Apr 26/97: John Trudell speaks at Judi Bari Memorial


- posted to serendipity-L by Dan Scanlan


A thousand or so activists met at Martin Luther King Jr. School in Berkeley CA on Saturday April 26 to commemorate Judi Bari's life and to rejuvenate ourselves. [S.I.S.I.S. note: Judi Bari was a long-time Earth First!er, union activist, feminist, and fiddler. She and Darryl Cherney filed a lawsuit against the F.B.I. for its involvement in a 1990 bombing of Judi's car that shattered Judi's pelvis. Judi recently died of cancer. The lawsuit against the F.B.I. continues.]

There were many wonderful moments, and it was, as Utah Phillips described it, "Nourishing, just nourishing."

It is my hope you will treat yourself to a quiet reading of the following transcription of John Trudell's speech and that it brings clear fuel to your own struggle.

Dan Scanlan


Our next speaker burned an American flag on the steps of FBI Headquarters.

And 12 hours later a fire killed his wife, his three children and his wife's mother. The FBI declined to investigate. This man had 17 thousand pages in his FBI file. He's former national chairman of the American Indian Movement: John Trudell.


I'm pleased to be here and I'm glad that you're here and I'll attempt to be as clear as I can while I'm up here.

It's about our D and A. Descendants and ancestors. We are the descendants and we are the ancestors. D and A, our DNA, our blood, our flesh and our bone, is made up of the metals and the minerals and the liquids of the earth. We are the earth. We truly, literally and figuratively are the earth. Any relationship we will ever have in this world to real power -- the real power, not energy systems and other artificial means of authority -- but any relationship we will ever have to real power is our relationship to the earth.

So whatever Judi was doing and what Earth First! does, they were establishing connection with the basic reality, that we must take care of the earth. Our power comes from the earth.

And because we are made up of the earth -- our common ground, so to speak -- we are all the descendants of tribes. Each and every one of us is a descendant of a tribe. We have genetic memories. Inside of our genetic memories, that power connection exists to our ancestral past. We are all descendants of tribes.

But the tribes of the planet earth have encountered a technological religious mind set that removes all spiritual value and real value about life from the earth and puts it into theoretical heavens or hells. And it does it under a male image of a male dominator god.

In our tribal ancestry each and every one of our ancestors resisted that notion, that imposition. Tribes of Europe, tribes of Africa, tribes of here. Every tribe resisted it. It started in different time frames in different parts of the planet. It's almost like a disease. A virus, a virus, a disease that lives in the human. A disease of the spirit. It's almost like a diseased spirit affects the perception of reality of the carrier of the disease, the human being.

Power. It's very important that we understand who we are in relationship to power, because we have been tricked and lied to, almost in a way one would say, "brainwashed", into looking at authority as power. It is very important that we make this distinction because we need to have something to pass to the next generations.

Authority is not power. Authority is authority. All authority is usually based upon aggression or implied aggression or active aggression. Authority is authority. Power is something else. Power is what we come from. It is a part of the natural order of the universe -- power.

Authority is something that man creates. It's limitation is that it was created by man. Power has no limitations.

Our relationship to the earth, DNA. We are different shapes and forms of the earth. We are different trees. We are no more or no less than the tree. We are different stones. We are just different shapes of the life of the earth.

As human beings we understand in this technologic religious mind set that the authoritarian system, the industrial fascism, the industrial Reich that we live under, we understand that they can mine the other natural resources of the earth, and through refinement processes take old dinosaurs out of the ground and turn them into energy to run the machine world that we're very addicted to and partly enslaved to.

We have to make the connection that we are just a different shape but our value is no more or no less than the rest of the natural resources of the earth, the rest of the DNA of the earth. So it's very possible that we are being mined in the same way that the dinosaurs are, out of the ground. Human being, human physical, being spirit. Human physical, being spirit. Human physical, being spirit.

And we live under an authoritarian system, an industrial technologic mind set that has discovered and developed a way to mine, to take the being part of human, the spirit part of human and convert it into energy and then use that energy to power their system, to run their system. They are literally eating our spirits.

Literally eating our spirits.

Our spirit is eaten when we do not understand the distinction, the difference between authority and power. If they tell us money resembles power, then whoever has the most money has the most power.

But that is a lie.

Whoever has the most money has the ability to get authority. But that is not power. But if we believe that, if we believe that money is power, or that it can take us to power, then we will always understand that power is something removed from us and is not a natural part of us.

It is just so subtle, and so blatant.

If we believe that political systems are power, they're manipulative. That's all they are: a political system is a way of mining the spirit, in just the same way as the definition of authority: mining our spirit.

This is where someone like Judi [Bari] becomes a threat, because she understands she has power, and she understands the reality of responsibility that goes with power. She understands that. We can't communicate with her now the way that we used to, but we can communicate with her. That's life. That's spirit.

In the ways of the tribes and in our common ancestry, we understood the play with our ancestors. We understood the ones before us, the ones that we were the descendants of. This was our power connection to knowledge. This was our power connection to the past and our power connection to the future. So as we enter into this, whatever has to come down in the future -- I don't really have time to go into too far! --

But the antibiotic to dealing with these people, these vampires -- and it t is, it is vampires, cannibalization -- the antibiotic to this disease is our intelligence. We were given intelligence by the creator. We have intelligence. That is the antibiotic.That is the cure. There is no existing cure to the problem other than the one we will create by using our intelligence as intelligently and as clearly as we possibly can.

To use our intelligence as intelligently as we possibly can.

To have clarity. Because this beast that feeds and eats our spirit does it by the confusions that are in our minds.

But we understand the pollution of the air, of the water, we understand the pollution of the environment has come from this plundering and mining of the planet in an irresponsible manner. But you think about every fear, every doubt, every insecurity, every way that we ever beat ourselves up inside of our own heads -- that is the pollution left over from the mining of our spirit.

Another word I hear used a lot -- I don't "believe" anything. I tried to believe but there was a "lie" in the middle: B, E, LIE, V, E. Again, use our intelligence very intelligently. There are certain words that we should use very, very, very carefully and I think that's one of those words, because either we know or we don't know.

We should think -- anything in between us knowing and not knowing -- we should think.

Thank you.

- John Trudell at Judi Bari memorial and fund raiser at Martin Luther King Jr. School in Berkeley CA, April 26, 1997

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