October 29, 2004

Russell Means Scalped

Suzanne Harjo, writing in Indian Country, lays the smackdown on the appalling Russell Means, founder of the activist group AIM. Means is running for president of the Oglala Sioux, presumably in hopes of getting his hands in the tribal till.

My favorite passage:

AIM founders and leaders have denounced Means's continued use of the AIM name to raise money and his establishment of an AIM office in Colorado with a misogynistic thug whose claims to be Indian and to have been at all the famous AIM activities have yet to be substantiated. Their sole activity appears to consist of picking an annual fight with Italian people who want to parade around Denver on Columbus Day and getting Indian supporters jailed.

In his day, Means and a dozen other Indians in Cleveland sued the local baseball club to get rid of its logo, ''Chief Wahoo.'' Without telling the others, Means and co-plaintiff Jerome War Bonnet sold out the lawsuit for $35,000.

In a secret settlement, purportedly on behalf of all Indian nations and organizations and in the name of other peoples' famous heroes, the plaintiffs promised that no Indians would ever sue the ball club again.

Counsel for the Indian side told me he received $5,000 for court costs and the other two split $30,000, with War Bonnet giving his $15,000 to the Cleveland Indian Center and Means donating his $15,000 to the Yellow Thunder Camp.

People who ran the Center and the Camp said they never received money from the pair. The other plaintiffs who were contacted said the settlement was news to them and they'd wondered what happened to the lawsuit.

Reporter Avis Little Eagle broke the story and asked Means to comment on his settlement. Essentially, he said he never did it and would never do it again.

Means, as it turns out, was also a voice actor in Disney's "Pocahontas". Isn't it convenient when people one dislikes all get together on a project that one dislikes?

UPDATE:

Means went down in flames! Cecilia Fire Thunder won the election by ~ 600 votes.

Posted by jeffreyb at 10:42 PM | Comments (0)