Part Mexican-American and part Santee-Dakota Sioux, the inspired poet/musician/actor/activist John Trudell grew up on a reservation in Nebraska and became heavily involved in the Red Power & American Indian Movements and was also a hemp advocate (alongside Willie Nelson). In '69 he was the spokesman & broadcaster for the All Tribes Occupation of Alcatraz Island, which put him right in the FBI's crosshairs. His entire family (including his children) all died in a suspicious fire the day after Trudell burned an American flag on the steps of the FBI building in '79. Soon after, his poetry career started. His first book, Living In Reality, was published in '82.
He rolled with Jackson Browne and Bonnie Raitt, recorded and self-circulated his '86 cassette-album A.K.A. Grafitti Man (reissued later on CD), toured with Midnight Oil in '88 and Peter Gabriel's Real World in '93 and made recordings with Browne, Jesse Ed Davis, Mark Shark, Bad Dog and others, as well as appearing onscreen in movies and publishing several books.
He continued his recording & poetry career through the '90s and into the new millennium. Kris Kristofferson wrote "Johnny Lobo" in tribute to him and Angelina Jolie produced his 2001 album Bone Days. He was subject of a documentary movie (Trudell) in 2006. He was a true warrior and he was arrested, attacked, harassed, surveiled (a 17,000 page FBI dossier) and his family murdered. His final book, Lines From A Mined Mind, was a collection of essays, song lyrics and poems published in 2008. His music included blues, Native folk, psychedelic rock and pop backing his words.
And the AKA Grafitti Man album: