My name is Kevin Meagher. I am the author of the Open Letter titled “Red Warrior Deceit” that can be found on the Word Press Blog site under Traditional American Indian Alliance. This is the open letter that the Red Warrior Camp Speaks press release references. I thank Indian Country Media Network for allowing me this opportunity to respond. Particularly since one could interpret the Red Warrior’s citing of my open letter as a veiled implication that I am somehow an operative for TigerSpawn [sic] and ETP.
That aside, I am well known to the community of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation where I lived for many years and was the ceremonial helper of a respected Wicasa Wakan. I have a long history of activism fighting against corruption within South Dakota tribal governments. My paternal grandfather grew up on Cheyenne River, was a fluent Lakota speaker and my mother is a Metis Indian. However, I am not enrolled anywhere, nor have I claimed to be. Simply ask Traditionals from Cheyenne River for verification of my identity. As is the case with all human beings, some people like me and others don’t.
I will now only respond to the list of “Myths” that the Red Warriors have stated I have promoted about them:
MYTH: The Red Warriors have “…been co-opted/taken over by mostly white and Latino Anarchists.”
RESPONSE: As noted in the Open Letter, it was common knowledge to all those present at NO-DAPL that the vast majority of the Red Warrior membership was non-Indian, I know several of them personally, know that they are Anarchists and was told by them that most of their members are Anarchists. Given their tight security it would be difficult to substantiate that publicly nor am I willing to expose individuals regardless of my feelings about their activities. That said, all one needs to do is Google “Red Warrior” and “Anarchists” to see the many pod-casts, interviews and expressions of allegiance between the Red Warriors and various Anarchists groups. Furthermore, notice that the Red Warriors have not directly denied these contentions, but have simply stated that they were “Indigenous lead.” I don’t think it is irresponsible or unreasonable to inform Traditional American Indians that persons claiming to have their worldview, may in-fact have interests not aligned with theirs.
MYTH: “…not abiding by the tenets of nonviolence.”
RESPONSE: On November 1, 2016, when the Standing Rock Tribal Council voted to have the Red Warriors removed from the Oceti Sakowin camp, the former Red Warrior spokesman Cody Hall stated “…elders were concerned with some camp members’ messages becoming more violent and questioned if they were thinking of the safety of everyone involved in the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.” He made this statement to a reporter from West Dakota Fox News, KFYR TV.
MYTH: “…they have no respect for elders.”
RESPONSE: The Red Warriors did not quote me properly when citing this “Myth.” They then responded with, “TRUTH: Red Warrior Camp acknowledges elders who support and guide rather than dictate and control.”
If the Red Warriors claim that they were promoting non-violent tactics in the Oceti SakowinCamp was true, then why would they feel the need to state that they wouldn’t abide by the will of our Elders whom they say were “controlling” them? The Lakota Elders of Standing Rock & Cheyenne River were only instructing them to be non-violent. That’s it. Beyond that, all tribes need to ask themselves if they want any group in their resistance camps that may not abide by the will of the local recognized tribal elders and/or leadership.
That aside, the actual quote from my Open Letter States, “The ONLY people who had any say were the elders from the Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Reservations. Our communities were those under immediate threat. We were the host community who invited others to stand with us as guests under the condition that they abide by the will of our Elders. Claims put forward by the Red Warriors that they could ignore our Elders instructions because a few Lakota from other reservations said they could, was/is profoundly disrespectful to both our Elders as well as the…people of Standing Rock & Cheyenne River.”
MYTH: “…they were not prayerful.”
RESPONSE: Not once in my Open Letter did I make a reference to the Red Warriors not being “prayerful.”
In closing, I encourage readers to do their own research and when possible query Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Lakota elders about their feeling regarding what when on at the NO-DAPL resistance. Thank-you and many blessings.