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Russell Means
American Indian Leader

Born: November 10, 1939

Freedom is for everyone, whatever lifestyle they
    choose, as long as it's peaceful and honest.

                                                                  —Russell Means

Russell Means was born November 10, 1939 on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation near the Black Hills of South Dakota. In the late 60s, Means began his fight for Indian rights with the "American Indian Movement" (AIM). He became the first national director of AIM and has remained active in the movement for the past 27 years.

In 1964, Means was among the Indian activists including his father "Hank Means," who occupied San Francisco's Alcatraz Island in an AIM-led protest lasting 19 months. In 1973, Means helped lead the AIM take over of Wounded Knee. In occupying this site of a 1890s massacre of Indians by US cavalry, AIM was attempting to regain lands granted to the Lakota in the 1868 Laramie treaty. Both events brought worldwide attention to the injustices and privation faced by American Indians past and present.

As an actor, Means has appeared in such films as "The Last of the Mohicans" (1992), "Natural Born Killers" (1994) and provided the voice of "Powhatan" in Disney's "Pocahontas" (1995). St. Martin's Press published Mean's autobiography, "Where White Men Fear to Tread," in 1995.

Means and his wife Pearl are currently building "Treaty Total Immersion School" on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Through "total immersion" in the Lakota way of life, children will be instilled with the pride and confidence to face any challenge.

Means is currently selling a series of limited edition prints of his original art to benefit the Total Immersion School, a 501(c)3 entity. This series, called "The Indian Killers."

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•  Books About Russell Means
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  Books About Russell Means

  Videos Starring Russell Means

  Music By Russell Means

  Related Websites

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Copyright © 1995-2016 Robin Chew
Article written by Robin Chew - September 2001