Rachel Carr-Shunk, Executive Director

Rachel Carr-Shunk is an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Utilizing her experience working with and for tribal communities, she has presented on a variety of topics, including domestic violence and sexual assault in Indian Country, historical trauma, and improving the tribal systemic response to domestic violence and sexual assault (DV/SA). In addition to her professional experience, she recently completed her MSW to strengthen her ability to understand and broaden her perspective on complex social issues. Ms. Carr-Shunk has also advocated for domestic violence legislation, including the Violence Against Women Act (2013), on the local, state and national level. Rachel currently serves as the Executive Director for Uniting Three Fires Against Violence (U.T.F.A.V). Prior to her current role, Ms. Carr-Shunk served as the Policy Specialist for UTFAV and as a Victim Advocate for the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians/Advocacy Resource Center.

Email: | Cell Phone: 906-440-4200

Jena McKerchie, Community Outreach Specialist

Jena McKerchie is an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians and has recently joined the Uniting Three Fires Against Violence (U.T.F.A.V.) team as the new Community Outreach Specialist.  Jena has been in the Victim Advocacy field since 2003 as a Victim Advocate, Direct Services Case Worker and Grant Coordination Assistant Manager for the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians Advocacy Resource Center (ARC) in Sault Ste. Marie, MI.  Jena has worked extensively with victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Stalking, Teen Dating Violence and Human Trafficking, offering advocacy services throughout the Sault Tribe’s seven county service area.  Jena worked closely with the legal systems of Tribal, State and Federal court and was a member of the Sault Tribe Domestic Violence Court, the Chippewa County Domestic Violence Task Force, the Eastern Upper Peninsula Sexual Violence Prevention team and the Upper Peninsula Human Trafficking Task Force.  Jena lives in Sault Ste. Marie, MI.  She obtained her higher education at Lake Superior State University where she earned an Associate’s Degree in Substance Abuse and Treatment and a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services.

Email:  / 906-748-1916

Vanessa Owaski-Patzwald, Training Coordinator

Vanessa Owaski-Patzwald is an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Vanessa has been the Training Coordinator at Uniting Three Fires Against Violence (U.T.F.A.V.) since January 2018. She previously worked for 12 years for her tribe, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, as a Court Reporter and then as Legal Secretary for the Advocacy Resource Center’s Legal Aid program. Vanessa is a graduate of Lake Superior State University with an associate degree in office administration. 

Email: | Cell Phone: 906-440-9418


Sandra Pilgrim-Lewis, DVS Project Director

Sandra Pilgrim Lewis is a lifetime social change activist and advocate who has remained dedicated to seeking opportunities for creating chances for opening doors and diminishing access and social barriers. Sandra has remained dedicated to working toward social change across a broad spectrum of issues of oppression across her lifetime. Ending violence against women has remained central to her work. She holds a post graduate degree in education. Sandra worked as an Executive Director of dual organizations in Michigan and Alaska for nearly two decades. She also served on the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence, Praxis International and Sunrise Center Boards of Directors and held an active role in the Alaska Native Sisterhood. Additionally, Sandra is active in supporting tribal programs. She is a supporting member of Uniting Three Fires Against Violence Coalition in Michigan. Sandra currently, humbly serves as a Project Manager for the Michigan Division of Victim Services. Sandra remains a constant voice, and advocate for expanding access to resources for culturally specific programs and communities with a concentration on domestic and sexual violence. Sandra concurrently serves as faculty to Praxis International, Advocacy Learning Center, rural and Community Assessment programs. For forty years, Sandra has provided technical assistance, change impact and prevention education on a national, and international scale.

Email: | Cell Phone: 906-203-1830