Standing Rock Legal Defense

Victory in Iron Eyes Case!

On August 21st, the state of North Dakota dropped all serious charges against Lakota People's Law Project Lead Counsel Chase Iron Eyes. This case 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. Wopila to all of you who supported our legal efforts. You make justice possible! Moving forward, we will keep standing against the suppression of our First Amendment rights to free speech and assembly. We will never be silent.

Video: Legal Tools from Standing Rock

In our new video, chief counsel Daniel Sheehan details how our legal strategy and the evidence we collected for the Chase Iron Eyes trial can help other pipeline protesters understand and expose the tactics of police, oil companies, and militarized security firms. We’re compiling and making these tools available to anyone arrested for protecting sacred land and water.

Protect Free Speech: Tell Trump, We Are Not Terrorists

Policies violating the constitutional rights of 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

Three short videos give you insight into critical developments occurring during the Chase Iron Eyes #NoDAPL case. Despite constant obstruction by prosecutors and opposing counsel, our team creates valuable records during discovery that will live in the public record to assist future water and land protectors. 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.

LPLP Petitions North Dakota to #DropDAPLCharges for Water Protectors

Leaked documents reveal that a private security firm hired by DAPL parent company Energy Transfer Partners targeted, surveilled, and provoked the peaceful and prayerful water protectors at Standing Rock. LPLP's campaign—which ultimately gathers over 55,000 signatures—calls on the state of North Dakota to drop the charges of water protectors arrested during #NoDAPL.

Caption: Drop DAPL Charges petition signers included on Sitting Bull art installation in Fort Yates, ND.

Environmental Review of DAPL Ruled Insufficient

US District Court Judge James Boasberg rules that the environmental review of the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) is insufficient and must be reconsidered. It does not halt the flow of oil, but the ruling finds 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 DAPL should still receive a full Environmental Impact Statement. 

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.

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.

The #NoDAPL Fight Begins

In the spring, members of the LPLP team—including lead counsel Chase Iron Eyes and tribal liaison Madonna Thunder Hawk—join the resistance camps on Oceti Sakowin treaty land to stop the Dakota Access pipeline. In addition to providing organizing, logistical, and media support, LPLP petitions to prevent the pipeline from violating Lakota treaty rights and threatening Standing Rock‘s water supply.

Caption: Oceti Sakowin prayer camp, Sept. 2016.

DAPL Moved to Standing Rock

In an effort to protect the city's water, the Dakota Access pipeline is rerouted away from Bismarck to cross the Missouri River near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. The move violates Lakota treaty rights and threatens Standing Rock’s water supply instead.

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.