Russell Means Biography
Russell Meansactivist, actor
Born: November 10, 1939
Died: October 22, 2012
Birthplace: Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Pine Ridge, South Dakota
Russell Means, an Oglala Lakota, served as the first national director of the American Indian Movement (AIM) and became one of the organization's best-known spokespeople. Means was one of the Indian activists who in 1969 occupied San Francisco's Alcatraz Island in a landmark AIM-led protest that lasted 19 months; in 1973, he helped lead the AIM takeover of Wounded Knee. Both events brought worldwide attention to the injustices and privation faced by American Indians past and present. As an actor, Means has appeared in such films as The Last of the Mohicans (1992) and Natural Born Killers (1994) and provided the voice of Powhatan in 1995's Pocahontas. In 2004, Means ran for president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, but was defeated by Cecelia Fire Thunder, the first woman to be elected to that office.