“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.” – John Trudell
Born on this date in 1946, Trudell was a Native American author, poet, actor, musician, and political activist who became a leading spokesperson – both orally and through his writing – for native peoples across the country. A Santee Dakota, he grew up in northern Nebraska near the Santee Reservation and immersed himself in the Santee culture and its oral traditions, a strong influence on his writing and music.
Trudell often used his poetry as lyrics for recordings, and began in 1982 to set them to traditional American Indian music, eventually leading to his groundbreaking gold record A.K.A Graffiti Man. Much sought-after as both a performer and a reader of his poetry, he toured worldwide with the Australian band "Midnight Oil" and with Peter Gabriel’s global World Music and Dance production.
Not long before his death in 2015 Trudell published a book, Lines From a Mined Mind: The Words of John Trudell, a collection of 25 years of poetry, lyrics and essays.
“Every song I've ever written,” Trudell said, “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.”
was to remember your roots in what you do or say. “It's always good to go home,” he said. “It's strengthening to see your past and know you have someplace to go where you're part of a people. “
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