Monday, November 14, 2005

Vine Deloria Jr., Champion of Indian Rights, Dies at 72

DENVER, Nov. 14 (AP) - Vine Deloria Jr., an influential advocate of American Indian rights and the author of the groundbreaking "Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto," died Sunday. He was 72.

Dr. Deloria, a Standing Rock Sioux, died of complications from an aortic aneurysm, said his son, Phil Deloria.

The author was considered one of the most outspoken - and persuasive - proponents of Indian cultural and political identity.

"I think he opened Americans' eyes to the real history of Native Americans and the injustice of past federal policies," said John Echohawk, executive director of the Native American Rights Fund in Boulder, Colo.

"I think what we saw in his generation of Native Americans was this transition of federal policy from termination to self-determination, and Vine, I think, was the real leader in making that happen," Mr. Echohawk said.