March 29, 2019

NDN Collective and Coalition of Environmental, Rural and Indigenous Groups File Lawsuit Challenging South Dakota Anti-Protest Laws

This is just the latest of tactics and strategies to muzzle the voices of the people, to discourage us from organizing our communities against injustice and threats to our livelihood.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RAPID CITY, S.D., March 28, 2019–In conjunction with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU of South Dakota, four organizations and two individuals have filed suit against the State of South Dakota challenging a package of state laws that violate the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution. Senate Bill (SB) 189 and SB 190 together function to chill free speech while paving the way for the Keystone XL pipeline, a TransCanada oil project.  The set of laws also fail to adequately describe what speech or conduct could subject protesters and organizations to civil and criminal penalties. 

Known as the “Riot Boosting Act,” SB 189, with the use of broad language, says that anyone that contributes to a protest, whether through monetary donations, donations of supplies, or even through organizing a page on social media, can be held liable, and have civil and criminal penalties for supporting a protest that the state deems “violent.” Individuals or organizations that support a protest don’t even need to be on the ground or physically present at the protest to be held liable.  Also under the law, TransCanada could take the money seized from protesters and organizations, and put that money toward pipeline construction. 

NDN Collective Vice President, Kim Pate

“Gov. Kristi Noem’s legislation is yet another way to promote Big Oil interests and prevent dissent by making protesters subject to legal action,” says Kim Pate, Vice President of NDN Collective.  Pate, Cherokee and Choctaw, an attorney with 25 years of experience in civil rights litigation also cautioned, “Protests and other forms of dissent are protected speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution. If we don’t fight this now, what’s next? Silencing all speech to placate and enable corporate interests at all costs? Not on our watch.”

Plaintiffs on the lawsuit include four organizations– the NDN Collective, the Indigenous Environmental Network, the Sierra Club, Dakota Rural Action– and two individuals, Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network, and Nick Tilsen, President and CEO of the NDN Collective.  

“These laws are absurd,” says Nick Tilsen, NDN Collective President and citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation.  “This is just the latest of tactics and strategies to muzzle the voices of the people, to discourage us from organizing our communities against injustice and threats to our livelihood. It’s also an attempt to over-militarize Indigenous Peoples’ resistance, criminalizing our work to defend, develop and decolonize Indigenous lands and our communities.”  

While construction of the Keystone XL pipeline is currently on hold, following a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that rejected TransCanada’s appeal to overturn a decision made last year to stop pre-construction of the pipeline, the fight against Big Oil continues.  The movement for clean air, land and water has characterized the past several years of Indigenous resistance in the U.S. and Canada.

South Dakota is being sued for its new law against pipeline protests

The ACLU, NDNCollective, and others have filed suit against South Dakota's unconstitutional new law against protesting pipelines. Other plaintiffs include Indigenous Environmental Network, Sierra Club, Dakota Rural Action, and individuals Nick Tilsen and Dallas Goldtooth.

Posted by NDNCollective on Thursday, March 28, 2019

“This country has always become better when people have taken to the streets, fields and halls of injustice,” says Tilsen.  “When Martin Luther King, Jr. marched in Selma, when anti-war resistors held sit-ins, when Cesar Chavez organized the United Farm Workers and when we made the stand for water in Standing Rock, it all has made this country better. This law is not only an attack on Water Protectors, activists and those who support us; It’s an attack on democracy itself.”

“This country has always become better when people have taken to the streets, fields and halls of injustice.” Nick Tilsen, @NDNCollective

With evidence of climate change disasters cropping up across the U.S., from the fires in the western states, to the devastating floods across the Great Plains and the warming of our oceans throughout the world, taking a stand against the fossil fuel industry is critical, now perhaps more than ever.  And our First Amendment rights are foundational to taking the stands necessary to make our world a better place for future generations.

####

To hear more from NDN Collective President Nick Tilsen regarding this lawsuit, tune in to the latest episode of the NDN Collective podcast, While Indigenous, available on iTunes, Soundcloud and Google podcasts.

Loading
April 2020 Edition

Stay Informed. Take Action.
Subscribe to the NDN allies newsletter

Sign up to get our newsletter. Delivered once per month.

We care about the protection of your data and would never sell your email or share it with anyone without your permission.

Recently published on NDN

Posted 5 months ago Alcatraz Canoe Journey: Honoring 50 Years of Indigenous Resistance and Persistence

Jade Begay

"If we work to reframe Alcatraz as a symbol for Indigenous sovereignty and reposition it in people’s psyche that way, it could be a very powerful thing, especially for people who are so often forgotten overlooked and marginalized like Natives in America."
Posted 3 weeks ago NDN Collective on COVID-19: A Time for Spiritual Fortitude
We encourage all of our relatives throughout Turtle Island and beyond to take every precaution to protect yourselves, your loved ones, families, and entire communities.
Posted 4 weeks ago Decolonizing Community Care in Response to COVID-19

Jade Begay

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic responsibly, Indigenously
Posted 1 month ago Becoming Adzaan: The Gift of Diné Womanhood

Jaclyn Roessel

An International Women's Day reflection on the power of Adzaanhood.
Posted 1 month ago In Praise of NDN Women: An International Women's Day Tribute
In order to build holistic solutions, wisdom and values carried by women and matriarchs must be front and center. NDN Collective is proud to have a staff and board that consist primarily of women.
Posted 2 months ago The Academy Was Made for White Men: Here's How Taika Waititi Made a Difference

Jade Begay

During the 2020 Oscars on Sunday night, there were sure moments that not only broke the status quo, but allowed lights of hope to shine into a space that largely upholds institutional racism and sexism.
Posted 2 months ago Governor Noem Makes Second Attempt to Criminalize Peaceful Protest in South Dakota
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb 10, 2020 MEDIA CONTACT: Janna Farley, jfarley@aclu.org or 605-366-7732 Gov. Kristi Noem’s second attempt at a “riot boosting” law is an unnecessary effort to legislate peaceful protest in South Dakota. The ACLU of South Dakota opposes House Bill…
Posted 4 months ago Announcing the Inaugural Cohort of NDN Changemaker Fellows
The 20 NDN Changemakers are Indigenous leaders from throughout Turtle Island and beyond who are radically transforming Indigenous communities.
Posted 4 months ago Acknowledging the Winter Solstice is a Decolonial Act for Indigenous People

Sarah Sunshine Manning

The winter solstice is an opportunity for Indigenous people to reconnect to the natural world, sharpen our senses, and access our most powerful selves.
Posted 4 months ago Return of Nimiipuu Dugout Canoe Renews Canoe Culture Among Chief Joseph's People

Joe Whittle

Canoe culture is one of the essential elements that kept relationships between the Nimiipuu and other Indigenous peoples of the Columbia River watershed strong for thousands of years.
Posted 5 months ago Native American Heritage Month: Indigenous People Will Not be Erased

Crystal Echo Hawk , Nick Tilsen

For nearly three decades, the month of November has been recognized as Native American Heritage Month. Bi-partisan support through Presidential Proclamations and law formally recognized and honored the contributions of Native and Indigenous peoples throughout the month. This year, however,…

United like never before, we rise together—arm in arm—to equip all Indigenous Peoples with the tools needed to become architects of our future.

© 2020 NDN Collective. All rights reserved.