Natali Segovia, Quechua
Natali Segovia is an international human rights lawyer with a background and extensive past experience in criminal defense work and Federal Indian Law. As a litigator and advocate, Natali’s current work focuses on the protection of the Earth and the rights of Indigenous Peoples and Original Nations affected by forced displacement, desecration of sacred lands, and human rights violations as a result of extractive industry and mass development projects. She is currently Legal Director of the Water Protector Legal Collective, a legal nonprofit that grew out of the #NoDAPL resistance at Standing Rock that works to provide legal support and advocacy for Indigenous Peoples and Original Nations, the Earth, and climate justice movements. Natali earned her law degree at Arizona State University with a concentration in International Law and Federal Indian Law, in addition to dual undergraduate degrees in Latin American Studies and Political Science from Columbia University. She currently serves as chair of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Committee, is a steering committee member of the NLG International Committee, and co-chairs the NLG’s Task Force on the Americas.
Sandra Freeman is an attorney, counselor, and abolitionist dedicated to defense of the Earth and of all peoples impacted by the corruption and human rights violations inherent in borders, policing, and extractive industry. A zealous trial lawyer, Sandra is a graduate of the National Criminal Defense College and has tried cases to judges and juries in courts across Turtle Island. Sandra specializes in trauma-informed representation of Black, Brown and Indigenous LGBTQ2S+ clients investigated, imprisoned, sued, and targeted for acts of sovereignty, protest and political activism. In 2016-2017 Sandra helped WPLC to coordinate the criminal defense of hundreds of water protectors arrested during the historic #NoDAPL movement. As an anti-racist facilitator and educator Sandra supports community-based legal initiatives, healing, and justice for movements seeking collective liberation. Sandra graduated with a B.S. from Louisiana State University and earned a law degree from the American University, Washington College of Law. Sandra is a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Virginia Mountain Valley Lawyers Association, the Colorado LGBTQ Bar Association, the Federal Faculty of Advocates, and National Lawyers Guild (NLG); Sandra is a member of the Steering Committee for the NLG Mass Defense Committee.
Summer Aubrey, Cherokee
Summer Blaze Aubrey is Citizen of the Cherokee Nation and a Descendant of the Blackfeet Nation. Summer graduated from the University of Arizona College of Law in 2020 and 2021 with her J.D. and LL.M. respectively, with certificates in Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy. Summer was the first legal intern at the International Indian Treaty Council during her second year in law school. Her article: Violence Against the Earth Begets Violence Against Women was published in the Arizona Journal for Environmental Law & Policy in 2019. Currently, Summer is Staff Attorney at Water Protector Legal Collective.
Kyra Blas, CHamoru
Yale Bernstein Fellow
Kyra Blas is a CHamoru woman born and raised on the island of Guåhan (Guam). A recent graduate of Yale Law School, Blas is joining the WPLC team as a 2023-2024 Robert L. Bernstein International Human Rights Fellow. During this fellowship, Blas and WPLC will work together to document the U.S. military’s adverse impacts on waters and surrounding communities throughout Turtle Island, occupied Hawai'i, and the U.S. colonies (unincorporated territories). Having experienced these harms first-hand, Blas is deeply grateful to work with WPLC to execute this project and meaningfully contribute to grassroots movements and the protection of our peoples, waters, non-human neighbors, and generations to come.
Nizhoni Begay, Diné/Quechua
Communications and Development Coordinator
Nizhoni Begay is the Communications and Development Coordinator at the Water Protector Legal Collective. Alongside her work at WPLC, she is co-editor on the To-Be-Named Graphic Anthology by Red Planet Books & Comics featuring Water Protectors. Nizhoni graduated from Stanford University with a degree in Political Science and minors in Music and Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. Her previous experience includes doing research at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute, cultivating community at Stanford’s Native American Cultural Center as president of Diné Club, and staffing at Stanford’s Native American themed residence, Muwekma-Tah-Ruk. Nizhoni has ties to several organizations internationally who she works with from time to time. These include Ayudando Latinos A Soñar in Half Moon Bay, Students for Workers’ Rights, and the Justice 4 Black Lives Fund in collaboration with Stanford Alpha Kappa Alpha. In 2020, Nizhoni was awarded the Award of Excellence, an award designed to recognize the top 10% of the class who have demonstrated a sincere commitment through involvement and leadership, from the Stanford Alumni Association.
