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Editor's note: this transcript was created from the broadcast quality audio recording program featuring John Trudell produced by Maria Gilardin for her weekly radio program, Time Of Useful Consciousness. This transcript combines Maria’s Introductions and John Trudell’s spoken word and poetry communing. I am supremely grateful to rebecca lord for her help in producing the text of John Trudell's speaking—I could not have produced this without her help. Thanks to Jeff Blankfort for the recording he produced and to Maria Gilardin for her permission and encouragement to put together this presentation.
An essential point to keep in mind is that this expression comes from the oral tradition. The written word is different. The spoken word transmits awareness and understanding in a more comprehensive and integrated form. While the transcript is here, the most thorough way of taking this in is to listen.

What It Means To Be A Human Being
            John Trudell            
The Women’s Building, San Francisco
Women's Building in San Francisco
15 March 2001

TUC aka Time of Useful Consciousness is an aeronautical term. The time between the onset of oxygen deficiency and the loss of consciousness, the brief moments in which a pilot may save the plane.

Broadcast quality mp3 files of the two 30 minute programs comprising this transcript are here:
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Introduction to Part One
Part One
Introduction to Part Two
Part Two

Part One Introduction
by Maria Gilardin

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 Indians 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 survive.

Trudell returned as musician, poet, and highly sought-after public 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.

Part One

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 crazy. Really.

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 to know.

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, see.

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

Manufacturing perceptions
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
Stealing thoughts

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. Alright?

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, alright? [applause]

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 themselves, see.

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 physically alive.

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 responsibility.

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 their reality.

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 reality.

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 perceptional reality.

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 two evils.

Here is John Trudell recorded at the Women’s Building in San Francisco, before a standing room only audience, in March 2001. John Trudell:

Part Two

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.’ [laughter]

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, anyway,...

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 irresponsible.

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 of speech.

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 applause]

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 our insecurities.

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 about humility.

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 being.

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 intelligence.

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 the living.

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 responsibility.

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 way.

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 parallel.

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
Good words
Good thoughts
Good actions
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 Graffiti Man.

You can contact him, via his website,

You can hear this program again on TUC Radio’s web site, Look for the newest programs page. There you can also subscribe to weekly, free podcasts.

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My name is Maria Gilardin. Thank you for listening.

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