Faron Hall was born May 14, 1964, on the Dakota Tipi First Nation reserve near Portage la Prairie, Man., to Maryanne Hall and John Hupa. He had an unstable childhood, with his parents constantly away working on farms and with very little supervision on the reserve. He had at least two sisters and an older brother.
His uncle, Neil Hall, says Faron was taken away by Children’s Aid when he was around three; he was brought back to the reserve when he was eight. Neil remembers that Faron was friends with everyone and loved playing sports. He especially loved to swim. “All the kids used to hang around the river and he would just swim all day, whenever he could,” says Neil. Faron was also known for his generosity. He had a crush on a young girl and wanted to show her how much he cared. She really wanted candy, so Faron walked two miles to the nearest store to buy some for her. “He would always go out of his way to make people happy,” says Neil.
When Faron was 18, he entered a high school and employment skills program for inner-city youth in Winnipeg. That’s where he met his first girlfriend, Cheryl James, who was 19 at the time. She was impressed by how confident and well-spoken he was. “He wasn’t just interested in helping himself, but he also wanted to help the rest of us in the class succeed,” she says. His goal was to become a teacher. After Faron graduated from the program, he and Cheryl lived together for eight years while Faron took odd jobs around the city. Along with Cheryl’s two nephews, they would often travel to see Faron’s father who lived on the Sioux Valley reserve in southeastern Manitoba. “Faron was really good with [the boys],” she says. “He liked to make sure they were entertained and taken care of.”
For years Faron drank socially, but after his mother died he began to drink heavily. “That tore him apart,” says Neil. “He started not caring because he felt really bad he didn’t reconnect with her sooner.” His sister was stabbed to death soon afterwards, which was the breaking point for him. “He told me he prayed to the Creator to keep them safe and help him understand why it happened,” says Cheryl. Faron became homeless and spent his time in the St. Boniface area of Winnipeg, living in tents he set up with his friends along the bank of the Red River.
In May 2009, 19-year-old Joseph Mousseau was fooling around with friends on the Provencher Bridge and fell over the guardrail into the river. Faron leaped in and swam against the rough current to rescue him.