My family gave to the American Indian Movement, beginning at Yellow Thunder Camp, between $125,000 and $175,000 over the years, according to my sources. The source of the funds was a business we sold to employees, in full, in 1982, via a perpetual (lifetime) royalty payout contract that was based on the success of the business and was NON-ASSIGNABLE. The person to whom my family gave the love gifts was Russell Means/T.R.E.A.T.Y.
At no time did anyone in my family or in the business source enter into an arrangement with Russell Means that gave him any control over the business or the amount of the funds.
Mr. Means began, after his retirement from AIM in 1988, to demand the love gifts, to thwart our efforts to "share" them with others, and he began - upon occasion - to speak of those gifts as if they were "payments." We viewed those statements and his public claims to being a "business partner" who received "royalties" with curiosity, amusement, and silent contempt for the misrepresentations and lies that they were.
In addition, when we began our love giving to the Movement, we did so by sharing what we had with the needy at Yellow Thunder Camp, through Russell. We did so voluntarily, not because anybody asked us to. We were not wealthy. I personally have not owned anything since I took my vow of possessionlessness in the early 80s and completed my move to possessionlessness in January, 1984. I have not owned anything, except perhaps 49% of T.R.E.A.T.Y. Productions which Russell Means said he gave to me in 1995 and from which I have received no reports nor income, since that time. I reported no income to the Federal Government(IRS) from 1982 on because 1) I did not file any reports as my signal to the Feds that I was breaking my relationship with the US government totally and completely and forever and 2) because I personally had no taxable income to report.
We will not be suing Russell Means over these matters in any wasicu courts, because we believe that Indians will solve Indian problems and Russell Means is an Indian problem. That he has been a problem for some of us white people is only just because of my ancestors' abuse of Indians. And all he has cost us is disposable income and pride, so we feel lucky to atone for our ancestors at such a low personal expense. And we enjoyed many wonderful moments and learned a great deal from this relationship and hope for more of the same in the future, once Russell returns to his center.
It should be further noted that we did not differentiate between Russell, Yellow Thunder Camp and the American Indian Movement which originated in 1968 in Minneapolis, MN until after the "retirement" that I coordinated in 1988. We saw that retirement as "putting a positive face" on AIM and reorienting the Movement toward expansion at the grass roots level. It was at that time that AIM stopped being "driven" by "leaders" from the past and became the Movement of the People.
Now some have told me, in private, that Russell Means is a "bad Indian."
I believe Russell Means is a "poor Indian." I believe him to be a self-confessed liar, a con artist, and a Nietzschean malcontent who has entered the consequent "softening of the brain" phase that deludes him into thinking because he and his "groupies" see Russell Means as superhuman, he is superhuman. (I would remind all who are so inclined to remember that the step before becoming superhuman is to be human, that the step before becoming supernatural is to be natural.) Russell told me that he wrote the amalgam of truth and error, fabrications and telltale omissions that he calls his "autobiography" for "white people" and said "I think I covered myself pretty well."
I cannot disagree with that last thought more: I think , in this autobiography, he exposed himself and all who are co-dependent with him, including the current wife and "board members" he has duped, to charges of fraud and corruption of the meanest and basest sort. I know that his publisher, St. Martin's Press and co-author, Marvin Wolf, did not verify several "stories" he fabricated, including the claim to be getting his money from us from a business partnership to which he was party.
I also see Russell Means as my brother and call him to repentance for what he has done to injure the People. I have also suggested to him ways and means of doing this in an honorable fashion.
Whether he repents or not, I love him unconditionally and will stand by him and share any guilt with him to the greatest extent possible as determined by the People, should the People require us to stand before them in judgement for what we have done.
Everything that is of, by and for the People is of AIM; everything that is of, by and for greed is AIM-less.
Everything is good, regardless of these matters, because the Spirit-Helpers/Christ make "all things work together for good" to all those who are truehearted and honorable in their love for Sacred Medicine, the Earth, and the Future Generations.
These statements have been made, in some form or other, in front of witnesses. All statements about the business source of the funds can be verified by persons and documents. I know of no disproving documents in existence. I would make these statements in front of any audience if the Spirit were to direct me to do so. I would make them under oath were I subpoenaed and I stand by them as I have written them here.
If there are any contradictions between this statement and anything I may have said elsewhere, let this statement stand as the corrective version.
Stephen E. W. Savage (previously known as Steve Pipkin)
Means discusses Savage/Pipkin
American Indian MovementFirst Nations