John Trudell, at a benefit for the U’wa of Columbia.
This is a moving, thought provoking spoken word and poetry
address, given in honor of the U’wa and their resistance to
oil drilling on their ancestral land in Columbia.
John Trudell is a poet, musician, and an advocate for Native
American rights. He did not set out to be a writer. His poetic
gift developed out of the remarkable, sometimes horrifying
circumstances of his life.
Trudell grew up on and around the Santee Sioux reservation near
Omaha, Nebraska. In 1969 he participated in the
of All Tribes occupation of Alcatraz. From 1973 to 1979, he served as
national chairman of A.I.M., the American Indian Movement. The
government response to A.I.M. was swift Trudell said, “They
waged war against us. They hunted us down. They killed, jailed,
destroyed us, by any means necessary.”
In 1979 that war took a terrible personal toll on John Trudell.
On February 11, he led a march to the FBI headquarters in
Washington D.C. Approximately 12 hours later, in the early
morning hours, a fire “of suspicious origin” burned
down Trudell’s home on the Shoshone Paiute reservation in
Nevada, killing his wife Tina, their three children, and
Tina’s mother. Devastated by the loss of his family,
Trudell withdrew from the world; “writing words”
became his way “to keep some sanity” and continue to
poet, and highly sought-after
speaker. You are about to hear the first half hour of a
talk he gave in March 2001 in San Francisco. The hall was filled
to capacity. Trudell took the stage with a thin folder of his
poems under his arm. He began with a disclaimer of sorts,
leading into a free association of thoughts about Earth and Sun,
ancient wisdom, and modern intelligence, and what it means to be
a human being. Here is John Trudell.
Well I, I’ll try to be coherent. And I don’t know
exactly where we’re going but wherever it is, we’ll
be okay. But if I say anything that you don’t agree with,
that’s just really what it is, right? Because I really am
I flew with the eagles
Until I fell from the nest
I ran with the wolves
Then got lost from the pack
Slowly I go crazy every day
Some days run faster than others
I never strayed into heaven
It was hard getting past hell
I traveled through and beyond
The death and birth of man
I am Iktomi
Imagine running out of imagine
Mistaking authority for power
Weaving lifes free spirit
Into patterns of control
I heard all that was said
Until now I hear nothing at all
The edge between twilight and dark
The great lie lurks
Prostitution of soul
Anyone can do it or not
I went down some roads
That stopped me dead in my tracks
I am Iktomi
I’ve been the mirror
To others reflecting selves
I’ve known love that can’t help
But love and I’ve been close
To that hurting way of love
I flew with the eagles
Until I fell from the nest
I ran with the wolves
Then got lost from the pack
From the earth
Wind cave memories
One with the sky
Time of different motions
Dog days dreamer
Chasing the neon
Woven into minds
From my place in line
I fell out of order
I’ve been here
I’ve been there
I’ve been anywhere
I haven’t been anywhere
and I’ll be back again
I am Iktomi
Imagine running out of imagine
Mistaking authority for power
Weaving lifes free spirit
Into patterns of control
In the reality
Of many realities
How we see what we see
Affects the quality
Of our reality
We are children of Earth and Sky
DNA descendant now ancestor
Human being physical spirit
Bone flesh blood as spirit
Metal mineral water as spirit
We are in time and space
But we’re from beyond time and space
The past is part of the present
The future is part of the present
Life and being are interwoven
We are the DNA of Earth, Moon, Planets, Stars
We are related to the universal
Creator created creation
Spirit and intelligence with clarity
Being and human as power
We are a part of the memories of evolution
These memories carry knowledge
These memories carry our identity
Beneath race, gender, class, age
Beneath citizen, business, state, religion
We are human beings
And these memories
Are trying to remind us
Human beings, human beings
It’s time to rise up
Remember who we are
I think I want to talk a little bit about who we are. Because see
reality is based upon our perception of reality. It’s what
it is. But we really need to understand that see, and I think one
of the objectives in life is to understand. It’s not enough
to know, right? I know how to turn on the TV but I can’t
even begin to understand how it works. So it’s not enough
So I think one of the purposes that life teaches us is, the
further we make it into life, the more coherency we have left and
we will understand. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a reality
where I’m surrounded by all these beings that don’t
know who they are. They don’t know who they are. And
because they don’t know who they are, they don’t know
where they are, they don’t understand the language
that they speak, so there’s a general confusion and chaos
that just takes place in their reality.
It’s almost like, you know, the way they make all the
little chaos go on inside of an internal combustion engine, you
know, and all the sparks and all the stuff that’s flying it
makes, it creates an energy that runs something. Well anyway,
it’s almost like this is the perceptional reality that is
being carried around in the human consciousness.
