Public Awareness

Lifeways: A Journey Through Survival to Advocacy

Lifeways: A Journey Through Survival to Advocacy is a photo essay by award winning photo journalist, Nobuko Oyabu. Lifeways focuses on eight Native Americans representing nations throughout North and South Dakota. Their portraits tell the stories of the journey of healing from victim to survivor to advocate.

The commonality that weaves throughout all of the Lifeways stories is the inter-connectedness of all living things. We see that the hurt of one is the hurt of all, and the honor of one is the honor of all. Their journey is one that works at rebuilding families and communities; beginning with restoring the Sacred to all of their relationships, starting with themselves, then with their families, their communities, their Nations, and ultimately humanity.

We would like to honor and thank the following people for their strength in contributing their stories to Lifeways; for their leadership within our communities; and for continuing on the path of peace. May their stories provide direction in the journey from victim to survivor.

Catherine Grey Day
Roberta Crows Breast
Richard Milda
Connie Fox
Carla Thompson Kurtz
Cynthia LaCounte
Carol Maicki
Krystal Johnson

Lifeways is a project of the North Dakota Council on Abused Women's Services/Coalition Against Sexual Assault in North Dakota. For information about how to access the exhibit contact us at 888-255-6240 or Email

Finding Truth in Telling

To look at another Native whose spirit has been hurt.
To read about their lives, the experiences and the pain.
To see for myself that they are healing and their lives are not
as they were when they are remembering.

It is in sharing our experiences good and bad
that we learn to be comfortable in our selves, and our experiences.
No, it did not have to happen.
No, it is not my fault, and yes it was painful.

To know the truth about abuse,
and see that my feelings are not alone.

It is then we can really start to live---without violence.

Contributed by Spirit Lake Victim Assistance, Fort Totten, North Dakota