Trudell (2006)


Is it ridiculous to think the government killed Trudell’s family? Is it dumb to think the government had it out for Trudell at all? Not when you pile on the evidence. Lennon, Hoffman, Kennedy all were radical thinkers whom are still discussed as men possibly done in by their own government, but the documentary “Trudell” is apologist in every way and form making exception for Trudell who, simply put, incited violence and in many ways had the potential for terrorism. Not only was committing the crime of burning an American flag a possible clue, but he called for revolution and war. The fact he hated America didn’t make him less interesting to me, but the mere fact that he had the potential to be a terrorist in the sense of Guevera makes him a slight threat, thus a reasonable worry for the government.

“He’s extremely eloquent… therefore extremely dangerous.” Thus reads the FBI memo concerning Native American poet and activist John Trudell, a free thinker and artist who spoke out against America’s crimes against his culture and society. Trudell, like many of the people of his generation was an outspoken and militant man who took his poetry and used it as a device to rally for his cause. Trudell, much like Pinero, was an exquisite public speaker who took people by the balls and let them in to his cause. His transition from poet, to speaker, to singer is only the natural progression of a leader. Trudell’s intentions were indeed noble ranging from his main source of calling attention to the way his people were oppressed, and then heading in to speaking out against the government and its tyranny on America.

He’s an insightful man whose garnered followers like Robert Redford, and Val Kilmer, and his ability to form his peers in to part of his entourage frightened the government. And like every other outspoken force, he was feared, and in many ways suspected of having foul play committed against him, especially when it concerns the mysterious death of his wife and children in a horrible fire. Trudell is a well made documentary that focuses on the journey and battle of this man speaking for a nation that hasn’t had a voice in decades. He’s a man who detached himself from society and sought out to keep himself from civilization which he deemed an illusion and compares Columbus day to celebrating Bin Laden day. Trudell seems like an intelligent man whose never relented in striving for equality with the most oppressed race in America. And anyone who influences reflection, and challenges authority can’t be that bad, especially one that basically has a point when it applies to his race.

Hoffman, Lennon, and Kennedy wanted peace through their radical thinking, and Trudell incited, in some ways, violence. Most of “Trudell” is really just an excuse for the man to spout poetic, and the documentary never questions his intentions, his thoughts, nor does it ever really take him to task on his actions, and thus is will become surefire ammunition for the righties to use as an example of a hardcore liberal. “Trudell” in some respects deifies the man and never portrays him as anything less but a mystical poet. What about the man? What about his work? What about the people that speak out against him? It’s just basically a forgettable account of a historic man. But it never portrays the man, just the myth. “Trudell” is an ultimately forgettable account of the poet and historic speaker for Native American rights. It prefers to deify him and present him as more than a man, but for the moments where it focuses on Trudell as a free thinker, it’s compelling.