Defending Dissent

Photo by Rob Wilson

We Are Not Terrorists

Protect Free Speech: Tell Trump, Activists Must Not Be Targeted and Labeled As Terrorists

Upholding Constitutional Rights

For five decades, from Wounded Knee to Standing Rock, our leaders have championed indigenous justice. Recently we successfully defended Chase Iron Eyes after his peaceful and prayerful stand against the Dakota Access pipeline. Through this case, we exposed the collusion of state and federal governments with the fossil fuel industry—and their mutual goal to silence the people for the sake of profit. Moving forward, we will continue to stand against the suppression of our First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly. We will not be silent.

Santa Cruz Screening of Warrior Women

The Lakota People's Law Project proudly presents a Santa Cruz screening of the award-winning documentary, Warrior Women, with special guest Madonna Thunder Hawk on Mar. 15 at the Resource Center for Nonviolence.

Washington, D.C., here we come!

On Friday, Jan. 18, the Lakota People's Law project will join in the first Indigenous People's March in Washington, D.C. While we're there, we'll meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill and push for a Green New Deal including Native leadership. Stay tuned!

Video: Legal Tools from Standing Rock

In our new video, our chief counsel Daniel Sheehan details how our legal blueprint and the evidence we collected for the Chase Iron Eyes trial can help other pipeline protesters understand and expose the tactics of police, the oil companies, and militarized security firms. Now, we’re compiling and making all of our legal tools available to everyone still on the front lines.

Press Release: All Serious Charges Dropped Against Iron Eyes

Read our press release detailing the most recent victory in our legal defense of Chase Iron Eyes. North Dakota prosecutors dropped all serious charges against Chase, including alleged criminal trespass and incitement of a riot. The state reduced all charges to a minor, Class B misdemeanor of disorderly conduct. Many thanks to all the kind and generous support that made this victory possible.

Protect Free Speech: Tell Trump, We Are Not Terrorists

Policies targeting activists and indigenous people must end. Tell the president and his allies to stop treating demonstrators like terrorists. Please watch our video and sign our letter to Trump—then share it with your networks to ensure our voices are heard loud and clear.

Milestones in Landmark Trial

In three short videos, you can learn about critical developments that occurred during the Chase Iron Eyes #NoDAPL case. Despite constant obstruction by prosecutors and opposing counsel, the records created during our team's discovery process will live in the public record and be available to assist other water protectors whose trials remain. Chase's trial may be over, but we continue to stand in solidarity with activists everywhere. We'll never slow down in our mission to expose the truth.

Depositions Begin

In June, our legal team begins deposing law enforcement, private security, and oil company officials to gather evidence for the Chase Iron Eyes defense. Watch our video to learn more!

State Must Hand Over Withheld Evidence in Iron Eyes Case

At this crucial hearing, Judge Lee Christofferson admonished the North Dakota state’s prosecutor for withholding evidence. The judge also granted Chase Iron Eyes' legal team authority to subpoena Tiger Swan, the private military security firm hired by Energy Transfer Partners. To learn more click below!

#DropDAPLCharges for Water Protectors

Leaked documents reveal that a private security firm hired by DAPL parent company Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) targeted, surveilled, and provoked the peaceful and prayerful water protectors at Standing Rock. Sign the petition asking North Dakota to drop all charges against the peaceful and prayerful water protectors of Standing Rock.

Environmental Review of DAPL Ruled Insufficient

US District Court Judge James Boasberg rules that the environmental review of the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) was insufficient and must be reconsidered. While it did not halt the flow of oil, the ruling found that the Army Corps of Engineers did not evaluate environmental justice in their approval of the pipeline.

This is a limited victory in the fight to protect clean water and Lakota sovereignty, but the fact remains that a full Environmental Impact Statement needs to be conducted for DAPL. 

