John Trudell, Indian activist and poet, Died at 69


John Trudell was born on February 15, 1946, and died on December 8, 2015.

He was a Native American author, poet, actor, musician, and political activist.

John was the spokesperson for the United Indians of All Tribes’ takeover of Alcatraz beginning in 1969, broadcasting as Radio Free Alcatraz. During most of the 1970s, John served as the chairman of the American Indian Movement, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

After his pregnant wife, three children and mother-in-law were killed in 1979 in a fire at the home of his parents-in-law on the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes Duck Valley Indian Reservation in Nevada, Trudell turned to writing, music and film as a second career.

John acted in three films in the 1990s.

The documentary Trudell (2005) was made about him and his life as an activist and artist.

John was born in Omaha, Nebraska on February 15, 1946, as the son of a Santee Dakota father and a Mexican mother.

He grew up in small towns near the Santee Sioux Reservation in northern Nebraska near the southeast corner of South Dakota.

John was educated in local schools and also in Santee Dakota culture.

John Trudell passed away at age 69 in December 2015.