As is always the case, there are many discrepancies here. Indigenous activists contend that it wasn't even Red Fawn who fired the weapon and that it was actually fired by someone who appears to have been operating as an undercover Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) informant during the protests. Red Fawn contends that she had developed a relationship with this person that led up to her being framed for allegedly firing the handgun.
The terms of the plea deal that landed Red Fawn this sentence, after she had steadfast maintained her innocence, is rooted in the racist reality of North Dakota and the understandable belief by Fawn and her supporters that the prospects of a fair trial were nonexistent. This is a point that people ignorant about the manifestations of white supremacy often fail to detect. There is a reason why 94% of criminal cases end in plea deals. That reason is when you are charged with a crime, your options are to extend for a jury trial or take a plea deal. In most concrete realities, a jury trial means subjecting yourself to the whims, prejudices, and outright racist opinions of a so-called "jury of your peers" which usually ends up being a jury of hardcore racists. This almost certainly would have been the case had Red Fawn chosen to go to trial.
This sad scenario brings back images of the federal government's terrorist pursuit of American Indian Movement (AIM) activists in the 1970s in Ogala land in South Dakota on the Pine Ridge reservation. During the years between 1972 and 1976, violence against AIM activists and the Native community at Pine Ridge was so intense that the small reservation had the dubious distinction of serving as the highest murder rate for the entire country. And, make no mistake about it. That murder rate resulted from the terror being inflicted against Indigenous people by this government. The FBI organized, trained, and armed a group AIM labeled the "hang around the fort Indians", or who we would call sellout negroes in our communities. This group became known as the so-called Guardians of the Ogala Nation or GOONS (more fitting). The GOONS meted down a reign of terror against the Native communities at Pine Ridge that was fully supported and encouraged by this federal government. Anna Mae Pictoh Aquash, an AIM activist who dismissed a full ride education from a large university on the East Coast to go and serve the people for AIM at Pine Ridge, was murdered in the course of the terror and no one has ever been brought to justice for her death. Leonard Peltier was an AIM activist who was framed by the FBI for the deaths of two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge reservation, who had no legitimate business there in the first place. Peltier has languished in prison for 40 years as a result of this injustice.
Red Fawn, Ana Mae Aquash, Leonard Peltier, and so many other Indigenous people are paying the price for standing up against imperialism and against its theft and destruction of Indigenous lands. As a revolutionary Pan-Africanist, we identify closely with the Indigenous struggle. Some of our people continue to fail to see why. That's because some of us have the consciousness of roaches meaning when you see multiple roaches and you kill one, the others don't come to the attacked roache's aide. Instead, they immediately revert to self preservation by fleeing. That's the low level of consciousness of some of us, but for us African revolutionaries, we recognize that our Indigenous family is fighting against the same enemy that we fight against. The same FBI that continues to terrorize them is the same FBI that framed Marcus Garvey and the Universal Negro Improvement Association. The same FBI that staged the murder of 33 Black Panthers. The same FBI that facilitated the flooding of our communities with illicit drugs while murdering our leaders and sabotaging our political organizations.
The stronger the Indigenous people struggle is against this government, the stronger our struggle is against this government. Anyone who cannot see that is either not looking at it or not really concerned about our true freedom and liberation. The case against Red Fawn Fallis strikes a deep cord in me because it reckons to the fight to free ourselves from this system that oppresses all of humanity. For those of you who have no current political organizational work, we strongly encourage you to find out what you can do to support Red Fawn and any and all political prisoners being framed for daring to fight against injustice. Some of you have legal resources and/or other resources. Contact the people engaged in her defense and help in any way that you can. And, of course, we continue to encourage you to join organizations and build them into strong fighting units to organize against this terror on a sustainable basis because if we don't do that, the sacrifices from people like Red Fawn will have been in vain.