Political activist and actor;
Born: November 10, 1939; Died: October 22, 2012.
Russell Means, who has died of cancer, aged 72, was regarded by many as the last great Native American warrior chief.
He attracted worldwide attention to the plight of Native Americans in 20th-century America in 1973 when he led the occupation of Wounded Knee, an important historical site.
For 71 days the Native American militants held out against the might of the US Government, including federal marshals and FBI agents.
The protest captured the imagination of liberals and romantics worldwide, though there were frequent exchanges of gunfire and several people died. It was during the siege that Marlon Brando sent Sacheen Littlefeather on stage to refuse his Oscar.
When it ended, Means faced criminal charges, but they were thrown out after a long trial. The Los Angeles Times called him the most famous Native American since Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse. Along with Marilyn Monroe and Campbell's soup, Means was immortalised by Andy Warhol in a series of screen prints. He even ran for President of the United States.
Tall and powerful, with long, black, braided hair and dark, piercing eyes, he fitted the traditional image of Native American warrior perfectly. Hollywood certainly thought so.
While Jane Fonda graduated from films to political activism, Russell Means successfully moved the other way, launching a successful movie career when he played the title role in the big-budget 1992 version of The Last of the Mohicans.
He held his own alongside Daniel Day-Lewis and he went on to appear in Natural Born Killers (1994) and Wagons East (1994) and provided the voice of the chief Powhatan in Disney's Pocahontas (1995).
He was Sitting Bull in the TV mini-series Buffalo Girls (1995), played the title role in the adventure film Pathfinder (2007) and teamed up with Scottish film-maker Steven Lewis Simpson on the low-budget drama Rez Bomb (2008). It was shot on South Dakota's Pine Ridge Sioux reservation, which includes the Wounded Knee site, and screened at the Glasgow Film Festival in 2009.
Simpson originally set the film in Edinburgh, but rewrote it after meeting Means while doing research for a documentary about the return of a Ghost Shirt from Glasgow's Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum to Pine Ridge.
Means told the Sunday Herald at the time of the Glasgow premiere: "It's just regular people, on a reservation - Hollywood doesn't do those kind of films for us."
Russell Charles Means was born in 1939 on the Pine Ridge Sioux reservation, one of the poorest places in the US.
His family moved to San Francisco when he was an infant and his father got a job as a welder in a shipyard.
Means trained as an accountant, but struggled with drugs and alcohol and got involved in minor criminal scams. He drifted through various jobs, including one as a dance instructor.
He took the post of director of a Government-backed centre in Cleveland, Ohio, helping Native Americans adapt to urban life.
It was there he met Dennis Banks, one of the founders of AIM, the American Indian Movement. In 1970 Means became their first national director.
The civil rights movement had put African-American issues firmly on the political agenda and by the early 1970s there was a mood of increasing militancy among Native Americans.
AIM staged a series of protests at high-profile sites, including the Mayflower replica and Mount Rushmore, before the occupation of Wounded Knee.
Wounded Knee was one of the most sensitive sites in Native American history.
In December 1890 the 7th Cavalry were in the process of disarming warriors there when someone seemingly fired a shot, and ultimately as many as 300 Sioux were killed, most of them women and children.
The 1973 occupation was in protest against breaches of historic treaties and alleged corruption on the reservation.
The protest made world news, but Means remained a controversial and divisive figure even among Native Americans. He also clashed with police on repeated occasions and served a year in prison after being convicted of involvement in a riot at Sioux Falls, South Dakota. There were several attempts on his life.
He lived on a ranch on Pine Ridge reservation, though he also had several other properties.
He made more than 30 films and television shows, recorded several CDs and wrote an autobiography.
He was married five times and had 10 children of his own and adopted several others. Four marriages ended in divorce. He is survived by his fifth wife.
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