2021 Indigenous Communities Fellowship


Waking Women Healing Institute

Healing and justice for Missing Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit people

Team Lead

Kristin Welch

Solution Pitch

The Problem

Indigenous women, girls, and Two-Spirit people are murdered at a rate 10 times higher than the national average, and 84 percent of them will experience violence in their lifetime. Murder is their third leading cause of death, yet there is no meaningful action to address the lack of prevention, re-traumatization by systems response, and lack of representation in media and data.

The Solution

ArcGIS Online allows for one virtual space to create interactive maps, store and analyze indigenous led data, and coordinate solutions across regions and jurisdictions. Through ArcGIS Online and Story Maps, Indigenous people could capture their own data, heal through traditional storytelling, and increase access to culturally founded services for survivors of sexual violence and families of MMIW. With an Indigenous and survivor-centered approach, these interactive story maps will use a combination of spatial analytics and traditional tools for healing, such as storytelling, to provide a scope of the problem and gaps in care and systems, which can then be used to inform solutions to prevent further violence.


  • Serving 5 tribes and 1,000 people across Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan.

Market Opportunity

Many states, including WI, have MMIW task forces. At a federal level, Missing Murdered Indigenous Persons Coordinators and Cold Case Units have been enacted. The purpose of these groups is to address the issues of non-response; however, families are often still being ignored in media, data, and meaningful interventions. Most of the federal offices dedicated to addressing MMIW focus only on improving the response, and offer no comprehensive long-term solutions to prevent this violence.

Currently in Wisconsin, Waking Women Healing Institute is the only organization dedicated solely to addressing violence against Indigenous women. The majority of MMIW organizations across the nation are grassroots with limited funding available to them. There is also limited to no data on MMIW and how much money is being directed towards justice, healing, and prevention efforts. Thus, this issue is highly underfunded and lacks data to provide accurate scope of the issue.

Organization Highlights

  • Helped pass over 20 resolutions that acknowledge May 5 as National Day of Awareness for MMIW.

  • Team Lead Kristin Welch is part of the Governor Evers Council on Mental Health, the Wisconsin Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) Task Force, and received the 2020 ESTHER’s Community Leadership Award.

Partnership Goals

Waking Women Healing Institute seeks:

  • Expertise for building foundational accounting practices.

  • Support for training others to use ArcGIS Online and Story Maps platform and tools.

  • Improved website development.

  • Legal consultation to protect intellectual properties and for trademarking. 

  • Expansion of board with more women leaders and survivors of violence.

  • Exposure and media engagement.

  • Better data collection practices to measure impact.

Solver Team

Organization Type:

Gresham, United States


Working In:
United States

Current Employees: 
7 part-time

Solution Website:

Solution Team:

  • Kristin Welch Founder and Executive Director, Waking Women Healing Institute

Indigenous Communities Fellowship

Protecting Indigenous Women and Girls

WWHI is a storymapping project which documents violence against Indigenous women and girls with the aim of identifying gaps in response systems and promoting healing. Kristin Welch, a 2021 Indigenous Communities Fellow who leads WWHI, won the 2021 Vodafone Prize and went on to receive an additional $25,000 to develop her storymapping pilot, in addition to in-kind support from Vodafone employees. WWHI has also acted as an informal advisor to better Vodafone’s work with Indigenous communities.

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