Guest Column: Russell Means, in Memoriam

A Great Soul returns to the Great Spirit
by Brian Wright

They say that when a true scholar or a person who has led a particularly rich and robust life dies, “another library closes.” And that is certainly a poignant observation for the counter-culture American Indian leader, Russell Means… a noble soul-warrior I was privileged to know and befriend. The ‘library’ in this case is full of volumes of sentiment and inspiration of “a People”—not just the Lakotah Sioux nation that bore him, but the world community that Russell gave courage to. Courage to see the truth and courage to fight, and overcome, the Western Patriarchy that aims to crush the life blood from us all.

My only regret is Russell did not live to see the people’s day of triumph, which is surely at hand. I had heard he was well, in a Christmas card sent from him and his wife, Pearl, in 2011, that his cancer had gone away. So today’s news via email, from Jon Addiss of Lansing, caught me by surprise. Damn! Double Dog Damn! Not too long ago, I caught a 90-minute interview with Russell, under auspices of Alex Jones, that so impressed me I tried in my own small way to turn it viral. In that column I exclaim that Mr. Means is America’s Dalai Lama.

Rereading that column now, I do not have much to add to its appreciation of one of the truest voices America has heard since the Founding, except that he and I shared a true ‘blood-brother’ connection. Our actual time together was brief, but as I was just explaining to my Rose:

“Wow, Hanta Yo (Lakotah Sioux for ‘clear the way’), talk about the power of coincidence, that’s exactly where I’ve been centered in the past few days. Could Russell be the Great Spirit who cleared the way for me? For my own spiritual evolution? He certainly has had a hand in it. He’s cleared the way for so many others as well. Still, I did know him, however briefly, in that election season back in 87, 88, when I drove him around Michigan to do media interviews and visit Michigan State in my Honda CRX… and got the full measure of the man.

“Then at convention in Seattle, there in the hubbub, he remembered me; I think he thought I had more power, plus I know he felt he could trust me, he actually called me ‘friend.’ I could see that the people running his campaign lacked the hard edge of competence, and I certainly did not have the skills or wherewithal to be his campaign manager. His query of my interest in the job was genuine, but not emphatic.

“I believe what he saw in me above all was honesty. In a world of politics that as we know is 95% bullshit. If I had been better developed personally (spiritually) at that time, and had had more financial standing, who knows? If Russell Means had been the LP candidate in 1988, wouldn’t that have been something?! One thing for sure, they wouldn’t have kept him off the presidential debate stage.”

Let me refer the reader to my column on Russell of 2012 July 15, originally posted in February 2011. It truly says what needs to be said in a general way. All I did was add some reminiscences to surround what may turn out to be Russell’s swan song, a 95-minute interview under auspices of Alex Jones entitled ‘Welcome (all Americans) to the Reservation!‘ It presents Means’ assessment of the political plight in this country: Tyrannical US government (USG) is increasingly treating everyone else just like it has been treating the American Indian from the gitgo. RM: “The US is the largest Indian reservation in the world.” A veritable sermon from the mount.

Means—concluding Thoughts

The world media should have made a bigger deal out of Russell’s passing, as they would had the Dalai Lama finally shed his mortal coil.  Having read the LA Times piece and the NY Times piece, I find them predictable Controller journalism, mostly accounting of Russell’s borderline-hard-criminal early years and his role in the American Indian Movement, while minimizing his later central contributions to the modern freedom movement. Still the media surely loved Russell Means in his day and occasionally a Russellism breaks out, such as this one from the LA Times obit:

Means always considered himself a Libertarian and couldn’t believe that anyone would want to call themselves either a Republican or a Democrat.
“It’s just unconscionable that America has become so stupid,” he said.

Amen, Brother! About two weeks ago I sent to him a copy of my latest book, The Truth Torpedo, asking that he read it and provide an endorsement. I knew he would agree with the essence of T3, because so much of what I write attacks the Controller Patriarchy and its lies/atrocities that he faced more than most of us. Sadly, now I’ll never have the benefit of his support there.

