|Means speaking at Harvard Law School
around 1979. || ©2012 by Turtle Heart.
26 October. Italy
The article below is a repost from about a year ago…when the world first heard that Means was seriously ill. Now, he is dead. He passed away some days ago in close company with his fellow gangster and bully Leonard Crow Dog.
The two of them showed such enormous promise 30 years ago. In the memorials being passed around the country, it is this young Russell Means that is being remembered.
Over those years many American Indians have stayed inside their lives and said all the things Means is celebrated for saying. There were no cameras and reporters around to make a record of what they said. The burning question for me has always been why the Main Stream Media only followed, reported on and quoted this American Indian above all others. That remains the question.
As Means life de-evolved into drunkenness, abuse of women, lies, embezzlement, and probably homicide, only the other American Indians seemed to notice. The media continued to allow themselves to be flim-flamed, seduced and made fools of. From the New York Times to Indian Country Toady, American culture has been slightly desperate for a hero American Indian, for all the wrong reasons. Means was handsome and photogenic, a natural sociopath who easily was able to dominate all the attention in any room he entered.
The Mainstream Media has shown itself as shallow and uninterested in any substantial issue represented by any American Indian anywhere, except for Russell Means. This folly, this absolute failure of investigation and interest in the real truth is alive and well, and still the status quo for American Indians and the American attention span.
For most American Indians there is no life to be mourned in the passing of Russell Means. There is only a sense of relief…and sorrow for the deception he presses onto the American scene even in death.
the earlier article…
In the beginning, his life seemed promising. He ascended into the mainstream media as articulate, knowledgeable and charismatic. It did not take very long for him to be corrupted, for his dark side to become the boss of his life. Through decades of lies, criminal acts, abuse of women, of the truth and in supporting of murder of innocents, Means has come at last to the end of his broken journey.
For reasons that have never been quite clear, the limited attention the world’s media pays to any kind of American Indian issue, was directed mostly at this man. He has seemed to have what some call a “gift” for getting media attention. Of all the American Indians, living or dead, Means got the most media attention, worldwide. Every moment of this coverage was dedicated to Means love of himself, and nothing at all to do with any issues affecting American Indians. It is partly the media’s fascination with its own fantasies about American Indians and a general indifference to any issue affecting American Indians. Means was a product of this media void, somewhere near the middle of fantasy and indifference.
Many years ago….I am not good with dates: I was present as the Keeper of the Sacred Pipes of the Eastern Gate when Means, and the Bellecort brothers, addressed Harvard University Law School. It was a spectacular speech. It was well attended, but not by the Harvard Law School population. Most of those present were other American Indians from around the Boston area. There was some curiosity. This was just before the scam the world came to know as “Wounded Knee”.
These days we have some evidence that the Means story is winding down. If we can believe what is being written, he claims to have cancer and is in the situation of greeting his own mortality. Any words about Means published in the national media must be viewed with some suspicion. You absolutely cannot believe, in the case of Means, that what you are hearing is the truth.
Some of us imagine that right now there could be a sort of Means awakening. A moment in his long life of lies and crimes and bullshit where he decides to do the right thing, one time, before the end.
There is much he could and should and might yet tell us regarding the murder of Anna Mae Aquash, for example. There are other crimes he could illuminate. There might even be a justice department willing to grant him some favors if he tells society the truth about his long-standing criminal enterprise.
If he actually cared about any American Indian on this earth, he would want to tell the truth at the end of his life. He knows how to do it. I have seen him speak truth to power. After so many decades of his little game, he could stand right up and tell us the truth. He might then realize that his many American Indian relatives did not ever stop loving him…they just preferred to stay sober.
There are two ideas about what is a good Indian.
One… is that he is dead. A good Indian is a dead Indian. A dead, lying Indian. Go ahead. Whine and cry and keep asking for money.
The other is that he looked into the clouds and sings the song of his death, the last song of a Lakota Man, a child of the Sacred Pipe, the male child of his male ancestors, a Grandchild of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse and all the other Grandfathers who held their sacred and spoke the truth in the face of their deaths.