“In The religious perceptional reality, see you committed a crime for being born, see you fucked up for getting here.” ~ John Trudell
John Trudell – Sante Sioux – Native American
1973-1979 Chairman of American Indian Movement
Address in San Francisco 2001
Rip John Trudell
Remembering the Life and Legacy of John Trudell
John Trudell, noted activist, poet and Native thinker, walked on this morning after a lengthy bout with cancer. His family included some of his last messages to Indian country in a press release. Among them: “I want people to remember me as they remember me.”
John Trudell was a Santee Dakota activist, artist, actor, and poet, who led a life dedicated to indigenous human rights, land and language issues. He helped spark a spoken word movement that is a continuation of Native American oral traditions. He walked on December 8 at the age of 69.
Born on February 15, 1946 in Omaha, he spent his early years living on the Santee Reservation in northern Nebraska. His father was Santee and his mother was of Mexican Indian heritage. He had a normal life until his mother died at age 6, and the new rock and roll music resonated with him from ages 9-12. He said high school was not good for him and would enlist in the U.S. Navy from 1963 until 1967, to get away. He married Fenicia “Lou” Ordonez in 1968 in California, briefly attended college, thinking he would go into radio and broadcasting.
Everything changed in 1969 when Native American students and organizers, Trudell among them, occupied Alcatraz Island from November 20, 1969 to June 11, 1970. That group became “Indians of All Tribes,” and they issued the manifesto, We Hold the Rock, and eventually the book, Alcatraz is Not an Island. The Alcatraz Occupation became an incubator for the nascent Native American rights movement, including the American Indian Movement (AIM) in Minneapolis. The legal basis for this occupation was the Treaty of Fort Laramie of 1868, which said that any abandoned federal property would revert to the Indian Nations. This treaty’s legality would also inspire many more actions across Indian country. Trudell has always maintained that all these political actions were not just moral, ethical issues but were legal issues, according to Native treaty rights and federal trust responsibilities.
Trudell used his broadcasting experience on the airwaves of “Radio Free Alcatraz” (a clip from the program can be heard on the 2005 documentary Trudell). His marriage would end during this period as he become a leading Native spokesman attracting national attention. The negotiations over Alcatraz, the proposed Indian Center and the occupation itself fell apart in 1971, but so many names of Native activists, organizers, artists, writers and actors from that time would become prominent in the ensuing struggles, movement and documentation.
Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/12/08/remembering-life-and-legacy-john-trudell-162697