People we've lost in 2012
October 22nd, 2012
11:13 AM ET

Native American activist Russell Means dies

Native American activist Russell Means died early Monday from throat cancer, an Oglala Lakota Sioux nation representative said.

Means led a 71-day uprising on the sacred grounds of Wounded Knee in South Dakota in 1973.

"Means has devoted his life to eliminating racism of any kind, and in so doing he leaves a historical imprint as the most revolutionary Indian leader of the late twentieth century," his website said. "An inspirational visionary, Russell Means remains one of the most magnetic voices in America today.

"Whether leading a protest, fighting for constitutional rights, starring in a motion picture, or performing his “rap-ajo” music, the message he delivers is consistent with the philosophy he lives by."

Obituaries 2012: The lives they've lived

soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. M-AZ

    R.I.P. Russell Means; a man of great honor and dignity...May your family find peace.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Hawk

    "Activist" is CNN's definition of "I don't have a regular job".

    October 22, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Ed Breeding

    At Russell's wonderful wife Pearl's request, I attended a Sun Dance with Russell and some of his family at Wind Cave, South Dakota a few years ago. Because of Russell's strong passion for what he believed in, which was very evident during my six days there with him at the Sun Dance, I honor him for standing strongly to his beliefs, and for his devoted commitment in attempting to make the USA a better place for the North American Indians today, and also, for not letting this country forget what horrific atrocities were done to the FIRST PEOPLE of this country. May the GREAT MYSTERY welcome you home, Russell!

    October 22, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Joseph L Cooke

    My only memories of this domestic terrorist was when he threatened to shoot me and my fellow officers if we attempted to enter the Bureau of Indian Affairs building in Washington DC. This was after Means and his fellow thugs vandalized the interior of the facility to the tune of 700,000 1972 dollars.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Paul

      Just curious – but were we "domestic terrorists" when we stole every inch of Indian land, in our push westwards and after? The men, women and children who were slaughtered – any sense from you that this might have been a historical wrong?

      October 22, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marcus

      Two wrongs don't make a right.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      Quit bringing up the past:p as the 'white people' like to say to us REAL Americans

      October 22, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • c

      One man's thug is another man's freedom fighter- You white folk don't seem to grasp that killing people to get what you want isn't always viewed the same way if you kill to take someone's land.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mike Mac

    I doubt he meant it as an insult sir. What if he had been Indianed. How would you feel then.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. AYankeeInTheSouth

    Thanks for the true insights of Mr. Means...

    October 22, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. rexedie

    even the greatest among us is flawed..... pettiness is the tool of the obscure and insignificant.....

    October 22, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. vf

    i'm no apologist for means but at those times even presidents of the united states (thinking nixon here) used the phrase in private

    October 22, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Mike

    If anyone is interested, foxnews.com has a good write up for Mr. Means.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Bill Duke

    Of course he meant it as an insult. Just like Jessie Jackson meant it as an insult with his "Hymie" remarks. Just because he was a native American doesn't mean he was immune from being a racist.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Religion

    Its always amusing when a Liberal realizes that minorities hate them too. Guess what, all races have racist people in them. In fact the ones screaming racism the loudest are frequently the most racist. E.g. Jesse Jackson.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Belle Dogg

    Fred I will be brief – you are not funny, but you are a bigot.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Tom Campbell, Indep Mo

    Peltier is right where he belongs. And, now, so is Means.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • c

      I hope when you die-you don't go where you thinkMr Means went-sound's to me like you're own a pretty good path.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dennis Mitchell

    Russell Means early life, full of raging anger as a teen made his later infamous exploits easily predictable. As a teenager, he would go on wild rampages, tearing up his parents house and badly beating and blooding his younger brother Dale.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Logan

    History records the worth or goodness of a man years after we are all gone. I am sure we all have used inappropriate terms at one time or another. All of us. Doesn't make us racists, just insensitive. Russell Means will be recorded as being a great man I am sure. He wasn't perfect as none of us are but he tried to make things better and he tried to effect change. I think its wrong to speak ill of the dead just to have your 30 seconds of fame on a CNN blog. Shame on you.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • tsoi tawodi

      The only words of wisdom I see posted here...Equa Wado....great thanks...

      October 22, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
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