So anyway, who we are. We’re human beings. And the DNA of
the human being – my bone, flesh, and blood is literally
made up of the metals, minerals, and liquids of the Earth. We are
literally shapes and forms of the Earth. That’s who we are.
And we have being.
Our being comes from our relationship to the
Sun, and to the universe. Because our relationship to the Sun
– I mean let’s be, you know, be very coherent and
clear about this: without the Sun we would not have life.
Alright, it’s almost like the rays of light that the Sun
represents and brings to the Earth, see, this is the sperm that
gives life to the womb that the Earth is.
So our relationship to power and our relationship to the reality
of power is connected to that relationship. Anyway, what I see,
the human, the being part of human is being mined through the
human experience. See they’re mining us.
And whoever they are, I don’t have the names, but
we’ll just figure some of that out on our own. Because,
you know – and I’m sure they have names. [laughter]
I’m real sure that they do, but I can’t say them to you
because I don’t – they don’t want us to know
their names, maybe, right? Because, what they’re doing
isn’t really – you know, in a way it’s like
vampirism in a lot of things – but anyway, in a mechanical
term, we’re being mined.
And the being part of human is being mined through the logic of
the human, alright, and the emotions of the human. The being of
spirit, the spirit of being is what is being mined through the
logics and emotions of the human, in order to run this system,
I mean this is the purpose of techno-logic civilization. They
call it techno-logic for a very specific reason. This isn’t
an accident, okay? You know, it truly isn’t. But the
purpose of the civiliz[ation] – and so one of the
civilizing processes is to erase memories. Alright?, to erase
memories. Because we have ancestral memory. It’s encoded in
the DNA – it’s a genetic memory.
You look at how techno-logic civilization – and everywhere
that it goes, the longer it’s there, the more isolated the
human beings – but they’re not called human beings,
they’re workers and citizens, etc., alright? Alright? But
the more isolated they feel, they no longer – you know,
maybe they remember their grandparents or their great grandparents.
But see, you’ve got all that ancestral knowledge
that’s encoded in the DNA, but it’s been cut
off. So it can’t activate because if we’re not
conscious that it’s there then we can’t – it
just makes [things] difficult.
See this is the memory that it’s very important for them to
erase. Alright, and it’s about who we are – it’s
memory of identity and self-reality.
So anyway, we, because we
are, we come from where we come from, every one of us is the
descendant of a tribe. Every person in this room is a descendant
of a tribe at some point in our ancestral evolution. Common,
collective, genetic memory that’s in there, you know,
that’s encoded, like I say, in the DNA.
And for every individual, encoded in our individual DNA, alright?,
is the experience of our lineage from the very beginning. Whose
whole perceptional reality was what I was just saying: all things
have being, we’re made up of the Earth – all my
relations, pray to spirits. See, and they didn’t pray to
man or human form. The closest they came to it was
they prayed to spirits that were called ancestors.
Alright? And because they were praying to those ancestors for
help and guidance, they understood that we were borrowing today
from the past and the future. We’re borrowing it
from both places.
So they had this understanding of reality. So they knew that to
keep the balance was the purpose. That was the purpose. The
reason for being was to keep the balance.
So this was like, you know, what I will call a spiritual
perception of reality. And so because of the spiritual perception
of reality they understood that life was about responsibility.
It wasn’t about the abstraction of freedom – it was
about responsibility. That life was about responsibility.
So the spiritual perception of reality was based upon that: we
were the Children of the Earth, the Earth was our Mother. The
Sky, the Sun and the Sky – these were our fathers.
Alright, but this was – and our reality worked for us.
This morning the mirror
Didn’t know who I was today
I remember some of the
Whatever happened to’s
Then sometimes I’m too occasional
To understand or comprehend
What I believed I believed
Was because I was delusional
There is no other explanation
Clinging to the program
Is the obvious lie
The past is more than a memory
Experiencing the future
Before the fantasy was the dream
Fantasy is the leftovers
A toxic waste from mining the dream
It’s a perceptional thing
This techno-logic mental state
Is this reality or more desperate lies
Packaging free thinking
Into reacted thought
Sometimes when it rains
It’s not that simple
When the sky has reasons to cry
This evening the mirror
Saw that I looked
Kind of familiar, tonight
In our common, collective, genetic ancestral mind, not a one of
our ancestors went for the new show. Nobody wanted [it] –
they wouldn’t buy the tickets. So the show was going to
die. So the show decided, rather than it die, it would
make our ancestors die until they accepted the show.
