Russell Means says he has beaten cancerIn a video posted this week on one of his websites, Russell Means said he’s essentially cancer free now and that he believes the good news will be confirmed in a month. Means announced in August that he had esophageal cancer, or cancer of the throat.
By: DIRK LAMMERS, The Associated Press
SIOUX FALLS — Russell Means, a 72-year-old former American Indian Movement activist who helped lead the 1973 uprising at Wounded Knee, says he’s beaten cancer.
Means, in a video posted this week on one of his websites, said he’s essentially cancer free now and that he believes the good news will be confirmed in a month.
“I got the good news (recently), and it’ll be confirmed a month from now, but I beat it, folks. I beat cancer,” Means said in the video recorded Dec. 5. “I beat the death penalty, man.”
Means, a Wanblee native who grew up in the San Francisco area but returned to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, announced in August that he had inoperable throat cancer and was forgoing chemotherapy and traditional radiation treatment in favor of a targeted radiation therapy, traditional American Indian remedies and alternative treatments in Arizona.
He said the fight has left him $35,000 in debt but things are looking up thanks to his oncologist.
“I’m essentially cancer free now,” he said. “I will not die of cancer.”
Means said he’s looking forward to returning to Pine Ridge and hopes to add “storyteller” to his long resume, sharing old-time tales for future generations.
He said he’ll also work to get international recognition for the Republic of Lakotah, a country he claims to have founded that isn’t recognized even by tribal governments closer to home, including his own Oglala Sioux Tribe.
The American Indian Movement, known as AIM, was founded in the late 1960s to protest the U.S. government’s treatment of Native Americans and demand the government honor its treaties with Indian tribes.
Means says the movement eventually faded away, the result of Native Americans becoming self-aware and self-determined. Means also served as a vice presidential candidate, briefly joining the Larry Flint ticket during the Hustler Magazine publisher’s unsuccessful bid for the 1984 Republican nomination.
In 1987, Means unsuccessfully sought the Libertarian nomination for president, losing to U.S. Rep. Ron Paul.
His acting career began in 1992 when he portrayed Chingachgook alongside Daniel Day-Lewis’ Hawkeye in the epic “The Last of the Mohicans.”
He also voiced Chief Powhatan in the 1995 animated film “Pocahontas.”