Army Corps Confirms DAPL Leak Detection System Insufficient

An Army Corps of Engineers response to a public comment by the EPA confirms that DAPL’s “state-of-the-art” leak monitoring system is only capable of detecting a minimum leak of just under 1 percent of DAPL’s total flow rate. As the pipeline can carry 570,000 barrels per day, this means any leak of 5,700 bpd—or 239,400 gallons per day—won’t be detected. If DAPL leaks at a rate any lower then this, the oil must make its way to the surface and be spotted by an observer. If this happens under Lake Oahe, the oil will need to migrate the more than 100 feet to the lake surface before any action can be taken, at which point potentially millions of gallons will have been spilled.

The Intercept Exposes Use of Counterterrorism Tactics at Standing Rock

The Fight Continues

Chase Iron Eyes pleads not guilty to all charges. Water protectors worldwide call for people to divest from the banks that fund DAPL.

Caption: Photo by Toben Dilworth, Rainforest Action Network

Pipeline Battle Shifts to Courts

After militarized police raid the newly-established Last Child Camp and arrest Chase Iron Eyes, LPLP Chief Counsel Daniel Sheehan steps in to organize Chase's defense. LPLP also provides litigation support to several tribes’ fights in Washington, D.C. against DAPL.

Chase Iron Eyes Arrested, Camps Raided and Closed

On February 1, police raid the newly-established Last Child Camp and arrest 76 people, including LPLP Lead Counsel Chase Iron Eyes. Chase is falsely charged with Incitement to Riot and Felony Criminal Trespass. Three weeks later, a militarized force, including West Dakota SWAT, Morton County Police Department, Fargo Police Department, Wisconsin State Troopers, National Park Service Rangers, National Guardsmen, and BIA Federal Police, raid Oceti Sakowin and Rosebud camps, arrest 46, and evict the remainder.

Veterans Deploy to Frontlines as “Human Shields,” Easement Denied

Over 3,000 veterans join the Oceti Sakowin Camp. President Obama denies the easement to drill under Lake Oahe, but DAPL owner Energy Transfer Partners states that they “fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting.”

Water Cannons Used Against Unarmed Water Protectors

Police use tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons against unarmed water protectors in subfreezing temperatures during a confrontation at Backwater Bridge on Highway 1806. More than 140 water protectors are injured and/or suffer from hypothermia.

Highway Standoff with Law Enforcement

After a tense standoff on Highway 1806, law enforcement officials forcibly remove water protectors, arresting 141. More than 200 militarized police employ a sound cannon, sub-lethal rounds, and tear gas on the water protectors. A herd of buffalo stampedes around 2:45 p.m. Water protectors cheer, “Ancestors are with us!”

Global Call to Defend the Sacred

The Standing Rock Sioux Council and Chairman Dave Archambault II issue a global appeal for people to come to Standing Rock. Thousands make the journey to Standing Rock in a show of unprecedented solidarity with the Oceti Sakowin, the People of the Seven Council Fires. Mass arrests begin.

#NoDAPL Fight Begins

In the spring, members of the LPLP team — including lead counsel Chase Iron Eyes and tribal liaison Madonna Thunder Hawk — become involved in resistance camps on 1851 Oceti Sakowin Treaty land formed to stop the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL). LPLP provides media support on the ground and begins circulating petitions in opposition to DAPL, which violates Lakota treaty rights and threatens Standing Rock‘s water supply.

Sacred Stone Camp Opens

Lakota grandmother Ladonna Brave Bull Allard opens a protest camp near the confluence of the Missouri and Cannonball rivers. The camp is named, Iŋyaŋ Wakháŋagapi Othí, or Sacred Stone - the pre-colonial name for the Cannonball area.

DAPL Moved to Edge of Standing Rock

The Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) is rerouted away from Bismarck, North Dakota, to cross the Missouri River near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, in an effort to protect Bismarck’s water supply. The move violates Lakota treaty rights and threatens Standing Rock’s water supply.

Second Treaty of Fort Laramie

The US government fails to enforce the 1851 treaty after it is broken by settlers. Instead, they ratify a new treaty that grants ownership of the Black Hills in South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana to the Lakota, Yanktonai Dakota, and Arapaho Nations—in exchange for ending Red Cloud’s War. A provision in the treaty calls to “ensure the civilization” of Native children by providing them with an “English education.” This marks the beginning of the American Indian boarding schools and the formal process of cultural genocide.