Embracing the Great Equalizer: Native American women taking up firearms classes for self-defense

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Women have been among the fastest growing customers of guns for a while. The COVID-19 pandemic saw massive jumps in women buying their first gun. That trend has not slowed down, and culturally, gun ownership and concealed carry are spreading (archived links). 


Native American women taking up firearms classes for self defense: ‘Refusing to be victims’
By Emma Colton, Fox News

Gun ownership is stepping in to help bridge a safety gap in New Mexico’s vast Indian country, according to gun experts in the state.

“No one is coming to save you” is a motto among Native Americans in New Mexico, according to Joe Talachy, a Pueblo of Pojoaque tribal officer who owns one of the few Native-founded gun stores in the U.S. […]

“People are starting to say, ‘Look, I used to see guns as being scary,’ and all this. But they’re looking at self-defense now as a necessity. Given the current circumstances and the instability going on, people are starting to understand that they need to defend themselves. For Native American people, our men and women – I’ve trained plenty of them – they’ve decided to take their own self-defense into their hands as well,” Talachy told Fox News Digital in a phone interview.

Talachy opened Indigenous Arms in Santa Fe in 2021 and said he saw an “increase in signups” for firearms classes “immediately after the pandemic.” […]

All in, Talachy said between 15-20 people enroll in his classes each month, training hundreds of people since opening roughly two years ago. Among Native American women, specifically, he’s seen an uptick in enrollment and interest in the classes.

“Almost every week we have a Native woman or someone close to family saying I’m really interested in taking this class and picking up a firearm because you see the numbers with the missing and murdered indigenous women and people,” Talachy said.


Native American women have been historically subjected to a lot of violent crime. The alarming statistics back that up. Initiatives to arm Native American women should have been launched a long time ago, but it’s not too late if it means saving lives in the future.

“People are refusing to be victims. Women are refusing to be victims anymore. The gun is a great equalizer, right? You talk about gun ownership, it doesn’t matter how big or small or whatever you may be, the gun at least evens out the fight,” Talachy said.

“We talk about disparity of force. Women, you know, are biologically smaller than men or don’t have the muscle structure that men do. But that doesn’t give them any reason not to be able to defend themselves the same way any human being should be able to,” he added. […]

“When I’m in the field and in classes, I’ve observed a very powerful shift: More women in New Mexico are recognizing that firearm ownership isn’t just empowering — it can save their life. With each individual I engage, I’m reminded that the education provided by the USCCA holds the potential to not only enhance their safety, but also equips them to be their own protector — ready to step in and save lives,” Gutfrucht said.

Crimes on tribal lands has been a long-standing issue, with the Bureau of Indian Affairs reporting “that more than four in five American Indian and Alaska Native women (84.3 percent) have experienced violence in their lifetime,” according to a 2016 National Institute of Justice study.

In New Mexico, the FBI last year released 192 names of Native Americans confirmed missing from the state and the Navajo Nation. Between mid-July 2022 and mid-April of this year alone, more than 650 Native Americans were reported missing, the FBI said in May.


The massive sizes of some Native American reservations and the low population density make even the most effective law enforcement response an impractical solution for a woman’s immediate security needs.

Initiatives focusing on missing and murdered Indigenous people are at the heart of Talachy’s efforts to train Americans on self-defense, explaining that when tragedy or crime strikes, people only have seconds to react. Even the best law enforcement agencies in the nation struggle to quickly respond to crimes, while on rural tribal lands, the response times can be longer due to how the areas are spread out.

“Even for the best law enforcement officers or best law enforcement agencies are going to struggle to be there immediately. Critical situations happen within a few seconds, much less waiting for a 10, 15 minute response time, especially here in rural New Mexico.”

It’s good to see Native American women get on board with gun ownership. Clearly, not all moms are on board with the sort of activism and action that “Moms Demand Action” wants, nor the sort of gun control that New Mexico Democrats are pushing. Firearms ownership and proficiency should be a part of every woman’s lifestyle. The great Annie Oakley once said:

“I would like to see every woman know how to handle guns, as naturally as they know how to handle babies.”


It’s great to see Oakley’s dream slowly and steadily coming to fruition.

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