AIM eagle pin

AMERICAN INDIAN MOVEMENT GRAND GOVERNING COUNCIL
PRESS CONTACT: MINISTRY FOR INFORMATION

P.O. Box 13521
Minneapolis MN 55414
612/ 721-3914 . fax 612/ 721-7826
Email: aimggc@worldnet.att.net
Web Address: www.aimovement.org

PRESS STATEMENT
February 20, 1999
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TO ALL NEWS ORGANIZATIONS WORLDWIDE


On Sunday February 7, 1999 the Minneapolis Tribune and other news organizations nationwide carried a story filed by the Association Press Boston, MA Bureau entitled "Case Tests Legitimacy of Indian Courts"

In this article the Associated Press, again, erroneously identifies Russell Means as a "Long time leader of the Minneapolis-based American Indian Movement." This is not the first time that this has happened (see attachments, AP story filed on January 8, 1988 by their Fresno, California Bureau, and response from the American Indian Movement's Ministry for Information). This former personality who was previously associated with AIM resigned from the American Indian Movement at least six (6) times, the latest on January 8, 1988.

The American Indian Movement's Grand Governing Council repudiates Russell Mean's challenge to the jurisdiction and authority of the Dine (Navaho) Nation's Criminal Courts. His recent reckless mis-representation of the American Indian Movement's well established position supporting the sovereign authority and powers of Indian nation's governments plays into the hands of all the anti-Indian forces that want to erode the sovereignty of Indian nations.

In 1972 during the historic "Trail of Broken Treaties Campaign" (see AIM Archives in AIM's official website at aimovement.org) to Washington DC, the Denver Chapter of the American Indian Movement under the leadership of Alice Black Horse, Hunkpapa Dakota; Rod Skenandore, Blackfeet/Oneida; and Vernon Bellecourt, Ojibwe/Anishinabe, designed a bumper sticker entitled, "AIM for Sovereignty." This was long before any of our Indian or non-Indian writers, educators, academics, intellectuals, or tribal leaders understood the concept of sovereignty as it relates to the powers and authority of tribal governments and true self-determination.

Sovereignty, of course, has become the basis of all forms of development, be it the strengthening of Indian governments, court systems, law enforcement, educational institutions, and, yes, casinos and bingo halls which brought about an infusion of much needed capital and all forms of economic development. Today many of our tribal leaders and Russell Means have either forgotten or never understood this reality. They think that everything fell from the sky like mana. Perhaps one day someone, somewhere will say Megwitch (thank you) to the many sacrifices of the American Indian Movement.

The American Indian Movement has always supported all sovereign Indian nation's absolute authority and jurisdiction over all Indians and non-Indians alike who violate the laws of any sovereign native nation, be it the Dine (Navaho) Nation, or the Oglala Lakota Nation of which Russells Means is a member.

What is especially egregious, and outrageous about Russell Mean's violations of the laws of the Dine Nation is that he is charged with assault and battery against his father-in-law, Mr. Leon Grant who is a revered elder of both the Omaha and Dine Nation and is 80 years of age and has an artificial arm. We, of the American Indian Movement Grand Governing Council are no longer surprised by Russell's clownish antics. He continues to deceitfully mis-represent the American Indian Movement in order to deceive those peoples and organizations worldwide, who due to their goodwill, and support of the Indian cause may have already, or will contribute to his appeal through his personal web page where he solicits money for the Russell Means Philanthropy and AIM Club Membership in name of the American Indian Movement, and an "Immersion Indian School" that never existed, nor does it exist at this time.

Additionally, this is the same Russell Means who as Director of the Cleveland American Indian Movement filed a legitimate nine (9) million dollar lawsuit naming as defendant, Richard Jacobs, and the Cleveland Baseball Franchise due to their chief wahoo logo that promotes racism against Indian people.

Upon his first resignation from the Cleveland American Indian Movement, he directed his predecessor, Jerome Weitzel, a caucasion American, a wannabee now known as Jerome War Cloud whom on April 19, 1983 settled the suit out of court for $35,000, or 35,000 pieces of silver. When asked where the money went, Jerome Weitzel was very evasive as to where his $15,000 went, but divulged that Russell Means also received $15,000 which Russell now says went to a survival school which neither he, nor we, can substantiate.

