Native Circle Program Overview and May Training Information

The NMU Center for Native American Studies (CNAS) and the NMU Social Work Department (SWD) have received support from the U.S. Department of Justice - Office of Victim Services to implement the Serving Native Survivors Circle [Native Circle] project, a three-year endeavor that addresses the following challenges:

  • Obstacles associated with internship field placement, employee recruitment, retention, and upward mobility within Bureau of Indian Affairs or Tribally Run Victim Service Programs (BIA-TRVSP) in rural areas;
  • The lack of Native American Studies inclusivity within social work curriculum and subsequently, the limited numbers of social work professionals with such expertise; and
  • The low numbers of American Indians graduating from university, specifically within the social work fields.

The Native Circle project seeks to increase internship opportunities and other incentives for NMU students wanting to work in the field of Social Work and with tribal communities. Existing NAS and SW courses are being transitioned into online platforms for students in rural areas. Academic programs have been added to the Native American Studies and Social Work curriculum to engage students with these topics and conversations in order to better serve Tribal Nations in rural areas.

  • a new associate degree in Native American Community Services (effective Fall 2018)
  • a new minor area of study in Native American Community Services (effective Fall 2018)
  • and a Master's of Social Work (effective Fall 2019 - contact Social Work directly)

Privileging American Indian Ways of Knowing in Victim Services

k'chi miigwech/Great thanks to all of those who pre-registered for this professional development training. There are still spots open and available. However, pre-registration has now closed. If you register on-site, you may not be eligible for lunch on Friday. You will not be eligible for lodging support.

Thursday, May 9 from 1pm - 5pm ET | Friday, May 10 from 9am - 4pm ET
Whitman Hall Commons (room 136)
NMU Campus | Marquette, MI
Host lodging: Econo Lodge of Marquette


This FREE training is designed for tribal victim services employees such as line staff, unit managers, and outreach workers. However, it will be beneficial for anyone working with Tribal communities and Tribal citizens. Students in Native American Studies and Social Work as well as non-tribal victim services employees are also welcome to attend.


Confirmed Speakers: 

  • Author, professor of Sociology, and director of of Indigenous Tribal Studies at North Dakota State University, Dr. Michael Yellow Bird (Hidatsa, Sahnish) will be our keynote trainer. Learn more about Dr. Yellow Bird here. Dr. Michael Yellow Bird has put together an outline of his training - click here.
  • Former Minnesota state representative, and practicing attorney at the Jacobson Law Group, Susan Allen (Dakota, Lakota, Anishinaabe) will be speaking about legal framework and implementation regarding tribal victim services and VAWA. Learn more about Ms. Allen  here
  • April Lindala (Grand River Six Nations) is the director of the NMU Center for Native American Studies. She will be speaking on stereotypes and imagery within the media and how it affects the relationship between Native and non-Native peoples today. Learn more about Ms. Lindala here

The aim of this training is to give participants tools to develop greater cultural humility and mindfulness, especially when working with victims and survivors of sexual violence in tribal communities.

This training is supported by cooperative agreement number 2017-VR-GX-K026, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this product are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Native Circle Team looks forward to hosting you at this training on May 9 & 10.

Never been to Marquette before or need a refresher?

Native Circle Host Hotel: Econo Lodge Lakeside of Marquette

Locally-owned restaurants (not a comprehensive list): Eastside Originals 

Visit Marquette Travel Guide The comprehensive list!

Directions to Northern Michigan University

NMU Campus Map The training will be held in Whitman Hall.