This is what happened. It happened to all of us. Whatever
happened to the Indians here, trust me, it happened to the tribes
of Europe. You know, it started happening to them 3,000 years
before it happened to us. So by the time the descendants of the
tribes of Europe got here they had it down. They were very
efficient. They could do in a couple of hundred years what it
took.... I mean, no offense. [laughter]
Moths and other sacred wings
Butterflies and bees whisper
And breath of the wind
Blessed way blessing way things
Dreams are the mind streams
Thought pictures of the spirit
There are dreams of the day
There are dreams of the night
Thinking and dreaming are related
Dreams of the day we make our own
Dreams of night, part of eternal stone
There are dream takers
Taking from dream worlds
Taking dreams as a way of
Turning minds inside and out
Dream slavers want to change
Our connections to ourselves
Mess with our dreams make us unsure
Unclear about right and wrong
Feed our dreams and instincts
To industrial profit machine
Difference between dream and fantasy
Reality and illusion center and no center
Dreams of the day keep our spirit alive
Our creative mind who we really are
With dreams we can create and heal
Follow our original purpose
Dreams are protection good medicine
Blessed way blessed way things
Sun and Moon continue
We are all on one journey
So in our collective, genetic, ancestral memory, we had the
experience of encountering the techno-logic perceptional reality.
Because somewhere as this thing unfolded and refined itself, as
it was spreading over the planet, a religious perceptional
reality was used to replace a spiritual perceptional reality.
Because [with] a spiritual sense of reality you’re
connected to everything man, you know, you’re
connected. But in the religious perceptional
reality, see, you committed a crime for being born, see
you’re BLEEP forgettin’ here. [laughter] I
didn’t make this up. And I’m not making it up now,
And so anyway, in order to be – justify being here –
to get to stay [laughter] – you had to submit to the male
dominator chain of command, the authoritarian system. See, in this
new religious reality[, it] said that, you know, well now
there’s one god. The gods battled it out amongst
See I can’t envision, to me I’ve never been able to
envision gods or goddesses. I can’t imagine the Creator in
a human form. I mean no – you know, I can’t. And I think our
road, our path to trouble started when we started to do it
that way. Alright, you know, looking at the Earth as the
Mother and these things, you know, call it a goddess, whatever,
and this and that.
See, but I don’t go with god because I know that’s a
limited perceptional reality. See, they forced it on us. But the
trouble came see, when, when we decided that the Creator entity
had a human form. See because then, that, that rationalized and
justified mistreating the rest of the natural world.
Alright? I mean, sexism and racism came out of this perceptional
change because once the Earth – you know under the new god
thing, see, the Earth was no longer the Mother. The Earth was the
property of this new god. And all god’s children –
see god didn’t have a lot then, but they were very mean
[laughter] so their numbers expanded through terror – see
but god’s children was the – their job and objective
was to subdue the Earth for this god.
So in order to achieve that objective they had to create sexism.
See, sexism has got to do with how we live with the Earth. And
racism, because now that the Earth was property, you know and all
spiritual value was away, was away from the Earth, you know. Real
spiritual value was now a religious perceptional thing, and,
right, so it wasn’t all encompassing, it wasn’t just
a part of the reality anymore.
So not a one of our people really went for this. Because
it’s like, you know this is a major perceptional reality
change. But anyway we committed a moral crime forgetting here, so
now we had to submit to that world view.
To me, coherently to me, it’s clearly a blatant, a
blatant, a very blatant perceptional altering
how one perceives reality. I mean it’s brainwashing
intensified at its maximum, right? Because our ancestors
were forced to see life differently in order to remain just
Alright, you know, it’s like, I don’t really know
that much about what happened here. But I would suggest every
person of European descendancy, that you go and you study –
you want to know more about who, your reality? Go and study your
tribal ancestry and see how you got civilized. Alright? See how
you got civilized. Because terrible things happened. And these
terrible things, these are what altered the perceptional reality.
See, and, because, the basic part of this: in that altering of
the perceptional reality, what we’re getting down to is,
see, is that it made us become irresponsible as human beings.
Because, see, we can blame the bad guys for being bad guys but
that don’t work – it’s not enough. It’s
about human beings remembering their spiritual real[ity] –
their spiritual identity and accepting the responsibility from
that perceptional reality; taking responsibility. Because the bad
guys only get away with what they get away with because we
don’t take responsibility. Because there’s a
difference between blaming somebody for something and taking
So when Columbus got here, he got off the boat, and he said to
the first people he saw, ‘Who are you?’ And the first
people he saw said, ‘We’re human beings.’ And
Columbus said, ‘Oh, Indians.’
