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Rebel Hearts with Kristie Reeves

Feb 28, 2018

This week on “Rebel Hearts”: Kristie speaks with Daniel P Sheehan, a Harvard-trained attorney, who has led or participated in some of the most important public interest cases of the last 40 years. His lawsuits include the Watergate and Iran-Contra Scandals, the Pentagon Papers, and the killing of Karen Silkwood. In 1973-74, he served as amicus counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union regarding the occupation of Wounded Knee. In 1980, he co-founded the Christic Institute, a nonprofit public interest law center that—among many other cases—prosecuted members of the Ku Klux Klan in Greensboro, North Carolina, and represented victims of the Three Mile Island disaster in Pennsylvania. He is one of the small number of attorneys to be invited to join the Mni Wiconi Legal Defense and Offense Committee, along with Bruce Ellison. His autobiography, „The People’s Advocate“ was published by Counterpoint Press. 


In this interview, Daniel shares about his work with Lakota People’s Law Project, starting with the drafting of the legal strategy for the federal Justice Department’s lawsuit against the State of South Dakota for its violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act. Daniel talks about how more than 700 native children are being taken away every year from their families by social services. 


Daniel was present at Standing Rock during opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline. He tells us about his work as defense counsel for two water protectors facing severe charges—Chase Iron Eyes and HolyElk Lafferty. Comparing the peaceful protest at Standing Rock with the events in Mississippi and Alabama in the 1960s, he talks about the parallels that he has been witnessing with both events. 


A lot of the mainstream media has been portraying the water protectors at Standing Rock as trouble makers. Find out why the private security firm Tiger Swan was hired to create false propaganda and what is behind the strategy of trying to categorize these movements as terrorism. Daniel also tells us why the Dakota Access Pipeline was rerouted and the racial discrimination connected to it, creating reports that there would be no disparate impact on any racial minority- this reports excluded the whole Sioux Nation. 


Find out why Daniel calls the events at Standing Rock an "Unlawful Criminal Conspiracy" and why bringing light to these events has the ability to create a positive ripple effect across the nation.