Tag Archives: Indigenous Women

New Intertribal Parenting Group Offers Indigenous Families a Way to Reconnect With Tradition

by Alexa Peters


When Kendra Aguilar was a child, her grandfather gifted her a Chia Pet. But rather than plant the chia seeds as the instructions described, she ate them.

Aguilar, a descendant of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians, long told the story as an example of the funny, impulsive things kids do. Then, years later, she shared the memory with a Chumash friend and realized something deeper might be at work.

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NEWS GLEAMS: Seattle Foundation Names New Leader, ‘Seattle Within Reach,’ & More!

curated by Emerald Staff

A round-up of news and announcements we don’t want to get lost in the fast-churning news cycle!


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Free Maddesyn George: Native Mother and Survivor Faces Hearing

by Amanda Ong


In July of 2020, Maddesyn George, a 27-year-old Native mother and member of the Colville Confederated Tribes in Eastern Washington, was raped by a white man named Kristopher Graber. George had considered Graber a friend, but after refusing to let her leave his home, he allegedly assaulted her while taunting her with a gun. George fled the scene with Graber’s gun, a sugar-packet amount of methamphetamine, and some of his other possessions. The next morning, Graber came looking for George on the Colville Reservation in northeastern Washington. In front of several witnesses, Graber then attacked George. Terrified, she shot him with his gun. Graber died instantly. 

This Wednesday, Nov. 17, is George’s sentencing hearing. She is being charged with voluntary manslaughter and drug possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. She will be heard by the U.S. District Court in Spokane. Because the shooting occurred on a reservation and falls under the Major Crimes Act, a law that dictates that certain crimes committed by Native people on Native territory fall under federal jurisdiction, George is being prosecuted on the federal level by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington. 

According to George’s attorney, Steve Graham, George has already accepted a plea deal to avoid up to 45 years in prison. However, she still faces up to 17 years in federal prison in California, over 1,000 miles away from her 20-month-old daughter, Shynne. This potential sentence is despite federal advisory guidelines suggesting less than 11 years.

“She’s a very strong person, she doesn’t let people walk over her,” George’s mother, Jody George, said in an interview with the Emerald. “She knows you got to stick up for yourself, nobody else is gonna do it. And I know my mom raised me that way. And we’ve got all sisters and my grandma had all sisters and it’s a strong family of women. That is what we’ve come from, and she’s all about family.” 

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‘Thriving Peoples, Thriving Places’: Pop Art Campaign Honors the Contributions of Indigenous Women to Global Biodiversity

by Nia Tero

(This article originally appeared on Real Change and has been reprinted under an agreement.)


We are in a critical moment. In the midst of an ongoing global pandemic that is leaving no family untouched, compounded by increasingly extreme weather events linked to climate change, a unique global art project is shining a light on voices essential to the ecological solutions and collective healing we seek: Indigenous women.

“Thriving Peoples, Thriving Places” is a collaboration between two Seattle-based not-for-profit organizations — Indigenous-focused Nia Tero and design lab Amplifier — launching on International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, which is Aug. 9. The global exhibit includes six original portraits commissioned from Washington, D.C.-based artist and illustrator Tracie Ching. The art will be available digitally as well as at public art events in cities, including Seattle, Washington, D.C., New York City, São Paulo, and London. The project celebrates Indigenous women who have acted as stewards of biodiversity across Earth and prompts action amongst an engaged global audience.

The nine Indigenous women at the center of this project are robust examples of real action we can take to strive for the health and future of the planet. They are from communities spanning the globe, from the Philippines and New Zealand, to the Brazilian Amazon to Scandinavia, to the global north, embodying Indigenous experience while carrying generational knowledge and inherited dedication:

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State’s First Indigenous Poet Laureate Aims to Spread Awareness Through Poetry

by Chamidae Ford


On April 15, Rena Priest was appointed Washington State’s first Indigenous Poet Laureate. A joint program with Humanities Washington and the Washington State Arts Commission, the position is dedicated to connecting people and communities through the art of poetry while celebrating the importance poetry has had to our state’s culture. 

Priest, a member of the Lhaq’temish (Lummi) Nation, is an experienced poet, having published two collections of poetry, won the Vadon Foundation Fellowship, and received an Allied Arts Foundation Professional Poets Award in 2020. For Priest, poetry has always been a part of her life, but she didn’t fully dedicate herself to it until later, initially planning to major in theater.

“I’ve loved poetry my whole life, but I think it didn’t really start to play a big part in my life until I was in undergrad,” Priest said. “Once I started off in the English department, then writing altogether, it just kind of became it for me.” 

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Seedcast: Protecting Mother Earth, Standing Up for #MMIWG

by Rachel Heaton

Since time immemorial, Indigenous people have celebrated storytelling as a way to connect the present to past lessons and future dreaming. Narrative sovereignty is a form of land guardianship, and Nia Tero supports this work through its storytelling initiatives, including the Seedcast podcast, as well as in this monthly column for media partner the South Seattle Emerald.


I’m Rachel Heaton. I am a member of the Muckleshoot Tribe in Auburn, Washington. I’m also a descendant of the Duwamish peoples, the original inhabitants of Seattle, and do hold descendancy with European folks, mostly Welsh, German, and Irish. I’m a mother to three children, ages 22, 14, and 2. I work as a cultural educator for the Muckleshoot Tribe, and I’m a co-founder of Mazaska Talks

Inspired by our learnings from Standing Rock, specifically finding out which banks funded the pipeline and learning about the coalition work done by organizers to get the City of Seattle to divest their money from Wells Fargo, co-founder Matt Remle and I formed Mazaska Talks. We use it as a way to educate people on issues related to the harming of Mother Earth and repression of Indigenous rights, then to organize action. For example, because we see the harm brought by the fossil fuel industry, we organize divestment campaigns.

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