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© 2001 Indian Country Tomorrow
Means Launches Line of Malt Liquor
SUNDAY, APRIL 1, 2001

russell means malt liquor
Russell Means Malt Liquor: Where White Men Fear to Tread.
WHITECLAY, NE -- Horrifying alcohol abuse counselors, mental health advocates, and the Indian Health Service, actor and activist Russell Means made the first sale of Russell Means Malt Liquor at his new beer establishment in Nebraska on Saturday.

"If you can't beat 'em, join 'em," said Means as he popped open a 40-ounce and passed it around to a small group of supporters inside The Trail of Broken Treaties, a glitzy beer establishment in the border town of Whiteclay.

Jamie Bear, a resident of the nearby Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, was Treaties' first customer. Beneath a tattered copy of the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie, Bear proclaimed Means' latest venture as "a bit flat and kind of annoying." He added: "Hopefully, the taste will fade away in a few minutes and it won't bother me anymore."

Janice Stands Ahead was more defiant. President of Lakotas for A Sober Sovereign Indian Environment (LASSIES), an activist group based on the reservation, Stands Ahead said Means' commercial endeavor was "irresponsible and reprehensible" and led a protest outside his bar.

"If Means thinks he can escape the jurisdiction of the Great Sioux Nation and sell this liquor to his Lakota brothers and sisters, he is wrong," said Stands Ahead. "We will take him to the Lakota Supreme Court and hold him accountable for the genocide of our peoples."

russell means malt liquor
Russell Means. Photo © SG.
But Means was in no mood to hear such criticism, particularly after last month's United States Supreme Court decision overturning his misdemeanor conviction of discharging a firearm on the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation in Colorado. Means was able to convince all but four Supreme Court Justices that he was not, as he has so boldly claimed in the past, an "Indian" and therefore immune to the authority of another tribe.

"I thank Chief Justice William Rehnquist for seeing through the White Man's laws and setting me free from a sentence I never served," Means told Indian Country Tomorrow in an interview.

Means has promised to donate 80 percent of the profits from his establishment to an alcohol and drug counseling center he says he will build on the reservation next year. Economic analysts, however, say his pledge might go unfulfilled since his establishment only has room for five patrons.

"Unless he can keep this bar open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, I find it hard to see how he can make a dime on this project," said Jeffrey Goldberg, a fellow at the Harvard University Project for American Indian Economic Development, to Indian Country Tomorrow.

Means called Goldberg's projection "unfounded" and said he has secured a licensing deal with Hormel, the makers of Crazy Horse Malt Liquor, to distribute his self-named product to inner cities and tribal casinos throughout the country.

He also said he has teamed up with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis to franchise his beer establishment throughout the globe much like his fellow actors have done with Planet Hollywood. The first Treaties outpost is scheduled to open in Indonesia just in time for the monsoon season this fall, said Means.

"I will conquer the world economically just like Crazy Horse beat Custer and the Army militarily," a defiant Means proclaimed to Indian Country Tomorrow.

© 2001 Indian Country Tomorrow