Thousands mourned the passing Monday of Russell Means, the Oglala Sioux who the New York Times called “arguably the nation’s best-known Indian since Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.”
Means died Monday from esophageal cancer.
NYT’s reporter Robert McFadden described Means in his story memorializing Means Tuesday:
Strapping, ruggedly handsome in buckskins, with a scarred face, piercing dark eyes and raven braids that dangled to the waist, Mr. Means was, by his own account, a magnet for trouble — addicted to drugs and alcohol in his early years, and later arrested repeatedly in violent clashes with rivals and the law. He was tried for abetting a murder, shot several times, stabbed once and imprisoned for a year for rioting.
He styled himself a throwback to ancestors who resisted the westward expansion of the American frontier. With theatrical protests that brought national attention to poverty and discrimination suffered by his people, he became arguably the nation’s best-known Indian since Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.
Hundreds of other media outlets wrote about Means and his impact on Native Country throughout his life.
Indian Country Today Media Network included a comment from Means’ son in its story:
According to his son, Scott Means, “My dad now walks among our ancestors. He began his journey to the spirit world at 4:44 a.m. with the morning star, at his home and ranch in Porcupine[, South Dakota]. There will be four opportunities for the people to honor his life; to be announced at a later date. Thank you for your prayers and continued support. We love you. As our dad and husband would say, ‘May the Great Mystery continue to guide and protect the paths of you and your loved ones.’”
Means spoke openly about his fight with cancer last year, saying he had turned to traditional treatment methods after radiation left him weighing 164 pounds. In December, he told Native Sun News he’d beaten the disease.
Indianz.com has several links to stories on Means’ passing.