John Trudell: WE ARE POWER.

The words of John Trudell, who walked on late last year, ring out in this video by filmmakers Heather Rae, Cody Lucich and Ben Dupris, who recently spent time with the water protectors near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation who are trying to stop the Dakota Access oil pipeline’s proposed route under the Missouri River. His words, delivered in the 1980 speech We Are Power, are even more prophetic in the wake of the destruction of sacred burial grounds and the use of dogs and pepper spray against those who tried to stop it.

Full story at ICTMN.


  1. stellatree says

    I keep coming back to this post, these words give me hope. I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know anything about John Trudell before I started reading your blog. What a strong, wise, and compassionate person! Thanks for all the education you do, Caine, I appreciate the opportunity to learn.

  2. says

    Yes, they are good words. JT was a remarkable man, who endured so much -- way back in the early ’70s, when he was burning a flag in Washington, DC, there was an explosion at his house, determined to be arson, which killed his wife, three children, and mother-in-law. The feds declined investigation. John Trudell was one of the most scrutinized people ever, his fed file was 17,000 pages, and the feds classed him as ultra-dangerous because he was a persuasive man. I hope with all my heart that his persuasiveness continues, and grows in power.

    I’ve been listening to him for over four decades, and I never tire of his voice or his words. Bone Days will always be my fave. Listening to it again now.

    For anyone who might be reading, there’s a ton of info at and you can listen to Bone Days at

    This is long, but just the middle section of John Trudell riffing on what it means, human being:

    So anyway, we, because we are, we come from where we come from, every one of us is the descendant of a tribe. Every person in this room is a descendant of a tribe at some point in our ancestral evolution. Common, collective, genetic memory that’s in there, you know, that’s encoded, like I say, in the DNA.

    And for every individual, encoded in our individual DNA, alright?, is the experience of our lineage from the very beginning. Whose whole perceptional reality was what I was just saying: all things have being, we’re made up of the Earth – all my relations, pray to spirits. See, and they didn’t pray to man or human form. The closest they came to it was they prayed to spirits that were called ancestors.

    Alright? And because they were praying to those ancestors for help and guidance, they understood that we were borrowing today from the past and the future. We’re borrowing it from both places.

    So they had this understanding of reality. So they knew that to keep the balance was the purpose. That was the purpose. The reason for being was to keep the balance.

    So this was like, you know, what I will call a spiritual perception of reality. And so because of the spiritual perception of reality they understood that life was about responsibility. It wasn’t about the abstraction of freedom – it was about responsibility. That life was about responsibility.

    So the spiritual perception of reality was based upon that: we were the Children of the Earth, the Earth was our Mother. The Sky, the Sun and the Sky – these were our fathers. Alright, but this was – and our reality worked for us.

    This morning the mirror
    Didn’t know who I was today
    I remember some of the
    Whatever happened to’s

    Then sometimes I’m too occasional
    To understand or comprehend
    What I believed I believed
    Was because I was delusional
    There is no other explanation

    Clinging to the program
    Is the obvious lie
    The past is more than a memory

    Experiencing the future
    Before the fantasy was the dream
    Fantasy is the leftovers
    A toxic waste from mining the dream

    It’s a perceptional thing
    This techno-logic mental state
    Is this reality or more desperate lies

    Manufacturing perceptions
    Packaging free thinking
    Into reacted thought

    Sometimes when it rains
    It’s not that simple
    When the sky has reasons to cry

    This evening the mirror
    Saw that I looked
    Kind of familiar, tonight

    In our common, collective, genetic ancestral mind, not a one of our ancestors went for the new show. Nobody wanted [it] – they wouldn’t buy the tickets. So the show was going to die. So the show decided, rather than it die, it would make our ancestors die until they accepted the show.

