RUSSELL MEANS DROID RAZR COVERS
Russell Means (Lakota: Oyate Wacinyapin (Works for the People); born November 10, 1939) is one of contemporary America's best-known and prolific activists for the rights of American Indians. Means has also pursued careers in politics, acting, and music.-----------Means, an Oglala Sioux, was born on the Pine Ridge Reservation; both of his parents had been educated at Indian boarding schools. In 1942, Means's family moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. Means attended San Leandro High School, graduating in 1958.------------In 1968, Means joined the American Indian Movement and quickly became one of its most prominent leaders. In 1969, Means was part of a group of Native Americans that occupied Alcatraz Island for a period of 19 months. He was appointed the group's first national director in 1970. Later that year, Means was one of the leaders of AIM's takeover of Mount Rushmore. In 1972, he participated in AIM's takeover of the Bureau of Indian Affairs office in Washington, D.C., and in 1973 he led AIM's occupation of Wounded Knee, which became the group's most well-known action.
In 1974, Means first ran for the presidency of his native Oglala Sioux tribe against the incumbent Dick Wilson. Although the official vote count showed Wilson winning by two hundred votes, Means charged that this was due to pervasive vote fraud and intimidation by Wilson's agents. An investigation by a federal court agreed with Means and ordered a new election. However, Wilson's government refused to carry this out, and the court declined to enforce the ruling.
In the 1980s, AIM split into several competing factions. In 1988, the faction headed by the Bellecourt brothers released a statement stating that Means had publicly resigned from AIM on no less than six occasions, first in 1974. As of 2004, Means's website states that he was a board member of the Colorado AIM chapter, which is associated with the competing faction. Means in the past was associated with the controversial activist Ward Churchill. He has since disassociated himself from Churchill, who had given the nominating speech for Means in 1987 when he sought the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party in a heated race against Representative Ron Paul. He was defeated by Paul, who later returned to the Republican Party.------------Since the late 1970s, Means has often supported libertarian political causes, putting him at odds with several of the other leaders of AIM. In 1986 Means traveled to Nicaragua to express his support for Miskito Indians who were allied with the US-funded contra guerillas against the Nicaraguan government. In 1987, Means sought the nomination of the Libertarian Party for president and attracted considerable support within the party, but eventually lost the nomination to Congressman Ron Paul.
Russell Means speaks at a DC Anti-War Network's anti-war protest on November 11, 2001.
In 2001, Means began an independent candidacy for Governor of New Mexico, but was kept off the ballot because of procedural problems. Instead, he again ran for president of the Oglala Sioux with the help of Twila Lebeaux, this time narrowly losing to incumbent John Yellow Bird Steele. Means has argued against the use of the term "Native American" and in favor of "American Indian". He argues that this use of the word Indian derives not from a confusion with India but from an Italian expression indios, meaning "in God" or "as God made them". He also states that since treaties and other legal documents say "Indian" on them, and not "Native American", use of the term Indian can help today's Indian people forestall any attempts at loopholes as they engage in legal proceedings to regain their land.
Following the (non-binding) UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in September of 2007, a group of American Indian activists presented a letter to the US State Department indicating they were withdrawing from all treaties with the US Government, and began the process of contacting foreign governments to solicit support as of December 17th, 2007.
On December 20, 2007, Means announced the withdrawal of a small group of Lakota Sioux from all treaties with the United States government. Means and a delegation of activists declared the Lakota a sovereign nation with property rights over thousands of square miles in South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming and Montana. The Republic of Lakota website asserts that their group met with what they termed "traditional treaty councils" in eight communities. However, they admit their delegation does not act for elected tribal governments, or as they described them "IRA Indians, 'stay by the fort indians', or other Lakota people unwilling to be free." At a D.C. presentation Means also stated that his group does not "represent collaborators, the Vichy Indians and those tribal governments set up by the United States of America," comparing tribal leaders to the French leaders of Nazi Germany-Occupied France headquartered at Vichy, France.-----------
On January 8, 2008 two Lakota tribal leaders released a written statement against any plan to renounce treaties with the United States, saying the issue was enforcement of existing treaties.----------Means began an acting career in 1992, appearing as the chief Chingachgook in The Last of the Mohicans. He made subsequent appearances in Natural Born Killers and Into the West, and was a voice actor in Pocahontas as the title character's father, Chief Powhatan. In 1997, Means published an autobiography, Where White Men Fear to Tread. He also appears as a character in the Access Adventure Game "Under a Killing Moon."
In 2004 Means made a guest appearance on the HBO program Curb Your Enthusiasm. Means played Wandering Bear, a calm and resolute American Indian with skills in both landscaping and herbal medicine. Means also stars in Pathfinder, a 2007 movie about Vikings battling Native Americans in the New World.--------The American Pop Artist painted 18 individual portraits of Russell Means in his 1976 American Indian Series. The Dayton Art Institute includes a portrait of Means in their collection.
In the institutes' online Art in Context notes, it is put forward that the large portrait presents Means as a celebrity and de-emphathizes Means both as a person and in his political activism.