Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

July 6, 2018

Last Child Camp Water Protectors Acquitted in Trial

Photo, from left to right, attorney Doug Parr, Big Wind, Little Wind, Big Wind's sibling, Ptery Lieght and attorney Jim Fennerty.
By Water Protector Legal Collective
Censored News
On Thursday, July 5th, Big Wind (Micah Carpenter-Lott) and Ptery Lieght were acquitted by Judge Gail Hagerty in a bench trial for the charges of Criminal Trespass (Misdemeanor A) and Engaging in a Riot (Misdemeanor A), stemming from their arrests at Last Child Camp on February 1st, 2017. Following trial, the remaining Last Child Camp trial this week was cancelled due to a Motion to Dismiss filed by the prosecution.

The government argued at trial that the land where the Last Child Camp was established was private property owned by DAPL L.L.C.. None of the state’s witnesses from law enforcement could testify a land owner or authorized party contacted Morton County Sheriff Department that day to remove the spiritual encampment. Defense counsel argued this land is included in the original 1868 Ft. Laramie treaty and thus without an act of congress the right of indigenous people to traverse and hunt this land has never officially been rescinded. The judge ruled the state failed to prove the essential elements of the charges, including the fence did not communicate the land was "manifestly enclosed to exclude intruders", nor could the Water Protectors' conduct be understood as violent.

"As a descendant of Chief Black Coal, one of the signatories of the 1868 Fort Laramie treaty, I know I was not guilty of trespassing or engaging in a riot. We went up there in prayer, we remained in prayer, and our prayers spoke volumes in the courtroom today. I am not surprised Judge Haggerty dismissed our cases halfway through trial, but I am grateful. Ho’hou”, said Big Wind, a member of the Northern Arapaho tribe from the Wind River reservation.

“This was my first action where I chose to risk arrest as a member of Two Spirit Nation camp as a queer ally. In my heart this was a Lakota and Irish spiritual collaboration around the fire as it was on Imbolc, a Gaelic traditional celebration for the beginning of Spring. This ceremony with Last Child Camp was in reference to Crazy Horse’s legacy. Judge Hagerty was a fair judge and held to her integrity in this case,” shared Ptery Lieght.

Big Wind and Ptery were represented by WPLC Pro Hac Vice attorneys Doug Parr and Jim Fennerty. There are still 19 remaining cases from this date.


Unknown said...


Unknown said...

This is wonderful news! Thank you, Brenda Norrell.