I Have Been Told

A column by Anne M. Dunn

A voice for an urgent message

We have lost an incredible human being. Native American author, poet, actor, musician and political activist John Trudell walked on this week. He died of cancer at his home in Santa Clara County in Northern California.

He’d accomplished a lot in his 69 years. He led a life dedicated to indigenous human rights, justice, land and language issues. He helped spark a spoken word movement that is a continuation of Native American oral traditions.

Like many people of vision and courage he has been reviled, ridiculed, hated, loved, idolized and adored.

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, MN.

He’d studied radio and broadcasting at a college in San Bernardino and joined American Indians occupying the former federal prison on Alcatraz island in San Francisco bay. The activists equipped with bedrolls and potato salad had hitched boat rides to the bleak outcropping in the middle of the night. The occupation lasted from November 20, 1969, to June 11, 1970.The content you are trying to access is only available to members. Sorry.

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