See, and right now when I’m talking, “Columbus”
is every descendant of the tribe[s] of Europe that came.
We’re not talking one person here. We’re talking a
mindset, alright. This is a mentality that came, the Columbus
Mentality, we name it.
Because it isn’t about discovering, you know, it’s
almost like, this is when the virus got here. And this is how
long it’s been here. But because, you know we’ve
never had this disease before, that we have no natural – we
can’t – we don’t have an immunity to it. But if
we can survive the ravages of this disease we will evolve
an immunity to it because we are the part of the Earth and
that’s what happens. Alright?
Anyway, Columbus got here...and he didn’t know what
it meant to be a human being. See, that perceptional reality of
being a human being, and what it really meant, had been
erased from descendants of the tribes of Europe, by the time they
got here. So when we introduced ourselves to the European as
human beings, they, just didn’t get it. It wasn’t a
part of their perceptional reality. They might know how to say
the words. Alright?, but being a human being had changed in
Alright – we know there was an inquisition. And this
inquisition went on for 4 or 500 years in Europe. The purpose
of the inquisition was to alter the perceptional reality of the
descendants of the tribes of Europe. To make them believe and
see reality the way the church wanted them to believe and see
The church called it – they waged a war for possession
– for possession, this is important – they
waged a war for the possession of the souls of the godless
heathens. And to be a godless heathen you just didn’t
believe in god. It wasn’t a part of your reality. Or
another way [of] becoming a godless heathen was to question the
authority of the church to do this.
See now, again, I’m not making this up. You know, this did
transpire. These things did happen. And they killed as many
people as they could – I guarantee it – in order to
get the other ones to submit. So they killed as efficiently as
they could with the technology they had at their disposal at that
time, alright? And because they created a rationalization as to
why to do it, so it just became as efficient as they could do.
And at some point, the descendants of the tribes of Europe no
longer knew what it meant to be a human being. They just
didn’t know – they didn’t want to know.
So the descendants of the tribes of Europe, in the end, had to
love what they feared which was there to possess them. See, and
I think it messed up love in a lot of ways, you know that they
haven’t unsorted yet. You know, no offense, but .....
But anyway, all of this took place through our intelligence. Our
intelligence. Now whoever it is we pray to, right?, whoever
it is we pray to, however we pray, whatever, however we do that,
alright?, I think that we have an obligation and a responsibility
and it’s about respect. If we respect our Creator, then we
should use our intelligence as intelligently as we can as often
as we can. And that means with clarity and coherence. That means
to activate and respect our intelligence and activate the
thinking process so that it’s going the way we want
it to be because that’s why it was given to us.
Our intelligence – as the human being part of all of this
reality that’s going on, we were given intelligence, this
is what was there to help us through the evolutionary reality
– to ride the balance, so to speak, of the evolution
with our intelligence. It’s our medicine, it’s our
protection, it’s our self-defense.
Those fears and doubts
and insecurity in one’s daily mind and reality – how
much do they affect one’s daily mind and reality? How much
do they affect the ones of the people around them that
they’re connected to and that they care about? What’s
the repercussions of the fears and the doubts and insecurity?
Because I guarantee you, every day when we get up, we use our
intelligence to create those effects.
So it isn’t that we’re not using our
intelligence, or we can’t use our intelligence
– we can’t stop using our intelligence. But
it’s about as human beings, taking the responsibility to be
as clear as one possibly can be about it and use our intelligence
the way our Creator gave it to us to use.
Keep the balance, our intelligence. So this is –
everything that ever happened – had, to change the
perceptional reality, this – the battle ground had to take
place. The real battle ground may have been the bleeding and the
dying, but it has to do with the intelligence, to alter the
So again, about respect. See, if we respect our Creator, we have a
responsibility to recognize our intelligence and use it as
clearly and coherently as we possibly can. Otherwise we’re
just pretending. We’re just being delusional and
rationalizing and justifying and just telling ourselves a big lie
if we do not use our intelligence as intelligently as we possibly
can. That’s how we show respect to our Creator. See, and
you can’t say you don’t know because I just told it
to you. Alright? So, I mean... [laughter and applause]
Part Two Introduction
by Maria Gilardin
John Trudell, at a benefit for the U’wa of Columbia.
This is Part Two of a thought provoking spoken word
and poetry address, given in honor of the U’wa
and their resistance to oil drilling on their
ancestral land in Columbia.
John Trudell grew up on and around the Santee Sioux reservation
near Omaha, Nebraska. From 1973 to 1979, he was national
chairman of AIM, the American Indian Movement.
