A year ago June, Indigenous leaders set up Camp Fire Light, an eight-day ceremonial camp held near the Mississippi headwaters. They established it to exercise their treaty rights to hunt, fish, gather, and occupy lands they ceded to the United States. They invited non-Indigenous allies to participate in support of treaty rights.
Camp Fire Light participants camped on the wooden matting Enbridge Energy installed to build the Line 3 tar sands pipeline under the Mississippi and surrounding wetlands.
Many Camp Firelight participants received criminal trespass charges in Clearwater County.
Several Indigenous participants had their cases transferred from Clearwater County District Court to White Earth Tribal Court, including Nancy Beaulieu, Justin Keezer, and Todd Thompson.
These three defendants asked the Tribal Court to dismiss their cases “on grounds that their actions were lawful exercises of sovereign Indigenous rights reserved in the 1855 Treaty and protected nonviolent direct action pursuant to the White Earth Tribal Code,” according to a news release issued on their behalf.
Last week, White Earth Tribal Court Judge David DeGroat granted their motion and dismissed their case.
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