Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

October 23, 2012

On losing a compass, Russell Means

Russell Means perceptions and wit were a compass, and his words were rich fuel

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

Looking back through Russell Means statements, I've found a favorite. Means describes the dogs, ponies and smokescreen of the US 'Listening Conferences' on human rights, which terminated in the usual, watered-down babble of the US to the UN. (Read here.)

Reading back through the e-mails, I was happy to see that when Bolivian President Evo Morales took the lead in global climate talks, the defense of Mother Earth, and the Rights of Nature, Russell said, "This is what the tribal councils should be doing."

Unfortunately, this week, the elected leaders at National Congress of American Indians are doing the exact opposite in Sacramento, Calif, as they push for more drilling, mining and destruction of the natural world, and the promotion of US colonization and US militarization, according to their agenda

During 30 years of interviewing Russell, he became a friend. It is a sad loss to all of us who knew him, and to the global community who depended on his compass, his profound perceptions, and his courage to say what others were too fearful to say.

In closing, here are words of Russell Means, speaking on some of the most censored issues in Indian country.

While I was a staff reporter for Indian Country Today, after its purchase in the late 1990s, the censored issues included the American Indian Movement, Russell Means, and uranium mining on Pine Ridge. This censorship led to the publication of the current Censored News.

Means said, "In 1975, with his control of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota secured by force, Tribal President Wilson set about ceding uranium-rich areas of the sacred Black Hills to the federal government. AIM assisted in protecting Pine Ridge’s traditional families from the constant
onslaught of violence, which culminated in the AIM occupation and government siege of Wounded Knee in the Spring of 1973."
"From 1973 to 1976, the people of Pine Ridge lived under the 'Reign of Terror'—more than 76 Natives, mainly traditional Lakotah and AIM members, were murdered, primarily by Wilson’s goons, a term coined by the elderly women who protested against them. Later, in a perverse play on words, the goons called themselves, 'Guardians of the Oglala Nation' (GOONs)."

Read more at Censored News

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