SDOHC's Mission

The SDOHC is devoted to documenting the history of the Northern Plains region and the care of previously collected interviews.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Russell Means: A Man Remembered

DD: At the Wounded Knee celebration, I put down you said, "Wounded Knee was a catalyst for the rebirth of self-dignity and pride." What happened at Wounded Knee to do that?

RM: Well, a small group of Indian people, about two dozen AIM members, approximately three hundred Ogallalas [...] said that Indian people are alive and well, and they're still resisting colonialism and suppression and repression. And that we are proud of who we are... That statement lit a fire around the world. It became an international event, and Indian people everywhere were inspired, everywhere, even in Central and South America, they heard about it. [...]

[The above is an excerpt from the South Dakota Oral History Center: AIRP2184, of Russell Means being interviewed by Don Doll, June 27, 1993.] 

On Monday at his home in Porcupine, South Dakota, Russell Means died from pneumonia brought on by a resurgence of the cancer he was diagnosed with in 2011. As the above excerpt states Russell Means was a man whose actions and statements lit fires around the nation and brought attention to Indian peoples. While there are those who agree and disagree with his methods, it cannot be denied that his actions affected a change and impacted how history writes about Native Americans.

Listen to Russell Means below, discussing why he, and AIM, occupied Wounded Knee in 1973, his answer is part of an interview before a speech given by Russell Means in 1993.

[South Dakota Oral History Center: AIRP2185]

- Jennifer E. McIntyre, SDOHC Digitizer/Curator

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