On February 11, 1979, Trudell led a march to the FBI headquarters
in Washington D.C. A few hours later, a fire “of suspicious
origin” burned down Trudell’s home on the Shoshone
Paiute reservation in Nevada, killing his wife Tina, their three
children, and Tina’s mother. Devastated by the loss of his
family, Trudell withdrew from the world. He says he became a
writer in order to keep his sanity and to continue to survive.
When he emerged as a poet and musician, it became apparent, that
during this time of darkness, he received the gift of looking
unflinchingly at the world we live in, and our role,
responsibility, and power to bring about change.
In the first part of this poetry rapp, Trudell spoke about
intelligence and responsibility, our relation to Earth and the
Sun, how native American spirituality differs from Christian
belief, and what it means to be a human being.
Today you will hear how Trudell, half-way through the talk,
turned to the topic of democracy and freedom, authority and
power, and why the current system excludes the next generation.
He began by joking about the habit of voting for the lesser of
Here is John Trudell recorded at the Women’s Building in
San Francisco, before a standing room only audience, in March
2001. John Trudell:
When you vote for the lesser of the 2 evils I condemn you.
[applause] BLEEP you doing? Actually if you vote for either one
of the evils I condemn you. [laughter] BLEEP you doing? By our
acceptance of the lesser of the 2 evils, so to speak, we’re
using our intelligence to create what goes on. See I don’t
vote. I never have. I vote in Amsterdam, whatever that means.
[laughter] Picked a winner too. We didn’t have to have
recounts, we knew.
But I don’t vote because, I mean my reasons for not voting
are very valid. See, when they created the voting system here, the
democracy here, when they created it, I was the majority.
‘Hey, look at me, over here.’ ‘Oh, I see you,
so you’re the enemy. You can’t play.’
So the little old majority rule thing came out of the smallest
number of people, alright, the smallest number of people on the
entire hemisphere – continent. Alright, they decided it was
going to be majority rule. There’s something about it,
alright, that I don’t trust. [laughter] I inherently
don’t trust it. [and applause] And I don’t understand
why you do. Okay? So now that we’re the smallest numerical
minority on our own land base they say, ‘Come vote.’
Now, so, in that scenario, who’s stupid, me or them? Well,
And I’m bringing this up about democracy for this reason,
and it’s about coherency and using our intelligence: I
think that every generation of human beings has a responsibility
to decide how they, and their immediate descendants, will live
with the Earth. I think it’s our responsibility, alright? I
think it’s our responsibility to do that.
And I think, when I look at democracy as a native person, see to
me, it’s just another chain. You know, freedom is a lie, you
know, democracy. I mean, you know, think about it: every democracy
had a land owning class. Every democracy had some form of
slavery. Every democracy had some form of sexism. And I’m
saying this not because I’m trying to overthrow
anybody’s anything because you know, it’s
just, you know, it’s not about that. It’s about, oh
yeah it’s about the next generation.
We live in an evolutionary reality. And maybe it needs to evolve.
And maybe in the best interest of our seventh generation, it may
be the enemy. But I don’t mean just it by itself. I’m
talking about all of the industrial faces of control systems.
Whether it’s democracy or fascism or socialism or any
one of these industrial faces and mechanisms to control the
mass of people. Because every one of these systems have a small
class, an ethnic rich, an industrial ruling class and a planetary
ethnic rich. And every one of these governments, no matter what
they call them, they serve that master.
So don’t misunderstand me. This isn’t about, –
This is about a perceptional reality here. I come from a tribe.
And whatever has been going on in my evolutionary journey,
I still remember that. I’m confused about a lot of
things but I remember that. I remember that when I was born, I,
[there’s] never been a question about the memory.
But they’re trying to take that memory away. But the memory
of the tribes, see – a hundred years ago, a hundred and
twenty years ago, Geronimo said, The Americans, and they’re
messed up. You know, he called them The Americans.
See, so I feel a kinship to those ancestors and what they saw and
what they tried to stand up against. I feel more of a kinship to
them than I do to be a lap dog to this system and promote its
lie. [applause] Alright, because I think it’s
And I think that when people are afraid to think about
what’s be– and when people are afraid to think about
what needs to be thought about, that’s the danger of the
lie. Casualty of war, afraid to think.
You know, so I will say democracy, because you’re not
supposed to say anything bad about democracy. But I’ll say
it. And I’m not saying – what I’m saying, I
don’t look at it as I’m saying something bad,
I’m just saying this is what it is. You’ve
heard the other side. So I want to say this side. Alright?
Freedom of speech, you know [laughter]. Let’s go to freedom
See I think the part of the lie there, alright?, it should be
about responsibility of thought, freedom of speech.
