An Elegy to Russell Means, Ron Paul SupporterSubmitted by Sue4theBillofrights on Tue, 10/30/2012 - 21:23
Russell Means is Dead. A Warrior for Our Times
I read Means' autobiography, five-star recommend. Russell Means was in more fights than he can remember, usually with cops, rednecks, and prosecutors. His career really started when he got word that another Indian had been beaten to death near a reservation and the white guy who killed him was going to walk free. This is a time when beating up Indians, usually drunk, was a bit of a redneck sport in places like Montana and Oklahoma, and the rednecks who did it almost never got as much as a slap on the wrist. Means' and his American Indian Movement's arrival in the courtroom sparked a confrontation with town police, who immediately attacked the AIM members. Means' face and body were a roadmap of scars and broken bones from the countless poundings he took in jails across the country, which came with the territory when you were an Indian activist trying to improve conditions for your people. Means decided that the days of beating up Indians for fun with no consequences were over.
Once a small town, redneck prosecutor who had Mean's beaten mercilessly in a jail cell had just won his case against innocent and framed Indians, and as a melee erupted in the courtroom, with thugs coming at Means, Means went straight for the prosecutor and raked his face with his fingernails. Means writes how the next time he saw the prosecutor in the courtroom, the prosecutor looked at him, and Means had never seen such a look of pure hatred in his life. Means left permanent scars on the prosecutor's face, and says he had the satisfaction of knowing that every time that prosecutor looked in the mirror to shave each morning, he would think of Russell Means.
In his life Means organized the building of countless health clinics and community centers on Indian reservations, and in other poor neighborhoods.
Means ushered in a measure of justice for indigenous peoples everywhere, expanding his work to Central and South American tribes. But perhaps most importantly, in most recent years, Means spoke of the remarkable similarity between what the white man did to the Indians, and what those "at the top of the pyramid," as he said, are doing to US. Means recently said that America has become "one big Indian reservation."
Means loved the United States Constitution, which is modeled after the Iroquois Nation form of government. He said we should cherish and protect the Constitution because "It's the only culture you [Americans] have got."
Means remembers, in his autobiography "Where White Men Fear to Tread," his first encounter with a white person, when, living in a mixed neighborhood, when he was four, a neighbor white kid tried to steal the tricycle he was riding.
Means was told that by leading fights for justice he was making himself a "target." Means knew that the way he had chosen, his "path," was not glamorous, and that anyone who struggles for justice will have their name smeared and slandered, their life threatened, and will be jailed if possible. They might be reviled by the very people they were trying to help. Means knew this simply came with the territory.
But Means also understood that to the True Warrior, this is of no consequence. He was born a warrior. He could not help what he was. When the cry for help is heard, the True Warrior must respond. The elders, the women, the little ones must be protected, whatever the cost. As for the rest, that was for the Great Spirit Watan Tanka to judge.
Russell Means "They are doing to you what they did to us. America is now one big Indian reservation."
"Demopublicans are Screwing You Big Time"
Russell Means: "Vote for Ron Paul"
Where White Men Fear to Tread: The Autobiography of Russell Means