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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

6

RIP, Russell Means


Means, who, like everyone, was not even remotely a perfect person, was the cornerstone of the American Indian Movement and the voice of an increasingly political and vigorous generation of Native Americans who were, really, kind of tired of putting up with all the shit.

Because for each event in our life there is an appropriate book, this might be a thoughtful time to check out Vine Deloria, Jr's Custer Died For Your Sins.

6 Comments / Post A Comment

PistolPackinMama

Thanks for posting this, Nicole.

Squareface

Thanks for posting this! And thanks for pointing out that he wasn't perfect but neither are ANY of us. I grew up with my mother and her sister in the Amercan Indian Movement, spending long summers in the back seat of our minivan going from one protest to another. I can tell you that none of the AIM leaders were
perfect, but the sheer work it took to mobilize people after a century of silence and extreme poverty was impressive. He may have "sold out" to showbiz ( like some contemporaries argue) but it took a little showbiz to bring attention to a cause that most Americans prefered to ignore.

PistolPackinMama

@Squareface I am back, having read the NYT obit, and I am kind of annoyed with it. There is a definite undertone of buffoonery: hahaha to the description of a lot of AIM protests. Agh. AGH. I love how there is an insidious discounting of really brilliant tactics on the part of AIM there. (I don't love it.)

Also, shot three times? Survived assassination attempts? Good lord.

Also also... yeah. All of that.

phipsi

It's been a rough week for progressive South Dakotans...first George McGovern and now Russell Means. I really hope the legacies they have left continue to impact the young people of my home state.

kbn22

Not that it detracts from his life's work on behalf of the American Indian people, but for whatever it's worth, Russell Means was not a progressive, at least not in the traditional sense. He was an ardent libertarian and a controversial figure in both Native and Democratic party circles (and I'm guessing R circles too, though can't say for sure). A relatively minor point, but one I thought worth mentioning.

de Pizan

@kbn22 He and Dennis Banks could be very patriarchal when it came to women in AIM; and as happened in many other social movements, were often willing to take credit for their work, or else let the women be pushed by the media to the sidelines, as the men were lionized and courted by the press.

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