Kali Reis, a two-spirit Native American, and Cape Verdean woman stated that she considers her activism to be a ‘duty’ for her community. According to boxing historians, Reis is the first Indigenous American women’s world boxing champion.
On August 21, Reis defended her title at the Sycuan Casino Resort in El Cajon, Calif. by defeating Diana Prazak. After answering several questions related to the fight against Prazak, Reis started talking about the horrors of residential schools in Canada. She is the first US athlete who has addressed that.
“Those of you who know, I’m wearing orange for a reason. All of our children, our [Indigenous] children have now been discovered in unmarked mass graves, over 5,000 children were stolen from us. I fight for not just these, but for our children, our rights, missing and murdered Indigenous women, and, Stop Line 3.”
While entering the ring, Reis wore a custom-designed orange ring outfit, emblazoned with the insignias of three organizations dedicated to Indigenous causes. When she heard about the residential school terror, she immediately started posting on social media about the Every Child Matters movement.
“I have to do orange, so when people ask me why orange, it opens up the space for me to discuss it,” Reis said. “People start Googling. I just like to create questions.”
Reis’s given name is Mequinonoag, which means Many Feathers, Many Talents. She concluded:
Recently, her profile gained a huge number of followers. It happened after her acclaimed performance as a boxer in the film Catch The Fair One.
“If there’s something that’s affecting my community, I’m going to post it, I’m going to share it, I’m going to try to bring light to it. When I first found out about it, it hurt so much, because I had recently for whatever reason had run into a few survivors, and I had actually worked directly with a residential school survivor on this film.”