Russell Means Dies At 72; American Indian Rights Activist, Actor

One of the leaders of the famed 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee, he helped thrust the plight of Native Americans into the national spotlight. Among the films he was in were 'The Last of the Mohicans' and 'Natural Born Killers.'

For many of those born in the 1980s and 1990s, the first time they heard Russell C. Means' voice was probably in Disney's 1995 animated film "Pocahontas." His character portrayed Pochahontas' father, and chief of the Indian tribe. Means voiced the most powerful scene in the film. "From this day forward, if there is to be more killing, it will not start with me."

Russell Means died at age 72 at his home in Porcupine, S.D., his family announced on his website. Means became internationally renowned as one of the leaders of the famed 71-day armed occupation of Wounded Knee in his home state in 1973, he helped thrust the plight of Native Americans into the national spotlight. He's one of the "best-known American Indians since Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse". After launching his acting career in the 1990s, most notably in the film The Last of the Mohicans, he remained outspoken as a former leader of the American Indian Movement. But he excoriated the mainstream media and instead voiced his opinions via YouTube videos and on his personal website.

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About Diane Sweet

Diane Sweet's picture
Senior Editor, Lives in a gerrymandered district in Michigan.

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