Holyelk Lafferty

HolyElk Lafferty, a Cheyenne River Sioux, stands at a the new camp in February, which she said wouldw start filling up as people look for higher, drier ground out of the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camps. This proposed new camp was a half-mile south of the camps on leased land.

As a follow-up to the one-year anniversary of clashes between law enforcement and protesters against the Dakota Access Pipeline on Backwater Bridge near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, anti-pipeline activists intend to deliver a petition on Monday with more than 55,000 signatures to state’s attorney Allen Koppy asking that all charges be dropped against the hundreds of people still facing charges for anti-pipeline activism.

The petitions were collected online and in-person by representatives of the Lakota People’s Law Project over the past four months. They’ll be delivered by Standing Rock leaders Phyllis Young and Ladonna Brave Bull Allard, Lakota People’s Law Project director Daniel Paul Nelson and Cheyenne River pipeline activist HolyElk Lafferty.

“The overwhelming support expressed by so many speaks volumes about what is just and what is fair,” Nelson said. “It’s heartening that so many continue to stand with those falsely accused of crimes for their peaceful and prayerful vigil on land guaranteed to the Great Sioux Nation by the Treaty of Fort Laramie.”

Lafferty said she, Chase Iron Eyes and hundreds of others either being defended by the Water Protectors Legal Collective or currently without representation are innocent of all charges.

“Nobody should suffer consequences for protecting our only source of water,” said Lafferty, who asserted that, even once the petitions are dropped and the cases are over, the movement created at Standing Rock will live on.

“The veil was lifted, and now there are millions of people staring straight at the dysfunction created by capitalism, and specifically the fossil fuel industry,” she said. “Standing Rock activated a sense of responsibility in each of us, a sense of courage. People saw what we were doing on the ground and people became active within their own environments. Now there are many, many people out there who, because of what they did for Standing Rock, know they have the power to make change.”