At a Congressional hearing, an indigenous water protector denounced a coordinated attack on environmental activists by industry, politicians, and police.

By the Center For Constitutional Rights

Anne White Hat, a Sicangu Lakota Water Protector, today denounced the coordinated attack by oil and gas companies, lawmakers, and police on the Indigenous-led movement resisting fossil fuel extraction. Appearing before the House Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Anne White Hat detailed widespread collusion that has led to industry-authored laws and violent arrests of protesters.

A defiant Line 3 protester raises her fist in an effort to shut down the Line 3 oil pipeline.

A leader in the fight to stop construction of the Bayou Bridge pipeline across Louisiana, White Hat was arrested in September 2018 for allegedly violating the state’s so-called critical infrastructure law, one of several enacted around the country in recent years. She referred to such laws as “lawfare,” which she defined as “the weaponizing of the legislative process to attack social movements.” Lawfare, she says, emerges from a long history of attacks on Indigenous people as they fight to protect the land from those seeking to exploit it for profit.

“Violence has been used for centuries here and around the world against people who challenge the concentration and misuse of power,” she told the committee. “This is nothing new to us, but what we experienced needs to be recognized by all as the coordinated assault on a movement.”

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