If it were not for the fact that this settlement agreement is so ridiculous that it would not be upheld in any court, it would undermine the work of the National Coalition on Racism in Sports and Media, and all others working on this issue.

FOR IMPORTANT DOCUMENTATION, SEE THE OFFICIAL WEB PAGE OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN MOVEMENT GRAND GOVERNING COUNCIL (aimovement.org) SEE MINISTRY FOR INFORMATION ON AIM's PROFILE PAGE. WATCH FOR COUNCIL ON SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.


ATTACHMENT 1

AIM seeks distance from Russell Means

By Malcom Brenner, Staff writer
The Gallup Independent, New Mexico, Monday, January 5, 1998

Vernon Bellecourt sought to distance the American Indian Movement from Russell Means and his legal problems (recently).

"I've been getting calls from the Dine people who know about our movement. They express real concern about this latest incident," Bellecourt, a founder and long-time member of AIM, said. "It's one in a series, we understand."

Means was arrested in Chine on Dec. 29, charged with battery against Leon Grant, his father-in-law. Bellecourt, a national representative to AIM's Grand Governing Council, said the alleged battered showed disrespect for elders. AIM is a spiritual movement, working for a rebirth of traditional Indian spiritualism, teaching and values. As such, "...We highly revere and respect our elders," Bellecourt said. "People that connect this act with the American Indian Movement would be misled if they didn't understand that those are some very serious concerns."

Bellecourt learned of the arrest when a long-standing AIM member of the Dine Nation faxed him a copy of the article in Friday's MDUL Independent.

"We just wanted to make clear that Russell Means has resigned from the American Indian Movement on at least six occasions," said Bellecourt, a member of the Anishinabe (Chippewa) tribe, Ojibwe Nation. He spoke by phone from his residence in Minneapolis.

"We just want to make sure that it's very clear to the Dine Nation and to your readers that this man is no longer, and hasn't been by his own actions, associated with the American Indian Movement." In 1995, Means challenged the authority of the Navajo Nation Supreme Court when it ruled against him in a dispute over the paternity of Tatunka Means, who Means claims as his son.

"It concerns us that whenever somebody who's a past personality in our movement runs into difficulty, the first thing they start doing is challenging the sovereignty, the very thing we stand for, the right of tribes to control their own destiny," Bellecourt said.

In his "real life" before leaving AIM, Means condemned James Fennimore Cooper's novel, "Last of the Mohicans." Since starring in the 1994 remake and Disney's "Pocahontas," Means, in "reel life" now claims those are the two greatest films ever made about Indian people," Bellecourt said. Bellecourt was also concerned that many Dine people were upset by Means' portrayal of a Navajo medicine man in Oliver Stone's movie, "Natural Born Killers." Means was shown handling rattlesnakes in the film, but snakes are considered unwholesome creatures by the Dine.

Means once told a reporter that snakes had been taboo among the Navajo only since they were introduced to Christianity and the myth of the Garden of Eden.

Bellecourt also critized Means' 1995 autobiography, "Where White Mean Fear to Tread," in regard to its history of AIM. "Not one of the people in the movement was asked by Means' co-author, Marvin J. Wolf to confirm Means' version of events," Bellecourt said.

"It's a very reckless book. It puts out a lot of inaccuracies and petty attacks on people that are seen as very divisive." Bellecourt also sought to distance AIM from what he described as Means' recent forays into conservative politics. In the 1980's means traveled to Nicaragua to help rebel bands of Miskito Indians who were allied with the anti-revolutionary Contras. Means was being manipulated by reactionary elements under the guise of patriotism," Bellecourt said. He believes Means has allied himself with reactionary elements who seek to discredit AIM, a campaign which goes back, in one form or other, to the Nixon administration.

"We don't take any joy in seeing this happen to a man who at one time was very active in the movement, but obviously whose vision has taken him on another direction," Bellecourt said. "We have to disassociate ourselves from this kind of behavior...A lot of people feel, at this point, that Russell Means really needs some help."

