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Trudell shines in “Lines from a Mined Mind”
Last night in a dream
I interrogated god
writes John Trudell in his poem Reason to This.
Why is it that the good die young
What’s the reason to this?
In this poem from his stirring collection, Lines from a Mined Mind, the noted activist relates that
We talked we argued, we cried
I never did get any answers
But god knows I tried.
John Trudell shares his wrestlings with a higher power and the result is a dynamic book.
Trudell tries to make sense of relationships, environmental angst, racial injustice, family ties and cultural preservation, filling the pages of this intriguing book. Blending songs and poems into thought-provoking pieces of Trudell’s inner life allows readers to enter into the issues that face Native America, Mother Earth and individuals from diverse walks of life.
John Trudell masterfully incorporates vivid imagery, powerful symbolism, intriguing historical and social incidents, cultural aspects and spiritual themes into his pieces. As a result, the words in this book come across its pages with strong impact, which enlightens the reader. Further, Trudell uses beats and meter in each verse with alacrity, which engages the reader. Lines from a Mined Mind transmits truths through Trudell’s sincerity and transparency.
Achingly, John Trudell laments the eradication of Native American spirituality in To God saying
Representatives spoke magnificent things
Of you which we were willing to believe
But from the way they acted
We know you and we were being deceived
In Blue Indians, John Trudell describes
Blue Indians being pulled into melting pots
Grueling class rules the haves and have-nots
Industrial reservations tyranny stakes its claim
Blue Indians emotional siege in civilized stain.
Rich Men keep living off the poor
sings John Trudell in Rant ‘n’ Roll as he claims,
The soul is what’s left after they eat your spirit
When every act is an act of self-defense
We have to do something or perish in the pretense
In addition to his admonitions concerning social conditions, John Trudell also celebrates the blessings and feelings of his own life. Little Daughter records the pleasures of parenting as
the times I hold
You next to me I am flowing
An infinity of love to fill the times
I cannot hold you next to me
Men don’t cry
Indians are stoic
asserts John Trudell in Tears of Salt during a reflection on release and emotions,
I tell that to my heart
To my eyes
They just laugh at me
When my spirit hurts
They make me cry
Frequently, the author recounts the passions and romance that characterize his own life as he does in Such a Fine Day when he triumphs,
Such a fine day
Woman in a T-shirt walking down the street
Some women need silks and diamonds
Some women need furs and limos
Some women need to turn cosmetics
Some women have just what they need
Lines from a Mined Mind shows the special inner workings of a unique and creative mind. The Santee Sioux activist and artist shares the circumstances of reservation and urban Native life, specifics of environmental and political crisis and the value of traditions and heritage in this collection of potent words and phrases. John Trudell has composed colorful pieces that effectively carry emotions and information to readers and to listeners.
Book info: Lines from a Mined Mind: The Words of John Trudell. Golden, CO: Fulcrum, 2008, 270 pages, ISBN#: 978-1-55591-678-7.
Dr. Honey Dawn Karima Pettrigrew, Ph.D is the author of two novels, The Way We Make Sense and The Marriage of Saints. She is an award-winning filmmaker and resides in the Yellowhill Community.