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CSKT hosts self-defense class for MMIW Awareness Day

Salish Kootenai College was the sight for an MMIW Awareness Day event on Sunday
Posted at 10:01 AM, May 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-06 12:01:20-04

PABLO — The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes hosted a self-defense course taught by a professional fighter because knowing good self-defense could save your life on the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW).

Salish Kootenai College was the sight for an MMIW Awareness Day event on Sunday where families shared their personal stories, and then learned self-defense techniques from a professional MMA fighter.

Mattea Grant — who helped organize the event — says even though it is hard to be positive on this day bringing in a professional to teach women how to be safe is uplifting for the community.

“I thought that’s really important you know to have that reminder that we are strong because it is a really hard epidemic,” Grant said.

“You know we heard some stories today and I can’t imagine a family member going missing and what it feels like and so being those good community members those good relatives to be like we got you you’re strong, how can we carry you on our backs.”

Ilima-Lei McFarland — a native Hawaiian who fights professionally for Bellator MMA — was made aware of the MMIW issue in 2018.

When she learned about this problem she decided she would use her learned fighting talents and travel to different tribes to teach self-defense classes.

“I’m gonna teach these women and our native communities how to fight back,” McFarland said.

“How to literally fight back against attackers, against domestic violence against all of these issues that typically tend to plague a lot of our native communities.”

However, McFarland also wants the people who take her class to leave with more than just knowledge of how to fight.

“You know while we do a lot of physical things in this self-defense workshop it is more so that mental, emotional, empowering feeling that they get leaving the workshop.”

You can donate to CSKT’s MMIP fund here.