Activist, filmmaker and author Diné Pearl Daniel-Means dies at 62

Pearl Daniel-Means, a renowned filmmaker, activist and writer from Diné, died on Saturday, May 28, according to her business partner Shannon Kring. Daniel-Means was 62 years old. The cause of his death was not disclosed by his family.

Born into the Ashiihi (salt) clan of the Navajo Nation, Daniel-Means was given a Lakota name Iyoyanbya Izanzan Win, which translates to “Bright Light”.

“Pearl was more than worthy of her Lakota name and she was a shining light in my life and in this world,” Kring said. Indigenous News Online. “Even those who did not have the honor of knowing her personally were touched by her tireless work to bring to light the struggles and triumphs of Indigenous peoples.

Daniel-Means has spoken internationally on issues concerning Indigenous issues, human rights and environmentalism. She was married to Native American activist, author, artist and actor Russell Means until his death in 2012, and was his business manager and collaborator on numerous projects.

Daniel-Means is the film’s co-producer “End of the Line: The Women of Standing Rock”, which airs on Peacock from June 2. Directed by Kring, the film documents the women who risked their lives to fight the Dakota Access Pipeline from late 2016 to early 2017 on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota.

On Tuesday evening, the film is Facebook page posted news of Daniel-Means’ passing: “It is with deep sadness that we announce that our beloved sister and co-producer Pearl Means has transcended. Born into the Ashiihi (Salt) Clan of the Navajo Nation, Pearl was film producer, activist, author, daughter, sister, mother and grandmother who has spoken around the world, from New Zealand to South Africa, and from Ecuador to Finland, on issues concerning Indigenous issues, human rights and environmentalism. Her Lakota name, Iyoyanbya Izanzan Win, loosely translates to “Bright Light”. Her name couldn’t be more apt. Rest in power, my sister. We love you.

In recent years, Daniel-Means has served on the board of several organizations serving Indigenous peoples, including the Lakota People’s Law Project, which made a social media announcement to share Means’ passing. “She was one of our most incredible supporters and board members,” wrote the Lakota People’s Law Project in a statement tuesday. “We will share more information about his impact and his life in the near future.”

Daniel-Means is survived by his father, Ernest Wayne Daniel; his sisters, Patricia Rose Daniel, Rebecca Ann Daniel, Naomi Kathleen Daniel, Roberta Lea Daniel-Trotter; his children, Tessica Dawn Baca, Trista Cheryal Baca and Brandon James Norwick (Alexandrea); his granddaughter, Arya Kaya-Pearl Robertson; and his life partner, Dr. Edmund Keli’i Paki-Silva, Jr.

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Author: Darren ThompsonE-mail: This email address is protected from spam. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Darren Thompson (Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe) is a freelance journalist based in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, where he also contributes to Unicorn Riot, an alternative media publication. Thompson has reported on political unrest, tribal sovereignty and Indigenous issues for the Indigenous Peoples Television Network, Indian Country Today, Native News Online, and Unicorn Riot. He has contributed to The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Voice of America on various Indigenous issues in the international conversation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in criminology and legal studies from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.