Author: I was manhandled by Russell MeansFriday, December 1, 2006
"I was manhandled by Russell Means on Pine Ridge. It wasn't much of a manhandling, but it was symptomatic of the fate of the American Indian Movement, a fate that hangs uneasily over Indian country even today, and so merits a few words.
It happened on Halloween, at Oglala Lakota College, where I was speaking about my new book, ''The Unquiet Grave: The FBI and the Struggle for the Soul of Indian Country.'' During the question-and-answer session, Means, the potent AIM leader who in the 1970s was admired throughout Indian America, took exception to several of my findings. It was a vintage Means performance: bellicose, self-aggrandizing, belittling, oblivious to any interpretation of facts save his own. After the Q and A, Means continued his critique (much of it unprintable) from about three inches off me. As his threats and insults reached a peak, he grabbed my shoulder with one meaty hand and knocked my glasses off with the other. I declined to take his bait - he clearly hoped to provoke a fistfight - and the host got him away from me and out the door before he could escalate matters.
What had so angered Means? Many things, but two of the findings that most riled him have also stirred passions across Indian country (both for and against me) and deserve discussion."
Get the Story:Steve Hendricks: Manhandled by Russell Means
(Indian Country Today 11/30)