Young Lakota woman Patricia (Patti) Stein is a self-described “veterinary nurse, artist, taekwondo junkie, nomad” and strong advocate for her people.
Two years ago, she decided to move to Egypt, where she began working with Tahrir Bodyguard, a civilian group that organized to keep protesters in Tahrir Square safer from sexual harassment, assault, rape and political attacks.
Through her experiences with Tahrir Bodyguard, Stein, who holds a black belt in Hapkido, realized she had the training and ability to help her sisters on Turtle Island by similarly teaching them potentially life-saving self-defense skills. “Here in the U.S. and Canada, Native females are targeted with sexual violence at a far greater percentage than the rest of the population,” Stein said in a video about the mission of her nonprofit Arming Sisters. “One in three Native American women will be raped in her lifetime,” she stressed.
Arming Sisters is Stein’s crowd-funded initiative that intends to empower Native women to fight back against sexual predators and abuse. Stein’s goal is to visit the 10 most populated reservations in the U.S. and 10 indigenous territories in Canada between July 1 and September 15. “Every stop in our travels will consist of a six hour compact women's self defense course given twice at each location,” Stein explains on the IndieGoGo campaign to raise funding for transportation, accommodations and operational costs. “Awareness, mentality, and sharing stories of strength will cover the first two hours, followed by four hours of application. Every woman will be able to walk away knowing ten simple moves that could save her life.”
Stein speaks from experience—self-defense moves have protected her from three assaults, she shares in her video.
While Stein is setting out as “a team of one,” she hopes Arming Sisters will grow to include permanent women's self defense instructors located across Turtle Island.
The only thing standing in her way, she says, is funding. Stein is campaigning to raise $25,000 on IndieGoGo at www.indiegogo.com/projects/arming-sisters and through direct PayPayl donations on the Arming Sisters website, armingsisters.com/donations.