(See Council on Security and Intelligencepage).
AIM Grand Governing Council


ATTACHMENT 2
PRESS STATEMENT OF THE MINISTRY FOR INFORMATION AMERICAN INDIAN MOVEMENT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - JANUARY, 1988

RE: Russell Mean's recent resignation from the American Indian Movement (AIM)

RUSSELL MEANS RESIGNS FROM THE AMERICAN INDIAN MOVEMENT FOR THE SIXTH TIME

On Thursday, January 7, 1988, a press conference was held in Bakersfield, California where Russell Means again announced that he was resigning from the American Indian Movement (AIM) and that he was writing an autobiography. He stated that the reason he was again resigning from the American Indian Movement was that all was well with Indian people, and that AIM had quote, "worked itself out of a job."

Among the journalists covering the press conference were Associated Press reporters, Joe Bigham and/or Rob Wells of the Fresno, California office who filed their story with the AP wire, which was picked up and covered by almost every major newspaper nationwide. This story was filed by Associated Press writers without asking the comments of any legitimate leaders of the American Indian Movement.

The fact is, Russell Means, on at least six (6) occasions has been able to get the attention of the press. This time it becomes obvious that he has used the American Indian Movement to get the attention of the press to promote his autobiography.

The first time he resigned from the American Indian Movement was in 1974 when he ran for the presidency of the Oglala Nation on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota against his arch foe, Dick Wilson. The confusion caused an alienation of American Indian Movement members on the Pine Ride Reservation and according to observers probably cost him the election.

He publicly resigned from AIM again in 1984 while he was seeking the Vice-Presidency of the United States on the ticket with Larry Flint of Hustler Magazine.

In 1985, he again resigned from Yellow Thunder Camp in the Black Hills stating, quote, "I'm tired babysitting Yellow Thunder Camp," and that he was going to go on to other interests. Those interests was to align himself with Ward Churchill, Glen Morris, and Brooklyn Rivera of the CIA-sponsored Miskito Indian faction of the contras, as well, Elliot Abrams, and the Reagan Administration's war against the Nicaraguan people of which the Miskito Indian people, and all Nicaraguans are the principal victims.

During this time he went on a nationwide speaking tour sponsored by the Unification Church of the Reverend SunYung Moon, speaking to right wing audiences. The same groups who are totally opposed to Indian treaty, political, jurisdiction, water, natural resources, and territorial rights.

>From 1974 to the present over the protests of American Indian Movement leadership, the press continued to represent Russell Means as a leader of the American Indian Movement. We hope that at least it is now clear by his recent, and well publicized resignation that the press will never again report either that he is a founder of the American Indian Movement, nor is he a leader of the American Indian Movement, and that this latest resignation is final.

The struggle of the Indian people out of which the American Indian Movement play a principal role does not end with the final chapter of his autobiography. The fact is, at this very moment, the Oglala Lakota Nation and the larger Great Sioux Nation of which Mr. Means is a member, is still sturggling for the return of the Sacred Black Hills (Paha Sapa) and we continue to work for the passage of a bill introduced by Senator Bill Bradley (Dem-N.J.) which calls for the return of large areas of the Black Hills to the Great Sioux Nation.

We continue to struggle to repeal P.L. 93-531, the Navaho-Hopi Act that is still attempting to force the Navaho and Hopi from their ancestral lands at Big Mountain.

We continue to work to overturn in the U.S. Supreme Court, P.L. 99-264, the so-called White Earth Reservation Land Settlement Act that expropriated at least 200,000 acres of allotted lands on the White Earth Ojibwe Anishinabe Nation in Minnesota, and sets a precedent for the theft of millions of acres of allotted lands on all reservations nationwide.

We still struggling to free political prisoners, Leonard Peltier and David Sohappy.

The push out rate for Indian students in the elementary and high school level is upwards to seventy-five percent (75%) in many areas of the country and eighty-five to ninety-five percent at the university level.

In almost every action taken by the United States Congress and Supreme Court having to deal with treaty, land, water, and political rights, these have been and continue to be acts and decisions detrimental to Indian people's interests. At this very moment graves and sacred shrines are being desecrated by grave robbers in the state of Kentucky and elsewhere throughout the country. Bill Thomas of the Shawnee Nation and Dennis Banks representatives of the American Indian Movement are at this time at the Kentucky site to investigate this major desecration.

