A walk to plant pinwheels
LVN Editor Emeritus
A beautiful spring morning greeted about 90 walkers who wanted to bring more attention to child abuse and how to prevent it.
In honor of Child Abuse Prevention Month, members from the Fallon Paiute Shoshone Tribe and the community made the short walk from Oats Park to Fox Peak to plant pinwheels in the grass facing Williams Avenue They wanted to remember victims and to bring more awareness to a problem facing every town and city in the United States.
The day was one of renewal, not only for FSPT’s Youth and Family Services recognizing child abuse victims but also honoring the planet with the 20th annual Earth Day celebration with static displays set up at Oats Park.
FSPT offers preventive services and parenting classes, said director Patricia Henry, who has 40 years in handling children abuse and neglect. In addition to working with adults and family members, she said Youth and Family Services educates children on safety and their rights. Henry said education and mitigation are both a community and state effort.
“We’re collaborating with the Churchill Community Coalition and (Nevada) Division of Child and Family Services. We collaborate every single day,” she pointed out. “My big goal is to educate and collaborate with non-natives to educate them to who we are and what we’re about.”
One way to bring attention is with the walk.
“The walk is a good way to come together,” she added. “Native people walk because it’s a good way to recognize causes.”
Henry said while child and elderly abuse is a problem for everyone, she said American Indians tend to face higher incidences of child abuse, and instead of facing local or state charges, residents who live on the reservation are, instead, subject to federal law.
“On federal land, it’s a felony,” Henry said. “A person could do time in a federal prison. The laws are stringent on a reservation.”
Henry, though, quickly pointed out the punishment for child abuse on all reservations has been a good deterrent. Additionally, she said each reservation provides its own services to combat abuse as required by federal law.
“The Bureau of Indian Affairs and the FBI try to work together on both prevention and intervention,” she said. “Most of the time, we do come together and educate others.”
With the additional emphasis placed on education and intervention, Henry said FPST and other tribes have seen an increase in the number of abuse reports, many of those coming from second- and third-generation individuals or families. She said the more people acting on child abuse, the more reports Family and Youth Services receives.
Henry recognized a family prior to Saturday’s short walk, and they led the group to Fox Peak. She said the Boney family showed great growth when facing adversity. During 2018, Tyrone Boney said his family had a rough year when the natural birth mother took their 11-year-old daughter away from Boney by making unsubstantiated charges against him for child abuse.
“We proved her wrong and I got my little girl back,” he said.
Although the ordeal was long, Boney said his employment with Tribal Health Services was reinstated, and his character was cleared. Taylor Boney, the girl’s stepmother, said it was tough seeing her gone and the toll taken on her father, but the family kept fighting to prove the accusations were false.
“I love being her stepmother,” Taylor Boney said.