Russell Means' ashes to be scattered in private Black Hills ceremony

Russell Means, head of the American Indian Movement (AIM), is sen in this Jan. 31, 1989, file photo testifying before a special investigative committee of the Senate Select Committee on Capitol Hill, in Washington.
AP Photo/Marcy Nighswander

The ashes of Russell Means were to be scattered in a private ceremony in western South Dakota's Black Hills, a day after the former American Indian Movement activist was remembered in a ceremony on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Hundreds of people gathered at the high school in Kyle to pay their respects. Means' ashes were brought from his ranch near Porcupine in a horseback procession that included a rider-less horse said to carry his spirit.

Younger brother Bill Means spoke at the service.

"Our mother had faced discrimination throughout her life, and she was a not a woman to compromise - particularly when it came to discrimination," he said, reports Reuters. "Russell saw that and become much the same way."

More than 1,000 people came out to Wednesday's 12-hour memorial in South Dakota.

Oglala Sioux Tribe Vice President Tom Poor Bear said Means "gave us courage to stand up for what we believe in and to be proud of who you are."

Means died Monday at his ranch after battling cancer. He was 72.

Three other ceremonies are planned next year to honor him.