[imgcontainer left] [img:Means.jpeg] [source]Sioux Falls Argus Leader[/source] [/imgcontainer]
Russell Means, the charismatic Oglala activist, died early Monday at his home in Porcupine, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge reservation. He was 72 and died of esophageal cancer.
“Our dad and husband now walks among our ancestors,” a statement from the family said, according to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.
Means joined the American Indian Movement in 1968. He was part of an AIM disturbance at the Custer County Courthouse in 1973 when a white man received a less than severe sentence for the stabbing death of a Native American at Buffalo Gap. Means, Dennis Banks and other AIM members led the 71-day takeover of Wounded Knee in 1973. And in 1974, Means was “in the middle of a melee that broke out in a third-floor courtroom at the Minnehaha County Courthouse in Sioux Falls during a trial over the 1973 Custer disturbances,” Steve Young reports.
Means served more than a year in the state prison, where he was stabbed by an inmate.
“Russell was not afraid to die,” his friend, former U.S. Sen. Jim Abourezk of Sioux Falls, said. “He was someone who decided to devote his life to calling attention to wrongs done to Indians. He did it through confrontation with authorities. I think he believed that was the only way to get anybody’s attention to these issues.”
Means eventually appeared in more than 30 films and television shows, including “Last of the Mohicans,” “Natural Born Killers” and “Pathfinder.”
Here is the obituary in the New York Times.
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