PINE RIDGE, S.D. ? Activist, actor and hopeful politician, Russell Means lead the field of candidates for president in the Oglala Lakota primary election.
The unofficial results from the Oct. 1 election gave Means 1,102 votes with incumbent President John Yellow Bird Steele second with 759 votes. In third place was current Vice President Theresa "Huck" Two Bulls with 666 votes.
Means eligibility to run for office is questionable. A Tribal Resolution approved in July does not allow for anyone with a felony or who has committed a "dishonest act" to run for tribal office.
Means was convicted and served time on a felony charge in 1975 for his roll in a clash with AIM members and Sioux Falls police. Means is largely identified with the American Indian Movement, with which he became active after its founding.
The tribal election board declared Means ineligible to run for office under the new ordinance. He appealed to the tribe's Court of Election Appeals and that decision was overturned.
The Oglala election ordinance also requires that a candidate live on the reservation for a period of one year prior to the election. Means owns a ranch on the reservation; however, according to papers filed in New Mexico he is a resident of Sante Fe. He attempted to put his name on the ballot for governor of New Mexico, however, was denied because he missed a filing date.
Some people on the Pine Ridge reservation said they were surprised at the outcome of the primary.
Steele, who attended a press conference on another matter, merely said that he was surprised and that if "you promise everyone $1,000 in per capita you will get the votes." He would not elaborate.
Means was not available for comment.
The general election will be held in November.