Water Protectors Tania Aubid, Dawn Goodwin, and Winona LaDuke to Appear in Aitkin County Court


Three #StopLine3 Indigenous Leaders Face Possible Trial Next Week, with a Zoom Pretrial Hearing September 13

Water Protectors Tania Aubid, Dawn Goodwin, and Winona LaDuke to Appear in Aitkin County Court on the Heels of a Related Felony Trial and Conviction Marred by Allegations of Prosecutorial Misconduct  


Three prominent Indigenous women leaders of #StopLine3 will appear for a pretrial settlement conference on September 13th, followed by a joint jury trial September 18-22. Tania Aubid, Dawn Goodwin and Winona LaDuke each face multiple criminal charges stemming from the January 9, 2021 Rally for the Rivers.  

Over 1,000 arrests occurred during the Line 3 protests. Nearly three years after Line 3 construction began, the three Anishinaabe women are among the final defendants awaiting trial on criminal charges that arose from their efforts as Water Protectors. Of the 1000+ #StopLine3 arrests in the months before and after Rally for the Rivers, well over 100, and many of the felony allegations, occurred in Aitkin County.  Aitkin also has been the last county to schedule most of its hearings, keeping many Water Protectors in limbo for years. 

Local law enforcement — reimbursed over $8.6 million by Enbridge — responded to this mass movement with surveillance, harassment, “pain compliance” torture, and trumped-up charges, many of which have since been dismissed as baseless.

Tania Aubid, a Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Elder, is being tried on five counts: gross misdemeanor “trespass on critical public service facilities — pipeline” and gross misdemeanor “harassment,” plus three misdemeanor charges, “unlawful assembly,” “presence at unlawful assembly,” and “public nuisance.” 

Gaagigeyaashiik (Everlasting Wind) Dawn Goodwin, White Earth Tribal Member, faces three counts: gross misdemeanor “trespass on critical public service facilities — pipeline,” and misdemeanors “unlawful assembly” and “presence at unlawful assembly.”

Winona LaDuke, Mississippi Band Anishinaabeg of the White Earth Reservation, is facing three misdemeanor counts: “unlawful assembly,” “presence at unlawful assembly,” and “public nuisance.” Originally charged with the same five counts as Aubid, the two gross misdemeanor charges against LaDuke were dismissed for lack of probable cause in April 2023.


The Aubid-Goodwin-LaDuke trial follows that of Line 3 defendant Mylene Vialard, who was recently convicted earlier this month following a jury trial reported to be rampant with prosecutorial misconduct. During the last day of Vialard’s trial, it was revealed that the prosecutor, Assistant Aitkin County Attorney Garrett Slyva, is under investigation for alleged misconduct in North Dakota. This news is just the latest in a slew of misconduct allegations that have garnered public scrutiny of Aitkin County’s top elected law enforcement officials — Aitkin County Attorney James Ratz and Aitkin County Sheriff Daniel Guida — and their offices for extreme surveillance, targeting, and prosecution of Line 3 Water Protectors.

Slyva was also slated to prosecute the Aubid-Goodwin-LaDuke trial next week.  But following the Vialard trial, County Attorney Ratz abruptly pulled Slyva from the cases and made a motion to reschedule the trial to accommodate a pending contract for “outside counsel” to handle the cases. Aubid, Goodwin, and Laduke filed notices objecting to the County Attorney’s request to push the trial date at least another three months as the cases approach the three-year anniversary.  The County Attorney’s motion will be heard on September 13, along with the parties’ other pretrial motions.  


  • Joint Jury Trial September 18-22, 2023, 8am-4pm CST – in person (a request to stream the proceeding via zoom is pending), Aitkin County Courthouse,  209 2nd St NW, Aitkin, MN 56431


Seventeen known StopLine3 cases remain open, including appeal and post-conviction litigation from recent jury convictions of Bernie Santa and Mylene Vialard on felony charges. Additional trials and hearings are also scheduled in the coming months. 

After years exhausting every pathway to Stop Line 3 expansion from running through their Anishinaabe treaty territories, Aubid, Goodwin, and LaDuke stood with other protectors of nibi (water), manoomin (wild rice), treaties and the climate to stop Enbridge corporation from drilling without Indigenous consent under the Mississippi River, the Willow River, and hundreds of other waterways in the path of the Canadian oil giant’s Line 3 tar sands pipeline.

In accordance with their rights and responsibilities to water as a living relative, many Anishinaabe women led regular peaceful, prayerful actions by the rivers, many of which resulted in their arrests.


Martin Keller, Media Savant Communications, 612-220-6515, mkeller@mediasavantcom.com, @mediasavant