I get asked fairly often about John Trudell, what did I make of him? More so now in his passing.
I guess the best response I could offer is enigmatic – a man of contradictions who made his livelihood from the “spoken word” and was wordsmith enough to dangle carrots and keep ’em guessing.
Trudell had a long history of being all in when it came to AIM, even achieving positions of prominence within what became a criminal organization, and I don’t believe anyone could seriously deny he knew more than he was telling.
I’m not sure what the reason for that would be – maybe loyalty or maybe concern over exposing any role he may have had in an assortment of crimes AIM committed.
Trudell was a man who didn’t hesitate to testify in court when it came to certain cases – said the AIM leadership should be rounded up and hauled into court to get the bottom of the murder of Annie Mae Pictou Aquash.
But always added a codicil that in some way the feds were involved and therefore responsible – a line heavily favored by AIM, that and “paranoia” as a defense mean’t to exonerate.
Perhaps in an attempt to mollify AIM he employed words to insist there was a provocateur within AIM, a person of influence having gained the trust of individuals like Dennis Bank$ – or perhaps Trudell’s entire schtick was little more than the artistry of the spoken word he epitomized.
Enigmatic? Absolutely in my opinion, but even in crafted speech elements of the truth will prevail, and so I believe there were plants and informants within AIM, though not based on something Trudell might have said but what has become obvious.
Doug Durham is a well known example of an informant – Dave Hill is another, and by any logical deduction a strong contender for the position of a provocateur, Russell Means qualifies as an informant following his “snitch” status by AIM’s very own standard as revealed in the announcement he “assisted law enforcement”.
Being a provocateur and being an informant are two different things, although an individual could be both – as to informing I believe as I’ve said on more than one occasion I’m convinced those within the leadership itself informed when it was personally advantageous to do so.
As to a provocateur or provocateurs we may never know with concrete certainty who they were and the why of it.
What we do know inspite of statements to the contrary was that John Trudell was not the friend to Annie Mae Pictou Aquash he represented himself to be, he kicked her and the truth of her murder to the curb just as Bank$ and the rest of the leadership have done.
Had he of been the friend he professed to be he would done more than string words together calling for the leadership to be rounded up when he surely knew that would not be the case.
He would have stepped up as a “friend” revealing all that he knew and blown the lid off – and that’s the way I’ll remember John Trudell, a man who could have but chose not to.
It’s more than a lie, it is an abuse that many within AIM lay claim to being her friend, a “brother” who loved her as a sister as Trudell would claim – among them Leonard Peltier who surely was aware of the decision to murder her to in part save his ass.
The man who “loved” his sister so much he interrogated her at gunpoint, labelled her a snitch, and expressed a wish that he had truth serum to administer to her.
Yet these “friends” remain silent, willing to go their grave supporting lies and murderers with the consent of silence in what became an epic betrayal of their “friend” and “sister”.