Monday, October 22, 2012

Russell Means 1932-2012

Former American Indian Movement leader Russell Means has died today at the age of 79. I primarily knew Means as an actor; I was very affected by his performance in Michael Mann's Last of the Mohicans when I was in high school. Reading more about him, I was surprised to learn about his involvement with indigenous rights and the Wounded Knee occupation, which I had actually never heard of. Can you imagine? I was only born three years later and had no idea. I went through all of school and later college without talking very much about modern Native Americans at all. The only thing that came close was reading Sherman Alexie's excellent book The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven for a college English class. That's crazy.

So because of a performance in a film, Russell Means got me to learn a lot about parts of not only American history but current American culture that I'm not proud of. It came along just as I was becoming a critical thinker, just before turning 16. Thank you for that, Mr. Means.

1 comment:

Roger Owen Green said...

Whereas I knew him primarily from AIM, and hardly at all as an actor.