It’s been more than two years since the protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline began, and federal judges are now handing down prison sentences. The longest of which seem to be reserved specifically for Native Americans, according to a report by Think Progress.
The report states that the vast majority of protesters who were arrested faced criminal charges in the state court, not the federal court. Of the 670 cases that have been concluded by the state, 333 had their charges dismissed; only 17 were actually convicted.
In January 2017, Trump reversed Obama’s block on the project, and ordered to expedite the pipeline’s completion. The current federal charges under Trump’s administration against Native Americans are meant to “exert a chilling effect on indigenous-led resistance to resource extraction and fossil fuel infrastructure.”
The Native Standing Rock activists being charged on the federal level include:
Red Fawn Fallis. Sentenced to 4 years and 9 nine months because of the accidental firing of a paid FBI informant’s gun. Not her gun, and she didn’t fire it. The judge in her case forbade her defense team to mention treaty rights, or other issues related to the construction of the pipeline, which started leaking as soon as it was finished.
Michael “Little Feather” Giron. Sentenced to 3 years in prison for “civil disorder”. He has already spent 15 months in jail. The previous, and most severe charges for using fire, had already been dropped.
Michael “Rattler” Markus. Scheduled for sentencing in August. Like Little Feather, he will most likely receive 3 years in prison, though he could receive as much as five.
Dion Ortiz and James “Angry Bird” White are both preparing for trial.
The current fascist presidential administration is working to dismantle civil rights across the U.S. But the actions taken against these Natives are another example of the oppression they’ve faced in the U.S. for decades. The majority of Americans stood with them during the DAPL protests, and now they need our help again. You can donate to their legal funds through the following link: (source), and remember to divest from banks who finance the oil industry, (source).