More than four in five Indigenous women have experienced violence and more than half have experienced sexual violence, according to the Indian Law Resource Center—so learning how to physically defend oneself is a life-saving skill that many young women on the Blackfeet Nation Reservation in Montana are taking up. ESPN Films will air their stories in the new documentary short “Blackfeet Boxing: Not Invisible” that airs Tuesday (June 30).
In response to the violence against Native women, Frank Kipp, who was born and raised on the reservation, dusted off his old boxing gloves and used his own background as a former welterweight to open Blackfeet Nation Boxing Club in 2003. Since then, the gym has trained more than 500 boxers from the reservation, including young women and girls like his daughter Donna (a 2015 Junior Olympic Nationals bronze medalist) and former boxer Mamie Kennedy (who qualified for the 2018 Junior Olympic Nationals).
Directed by Kristen Lappas and Tom Rinaldi, the 30-minute doc also highlights the story of Ashley Loring Heavyrunner, whose case remains unsolved following her disappearance from the reservation in 2017. Viewers get to hear from Heavyrunner’s sister Kimberly as she fights for justice for Kristen.