John Trudell

John Trudell
John Trudell
  • Born: February 15, 1946
  • Died: December 8, 2015
  • Nationality: Native American (Dakota), American
  • Profession: Indigenous Rights Activist, Poet, Musician, Actor









John Trudell was a Native American author, poet, actor, musician, and political activist. He was the spokesperson for the United Indians of All Tribes' takeover of Alcatraz beginning in 1969, broadcasting as Radio Free Alcatraz. During most of the 1970s, he served as the chairman of the American Indian Movement, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Quotes About
Author Quote
Quote Topics Cited
All politics to me - Indian or white - is an illusion preventing us from being authentic because we're communicating through something that isn't real to us. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
All that I am is me. So I'm not really a poet or a writer or an actor or an activist; I'm me, and these are things that I do.
Because we are all of an oral tradition in our beginning histories, the voice of the poet in this particular society will be heard. Society
Before Little Bighorn, Sitting Bull had dream of soldiers falling from the sky.
Every song I've ever written always starts with the words because I want the music to be the musical extension of the feelings of the words, and not the words being the emotional extension of the feeling of the music. Music, Chants & Rapps
Everybody interprets things differently with their own perception, and I want poetry to pull out of them their own feelings. Literature, Writers & Writing
For decades, my identity was political, but I've come to understand that there's no political solution when you're dealing with someone else's rules.
For us, it's a matter of just staying alive and getting the best deal we can now. Eventually, this will all straighten out. It may be two generations away or 10 generations away, but time is irrelevant in that sense. As long as we, as a people, stay alive, we will survive. Time
From activist stage, I just spoke and said whatever I had to say. When the writing started, I would just read it. Then I had the interest into going into musical aspects. When that happened in '86, I liked the result of work we did in the studio. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
I am just a human being trying to make it in a world that is rapidly losing its understanding of being human.
I appreciate all of your expressions of concern, and I appreciate all of your expressions of love. It has been like a fire to my heart. Love, Romance, Marriage & Sex
I consider the electric guitar to be like a drum with strings. It became the drum of the Baby Boom generation. And the drum has always been the center of the tribe, a new electronic tribe.
I don't want to tell people how to remember me. I want people to remember me as they remember me.
I don't write as much now as I used to, but I write. The lines still come, maybe periodically, and I'll go through these little bursts of time where I write a lot of things then a long period of time where maybe I don't write anything. Time
I find there is room in music to talk with music. It may expand ways people can participate with music. It doesn't sound hokey or like some kind of voice-over. Music, Chants & Rapps
I have a real interest in working with younger Native artists. I think it's a very important way for Native people to communicate the realities of our culture and remember our ancestors.
I have experienced within my own lifetime the attack of my winter camp and the killing of the women and children. It left me even angrier than I was - and I was never too calm to begin with. Women
I knew I had to stop running. I had to be in a place. Los Angeles became that place.
I wanted to take the power of thought and the word, along with the power of speaking and heart, and see if we could wire what was coming out of us as humans with electric instruments. Power
I was going mad. One day, I just started writing, and it was like therapy because I was in a position where I couldn't rage. I never expected to be a writer; it's a different world than I ever expected to be in.
I wasn't interested in having to live with a camera - I have a hard enough time getting along with myself. I don't need cameras around and all that action. Time
I'm a member of the American Indian Movement, and I'm from the indigenous nations of the Western Hemisphere.
I'm basically a starving artist.
I'm not a musician making words to go with my music. Music, Chants & Rapps
In a personal context, I'm not in the ground, and I'm not in an institution. So I guess I'm doing pretty good.
It's always good to go home. It's strengthening to see your past and know you have someplace to go where you're part of a people.
Life is all about the spirit. Life
My influences in this world have always been Crazy Horse and Malcolm X, my overall influences. But I was influenced by rock n' roll, blues, and country music. I was influenced by singers. Music, Chants & Rapps
One Earth, one mother - one does not sell the Earth.
The average human being in America is going through some sort of hard times - physical, emotional, psychological. Everybody's carrying a bit of bone days in them.
The whole point is to take from our native culture and from contemporary culture without using one art form to mimic the other, so that our native identity remains the native identity, the contemporary identity remains the contemporary identity, and the mixing of these two musical identities creates a third musical identity. Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
There have been some positive things that have happened for the tribes, but it's a constant, vigilant fight about protecting what resources we have in terms of land and rights.
They took all our land; I don't have any land to toil. My crops have to grow somewhere else.
We cannot change the political system, we cannot change the economic system, we cannot change the social system, until the people control the land, and then we take it out of the hands of that sick minority that chooses to pervert the meaning and the intention of humanity.
What I view life like is about energy. Everything is about energy - everything. We physically are little units of electrical energy, and we vibrate and project electromagnetic thought. Life
Whatever their reasons, Hollywood, or the entertainment industry, is saying something about Indians. I don't see the rest of the media knocking down any doors to do that.
When I left politics in the early Eighties and started writing and recording, my idea was that I could have an influence further down into other generations. That Natives could come into the culture through arts and music. Music, Chants & Rapps ;Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
When one lives in a society where people can no longer rely on the institutions to tell them the truth, the truth must come from culture and art. Truth ;Society ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
White people don't seem to have many Elders. They do have a lot of oldsters.
You go back and you read your Constitution. You read your Declaration of Independence. And you will see that the only people who could decide these freedoms were white males who owned property, and all the rest of us were excluded.