Friday, October 26, 2012

Je Dessine: Goodbye to Russel Means

Goodbye to Russel Means
I started up my drawing/painting lessons again with Sabrina two weeks ago. It was wonderful to just play around with paint and shapes. My challenge is always to get out of my head, my analytical mind and just make marks. Fine tuning can come later -- if I want it to. I drew from Sabrina's photo of a Native American dancer in Santa Fe. Little did I know that the following week the Oglala/Lakota Sioux Russel Means would die. Much to my shame, I never knew about this great American Indian activist until I watched The Last of the Mohicans in 1992. His portrayal of Chingachgook was compelling and riveting.

I wanted to know more about this actor so I purchased his in-your-face autobiography Where White Men Fear to Tread. This is one of those books that opens your eyes. Russel Means was a controversial activist during the 70's. He led the American Indian Movement, was thrown into jail numerous of times and was an all around pain in the ass to officials. He also admits that he made a lot of mistakes in his life. But his heart was in the right place and he brought the plight of modern day American Indians to the public eye in a way that few people have. Hi blatant honesty and his over-the-top actions and good works left a mark on my consciousness. I guess this painting was my prescient goodbye to Indian Activist/Actor Russel Means departure. You can read Huffington Post's obit here . Another one by the San Diego Free Press (along with fellow South Dakotan George McGovern's) here. Be sure to watch the video interview of Means.

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