It should be clear to everyone, particularly our Indian people and the leadership of the American Indian Movement, that we have not "worked ourselves out of a job," and with renewed vigor and determination we must continue the struggle on behalf of our people, children, grandchildren, and future generations.


ATTACHMENT 3
Star Tribune/Friday/January 8/1988

Indian activist Russell Means says
he's retiring from AIM

Associated Press

Bakersfield, Calif.
Russell Means, a leader in the Wounded Knee uprising, announced his retirement from the American Indian Movement (AIM) on Thursday and said that the organization "has worked itself out of a job."

Means, a co-founder of AIM, said in a statement there now are activists in nearly every Indian community.

"AIM people are now integrated into every productive and responsible segment of Indian and non-Indian society," Means' statement said. "The American Indian Movement has accomplished the impossible: AIM has worked itself out of a job."

AIM was formed two decades ago to protest what Means termed a dual system of justice among whites and Indians. In recent years the group has embraced economic development issues and ventured into politics.

During the Wounded Knee uprising in South Dakota in 1973, two Indians died and a federal marshal was paralyzed.

Means and Dennis Banks were charged with 10 felony counts each after the 71-day uprising. However, a federal judge, citing misconduct by the prosecution, dismissed the case after an eight-month trial.

Means has been working on an autobiography, "Where White Men Fear to Tread: A Portrait of A Patriot," said E.W. Savage, who coordinated the press conference.

Means, an Oglala Sioux, served a one-year term in South Dakota State Penitentiary for his role in a 1974 Sioux Falls riot.

In 1981, Means led a band of Indians into the Black Hills National Forest, claimed 800 acres as a Sioux religious site and named it Yellow Thunder. The U.S. Forest Service disputed the claim.

In 1984, he was the vice presidential running mate of Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt for the Republican presidential nomination.


Corrections
Russell Means was not a co-founder of the American Indian Movement,
as reported in an Associated Press article Friday on page 13A.
The founders were Dennis Banks, Clyde Bellecourt, Harold Goodsky,
and George Mitchell.


ATTACHMENT 4
Independent

Friday
January 2, 1998

Number 001 Volume 111

Gallup, New Mexico 87305
(505) 863-6811

Russell Means pleads not guilty in Chinle battery
By Malcolm Brenner
Staff Writer

GALLUP - Chinle District Navajo Police arrested former activist and actor Russell Means Monday, charging him with threatening and battery against his father-in-law.

Captain Francis Bradley said the district station received a complaint at 7:23 p.m. from Mean's wife Gloria Means, alleging that Means had battered her father, Leon Grant. At the same time, Grant came into the station with a swollen lip to file the complaint himself.

The alleged incident took place outside the gate to Grant's residence, in a residential area one-quarter mile north of the police department. No reason was given for the incident.

Navajo Police Officer Alfreda Wagner and Bernard Stefaniak with the Arizona Department of Public Safety responded. Means had left the Grant residence. He was found a short time later at the Damon Boxing Arena and arrested.

Means pleaded not guilty in a hearing before Jude LaVerne Johnson Wednesday. A pretrial conference has been set for 10 a.m. January 19.

Means is a Lakota Sioux. A founding member of the American Indian Movement, he took part in many actions, including the 1974 Wounded Knee standoff. In 1975 he was tried for murder in South Dakota and acquitted.

Means later turned to acting, with parts in Last of the Mohicans and Natural Born Killers, in which he played a Navajo medicine man. His autobiography, Where White Men Fear to Tread, was published in 1995.


ATTACHMENT 5

Star Tribune
NEWSPAPER OF THE TWIN CITIES

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 7 * 1999

** STAR TRIBUNE - A5

=======================

Case tests legitimacy of Indian courts

Associated Press

CAMBRIDGE, MASS. - Sioux actor and activist Russell Means went on trial before the Navajo Supreme Court on Saturday in a case that tests the legitimacy of the American Indian justice system.

The court convened at Harvard University to hear an assault case against Means, a long-time leader of the Minneapolis-based American Indian Movement who led an uprising at Wounded Knee, S.D., and has appeared in such films as "Natural Born Killers.

Means is accused of beating his father-in-law in 1997 in Arizona's Navajo Nation, but as an Oglala Sioux he insists he cannot be prosecuted by another tribe.

