Transcendental indie folk band The Pines, on December 13announced the release of their official music video “Time Dreams,” a collaboration with the late American Indian activist and poet John Trudell. Featured as the closing track on The Pines’ 2016 album, Above The Prairie, “Time Dreams” serves as a gracenote to a life of inspiration, activism and preservation of the human spirit.
The “Time Dreams” video is a collaboration between The Pines and writer, director and producer Missy Whiteman of Independent Indigenous Film and Media. Whiteman, is Northern Arapaho and Kickapoo, and a director and digital media consultant who’s currently working on a sci-fi/documentary short film titled The Coyote Way: Going Back Home. Footage from this project appears in the video, along with clips from the 2005 documentary Trudell, produced and directed by Heather Rae. Jonathan Thunder contributes animation to the video, which also features Missy’s son Louis Whiteman, representing the younger generation’s connection to Trudell’s message.
Trudell was one of the leaders for the Indians of All Tribes Occupation of Alcatraz in 1969, ran Radio Free Alcatraz, and went on to serve as Chairman of the American Indian Movement (AIM) from 1973-1979, when it was based in Minneapolis. “It feels to me like Minneapolis has been Ground Zero for the resistance, and for the Indigenous Peoples civil rights movement,” said David Huckfelt, co-founder of The Pines.
Trudell reached across generations from Alcatraz to influencing the Water Protectors at Standing Rock, of which we all assume he would have been very proud. But we also know he would have offered much needed advice about the overarching struggle presented there and what the next struggles will be. Trudell as much as predicted the current struggle in these words from 2014 in an interview with MinnPost.com.
“So I think what people are doing is necessary. Protecting the fire of life, so to speak, and it’s not happening in a lot of places. The younger generation of protesters are doing what needs to be done. They’re generating energy that needs to be generated. The predator reality is that they use their energy for fracking and promoting racism; that’s energy that’s accounting for that, and for us as human beings and people who don’t like that, we need to generate energy to put that out there, too. Because that’s what raises consciousness and keeps that flame going, and I think that’s really really good.”
Tragedy struck Trudell after a suspicious and deadly fire at his family’s home on the Duck Valley Paiute Reservation in February 1979. It was widely believed the fire was arson after Trudell burned an American flag on the steps of the FBI Building just 12 hours earlier. Officially it was called an accident and private investigators said it was arson but Trudell had to let it go. He turned his tears into writing poetry and later, music and acting. He released several volumes of poetry and appeared in such films as Thunderheart and Smoke Signals. He also recorded several highly regarded albums combining spoken word and music. A lifelong activist and human rights advocate, he was quoted as saying “I’m just a human being trying to make it in a world that is rapidly losing its understanding of being human.”
Missy Whiteman told Indian Country Today, “‘Time Dreams’ honors the life and legacy of John Trudell in a way that speaks to the hearts of all people. I was honored to work with Faye Brown and John’s family Trust. I was so, there’s no words really, it was beyond inspiration to be at the performance that night at the Cedar Cultural Center.” Whiteman, winner of a Sundance Institute Native Lab residency and a Mentor Fellowship, is based in Minneapolis with her Independent Indigenous Film and Media company.
She continued, “His words meant a lot to me as a single mother. I’m not single anymore, but from 2006-2008 when John's music came into my life, it helped me out during a very difficult time in my life. John taught me the foundation of being a human is the connection to Spirit and all of creation. It’s been a good journey, for all of us.”
David Huckfelt was extremely moved by The Pines’ collaboration with Trudell, and told Indian Country Today, “His words turned my world view upside down... The band was introduced to him at Louise Erdrich's Birchbark Bookstore in Minneapolis... and the seeds were planted to collaborate one day.
Through the gracious help of John's close friend Faye Brown, we arranged to bring John & Quiltman to Minneapolis for a concert in 2014, and it was John's idea for us to pick a poem of his and write music to it. "Time Dreams" had a powerful magic to it from the first rehearsal together, and we agreed to record it, with plans to make an entire record of John's words and our music... When he fell ill, "Time Dreams" was the only song we had time to get recorded, and it ended up being the closing track to our 2016 record "Above The Prairie"”
“Working with John stands as one of most inspiring, humbling, and beautiful things The Pines have ever done. His medicine in the world was so healing, he took in so much darkness and pain and transformed it into potent beauty & love. And the truth he told set so many people free, which we can attest to. John shaped our world view and cast a warm light on what we as human beings need to do, see, and realize to survive. He talked to us at length about the critical role music and art have in the resistance against corporate power destroying the Earth. He told us to keep creating, keep spreading the message out into the world, as an act of defiance.”
“The video is our way of saying thank you to John, to his family, to Quiltman, and of keeping the spirit alive... The events at Standing Rock... have shown us that by working together, by listening as much as speaking, the people can take control of caring for our planet, and John was a lighthouse that has guided so many of us safely home.”
For information on The Pines, please visit: http://www.thepinesmusic.com
For information on John Trudell Archives, please visit: http://www.johntrudell.com/ and