Oglala/Lakota Sioux activist, warrior, and movie star Russell Means died at the age of 72 on his ranch in Porcupine, South Dakota October 22 as a result of throat cancer.
Means spent a lifetime fighting the United States federal government over broken treaties, stolen land, and the impoverished tirbes. He also lamented the loss of Native culture. Means was among those who led the uprising at Wounded Knee in 1973.
He was born Russell Charles Means on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota November 10, 1939, the oldes of four boys; he was raised in the San Francisco Bay area. As a lad he battled drugs and alcohol before turning his attention to the struggles of his fellow tribal members and the American Indian Movement.
After leaving the, Means turned his hand to acting where he scored a number of prominent “Indian” roles including his debut in 1992 as Chingachgook in “The Last of the Mohicans”. Other roles from Means include an Old Indian in “Natural Born Killers”, “Wagons East”, “Windrunner”, Sitting Bull in “Buffalo Girls”, the voice of Powhatan in “Pocahontas”, “The Pathfinder”, “Touched by an Angel”, Luther Iron shirt in “Walker, Texas Ranger”, “Profiler”, “A League of Old Men”, as Dexter Birdsong in two episodes of “Nash Bridges”, “Family Law”, “Curb Your Enthursiasm”, three episodes of the mini series “Into the West”, and his last role as Willie Ortiz in “Tiger Eyes”. Means was also scheduled to appear in two productions that are currently in progress.
The father of 10 had his ashes scattered in the Black Hills after his death and service attended by some 1,000 people. He is survived by his fifth wife Pearl Daniels and brother Bill.