American Indian Activist Russell Means Dies At 72
Passing away at the age of 72, Russell Means was a very outspoken and loyal activist who led Native Americans in their protests against broken federal treaties and other injustices, while also running for high office and becoming an actor. He also advocated for a sovereign Indian nation within the borders of the United States along with leading the fight in the 1973 uprising at Wounded Knee in South Dakota.
Russell Means was a man who stood up for what he believed in and was very critical of the mainstream media and their motives. He was once the leader of the American Indian Movement but refused almost every interview and often blasted journalists for following him to public appearances. He denied that his group was responsible for violence during the 71-day siege of Wounded Knee, where they battled federal officers.
While acting in several movies, he was best known for his role in “The Last of the Mohicans” alongside Daniel Day-Lewis. He also tried to run for the Libertarian nomination for president, but was beat out by Ron Paul in 1988. Means remained proud of his efforts to change the perceptions of Indians in the public eye. He felt that his most important contribution was his founding of the Republic of Lakota, with the “re-establishment of our freedom to be responsible” as a sovereign nation, which remains inside the borders of the U.S.
Russell Means was diagnosed with esophageal cancer back in 2011, and underwent therapy by both conventional medical practices and Native American methods. He passed away only a few weeks shy of turning 73. He will be missed by millions who respected him for standing up for the injustices in America and around the world.
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