy of our systems

  • Commodification of our lands and bodies

  • The historical trauma that ensued from residential boarding schools

  • Damaging policies and broken treaties 

  • Displacement, relocation, urbanization

  • Sterilization of Native women

  • Loss of culture, language, and traditions

The losses have carried forward creating intergenerational and transgenerational trauma and adversity. The impact of historical trauma and unresolved grief can manifest in a multitude of ways. Decolonizing mental health means going beyond the label of individual diagnoses. We seek to address more systemic and intergenerational experiences of Persistent Toxic Systems and Environments™ (PTSE™) as coined by Lea S. Denny. 

“Trauma in a person, decontextualized over time, looks like personality.

Trauma in a family, decontextualized over time, looks like family traits.
Trauma in a
people, decontextualized over time, looks like culture."

—Resmaa Menakem

There is hope, healing, and tremendous strength in our Indigenous communities. Kinship, gatherings, and community is the backbone to our wellness. Positive, compassionate, relational, and predictable experiences can alter the impact that trauma has on us. At HIR Wellness Institute this includes our Intergenerational Healing Approach™ and CAM Framework™ developed by Lea S. Denny. Through our Intergenerational Healing Approach™ and CAM Framework™ we provide immediate crisis care and stabilization, intensive trauma-treatment, grief healing circles, and search and rescue efforts as identified by our missing relatives’ families. The work is individualized with careful consideration for the needs of our relatives. We create a Circle of Care™ for them through our Intergenerational Healing Approach™. Mental health is an essential need for the victims we serve. Most of our relatives who are MMIWR have had a lifetime of hurt that has impacted their self-worth, identity, coping, and choices. This is often a result of complex and developmental trauma that can manifest in different ways. At HIR Wellness Institute we create spaces to heal through our therapeutic web of services and community care. 

 

We also work to address systems and their impacts. Our leadership team serves on the Wisconsin MMIW State Task Force. 

  • CEO & Clinical Director Lea S. Denny who is on the "Research & Data" subcommittee

  • Community Engagement & Indigenous Affairs Director Jamie Kellicut who is on the "Systems" Subcommittee

  • HIR Wellness Institute Board Treasure Skye Alloway who is the Co-Chair for the Task Force. ​

​As part of our work we are on the Tracking Our Truth Project with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. We work along with community partners across the state who serve Indigenous/Native victims of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, sex trafficking, and MMIWR. In this project we provide culturally-specific legal advocacy with our National Tribal Trial College certified Lead Native Legal Advocate. We also provide:

  • Financial advocacy

  • Emotional support

  • CARES Victims Warmline (414-748-2592)

  • Crisis stabilization

  • Therapy

  • Occupational Therapy

  • Care services (court accompaniment, filing restraining orders, Safe At Home, coordination of resources, securing housing, providing emergency funds, and relocation)

  • HIR Wellness Institute is also part of the "We Are Here MKE" initiative to raise awareness on cultural specific programs serving victims of violence. 

Community Grieving & Healing

Community Grieving for Community Healing 

"Grieving is not done alone; it takes a community to hold space for the mourned."

- Lea S. Denny

 

This is not done over a few days, it takes continued space to cope with the loss, heartache, confusion, shock, and disbelief. Grief is complex. It can be connected to losing a person in your life or to losing something that you are missing in your life or community. Grief can't always be easily identified and can be disenfranchised, anticipatory, and unresolved. The symptoms of grief and loss can look like:

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Lack of focus

  • Loss of motivation

  • Hypervigilance

  • Disconnection

  • Heightened emotional or arousal responses

  • Avoidance

There may even be unseen parts of your grief that you hide from others and yourself. 
 

When grief has hit an entire family or community from MMIWR, suicide, homicide, overdose, or illness it is often coupled with other countless unmeasurable losses. This can become a collective grief. Although this affects everyone differently it is felt as a people. Our goal at HIR Wellness Institute is to hold space for our relatives to grieve, heal their hearts, foster relationships, and improve their community wellness. This is CAM™

website icons-14.png
MMIWR Resources

Our Picks for MMIWR Resources

There are too many valuable resources to ever be able to list them all out. We have chosen some to display here to serve our community and relatives who are on the front lines to promote systemic change, wellness, healing, and community awareness. We encourage you to reach out to the HIR Wellness Institute for more resources, trainings, and events around MMIWR. 

bottom of page