Steven Newcomb: Russell Means was one of great Indian leaders

"On October 22, 2012, at 4:44 p.m., Oglala Lakota leader Russell Means began his journey to the spirit world. He did so at his ranch in the town of Porcupine, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, in the Lakota Territory, or as he had declared it, “The Republic of Lakotah.” Right up to the time of his spirit journey, Russell received the prayerful and loving support of his wife Pearl, along with other family members and closest friends, such as Glenn Morris (Shawnee).

Russell Means was born on November 10, 1939, only 49 years after the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890, where some 350 Oglala Lakota people, mostly women and children, were killed by the Seventh Cavalry of the United States Army. Wounded Knee was, of course, also the place of the 1973 armed stand-off with the United States for 71 days by traditional Oglala Lakota people, activists of the American Indian Movement (founded by George Mitchell and Dennis Banks) and other supporters.

Russell participated in the occupation of Wounded Knee when he was 34 years old. The event captured international attention and placed a global focus on the dire conditions of Indian nations and peoples at that time. 1973 was 83 years after the Wounded Knee Massacre, or the single life span of an Elder, which tells us how recently those events of the past took place."

Get the Story:
Steven Newcomb: Russell Means: In Memoriam (Indian Country Today 11/9)

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