Responsibility of thought. Responsibility of thought will then
take care of free speaking. But freedom of speech, or freedom; it
isn’t so much about, it isn’t about freedom of
speech. Let me make this more –
The idea of freedom. See, words, every word has its own meaning,
because it makes its own sound in a vibratory world, alright? So
every word has its own meaning. You know, so like, democracy,
that noise, that sound, noise, whatever it is – my
ancestors, thirty generations ago never heard that sound. That
noise was never made here on this land base. It’s
alien to this. Alright?, so that, you know, democracy, and
whatever; all of these things...
Away in a way
He was just killing time
Or was time killing him
Which way did up go
After he found down
Away in a city
It’s lonesome in town
Away in a country
All is not fair
Away in a heart
He’s been locked out
Away in a dream
Who has he become
Away in a mind
Been through the wrong
Away in a society
That just can’t see
Away in a way
How it feels to be free
He was just killing time
Or was time killing him
Which way did up go
After he found down
And for us, it’s about words. So I think the word freedom
shouldn’t be used so frivolously. You know, and I think that
somewhere in the course of this, it is about responsibility. This
is a word that needs to float around in our real– in our
consciousness. We need to plant that seed and let it nurture in
our consciousness that life’s about responsibility.
Because we will synchronize closer to what it is we seek in our
life. Because it’s very difficult to deal with an
abstraction of freedom by a people who don’t know who they
are and what they’re saying, you know. Okay... No offense.
I’m not talking about you unless I am, right? [laughter and
And believe is another word. Alright?, freedom, believe,
democracy – believe. See, I come from people who
have beliefs. And I’m a part of those beliefs. And I
respect those beliefs. Because they are a part of my reality.
But then on the other hand, every time I hear somebody say,
‘I believe,’ it makes me cringe inside. So I cringe a
lot. [inaudible], no hold it – misuse of a word here,
it’s throwing the wrong sound out into the vibratory world.
It should be more, in harmony, alright, the sound. And I think
believe might be a word that’s not in harmony, although
that’s the illusion that’s been created that
we’ve been led to believe.
But see, I think it’s better to say, either, I know, or I
don’t know, or I think. I think, I have
intelligence, I think. My intelligence has been drugged with
misinforma[tion] – my intelligence has been sent on a trip.
I’m tripping, so I believe. [laughter] Oh yeah, so we
understand it that way? Friends.
So it’s more passive, right?, believing. And I think we
should respect our intelligence and it should always be active,
you know? It should be active. If we can create our own
daily insecures and miseries and fears, we can use that same
intelligence to create a whole much better reality,
I’m telling you. See, and the collective reality, all the
causes and movements and the things that we feel are right and
that we chase – see that reality is not going to
really change until we change this other one.
And here, I’m going to say this, because this thing has been
going on for like 3,000 years. You know, everybody has
been protesting it and standing up to see, but as it
encom[passes]– as it gets us, and alters our perception of
self and reality, right?, the same old struggles come, see?
It’s just a new generation saying new words dancing to new
music, to new instruments.
But it’s the same old thing. Check out a little bit of
Paris or France in 1430. Check that place out, man. Alright?
It’s the same thing. Check out the rise of industrial
civilization – or the industrial revolution in America in
the 1800s. Same thing.
So the same struggle by the human beings, to just try to be
– stay alive, alright, has been going on for a long time.
So what I’m saying, what I mean is like, so it isn’t
that we haven’t been trying for such a long time,
we’ve been trying to right a thing, to make it more,
ride the balance.
So I think maybe what we should consider, really needs to
consi[der] – that the synchronization is, the being,
it’s us who are being mined. So we need to interfere with
that mining process. So we need to become as clear as we
can. You know, it’s our responsibility. There are no
rights, and no freedom, without responsibility. I guarantee it.
It’s about responsibility, and that’s not, you know,
and, to not be afraid of the word. See I think, responsibility, I
think that’s the liberator’s word. Right? [If] you want
to be free, then be responsible. Alright? [If] you want to be free,
then be responsible. I think that’s the liberator’s
word. Because then we are taking direct action with our
intelligence. Because see, there is not anything wrong
with us. I mean, how we perceive reality – but from this
moralistic thing, there’s not something wrong with us.
We really need to be, we need to be real to ourselves. We will
get closer to synchronizing our balance; the first thing is we
need to be real to ourselves. We need to be able to face
ourselves. Because if we can’t face ourselves, then, you
know, we should think about that. Because the other thing is,
whoever it is, the coming generations, the Creator, the –
whoever it is, that [if] we’re not willing to face
ourselves, alright?, then in some kind of a way we diminish our
respect for them. Because we are here to be real.
