Aitkin Co. Judge Dismisses Trespassing Charges Against Indigenous Activist Winona LaDuke
An Aitkin County judge has dismissed two trespassing charges filed against Indigenous leader and activist Winona LaDuke.
The charges date back to an incident on December 5th, 2020, when LaDuke and five others were at an Anishinaabe prayer lodge on Minnesota state forest land in Aitkin County. Law enforcement told LaDuke and the others they had to leave because they were in an exclusion zone where land clearing for the Line 3 pipeline was set to take place. LaDuke completed a religious ceremony and then when she left, she was cited for trespassing.
In her ruling, Judge Leslie Metzen said there was no probable cause for either alleged offense. Metzen added that there was no evidence that LaDuke refused to leave the area and there was no evidence there was a cordoned-off area or that she crossed into a cordoned-off area.
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