Russell Means, political activist and actor who appeared in numerous films including The Last of the Mohicans, died today after a year-long battle with cancer at 72.
In 1987, Means ran for the nomination of president as a Libertarian, finishing second with 31% of the vote. He lost the nomination to Congressman Ron Paul.
Means was a leader in the American Indian Movement and also defended the rights of indigenous peoples in Central and South America.
Means said he felt his most important accomplishment was the founding of the Republic of Lakotah to be a sovereign nation inside the borders of the United States. Lakota freedom activists declared that the treaties signed with the United States, some of them more than 150 years old, are worthless and have been “repeatedly violated in order to steal our culture, our land and our ability to maintain our way of life.”
The new country would include parts of Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Wyoming and would issue its own passports and driving licenses. Means said, “Living there would be tax-free — provided residents renounce their US citizenship.”
Means published his autobiography Where White Men Fear to Tread in 1995.
His family said in a statement, “Our dad and husband, now walks among our ancestors. As he would say, ‘May the Great Mystery continue to guide and protect the paths of you and your loved ones.’”