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Tribal Victim Services Training and Technical Assistance

About Us

T-VSTTA is a capacity-building program providing tailored, hands-on training and technical assistance to victim service providers in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

Our Goals

  • Offer victim-centered, trauma-informed support.
  • Use the healing process as a touchstone.
  • Deliver high-quality, culturally relevant resources, training, and gatherings.
  • Ground service offerings in an understanding of sovereignty and history.
  • Make it easier for grantees to develop victim services programs.

Meet the Team

The T-VSTTA team is a blend of Native and non-Native professionals with over 100 years of combined experience in capacity building, victim services, program management, and AI/AN community engagement. Please keep the conversation going and let us know what support you need.


Michelle Adams

With over a decade of experience working in dangerous crimes against children as a forensic interviewer, bringing together multidisciplinary teams and training of law enforcement, Michelle's knowledge of direct victim services is extensive. She spent the last six years serving as the lead forensic interviewer for the Gila River Indian Community. Before that, she was the Director of Services and forensic interviewer for the Navajo County Attorney's Office Family Advocacy Centers. In 2011, Michelle became the first Nationally Certified Forensic Interviewer in the state of Arizona through the National Association of Certified Child Forensic Interviewers (NACCFI). She was also an Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (AZPOST) specialist instructor in multiple specialty areas for law enforcement; has sat on domestic violence fatality review boards; and has assisted in building, coordinating, and leading new multidisciplinary teams to respond to dangerous crimes against children, domestic violence, and sexual assault crimes. Her passion and dedication to serving victims is unwavering. She possesses a wide range of knowledge to support victims and front-line victim services professionals.

Talk to her about: Forensic interviewing, family advocacy centers, multidisciplinary team approach, direct victim services, community outreach, dangerous crimes against children, sex crimes investigations, and case coordination. [email protected] 


Valerie Dudley (Yup'ik, Athabascan, and Inupiag)

Valerie has worked in child welfare for over 19 years. Her passion is promoting and helping prepare culturally competent professionals to work with Alaska Native children and families. She has created and facilitated culturally competent and trauma-informed curriculum and trainings to promote safety and support. Located in Wasilla, Valerie has supported child advocates of abused and neglected children in state child protective services. Additionally, she is an experienced trainer and curriculum developer, and has successfully developed and managed programs serving rural Alaska. Valerie is an elected Tribal Council member for her Tribe where she also serves as the Secretary/Treasurer.

Talk to her about: Trauma-informed care, child protection services, child abuse and neglect, Tribal policies and procedures, curriculum development, and mandatory reporting of child abuse and neglect. [email protected] 


Elsie Boudreau (Yup'ik)

Located in Alaska, Elsie has over 30 years of experience in victim services, with 20+ years working within Al/AN communities. She is an empathetic and authentic voice in trauma, trauma-informed care, sexual abuse, substance use, and the child protection system. Elsie has significant experience working with Alaska Native villages and victim service providers. She profoundly understands AI/AN communities' challenges in navigating crime and victimization and supporting survivors and their families. She uses that experience to educate communities, create platforms that unify voices, and strengthen and heal communities.

Talk to her about: Alaska Native victim services, healing-centered engagement, trauma-informed care, child protection, sexual abuse, and community support. [email protected]


Melissa Lopez 

After working in the victim services field with the Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma in Indian Child Welfare and Domestic Violence for fifteen years, Melissa is intimately familiar with the challenges of victim service providers in AI/AN communities. As the Director of the Domestic Violence and Indian Child Welfare Department, Melissa was responsible for crafting grant proposals, developing program budgets, building partnerships, developing policies and procedures, and collecting/maintaining relevant data for reporting purposes. Her tenure with the Absentee Shawnee Tribe gave her first-hand knowledge of grant writing, management, and compliance. Melissa is compassionate and possesses a wide range of knowledge to support front-line victim service professionals as they balance time between survivor support and administrative responsibilities. 

Talk to her about: Victim advocacy, case management, community outreach and awareness, program management and development, confidentiality, transitional housing, and grant management and reporting. [email protected]


Marlene Mack (Iñupiat) 

Marlene was born and raised in Alaska and is of Iñupiat and Swedish descent. She is a proud shareholder of the Bering Straits Native Corporation and the Sitnasuak Tribal Corporation and an enrolled Tribal member of the Nome Eskimo Community. Located in Anchorage, Marlene has dedicated her career to serving people throughout Alaska. She has 25 years of experience working with Alaska Native communities, with over 12 of them providing direct support to victims of crime. She has also overseen federal victim services grant programs in the nonprofit sector. 

Talk to her about: Non-profit administration, project development, cross-movement collaboration, organizational development, and culturally relevant strategies. [email protected]


Jana Pfeiffer (Diné)

Jana Pfeiffer is a citizen of the Navajo Nation from Cahone Mesa Utah. She has over 8 years of experience working with Tribal communities and organizations. A former lead case manager at First Nations Community HealthSource in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Jana understands the importance of creating systems of safety and accountability for victims of crime. In 2021 she was appointed to the New Mexico Missing and Murdered Indigenous Person Task Force. As a member of the Task Force, she helped legislate the creation of the Indigenous Missing and Murdered Unit at the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General—she was also their human trafficking program coordinator. Jana is a compassionate believer in the power of storytelling in the healing journey. 

Talk to her about: Survivor storytelling, traditional wellness programs, multidisciplinary collaboration, inter-governmental coordination, and human trafficking. [email protected]


Ashley Piña

After working in law enforcement for over ten years as a Detective in the Domestic Violence Unit and the Special Victims Unit with the Gila River Indian Community, Ashley understands the importance of trauma-informed practices, innovative collaborations, and victim-centered investigations. She has seen first-hand the unique challenges faced by AI/AN communities which underscore importance of tailored access to services for victims. She is a strategic thinker with experience delivering training and technical assistance to child advocacy centers and multidisciplinary teams on domestic violence, sexual assault, teen dating violence, and child abuse. Ashley's combined experience and education in clinical counseling complement her dedication to teaching others. She is passionate about implementing new solutions to streamline victim services.

Talk to her about: Crisis intervention, risk and safety assessment, child advocacy center models, trauma-informed responses, compassion fatigue, multidisciplinary collaboration, mandatory reporting, community outreach, child welfare, and law enforcement partnership building. [email protected]


Samantha Samuel-Nakka

Samantha brings over a decade of experience in addressing gender-based violence and human trafficking, in a variety of roles including community engagement, direct victim services and developing programs focused on long-term healing. 

She is an experienced trainer and works through the lens of equity, intersectionality, and cultural humility. Her experience includes working with the International Indigenous Women’s Forum on advocacy related to violence against Indigenous women at the United Nations Permanent Forum of Indigenous Issues. Most recently, Samantha provided technical assistance through the OVC Human Trafficking Capacity Building Center supporting victim service organizations and Tribal communities to start, grow and sustain their anti-trafficking work. She is passionate about centering the voices of survivors and working with underserved communities. 

Talk to her about: direct victim services, human trafficking and intersecting issue areas including domestic violence and MMIP, survivor-leadership, cultivating partnerships, serving marginalized communities, equity, and inclusion.[email protected]