Poet-musician-activist John Trudell urges students to embrace their humanity

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John Trudell speaks at Golden Auditorium. (Photo by Andy Daddio)

John Trudell speaks at Golden Auditorium. (Photo by Ashlee Eve ’14)

John Trudell’s lecture at Golden Auditorium was anything but conventional.

A veritable man of many trades, from activist for the American Indian movement to author to musician  to poet, Trudell visited campus November 7 to speak on “Intelligence as Alternative Energy.”

Trudell’s lecture, which he interlaced with samplings of his poetry, covered a range of topics with one central theme: we have lost understanding of humanity and what it means to be human.

“We don’t recognize ourselves, we don’t know who we are,” Trudell said.

He followed this critique with his own explanation of human composition, stating, “We are made up of the metals, minerals, liquids of the earth. We’re shapes of the earth.

“If we respected our intelligence, we would generate power,” he said. “If we understand who we are as human beings, we can use that understanding to generate coherency and clarity.”

Though his lecture touched on difficult subjects, Trudell’s solution was relatively simple — if we use our power as humans intelligently, we can change the course of humanity for the better.

Before his lecture, Trudell met with students in Professor Sarah Wider’s Native American Writers and Native American Literature courses.

“He broke things down into concepts that made sense,” said Jomar Morden ‘15.

Another student, Ellie Kantor ’14, enjoyed Trudell’s visit. “My favorite part was his give-and-give back philosophy; if we take from the earth, we give back to it. It’s an old concept for new times.”

The idea to invite Trudell to campus came from university photographer Andy Daddio, whose interest was sparked after watching the 2005 documentary Trudell. Daddio was asked to introduce Trudell before his public lecture.

“I know he had a tremendous impact on me, and part of my motivation was to bring this to the students,” said Daddio.