Beyond Standing Rock: WPLC Adopts New Vision and Mission Statements

WPLC board president Daniel T’seleie attending the two-day retreat from Radili Ko (also known as Fort Good Hope, Northwest Territories) via video conference. Our retreat was facilitated by Jordan Marie Daniel of Wopila Consulting.   WPLC’s Board of Directors gathered with staff in Bismarck, ND for a two-day facilitated retreat at United Tribes College on December Read More

WPLC Publishes Inaugural Issue of Newsletter

Download it here: WPLC Inaugural Newsletter Over our two plus years of existence we’ve been the recipients of a good deal of press, some of which we’ve posted on our Media Coverage page. In each instance it’s been an opportunity to learn how others interpret the story of our work coordinating the mass legal defense for Read More

Court Update: Standing Rock Sioux Akicita James “Angry Bird” White Sentenced to Two Years of Supervised Release for Civil Disorder

James “Angry Bird” White at the Oceti Sakowin NoDAPL resistance camp (Photo by Jonathan Klett) Bismarck, ND: James “Angry Bird” White was sentenced in federal court on December 5, 2018 to time served plus two-years of supervised release and a $100 assessment pursuant to a non-cooperating plea agreement. Though the prosecution had requested a term Read More

Court Update: Citing Last Month’s Jessee Decision, ND Supreme Court Serves Up Another Big Win for Water Protectors

Mark Hebert and April Olson after his appeal hearing in federal court in Bismarck Bismarck, ND: Today, the North Dakota Supreme Court ruled in favor of Water Protector Mark Hebert, reversing his lower court conviction arising out of a November 15, 2016 prayer walk in commemoration of missing and murdered Indigenous women. He had attended Read More

Court Update: Last Child Camp Case Dismissed; Judge Says State’s Case ‘Fails to Meet the Smell Test’

All Charges Dismissed for Water Protector Waste’Win Young, former Historic Preservation Officer for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Waste’Win Young (third from left)  with her WPLC defense team, family and friends after the 1st of 2 hearings on her Motion to Dismiss, held on October 5,  2018. North Dakota District Judge David Reich today dismissed Read More

Take Action Against Colonialism: Support Indigenous Prisoners

I ask, what must we do to be a good caretaker of this land, to be a good relative, to protect all things sacred, to ensure that our future generations carry love, strength, compassion and the knowledge of how to care for the earth, for each other, and for their future generations?. . . Our Read More

Press Release: WPLC Receives 2018 Arc of Justice Award

North Dakota Human Rights Coalition confers award for ongoing legal defense of Water Protectors Mandan, ND: At a ceremony today in Fargo, ND, an award was conferred by the North Dakota Human Rights Coalition upon Water Protector Legal Collective for championing the human rights of Water Protectors arrested in the NoDAPL resistance at Standing Rock Read More

Press Release: Water Protector Wins Appeal at North Dakota Supreme Court

UPDATED on December 2, 2018: WPLC Cooperating Attorney Melinda Power called the Jessee decision: “a good victory for… everyone arrested on November 15th…”. Power was right. Another of her clients with the same charges from the same day,  Water Protector Brian O’Keefe, who’d been scheduled to stand trial on November 27, had his charges dismissed by Morton Read More

Press Release: Chief Judge Daniel L. Hovland Grants Downward Variance: Dion Ortiz Sentenced to 16 Months for Civil Disorder

Dion Ortiz at home in San Felipe Pueblo, New Mexico Bismarck, ND: Dion Ortiz was sentenced on October 22, 2018 to a 16-month federal prison term pursuant to a non-cooperating plea agreement, becoming the fourth Water Protector arrested in relation to the DAPL pipeline resistance at Standing Rock to be sentenced to a substantial prison Read More

Press Release: Michael “Rattler” Markus Sentenced to 36 Months, Will Self-Surrender in November

Photo: Michael “Rattler” Markus with partner Olive Bias (on left) and WPLC attorney Sandra Freeman after yesterday’s sentencing hearing in federal court in Bismarck Bismarck, ND: Michael “Rattler” Markus was sentenced yesterday to a 36 month federal prison term pursuant to a non-cooperating plea agreement, becoming the third Water Protector arrested in relation to the Read More


For Immediate Release MEDIA ADVISORY FROM WATER PROTECTOR LEGAL COLLECTIVE September 25, 2018 For More Information or to Arrange Post-Sentencing Interviews, Please Contact: Frances Madeson, Communications Coordinator Cell: 412-616-0109 Email: WATER PROTECTOR MICHAEL “RATTLER” MARKUS TO BE SENTENCED FOR CIVIL DISORDER, JUDGE DANIEL E. HOVLAND PRESIDING Under his non-cooperating plea agreement, the Use of Read More

Court Update: Mennonite Water Protector Makes Faith-Based Stance, Found Guilty by a Morton County Jury

Photo: Water Protector Dennis Lehmann after his conviction in Morton County On September 7, after a brief deliberation, a six-member Morton County jury quickly found 65-year-old Dennis Lehmann of Freeman, South Dakota guilty of Class A misdemeanor charges of physical obstruction of a government function. Judge James Hill sentenced Lehmann to 90 days of unsupervised Read More

Court Update: On Appeal, Convictions Upheld of Misdemeanor Charges Against Two Water Protectors Arrested at a Prayer Walk Almost Two Years Ago

“Flawed ruling that ignores the total lack of evidence presented by the State” says Freshet Collective defense attorney about yesterday’s North Dakota Supreme Court Opinion Photo courtesy of Jonathan Klett: Mary Redway and Alex Simon being led away in handcuffs to serve jail sentences for First Amendment activity last year. Judge Thomas E. Merrick chastised Read More

Court Update: Water Protector Found Not Guilty on One Charge, Receives Deferred Sentence on Another

Arrested rather than abandon a Lakota elder making a treaty stand on camp’s final day, a principled Water Protector accepts her sentence Photo: WPLC Attorney Andrea Carter and Water Protectors Aubree Peckham, Regina Brave and Leta Killer-Bailey after the bench trial in Mandan, ND. North Dakota Supreme Court District Judge Thomas J. Schneider dismissed Class Read More

Court Update: After North Dakota Rests Case Against Two “Last Child Camp” Water Protectors, Judge Dismisses the Charges, Citing Rule 29 

State of North Dakota Fails to Present Sufficient Evidence to Proceed to Trial on Riot and Trespass Charges Photo: Sacred Stone Camp founder LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, WPLC Staff Attorney Moira Meltzer-Cohen, defendants Andrew Weber and Christina Rogers, and Volunteer Attorney Patricia Handlin after the dismissal of charges at a bench trial in Mandan, ND. Read More