Maddesyn George is a 27-year-old Native woman and mother from the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington State and a survivor of domestic and sexual violence. She has been jailed for more than a year for defending herself against a white man who raped her and threatened her life. She is facing as many as seventeen years in a federal prison in California, more than 1,000 miles from her sixteen-month-old daughter, family, and community.
In July 2020, she was raped by a white man whom she had previously considered a friend. After the rape, she took the gun he had threatened to shoot her with and fled for safety. When the man found Maddesyn the next morning, the two struggled over the gun and Maddesyn fired a fatal shot. She immediately called 911.
Maddesyn was booked into Colville Tribal Corrections and never given access to medical attention or a rape kit. The Colville Tribal Prosecutor’s Office charged her with criminal homicide. Maddesyn argued that she acted in self-defense and the charges were ultimately dismissed in tribal court. However, because the shooting occurred on a reservation, federal prosecutors exercised their jurisdiction to bring new charges against Maddesyn. She has since been held without bail in the Spokane County Jail. Maddesyn now faces as many as seventeen years in a federal prison. The closest federal prison for women is in California, more than 1,000 miles from her sixteen-month-old daughter, family, and community.
Please consider making a donation to Maddesyn's family to help cover child raising costs and incarceration-related expenses (commissary, phone calls, and virtual visits).
Maddesyn has been punished for saving her own life. Members of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Washington point to the prosecution as a part of a colonial legacy of gendered violence. For Indigenous women, criminal legal systems more often neglect or exacerbate harm rather than provide support and reparation. Washington State recently passed legislation to increase reporting and investigation of cases of missing and murdered indigenous women, however much more is needed to end this violence, including support for survivors like Maddesyn.
To learn more about Maddesyn's story and additional ways you can support, visit freemaddesyn.com.