Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

ESPN's Blackfeet Boxing: Not Invisible Shows Native Girls Taking Back Strength Amid Violence Epidemic


"My greatest fear is that we won't ever find my sister, but we will always search for Ashley. For the rest of our lives, if we have to," Kimberly Loring Heavyrunner says, as the camera sweeps over the vast expanse of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Long grasses sway in the plains wind as she and a small group of others tread and retread the land. Her sister, Ashley Loring Heavyrunner was just 20 years old when she disappeared from the reservation, now three years ago in the summer of 2017. Her family is still searching for her to this day.

According to the Sovereign Bodies Institute, Ashley represents just one of the many of Indigenous women and girls in Montana that are missing, murdered, or whose status is unknown. Even more disturbing, Native American women comprise just 3% of Montana's total population, yet they account for 30% of all cases involving missing women.

It is in this harrowing context, the worldwide epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women, that the events of ESPN's documentary Blackfeet Boxing: Not Invisible, directed by Kirsten Lappas, unfold. Here we find Frank Kipp, a third-generation boxer, amateur welterweight and former probation officer on the Blackfeet Reservation. Since founding the Blackfeet Nation Boxing Club in 2003, he's gone on to train more than 500 young people in the sport of boxing and self defense in response to the ongoing of violence against Native women. His daughter, Donna Kipp, is among his students.


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