Tania Aubid, Dawn Goodwin, and Winona LaDuke — respected Indigenous elders and water protectors — held a press conference this morning to celebrate, grieve, reminisce, and reflect on the road ahead, in the wake of Friday’s order from District Court Judge Metzen dismissing all remaining charges against them. They were joined by their attorneys Claire Glenn, Joshua Preston, Frank Bibeau, and Jordan Kushner. You can find a recording of the press conference here.
In case you missed it: Judge Metzen’s ruling dismissed the remaining criminal charges against Aubid, Goodwin, and LaDuke, closing a chapter that began with the women’s participation in a peaceful ceremony and demonstration on the banks of the Mississippi River against Line 3 pipeline construction in 2021. Judge Metzen dismissed the charges “in the interests of justice” and did so with prejudice, meaning that the State may not refile the charges at a later date. The ruling was accompanied by a written opinion that was striking for its acknowledgement of the systemic oppression and historical injustices that have brought us to this moment — a moment in which Native people face greater punishment for trying to protect their own land and water than the multinational energy corporations that are desecrating those things.
According to Judge Metzen: “To criminalize their behavior would be the crime.”