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Dalton Walker
Indian Country Today

An Oglala Lakota woman serving federal prison time in relation to the Dakota Access Pipeline resistance at Standing Rock will be released, a family member and an advocacy group confirmed.

Glenn Morris said in an email his niece Red Fawn Fallis was scheduled to be released on Sept. 9 after serving 57 months in prison.

“I appreciate (Indian Country Today’s) interest in her case as she is the most severely sentenced water protector from the DAPL protest at Standing Rock, while the real criminals continue to pump oil through the pipeline in violation of the 1851 and 1868 Ft. Laramie Treaties and US environmental laws,” Morris said in an email. “She deserves to be honored as a heroic woman defender of the water, the land and the people.”

Claudia Kuhns, with Stand with Red Fawn, also confirmed Fallis’ scheduled release.

Fallis now heads to a re-entry program, Morris said. The program is designed to assist incarcerated individuals with a transition to their community after release.

Fallis pleaded guilty in January 2018 to civil disorder and illegal possession of a gun by a convicted felon. She was accused of firing a handgun three times while resisting arrest during protests in North Dakota against the oil pipeline in October 2016, according to the Associated Press.

She was sentenced to four years and nine months in federal prison. Fallis was 39 at the time of the sentencing. She had been incarcerated since Oct. 26, 2016 and received credit for time served when sentenced in 2018.

(Related: Red Fawn Fallis sentenced to 57 months in DAPL case)

Fallis has been held at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin, California. A spokeswoman with the prison could not confirm Fallis’ release and said a written request to the warden was needed. The spokeswoman added that Fallis’ “projected” release date was March 5, 2021.

Fallis’ arrest was one of 761 that authorities made in southern North Dakota during the height of protests in 2016 and 2017. At times thousands of pipeline opponents gathered in the region to protest the $3.8 billion project to move North Dakota oil to Illinois, but the effort didn’t stop the project.

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Four other Standing Rock water protectors faced federal charges and have served prison time or continue to serve time, according to the Water Protector Legal Collective. For details on the four, click here.

A Facebook page dedicated to Fallis called Free RedFawn has 30,000 Likes and periodically shares updates of Fallis. It says Fallis will be released to a halfway house soon and asks for financial support.

The controversial pipeline remains a hot topic. Earlier this summer, a federal judge ordered the pipeline to shut down and remove all oil within 30 days. Neary a month later, a federal appeals court reversed the judge’s order pending a full environmental review.

(Related article: 'Historic day' for Standing Rock as pipeline company told to shut down, remove oil)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sided with pipeline owner Energy Transfer to keep the oil flowing, saying a lower-court judge "did not make the findings necessary for injunctive relief."

But the appellate court declined to grant Energy Transfer's motion to block the review, saying the company had "failed to make a strong showing of likely success."

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Dalton Walker, Red Lake Anishinaabe, is a national correspondent at Indian Country Today. Follow him on Twitter: @daltonwalker Walker is based in Phoenix and enjoys Arizona winters.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.