News from Lakota People´s Law Project

I thank you for always standing with the Lakota people. Your attention to the work my father, Chase Iron Eyes, does on behalf of our tribal nations means more than I can say. Recently, I joined my dad, my auntie Madonna Thunder Hawk, and Lakota Law’s chief counsel Daniel Sheehan for an amazing Zoom session with The Nation Magazine. We’ve produced a short video with key outtakes. Please take a look!

Lakota Law

Our friendship with The Nation has translated not only to excellent press coverage and great online events like this Zoom conference, but, in addition, the magazine has become sort of a sponsor for Lakota Law’s Native-run foster home on Standing Rock Nation. The home currently houses five children in need and has already provided shelter and safety for many more since the beginning of the year. Now that summer has arrived, the team has been busy devising ways to get the kids out into nature where they can be active and engaged while remaining safe during the pandemic.

I count myself fortunate not to rely on such assistance, and we must continue to work together on making sure all our vulnerable populations stay out of harm’s way. Much of our video focuses on our two recent wins against the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, wonderful for our frontline communities at Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, and here at Pine Ridge. Those victories show me that what we do together works. But as Auntie Madonna says, we also know these battles are ongoing.

To her point, on Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an administrative stay temporarily preventing the DAPL shutdown from taking effect. So the oil will keep flowing after all — for the moment — and Standing Rock has until Monday to file new briefs.

We have to stay strong, and we mustn’t get complacent. Just last week, we got two pieces of great news. Now, we see again how hard it is to win this fight. That’s why we need to continue to stand together — across generational, racial, and all artificially constructed boundaries — and, if we do, I have faith that there’s no limit to what we can accomplish.

Wopila tanka — my gratitude for your attention and care!

Tokata Iron Eyes
Via the Lakota People’s Law Project

Lakota People's Law Project

Lakota People’s Law Project
547 South 7th Street #149
Bismarck, ND 58504-5859

The Lakota People’s Law Project is part of the Romero Institute, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) law and policy center. All donations are tax-deductible.

Regarding Illegal Taking of Nation’s Missouri Riverbed Property Rights

July 15, 2020
NCAI Statement on Legal Filing by Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation Regarding Illegal Taking of Nation’s Missouri Riverbed Property Rights
WASHINGTON, DC | Today, the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation (MHA Nation) took steps to prevent the illegal taking of the Nation’s property rights to minerals beneath the Missouri River on its Fort Berthold Reservation in western North Dakota. The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) holds firm its position in support of the MHA Nation’s land and mineral rights, and has advocated for government-to-government consultation between the MHA Nation and the Department of the Interior’s Office of the Solicitor to confirm the longstanding Executive and Congressional actions declaring that the Missouri River bed within the Fort Berthold Reservation is owned by the MHA Nation.
“The MHA Nation’s rights to the Missouri River bed minerals have been reaffirmed through a history of longstanding, well-settled, and still applicable legal precedents, and there should be no question as to the validity of the Nation’s claims,” says NCAI President Fawn Sharp. “We cannot reiterate strongly enough that consultation with tribal nations and upholding treaty obligations is not optional. It is mandatory.”
For these reasons, NCAI urges the Department of the Interior to immediately withdraw Solicitor’s Opinion M-37056 as an unwarranted threat to longstanding tribal trust assets. The fiduciary obligation of the United States is to protect and preserve tribal trust assets in order to ensure tribal nations have the resources needed to provide permanent homelands for present and future generations of their citizens. Instead, M-Opinion 37056 does the opposite, and completely reverses course on the Department of the Interior’s longstanding legal position with little or no rationale for doing so. NCAI stands with the MHA Nation in its fight to preserve its trust assets.
To view NCAI’s resolution on this issue, please click here.
About the National Congress of American Indians:
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information, visit