August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Water Protector released from jail after challenging Grand Jury subpoena

Standing Rock Photo by Ryan Vizzions

District Court Judge Traynor, Government Agree with Counsel for Mr. Martinez That Finding of Contempt and Sanctions Were Imposed Without Authority and Must Be Terminated.

By Water Protector Legal Collective

Censored News

Feb. 23, 2021

Contact: Moira Meltzer-Cohen, Attorney at Law 347-248-6771 Leoyla Cowboy, Executive Director, Water Protector Legal Collective 805-699-1126 Natali Segovia, Staff Attorney, Water Protector Legal Collective,

BISMARCK, North Dakota – Water Protector Steve Martinez, who was confined for his principled refusal to participate in a federal grand jury investigation, was ordered to be “released from custody forthwith” late in the day on Monday, February 22. District Court Judge Daniel M. Traynor agreed with the arguments of counsel that the finding of contempt and associated “coercive confinement” at Burleigh Morton Detention Center were imposed by a Magistrate Judge who lacked authority to impose such sanctions. He ordered Mr. Martinez’ confinement immediately terminated, and confirmed that all other litigation related to grand jury proceedings must take place before a District Court Judge.

The Government served Mr. Martinez with a new grand jury subpoena prior to his release.

“Unlike all other legal proceedings in the U.S., federal grand juries are secret, and are almost entirely controlled by the prosecutor,” said Martinez’ attorney, Moira Meltzer-Cohen. “As such, they are ripe for abuse and have a history of being used for politically-targeted harassment.” She continued, “This ruling terminates, but does not remedy, three weeks of categorically unlawful incarceration endured by Mr. Martinez. That the Government’s response was to re-subpoena him speaks to the perversity of this process.” The new subpoena demands his presence on March 3, 2021, before the same Grand Jury, which is ostensibly investigating injuries sustained by Water Protector Sophia Wilansky.

Womxn Act for Climate Justice -- Join WECAN online

By WECAN International
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Womxn worldwide are continuing to call for a different path forward in 2021 and beyond as we reweave and forge a path onward in the midst of multiple crises, with global communities confronting the Covid-19 pandemic and intensified climate chaos, racism, gender and economic inequity, Indigenous rights violations, environmental degradation, and much more.

Please be welcome to join us on International Women’s Day, March 8th for "Womxn Act for Climate Justice", a dynamic international network-wide event highlighting the struggles and solutions of womxn climate leaders in the WECAN network. During the interactive gathering, we look forward to sharing inspiring updates from WECAN regional coordinators and allies, as well as exploring some of our plans and vision for 2021 and how you can be involved.

We are committed and steadfast in our collective and ceaseless fight for Indigenous rights, Black liberation, gender equity, rights of nature, true democracies, climate justice, and the protection of this planet we hold so dear. We are inspired by womxn and feminists who are leading resistance movements, building climate solutions, and re-imagining a future grounded in justice and care globally. The small window of opportunity for acting on the climate crisis is already upon us— now is the time for systemic change and building the just and healthy world we seek.

Speakers to date include: Neema Namadamu, WECAN Coordinator in the Democratic Republic of Congo; Casey Camp-Horinek (Ponca Nation), Environmental Ambassador, WECAN Senior Project Lead/Board Member; Carmen Capriles, WECAN Coordinator for Latin America; Monique Verdin (Houma Nation), member of Another Gulf is Possible, Director of The Land Memory Bank & Seed Exchange, and WECAN Indigenous Food Security & Sovereignty Program Coordinator; Daiara Tukano, Tukano Indigenous peoples of the Brazilian Amazon, Independent communicator and coordinator of Radio Yande; Karina Gonzalez, WECAN Women Speak Programs Coordinator; Rebekah Sawers (Yupik) and Kari Ames (Tlingit), WECAN Indigenous Representatives in the Tongass Forest, Alaska; and comments and analysis by Osprey Orielle Lake, WECAN Executive Director.

Why Womxn? for this event we chose to use the written word Womxn, which has roots in intersectional feminism, to uplift the varied and intersectional experiences of womxnhood globally. This is an inclusive space across identities and the gender spectrum.