Here’s an update, published this week by Reuters, on Native leader Russell Means who was diagnosed with aggressive throat cancer in July.
The cancer spread to his lungs, lymph nodes and neck, but Means has so far made remarkable progress in fighting it back, he tells Reuters.
Means said he is improving daily under a regime that calls for a mix of traditional and alternative methods to help cure the cancer, first diagnosed on July 18.
He said the indigenous medicines and teas were smuggled into the country from Mexico and Canada, and he has participated in several native healing ceremonies.
He also is being treated with tightly-focused radiation therapy at a medical center in Scottsdale, a city that has become Means’ temporary home in recent months.
The story also examines Means’ past as an activist and actor, gives him time to reflect on times gone by, and what the future will bring.
Means will return late this month with his wife, Pearl, to Porcupine, South Dakota, where he owns a ranch and operates a school that has gone dormant. The residence is about seven miles from Wounded Knee.
From there, he plans a renewed effort aimed at teaching American Indian children their language, history and culture through the Internet. The “total immersion” approach is modeled after one developed by the Maori people in New Zealand.
“Our language is our essence,” he said. “It explains who we are, where we come from and where we are going. Without our language, we are nothing but facsimile Indians.”