Arming Sisters Favorite 

Practitioner: 

Date: 

Aug 1 2014

Location: 

North Dakota, South Dakota

When Patricia Stonefish returned home to the United States from Egypt in 2014, she brought with her a new outlook for conceptualizing women's self defense. Having seen firsthand the benefits and empowerment of Taekwando/ Hapkido/ Gumdo classes for Egyptian women during and after the revolution in 2011, she decided to put her decade of martial arts training to good use on home turf. In an interview with LRInspire, Stonefish explained, "I have yet to find a self defense class for women that isn’t pitched as prevention. I despise that word. And prevention, to be frank, is bullshit. When you pitch women’s self defense as prevention you create an endless cycle of victimization which feeds into the rape culture of today’s media."

Stonefish is a Lakota/ German woman, and self described nomad. She was raised across the United States but has ties to the Great Plains. Born in Fargo ND, and having lived in Bismarck for a time, Stonefish has had a front row seat to countless instances of prejudice and violence involving Native American women. According to the United States DOJ, Native American women are 2.5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted. Additionally, Amnesty International found that 1 in 3 Native women reports being raped in their lifetime.

Arming Sisters is more than a non-profit-- it is a vision inspired to teach women the skills of self defense, and remind them of their great value and strength."I believe one of the quickest ways to empower the mind is through physical action. Before or after an attack. Arming Sisters is about healing. Not preventing."

She had already begun teaching workshops in the mid- and northwestern United States when she was contacted by Producing/Directing team Willow O'Feral and Brad Heck with the idea of documenting her experience. The documentary film began production when they hit the road in August of 2014. Now nearing completion the story follows Stonefish and others as they empower Native American women.

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