But if we would look at ourselves clearly, the Dineh, the Navaho
have a way of saying, I’m going to the fourth mind. Which
means to look at everything. But you, you rise out of it.
You look at it from outside, from the top, the bottom, all the
way around, from the inside. You look at it from under it. You
look at it, that that thing for it – every way that you can
and you see it for what it is. And then you, you act.
See, and we need to understand to do that, without judgement.
It’s not our responsibility or our right to judge. You can
judge nothing without judging yourself. It’s just that
reality, you know, so what’s the trip, you know? And
it’s already been determined that most of us, we’ve
judged ourselves negatively, through our fears and our doubts and
So let’s look at that thing about judgement. It’s not
our – it’s our responsibility to see clearly and
learn from what we, learn from our clarity and our coherency.
That’s our responsibility. It’s not our
responsibility to judge and condemn. So in order to be real to
ourselves you know, we’ve got to be careful about rational
– self- rationalization and justification and these little
things that pop up disguised as something else.
We need to be real to ourselves. And if our reality, if our
reality, if in our reality there are shameful things, alright?,
then don’t lie to yourself about it. Because a shameful
thing isn’t necessarily really a shameful thing
– it’s how we perceive.
But if there are
– I’ll put it this way – if there are things in
our reality that we’re not comfortable with, alright?, then
we should see it for what it is without judgement. And if we
can’t live with it, it will evolve out of our behavior
pattern. You know, and if it bothers us but we can live with it,
then it’ll stay. And the things that we do good on
the other end, the things that we perceive from that
perception – see, everything should be seen exactly for
what it is.
Because it’s also time to turn [to] another thing that goes
back into the spiritual reality that’s been altered by the
religious reality and that reality is, see, life needs to be
approached, I think, see, there’s too much pride. See, and,
to me, I see pride, the way I see pride in some ways, used, see I
think pride is something, I’m proud of you. See, I think
it’s something you give. But it’s not something you
take. Because every time I have ever seen anyone take pride, they
take too damn much of it and then they BLEEP the thing up.
[laughter and applause] I’ve seen it organizationally,
I’ve seen it individually, I’ve been the player,
alright? So I think, you know, maybe, and life is really more
See, we come from an ancestral past, the part of the genetic
memory. See, where humility was connected to our participation
and reality, and we were grateful and we were thankful. See, so
many times, again, out of using the word as a habit, see, many
times, alright, when we say, I’m proud, really we’re
happy. And wouldn’t it be more clear to just say that?
I’m happy, or I’m glad, or I appreciate it. But
wouldn’t it – these things that come from the being,
the pride comes from the human, but these things come from the
Because, I mean it’s these types of alterations that were
done to us, alright, that keep us from synchronizing; and I
don’t, you know, and I don’t have, there is no
answer. The only answer is, is that we have the intelligence and
the responsibility and the ability, alright, to create the
solutions to the problem that we’re confronted with.
Because there are no solutions, now. I guarantee you
– you know, you can deal with the lesser of the 2 evils,
but there is no political solution. And I think you know that.
I think everyone knows that. Right? But they just feel powerless
to do this so they want to avoid dealing with that reality. And
I’m saying, Hey, Let’s look at reality and deal with
reality. I’ve got intelligence. I accept the challenge. I
have the ability. This is why I was given it.
So there are some miscalculations in me. I kind of messed up a
few times along the way – so what. I learned
from it, it’s part of who I am, right? But that
doesn’t mean the coherent parts and the clear parts
aren’t clear and aren’t coherent. Because they try
– somehow, in some subtle way, it’s been created into
the human, into the human being’s mind that, see,
you’ve got to be the perfect person in order to get it
done. But at the same time, alright?, at the same time, right?,
nothing’s perfect and we all know that and say it. This is
like a contradiction.
So just accept ourselves for who we are and show respect to our
Creator, alright, by using the gifts that the Creator gave
to us. And I’m not trying to get anyone, you know,
to, I’m not trying to get you to believe me or not believe
me or any of that, right? Because, but it’s really about
thinking, you know. The objective is about thinking. Because, our
relationship to power – I’m going to start to wind
out of here, but – but our relationship to power is
connected in our relationship to clear, coherent use of our
Alright, you had some rain here, right? And some wind. Okay. So
let’s look at us – every human being is a raindrop.
Alright? And when enough of the raindrops become clear and
coherent, they then become the power of the storm, that the
existing reality has to endure and it can’t arrest it,
indict it, change it. It has to deal with it, in a realistic way.