Tribal leaders nationwide are watching the case, which could mean the erosion of their rights to handle crimes on their own lands.

Means claims a federal law that gave Indian tribes the right to prosecute nonmember Indians is invalid because it came a year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled a tribe's judicial powers extend only to members of its own tribe.

He also says such a rule discriminates against Indians -not belonging to the ruling tribe.

"If You assert jurisdiction over Russell Means, you deny him his right to equal protection under the Fifth Amendment," said Means'attorney, John Trebon.

Means was in Ecuador on Saturday and did not attend the hearing.

In 1973, members of the Indian rights group AIM seized the hamlet of Wounded Knee in protest against reservation conditions and the federally backed tribal government.

Means emerged a leader in the two-month standoff that ensued, and shootouts left two occupiers dead and a federal marshal paralyzed.

In addition to his activism, Means has gained recognition through roles in movies such as "Natural Born Killers" and "The Last of the Mohicans."

He has vowed to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary. The court has consistently scaled back tribal court powers over the past two decades.

With intermarriage and intermingling - as well as violent crime - on the rise on American Indian lands, tribal officials want more control over their territories, advocates say.

"Mr. Means, by his actions, has consented to the jurisdiction of the Navajo Nation and he became part of the community," said Navajo Nation prosecutor Donovan D. Brown. "If the court rules that there is no jurisdiction, within the Navajo Nation at least, it will create opportunities for illegal activists to basically go unpunished."

Brown discounted Trebon's arguments that Navajo prosecution violated Means' civil rights.

"The Constitution does not apply to the Navajo Nation," he said. "The Navajo Nation predates the Constitution."

The hour-long hearing, before Navajo Supreme Court justices was held at Harvard Law School, an invitation extended by the school because of the case's importance, the university said.

The three justices took the case under advisement. They are expected to issue a decision in several weeks from their headquarters in Arizona.


ATTACHMENT 6
Star Tribune/Friday/January 8/1988

Indian activist Russell Means
says he's retiring from AIM

Associated Press

Bakersfield, Calif.
Russell Means, a leader in the Wounded Knee uprising, announced his retirement from the American Indian Movement (AIM) on Thursday and said that the organization "has worked itself out of a job."

Means, a co-founder of AIM, said in a statement there now are activists in nearly every Indian community.

"AIM people are now integrated into every productive and responsible segment of Indian and non-Indian society," Means' statement said. "The American Indian Movement has accomplished the impossible: AIM has worked itself out of a job."

AIM was formed two decades ago to protest what Means termed a dual system of justice among whites and Indians. In recent years the group has embraced economic development issues and ventured into politics.

During the Wounded Knee uprising in South Dakota in 1973, two Indians died and a federal marshal was paralyzed.

Means and Dennis Banks were charged with 10 felony counts each after the 71-day uprising. However, a federal judge, citing misconduct by the prosecution, dismissed the case after an eight-month trial.

Means has been working on an autobiography, "Where White Men Fear to Tread: A Portrait of A Patriot," said E.W. Savage, who coordinated the press conference.

Means, an Oglala Sioux, served a one-year term in South Dakota State Penitentiary for his role in a 1974 Sioux Falls riot.

In 1981, Means led a band of Indians into the Black Hills National Forest, claimed 800 acres as a Sioux religious site and named it Yellow Thunder. The U.S. Forest Service disputed the claim.

In 1984, he was the vice presidential running mate of Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt for the Republican presidential nomination.

Corrections
Russell Means was not a co-founder of the American Indian Movement, as reported in an Associated Press article Friday on page 13A. The founders were Dennis Banks, Clyde Bellecourt, Harold Goodsky, and George Mitchell.


ATTACHMENT 7

U.S. Indians Enlist in the Miskito Cause

By STEPHEN KINZER
Special to The New York Times

Russell Means in Costa Rica

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica, Nov. 10 - Three American Indian activists have announced in Costa Rica that they are joining the cause of rebel Miskito Indians in Nicaragua.

Russell Means, 46 years old, a leader of the American Indian Movement, said at a news conference in San Jose last week that he hoped to recruit 90 to 100 "warriors from North America" to join Miskito fighters to oppose the Sandinista Government. He said send American Indian combatants in Nicaragua would "begin the process of uniting the red people of the Western Hemisphere."

