Saturday, February 16, 2013

Russell Means: Remembering the Names of the Clouds

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Russell Means (1939 - 2012)
Russell Means (1939 - 2012)

If You Have Forgotten the Names of the Clouds, You Have Lost Your Way

Russell Means, the American Indian activist, philosopher, and human rights activist, died October 22, 2012. His last public video on his YouTube channel was "Clouds" on August 14, 2012.

Freedom fighter Means, a Oglala Lakota, had been struggling with cancer of which he would soon succumb. His words are poignant in his final video. He begins by proclaiming "today is a good day" and "what we do with it (today), of course, is up to ourselves". The great Oglala Lakota war leader Crazy Horse is known for his battle exhortation, "Hóka-héy, today is a good day to die!".

Means talks about balance in life, balance with the Universe, and a matrilineal way of life. He notes his book, co-authored by Bayard Johnson, "If You've Forgotten The Names Of The Clouds, You've Lost Your Way: An Introduction to American Indian Thought".

He says the Oglala Lakota and other tribes had names for the types of clouds, as they passed over the Great Plains. Combining this information with wind direction, the weather could accurately be forecasted for up to 2 days. The systematic genocide of his tribe and others by the government of the United States of America has eradicated this type of cultural knowledge, along the names of the flora and fauna, languages, and traditions.

As Russell Means has observed and written about in his own life and journey: do not lose your way. Center yourself and proceed on your spiritual journey, not on an American consumerism way of life. There is too much at stake in your own spiritual and creative growth to waste your time on trinkets the corporate mass media entices you to spend your time striving for and acquiring. Remember the names of the clouds. Remember your personal journey.


"If You've Forgotten The Names Of The Clouds, You've Lost Your Way: An Introduction to American Indian Thought"

This book begins the explanation of how traditional American Indian thought and philosophy were integral to day-to-day matrilineal life. The civilization of the American Indian was predicated on the people's relationships with every form of life, from the perspective of close-knit family communities. This introduction partially explains why indigenous people the world over never overpopulate their environment or destroy the lands where they live. This is the only philosophy that can stop the worldwide ongoing rape by the patriarchs.

Russell Charles Means (1939 - 2012)

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