Well maybe human consciousness, maybe we’re all snowflakes
or raindrops or we’re all pieces of little tremble–
we’re little tremblors in the earth, right? Maybe
we’re all part of that, see, and when we become clear with
our coherence, see, then this collective thing happens, and you
have power. And on the way to that power is the power that we
connect to as we live our lives.
Because, I’m telling you, how many of you feel powerless to
deal with your life? And I’m telling you if there’s
anybody in here that feels powerless to deal with your life, you
know, don’t take 2 aspirin. [laughter]
For the next generation, for the next generation that’s
coming, I think an understanding about the value and reality of
the intelligence, of our intelligence, I think it’s
very crucial that they have that understanding to make it through
this. Because we’re being mined at a rapid rate. And I
think it is very crucial, alright, to the continuation of the
living species – not the humanoid species – I mean
So it’s got to be put in to the intelligence [for] them to
have an understanding, the next generations. But the only way we
can do it is we can’t tell it them. I mean we can
say it to them but we have to show it to them.
Because we are a part of an evolutionary reality and we
will influence the evolution. We will, because our
intelligence is always active so it’s just about taking
But we will influence the evolutionary reality. And we
can influence the evolutionary reality out of a base of lost and
frustration and self-judgement and things that’s been going
on for the last 300 years or 400 years here. Which has led
to this situation. Or we can use some clarity and coherency and
influence the evolutionary reality in a more clear and coherent
Every struggle that we must engage with, whether it’s
political or economic or social – all these struggles are
necessary, alright?, to keep, to keep the circulation going. The
other part of that reality is we have to outthink what it is that
we’re challenged by or that oppresses us or does whatever
it is. We have to outthink it. It’s that simple.
The first act, the first act of being free and liberation,
alright?, is the act of taking our intelligence back, taking our
imagination back, our ability to think. That’s the first
act of liberation. That is the very first act, alright?,
of conscious liberation. The first steps towards respect for the
Creator is understanding that we have that intelligence
and doing the second act. It’s our intelligence. And
for our next generation, you know, we have a responsibility to
direct as much intelligence into that as we can.
Because this thing about life and death – you know, this
techno-logic reality has been around for 3 or 4,000 years –
I don’t know however long it’s been around, you know.
But its whole reality is based upon death so therefore, at some
point it must die. Our whole objective as human beings
is to stay alive. Do you get it? I mean really
alive. Not surviving and existing, I’m talking about
alive. Connected to life and living. See, we have
to outlast it because we can’t outfight it because
its violence and its aggressive mindset, alright?, is beyond
But that doesn’t mean that it’s powerful.
That just means that it’s violent and it’s
aggressive and it’s without parallel and you
better be damned careful of it. But that’s what that
means, about power – our relationship to clarity and
coherency and the use of our intelligence is our relationship to
power and we can outthink it. Simple math. Simple math.
It’s a mathematical thing.
In the authoritarian state system only x-amount of people are
given permission to think. Okay? So at some point,
theoretically, we will out- surround them. If we will
just do what is necessary to get there.
Your descendants and my descendants depend upon us, alright?, to
keep the reality of the living alive. And we are going to
influence the outcome, no matter what we do. So [what] I’m
talking about is, well let’s take some responsibility,
alright?, and let’s influence it in a more clear and
coherent way. Outthink them. Trust ourselves and our ability to
think. And each and every one of us was given just as much
intelligence as we need. It’s not a contest.
I’m going to close now. And I thank you for being here and
getting whatever you got out of this, alright? [audience:
“thank you”] I’m not responsible. [laughter]
I’m just this ragdoll and they’re these entities,
just here – I want to vent today so here, get him.
Raven brought beaded serpent
And the Alaskan thunder
Reality is yet to come
Good thoughts are good way life
Wrapped in the universe
The unborn sleep in dream time
Day in the sun is on its way
Think good thoughts
Thoughts of lightened mind
Dream dreams dreaming brings
Sense rush of new found find
View or harmonies sing
Follow the sky
Into the blue
Your are part sky
Sky is part you
There are stars that bring the night
There are thoughts to bring clear sight
Thinking good makes for strong heart
Nourishment for spirit and soul
A good path a good way to give
Belief creates what we believe
A way human beings live
Raven brought beaded serpent
In the Alaskan thunder
And I thank you for being here.
That was the conclusion of a one-hour talk by the Native American
poet, musician, and activist, John Trudell. Trudell spoke at a
benefit for the U’wa. They are resisting oil drilling on
their ancestral land in Columbia.
Trudell now tours internationally as musician and sound poet. His
best known recordings are Blue
Indians and AKA
You can contact him, via his website,
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My name is Maria Gilardin. Thank you for listening.