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Means, who died Monday from throat cancer at age 72, helped lead the 1973 uprising at Wounded Knee a bloody confrontation that raised America's awareness about the struggles of Indians and gave rise to a wider protest movement that lasted for the rest of the decade.
Before AIM, there were few national advocates for American Indians. Means was one of the first to emerge. He sought to restore Indians' pride in their culture and to challenge a government that had paid little attention to tribes in generations. He was also one of the first to urge sports teams to do away with Indian names and mascots.
Other protests led by Means included an American Indian prayer vigil on top of Mount Rushmore and the seizure of a replica of the Mayflower on Thanksgiving Day in Plymouth, Mass.
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