Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Thu, June 30

Women’s empowerment program teaches Navajo women self-defense, first-aid, situational awareness and more

Navajo women participating in the Lioness Project, put on by the Navajo Police Training Academy in partnership with Dine College, learn handgun safety during range day. (Photo/Navajo Police Department)

Navajo women participating in the Lioness Project, put on by the Navajo Police Training Academy in partnership with Dine College, learn handgun safety during range day. (Photo/Navajo Police Department)

TSAILE, Ariz. — Last week, the Navajo Police Training Academy hosted a certificate ceremony in honor of the first group of women to participate and complete the Lioness Project, the academy’s first-ever women's empowerment program.

On May 4, the Navajo Police Training Academy (NPTA) instructors distributed certificates of completion to 14 graduates after they completed their last classroom session at the Dine College campus in Tsaile, Arizona.

The Lioness Project is an eight-week self-defense, situational awareness and assault prevention training program that started in March in collaboration with Dine College students and faculty.

The purpose of the training was to educate and empower women by providing training aimed to elevate an individual’s personal safety and self-defense skills.

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Instructors teach self-defense to Navajo women participating in the Navajo Police Academy's Lioness Project. (Photo/Navajo Police Department)

Participants were required to attend the three-hour training held every Wednesday at the Dine College campus or at the NTPA facility in Chinle, Arizona. Although the initial pilot project was limited to students and faculty of the college, the training academy is hopeful the curriculum will expand into district communities.

The project was developed and facilitated by training academy Lieutenant Donnie Kee, Sergeant Lucy Dan, Sergeant Robert Williams, and Officer Shannon Johnson and was at no cost to the participants.

“The overall goal was to provide you information that will help you to be aware of situations in your everyday routine,” Kee told graduates. “We hope that we introduced new concepts to heighten your awareness for your own personal safety. The lessons throughout the eight weeks were aimed to help you recognize potential dangers and how to utilize and engage in critical thinking to evaluate and respond during a crisis situation.”

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Navajo women hold up their certificate of completion for the Navajo Police Department and Dine College Lioness Project. (Photo/Navajo Police Department)

The training topics included both classroom and practical training on topics related to situational awareness, self-defense, domestic violence prevention, cyber-safety, sexual assault prevention, self-defense with improvised weapons, active threat response and stop the bleed. The group also had the opportunity to learn about firearm safety and spent an afternoon at a firing range with instructors.

The Navajo Police Training Academy also extended its appreciation to the Dine College community for their participation in this pilot project, including Velveena Davis, Executive Director of Institutional Planning and Reporting and Dine College Campus Security, who also attended and graduated from the program.

More information about the Lioness Project is available at (928) 674-2524/2534.

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