Race and Ethnicity

Revolution and American Indians: “Marxism is as Alien to My Culture as Capitalism”

Marx actually referred to indigenous peoples like the Native Americans, Scottish highlanders, and Basques, along with hunter-gather societies and native tribes in the colonial era generally, as “non-historical peoples.”

Russell Means’ autobiography is a great read. He writes about, among many other things, getting into armed confrontations with the FBI, being chased by Sandinista war planes, and punching out leftists who heckled him on university campuses.  This guy walked the walk.

By Russell Means

The following speech was given by Russell Means in July 1980, before several thousand people who had assembled from all over the world for the Black Hills International Survival Gathering, in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It is Russell Means’s most famous speech.

A member of the Oglala Lakota tribe, he was perhaps the most outsized personality in the American Indian Movement, beginning with the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee. He also had an acting career beginning with his role as Chingachgook in Last of the Mohicans. He passed away Oct 22nd, 2012 at the age 72.

“The only possible opening for a statement of this kind is that I detest writing. The process itself epitomizes the European concept of “legitimate” thinking; what is written has an importance that is denied the spoken. My culture, the Lakota culture, has an oral tradition, so I ordinarily reject writing. It is one of the white world’s ways of destroying the cultures of non-European peoples, the imposing of an abstraction over the spoken relationship of a people.


Categories: Race and Ethnicity

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