The first of four ceremonies to honor the life of former American Indian Movement activist Russell Means took place Wednesday on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Some 500 people gathered at the Little Wound High School in Kyle as Means' ashes arrived Wednesday afternoon by horseback.
Means died Monday at his home on the Pine Ridge reservation after battling cancer. He was 72.
A onetime leader of the American Indian Movement, Means called national attention to the plight of impoverished tribes and lamented the waning of their culture. Even after leaving AIM, he was a cultural presence who appeared in several movies.
Means' ashes are expected to be scattered in a private ceremony Thursday in the Black Hills.
Three other ceremonies are scheduled for next year. They are tentatively set for February 2013 - during the 40th Anniversary of the Wounded Knee Occupation, June 2013 at Wind Cave National Park, and November 10, 2013 which is Russell's birthday.