Cherokee attorney earns national victim's service award


Dianne Barker Harrold is a 2013 National Crime Victims’ Service Award honoree.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. —For seven years Dianne Barker Harrold was stalked and living in an abusive relationship, but that experience empowered her to become an attorney and dedicate 30 years advocating for battered women and crime victims.

Her career, which includes prosecuting abusers, founding a women’s shelter, acting as a consultant for the U.S. Department of Justice and speaking to tribes across the country on victim advocacy, has earned Barker Harrold a deserving spot as a 2013 National Crime Victim Service Award honoree.

Barker Harrold received the honor Wednesday from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in Washington, D.C. Last year’s winners included Hollywood actor Mickey Rooney.

“This is definitely a humbling experience for me because I know there are advocates all over Indian Country that do great work, and I share that honor with all of them,” said Barker Harrold, who works as the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council attorney. “Working with crime and domestic abuse victims has always been a passion of mine since I was also a victim of domestic violence in the 1970s.”

Barker Harrold, a native of Stilwell, spent eight years as a district attorney for Adair, Cherokee, Sequoyah and Wagoner counties and was twice selected as Oklahoma’s Outstanding District Attorney. She was one of the founding mothers of Help-in-Crisis in Tahlequah, which is now in its 33rd year sheltering abuse victims. She is also employed by Unified Solutions Tribal Community Development Group in Tempe, Ariz., as a resource delivery coordinator and provides training and technical assistance to U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime grantees.

“We are proud of Dianne for winning this great honor and recognition. Without doubt, Dianne is one of the most prominent voices in all of Indian Country for women’s rights,” said Bill John Baker, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. “She is highly respected for her advocacy and for her progressive ideas on ways to better serve Native survivors of violence. Her breadth and depth of experience is second to none.”

Barker Harrold has earned numerous awards over the years, including the Women Holding Up the World Award from the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault and both the Heart of Gold Award and the Shining Star Award from the Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

In January 2013, Chief Baker appointed Barker Harrold as a founding member of the Charles L. Head One Fire Against Violence Task Force. It was established to coordinate services for abuse and mental health victims with protective orders, job placement, emergency housing and other resource referrals.

“We share a common goal of wanting to improve the lives of Cherokee people, especially our most vulnerable citizens: women, children and elders,” Principal Chief Baker said. “We believe it is a basic human right to live a healthy life—free from fear and intimidation—and we’re so grateful to have Dianne Barker Harrold with us helping make those goals a reality.”

Executive Director of Unified Solutions Stanley L. Pryor, who nominated Barker Harrold, said the recognition couldn’t be more deserving.

“She has faced and overcome personal victimizations and challenges when services did not exist, supported victims in the maze of Indian Country Justice Systems, and continues to train, mentor and support tribal victims of crime,” Pryor said.

Barker Harrold lives in Tahlequah with her husband, Dale, a semi-retired police officer. The couple has three daughters, 11 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

Cherokee Nation News Release
Julie Hubbard - 918-207-3896 

© Cherokee Nation - All Rights Reserved