August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Friday, 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thus without an act of congress the right of indigenous people to traverse and hunt this land has never officially been rescinded.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.

Lisa DeVille 'Era of Racist Empowerment -- Hate Spreads Like Fire in Trump Era'


ERA OF RACIST EMPOWERMENT

Photo Lisa DeVille
Hate Spreads Like Fire in Trump Era

By Lisa DeVille, Mandan and Hidatsa
Censored News

MANDAREE, North Dakota -- We are living in a not so unique but troublesome time. We are in the era of racist empowerment. Our president' has fostered an environment that nurtures hate, bigotry, and xenophobia like bacteria scum in a cesspool. North Dakota's racial ignorance is at an all-time high, with all that I've experienced as a Mandan-Hidatsa woman, I believe that this state has skyrocketed itself to the top of most racist state in the country.

After the protests, I’ve noticed more racist incidents occurring. Families claiming asylum separated by the government, women being attacked while shopping in Bismarck, new-Americans harassed in Fargo, kids making racial slurs to our Native children, white teachers publishing white supremacy propaganda nationally, the list can go on. What many people don't know is that this is the norm; it’s now noticed with the advancement of cell phones and social media.

Many people that live near me are openly racist. Our children deal with racism in school. It seems this country has forgotten that they are our guests, they inhabited our lands, many of their grandparents came without documentation. They brought the scourge of Europe that started epidemics that killed our tribes.

America was founded on genocide and rape culture of Earth. Colonizers seek to kill and destroy for greed, they lie to our faces. If the era of Trump is what the American 'dream' is about we need to be prepared. We are seeing the early effects of global warming and hate spread like fire.

Trump says they tamed this continent, if it wasn't for our ancestors, they wouldn't have survived. People need to stand up and not allow hate to continue. This is not the 1600's, but Colonialism is still alive, we must protect our people, starting with Trump and Cramer, the racists in charge.

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