Whatever your opinion (or lack of one) about Russell Means, the long-time AIM (American Indian Movement) activist, actor and some-time AIM leader, who died yesterday, this speech he gave at the Black Hills International Survival Gathering, July 1980, is well worth a read. It is posted at Attack the System. The link is at the bottom of this post.
The only possible opening for a statement of this kind is that I detest writing. The process itself epitomizes the European concept of “legitimate” thinking; what is written has an importance that is denied the spoken. My culture, the Lakota culture, has an oral tradition, so I ordinarily reject writing. It is one of the white world’s ways of destroying the cultures of non-European peoples, the imposing of an abstraction over the spoken relationship of a people.
To some extent I tried to be a “leader,” in the sense that white media like to use that term, when the American Indian Movement was a young organization. This was a result of a confusion that I no longer have. You cannot be everything to everyone. I do not propose to be used in such a fashion by my enemies. I am not a leader. I am an Oglala Lakota patriot. This is all I want and all I need to be. And I am very comfortable with who I am.
For those of you struggle with his use of ‘white’ and ‘European’, he clarifies what he means in the body of the speech. Go on, follow the link and read the whole thing. Danger is, it might make you think, of course. I’m not saying I agree with it all and I’m not saying I don’t. Make up your own mind.