Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

November 5, 2021

Free Maddesyn George who killed her attacker: Virtual press conference Nov. 8, 2021

Leading Scholars Call for End of Prosecution of Colville Tribal Member Maddesyn George: George’s Prosecution is Part of the Larger Crises of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Abuse-to-Prison Pipeline

 Campaign to Free Maddesyn George
Censored News

On Monday, November 8 at 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET, leading scholars of violence against Indigenous women and families and the criminalization of domestic and sexual violence survivors will address the urgent self-defense case of Maddesyn George at a virtual press conference.

Among the featured speakers are attorney and award-winning playwright Mary Kathryn Nagle and professors Val Kalei Kanuha (University of Washington), Alisa Bierria (University of California Los Angeles), Dian Million (University of Washington), and Megan Ybarra (University of Washington).

Maddesyn George is a young Native mother from the Colville Reservation in Washington State and a survivor of domestic and sexual violence. She is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington for acting in self-defense against a white man who raped and threatened her. After being incarcerated for more than a year, facing multiple charges, and fearing the unknowns of a jury trial, George accepted a deal from the prosecutors that included pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter and a charge of drug possession with intent to distribute. Now, prosecutors are recommending a punishment that significantly exceeds the sentencing guidelines for these charges: a prison term of 17 years and lifetime state supervision. George’s sentencing hearing is set for November 17.

The case has inspired a broad-based grassroots campaign of Indigenous and anti-violence organizers to fight for her freedom. Nearly 8,000 individuals and 80 social justice organizations from around the country have endorsed a call for the charges to be dropped before George’s sentencing hearing.

In response, prosecutors have doubled down on discrediting and minimizing George’s account of rape, using her criminal record and the fact that she took drugs and cash from her attacker to deny her victimization claim. At the same time, they have willfully ignored the deceased’s criminal record of violence against multiple women. As George’s attorney told the Intercept, "What the prosecutor is telling is a story of robbery by a drug-addicted

Native woman, playing into stereotypes about substance use and Native people to undermine her claim of self-defense.”

George’s supporters argue that her survival actions prevented her from becoming another MMIW statistic. Indeed, Washington State ranks second highest in the country for missing and murdered Indigenous people, according to the Urban Indian Health Institute. And yet, for acting in self-preservation, Maddesyn is being punished––she has become one of the many survivors from colonized, racialized, and otherwise marginalized communities that have been ensnared by the “abuse-to-prison pipeline.”

It is not too late for the Department of Justice to reverse course, and George’s supporters implore them to do so. George should be reunited with her now 19-month-old daughter and community and provided with resources for recovery and healing.

Registration required for Zoom link to press conference: A press kit will be emailed to journalists upon registration.

The Intercept’s Coverage of Maddesyn George’s Case from 10/8/21: 

Short Documentary on Maddesyn’s Case: 

Campaign website: petition:

Organizational endorsement list:

Organizational Endorsements

Last updated October 26, 2021.

Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services (WA)

Accountable Communities Consortium (WA)

AGE UP (All Girl Everything Ultimate Program) (WA)

All of Us or None – Eastern WA

American Indian Science and Engineering Society at UCLA 

API Chaya (WA)

Asian Counseling and Referral Service (WA)

Big Picture Learning Native American Initiative

Black and Pink Seattle/Tacoma

California Coalition for Women Prisoners

Christian Peacemaker Teams (International)

Coalition Ending Gender-Based Violence (WA)

Collective Justice (WA)

Columbia Criminal Justice Coalition (NY)

Communities of Color Coalition (WA)

Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CA)

Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence

Critical Resistance – Portland (OR)

Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Services (WA)

Dove Project (WA)

Eastside Legal Assistance Program (WA)

Fight Toxic Prisons (National)

Florida Council Against Sexual Violence

ForFortyTwo (WA)

Free Food From Jupiter (WA)

Free Hearts (TN)

Free Them All WA

Friends of Little Saigon (WA)

Gender Justice League (WA)

Hualapai Tribe (AZ)


Journal of Prisoners on Prisons (Canada)

Kern County Participatory Defense (CA)

Legal Voice (WA)

LifeWire (WA)

Love + Protect (IL)

Mariposa House (WA)

Michigan Solidarity Bail Fund

Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault

Missing and Murdered Native Americans (WA)

Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women Washington

Mother Nation (WA)

Multi-Communities (WA)

Native Women's Collective (CA)

New Beginnings (WA)

New Connections (WA)

New Mexico Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs

New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault

No New Jails DC Coalition

No New Washington Prisons

Participatory Justice (WA)

Peer Reentry Navigation Community Bail Fund (WA)

Pillars of the Community (CA)

Project Harja (NY)

Radical Women Seattle

Reimagine Safety (WA)

Resilience (formerly Rape Victim Advocates) (IL)

Seattle Community Fridge

The Sentencing Project (Washington, D.C.)

Sovereign Bodies Institute (CA and MT)

South & East King County Mutual Aid (WA)

South Philly Participatory Defense Hub

Study and Struggle (MS)

Support Ho(s)e Collective (IL)

Surge Reproductive Justice (WA)

Survived and Punished (National)

Toronto Abolition Convergence

TRU Unity (WA)

University Beyond Bars (WA)

Vashon-Maury SURJ - Showing Up for Racial Justice (WA)

Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Providers

Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence

Women Who Choose to Live (Ottawa)

Young Women's Freedom Center (CA)

YWCA of Walla Walla (WA)

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