Groups of Miskito Indians have been in rebellion against the Sandinista Government for more than four years. Their most prominent leader, Brooklyn Rivera, says he does not seek to otherthrow the Sandinistas, but to force them to meet demands of his organization, Misurasata, which is seeking broad "self-determination" for Nicaraguan Indians.

Change in Policy Sought

Mr. Rivera appeared at the news conference with Mr. Means, Glenn Morris, a Shawnee activist who teaches at the University of Colorado in Denver, and Hank Adams who has advised Federal agencies on questions of Indian sovereignty.

"They have decided to support the struggle that Misurasata is waging in Nicaragua," Rivera said, "and have decided to provide spiritual, material political and physical help, and to give themselves to the Indian cause in Nicaragua, which is also the cause of other indigenous people in this hemisphere."

The men said no American Indians were now fighting against Sandinista troops inside Nicaragua, and expressed the hope that the Sandinistas would resolve the matter peacefully by substantially altering their policy toward the Miskitos and other groups who live Nicaragua's Atlantic coast region.

"I would go to Nicaragua with a shovel in one hand, a rifle in the other and a pipe of peace in my heart, and it would depend on the Sandinistas what would be used." Mr. Means said. He added that he had been convinced by a visit to Nicaragua and by following the progress of sporadic talks between Mr. Rivera and Sandinista leaders that "the only alternative left to use a rifle."

The Sandinista Government is embarked on a project to offer autonomy to the Atlantic Coast, and Interior Minister Thomas Borge has said the autonomy law will be decreed early next year. Mr. Rivera, whose organization has not taken part in consultations for the autonomy law, says the Sandinista project is aimed at maintaining rather than limiting the power of the central Government over the Atlantic region.

Mr. Means described the Miskito struggle against the Sandinistas as "the foremost struggle for indigenous sovereignty in the world." He rejected suggestions that his action placed him in alliance with forces supported by the Reagan Administration. Mr. Rivera has had sharp differences with the Nicaraguan Democratic Force, the largest armed anti-Sandinista group, which is receiving millions of dollars in nonmilitary aid from the United States.

"I do not support the racist policies of the United States of America, the same as I do not support the racist policies of Nicaragua," said Mr. Means, who has led many anti-Government protests in the United States, including a 71-day siege at Wounded Knee, S.D., in 1973. "I have a record of fighting against the imperialist monster my people live within."

Mr. Morris, 38 years old, said the effirt to recruit American Indians to fight in Nicaragua should be considered pro-Indian rather than anti-Sandinista. "All our organizations have a history of supporting Indian resistance wherever it is," he said.

In a written statement, the three Americans said Sandinista rule in Nicaragia was submitting Miskito, Sumu and Rama Indians to "continuing oppression" that "demands the undivided attention of every person of good conscience in this hemisphere." They said the Sandinistas were subjecting Nicaragua to an unconscionably racist, soulless Marxist experiment" and were "fast forfeiting the claim of any right or say in the future of the Atlantic Coast's indigenous people and territories."


ATTACHMENT 8

Add Pocahontas, 'an ethnic blend,' to list of Disney's animated lies

STAR TRIBUNE
SUNDAY
/July 2/1995
OPINION

Laura Waterman Wittstock

Historians have their hands full as it is, without Disney Studios pushing itself in on the debate. Just how old was Pocahontas when she threw herself over John Smith's broad European masculine frame to prevent her own father from killing him? Was her name even Pocahontas? Whose idea was it to marry her off to John Rolfe?

These questions, which used to be the exclusive purview of historians, have now apparently been settled once and for all by Walt Disney - the corporation, not the person - as we shall soon all come to recognize, because little children will be reciting the new facts to us grumpy old-timers. Pocahontas was a young adult when the similarly young John Smith came along and the two of them did mushy stuff. Her dark skin next to his pale flesh (as in flesh-colored) tells us something is different about this animated romance.

However, we gimlet-eyed adults know that not too many years ago, it would have been unheard of to have a white skin and a dark skin in close proximity on the screen or in book illustrations.

