American Indian Activist Russell Means Dies

Posted October 22nd, 2012 at 6:55 pm (UTC-5)
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American Indian activist and actor Russell Means died Monday after a battle with cancer. He was 72.

Means, a onetime leader of the American Indian Movement, called national attention to the plight of impoverished Native Americans in the 1970s.

He helped organize the 1973 siege of Wounded Knee – a 71-day confrontation in which hundreds of Indian activists occupied the town on the site of an 1890 Indian massacre. The protest, aimed at gaining federal adherence to treaties with Indians, ended with the deaths of two activists and a federal agent seriously wounded.

After leaving the movement in the 1980s, Means, who was known for his good looks and long dark braids, went on to act in several films including “Last of the Mohicans,” “Natural Born Killers,” and Disney's animated film “Pocahontas.”

He also ran unsuccessfully for president in 1988 but lost the Libertarian nomination to Ron Paul.