Hau mi taku ya pi AnpaHoksila emaci ya pelo na ha chun te wa shte na pe che yu za pelo.
“Hello, my relatives. I am AnpaHoksila “Anpa” Knox. I send each and every one of you a good heartfelt handshake. This is the Lakota greeting that has always been my people’s way of introducing ourselves to one another, and so I send this greeting to my readers,” Anpa says. “The translation of my name from the Lakota language to the English language is Dawning Boy.”
The story of my name begins with the story of Anpa’s parents.
“I was born and raised in my family’s hometown of Winner South Dakota. My father’s name is Russell Means, a descendant of the War Eagle and Crazy Horse Clans. My mother’s name is Sandra Joyce King from the Bob Tale Crow and Shields Clans.”
In 1973, Russell Means and the American Indian Movement known as AIM, were on their way to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation when they stopped in Winner, South Dakota. They planned to camp on the east side of town, but the local sheriff informed them that they couldn’t. When John King Senior, Joyce King’s father, got word of this, he invited Russel Means and the AIM group to stay on his property.
Anpa’s grandfather, John King was highly respected among the Winner area. He was known as a peace-maker and a generous man.
“Today, a person of his stature among my people would be called a community chairman,” Anpa says. “Many years ago, when English names were given to my people by Christians, they took note of my grandfather’s generosity and ability to establish peace amongst the people and gave him the last name of King. His original name was Bob Tale Crow.”
“My dad’s (Russell Means) charisma and devotion to helping his people express their ancient civil and cultural virtues, and their spiritual traditions have been valued throughout the existence of his people and caught many people’s attention,” says Anpa. “Among those that were inspired by my father and the movement he was leading was my mother.”
When Means left Winner to continue his journey toward Wounded Knee, Anpa’s mother left her family to stand by his side. They stopped many places before arriving on the Pine Ridge Reservation, where the historical event known as the occupation of Wounded Knee would later begin.
Over his life, Anpa’s mother told him stories of his father on their journey west.
“He carried with him many books on law and treaties rights. He would stay up into the morning hours reading them, teaching himself everything he could to be sure he and other founders like Dennis Banks could lead the movement without violating the law.”
“By the time they reached their destination, my mother was pregnant with me. Worried about her safety and that of his unborn child, my father sent her back to Winner with two bodyguards Ronnie PathFinder Lopez and Tim Roubideaux,” says Anpa.
“When I was born, my father asked a respected elder from the Winner area to name me. His name was John Fire, Seeker of Visions. It wasn’t until my mother checked out of the hospital, three days after I was born, that she learned of my name for the first time. He had given me the name AnpaHoksila, Dawning Boy. My mother says it was good that I stayed with her in Winner to grow up because of all of the traveling my father did. I was fortunate to learn the way of life and spirituality of my people,” says Anpa.
On Feb. 27, 1973, approximately 200 Oglala Lakota and followers of the AIM movement seized and occupied the town of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for 71 days.
“My father, who passed on to the spirit world in 2012, was well known for many reasons. He was a natural leader and spokesman for one of the most important moments in Native American history. A movement so important that it brought Native people together again in the 21st century as a proud and distinct people, the way our ancestors always intended us to be. My father Russell Means, Dennis Banks, many other great spiritual leaders, and dedicated Native Americans ignited AIM, the American Indian Movement. They were motivated by their devotion to reclaiming our civil rights and equality at a time of trials and tribulations for all native tribes across our entire nation. Through his actions and heartfelt speeches my father lived his life to become the well-known public figure he is to our history today.”
“One of the most interesting things I loved about my father was his connection and collaboration with some of our most humble humanitarians, famous artists in our society and people such as Marlon Brando, Robert DuVall, and Bernie Sanders. His yearnings to continue his plight for reaching out in his cause led him to become more than the average leader. He always loved many variations of art, so he started his acting career. He had roles in great films such as ‘Last of the Mohicans,’ ‘Natural Born Killers’ and ‘Black Cloud.’ His voice was that of Disney’s ‘Pocahontas’ as Pocahontas Father. He also appeared in many TV series,” says Anpa.
“Russell Means was a wise man that dedicated his life to non-violently fighting for the rights of his people. He spoke on behalf of all Natives as he eloquently demanded respect, equality, and deliverance of the rights and lands given to our people in federal treaties years ago. He lived his life standing for what he believed for all Native people and our ways of life. He was a great civil rights leader that will forever be remembered in history and in the hearts of his people. His spirit lives in me, my siblings, and in all of our children. His legacy continues as we all teach our children to continue to fight for what he believed in for us, and teach them to carry on the spiritual beliefs and traditions of our sacred ways of life. I want to also to take the time to share that he eloquently shared his story through his autobiography Russell Means, “Where White Men Fear To Tread.” It’s one his accomplishments I truly am so proud of. I love my Father and the never-ending inspiration he brought to my life and others to this day.
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