Do Your Natural Thing

The Past Is More Than A Memory: A Tribute to John Trudell


I found out today that a great community activist, spoken word artist and truth spreader, John Trudell, has passed away.  John passed away December 8, 2015, at the age of 69.  As a Native to the land now called America, he spent the majority of his life as an outspoken political activist for the rights of Natives.  In his work, he touches on many things, such as politics, religion, war, the environment, technology, and the plight of indigenous peoples worldwide stemming from the invasion of Europeans.

I relate to his work on so many levels.  As I see it, the plight of the Natives here closely mirrors the story of Natives worldwide.  The genocide, pillage, injustice and disgrace brought by European “civilization” has left a devastating history for us all.

As a homeschooling mother, I find his work to be an enriching part of my children’s curriculum.  This is definitely not taught in the conventional school system, but I would love to see the people become empowered, rise up and truly educate their children!  Teach the kids the truth!  I respect him for speaking the truth and spreading the word to all he could reach.  It is widely suspected that his activism lead to the suspicious death of his pregnant wife,  their three children and his mother-in-law in a fire.  He was able to raise from the ashes like the great Phoenix and continue on to produce music, film, literature, and spoken word, in addition to carrying on his activism and continuing to spread the truth.

I love his spoken word, which is set against a background of Native flutes, drumming, chanting and music.  I am sharing here one my favorite pieces.  I have also included a link to the video below the text.

Look at us

At times they were kind,

They were polite in their sophistication.

Smiling but never too loudly,

Acting in civilized manner, an illusion of gentleness

Always fighting to get their way.

While the people see,

The people know,

The people wait,

The people say

The closing of your doors will never shut us out

The closing of your doors can only shut you in.

We know the predator,

We see them feed on us.

We are aware to starve the beast is our destiny.

The times they were kind, they were polite, but never honest.

We see your technological society devour you before your very eyes.

We hear your anguished cries,

Exalting greed through progress.

While you seek material advances,

The sound of flowers dying carry messages through the wind

Trying to tell you about balance and your safety.

But your minds are chained to your machines

And the strings dangling from your puppeteers hands.

Turning you, twisting you into forms and confusions

Beyond your control.

Your mind for a job,

Your mind for a TV,

Your mind for a hair dryer,

Your mind for consumption.

With your atom bombs,

Your material bombs,

Your drug bombs,

Your racial bombs,

Your class bombs,

Your sexist bombs,

Your ageist bombs

Devastating your natural shelters.

Making you homeless on earth.

Chasing you into illusions,

Pulling you,

Making you pretend you can run away from the ravishing of your spirit.

While the sound of flowers dying carry messages through the wind

Trying to tell you about balance and your safety.

Trying to isolate us in a dimension called loneliness.

Leading us into the trap –

Believe in their power – but not in ourselves.

Piling us with guilt, always taking the blame.

Greed chasing out the balance.

Trying to isolate us in a dimension called loneliness.

Economic deities seizing power.

Through illusions created, armies are justified.

Class systems are democracy.

God listens to war mongers prayers.

Tyranny is here.

Divide and conquer.

Trying to isolate us in a dimension called loneliness

Greed apparent

Insecurity the happiness companion.

Genocide conceived in sophistication

Techno-logic material civilization, irrationalization.

Replacing a way to live.

Trying to isolate us in a dimension called loneliness

To God: We hope you don’t mind,

But we would like to talk to you.

There are some things we need to straighten out.

Its about these Christians

They claim to be from your nation, but man you should see the things they do.

All the time blaming it on you.

Manifest destiny,


Maximized profits,


Raping the earth,


Taking more than they need, and all the forms of the greed.

We ask them why, they say it’s Gods will.

Damn, God, they make it so hard.

Remember Jesus? Will you send him back to them?

Tell them not to kill him, rather they should listen.

Stop abusing his name and yours.

We do not mean to be disrespectful, but you know how it is.

Our people had our own ways,

We never even heard of you until not long ago.

Your 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.

We do not mean you or your christian children any bad

But you all came to take all we had.

We have not seen you but we have heard so much.

It is time for you to decide what life is worth.

We already remember, but maybe you forgot.

Look at us,

Look at us, we are of earth and water.

Look at them, it is the same.

Look at us, we are suffering all these years,

Look at them, they are connected.

Look at us, we are in pain

Look at them, surprised at our anger.

Look at us, we are struggling to survive,

Look at them, expecting sorrow be benign.

Look at us, we are the ones called pagan,

Look at them, on their arrival.

Look at us, we are called subversive,

Look at them, descending from name callers.

Look at us, we wept sadly in the long dark

Look at them, hiding in techno-logic light.

Look at us, we buried the generations,

Look at them, inventing the body count.

Look at us, we are older than America,

Look at them, chasing a fountain of youth.

Look at us, we are embracing the earth,

Look at them, clutching today.

Look at us, we are living in the generations,

Look at them, existing in jobs and debt.

Look at us, we have escaped many times

Look at them, they cannot remember.

Look at us, we are healing

Look at them, their medicine is patented.

Look at us, we are trying

Look at them, what are they doing?

Look at us, we are children of earth

Look at them, who are they?


I highly recommend you listen to the recorded version, the music and tone is beautiful.  I will share one version I enjoy below, and he also has a nice selection of his other work on YouTube.



I hope you enjoyed this post!  I will leave you with a final quote:  “Every human being is a raindrop. And when enough of the raindrops become clear and coherent, they then become the power of the storm.” -John Trudell

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