John Trudell was a native American activist, poet and musician, who also appeared in nearly a dozen films throughout the 90s and 2000s. Born in Omaha and raised in Nebraska's Santee Sioux Reservation, as a young man Trudell immersed himself in the culture and history of the native American people (something that would help him out later on in life when he became a political activist). Before he became political, however, Trudell joined the United States Navy in 1963. He proudly served his country for the next four years, and was also one of the earliest military men to be stationed in Vietnam. After leaving the Navy in 1967, Trudell spent the next two years studying radio and broadcasting at a small college in Southern California. By 1969, however, as the cultural upheaval of the 1960s was hitting its tipping point, Trudell decided to leave college behind to become the spokesperson for the United Indians' of All Tribes takeover of the San Francisco prison island known as Alcatraz. For the next two years Trudell utilized his broadcasting skills to host a radio show that discussed the plight of the native American people. Many heard the radio show, seeing as it was broadcast through the University of California Berkeley's radio station. However, after two years of hosting the program, Trudell and the United Indians' of All Tribes found that the United States government was still not meeting the needs of protestors on Alcatraz. Furious that his and his people's voice was not being heard, Trudell spent the next several years as chairman of the American Indian Movement. During his tenure with the movement, Trudell fought tirelessly for native American causes, while giving a voice to his people in the United States government. However, tragedy struck Trudell in 1979 when his entire family was killed in a fire. The circumstances of the blaze were suspicious, and until the day he died, Trudell suspected arson as the motive. Shocked by the sudden loss of his pregnant wife and three children, Trudell spent the next three decades devoting himself to the arts. He became a writer of poetry, releasing a critically acclaimed collection in 2008, as well as a musician who appeared on over a dozen albums. Furthermore, Trudell also appeared in several films including "Extreme Measures" (1996) and "Sawtooth" (2004). In 2005 Trudell also had a documentary about his life made, which made his life's work of accomplishments available to a whole new generation of fans. After spending nearly 50 years fighting for native American causes, Trudell passed away on December 8, 2015 at the age of 69.
Cast (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Special Thanks (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Made film debut in "Powwow Highway"
Appeared in "Sawtooth"
"Trudell," a documentary about his life, was released to great acclaim
Made final film appearance in "Dark Blood"