About the Freshet Collective
The Freshet Collective's mission is to raise, manage, and disburse legal defense funds to support individuals arrested for their involvement in direct action as part of liberatory grassroots social movements.
We may support other movements in the future, but this struggle is about the water. Our relationship to water is what we all share. From the womb that brings us into the world to the tears we shed for our relatives, water is life. A freshet is a flood, often after spring melt. As we embody the spring freshet in this work, we are an unstoppable force - a surge of momentum that wipes away the slumber of winter, drains the stagnation, clears the stream blockages, and saturates the earth to prepare for a burst of new life.
In everything we do, we strive to:
- prioritize the needs of Indigenous water protectors and others directly impacted by systems of oppression
- nurture and develop bonds of solidarity between water protectors
- educate and train rather than serve, to foster self-determination rather than dependency
- support and build grassroots movement fighting for the liberation of Indigenous people and Mother Earth
Our organizational infrastructure and bureaucracy are kept to a bare minimum, organizational structure is as horizontal as possible, and decisions are made by consensus. A small, long-term committed team receives modest cash stipends, and a great deal of work is done by revolving rounds of volunteers.
Our efforts are aligned in coalition with the Water Protector Legal Collective, the Water Protector Anti-Repression Crew, and other groups and individuals to meet the many different legal needs of the movement. Our work has evolved constantly throughout the #NoDAPL campaign, and is focused in the following 4 areas. Visit our "Our Work" page for details.
We track arrests and may in some circumstances pay bail/bond to get water protectors out of ND jails if they don't have their own resources. We help people recover impounded vehicles and find the resources they need. We prioritize Indigenous water protectors and others with relative proximity to structural violence.
We facilitate travel and lodging for arrestees returning to North Dakota for court dates. We help them find attorneys and navigate the court system. We help foster solidarity and self-determination among arrestees.
We recruit, vet, and help coordinate the criminal defense attorneys representing water protectors, and are currently seeking additional attorneys to join the effort. In some cases, we may e provide funding for water protectors without sufficient resources to hire their own lawyers, and/or inadequately served by court appointed counsel.