[Pnews] Native American water protector becomes first to be sentenced to time in federal prison for DAPL protests

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jun 13 17:36:16 EDT 2018


  Native American water protector becomes first to be sentenced to time
  in federal prison for DAPL protests

Alexandra Jacobo - June 13, 2018

Michael “Little Feather” Giron, a member of the Coastal Band of the 
Chumash Nation, was sentenced to thirty-six months in federal prison 
this week. He is the first person to be sentenced to serious prison time 
for his role in the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Little Feather has already spent fifteen months of his life incarcerated 
– time which will be credited to him as part of the sentencing – but 
still faces at least eleven months in prison. His legal team hopes that 
he will be released after eleven months to a halfway house.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney David Hagler, Little Feather was 
officially identified as one of the individuals that set fires that 
obstructed law enforcement during the last raids of the camp. In 
February, Little Feather took a non-cooperating plea deal rather than 
stand trial, and agreed to take responsibility for aiding a “civil 
disorder” in exchange for the prosecution agreeing to drop the charge of 
Use of Fire to Commit a Federal Felony.

The Water Protector Legal Collective explains that many of the 
defendants facing charges in relation to the events at Standing Rock 
take plea deals because a trial will mean facing a hostile jury pool. A 
defense-commissioned study 
last year by the National Jury Project found the a whopping 77 percent 
of potential jurors in Morton County and 85 percent in Burleigh County 
had already decided that the Standing Rock defendants were guilty. A 
for a change a venue for the defendants was denied.

You won’t see this story on the mainstream media. Although the big media 
outlets gave some coverage to the DAPL protests during the height of the 
movement, they have been notably silent since the last camps were raided 
fifteen months ago, despite the fact that seven Native Americans have 
been indicted for federal felony crimes and hundreds more have faced 
lesser charges.

Among the others that were charged, two, Red Fawn Fallis and Michael 
“Rattler” Markus  have taken non-cooperating plea deals and await 
sentencing, and two others, Dion Ortiz and James “Angry Bird” White, are 
preparing for trial. The state of North dakota has prosecuted 835 state 
criminal cases related to the DAPL protests, of which 325 have been 
dismissed or acquitted at trial and 235 are ongoing.

The felony charges against the seven Native Americans stem from the law 
enforcement raid on the water protectors camp on October 27, 2016. 

The fight against the DAPL has been happening for over three years now. 
The pipeline, which cost nearly $4 billion and transports oil across 
1,200 miles, has already leaked several times. 
<https://www.nationofchange.org/2017/05/24/dakota-access-pipeline-already-springing-leaks/> Despite 
the fact that the project was eventually greenlit, the fight of the 
water protectors and the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has paved the way for 
protests against oil pipelines all over the country – and the world.

Meanwhile, the Standing Rock Sioux have filed a lawsuit 
<https://www.nationofchange.org/2017/08/05/standing-rock-lawsuit-started-year-ago-heres-now/> against 
the Army Corps of Engineers for authorizing the construction of the 
pipeline, which they claim violates the Clean Water Act, Rivers and 
Harbors Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act.

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