***Disclaimer: We are not lawyers and cannot provide legal advice.  The police department and judge will decide charges, bail amounts, and fine amounts.  The information below is just an idea of what to expect based on our experience with peaceful civil disobedience while fighting to stop the Dakota Access pipeline in Iowa.***


What is peaceful civil disobedience?

Peaceful civil disobedience is a symbolic, non-violent violation of the law, done deliberately in protest against some form of perceived injustice.  By peacefully and openly violating the law and submitting to punishment, those engaging in civil disobedience hope to draw attention to the law they want changed, the injustice they hope to stop, or the policy or practice they hope to end.

Examples of civil disobedience include, but are not limited to, blockading construction, blocking an access road, a sit-in, locking down to equipment, etc.

Bakken Protest
The #NoBakken 30 blockaded a drive way in Boone County to stop Dakota Access construction equipment from entering or exiting the staging area.

Will I be arrested?

You should be prepared to be arrested if you participate in civil disobedience.  Different forms of civil disobedience come with different risks. Each county and each law enforcement department may respond differently to civil disobedience so the answer to this question can vary.


What will I be charged with if I participate in peaceful civil disobedience?

So far in Iowa’s fight to stop the Dakota Access pipeline, folks who have participated in civil disobedience have received a simple misdemeanor trespassing charge.  The minimum fine for a simple misdemeanor trespass charge is $65 plus court costs.  These actions have included blocking construction sites and locking down to construction equipment.  Folks that used their vehicles to blockade construction sites in Boone County were charged with a $200 traffic ticket (stopping on a traveled way).

Police have responded differently in each county.  For example, in Boone County, water protectors were taken to jail and had to pay a $300 bail to get out of jail.  The bail money was refunded a couple weeks after the water protector appeared in court.  However, in Lee County, folks were cited and released at the site of the protest without going to jail.

Keep in mind that it is up to the police department and judge to determine the charge, the bail amount, and the fine amount. 

Will it go on my record?

This depends on the civil disobedience that you engage in. A trespassing charge will go on your record, but other actions, like blockading a construction site with your vehicle, may only be traffic violation. If you ever intend to engage in civil disobedience, you should plan to have it go on your record.

What should I do to prepare to participate in peaceful civil disobedience?

Attend a peaceful civil disobedience training before your action begins.  This is where you’ll get the most information about the specific risks you will be taking.  You will also learn about the plan and meet fellow water protectors.

Mississippi Lockdown pic
“I’m here today to pray for forgiveness for myself and for all of humanity for what we’ve done to this Earth, and to stop this pipeline,” – Baptist pastor Scott Roser

If you plan on participating in civil disobedience you should ask a friend or family member to be your support person.  Your support person should have cash on them to bail you out if you go to jail (so far it’s been about $300 but this can vary).  Your support person should know about any prescription medications, dietary needs, emergency contact information, etc.  Your support person should also be prepared to stick around for as long as it takes to get you out of jail (so far it’s been anywhere from 1 hour to 8 hours after the arrest) and in other circumstances you may receive a ticket without going to jail.

Before the action begins, give all your personal belongings to your support person – the only thing you should have on your body is your government issued photo id.

Another good idea is to let your employer know what you are doing to make sure your actions do not jeopardize your job.

What if I want to participate in peaceful civil disobedience but don’t have bail money or money to pay my fine?

If you cannot afford bail money or fine money ask friends and family to support your actions by donating to your legal costs.  You’d be surprised how many people will support you if they know why you’re doing what you’re doing.  If you are arrested and you have not lined up bail money, be prepared to stay in jail until a judge can hear your case.

Anything else I should know?

Follow the plan, remain peaceful, and have fun.  Participating in civil disobedience for the first time can be scary, but remind yourself that the risks of this pipeline being built are far greater than any risk we take through civil disobedience.  We stand with Standing Rock to protect our water, land, and future generations.


***Disclaimer: We are not lawyers and cannot provide legal advice.  The police department and judge will decide charges, bail amounts, and fine amounts.  The information above is just an idea of what to expect based on our experience with peaceful civil disobedience while fighting to stop the Dakota Access pipeline in Iowa.***

Last Thursday, September 22, Iowans, Meskwaki, and Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribe members joined in solidarity to protect our water, land, and future generations from the Dakota Access Pipeline.

When we stand together – we win!

Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate
Hoka!! Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Band thanks you Iowa water protectors for your gift! We are waiting to see you! Our camp is right below FB Hill!

