In this episode, Yvonne Swan speaks about gender violence and Indigenous resistance.
In 1972, Yvonne Wanrow (now Yvonne Swan) shot a man who had tried to molest her son and neighbor’s son in Spokane, Washington. Her case became a rallying cry for Indigenous and feminist activists in the 1970s to highlight the intersections of colonialism, gender violence, and the injustices of the U.S. criminal system. The ensuing legal battle resulted in a landmark decision allowing for self-defense for survivors of domestic violence and marked the first time US courts acknowledged “the particular legal problems of women who defend themselves or their male children from male violence.” In this talk, Yvonne discusses the case and its legacy for Indigenous and her current work and advocacy.
A citizen of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Indian Reservation, Yvonne Swan is a longtime activist of the American Indian Movement.
Special thanks to Dan Berger for putting this talk together and the Simpson Center at the University of Washington for hosting.
Music: Buffy Sainte-Marie, “Helpless”
Indigenous Womens Warrior Song: www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4fLSvjsE_M