Russell Means

Russell Means


11/10/1939, Pine Ridge, South Dakota, USA



Birth Name

Russell Charles Means


out of 10
User Rating
3 votes



Russell Means was born an Oglala/Lakota Sioux Indian. He was the first national director of the American Indian Movement (AIM) in which role he became prominent during 1972 standoff with the US government at Wounded Knee. In 1987, he joined the US Libertarian party and announced his candidacy…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Means has argued against the use of the term "Native American" and instead use "American Indian." He argues this in that Indian comes from an Italian expression meaning "In God."

    • Means first venture into politics came in 1974 when he ran for the Presidency of his native Oglala Sioux tribe against the incumbent Dick Wilson. Means lost the election.

    • Due to his heavy involvement in the American Indian Movement (AIM), Means is often erroneously credited as being a founding member of AIM. Means was actually an early leader of the organization, not a founding member.

    • Means often jokes about him being the only "good" thing in the film Natural Born Killers. He says that in that his character was the only "good" or kind person in the film, while the rest of the cast portrayed "evil" or bad characters.

    • Means admits that the Disney cartoon movie of Pochahontas was one of the best movies that has ever been created about Indian people in Hollywood. This is due to the fact that the story contained no stereotypes of American Indians and respected them as a people not an image.

    • Along with his activism and charity work, Means has found time to record two albums: The Radical and Electric Warrior.

    • Means' only novel written to date is Where White Men Fear to Tread, which he co-authored with Marvin J. Wolf. It is currently in it's seventh printing.

    • Russell and his wife Pearl are currently building the TREATY Total Immersion School on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The school's purpose will be educate children in the Lakota Indian way of life.

    • Co-founded and helped build the Porcupine Health Clinic in 1986. Located on the Pine Ridge Reservation, the Porcupine Health Clinic was the first independent American Indinan health clinic located in the United States.

    • The Little Bighorn College, located on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana, offers a $500 scholarship each year in Means' name. "The Russell Means Scholarship" is a $500 scholarship given to a deserving menber of the Crow Indian Tribe and is selected through joint approval by Means and the College.

    • In 1987, Means became the first American Indian to run for the candidacy for the office of the President of the United States. He sought the nomination through the Libertarian Party, but lost the nomination to a former Congressman Ron Paul.

    • In 1980, he created the KILI radio station located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. This was the first completely owned and operated radio station by American Indians in the United States.

    • In 1993, Means became the first American Indian to have a single card casting credit before the title of a movie, for Windrunner.

    • Russell began his acting career in 1992 playing one of the lead roles, Chingachgook, in the theatrical version of The Last of the Mohicans.

    • His speech "For America to Live Europe Must Die" given at the 1980 Black Hills International Survival Gathering has been recognized as one of "America's Top 100 Speeches".

    • Means was the first National Director of the American Indian Movement (AIM).

  • Quotes