How To Help:
Hello dear friend of Red Fawn!
We are writing to you because you have demonstrated your love and solidarity with our brave sister, auntie, friend and relative Red Fawn Fallis in the past--by hosting or attending fundraising/honoring events, donating auction items, writing to her, providing financial support, and in so many other important ways. Today we want to update you on Red Fawn’s case, let you know how she’s doing, and suggest some actions you can take now to continue to STAND WITH RED FAWN, particularly in the days leading up to her sentencing hearing in Bismarck, North Dakota on June 25, 2018.
As you probably know, Red Fawn was arrested at Standing Rock, North Dakota on October 27, 2016 as she stood peacefully and prayerfully with thousands of others to defend the rights of her people, our Mother Earth, and all things sacred. Initial state charges were replaced by three federal charges, including serious felony gun charges. Based on these charges, Red Fawn has now been incarcerated in North Dakota jails for over 18 months. During this time, much was revealed about the tactics of the corporate and government forces which had targeted Red Fawn and were working collaboratively against her and other Standing Rock Water Resisters--forces which included pipeline owner Energy Transfer Partners, its private security force TigerSwan, the FBI, the State of North Dakota, and many law enforcement agencies in North Dakota and nationwide. (Astonishingly, FBI tactics included hiring an undercover informant to become her lover!) (See the Intercept and High Plains Reader articles at the end of this letter.)
In January, 2018, feeling pressed into a corner by these efforts and facing the possibility of life in prison following a trial in which she did not believe justice would prevail, Red Fawn reluctantly entered into a plea agreement. Through this agreement, the most serious charge was dropped and her sentence was capped at no more than ten years, with the prosecution recommending seven years.
For those who may question Red Fawn’s decision to take a plea rather than go to trial, it is important to understand, not only her individual case, but also the extent to which her case exemplifies a system which is aligned against criminal defendants. The article, Why Innocent People Go to Jail, by Jed S. Rakoff (listed at the end of this letter), provides the context we need to begin to fathom the profound injustices embedded in our current “criminal justice” system--a system in which, in 2013, 97% of all federal criminal charges were resolved through plea bargains.
At Red Fawn’s sentencing hearing, North Dakota District Chief Judge Daniel Hovland will hear testimony from both sides. It’s likely, but not certain, that her sentence will be handed down at this time. Through all her long ordeal and incarceration, Red Fawn has remained heart-strong, patient, and steadfast about the justness of her cause. As you can imagine, though, her anxiety level is very high as she approaches the day when such an important decision about her future will be made. We know you want her to feel your presence, love, and solidarity today, on May 31st, and throughout whatever follows. Here are some things you might do to STAND WITH RED FAWN.
Send love and prayers to Red Fawn during her sentencing hearing.
This hearing will take place starting at 9am on May 31st at the Federal Courthouse, 220 E Rosser Avenue, in Bismarck, North Dakota.
While Red Fawn would greatly appreciate people to be at her hearing, she understands that, for most of us, traveling all the way to North Dakota for this one-day event is beyond our reach. Also, her family and closest friends will of course receive priority seating in the small courtroom. So others who come take the risk of being seated in an overflow room, or without any access to the hearing at all. So, if traveling to the hearing isn’t feasible for you, be with her in spirit by sending her your prayers and love on this day. Also give strong consideration to the other important ways you can lend your support.
Send a letter of support which will positively influence the judge’s sentencing decision.
Do you know Red Fawn well enough to give specific examples of how she has demonstrated such positive qualities as integrity, trustworthiness and peacefulness in her past actions? If so, please consider writing a letter vouching for Red Fawn’s good character and reputation. Such a letter can go a long way toward encouraging the judge to make a sentencing decision that is helpful to Red Fawn. Guidelines for writing a support letter are attached.
If you are in a position to write such a letter, make sure to send it to the attorneys representing Red Fawn, and NOT to the judge. Her legal team will decide which letters to give the judge, based on their helpfulness to her case. Also, be sure to talk only about her positive character, as demonstrated by her actions in the past. DO NOT discuss the facts of the case, and DO NOT include political arguments, slogans or messages. Such letters will not help her case and could significantly HARM her. Also remember that her hearing is coming up soon, so be sure to write and send your letter today!
Send her messages of support. Red Fawn is so grateful for all the cards and letters that you have sent her, and always says that she couldn’t have gotten this far without you. At this time it’s so important that we help Red Fawn stand strong by letting her know that we are there for her! Send letters and cards expressing your love and support to:
As of August 5, 2018
And here's where to send cards and letters to Red Fawn. Remember that your greetings--reminding her that you love her, and that she is in your thoughts and prayers--are what will encourage and sustain her, both now and throughout her incarceration.
Ft. Worth TX 76127
For important dos and don’ts about sending letters, see "Resources for Prisoner Support" at this link: https://waterprotectorlegal.org/water-protector-prisoners/
Provide financial support.
Through your generosity at past fundraisers, a small amount of funds are available to help Red Fawn with her personal needs while incarcerated, both at her current location and once she enters prison. But we know she’ll need your continued financial support in the future. So please consider taking the money that you would have spent on a trip to Bismarck, and using it to help cover Red Fawn’s personal needs once she enters prison. For up-to-date information on how to donate to Red Fawn’s fund, go to the new Red Fawn website, https://www.standwithredfawn.org/donate/ (Donation information will be available soon!)
Pray for Red Fawn-- and water protectors all over the world.
The strength of prayer is sacred to Red Fawn and her family. “Even if you don’t believe in prayer,” says Red Fawn’s uncle Glenn “you could just give it a try.” In Red Fawn’s words, “Each and every prayer, and every energy, and every time someone sends up smoke, I feel it, and I’m thankful and I’m grateful.”
Stay informed about Red Fawn’s case and related matters.
- Visit the new website https://www.standwithredfawn.org. In particular, read the beautiful letter which Red Fawn wrote and which was read at the United Nations in April.
- Visit the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/FreeRedFawn/
- Read books and articles which educate you about the issues that relate to Red Fawn’s case, including the prison industrial complex, the history of colonialism, U.S. federal Indian law and policy, and the stories of other political prisoners. For starters:
*Blood of the Land: The Government and Corporate War against the American Indian Movement, by Rex Weyler (Vintage Books, 1984)
*Agents of Repression, the FBI’s Secret Wars Against the Black Panthers and the American Indian Movement, by Ward Churchill (South End Press, 1990)
*The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander (The New Press, 2012)
*The Lakotas and the Black Hills: The Struggle for Sacred Ground, by Jeffrey Osler (Penguin Books, Reprint Edition, 2011)
*Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Christian Doctrine of Discovery by Steve Newcomb (Fulcrum Publishing, 2008)
*In the Light of Justice: The Rise of Human Rights in Native American and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by Walter EchoHawk (Fulcrum Publishing, 2013)
*In the Spirit of Crazy Horse: The Story of Leonard Peltier and the FBI’s War on the American Indian Movement by Peter Matthiessen (Penguin Books, 1992)
*Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement, by Angela Davis (Haymarket Books, 2016)
*Waterlily by Ella Cara DeLoria (University of Nebraska, 2009)
*Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants,” by Robin Wall Kimmerer (Milkweed Editions, 2013)
*Where White Men Fear to Tread: The Autobiography of Russell Means," by Russell Means and Marvin J. Wolf (St. Martin's Press, 1995)
*Ghost Dancing the Law: The Wounded Knee Trials," by John William Sayer (Harvard University Press, 1997)
*Why Innocent People Take a Plea, by Jed S. Rakoff, New York Review of Books, November 20, 2014 http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2014/11/20/why-innocent-people-plead-guilty/