Housed in IHS offices in Warm Springs
The Indian Health Service and the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation jointly announced the opening of a Child Abuse Intervention Center in Warm Springs on Nov. 5.
The center is a medical clinic where Indian Health Service caregivers will interview Native children who may have been sexually or physically abused. The center will also provide children with complete medical examinations in a comfortable, child-friendly environment. Cases of suspected child abuse will be referred by the center to appropriate law enforcement officials.
The center is named "Snwiyaila Miyanashna" in Warm Springs' native tongue, which translates as "Talking for the Children."
The Child Abuse Intervention Center is housed in the IHS offices on the Warm Springs Reservation. The center was formally blessed Monday by tribal elders, in a ceremony attended by Warm Springs Tribal Council members, as well as tribal police officers, prosecutors, victim advocates, and children's protective services caseworkers.
Also attending were federal representatives from the IHS, U.S. Attorney's Office, and Federal Bureau of Investigation.
"This Child Abuse Intervention Center is only the second of its kind on tribal lands in the United States," said Dr. Rachel Locker, the IHS physician serving as the executive director of Snwiyaila Miyanashna.
"The Warm Springs tribal elders have shown incredible leadership in protecting the children in their tribal nation," she said.
For many years, the Warm Springs community has operated a Child Abuse Multi-Disciplinary Team, consisting of tribal and federal prosecutors, police officers, FBI agents, children's caseworkers, and medical personnel.
The MDT meets monthly to review and discuss child abuse investigations and prosecutions.
"Our Child Abuse Multi-Disciplinary Team has been working for almost two years to make this Child Abuse Intervention Center a reality," said Nancy Seyler, a Warm Springs tribal member and the chairwoman of the Warm Springs MDT.
"This center will strengthen our tribal sovereignty by allowing us to care for our children and honor our culture right here in our own community," Seyler said.