Water Protector Legal Collective
Sandra Freeman, Staff Attorney
Nevada Legal Services
Alexandra Rawlings, Directing Attorney, Indian Law Project and Farmworker Project
December 12, 2022
Winnemucca Indian Colony Update: Inter-Tribal Court of Appeals of Nevada (ITCAN) Hearing Will Be Held Regarding Stay of Eviction Order on Thursday, December 15, 2022
Winnemucca Indian Colony, Paiute and Shoshone lands, Nevada, U.S.A — On Friday, December 2, 2022, the Winnemucca Tribal Court summarily evicted the Elders and other Residents (some still unrepresented) without a trial, banished several people, and found for the currently disputed Tribal Council without giving Elders and Residents the benefit of a trial. The tribal court ordered most Elders and Residents to leave the homes they have lived in for decades by Friday, December 9, 2022. An emergency motion to stay and appeal was filed by Sandra Freeman, Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC) staff attorney representing Elder J.J. Ayer, and motions to stay and appeal were filed by Nevada Legal Services (NLS) for the Elders and Residents they represent.
On December 9, 2022, the Winnemucca Tribal Court held a court hearing about requests from the legal teams to stay the eviction order pending appeal to the Inter-Tribal Court of Appeals of Nevada (ITCAN). In a brief hearing, the Judge stated the Winnemucca Tribal Court no longer has jurisdiction over the motions to reconsider and stay the eviction/banishment, which are now pending before the ITCAN. The court hearing ended without a stay.
Within hours of the December 9 hearing, BIA and private security/construction contractors erected fences and barricades at entrance to the Colony grounds. Elders and Residents (even those not subject to eviction/banishment order) and the public must now pass through a militarized security checkpoint in order to enter the Colony, and all are facing the repression of free speech as well as freedom of association restrictions on the order of private security. Disabled Elders in their homes do not have access to aid, medical or meal delivery services because the public is prohibited from entry and freedom of movement is limited. The situation is developing rapidly and additional legal help is needed for unrepresented Residents that were evicted/banished by default judgment, and to address ongoing civil rights violations of all Elders, Residents, and people who support them.
To support the legal teams for Elders and Residents, tune in to the ITCAN hearing on Thursday, December 15, 2022 regarding the emergency request for a stay:
Inter-Tribal Court of Appeals is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Dec 15 Hearings
Time: Dec 15, 2022 09:30 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 830 1741 7723
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Meeting ID: 830 1741 7723
Find your local number: https://itcn-org.zoom.us/u/kdvj2R2Buu
Donations to Elders and Residents can be made to $defendWIC on Cashapp.
NOTE: At this time WPLC is not requesting donations to our organization for Winnemucca. Donations to WPLC can only go to legal work and not Elders directly because of attorney-client Rules of Professional Conduct.
Other Calls to Action Beyond WPLC and NLS work:
Donate to the Bond Fund supporting Winnemucca arrestees: NorCal Resist https://www.norcalresist.org/bail-fund.html
National Lawyers’ Guild Mass Defense Call for Legal Observers: “We're calling for experienced LOs capable of being accountable and safe in volatile circumstances to respond to an emerging situation in Winnemucca, NV. Indigenous [E]lders are being evicted from their homes in winter by disputed tribal leadership, in a situation beset by decades of litigation, infighting and interpersonal violence. Elders' homes and possessions have been burned and demolished, and utility lines cut. Some elders may resist forced relocation and have requested legal observers, medics, and media support.” To apply, please fill out this form. For questions, please contact: email@example.com
Attorneys interested in providing pro-bono representation for unrepresented residents impacted by Tribal Court order pending appeal in ITCAN please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
About WPLC and NLS:
Born out of the #NoDAPL movement, the Water Protector Legal Collective is an Indigenous-led legal nonprofit that provides support and advocacy for Indigenous peoples and Original Nations, the Earth, and climate justice movements.
It is the Mission of Nevada Legal Services to strengthen the community by ensuring fairness and providing equal access to justice for low-income Nevadans. NLS has the responsibility to advance legal aid in search for justice for those who need it the most.