AP Images/Richard Drew
John Trudell, 25-year-old member of the Alcatraz tribal council, talked to newsmen after Indians occupied a remote former Nike site near Richmond, California on June 14, 1971. The week before government agents moved onto Alcatraz and removed the last 15 Indians occupying the former prison site. They had been on Alcatraz for 19 months.

Warriors of Our Time: Remembering John Trudell

Alex Jacobs

In remembering John Trudell, it is worth paying a note of respect to all the people involved in all the activities that helped define an era and led to many changes we enjoy today. Such as: Richard Oakes (my cousin), Adam Fortunate Eagle, LaNada Means, and Alcatraz veterans Richard McKenzie, Mark Martinez, Garfield Spotted Elk, Virgil Standing-Elk, Walter Means, Allen Cottier, Joe Bill, David Leach, John Whitefox, Ross Harden, Jim Vaughn, Linda Arayando, Bernell Blindman, Kay Many Horse, John Virgil, John Martell, Fred Shelton, Rick Evening, Jerry Hatch, Al Miller, Joe Morris, Stella Leach, Cleo Waterman, Al Rickard, Dean Chavers.

Then there was Fred Downey—Coyote 1, Peter Blue Cloud—Coyote 2, and the actor Peter Coyote, Benjamin Bratt, Jack Forbes, Grace Thorpe, Wilma Mankiller, and so many more who turned out to support in the early 70s like Buffy Ste. Marie, Marlon Brando, Richie Havens, Taj Mahal, Dick Gregory, Muhammed Ali, Harry Belafonte, Sammy Davis Jr., Anthony Quinn, Jane Fonda, Jonathan Winters, Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael.

A home movie by Bureau of Indian Affairs employee Doris Purdy was made at Alcatraz and captures a snippet of this time, as does the famous LIFE Magazine photo-spread that has Oakes, Trudell and the entire Alcatraz contingent featured. In 1972, the movement was propelled by members of AIM, the National Indian Brotherhood, the Native American Rights Fund, the National Indian Youth Council, the National American Indian Council, the National Council on Indian Work, National Indian Leadership Training, and the American Indian Committee on Alcohol and Drug Abuse who organized the Trail of Broken Treaties, Mel Thom, Clyde Warrior, Gerald Wilkerson, Vine Deloria Jr., Hank Adams, Carter Camp, Shirley Hill Witt, LaDonna Harris, Suzan Harjo, and Louis Bruce.

The 1973 AIM Liberation/Occupation of Wounded Knee included Russell Means, Dennis Banks, Clyde and Vernon Bellecourt, Ellen Moves Camp, Gladys Bissonette, Lenny Foster, Edgar Bear Runner, Stan Holder, Pedro Bissonette, Leonard Peltier, Bob Robideau, Dino Butler, Nilak Butler, Anna Mae Pictou-Aquash, Mary Crow Dog, Kamook Banks, Lori Pourier, Winona LaDuke, Phillip Deer, Lee Brightman, Sid Mills, Bill Wahpepah, Ingrid Washinwatok, Billy War Soldier, Floyd Westerman, Joy Harjo. These are the names of just some of the people associated with that time, who knew or worked or debated with John Trudell.

We should also not neglect the memory of Frank Clearwater, Buddy LaMont, Joe Stuntz and the over 200 missing and murdered Natives from either side in the FBI/DOJ/BIA repression after Wounded Knee and the Jumping Bull Ranch/FBI shoot-out.

Alex Jacobs, Mohawk, is a visual artist and poet living in Santa Fe.

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