Native American Activist and Actor Russell Means Dies

Russell Means has died at age 72 of inoperable throat cancer. He passed away early this morning at his home in Porcupine, South Dakota.

Means was most well known for his controversial protests in favor of Native Americans as the leader of a group called AIM, and less for his one acting role in Last of the Mohicans.

Although he grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Means was born on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Not one to shy away from controversy, he enjoyed stirring things up.

He founded AIM in the late 1960s to protest the U.S. government’s treatment of Native Americans and demanded the government honor its treaties with Indian tribes. The movement eventually faded away, but Means was suspected for decades of being involved in the slaying of one of the group’s members, an accusation he had always denied.

Aside from his failed attempt to run for President in 1988 under the Libertarian nomination, the public rarely heard from him.

Means didn’t like the media or journalists, and instead used YouTube videos and his personal website to get his messages across to the public.

You can read more about his life in this New York Times profile.

Photo: New York Times