A True American Hero, John Trudell, Lakota Indian & Free E-book Gift Download


Well, today I thought we might look at the poet, philosopher and performer who was — in his younger days — a political activist for his tribe.  That man is John Trudell.

John Trudell’s life was so full and he accomplished so many things that I don’t believe I could really do his story justice with one simple blog.  But I’ll try.

John Trudell was an Indian Activist who was the spokesperson for the Occupation of Alcatraz in the early 1970’s.  One of the quotes from his first wife that I found so stunning was when he told his wife that they were going to the Alcatraz Occupation, she told him she was afraid she’d get cold feet.  His response was, “Wear socks.”

He was also a part of the American Indian Movement, also in the 1970’s.

He tells the story of his father and how he and his father and mother came to be married.  His father was Lakota and his mother was Mexican.  John said in an interview that his father literally stole his mother and rode away with her on horseback.  But they loved one another and the marriage worked.

John was briefly in the Navy, but it didn’t appear that this held great interest for him and he soon returned to the reservation.  He met his second wife, Tina, in 1971 and in 1972 they became a couple.  It was a troubling time to be on an Indian Reservation.  There had been some shoot-outs and tensions were high on the Pine Ridge Reservation in So. Dakota.  In February of 1979, John was engaged in protests in Washington DC.  On the 11th of February, he burned an American Flag on the steps of the FBI building in protest of the injustices to the American Indian people.  Within 12 hours after that event, his wife, Tina, and their three children and Tina’s mother were killed in a sudden fire in their home on her reservation in Death Valley.  Tina was also pregnant at the time.

John said in interviews that he had to die, too, in order to get through each day after his family’s death.  But he also said that Tina’s parting gift to him was the gift of her poetry.  She was the poet in the family.  He said in interview that it was she who encouraged him to write down his thoughts, and to write them down using poetry.  It was her parting gift to him. 

And so he did begin to write.  His poems were often heart-felt and sometimes they were fiery and full of passion for life and for his people.  He became involved in reading his poetry in public places, and on one occasion, he met Jessie Ed Davis, a Kiowa guitarist, who said that he could put John’s poems to music.  And thus began the poetry from John Trudell’s heart and the many concerts that you can still see online.

John has influenced many Native American artists.  I’ve only recently discovered John’s work, but I have found it profound.  So I’m going to show you some quotes of his that I find inspirational.

You can still find his concerts and his talks and interviews on the internet.  John became, or perhaps he always was, philosophical, and his wisdom was often sought after by many people of all different races.  This last quote, off to the left here is probably my favorite of his quotes, if only because I find this very profound in today’s world, which has become more than a little strange.

I’ve said this to my closest friends, and I’ll tell you this today in this blog.  Whatever else we as a people are involved in, I believe we are in a spiritual war against some dark forces.  I admit that I’ve heard this saying over and over and over, but I never really understood it until recently.  But I believe that this is what John was saying when he said “protect your spirit”:  In this life, one has many choices, but if one chooses the path of violence, theft, and the stripping of another’s God-given rights and happiness, all in the attainment of some materialistic goal, one is looking at one’s eternity as though one were painting oneself into a corner — and, it seems to me that in doing those things which bring harm to another, one is not “protecting one’s spirit.”  I guess he was saying that one has the choice spiritually…and maybe that’s what he means by “Protect your spirit….”

John Trudell died in 2015.  He left behind him a legacy of beauty, of music and poetry.  He also left behind him a philosophy that I believe enriches one’s soul.

Well, that’s all for today.  I hope you enjoyed the blog.  Often, I think of the American Indian Hero as having lived in the long ago past.  But John Trudell was a modern hero.  At least that is my opinion of him.

What do you think?  I’d love to hear from you.

Am offering a free download of the book, LAKOTA SURRENDER today in honor of John Trudell, a wonderful poet, philosopher and a Lakota Indian.  This is a download from BookFunnel and will be up only for the next fews days.  Grab it while you can:  https://dl.bookfunnel.com/uq6ti9a1kw








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KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
Please refer to https://petticoatsandpistols.com/sweepstakesrules for all contest rules.

17 thoughts on “A True American Hero, John Trudell, Lakota Indian & Free E-book Gift Download”

  1. I love what you wrote about John saying “protect your spirit”. This section of your post really hit home for me. I have been struggling with this as well and your words helped me to see it more clearly and put it into perspective.

    • Hi Janine,

      Thank you so much for your kind, kind words. It really hit home with me, too. He has an entire video on the internet that goes over this “protect your spirit,” and it really had meaning for me. In this time and place, I do believe we have a choice, and what we decide influences our eternity. What I found also interesting is that it was through Tina and their children that he came to be a philosopher.

    • Hi Debra,

      Thank you so much. Yes, I ran across his words in doing research on other things. I love when that happens, and I stumble upon a hero.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing about such a Great hero, I enjoyed reading about such an Awesome person. Have a Great week. I am now reading your book “The Eagle and the Flame” and I am really enjoying it. Stay safe . God Bless you and your family.

  3. Hi Alicia!

    Thank you so much for your delightful post. Yes, I think he was a modern day hero. Music to my ears to hear the you are enjoying the book. : )

  4. No matter what some people are saying, I feel God’s presence closer and believe this is Him working closer to eternity. Even though my faith is strong, the future is still scary and uncertain.

    Thank you for the book.

    • Hi Linda,

      Thanks so much for your comment. I share your view on that. And you’re right, one might have a strong faith, the future in these times can be a little scary.

  5. I enjoyed reading your post. John Trudell certainly endured his share of tragedy. Out of ashes came his beautiful spirit. I will have to learn more about him. Thank you for sharing some of his story with us. Times are scary right now but the one that can fix the world is God. God said that because of sin we will always have poverty and strife. We have to pray for each other everyday. Karen, I hope you have a lovely summer and get to enjoy your grandchildren.

  6. Hi Sharon,

    Thank you for your wonderful post. Yes, he endured great tragedy in his life, and I like the way you put that — that out of the ashes came his beautiful spirit. Yes, you’re right. We need to pray for one another. God bless.

  7. Karen, Thank you so much for sharing about John Trudell. Sounds like he lived an amazing life.

  8. Thank you for the bio of John Trudell. His certainly was a path traveled strewn with many obstacles. One has to be suspect of the timing of his family’s death, but I hate being so cynical. It had to have taken great strength for him to carry on after such a great loss. His quote on Protecting your spirit…. is so very true. There is so much to be offended and discouraged by today, one’s spirit is certainly in danger. Most people do not really understand what motivates those who demonstrate and protest. They have never experienced what these people have. I do not like the “white privilege” name. For me it implied one was making use of their being white not just getting the benefit by the chance of their birth. If they were treated the way “others” are treated every day, they would not tolerate it at all. You sit down at a counter or table for lunch and expect to be served, not ignored. When they finally do take your order and food arrives, it is put in front of you and you are ignored. Have they ever been waiting for service at a store and had everyone else, including those who came up after them, taken care of first. We wouldn’t tolerate it. We would be complaining to the manager and might even call or write a letter to the parent company. (I experience these with friends – blacks in NYC and asian Americans in California) These things happen to people of color every day. Is it any wonder they are upset. The conditions on most Reservations are terrible. They are worse than some third world countries. They do not have control over their lives and their land. They are not represented equally or honestly in government and do not receive the services they deserve and were promised. The education, health care, social services, etc. are all substandard or worse.
    The Native American cultures had much to offer. They were damaged but not destroyed. There is much truth in John Trudell’s quotes above.
    Thank you for the book download. I need more time to read. I hope you are staying safe and healthy.

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