And when real live actors played dark-skinned women in films, we knew they were really white-skinned actors in heavy makeup. How titillating it was to later see these Euro-babes replaced by actors France

Nuyen or Nancy Kwan playing actual dark-skinned people. We were so accustomed to Hedv Lamarr in dark drag or Katharine Hepburn - for Pete's sake - playing a Chinese woman.

Dorothy Lamour played a Tahitian, and Debra Paget played some kind of Hawaiian princess. Seemingly endless pale-skins have played Indian princesses. Their blue eyes peering through dark Max Factor layers of brown sludge.

Who can forget Jimmy Stewart as the stalwart American trying to make peace with the Indians in the film "Broken Arrow." His foil, Jeff Chandler, played the Chiricahua Apache leader Cochise, although the actor wore a pronounced Hebrew-American visage. Of course Cochise's nitwit daughter died in Jimmy Stewart's arms before they could consummate their biracial love affair. That's the way it used to do be done in the movies - the white guy loses the dark- babe before anything can get going, thus sparing moviegoers any outrage.

But now as we soon shall see, little girls everywhere English is spoken will be enchanted by animated lies as Pocahontas, that Frankensteinesque Disney creation. glides into their imaginations. She represents, as the animator Glen Keane describes, the face structure of a Mongolian, with the added convex facial curves of an African, the body of a Caucasian, and the slanted eyes of an Asian. Keane says Pocahontas is an 'ethnic blend.' (So it really isn't an Indian babe making it with a white guy after all? Whew! What a relief)

Still, must we watch as another nitwit daughter of a famous Indian leader throws away her position and her father's honor for the sake of an old turkey from England? The colonists couldn't have been fibbing about that part, could they?"

There may be hope. Perhaps Disney's third horrible anti-cultural, sexist animation could be a charm. First "Aladdin," then "The Lion King,' now 'Pocahontas." Imagine a scene like the one in the movies with the fools who dared to betray the temple gods, and tons of gold coins fill the Disney studios, killing everyone who had anything to do with this picture. The ghosts of Walt and Mickey appear in silhouette, saying, "That's what you get for being greedy little slugs!" Too remote a possibility you say? You're probably right.

Disney will make megamillions. Kids everywhere will teach their parents history, and we tired adults will learn to shrug this away too. Less forgiving, I suspect, will be many Indians when they hear how proud Russell Means of his role (a paying job) and how he thinks this animation is the greatest thing since fried bread.

The Indian Democrat turned Republican, U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado, is said to be hosting a gala party and showing of the film to benefit little children with fetal alcohol syndrome.

Those with long memories will recall Means hopping on the nearest stage (proscenium, that is) to shout his disdain for Squanto and Tonto and all the tame Indians he referred to as "apples." He would go on for hours about "hang-around-the-fort Indians" and "BIA Indians," and he was known to bellow in the middle of the night that "today is a good day to die."

Perhaps we misunderstood. Perhaps he meant dye his hair, or something like that.

Means reserved special venom for those he called "Uncle Tomahawks." Those were the men who worked for government, industry or academia. He once told students at the University of California, Davis, that going to school was a waste of time and no true Indian would do it. Remembering guilt-free hours idled away listening to Means rant there are probably several hundred Indian people who now think they might have wasted their time.

What, though, could be more disconcerting than Means himself, contemplating in his private moments, how or why he sold his voice to a lie as he played an Indian who gave his own daughter to the whites.

Perhaps Means has turned into the biggest Red Delicious of them all, something of which the arch-conservative Walt Disney would greatly approve.

________________________________________
Laura Waterman Wittstock is president of
Migizi Communications in Minneapolis


ATTACHMENT 9

'Where White Men Fear to Tread'

By Malcolm Brenner
Staff writer

Where White Men Fear to Tread: The Autobiography of Russell Means by Russell Means with Marvin J. Wolf. $26.95, St. Martins Press, N.Y.
GALLUP-I wish I was a Red Man
So I'd know where I came from
Play all day on my drum
But I'm an Evil White Man...

Hindu Rodeo, Evil White Man

Those lyrics synchronistically came over my radio as I was about halfway through Russell Means' self-serving, provocatively-title autobiography, and they pretty well sum up his message: I'd be a nice guy if it wasn't for all of you white m---f---'s out their making my life miserable.