Sylvana Flute, a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate (SWO), shared her thoughts on her experience with pipeline fighters in Iowa and invited all of us to join them at Standing Rock!

Message from Sylvana:

Thank you SWO Tribal Secretary Office, Youth Department, Tamara, St. John, THPO staff, Jess Mazour, Matt Ohloff, April Richards Burch, Hazel Zimmerman for making the trip to Oceti Sakowi camp and Boone, Iowa back and forth possible!

We, Allison Renville and I, met Jess Mazour and Matt Ohloff on top of Facebook Hill at Oceti Sakowi camp. We took them to the SWO camp to introduce them to our people. Then Allison and I handed out their fliers for them around Oceti Sakowi camp. Jess and Matt came from Iowa to answer Standing Rocks call as well! They love it in Standing Rock! The people, peacefulness, unity and prayer!

When we met the people of Iowa we told them that we are one people as humans. In that way we are, all related in our plight against the pipelines as well as other pollutions! We are the voices for those who have none… water, air, wildlife, plants, earth, etc. We are the defenders of the helpless. We come in prayer and told them to ALWAYS be prayerful when together for Mni Wiconi. We of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate band of Oceti Sakowi stand united in solidarity with all tribes, nations and people in the battles to prevent the death of our waters and lands via pollutions!

Our group felt hope in a hopeless situation as DAPL was drilling 24/7 into the Des Moines River. The only concession the courts gave to the peoples of Iowa (farmers, landowners, city people, town people, youth, ect.) Was NO DRILLING DURING RAIN! The next morning Ina Maka showed us how disrespectful DAPL is. They continued to drill! We are Ina Maka’s witnesses to her rape even during a time of supposed protection by Iowa Law. Ina Maka is helpless.

We took part of a protection of a blockade of cars that temporarily stopped DAPL from drilling for 2-3 hours. They continued later on even through the rain on our journey home to SWO. We met 85 year old, Hazel Zimmerman whose picture, in handcuffs defending their waters in Iowa, was spread throughout social media. We told Iowa that in our culture our elders are cherished. It took an elder for us to notice their plight in Iowa. Just as the youth of Standing Rock the 7th generation whose thousands of miles run to Washington, DC to ask President Obama to stop the blacksnake/pipeline to protect the Missouri River from oil spills contaminating or killing their drinking waters.

I felt so bad for those few Iowans standing strong in strength and fortitude against the black snake/DAPL/Bakken. These huge oil corporations especially DAPL are using Eminent Domain on Iowa’s landowners such as they did to us the Oceti Sakowi when they disbanded us by sending us to reservations a couple hundred years ago. We have compassion for our fellow humans and that is a part of who we are. We gave the Iowans hope and uplifted their spirits knowing they are not alone.

Donnielle Wanatee, Meskwaki Nation and Sac and Fox, welcomed us on our return home to Iowa, our (Dakota, Lakota, Nakota) ancestral lands! She greeted us as brother and sisters united as we used to be ancestral enemies. Donnielle also ran with the Sanding Rock youth to Washington, DC. She cried in gratitude when we hugged each other as we came to stand beside her to speak. We ended up sharing tears of unity and hope!

We, the representatives of the SWO did not expect the beautiful welcome we received as we simply came to support Iowa.

Our journey together against the black snake/DAPL/Bakken pipeline has only begun. We will come to stand the last great MNI WICONI battle in the near future with our Iowa relatives at the Mississippi River. The black snake will spill oil into the Mississippi River all along those states, lands, cities — all life, using it as drinking waters! Oil is death to our waters. When that time comes there will be fighting and wars amongst our own peoples in this country for clean drinking water as the land and wildlife die. MNI WICONI! WATER IS LIFE! THOSE OF US WILL CONTINUE TO PROTECT LIFE FOR THE FUTURE GENERATIONS! WE STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH OTHER WATER PROTECTORS! THE SISSETON WAHPETON OYATE STANDS STRONG WITH STANDING ROCK AND IOWA WATER PROTECTORS! Hecetu!

Sylvana Flute
“I am helping protect our waters for my grandsons Nation and Kendricks. They are my heart and future! As well as doing this for all future generations, waters, plants, soil and wildlife! ”

John Heminger 
“It’s shameful that more Oceti Sakowi did not answer the call when the Iowans made it when they came to Standing Rock to support us. The war on the black snake covers different battlefield from South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois. We must respond to all the calls for help!”

