Minnesota DFL promoted activist who defended alleged sexual predators

The Minnesota DFL featured Winona LaDuke, a leading anti-Line 3 pipeline activist who has defended alleged child abusers, in a graphic advertising a women's equality event.

Winona LaDuke/Facebook

The Minnesota House DFL modified its announcement of a women’s equality event after originally promoting an anti-pipeline activist with a history of allegedly covering up and defending accused sexual predators.

An event for Women’s Equality Day hosted by Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman was promoted with graphics displaying various levels of “sponsorship” named after prominent women in history, like Maya Angelou and Shirley Chisholm.

One of the women promoted in the original graphic was Winona LaDuke, a leading anti-Line 3 pipeline activist who has defended child abusers.

Now, after receiving backlash for promoting LaDuke, the graphic has been updated to reflect sponsorship levels that don’t feature the names of any women.

Left: Original messaging from the Minnesota DFL on a women’s equality event, featuring Winona LaDuke’s name. Right: Updated messaging from the Minnesota DFL on the same event.

LaDuke has been caught multiple times defending alleged sexual abusers who worked for her nonprofit organization Honor the Earth.

Court documents show that one of LaDuke’s top organizers, Michael Dahl, allegedly had sex with an underage boy, an act LaDuke defended in 2015. She acknowledged that Dahl “probably did have sex” with the 15-year-old, backing her statement with the justification that Dahl is of the “two-spirit” sexual orientation.

LaDuke also defended one of her former board members, Nahko Bear, when he was accused multiple times of sexually harassing and groping underage girls.

“He’s a good man, but I’m not responsible for any of his behavior with women,” LaDuke said in an interview last summer when Bear resigned.

She’s also been accused of letting sexual harassment occur under her watch, according to a lawsuit from a former Honor the Earth employee who claimed she was sexually harassed by Dahl in 2014 and 2015 while LaDuke failed to take her complaints seriously.

LaDuke once called Line 3 the “ecological equivalent to Auschwitz,” then publicly apologized for her “inappropriate analogy.”

Honor the Earth is largely responsible for the massive protests against the construction of Line 3, which have involved physical damage to construction equipment and a fake bomb being tossed into a construction area.