Contact: Russell Means
Phone: (605) 867-1025
Status: Not Chartered
Meet the RLC State Contact in South Dakota, Russell Means:
The Los Angeles Times has called Russell Means the most famous American Indian since Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. Thirty years ago, reflecting the consciousness of the sixties, he captured national attention when he led the 71-day armed takeover on the sacred grounds of Wounded Knee, a tiny hamlet in the heart of South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation. Means joined “The Longest Walk” in 1978 to protest a new tide of anti-Indian legislation including the forced sterilization of Indian women. Following the walk, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution saying that national policy was to protect the rights of Indians, “to believe, express and exercise their traditional religions, including but not limited to access to sites, use and possession of sacred objects, and the freedom to worship through ceremonials and traditional rites.”
Today, with the same passionate determination, he has directed his energy towards the entertainment industry. In a record period of time, this famed political activist and early leader of the American Indian Movement (AIM) has become immersed in all five corners of the business, with projects including: Lead roles in major feature films (such as “The Last of the Mohicans” and “Natural Born Killers”) and two albums of protest music with lyrics he wrote.
Born on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation in 1939, Russell Means is the eldest son of Hank Means, an Oglala Sioux, and Theodora (Feather) Means, a full-blooded Yankton Sioux. Shortly after the outbreak of WWII, his family moved to California, where he graduated from San Leandro High in 1958 and continued his formal education at Oakland City College and Arizona State University.
Russell Means has devoted his life to eliminating racism of any kind, and in so doing he leaves a historical imprint as the most revolutionary Indian leader of the late twentieth century. An inspirational visionary, Russell Means remains one of the most magnetic voices in America today. Whether leading a protest, fighting for constitutional rights, starring in a motion picture, or performing his “rap-ajo” music, the message he delvers is consistent with the philosophy he lives by.