World headlines spread the news. The New York Times said "Russell Means, Who Clashed With Law as He Fought for Indians, Is Dead at 72." He was America's "best known Indian since Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse."
In 1968, he joined the American Indian Movement (AIM). In 1970, he became its national director. In 1995, he published his autobiography titled, "Where White Men Fear to Tread."
"Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" author Dee Brown said "reading Means' story is essential for any clear understanding of American Indians during the last half of the twentieth century."
New York Times writer Robert McFadden said:
Shortly before being diagnosed with inoperable throat cancer, he "cut off his braids. (It was) a gesture of mourning for his people. In Lakota lore, he explained, the hair holds memories, and mourners often cut it to release those memories, and the people in them, to the spirit world."
The Washington Post headlined "Russell Means dies at 72; American Indian activist helped lead uprising at Wounded Knee," saying:
"(S)elf-styled modern Indian warrior".forced international attention on the plight of Native Americans for more than four decades."
Reuters headlined "American Indian activist Russell Means dead at 72," saying:
He waged a "lifelong campaign (struggling for) the rights and dignity of his people"."
AP called him "a modern Indian warrior. He railed against broken treaties, fought for the return of stolen land, and even took up arms against the federal government."
The Los Angeles Times said "he helped thrust the plight of Native Americans into the national spotlight."
Press TV called him "an outspoken champion of American Indian rights."
Means once said, "Every policy now the Palestinians are enduring was practiced on the American Indians."
"What the American Indian Movement says is that the American Indians are the Palestinians of the United States, and the Palestinians are the American Indians of Europe."
He called Indian lands open air concentration camps, saying:
"If you chose to stay on the reservation, you are guaranteed to be poor, unless you are part of the colonial apparatus set up by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, set up the United States."