Oglalas Endorse Means
(ZNS) Russell Means, the national field director of the American Indian Movement, scored an upset victory over his arch-rival and opponent in an election for the presidency of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Means, running as a radical in a field of 12 candidates, picked up 667 votes in the election held on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota on Tuesday. In second place was Richard Wilson, the current president of the Oglala Sioux tribe, and and an outspoken opponent of the American Indian Movement.
Means was one of the leaders of the take-over of Wounded Knee last year, and is currently on trial in St. Paul, Minn., for conspiracy and riot charges stemming from the 71-day take-over.
At the time of the Wounded Knee occupation last year, Wilson strongly opposed the radical take-over, and openly encouraged members of his tribal police force to shoot down the leaders of the American Indian Movement.
Since Means did not pick up a majority of the votes cast, he will face Wilson in a tough run-off election for the presidency on February 7th.
The outcome of the election was considered historic in that it demonstrated that a sizeable minority of Indians on the South Dakota reservation have endorsed the use of militant tactics by American Indians to dramatize their cause.
Means, himself, was unable to campaign because of his trial in St. Paul. The judge granted a one-day recess in the trial on Tuesday, so that Means could return home to vote.