Russell Means: Native American\American Indian\Great Plains\Sioux\Oglala
Russell Means: Native American\American Indian\Great Plains\Sioux\Lakota
Born Pine Ridge, South Dakota
Having helped to found the American Indian Movement in 1968, Russell Means became the most visible leader for Native American rights during the late 1960s and 1970s, a period of increased activism among tribal communities. A Lakota tribesperson who was raised in the San Francisco Bay area, Means sought to make the plight of Native Americans known by staging highly publicized demonstrations at such symbolically laden locations as Plymouth Rock, Mount Rushmore, and Alcatraz Island. In 1972 he led a group that occupied the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C., and the following year he was at the center of an armed standoff with government authorities in the reservation town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, where in 1890 more than 350 Lakota men, women, and children had died during a conflict with the U.S. Army. A charismatic and controversial figure, Means later became an actor, a writer, and a painter.