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News Release

ACLU South Dakota

Kimberly Craven has joined the ACLU as the new legal director for the ACLU of South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wyoming.

Craven will lead and expand the ACLU’s legal program across the three states and provide strategic leadership on both litigation and non-litigation legal advocacy in the ACLU’s priority areas of Indigenous justice, LGBTQ, and Two Spirit equality, criminal justice reform, immigrants’ rights and First Amendment issues.

“Kimberly has spent her entire career advocating for justice and championing the ideals we fight for each and every day,” said Heather Smith, executive director of the ACLU of South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wyoming. “Her unique skill set and exemplary legal background will allow us to be even more vigilant in defending the rights of everyone living in our region.”

Craven is a passionate, highly motivated Indian law and policy expert with a wealth of experience when it comes to assisting tribal peoples in protecting their rights, saving their homelands, and dramatically improving their standards of living. She has worked with the Eastern Shoshone General Council in Wyoming, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe in Colorado, the Oglala Sioux Tribal Court in South Dakota, and the Hopi Tribe in Arizona. Craven also served as the executive director for the Washington State Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs. There she was responsible for managing the intergovernmental relationship between Washington and the 29 federally recognized tribes within the state’s boundaries.

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“Now more than ever, the ACLU’s unrelenting commitment to protecting the constitutional rights of all people is vital to the future of our democracy and the well-being of our most vulnerable communities,” Craven said. “I’m honored to be joining this essential organization at such a pivotal time.”

Craven is a Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate tribal member. She earned her law degree from the University of Colorado School of Law and her master of laws degree in Indigenous peoples law and policy from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law.

About the ACLU of South Dakota

Based in Sioux Falls, the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of South Dakota is part of a three-state chapter that also includes North Dakota and Wyoming. The team in South Dakota is supported by staff in those states.

The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people. In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women, and the LGBTQ communities. The ACLU of South Dakota carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for the people of South Dakota.                           

ACLU South Dakota