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Empowering Indigenous Women and Communities Through Self-Defense

Self-defense training promotes body-oriented healing and practical safety planning. Feminist empowerment approaches to self-defense teach a wide range of resistance strategies, which include assertive communication, boundary setting, de-escalation, strategic physical escape, and physical resistance. Empowerment-based programs emphasize choice and resilience while actively challenging victim-blaming. Research shows that empowerment self-defense programs reduce trauma symptoms, help survivors find their voices, and prevent sexual assault.

This webinar presents one of the few empowerment self-defense programs that is located on sovereign tribal land and led by indigenous women. The Turtle Mountain Chippewa reservation in rural North Dakota is home to an emerging IMPACT self-defense program. Presenters will describe their collaborative efforts to develop an IMPACT program that is culturally relevant and geographically accessible to rural indigenous women and girls.


Shanda Poitra
Founder & Executive Director
Turtle Mountain Empowerment Self-Defense
Shanda Poitra is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians. She developed the courage to leave an abusive partner after taking an IMPACT self-defense class, and since then, has made it her mission to bring IMPACT to Indian Country. She is the founder and Executive Director of Turtle Mountain Empowerment Self-defense, an IMPACT program in development. She is the first indigenous woman to found an IMPACT program, and she leads a team that has made IMPACT relevant to the unique realities of rural indigenous survivors.


Meg Stone
Executive Director
IMPACT Boston, an affiliate of Triangle
Meg Stone is the Executive Director of IMPACT Boston, an abuse prevention and empowerment self-defense program that is part of the disability service and advocacy organization Triangle. She is leading the IMPACT Boston team in providing training and organizational support to Turtle Mountain Empowerment Self-Defense. Meg also serves as the Project Director of IMPACT:Ability, an abuse prevention program focused on people with disabilities. In this capacity she leads the organizational abuse prevention efforts at schools and disability service agencies in Massachusetts. Meg’s writing on issues of child sexual abuse, sexual violence and self-defense have been published in the Washington Post, STIR Journal, The Establishment, Role Reboot, Ms., Cognoscenti, the opinion blog of the Boston NPR station, and several Boston-area regional newspapers.

Registration is closed.

Please check the Empowering Indigenous Women and Communities Through Self-Defense resource page for the recording.

Jan 01
From: 12:00 am - 12:00 am
Zoom: Online Meeting

Communities of Focus:
Intersectional, Rural, Tribal
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