Below is a copy/paste of an article by Tim Giago that appeared in Native American Times and the link.
It addresses the illness of former South Dakota governor Bill Janklow and Russell Means who have been linked in events and now in sickness.
In discussing it with others the common response has seemed to be a poetic justice, something more than a vagary of life-I leave that to others to make their own determination.
Means after loudly denouncing “Western Medicine” and bold talk of being ready to move on if his “work” is done, pursued the predictable path of resorting to a form of radiation treatment while being quick to attribute the success of this “Western Medicine” from it’s
association with indigenous medicine as well.
The question for me is why weren’t the ceremonies and medicines alone enough in this instance? Why is it necessary to abuse them with “western medicine”? I’ve had some interesting responses to those questions as well-but leave that for another time.
I don’t blame Means for doing so-despite all the talk of lightning and the Great Mystery the focus has been on survival, on living-but it is another example of an instance when it would have been better to remain silent and allow things to proceed as they would than to have to run around with a broom composed of rhetoric to tidy up a little bit.
So Janklow has gone to the Mayo Clinic, not for treatment but to offer himself as a “specimen” to be studied-noble if that’s the way of it and I’ll give him credit for not grandstanding thus far.
As Giago states-both men have made their impressions, but I’ll take it a step farther and say it will take years to overcome them. Jancita Eagle Deer’s family has yet to, and the same can be said for the survivors of WK2-the list is a long one characterized by suffering and misery and links that branch out to encompass organizational affiliations that ensnared people like Annie Mae Aquash and Ray Robinson that ultimately led to their demise.
Tomotherapy-a “western” approach that includes CEO’s and stockholders as one can see in the below links.
Hey, if it works not a problem-but lets not confuse it with indigenous approaches or cast those who undergo such treatment as trailblazing radicals- Tomotherapy is becoming a go approach in treating cancers that employs a concentrated well focused beam of radiation, a treatment that at times is accompanied with chemotherapy.
Vagary? Unrelated coincidence? Poetic Justice? You decide, and a shout out to stonefeather for the link……below Giago’s article:
“I find it ironic that two adversaries, two domineering personalities that clashed over a number of years, have both been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Several weeks ago activist Russell Means announced that he had throat cancer and it was incurable. Last week former South Dakota Governor William Janklow announced that he had incurable brain cancer. He said he would spend his remaining days at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, not to expect a cure, but to allow the doctors there to study his disease in hopes of finding an answer for others.
On Sept. 13 Janklow turned 72 and on Nov. 10 Russell Means will turn 72. Both of them were born in 1939. Means decided a few weeks ago to take the same path chosen by Janklow. He will not seek medical treatment but instead will rely upon the spiritual assistance of the wicasa wakan (Holy Men), not so much as to seek a cure, but to bring solace to himself in his remaining days.
While serving as Attorney General for South Dakota in 1975 Janklow was often in the forefront of the actions against the American Indian Movement led by Means. In some of the clashes one could find Janklow right in the middle of the forays.
Like Means, Janklow was plagued by several incidents outside of his role as attorney general and governor. He was accused of rape of Jancita Eagle Deer on the Rosebud Reservation in 1974, one month before the election for state attorney general. The Bureau of Indian Affairs was responsible for law enforcement on the reservation at the time and they allegedly sent the police investigation to their headquarters in Aberdeen, S. D. to keep it away from the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Court.
Janklow was investigated by the FBI and they declared that there was insufficient evidence to charge Janklow. Eagle Deer was killed in a hit-and-run accident in Nebraska in 1975.
When the book In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, by Peter Matthiessen was published it contained statements by Dennis Banks, another AIM founder, about the rape and drunken driving accusations. Janklow sued the author, Viking Press and Newsweek Magazine which also published an article containing the statements by Banks. The law suits were dismissed based on the First Amendment protection of free speech.
Janklow served two terms as South Dakota’s governor and although he was not a native South Dakotan (he was born in Chicago, Illinois) his constituents have always proclaimed him to be one of the State’s greatest governors. There is little doubt that his main love was furthering the good fortunes of his adopted state.
Janklow was elected to Congress in 2002 taking a close victory over Stephanie Herseth. Herseth would win the seat when Janklow resigned after a vehicular accident in which he was involved took the life of Randolph E. Scott. Janklow ran a stop sign and crashed into Scott’s motorcycle. Scott was thrown from the motorcycle and died instantly.
Janklow was convicted of second-degree manslaughter by a Moody County jury in 2006. He resigned his Congressional seat on January 20, 2004.
Again, it is ironic how Janklow and Means paralleled each other in actions that bordered on violence. Both of them found themselves on the brink of disaster several times in their volatile lives and in the end, their head-to-head confrontations ended in a stalemate.
Means spent a short time in the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls while Janklow spent 100 days in the Moody County Jail for the accident that claimed Scott’s life. He was re-instated to practice law by the South Dakota Supreme Court on January 5, 2006.
Whether Means or Janklow will recover from their deadly illnesses and return to public life is pure conjecture. But both men made a deep impression upon the history of South Dakota in their 72 years on this earth.”
Tim Giago, an Oglala Lakota, is President of Unity South Dakota. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard with the Class of 1990. His weekly column won the H. L. Mencken Award in 1985. He was the founder of The Lakota Times, Indian Country Today, Lakota Journal and Native Sun News.