The European Ancestry of a Militant Indian
About the Book
This book examines the origin of many Plains Indian families, which began with the union of French trappers and traders with young Indian women in the early days of contact between Europeans and American Indians of the Dakota territory and the Sioux Indian territory of Nebraska. The famous Indian activist Russell Means, who made a name for himself through the activities of the American Indian Movement, the 1973 occupation of the Village of Wounded Knee, an unsuccessful political life, and a more successful Hollywood movie career, is at the core of the book. Though he proclaimed he was an Oglala Lakota patriot, Russell Means was in reality a European descendant of mostly French-Indian intermarriages on both paternal and maternal sides of his family. Indeed, he was more French than Indian, as documented in the carefully researched genealogy presented by French Moroccan anthropologist Hélène E. Hagan. The genealogy presented in this book dispels the fictitious claims advanced by Russell C. Means about his father’s and mother’s family surnames in the autobiographical account he wrote with the help of independent author Marvin J. Wolf, Where White Men Fear to Tread (St. Martin’s Press, 1996). The book also addresses the unfortunate use of fictitious material attributed to Chief Seattle for the publication of a small book purportedly on ancestral Indian spirituality, If You’ve Forgotten the Names of the Clouds, You Lost Your Way, published under his name shortly before he succumbed to a fatal cancer in 2012. In addition, the author evokes her fieldwork among the Oglala Lakota people of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the 1980s, the research she conducted with traditional elders as a volunteer with the archives of the Oglala Lakota College in her reservation-wide photo project covering years 1890 to World War II of the history of Pine Ridge families and her involvement with the Yellow Thunder Camp in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The last part of the book describes her later collaboration with the American Indian activist for the Public Access Television series of The Russell Means Show, which she conceived and produced in Los Angeles from 1999 to 2003.
About the Author
Born in Rabat, Morocco, HELENE E. HAGAN attended high school in Morocco, obtained two Baccalaureates in French and Philosophy with Honors and pursued her education at Bordeaux University, France, where she received a License-es-Lettres in British and American Studies, also with Honors. She holds two Master’s Degrees from Stanford University, California, one in French and Education, (1971) and the other in Cultural and Psychological Anthropology (1983). After conducting fieldwork among the Oglala Lakota people of Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, she worked as Associate Professor at the JFK University Graduate School of Psychology in Orinda, California, and owned an American Indian art gallery in Marin County. She has served as President of the non-profit educational organization, Tazzla Institute for Cultural Diversity, since 1993. She has written numerous newspaper and magazine articles, three anthropological books on Berber (Amazigh) culture and filmed, edited and produced over fifty community service television programs on a variety of topics related to American Indian and Berber cultures, arts, and human right issues, through Amazigh Video Productions of Burbank. Helene Hagan is a lifetime Associate Curator of the Paul Radin Collection at Marquette University Special Archives. In 2007, Helene was a guest Professor for the First Berber Institute held at the University of Oregon, Corvallis. In 2008, she created the Amazigh Film Festival USA which annually celebrates the indigenous Amazigh (Berber and Tuareg) cultures of North Africa and the Sahara Desert.
Other four books by this author published by Xlibris: “The Shining Ones: Etymological Essay on the Amazigh Roots of Ancient Egyptian Civilization” (2000), “Tuareg Jewelry: Traditional Patterns and Symbols” (2006), “Tazz’unt: Ecology, Ritual and Social Order in the Tessawt Valley of the High Atlas of Morocco” (2011), and “Fifty Years in America, a book of Essays” (2013).