GREAT FALLS – “Girls are going missing, and things aren’t being done.”
Souta Calling Last is taking initiative.
“It’s mostly because the missing and murdered Indigenous crisis and me not wanting to sit back and wait for anyone else to do anything about it,” Calling Last said.
Calling Last is the Blackfeet Blood executive director of Indigenous Vision and she’s created an organization called the Missing, Murdered Indigenous Warriors.
“I’m trying to think of what we can do as Indigenous women to protect ourselves better while we wait for legislation,” Calling Last said.
She describes the movement as a two-part organization. The first part is attending a self-defense class. The second part is a war cry to honor the girls who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“It’s been years not that people are talking about this epidemic but there is nothing being done. That’s enough, enough already,” Calling Last said.
Calling Last said she’s been a victim of both verbal and physical abuse.
“I really believe in self-defense. It has saved me and protected me,” Calling Last.
That is why she and others on the Blackfeet Reservation hosted a self-defense class in Browning on Saturday.
“We need the tools and training to either verbally stop confrontation or to be able to physically protect ourselves if it goes beyond that,” Calling Last said.
Calling Last hopes the class sparks conversation and inspires others to organize self-defense classes across the state.
The event was sponsored in part by the Silent Warrior Coalition, a group that provides help to anyone in need on the Blackfeet Reservation.
“It makes me feel kind of emotional because it’s what we need. We have this missing and murdered indigenous women epidemic, but what we need is violence prevention,” Calling Last said.
Calling Last published an article in the Native Online News. To view it, you can click here.
Reporting by Elizabeth Transue for MTN News