American Indian Activist Russell Means
Robert Warrior, Director of American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois and Elizabeth Castle, Native Studies assistant professor at the University of South Dakota, talk about American Indian activist Russell Means. Hollywood actor and American Indian activist Russell Means died early Monday morning at his ranch near Porcupine on Pine Ridge. Means was 72 years old and had battled cancer for the past few years. Means is noted not only for his roles in Hollywood film but also for being a seminal figure in the American Indian Movement. Means was an Oglala Lakota born in 1939 into the extreme poverty of reservation life. By the late 1960’s frustration over oppression of Native Americans sparked the American Indian Movement. Means was quick to join and in 1973 he helped spearhead the armed occupation of the town of Wounded Knee. That 71 day standoff included numerous gun battles between American Indians and federal agents leaving two people dead.