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Blackfeet boxing documentary to air on ESPN Tuesday

Great Falls Tribune logo Great Falls Tribune 8/17/2020 Nora Mabie, Great Falls Tribune
ADVANCE FOR USE WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 5, 2018 AND THEREAFTER-Beatrice Kipp, 13, right, spars with Timmy Sellars, 14, at the Blackfeet Native Boxing Club on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Mont., Saturday, July 14, 2018. "I'm protective of our children because of human trafficking. What happened to Ashley is really worrying," said Frank Kipp who teaches his daughters how to box and runs the club. "We teach our girls if someone grabs you, you fight to your death." (AP Photo/David Goldman) © David Goldman, AP ADVANCE FOR USE WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 5, 2018 AND THEREAFTER-Beatrice Kipp, 13, right, spars with Timmy Sellars, 14, at the Blackfeet Native Boxing Club on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Browning, Mont., Saturday, July 14, 2018. "I'm protective of our children because of human trafficking. What happened to Ashley is really worrying," said Frank Kipp who teaches his daughters how to box and runs the club. "We teach our girls if someone grabs you, you fight to your death." (AP Photo/David Goldman)

A short documentary, "Blackfeet Boxing: Not Invisible," about female empowerment and the missing and murdered Indigenous women epidemic will air on ESPN on Tuesday, June 30 at 5:30 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time. 

In the film, former welterweight boxer Frank Kipp trains young women, including his daughter Donna, to defend themselves and avoid becoming the next murdered or missing Indigenous woman (MMIW).

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The film opens with Kimberly Loring Heavy Runner searching the Blackfeet Reservation for her sister, Ashley Loring, who disappeared in 2017. But Kimberly acknowledges that Ashley's case, which still hasn't been solved, is not unique. 

a person sitting at a table: Kimberly Loring, whose sister, Ashley Loring HeavyRunner, a 20-year-old college student, disappeared from the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana in the summer of 2017, testifies as the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs holds a hearing to examine concerns about investigations into the deaths and disappearance of Native American women, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) © J. Scott Applewhite, AP Kimberly Loring, whose sister, Ashley Loring HeavyRunner, a 20-year-old college student, disappeared from the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana in the summer of 2017, testifies as the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs holds a hearing to examine concerns about investigations into the deaths and disappearance of Native American women, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

A 2017-2019 Montana Department of Justice report found that Indigenous persons are more than four times as likely to go missing as non-Indigenous persons. Though they only account for 6.6% of Montana's population, on average, Indigenous people make up about 25% of the state's missing persons population.

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Produced by Kristen Lappas, the short film follows two Blackfeet girls, Donna Kipp and Mamie Kennedy, as they gain confidence and pride through boxing while navigating additional challenges and avoiding the threat of danger.

a close up of text on a white background: Though Native Americans make up about 7% of Montana's population, the Montana Department of Justice found that in 2017-2019, Indigenous people accounted for 26% of reported missing persons cases. © Courtesy of the Montana Department of Justice Though Native Americans make up about 7% of Montana's population, the Montana Department of Justice found that in 2017-2019, Indigenous people accounted for 26% of reported missing persons cases.

Though Ashley didn't get the chance to train at the boxing club, the gym, which has trained more than 500 people on the reservation, gives Kimberly hope.

"If we teach our girls how to box, they at least have a chance to fight," she says in the film. 

Watch the trailer for Blackfeet Boxing: Not Invisible here. 

Nora Mabie covers Indigenous communities for the Great Falls Tribune. She can be reached at nmabie@greatfallstribune.com. Follow her on Facebook @NoraMabieJournalist or on Twitter @NoraMabie

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This article originally appeared on Great Falls Tribune: Blackfeet boxing documentary to air on ESPN Tuesday

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