American Indian Journalist Jenni Monet. Photo from Facebook.
Published June 2, 2018
BISMARCK, N.D. – Award-winning American Indian journalist Jenni Monet’s court aquittal in a North Dakota courthouse on Friday was more than a victory for her personally, it was a win for journalism.
Monet (Laguna Pueblo) was found not guilty on Friday for a trepassing charge that stemmed from an arrest while covering a demonstration at Standing Rock.
She was among the 76 arrested on Wednesday, February 1, 2017. Monet was at the newly established Last Child’s Camp on assignment for Indian Country Today when she was arrested. After her arrest, she spent a night in jail.
In rendering his verdict at the end of a daylong trial on Friday, June 1, 2018, South Central Judicial District Judge Thomas Schneider said he feels Monet cooperated with law enforcement while doing her job as a journalist. He add he does not believe Monet knowingly broke the law.
“Never has there been a more important time for journalism than right now. So grateful to plan for it,” Monet commented to Native News Online Friday night.
The Last Child’s Camp was erected on private land, up the hill and across the street from the Oceti Sakowin, the largest of the Standing Rock encampments. Water protectors have been looking for new locations to establish camps because the Oceti Sakowin is in a flood plain and campers need to evacuate the camp prior to the spring thaw.
Last month, Morton County prosecutors filed a motion to dismiss a charge of engaging in a riot against Monet.
Monet, who is an independent journalist, spent several months embedded at Standing Rock to cover the largest American Indian resistance movement’s in modern history when thousands of American Indians and allies coverged on Standing Rock to fight the Dakota Access pipeline from being laid on ancestral Sioux territory.