Document 60297

The Institute for Democratic Education and Culture
P.O. Box 22748
Oakland CA 94609
Phone: (510) 601-0182
Fax: (510) 601-0183
[email protected]
John Trudell (Santee Sioux) is an acclaimed poet,
national recording artist, actor and activist whose
international following reflects the universal language
of his words, work and message.
Trudell was a spokesperson for the Indian of All Tribes
occupation of Alcatraz Island from 1969 to 1971. He
then worked with the American Indian Movement
(AIM), serving as Chairman of AIM from 1973 to
1979. In February of 1979, a fire of unknown origin
killed Trudell’s wife, three children and mother-in-law.
It was through this horrific tragedy that Trudell began
to find his voice as an artist and poet, writing, in his
words, “to stay connected to this reality.”
In 1982, Trudell began recording his poetry to traditional Native music and in 1983, he
released his debut album Tribal Voice on his own Peace Company label. Trudell then
teamed up with the late legendary Kiowa guitarist Jesse Ed Davis. Together, they
recorded three albums during the 1980s. The first of these, AKA Graffiti Man, was
released in 1986 and dubbed the best album of the year by Bob Dylan. AKA Graffiti Man
served early notice of Trudell’s singular ability to express fundamental truths through a
unique mix of poetry, Native music, blues and rock.
Since that time, Trudell has released seven more albums plus a digitally re-mastered
collection of his early Peace Company cassettes. His 2002 CD, Bone Days, was executive
produced by Academy Award-winning actress Angelina Jolie and released on the
Daemon Records label. His latest double album, Madness & The Moremes, showcases
more than five years of new music and includes special ghost tracks of old favorite
Trudell tunes made with Davis. This release offers a full range of classic Trudell
poetry—there are lyrics filled with penetrating insight and others with knock out humor,
all put to some of the best music Bad Dog has ever made together.
In addition to his dozen recordings, Trudell has published three books of poetry,
including his latest, a collection of all his works entitled Lines from a Mined Mind: The
Words of John Trudell. He has also appeared in several feature films (Thunderheart,
Smoke Signals, On Deadly Ground and Dreamkeeper) as well as a number of
documentaries. He is also the subject of an award-winning documentary on his life,
Trudell, which premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. The film is available to
accompany Trudell’s presentations.
Today Trudell speaks and performs on campuses and in communities across the country,
a living example of commitment, courage and talent.
John Trudell - Discography
• BONE DAYS ASITIS Productions (2001)
Productions (2001)
• BLUE INDIANS Dangerous Discs on Inside
Recordings (1999)
• JOHNNY DAMAS & ME Rykodisc Records
• A.K.A. GRAFITTI MAN Rykodisc Records
EARTH Peace Company (1992)
Company (1991)
Voice (1987)
Company (1986)
• TRIBAL VOICE Peace Company (1983)
John Trude ll – Act ing C r edits
Hallmark Entertainment and ABC Television
"Jimmy Looks Twice"
Columbia TriStar (a Tribeca/Waterhorse Production)
Directed by Michael Apted and Alan Smithee
Produced by Robert Redford
Directed by Michael Apted
"Birgil Little Eagle" - Guest Star
Episode #296607-1103 "Freedom of the Road"
Executive Produced by Michael Apted
Directed by Graham Clifford
TV Series starring Robert Uric
"Johnny Red Feather"
Starring and directed by Steven Seagal
"Radio Disc Jockey"
Produced by enit, inc.
Directed by Chris Eyre
John Trude ll – Book s
Lines From a Mined Mind - The Words of John Trudell (Fulcrum Publishing 2008)
Review By: Gerry Weaver, Blogcritics Magazine - August 3, 2008
John Trudell has released through Fulcrum Publishing an anthology of his
poetry from his 25-year recording career and it is a powerful moving read
from a man who has a lot to say on the state of the world and how we relate to
each other.