    This is what happened. It happened to all of us. Whatever happened to the Indians here, trust me, it happened to the tribes of Europe. You know, it started happening to them 3,000 years before it happened to us. So by the time the descendants of the tribes of Europe got here they had it down. They were very efficient. They could do in a couple of hundred years what it took…. I mean, no offense. [laughter]

    Moths and other sacred wings
    Butterflies and bees whisper
    And breath of the wind
    Blessed way blessing way things

    Dreams are the mind streams
    Thought pictures of the spirit
    There are dreams of the day
    There are dreams of the night

    Thinking and dreaming are related
    Dreams of the day we make our own
    Dreams of night, part of eternal stone
    There are dream takers
    Taking from dream worlds
    Taking dreams as a way of
    Stealing thoughts

    Turning minds inside and out
    Dream slavers want to change
    Our connections to ourselves
    Mess with our dreams make us unsure
    Unclear about right and wrong
    Feed our dreams and instincts
    To industrial profit machine

    Difference between dream and fantasy
    Reality and illusion center and no center
    Dreams of the day keep our spirit alive
    Our creative mind who we really are

    With dreams we can create and heal
    Follow our original purpose
    Dreams are protection good medicine
    Blessed way blessed way things

    Sun and Moon continue
    We are all on one journey

    So in our collective, genetic, ancestral memory, we had the experience of encountering the techno-logic perceptional reality. Because somewhere as this thing unfolded and refined itself, as it was spreading over the planet, a religious perceptional reality was used to replace a spiritual perceptional reality. Alright?

    Because [with] a spiritual sense of reality you’re connected to everything man, you know, you’re connected. But in the religious perceptional reality, see, you committed a crime for being born, see you’re BLEEP forgettin’ here. [laughter] I didn’t make this up. And I’m not making it up now, alright? [applause]

    And so anyway, in order to be – justify being here – to get to stay [laughter] – you had to submit to the male dominator chain of command, the authoritarian system. See, in this new religious reality[, it] said that, you know, well now there’s one god. The gods battled it out amongst themselves, see.

    See I can’t envision, to me I’ve never been able to envision gods or goddesses. I can’t imagine the Creator in a human form. I mean no – you know, I can’t. And I think our road, our path to trouble started when we started to do it that way. Alright, you know, looking at the Earth as the Mother and these things, you know, call it a goddess, whatever, and this and that.

    See, but I don’t go with god because I know that’s a limited perceptional reality. See, they forced it on us. But the trouble came see, when, when we decided that the Creator entity had a human form. See because then, that, that rationalized and justified mistreating the rest of the natural world.

    Alright? I mean, sexism and racism came out of this perceptional change because once the Earth – you know under the new god thing, see, the Earth was no longer the Mother. The Earth was the property of this new god. And all god’s children – see god didn’t have a lot then, but they were very mean [laughter] so their numbers expanded through terror – see but god’s children was the – their job and objective was to subdue the Earth for this god.

    So in order to achieve that objective they had to create sexism. See, sexism has got to do with how we live with the Earth. And racism, because now that the Earth was property, you know and all spiritual value was away, was away from the Earth, you know. Real spiritual value was now a religious perceptional thing, and, right, so it wasn’t all encompassing, it wasn’t just a part of the reality anymore.

    So not a one of our people really went for this. Because it’s like, you know this is a major perceptional reality change. But anyway we committed a moral crime forgetting here, so now we had to submit to that world view.

    To me, coherently to me, it’s clearly a blatant, a blatant, a very blatant perceptional altering how one perceives reality. I mean it’s brainwashing intensified at its maximum, right? Because our ancestors were forced to see life differently in order to remain just physically alive.

    Alright, you know, it’s like, I don’t really know that much about what happened here. But I would suggest every person of European descendancy, that you go and you study – you want to know more about who, your reality? Go and study your tribal ancestry and see how you got civilized. Alright? See how you got civilized. Because terrible things happened. And these terrible things, these are what altered the perceptional reality.

    See, and, because, the basic part of this: in that altering of the perceptional reality, what we’re getting down to is, see, is that it made us become irresponsible as human beings. Because, see, we can blame the bad guys for being bad guys but that don’t work – it’s not enough. It’s about human beings remembering their spiritual real[ity] – their spiritual identity and accepting the responsibility from that perceptional reality; taking responsibility. Because the bad guys only get away with what they get away with because we don’t take responsibility. Because there’s a difference between blaming somebody for something and taking responsibility.

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