There is a line in the Shakespearen play Julius Caeser spoken by Mark Antony, a part is that he has come to bury Caeser and not to praise him-he then goes on to say that “the evil that men do lives after them, the good oft interred with their bones”
I have no desire to either bury or praise Russell, and I’m confident that in the course of his life he did some good. In truth though I have a no ambivalence in his passing, no conflicting emotions. No joy nor grief.
There are those who would seek to address only whatever good was done and ignore the rest, or deny it out of hand-but it is this “rest” that had such a profoundly negative impact that needs to be recognized and addressed as well.
They will speak in terms of forgiveness and never acknowledge it is not their place to ask for it, that it was Russell’s, and he chose not to.
It is this “rest” that has left those seeking closure and the repatriation of the remains of loved ones still waiting after decades-it is this “rest” that chose not to assist in that effort or participate in the justice sought for Annie Mae.
It is this “rest” that lingers in the air of rape and abuse accusations and the premeditated assault upon the village of Wounded Knee-and it is this “rest” that inters the good with what will in time become the bones of Russell Means.
The legacy of Russell Means will be discussed and argued for years- but the reality will remain, a reality that is neither myth or dependent on individual construct.
A resolution to be sought that should have come from Russell rather than to leave others searching for it. A debt he owed and left unpaid.
The last image I have of Russell is standing at the podium at the CWS conference willfully throwing the truth of the murder of Ray Robinson at WK2 under the bus in his denial of Ray’s presence-his complete disregard not only for Ray’s presence and motivation, but the value and life of a fellow human being -something I won’t forget, and not the stuff heroes are made of.
So rest in peace if you can Russell while others continue to struggle with the pain and grief you assisted in creating for them.