About two dozen girls and women took part in a free self-defense class at the Yakama Nation Tribal School gym in Toppenish over the weekend. The Saturday (Jan. 4) class filled up in just a few days.

Organizer Tessier Bull also welcomed girls and women to observe. Uncles, husbands, dads and brothers were also welcome. Tessier wants to try to make this a monthly class on the Yakama Nation.

This course is in recognition of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women #MMIW. In the past few decades and in recent years, Native American women have been going missing around the country in alarming numbers. A number of indigenous women in the state of Washington are among  the missing. Cissy Reyes was in attendance at Saturday's class. She came to speak about her sister, Rosenda Strong.

Rosenda Strong is one of many Native American women who went missing on the Yakama Nation. Rosenda went missing in early October 2018. Unfortunately, her remains were found in Toppenish on July Fourth. The FBI is investigating Rosenda's case, along with many other Native American women who are missing.

Ashley Douglas from Yakama Nation Behavioral Health (YNBH) was also available during Saturday's session. Ashley was handing out information on what YNBH offered for individuals and families. She also offered information on domestic situations and mental health.

Mathew Myers from Joint Associates Center for Training was the instructor, along with two other volunteers. They shared tips and showed the women how to protect themselves. He even brought mats and protective gear so participants could practice what they were taught. The women who signed up also received some protective tools they can carry with them.

Free Self-Defense class for girls and women at Yakama Nation Tribal School

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