I also pitched that, funds permitting, I would love to come out and visit him on the reservation, maybe sit down together and come up with a project where we might collaborate. His spiritual journey and statements in later years drew me to his truth. When just a few days ago, I had read he was forming a new country—more an old country in the form of a new one—I felt a surge of excitement. From the LA Times:

Means said he felt his most important accomplishment was the founding of the Republic of Lakotah and the “reestablishment of our freedom to be responsible” as a sovereign nation inside the borders of the United States. His efforts to have his proposed country recognized by the international community continued at the United Nations….

Russell proposed dismantling the pyramid of the Controller State, fully understanding nature and natural law, asserting the Constitution, decentralizing power, and showing how local control = freedom.
“You don’t need government when you have one another.”

RIP Russell Means, great one, you live on in the hearts of all liberty patriots, as we overcome the Old World of violence and domination, ushering in a world of peace, freedom, and abundance. Monuments and statues will come, but none will come close to the original flesh and blood, the true native-American original of Russell Charles Means.

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3 thoughts on “Guest Column: Russell Means, in Memoriam

  1. Belinda,

    On the Russell Means memoriam, nice to know some readership among the American Indian community. I, too, felt the presence of Russell during those days in Michigan, and again in Seattle. I also remember thinking that he was in many ways still trapped in his early years of dealing with the world in a violent fashion, not always respectful of people and property. But he did grow, and what we saw as he matured into a world political and spiritual leader was how he transformed himself into a great being.

    I am sad, too. And I feel for you and for those descended from the earlier inhabitants of North America who live in Russell’s circumstances as effectively ‘prisoners of war.’ It isn’t an easy problem to solve because so many of the Lakotah and other native peoples have succumbed to addiction–mainly alcohol, now increasingly I assume gambling–in disproportionate numbers. It’s the same, as Russell says in that video, now for my white shrinking middle class friends addicted to the same things, plus television and other illusions of power.

    But it doesn’t take too many leaders to bring the other people up and to lead. I remember how the Indian students came to hear Russell speak at Michigan State University. They were many and they were so enthusiastic about him. I plan to make a pilgrimage to the Pine Ridge reservation, finances permitting, one day soon. I will send a copy of my memoriam in the mail to his wife, Pearl, I assume at the same address, and try to make contact. Do you think you could become the next voice, Belinda? Could you carry on Russell’s work?

    I’m doing what I can to fulfill his legacy, in my own way. I’ve written a book shown below, and would like to send you a copy if you will give me your mailing address. Because of how my thinking and spirit has developed, I do feel like a ‘disciple’ of what Russell was about. I don’t come from the same earth geography-wise, but my feelings for your people (and for any oppressed people) are the same. But especially for the American Indians who got so royally ground down by the worst and sickest of my race.

    The days of those worst and sickest are coming to an end. [I believe in my writings, I’ve figured out who they are and how they can be safely subdued and segregated from decent humanity. The whole planet is finally awakening, it’s simply a matter of leveraging ourselves and forming an irresistible spiritual force for good. I’m really excited to be on the threshold of seeing the humane society Russell and so many others envisioned.]

    Brian Wright
    The Truth Torpedo

  2. Great tribute to Russell Means! Yes, the media (particularly TV news) really has not covered his passing. I have heard much more about McGovern.

    While I know Russell was quite a polarizing figure, I have to recognize his accomplishments for Native Americans. True, he may have done things that were, at the very least, questionable in nature, and, at the very worst, reprehensible in more ways than one. He drew so much attention to his missions, by way of strong actions, tough words, and even sometimes violence.

    My mother had met him on several occasions. She told me how potent his presence was. She also told me that she, like so many others, was captivated by his words. My mother was an activist in the late ’60’s/early ’70’s, battling for TWLF (Third World Liberation Front) in Northern CA, then the Alcatraz Occupation, and she had many friends in AIM. I was very young and remember her being gone a lot. When she got home, she had many stories for me. She would bring me bracelets – I unpacked those a few months ago, just about five years after her death.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that I never fully understood activism until years later…when I became a young woman -and somewhat of an activist- myself. The point here is rather than choosing our heroes, we need to choose our beliefs.

    Russell’s death leaves me sad… with a feeling of emptiness that just hangs in the air. I see our Native American modern-day warriors slowly becoming our Native American elders, and it makes my heart heavy. There is so much to be learned from these people…so much about their past, the present, and what we can do together in the future, that any opportunity cannot be overlooked. I would give anything to have those we lost back -even just briefly- so I can finally be taught the truth.

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