Margaret Hopkins
“I was scared of not knowing what to expect in a non native environment. I still answered the call. I was surprised and grateful at how well the Iowans treated us. Many of the Iowans came up to us crying. So grateful that the Sisseton Wahpeton answered their call. We gave them hope! ”

Josh “Sammy” Lawrence
“I went to Iowa, with a heart filled with prayer, knowing that my children and people were all with me. ”

Allison Renville
“As someone who has been actively participating on social media throughout this ordeal, I came across a photo on Facebook of Hazel Zimmerman. An 85 yr old elderly woman who has herself been on the frontline of their battle in Iowa, we were impressed with her tenacity once we saw her being arrested by the Iowa state patrol. As we’ve been here in Standing Rock we have connected thru our plight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. We understand their way of life as farmers and a rural community is jeopardized just like ours is as we respect the land and water as our lifeline. We have shown our support to Standing Rock and when there was an invitation extended to come to Iowa I was so excited and proud to be an Oyate member when the SWO was represented as an ally along, with Hunkpapa people, standing in solidarity with the Bakken Resistance.”

I’m Kathy Meyer and I am against the pipeline for so many reasons, but I’ll  keep this brief.

I’m fighting Bakken because I’m deeply disturbed that the IUB, which consists of 3 people who were appointed by the governor, NOT elected by the voters- granted  a hazardous liquid permit to Dakota Access  with almost nonexistent input from the people.

I’m fighting Bakken because granting  the power  to seize land from rightful  property owners to benefit a multi billion dollar PRIVATE corporation is an egregious and blatant abuse of eminent domain.

I’m fighting Bakken because it was allowed to begin construction  without doing any  review to determine the disastrous impact of moving hazardous & toxic crude under farmland, rivers, wildlife management areas, nature trails,wetlands, grasslands as well as land that is sacred to Native Americans.

Kathy Meyer
New CCI member


LIKE and TWEET to say #NoDAPL #NoBakken

Our lawyers filed a motion to dismiss Dakota Access’s legal attempt to silence our voices and right to peaceful protest once and for all – and ta federal judge agreed. The SLAPP suit against us has been thrown out!!!

Getting the lawsuit thrown out is just one hurdle on the path to victory. But it’s another piece that proves we are in the right. It shows what can happen when lots of everyday folks are fired up, stand together and speak out to put people and planet first!

Dakota Access, LLC had sought a preliminary injunction and a restraining order against Bold Iowa, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, and Bold director Ed Fallon and Iowa CCI policy director Adam Mason, wherein the company aimed to silence our ongoing peaceful, nonviolent direct actions to stop construction of this pipeline that threatens land, water and climate.

“This dismissal is one more small victory in our fight to stop Dakota Access and the pipeline,” said Cherie Mortice, Iowa CCI board president. “We’ll continue to use all of the means at our disposal; building a bigger base and moving them to peaceful non-violent action until President Obama steps in and shuts this pipeline down.”

“When citizens are attacked by Big Oil for standing up for their property rights and free speech, we win,” said Bold Alliance president Jane Kleeb.

Bold Iowa and Iowa CCI are co-organizers of the “Bakken Pipeline Pledge of Resistance,” which has now been signed by 2,400 citizens, including over 550 who have pledged to risk arrest in acts of peaceful nonviolent civil disobedience to stop construction on the pipeline.

To date, nearly 100 citizens have been arrested in Iowa in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience to stop construction on the Dakota Access pipeline.



LIKE and SHARE below to say #NoDAPL!

On Thursday afternoon, 175 water protectors – including tribes, landowners, and farmers – converged in Boone County, Iowa, for the Midwest Mobilization to protest the Dakota Access Bakken Pipeline and blockade a construction site where Dakota Access is currently drilling under the Des Moines River. In attendance were allies from around the Midwest, including Illinois, Minnesota, and South Dakota.

A 60 car caravan traveled from the Boone County Fairgrounds to an active construction site where Dakota Access is boring underneath the Des Moines River near Pilot Mound. Twelve vehicles parked in front of an access road on 130th Street preventing trucks from entering and exiting the construction site.

Protestors highlighted the direct action protest was to put pressure on the Obama administration to step in and halt construction on the pipeline, as he has in North Dakota.

