Water Protector Charged with Attempted Murder
Red Fawn Fallis
MANDAN, NORTH DAKOTA — Red Fawn Fallis was one of more than 140 people arrested on October 27 in a violent clash with law enforcement led by the Morton County Sheriff’s Department protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation. Out of the more than 400 people that have been arrested protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline since the beginning of August, Red Fawn Fallis faces the most serious charges—attempted murder.
Court documents state that several officers identified her due to her “acting disorderly” and being an “instigator”. In other words, she was singled out. She was previously arrested in two other events for civil disobedience, criminal trespassing and, generally, for voicing her opposition against the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
A statement by Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier made the day of the arrests indicated that no shots were reported to have been fired.
But the very next day the Morton County Sheriff’s Department made and published a statement that Red Dawn Fallis is accused of firing three rounds at police officers. According to court documents, this could have only happened immediately after several police officers slammed her to the ground in an attempt to handcuff her.
With dozens of media outlets at the scene and countless people recording video footage of the encroachment by law enforcement, there is oddly no recording of the allegation by law enforcement. Statements by the arresting law enforcement officers at the scene indicate otherwise.
In an effort to save face, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department has made several social media posts showcasing her mug shot and reiterating her charges. Red Fawn’s mug shot clearly shows signs of aggression, abuse and mistreatment.
A member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe and resident of Denver, Colorado, Red Fawn has been at the frontline in Standing Rock protesting the building of the Dakota Access Pipeline since the beginning of August. Like many others at the camps near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, she sacrificed the many comforts we are accustomed to—electricity, air conditioning, bed, television, prepared food—to stand in solidarity against to the building of one of the largest underground oil pipelines in the country.
She is been described by many as a beautiful woman who cares for those in need to not only her own family, but to even strangers. And even more becoming, of having a voice for those who don’t have one.
Loma Star Cleveland, who is the little sister of Red Fawn Fallis, joins others at press conference, at 4 Winds American Indian Council in Denver, to show support for Red Fawn, a Denver Native American woman arrested during pipeline protest in North Dakota, November 07, 2016. Red Fawn Fallis remains in jail in North Dakota after being arrested. RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post
“Before leaving to Standing Rock, Red Fawn cared for our mother who is in hospice,” said Red Fawn’s younger sister Loma Star Cleveland. “And before that she lived and cared for our grandmother. She has a big heart and we all look up to her.”
A child of activist leaders of both the American Indian Movement and the Chicano Movement, Red Fawn has been born and raised among leaders on both sides of her family and both sides of her cultural heritage.
“She is a born leader,” said Tokala Win Banks, daughter of American Indian Movement leader. “She just happened to be at the right place at the right time, to do what she was born to do – defending her people.”
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Darren Thompson (Ojibwe/Tohono O’odham) is a Native American flute player and writer from the Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe Reservation in Northern Wisconsin. He contributes to Native Peoples Magazine, Native News Online and Powwows.com. For more information please visit www.darrenthompson.net