In one sense, I find this book difficult to criticize. Many Native Americans regard Means as a hero for standing up to white racism. He gets no argument from me that America's Indians are the most oppressed racial group in the country, that they have been forced off their homelands and are the victims of vicious genocide.

I am also less than objective, having met Means personally in the course of my job. Admittedly it was under less than ideal circumstances, but I found him hostile, defensive, and rude. This is a man, I remember thinking, who has made a career out of intimidating white people-many of whom I hasten to add, probably deserved it.

His autobiography explains why and tells how.

Means opens with a brief recounting of Lakota history and the violence wreaked upon his people. His parents moved off the Pine Ride reservation in 1942, and he was reared in the north San Francisco Bay area. Means attributes both is father's alcoholism, and his mother's physical abusiveness to their education in Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding schools.

This upbringing left Means with an apparently inexhaustible reservoir of pain and rage. He chronicles his progression form a young punk hoodlum to an alcoholic adult, losing jobs, dealing dope, running petty scams, getting busted up in fights, abusing women and fathering children only to abandon them. He seems perversely proud of having been the meanest, most irresponsible s.o.b. in the valley-after all, whites were to blame for his problems.

In the midst of this debauchery Means reveals an incongruous Puritanical streak. He denounces powwows as the corruption of Plains Indians' traditions. He calls his marriage to a Hopi woman an act of mongrelization. We later find out she left him not because of traditional differences, as he implies, but because he neglected her devoting all his time to the nascent American Indian Movement.

Means became one of the founding fathers of AIM, and in so doing rose from an obscure drunken lout to a national spokesman for Native American rights. In that sense, this book is bound to elicit comparison to The Autobiography of Malcom X.

However, Malcom X aspired to a higher ethical and moral standard than the racists he opposed. He may have threatened race war against an oppressive system, but he never stooped to the style of thuggism that was AIM's ethical norm. Petty theft, drunken parties, drug dealing, intimidation and violence were all okay as long as they were ostensibly directed against "the enemy," white people.

Over and over again, Means makes blanket condemnations of all 'White People' that he would assuredly bust my chops for if I made them about Indians. Indian ways are in every respect superior to white ways, and Indians lived in a problem-free paradise before whites arrived and messed things up. His hypocrisy, in this respect, is astounding and undermines the righteousness of his cause.

Readers should understand that this book is Russell Means' version of reality, and it does not necessarily bear any relationship to the truth. Means may have given up alcohol, but he still carries the alcoholic attitude that twists the facts to meet his emotional needs. He tells you only what he wants you to know, or what he thinks you're stupid enough to believe.

This, he can state straight-faced that brutal Navajo Police fired on unarmed, peaceful protesters during the 1989 Turmoil in Window Rock; that the Aztecs were really practicing open-heart surgery, not human sacrifice; that 42 percent of all Native American women were sterilized by the Indian Health Service, and that AIM only acted in 'self-defense.'

Here's an example of Mean's self-defense. On trial for a murder in South Dakota in 1975, he prematurely decided the jury is going to convict him. "I wasn't going to spend the rest of my life in prison. With two AIMsters, I made a plan. When the verdict was announced, they would shoot the jury and I would kill the prosecutors and the judge. Then we would take white women for hostages, tape guns to their throats and make a run for it."

Fortunately, these evil, bigoted white jurists acquitted Means, and his colleagues, relieving him of the responsibility for self-defense.

Means doesn't even mention his participation in AIM's worst blunder, the occupation of the Shiprock Fairchild semiconductor plant in 1974, presumably because this debacle cost 1,000 decent, hardworking Navajos their jobs. While I can't say for sure, I suspect the rest of this book is similarly self-censored, making it untrustworthy as history.

The book's factual accuracy-names, places, dates-is due in large measure to the inexhaustible efforts of Means' collaborator Marvin J. Wolf, who spent 2 years and took out a second mortgage on his house to complete it.

Ultimately, this book is a chronicle of Means' bottomless rage. It may have been justified by the circumstances of h is life in particular or American Indians' lives in general, but about halfway through I started gagging on it.

Whether one reads Where White Men Fear to Tread as a revolutionary's triumph over incredible odds or an alcoholic's unending battle with himself will depend upon one's opinion of Russell Means. As Wolf himself says, "Russell is a lot easier to admire than he is to like."

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