Don't Shoot the Messengers
Recognizing the predictions of John Trudell and Joy Harjo during this month focusing on "Native Americans" and Veterans
Throughout history those trying to bring the message of what is to come are often denigrated, targeted and killed. There are human beings in different parts of the world from a number of cultures/traditions trying to warn us. But do we heed their warnings?
Poets and painters often have the gift of foresight which they express through their work, but they also the curse of Cassandra. They speak the truth but are not believed.
“John Trudell was born on February 15, 1946 in Omaha, Nebraska, and grew up on and around the nearby Santee Sioux reservation. (His father was a Santee, his mother’s tribal roots were in Mexico.) Trudell became acquainted with hardship at an early age. His mother died when he was 6, and he watched his father struggle to feed and clothe his large family. This experience left Trudell with a deep contempt for the American “work ethic,” compounded by the endemic racial and economic injustice which surrounded him. He used his self taught skills in writing and music to express his political, economic, philosophical, personal and spiritual messages”.
In 1963, like many young people with limited economic opportunities, Trudell enlisted in the military. Trudell saw active Navy duty in the coastal waters off Vietnam, on a ship doing search-and-rescue missions for downed pilots.
Native Americans have the highest percentage of participation in relation to the percentage of the American population. “To this day, American Indians serve in the armed forces at a higher rate than any other demographic. Since 9/11, nearly 19 percent of Native Americans have served in the armed forces, compared to an average of 14 percent of all other ethnicities.”
John Trudell's powerful and prophetic speech 2013, was recorded shortly before his death. He speaks passionately about "globalization", the 1,000 year Reich, how the 'Patriot Act' has changed the character of our country and the natural disasters to come. Watch/listen/discern:
You can read more about his life, his hardships and resilience on this website: John Trudell website
John Trudell in South Dakota
John Trudell and his family were victims of some of the worst tactics of COINTEL Pro and the corrupt factions of the FBI-as were other Native American families on Pine Ridge reservation including the Poor Bears. The harassment and threats used on Darlene Poor Bear are documented in released documents from the trials of Leonard Peltier.
The US government and it's agencies have not yet apologized for their actions and activities during the COINTEL PRO era. The media (especially Hollywood) was used from early on to demonize and lump all Native Americans/stereotypes together. This helped push their agenda against Native American rights. Most American citizens who had never even visited a reservation, believed the “paid for media” narratives. Native American rights were perceived as less deserving than other civil rights movements such as the "African American/Black Civil Rights"the Japanese or Hispanic/Latino movements. Documents are still being unearthed from that period in US history.
While the US Federal government recognizes the month of November as "Native American History" month, very minimal efforts are made at correcting and adding to the actual history of the more than 570 official "tribal nations" within the United States.
There are many more reports and articles available now under the Freedom of Information Act if you want to dig deeper, or understand the newer programs refined after the exposure by the Senate Committee of COINTEL PRO. However, this is a side note to the main theme of my post this week. I include John Trudell since his poetry as well as his last talks before his death in December 2015, were described as "prophetic, lone wolf in the spirit of Crazy Horse".
Please take a few minutes to watch/listen to the links I have included. Peruse the books I have inserted of Native American visionaries in the slide show below. These writers have contributed to the body of history and literature of America.
Joy Harjo is still living. Joy is a poet, Native American musician, professor/teacher/performer/mother and activist. She is a member of the Muscogee/Creek tribe, born in Oklahoma in 1951, as Joy Foster.
She served as the 23rd United States Poet Laureate, chosen by President Donald Trump in 2019. Joy is the first Native American to hold that honor. She was also only the second Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to have served three terms.
Joy immortalizes some of the activists targeted by the FBI, especially MicMac teacher/mother/writer and activist Anna Mae Aquash in her poem " For Anna Mae Pictou Aquash" in the volume "In Mad Love and War", one of my favorite contemporary books of poetry.
Joy worked and performed with John Trudell when he was alive. A sampling of both of their books, albums and photos are included below. Have a look and search further if you are interested. Their work is inspiring, stimulating and prophetic.
John Trudell and Joy Harjo in New York City, August 2007
Joy Harjo’s website and new book may be found on her website at: https://www.joyharjo.com
Joy Harjo’s newest book is entitled, “Weaving Sundown in a Scarlet Light: Fifty Poems for Fifty Years” available now on Amazon in hardback and Kindle: Joy Harjo
Here are two of her other books (cover images) and two of John Trudell’s books:
First Nation tribes have been on the North American and South American continents for over ten thousand years. They have tried to get their messages across peacefully, however the most attention they received was only after they initiated more martial demonstrations at Wounded Knee II, The Trail of Tears marches and camp in at Washington, D.C. departments in Washington, D.C. in the 1970s; and the recent sit-ins and demonstrations in South Dakota and North Dakota against the building of the North Dakota Access Pipeline.
All tribes are still technically under the Federal Jurisdiction of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (the BIA) which is part of the US Department of the Interior a huge, monolithic bureaucracy. Although there is some autonomy with certain tribes for their own law enforcement (tribal police), education system and health clinics-most still rely on the guidance of the US government.
While most immigrants want to come to America and “be part” of the “American Dream” - as Russell Means once stated: “We don’t want to assimilate into the greater Washichu (white) society. We want to be left alone so we can live and work and pray the way we know is best for us.”
They have much they have taught us and continue to teach. Let’s pray leadership listens to their messages, their experience and ancient wisdom as preparation for the times to come.
Hau Mitakuye Oyasın-Lakota for “We are all related-or-”To all my relations.”