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The Water Protector Legal Collective is an Indigenous-led legal nonprofit organization that works to protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples and Original Nations, the Earth, and climate justice movements.
Born out of the #NoDAPL movement, WPLC’s founding mission was to serve as the on-the-ground legal team for the Indigenous-led resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) at Standing Rock where we provided legal support for Water Protectors in over 800+ criminal defense cases in North Dakota.
Today, we continue in the frontline legal battles to honor the Earth and protect the Sacred, through direct representation of Indigenous Peoples in both civil and defense work; through ongoing, long-term accompaniment and legal advocacy; community legal education and training for our relatives in direct response to needs; and use of international human rights norms and mechanisms to further our legal work and create visibility for prevalent human rights violations of Indigenous Peoples across the U.S and worldwide.


According to the American Bar Association, less than one-half of 1 percent of all lawyers (0.4%) are Native American, while the U.S. population is 1.3% Native American.

Our Indigenous-led organization is uniquely positioned to provide legal support and advocacy for Indigenous Peoples with a critical understanding of what it means to be Indigenous and live in relation with the Earth. There is no other legal organization doing work on frontlines in direct relationship with grassroots movements that are Indigenous-led and working nationwide and internationally.
The Water Protector Legal Collective was born out of a prayer at Standing Rock to protect the Water, not only for Indigenous Peoples and Nations, but for future generations.
It is our goal to continue this work by changing the tapestry of the law in proactive ways, not only as a mass defense organization guarding Indigenous Peoples and allies from criminalization and state repression for the defense of ancestral lands and the Earth, but also through legal work nationwide and internationally to protect fundamental human rights, spiritual and cultural rights, and the Earth and Water itself.

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