“I don’t want my job to be part of fossil fuel extraction. We need to keep fossil fuels in the ground, and that starts with stopping the Bakken Pipeline. That’s why I’m here today, and that’s why my car is in this line blockading this project,” said Ross Grooters, a union member and locomotive engineer from Des Moines. “Obama, you have the power to stop this pipeline. You have the power to make the Army Corps of Engineers do the right thing.”

“We’re here on this beautiful day protecting our land, our water, and each other. We’re also here to send a powerful message to President Obama, the Army Corps of Engineers, and our officials to stop this pipeline once and for all,” said Alexa Rodriguez, a high school student from Des Moines.

Others at the rally highlighted ongoing construction violations being committed by Dakota Access.

“I was at a construction site on our family farm last week after a 2 ½” rain, and Dakota Access was digging. Their tires were spinning in the mud, and water was dripping from the soil. According to their own agreement with landowners, they are not to be working the soil if it’s too wet. I want to know why we are we paying a $200 ticket when this company is violating its agreement with landowners all across the state and paying nothing,” said Julia Slocum of Ames Iowa, who was part of the car blockade.

“Water is life, but politicians don’t see it as such in Flint, in North Dakota, in South Dakota, in Iowa, or in my city of Chicago, where we have toxic lead pipelines that no one is fixing. We must send a strong message to all our politicians and our president that water is sacred,” said Joe Padilla, an organizer for The People’s Lobby and Illinois Student Action in Chicago, Illinois.

“I’ve been fighting this pipeline for 2 ½ years with no recognition from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. We’ve never been contacted by them,” said Donielle Wanatee, a member of the Meskwaki Tribe and Thunderclan. “I’m standing up because of this water. All human beings, all life, all minds, all children, all land depends on water. I’m asking the governor: why won’t you protect us and our water?”

Members of the Oceti Sakowi in South Dakota also traveled to Boone County in solidarity with Iowans.

“Over a hundred years ago, the Oceti Sakowi bands were separated, and now we’re united in solidarity again at Standing Rock. We know that we are needed here in Boone, too, as part of the Oceti Sakowi,” said Sylvana Flute.

The Midwest Mobilization hosted three workshops in the morning at the Boone County Fairgrounds on 1) the need for a Just Transition to clean energy, 2) non-violent civil disobedience, and 3) landowner resistance.

Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline is nearly complete in South Dakota and Illinois. Iowa and North Dakota are the only two remaining states where construction work is still underway.

Last week, the Obama Administration asked Dakota Access to voluntarily halt construction of the pipeline within 20 miles of Lake Oahe in North Dakota. At Thursday’s Midwest Mobilization, Iowans and Midwest allies called upon Obama to take it a step further and halt pipeline construction permanently in Iowa.


A growing number of organizations, landowners and everyday citizens across the state are committed to stopping the proposed Bakken Pipeline alongside the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition.

Bold Iowa is part of the national Bold Alliance, now in five states and building new alliances to fight fossil-fuel infrastructure expansion projects and promote renewable energy.

Iowa CCI is a statewide, grassroots people’s action group that uses community organizing to win public policy that puts communities before corporations and people before profits, politics and polluters. CCI has been fighting to put people first for 40 years.

Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline is already complete in South Dakota and Illinois.

Iowa and North Dakota are the last holdouts.

That’s why allies, tribes, and landowners from around the Midwest are converging THIS THURSDAY to escalate the #NODAPL movement and tell Obama to stop the pipeline!

The pipeline resistance is taking the country by storm as thousands of water protectors unite together in bold actions to stand in solidarity with natives and landowners to say #NoBakken.

Now’s the time to ramp up the pressure!

One week from today, folks like you – from around the Midwest – are coming to Iowa to send a strong message to Pres. Obama and the Army Corps of Engineers to stop the construction of this pipeline once and for all.

Can you join us?

The Midwest Mobilization is kicking off Thursday, September 22 at the Boone County Fairground, where we will:

  • Host allies and activists from across the Midwest from approximately 10 AM until 5 PM.
  • Conduct a training session on non-violent civil disobedience for those willing to risk arrest, with a simultaneous Just Transition teach-in for other supporters.
  • Hold a big rally – including big-name speaker(s), farmers, and landowners.
  • Carry out a creative direct action to continue to build public awareness and support to pressure Obama and the Army Corps.

Join the growing movement standing up for our land, our water and each other by saying #NoDAPL – click here to RSVP.

Together, people-power can win the fight against Big Oil!


Join the Fight / Learn More