Delfina Roybal, Diné
Delfina Roybal was born and raised in Lenapehoking territory aka New York City and is currently working on a degree in history and pre-law at Borough of Manhattan Community College. She has strong ties to the urban Indigenous community in the city and she is working locally with Redhawk Nation as their social media coordinator and alongside local Indigenous organizations for upcoming Indigenous Peoples Day 2022. She has also worked outside of the city with Seeding Sovereignty on virtual voting campaigns to get out the vote in Indian Country. Currently, Delfina works at WPLC as a communications intern and also does communications at Urban Indigenous Collective in NYC. Most recently, Delfina was accepted to Columbia University.
Daniel T'seleie, Dene
Daniel is K’asho Got’ine Dene from Radili Ko (also known as Fort Good Hope, Northwest Territories). As K’asho Got’ine Chief Negotiator he manages his community’s self-government negotiations with Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories. Daniel holds a J.D. from the University of Victoria and a B.Sc. in mathematical sciences from McMaster University. Daniel has worked in the areas of education, journalism, government policy, unskilled labour, and lands and environmental management in Dene communities with a focus on climate change adaptation and mitigation. In his free time Daniel is a practitioner and trainer of non-violent direct action tactics and strategy, with a focus on environmental and climate justice and assertions of Indigenous sovereignty. He is also a founding member of Dene Nahjo, a northern non-profit dedicated to advancing social and environmental justice for northern peoples while promoting Indigenous leadership by fostering emerging leaders.
Pat Handlin is a criminal defense and civil attorney based in Chicago who has represented numerous Water Protectors facing misdemeanor charges stemming from the Standing Rock No DAPL movement. Pat spent time staffing the legal tent at Oceti Sakowin camp in winter 2016 and has been one of our most active Pro Hac attorneys, continuing through 2019. She is also providing pro bono legal research support for the challenge to TC Energy’s permit application to use water for the KXL pipeline. She has been a public defender, legal services attorney, administrative law judge on employment discrimination matters, represented numerous Occupy Chicago activists, and has litigated to protect victims of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.
King Downing is a lawyer and founder of the Human Rights-Racial Justice Center (H2RJ), which advocates and organizes for criminal and economic justice. Previously, he was the Mass Defense Director for the National Lawyers Guild, directed the Healing Justice Program of the American Friends Service Committee, and was National Coordinator of the ACLU’s Campaign Against Racial Profiling. King was also part of the Ferguson Legal Defense Committee and was an early organizer in Jena, Louisiana supporting the Jena 6, Black high school students charged with attempted murder for a fistfight with a white student.
Carolina Martin Ramos, Mexica/Tsalagi Kin
Carolina Martin Ramos (Mexica MestizaTsalagi Kin) is the Co-Executive Director and Legal DIrector of Comunidad Maya Pixan Ixim, a Maya and Indigenous led immigration legal services program prioritizing Indigenous water protectors and land defenders seeking asylum after fleeing persecution, torture, and genocide in Maya Territories; human rights advocacy across borders in Maya territories and the U.S.; and Maya migrant civic engagement in the U.S.; and working with sovereign Maya nations and leadership in developing nation-to-nation governmental, diplomatic, and spiritual relations. Carolina spent time serving the water protectors at Standing Rock, and is also the Secretary of Ethics and Security for the Secretariat of Congress of Nations and States (CNS), an initiative launched by Indigenous nations’ leaders, non-governmental organizations, and state political leaders that seeks to strengthen and improve relations between peoples throughout the world; has been the Director of Programs and Advocacy for Centro Legal de la Raza; and has extensive experience in immigration law as well as a Public Defender.