BY DAN SKYE
John Trudell: Sound & Fury
As a young Santee Sioux, John Trudell helped orchestrate the takeover of the abandoned federal penitentiary on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay, which lasted from 1969 until 1971. The action coincided with the rise of the American Indian Movement (AIM), and Trudell emerged as one of the movement’s most effective spokespeople.
Those days were harrowing, a time when outspoken AIM warriors suffered vicious harassment at the hands of the federal government. Trudell’s path of activism on behalf of Native rights eventually resulted in the arson murder of his family, an event left uninvestigated by the FBI, despite its clear jurisdiction under the Major Crimes Act.
He drifted in grief for awhile, then rediscovered his voice as a spoken-word artist, beginning with the release of his first album, Tribal Voice. Trudell also found success as a film actor with roles in Thunderheart and Smoke Signals. His most recent CD, Bone Days, has garnered considerable acclaim, and HIGH TIMES saw fit to bestow the Conscious Artist of the Year award upon him for his work over the past two decades. Trudell gave us his first full interview 10 years ago. His voice has lost none of its power.
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