FEBRUARY 15, 1946

YANKTON ACTIVIST JOHN TRUDELL BORN

Trudell, born in Omaha, Nebraska, served in the Navy during the Vietnam War. With the “United Indians of All Tribes” at the 1969 Alcatraz occupation, he was a spokesman and broadcast “Radio Free Alcatraz.” In November 1972, with American Indian Movement (AIM) leaders at the end of the “Trail of Broken Treaties,” he occupied the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in Washington. Trudell became AIM’s national chairman after the standoff at Wounded Knee, S.D., in February 1973. In 1979, a day after Trudell burned an American flag at the FBI Headquarters in Washington, his home burned down killing his pregnant wife, her mother, and their 3 children. A BIA investigation ruled it accidental. In the 1980s, Trudell turned to the arts. His poetry volumes include Stickman and Lines From a Mined Mind. His spoken-word albums accompanied by Native American music were praised by Bob Dylan, Jackson Browne and Kris Kristofferson. Trudell died December 8, 2015, in Santa Clara County, California.

Source:  Bruce Weber, “John Trudell, Outspoken Advocate for American Indians, Is Dead at 69,” New York Times, 12/9/2015.  Retrieved 12/18/2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/10/us/john-trudell-outspoken-advocate-for-american-indians-is-dead-at-69.html
Photo: Scott J. Farrell, 9/24/1997. Public Domain. Source: Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs Division, CQ Roll Call Co under digital ID ppmsca.61232. 

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