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General News    H1'ed 2/2/17

Legitimizing Plunder at Standing Rock Part I

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The connection between the Lakota People's Law Project, Last Real Indians, and Sacred Stone Camp remains murky. According to its website, the Lakota People's Law Project "has joined a coalition of environmental and Indigenous organizations" which includes Greenpeace, Indigenous Environmental Network, the Rainforest Coalition and others. The Facebook Page clearly has a donation button dedicated to Standing Rock (Standing With Water Protectors)

The LPLP website sponsors "Dispatches From Indian Country," and promises that if donors "Stand With Standing Rock into 2017 and Beyond," "a generous donor will match all contributions made before the end of the year, up to $100,000. Every donation you make today will go twice as far."

Tara Houska, National Campaigns Director, Honor the Earth, and Dallas Goldtooth, Keep it in the Ground Organizer, Indigenous Environmental Network, are frequently associated with the Lakota People's Law Project and the Sacred Stone Camp.

For example, the crowd-funding site, FundRazr, is hosting the Sacred Stone Legal Defense Fund, which is also heavily promoted in the November 25, 2016 online blog of Vogue Magazine. Currently this fund has raised $2,729,388 out of a $3 million goal, and has 49,946 contributions received. This easily surpasses the taxation requirements for the IRS. An email was sent to Honor the Earth's Tara Houska to determine how the money is being allocated. The website says the "Sacred Stone Legal Defense Fund supports the legal defense of warriors protecting land, water, and human rights. The Camp of the Sacred Stones is a spiritual and cultural camp on the Standing Rock Reservation resisting the Dakota Access oil pipeline thru non-violent direct action."

Houska responded to the Teton Times in general terms, but not with an actual dollar amount.

"Freshet Collective is a registered 501(c) (4) non-profit with a board of directors composed of folks in the encampments at Standing Rock. We'll be subject to the same requirements of any non-profit, including a publicly available annual report of all expenditures, Houska said.

"The Sacred Stone Legal Fund is what Freshet Collective manages - 100% of the funds go to the legal defense and bail of water protectors," says Houska.

The IRS says, "To be tax-exempt as a social welfare organization described in Internal Revenue Code (IRC) section 501(c)(4), an organization must not be organized for profit and must be operated exclusively to promote social welfare."

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Georgianne Nienaber is an investigative environmental and political writer. She lives in rural northern Minnesota and South Florida. Her articles have appeared in The Society of Professional Journalists' Online Quill Magazine, the Huffington (more...)

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