Robin PoorBear is the "Kind Hearted Woman"
Meet Robin PoorBear. She is a mother of two children, a member of the Sprit Lake Tribe, and an outspoken advocate working to raise awareness about sexual abuse, child abuse, and domestic violence. Robin is also the subject of a documentary that is titled for her Indian name, “Kind Hearted Woman.” The film follows her life over the past 5 years, a tumultuous and arduous journey of many difficult life lessons.
Early yesterday morning, we were talking on the phone, and I asked her how she was doing and feeling after the premiere showing of her documentary (April 1 & 2, 2013 on PBS). Robin mentions that she has received so much support and encouragement from viewers, she is amazed, “Even from men and elders, many who have been silent for years of their own sexual abuse and family violence. I feel bad for them. As Indians, we don’t want to talk about it, but I had to do it.”
Not currently employed, Robins says she is very busy, responding to all the calls and doing presentations and speaking engagements. Willing to go to where she is called, she wants to tell her story and offer hope to others.
In May, she will be coming to my home state, Washington. We are looking forward to meeting in person. Survivor to Survivor, we have an immediate connection and understanding of each other. It creates a space where there is safety and a sense of peace – we know so much about each others’ trials and tribulations without even speaking.
Robin shares her dream of creating and funding a long-term facility for women and children to heal from abuse, one that is near her reservation and will include traditional practices as well as mental health and sobriety support. She knows that violence does not stand alone, it is most always accompanied by other issues and concerns such as alcoholism and drug abuse, all of which may lead to mental health disorders and needs.
When I asked Kind Hearted Woman, “What’s next for you?” She replied, “I am just sick of it. There is so much going on here that needs to be fixed…” She indicates that there is some trouble within her tribe’s services that has received national attention, alleging children living in abusive homes or with abusive adults and a lack of tribal systems accountability.
Robin will not be done with her work until there is safety for women and children in her life. She joins a world full of women who agree with her!
If you would like more information about Robin (Charboneau) PoorBear, you can see her documentary, “Kind Hearted Woman” on PBS at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/kind-hearted-woman/