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Remembering Russell Means

Remembering Russell Means

  • Posted on: 24 November 2012

Russell Means WASHINGTON ( - When a group of 79 American Indians set out to seize the abandoned federal prison fortress at Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay on Nov. 20, 1969, local media outlets dubbed them the "Red Muslims," comparing their bold, militant action claiming that land for their people to the "Black Muslims" of the Nation of Islam and its longstanding demand for a separate homeland for Black descendants of slaves.

The Alcatraz Red Power Movement (ARPM) grew out of that takeover and spawned a new era of social protests-from the "Trail of Broken Treaties" in 1972, to the 72-day stand-off at Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1973, to the "Longest Walk" in 1978-among Indians of All Tribes (IAT) demanding that the U.S. government honor its treaty obligations by providing resources, education, housing, and healthcare, and to alleviate poverty among the tribes.

Activist and actor Russell Means, the former leader and co-founder with Dennis Banks of the American Indian Movement (AIM), who participated in that Alcatraz takeover, succumbed to throat cancer. He made his transition on Oct. 22 at his ranch on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. He was 72.

One-on-One Interview with Russell Means;