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Native Sun News: Activist Russell Means battling cancer again

Filed Under: Health | National
More on: cancer, native sun news, russell means

The following story was written and reported by Brandon Ecoffey, Native Sun News Staff Writer. All content © Native Sun News.

Longtime activist and actor Russell Means, Oglala Lakota, speaks at the Dakota Conference on the campus of Augustana College in Sioux Falls April 27. The theme for this year’s conference was “Wounded Knee 1973: Forty Years Later.” After declaring himself cancer-free in December, Means recently announced for a second time in just over a year that he is battling cancer. PHOTO COURTESY/STEW MAGNUSON

Means battles cancer again
Disease returned in August
By Brandon Ecoffey
Native Sun News Staff Writer

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Russell Means, enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and longtime indigenous rights activist and actor, informed Native Sun News Oct. 8 that he is again fighting for his life against cancer. In an email sent from his seasonal home in Scottsdale to NSN, Means announced: “On August 20, 2012, I learned I have new cancer spots.”

Means, who was one of the charter members of the American Indian Movement, also said: “I am in Scottsdale, AZ where I have fantastic medical teams utilizing both alternative and western applications. We are working toward a good solid program that will enable me to come home to my ranch on the Pine Ridge Sioux Indian Reservation within the next few weeks.”

Means’ announcement comes almost one year after he announced that he had rid himself of the disease following notification by his physician. On Dec. 8, 2011, a triumphant Means told NSN, that “I won the battle, man – I’m cancer-free. The doctor told me the day before yesterday that ‘Mr. Means, you will not die of cancer.’”

The 72-year-old had originally been diagnosed with esophageal cancer during the summer of 2011 but was able to rid his body of the disease, he said. He credited his victory over the disease to the power of prayer from around the world: “I beat it with prayer – prayer from all over the world from all different disciplines,” especially that of his own traditional Lakota way.

The cancer, however, took a major toll on Means’ body, forcing him to shed over 60 pounds.

“I know many are concerned about my health and I want to thank you for your strong prayers and for all the ceremonies taking place on my behalf,” he further stated in the email.

Means, who turns 73 next month, says he is unavailable to provide spoken comment but did add in the email: “I am sorry I am not available for comments as I need all of my energy to fight for my life once again. I love you and look forward to regaining my life."

“May the Great Mystery continue to guide and protect the paths of you and your loved ones.”

(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at

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