In 2016 and 2017, the rights of Indigenous groups, environmental activists, and others peacefully protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline were blatantly violated by the government working together with private pipeline companies.

Law enforcement agencies unlawfully spied on protestors and used excessive force, intimidation, and military tactics against people exercising their First Amendment right to protest.  With the government disregarding both treaty and Constitutional rights, it was a disgraceful time in our nation’s history.

ACLU Lawsuits

We won’t back down. The ACLU will always work to protect the constitutional right to free speech and protest. With preparation for construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline underway (part of which is closely adjacent to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana), the ACLU has asked local, state, and federal agencies for any documents pertaining to government response to anticipated protests.

A number of agencies withheld information. We sued. People have a right to this information. Especially in the aftermath of Standing Rock.

Read more about the federal lawsuit

Read more about the Montana lawsuit


Know Your Rights

Planning a protest? You have rights! The First Amendment protects your right to assemble and express your views through protest. Read more

On the Ground

October 2019, we hosted the Gathering of Oceti Sakowin: Environmental Symposium for directly impacted community members and organizations.  Check back for future community events!

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