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avatar for John Trudell

John Trudell

John Trudell is an acclaimed poet, national recording artist, actor and activist. Trudell (Santee Sioux) was a spokesperson for the Indian of All Tribes occupation of Alcatraz Island from 1969 to 1971. He then worked with the American Indian Movement (AIM), serving as Chairman of AIM from 1973 to 1979. Trudell then began to find his voice as an artist and poet.

In 1982, Trudell began recording his poetry to traditional Native music and in 1983 he released his debut album Tribal Voice on his own Peace Company label. Trudell then teamed up with the late legendary Kiowa guitarist Jesse Ed Davis. Together, they recorded three albums during the 1980's. The first of these, AKA Graffiti Man, was released in 1986 and dubbed the best album of the year by Bob Dylan. AKA Graffiti Man served early notice of Trudell's singular ability to express fundamental truths through a unique mix of poetry, Native music, blues and rock. Since that time, Trudell has released eight more albums with his band, Bad Dog. His 2002 CD, Bone Days, was executive produced by Academy Award winning actress Angelina Jolie and released on the Daemon Records label. His latest album, Crazier Than Hell, puts lyrics filled with penetrating insight and others with knock out humor to some of the best music Bad Dog has ever made together.

In addition to his music career, Trudell has played roles in a number of feature films, including a lead role in the Mirimax movie Thunderheart, a major part in Sherman Alexie's Smoke Signals and Coyote in Hallmark's made for television movie, Dreamkeeper.