Mr. Trudell, a Santee Sioux, is a well-known Native activist, and much of his
poetry draws on Native imagery and concerns, but he is also interested in
drawing parallels to oppression wherever and however it is experienced. His
message focuses on healing, searching for inclusion rather than exclusion of
Lines From a Mined Mind blends a delicate lyricism with passionate political
criticism and left me determined to hear Mr. Trudell perform the poetry as the
songs they were created to be. Trudell’s style is to tell his truths simply and sincerely, mixing different
visions and voices as he moves from very personal stories to hard political commentary. His insight is
based on a life of activism laced with personal tragedy. He was spokesperson for the Indian of All
Tribes occupation of Alcatraz Island from 1969 to 1971 and Chairman of the American Indian
Movement (AIM) from 1973 to 1979. In 1979, Trudell’s wife, three children and mother-in-law were
killed in a fire of unknown origin and it was this tragedy that compelled the artist to find his voice.
The book opens with “Listening,” an excerpt of which lays out the spirit of Trudell’s philosophy: ”The
Power of Understanding Real connections to spirit Is meaning our resistance Our struggle Is not
sacrifice lost It is Natural energy properly used.” To Trudell, we all need to engage in the definition of
our culture and our mores, rather than leaving it to those who benefit from exploitation. This shared
responsibility to speak up would lead to a feeling of connection to each other and to nature, something
the poet feels has been increasingly lost in our materially-based culture. The poet can move from a smoldering critique of materialism in “Material Junkies” and of the politics of
war in “Arms Race” to the poignant sweetness of “Little Daughter,” and the different narrative voices
keep the material fresh and engaging. Trudell mines myth and fable, from Mother Goose and the
Brothers Grimm to Native imagery, to craft his potent visions and weave a very personal moving
commentary on what’s gone wrong in modern society. These are protest songs delivered honestly and
they work. The artist began recording his poems to music in 1982 and has released eight albums, many
made with legendary Kiowa guitarist, Jesse Ed Davis. The albums mix rock, blues, traditional
indigenous music, and folk to produce an eclectic mix of protest music. Rolling Stone’s assessment of
1992’s AKA The Grafitti Man was that it was a “moving, shape-shifting, rock & roll treatise on the state
of the world.” Having read Lines From a Mined Mind, I’m ready to track down the original recordings
to savour the full effect of Trudell’s poetry. However, the words have their own power and I recommend
this collection wholeheartedly to anyone interested in Trudell’s artistry and politics.
Other Books by John Tr udell
• John Trudell poems, lyrics, talks, a conversation (Inanout Press, 1994)
• Songs called poems (North American Water Office, 1982)
Trude ll
A film about legendary Native poet and activist John Trudell.
Directed by Heather Rae
Produced by Heather Rae and Elyse Katz
Running time: 80 minutes
TRUDELL follows the life work of Native American
poet/activist John Trudell. Filmmaker Heather Rae has spent
more than a decade chronicling his travels, spoken word and
politics in a poetic and naturally stylized manner. The film
combines archival, concert and interview footage with abstract imagery mirroring the
coyote nature of Trudell himself.
Incorporating years of work, 16mm and Super 8 film, video, and archival footage,
TRUDELL begins in the late sixties when John Trudell and a community group, Indians
of All Tribes, occupied Alcatraz Island for 21 months creating international recognition
of the American Indian cause and birthing the contemporary Indian people’s movement.
The film goes to Alcatraz, returning to what John refers to as his “birth.” From Alcatraz
we follow John’s political journey as the National Spokesman of the American Indian
Movement (AIM as well as his musical and film career. The film combines interviews
with his allies from the entertainment community, the ‘movement’ days, and his friends
and family with archival footage, concert footage from all over the world and abstract
imagery. TRUDELL is intended to be a film that steps outside of traditional forms, even
for Native films, and explores a figure of our contemporary history in a way that fairly
represents the evocative nature of his work and significance.
This film can be screened in conjunction with appearances by John Trudell.
It is also available for sale on the SpeakOut website: