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. HifromNM

    Travel safe to the spirit world and thank you for all of your teachings.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  2. writingmomma

    To my dear brother and fellower believer, may the spirits usher you into perfect peace.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  3. Tom Leykis

    The US Govt., Dept of Interior, BLM and US Treasury have been raping and stealing from the American Indian for over 200 years. Nothing is going to change.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • DG

      Yes... keep blaming others for what happened in the PAST... Don't concentrate on the real issue, which is raising your kids! Teenage pregnancy is extremely high in the Native American population, and I hope your sitting down, daddy is rarely around. All problems start at home, just because you're poor doesn't mean you get a pass to be a bad parent. Native Americans are provided free housing, something most of us wish we had. This is America, if you want something, you have to go out and earn it! But I know it's much easier to dwell on the past and blame everyone else for something that happened long before you were even born. That seems to be working out great. Mr. Means was an activist, and he worked hard for what he believed and achieved great things.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Warløck

      You're right. Native Americans should just lay down and take it, just like any other victim. You have my pity.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • paul

      NO, DG, they do not get free housing. Many live in poverty.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • wonderabout

      Contrary to popular opinion American Indian's don't get free housing on most reservations – they pay for their homes .... have been passed down – AND have you seen what you call "FREE" housing on reservations like the one Russell lived on? You should Google Pine Ridge Reservation homes.... you might not feel so righteous after you do.... typical Euro-perspective.... while you're at it Google fossil fuel extraction on Native American lands – you'll also find a history of environmental and human health problems created by the coal, oil, gas, and uranium mining over the decades.... and after that search: Trail of Broken Treaties....

      October 22, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keisha

      What happened in the PAST? How about what is still ongoing? Americans are woefully undereducated about Native peoples.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • DG

      They have every opportunity to be educated as everyone else! It starts at home, with the PARENTS, not the government! I grew up on a reservation in SD, and went to school in a mostly Native American school. So don't lecture me about Native Americans when you've probably never been here and rely on TV to tell you what's going on. What happened in the past was horrible, everyone knows that, but my goodness, it's WAY past time to get over that, and start working for a brighter future for your kids, and make your ancestors (the one's that truely suffered) proud.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lord Siouxpreme

      But when an NDN murders another NDN, he is deemed a Native American hero?

      October 23, 2012 at 12:52 am | Report abuse |
  4. David Kuklinski

    R.I.P: Those who fight for their rights and the right of others will always be remembered.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  5. Ken Brown

    I met Russell Means in 1980. He had just concluded a typically long day with an address to a religious group. I hadn't planned on seeing him, but as he came out of the main meeting hall, I happened to be there. I recognized him and spoke, expected a nod as he passed. Instead he stopped and talked for several minutes–mostly about the AIM, but also about some personal stories from his youth that had influenced him. I'll never forget his graciousness in stopping to talk.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  6. saywhat

    RIP Russel. A legend and an American indeed,

    October 22, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  7. slk

    he was a Great leader. He will be missed. All thoughts and prayers to his close family and his Native Amercian family.................

    October 22, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  8. Bruce

    Rest In Peace Russell, you have been a great inspiration to you people.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  9. American Too

    There is no such thing as a Native American – there are only Americans or, if you insist on applying some sort of time standard to Americanism, then there are Early Americans and ...uh...Later Americans.

    How about starting to use the correct designation, huh?

    October 22, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • David Kuklinski

      How about some respect for a great man who cared about mankind in general?

      October 22, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim Brody

      Please drop the PC today, out of respect to a man who did important things for our country.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Wes Scott

      Actually, the correct terminology is First Nations people. It helps to remember that we were here 10,000 years before Europeans or others arrived on these shores.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • lovelldj

      Early Americans that's a laugh. America was named after Amerigo Vespucci, who came here around 1500. Calling native people Americans would be no different than calling them Columbians. You think, in your distorted PC mind, that calling them "Indians" is somehow an epiphet. Yet, at least the people who originally called them Indians thought they were actually in India, so they thought they were using the right and respectful word. It turns out their geography wasn't correct, but they hadn't intended to mislabel them. Those who call them any kind of American, well that's the part that ought to be insulting.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sawyers92


    October 22, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  11. jpwade

    in 2004, 2011 AIM members Arlo looking cloud and John graham convicted for the murder of Annie Mae Pictou Aquash, Thelma Rois convicted for kidnapping , these trials with over a half dozen AIM witness testimony established AIM leadership ordered the execution of Annie Mae, for 30+ yrs Russell LIED to the world, then after the truths came out he declaired the murder and trials to be a political ploy saying the FBI made them murder Annie Mae, ....... many people have and will continue to support murders of innocents, that is their choice to carry the blood of innocents on their hands by doing so, not me, i don't care whrere they are, in another world or whatever, they still have the blood of innocents on their hands .... good riddens to the smuck

    October 22, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • lagtat

      You moron. He had nothing to do with that murder and testified against those who did.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • AYankeeInTheSouth

      Agree with everything except the "good riddance..." comment.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. garypaul54

    Thank you Russell for trying to make the world a better place for all people.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  13. cherokee by blood

    now leonard has no one to fight for him RIP Russel

    October 22, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • AYankeeInTheSouth

      Lenoard Peltier should be fighting for himself, which he refuses to do. The film Incident at Oglala (1992) included the AIM activist Robert Robideau saying the FBI agents had been shot by a 'Mr X'. When Peltier was interviewed about 'Mr X', he said he knew who the man was. The truth will set Lenoard free, so fess up!

      October 22, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • DavidInAustin

      This is supposed to be a reply to commenter "cherokee by blood" but it might not post in the right place. I believe you are speaking of the "Mr X" notion in the Peliter case as if it were valid. The Mr X story has been exposed as a total lie, and anyone informed about the case only brings it up as a sort of joke. Mr X was Dave Hill, and it was a transparent lie–a lie which Peter Matthiessen bought into, a serious blunder by him.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • DavidInAustin

      Sorry, I should have said a reply to AYankeeInTheSouth.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jo

    Now there are truly no more Mohicans.....He was a great actor and fine spirit!

    October 22, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  15. Aleticia Tijerina

    May we all walk in the imprint of his mocassin a bit longer and a bit stronger.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
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