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. Rednip

    Even if what you say is true, I doubt if you have held any other person to that same level of political correctness. One off phrase, which was common place (even on TV) at the time and you'd condemn the man on his obituary.

    Proves my point, that right wingers have no class at all.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Anonymous

    I've heard of numerous stories of different people saying native americans originally came from europe, then serbia, then africa, then I even heard someone say france..WTH????????? but true native americans know we discovered columbus lost at sea:)

    October 22, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. c

    Indians have been horribly treated by the US government and white people . All of s sudden white people are so insulted after hundreds of years of oppression, suppression, out right murder of these people and theft of their country- I think one faux pas by Mr Means was/is allowed in 1976. I believe Mr Peltier is stiil in jail for something he did not do. Frankly; I think Mr Means had a point.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Byrd

    In 1973, Russell and a few others representing the AIM visited my high school and I donated $100 to help offset legal expenses to one of their members who turned out to be nothing more than an FBI informant with dyed skin posing as a Native American. He took my money anyway and no doubt spent it on himself. Peace unto you, Russell, but as for the other guy...

    October 22, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. sly

    Hate is not good, but enemies are usually created through hate.

    This is why many American Indians hate the White Man.
    This is why many Muslims hate Americans.
    This is why many African Americans hate the White Man.

    Yes, hopefully all the hatred that White America created will go away, since as we know hate begats hate.

    But, until then, don't be a bigot and wonder why everyone hates White Americans – they hate us because we earned their hate, and they are not bigger than us and able to forgive easily.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Proper Noun

    No mention of Ray Bradbury. Depressing!

    October 22, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kent

    Russell Means... a thug or terrorist. Hello!? Can you say taking people's lands away and slaughtering innocent women and children? Yes, I am a White Caucasian and did sing, "This land is your land." in grade school. Only later did I learn how we came to gain these majestic lands... from a majestic people.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. LakotaDawn

    Jewed? You have been carrying around that much hate for 25 years because of a word that isn't even in the dictionary? You should let it go, your soul sounds harsh and cold. Your time is coming too and I hope when you die and when they post the obituary the comments are NOT pure evil like yours. ;-( Russell was harsh, he grew up in a World where everyday he heard: dirty indian go back to the rez. I guess that is equivalent to your one time hearing him say the word: jewed spoken about someone else. Of course your hatred is so much worse. After Russell's what I consider a NDE he was very calm and holy even. I hope you can someday see how your words hurt too but I will forgive you and move on. laterz

    October 22, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tom Wentz, PhD

    Given you have already acknowledge Mr. Peltier was "not good with words." Perhaps, at that time Mr. Means, like Leonard Peltier, was not as good with words until years later. Your need to express yourself at length at this time of his passing, Mr. Mean's use of what was clearly a colloquialism indicates you are were wrong in your abrupt judgement of Mr. Means then, and clearly as wrong as an attorney for Mr. Peltier.

    October 22, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  10. squoose

    And without even being up a full day yet, this has already been up roughly twice as long on CNN's headlines as the death of Christopher Hitchens was.

    October 22, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. DavidInAustin

    For insight into AIM, learn the stories of Annie Mae Aquash and Ray Robinson, two activists murdered by AIM. Also, anyone who has their mind made up about AIM and the late Russell Means without reading the work of Paul DeMain, of News From Indian Country, is just plain ignorant. Means was a great enemy of DeMain, and Means was on the wrong side of that fight. AIM was a group of self-adoring posers who did more harm than good. May there come a day when American Indians unite in a real fight for their rights, instead of being divided by violence and fake 'revolution.'

    October 22, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Whizerd67

    Walk on, Russel Means.

    I am soooo glad that CNN has reporters that tell correct and informative stories...NOT!
    You are bias P'sOS!

    Why did you not mention the sovereignty of the Lakotah from the USA?

    Because you aren't journalists...you are paid disinformation a wholes.
    Thanks.

    RIP Mr. Means.

    ~Blessed Be to all~

    October 22, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • midnitejax

      You're not a sovereign nation unless you have total independence from the ties of the US Government. You cannot depend on US Government social programs for sustainance, and claim independence.Russell Means knew that. Throw off the yoke of alcohol and drugs, and welcome education.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Keyser

    How in the world can people from the nations be considered terrorists of any kind????? Are we not living on their land????

    October 22, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • disgustedvet

      It is OUR land .

      October 22, 2012 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ~~~

    i wonder if we will ever be told the truth about what happened there given that the government was involved.

    October 22, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Kathy Mae

    Russell Means was a Great Man and people should not slander him, family could be coming on here and can get hurt for reading those comments. Rest In Peace!! He fought hard not just for his people but for everyone, he was a great man. Gone But Not Forgotten!!

    October 22, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • duckforcover

      I grew up with Russell and the Peltiers many years ago. They were honorable men with self-respect and a sense of duty Russells efforts on behalf of his people have resulted in more freedom for every American-whether people like it or not. Hokahey Russell, hokahey.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
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