Russell Means, Oglala Sioux activist, passes after cancer battle

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

Russell Means, a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe who rose to prominence with the American Indian Movement, died today. He was 72.

Means was battling a recurrence of cancer. He died at his home on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

Means was an activist on mascots, sovereignty, justice, discrimination and other issues affecting Indian Country. He became nationally known during the AIM occupation of Wounded Knee in South Dakota 1973.

After feuding with other AIM leaders, he broke from the group in the 1980s. He went on to star in more than 30 films and television productions. He published his autobiography, Where White Men Fear to Tread in 1995.

Means always stirred controversy for his views. He famously refused to submit to the jurisdiction of the Navajo Nation for a domestic violence incident.

He ran for president of his tribe more than once but never captured the seat. He operated education programs at Pine Ridge and more recently led a movement to separate the Lakotah people from the United States.

Get the Story:
Activist Russell Means Dies At The Age Of 72 (KELO-TV 10/22)
Russell Means, Indian activist, actor, dies at 72 (AP 10/22)
Russell Means, Who Revived Warrior Image of American Indian, Dies at 72 (The New York Times 10/23)

Related Stories:
Native Sun News: Activist Russell Means hospitalized in Arizona (10/17)
Native Sun News: Activist Russell Means battling cancer again (10/11)

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