What is Nichusak?

Nichushak (my women friends) is a women-led working group composed of social activists, lawyers, and artists. The group was brought together by the Lenape Center in Spring 2021 to focus on the issues surrounding the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples (MMIP) crisis in Lenapehoking.

Our mission is to promote the safety and wellbeing of Indigenous peoples through policy advocacy, social engagement, and artistic expression.

Nichusak collaborates and supports established advocacy and awareness efforts surrounding the MMIP crisis. The group works to meaningfully and substantively add to the existing conversations, spread awareness, advocate, and educate the public on the MMIP crisis. Nichusak works on restorative justice with a focus on the prevention of MMIP and its consequences for families, communities, and society.

Our Members

Heather Bruegl

Heather Bruegl is an enrolled citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and first line descendent Stockbridge-Munsee. She currently resides in upstate New York on the homelands of her Ancestors. Heather is a historian by training and lectures on Indigenous history, issues in Indian Country and Federal Indian Policy.

Heather Bruegl is an enrolled citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and first line descendent Stockbridge-Munsee. She currently resides in upstate New York on the homelands of her Ancestors. Heather is a historian by training and lectures on Indigenous history, issues in Indian Country and Federal Indian Policy.

Mary Kathryn Nagle

Mary Kathryn Nagle is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She is also a partner at Pipestem and Nagle Law, P.C., where she works to protect tribal sovereignty and the inherent right of Indian Nations to protect their women and children from domestic violence and sexual assault. From 2015 to 2019, she served as the first Executive Director of the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program.

Mary Kathryn Nagle is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She is also a partner at Pipestem and Nagle Law, P.C., where she works to protect tribal sovereignty and the inherent right of Indian Nations to protect their women and children from domestic violence and sexual assault. From 2015 to 2019, she served as the first Executive Director of the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program. Nagle is an alum of the 2013 Public Theater Emerging Writers Program. Productions include Miss Lead (Amerinda, 59E59), Fairly Traceable (Native Voices at the Autry), Sovereignty (Arena Stage), Manahatta (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Return to Niobrara (Rose Theater), and Crossing Mnisose (Portland Center Stage), Sovereignty (Marin Theatre Company), and Manahatta (Yale Repertory Theatre). She has received commissions from Arena Stage, the Rose Theater (Omaha, Nebraska), Portland Center Stage, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Yale Repertory Theatre, Round House Theater, and Oregon Shakespeare Theater.

She is most well known for her work on ending violence against Native women. Her play Sliver of a Full Moon has been performed in law schools from Stanford to Harvard, NYU and Yale. She has worked extensively on Violence Against Women Act re-authorization, and she has filed numerous briefs in the United States Supreme Court, as a part of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center’s VAWA Sovereignty Initiative, including most recently, United States v. Cooley, Oklahoma v. McGirt, and Oklahoma v. Murphy. She represents numerous families of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls, including Kaysera Stops Pretty Places’ family who have brought a public campaign demanding an investigation into her murder. More can be read here: www.justiceforkaysera.org

Caroline LaPorte

Caroline LaPorte (Immediate Descendant Little River Band of Ottawa Indians) is an Associate Judge at the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, an attorney and judicial advisor to Tribal Court of the Seminole Tribe of Florida and is the Director of the Tribal Safe Housing Center at the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.

Caroline LaPorte (Immediate Descendant Little River Band of Ottawa Indians) is an Associate Judge at the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, an attorney and judicial advisor to Tribal Court of the Seminole Tribe of Florida and is the Director of the Tribal Safe Housing Center at the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center. Caroline previously served as NIWRC's Senior Native Affairs Policy Advisor. She graduated from the University of Miami School of Law, where she was named a Henry Bandier Fellow, and received the Natasha Pettigrew Memorial Award for her time as a fellow in the Children and Youth Law Clinic. Caroline's work focuses primarily on housing, human rights, children, firearms, and criminal justice focused within the gender-based violence framework. She serves on the American Bar Association's Victims Rights Task Force, co-chairs the Victim’s Committee for the Criminal Justice Section of the ABA, is a member of the Lenape Center’s MMIW Task Force, on the Board of Directors for StrongHearts Native Helpline as well as the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, is a founding member of the National Working Group on Safe Housing for American Indians and Alaska Natives, and is an adjunct instructor at the University of Miami teaching Native and Indigenous studies.

Chelsea Kimura

Chelsea Kimura is a direct descendant of the Iñupiat people of Northern Alaskan. She is a licensed social worker currently working as a Behavior Health Patient Navigator for the Native American Rehabilitation Association in Portland, Oregon. Her current role is focused on cancer prevention and care, trauma-informed care, and advocacy for Native communities.

Chelsea Kimura is a direct descendant of the Iñupiat people of Northern Alaskan. She is a licensed social worker currently working as a Behavior Health Patient Navigator for the Native American Rehabilitation Association in Portland, Oregon. Her current role is focused on cancer prevention and care, trauma-informed care, and advocacy for Native communities. She currently serves as the liaison for the Lenape Center’s MMIP group. She is a graduate of the University of Oregon’s B.S. in Family and Human Services program and received her Master’s in Social Work degree from Columbia University.

Jocelyn Getgen Kestenbaum

Jocelyn Getgen Kestenbaum is Associate Professor of Clinical Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law where she directs the Benjamin B. Ferencz Human Rights and Atrocity Prevention Clinic and the Cardozo Law Institute in Holocaust and Human Rights (CLIHHR).

Jocelyn Getgen Kestenbaum is Associate Professor of Clinical Law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law where she directs the Benjamin B. Ferencz Human Rights and Atrocity Prevention Clinic and the Cardozo Law Institute in Holocaust and Human Rights (CLIHHR). Jocelyn’s scholarship focuses on human rights, public health, and atrocity prevention, especially related to preventing and responding to sexual and gender-based crimes, slavery and the slave trade, Indigenous rights, and human rights violations against minority groups. She holds a JD from Cornell Law School and an MPH from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.