John Trudell called us to clarity, to intelligence, to responsibility, and beyond the delusion of believing that believing is thinking, .
John spoke of the failures of his “sixties” generation in grasping how corruption has spread through the entire fabric of our culture and is affecting all of us. He called people to get out of fantasy land and come into a coherent relationship with reality.
As an indigenous leader, he took bold stands for American Indians. As a Human BEING he called all people in North America and in the world to take serious pause and reflect on the profound lessons and errors of leaders, like him, from the sixties. He had the courage, humility and lucidity to realize and to expose some of the grave misgivings from the era of the sixties. As he says, we will either THINK our way through the mess we are in, or become extinct.
He questioned many of his own attitudes and presumptions, including such slogans as “Proud to be Indian,” challenging himself, and all of us, to look beyond catchy slogans. He saw that there are levels of attention and responsibility that he, and many other leaders of the sixties, not only failed to awaken but were deliberately distracted from, with extreme consequences for the following generations.
His message was consistently to dare to think, to dare to face reality, to use our Intelligence, to love ourselves, to know ourselves as Shapes of Earth Intelligence, to move beyond blame, shame and guilt and to outlast the current states of a biocidal sociopathology masquerading as a “culture” hellbent on corralling, controlling, mining and owning every expression of life on earth, including human beings.
We can access the words and thinking of People whose lives, and whose loved ones’ lives, have been put on the line for speaking TRUTH; NOT entertainment, not something to keep you mystified in wish-full non-thinking. John Trudell is one such person as are so many of the indigenous People I have known who have dedicated their lives to the advancement of something greater than the narcissism of their “own” “spiritual journey.”
These are People who are well aware that our lives impact far more than our singular lives. We heard him speak very lucidly and compassionately to the history of the Tribes of Europe.
John Trudell served the American Indian Movement in the sixties. He was a spoken word artist, musician, and a very, VERY astute observer of the imperial culture overtaking the planet. He wasn’t just “an American Indian.” He demonstrated a profound concern for people of all races.
He saw that the descendants of the tribes of Europe suffered a similar fate as what befell American Indians, but for far longer, and brutally and thoroughly, to the point that we don’t even recall what happened to our own ancestry and how that impacts our way of being today. He speaks with profound compassion for, and recognition of, what Europeans have gone, and continue to go through.
He observed and participated in the entire spectrum of American and modern culture. His views on the pitfalls and blind spots of the sixties are of critical importance, especially as regards the parroting of other peoples’ foregone conclusions. Much of the so-called “alternative” movement around the world is still profoundly mired in unquestioned enthusiasms, truisms and sloganeering. A core aspect is “believing that believing is thinking” and that consequences simply disappear as long as we ignore them.
John Trudell, like so many elders from Original Peoples, rooted his thinking in close, sustained, open, patient and sharp observation of the world. His words convey that clarity and precision. I’m including two videos, both short, both to-the-point. This is for students, those who apply themselves with fullness of care to their way of living.
I was surprised when I came across John’s work and speeches. He was saying many of the same things I had discovered on my own, but with decades more of observation and a level of engagement, clarity, and compassion, that I continue to find astounding. His voice is distilled in the literal fire of a life devoted to Human Dignity and Intelligence. His voice and his example call us to the Apprenticeship of Re-Membering our Humanity, Thinking Clearly, and Becoming a capital-P People again.
John Trudell has passed away. He was a gift to humanity in all of its finest expressions. He was a True Elder, a Man worthy of the name, someone who cared FULLY and who paid the price so many Original, Rooted, Related People of these Americas have paid over the last 500 years, and many Original, Rooted, Related Peoples have paid, around the world, including Europe, for even longer.
His call to people of European descent was devoid of accusation or shame. He called us to remember who we ARE, as human BEINGS, and to dare to face the fact that we are in the same situation as the Original Peoples of the Americas, except much deeper into a system mining away at our humanity, and for far longer.
Yesterday I came across one of his last concerts on youtube, (link to the whole concert) full of that steady, grounded, wise, funky generosity so typically his. I was surprised to see how ill he was. He spoke of his illness, and continuing the Journey, and I just felt a sense of dread at the loss of someone who stood up for ALL people and spoke truth simply and clearly. In this last concert, at minute 21, he says,(link to what John has to say)
“If there’s going to be any real change, then we need to learn to respect our intelligence. It’s very, very important that we learn how to like ourselves. This is the most important thing of all. Because, if you don’t like yourself, what good are you going to do for the rest of the world when it really comes down? We need to think, because there’s too much muddled over here that is getting in the way of the lives that we’re entitled to… We need to learn to like ourselves and respect our intelligence”