Saturday, June 27, 2009

Dangerous Truth -"How Does Tomorrow Dream?" by John Trudell

"He is extremely eloquent, therefore, extremely dangerous."
FBI dossier on John Trudell

John Trudell has fathered more children since 1979 when three of them, his wife and his mother-in-law died in a fire. But he
doesn't like to talk about them. "All I will say is that I have many children and they're not in the same place. Nobody's going to come in and kill all my kids at one time ever again. It's just not going to happen, it's not going to happen."

Prior to this tragedy, John Trudell had been the spokeperson for the Indians of All Tribes occupation of Alcatraz Island for 19 months, 1969-71; he was the national chairman of AIM (the American Indian Movement) 1972 -79 including being an AIM leader during the occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973.

His activism drew the attention of the FBI, which compiled a 17,000-page file on him.

Then, in February 1979 -- a few days before his 33rd birthday, he led a march to the FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. He had received a warning against speaking, but instead, he delivered an address from the steps of the FBI building on the subject of the agency's harassment of Indians. Less than 12 hours later, Trudell's pregnant wife, Tina, his three children, and his wife's mother were burned alive in a fire that destroyed their home on the Shoshone Paiute reservation in Nevada.- the apparent work of an arsonist.

"Murdered," Trudell said. "It's very simple. They were murdered."


I've had the pleasure of hearing John Trudell a few times. He's an extremely intelligent man, a bit of a loose cannon, someone with little to lose. After the murder of his wife and children to 'influence' his leadership within the Native community, he came forward as a man with nothing much more to lose - stripped bare. To me, he's always appeared as a very free man, making him quite dangerous.

Out of this experience he found his words in poetry and songwriting. He hooks up lines of truth. Dangerous truth. This one is a recent one of his and it comes with the usual warning to the sensitive: This is a hard one. Truth often is.

"I'm just a human being trying to make it in a world that is very rapidly losing its understanding of being human."
- John Trudell


Sandi said...

My heart hurts.

el poquito said...

I know.

I hesitate with these 'hard ones'. People certainly know already that the world is full of difficulty and hardship. None of us needs our noses rubbed in it.

At the same time, all this recent celebrity death hoopla makes me a bit cranky. The hoopla that is. Even celebrity death is bottom line - one more. Death, the great equalizer, not even money or fame in the end will make somebody any more than just one of the 150,000 people worldwide that will die today, and yesterday, and tomorrow.

Unfortunately, many of them will be children, and it was perhaps preventable. That's what's worth noticing - what is preventable.

The simplest remedy to your hurting heart: spend some time with a kid. That's within our reach. Don't be overwhelmed by the immensity, keep it within reach - show a kid some love!

My apologies for the hurting heart. I do believe though that our capacity to remain 'open' in the face of hurting and darkness equals our capacity to stand strong in the light.

And I know your capacity is great.

much love sent your way,
el po

Sandi said...

No apologies necessary, el po. My heart hurts because your piece is so moving. It is not overwhelming but rather a true and honest feeling. Never hesitate to show us the "hard ones". They are so important.

I spent most of the day with kids and have one sleeping in my bed right now. It is a good night.

Anonymous said...

how terrible.. cannot imagine life with out ttla, em and ra. gert