The 18th Cannabis Cup Opening Ceremonies will be held at the Melkweg in Amsterdam on Sunday, November 20th, and will feature a performance by Patti Smith. The Awards Show will be held on Thursday, November 24th, also at the Melkweg, and will feature the induction of John Trudell into the Counterculture Hall of Fame. The awards night festivities will close with another performance by Patti Smith and her band.
An Indian of All Tribes Comes to the Cannabis Cup
In late November, 1969, John Trudell, recently-returned Vietnam War Veteran, joined a group of 100 Native Americans who illegally occupied the abandoned prison on Alcatraz island in San Francisco Bay. They dubbed themselves the "Indians of All Tribes," and their goal was to establish a Native American University on the island.
The government responded by barricaded the island, cutting off power and water, and infiltrating the group with agent provocateurs, some of whom were drawn from the nearby Haight-Ashbury hippy community, which had already been infested with undercover agents. The provocateurs were widely blamed for fostering violence and dissension, as well as igniting fires that destroyed important (and useful) buildings on the island.
Early on, a radio station was established to counter the disinformation campaign being waged by the government and to provide honest information about what was happening inside. Trudell became the primary spokesperson for Radio Free Alcatraz and his daily broadcasts became an inspiration to social activists in the Bay area.
On June 10th, 1971, armed Federal marshals and special forces police invaded the island and removed everyone. The excuse for the raid was the collision of two oil tankers near the San Francisco Bay Bridge. The Alcatraz lighthouse and fog horns had been disabled when the power had been shut off, but even so, the island was miles from the accident, and it was widely acknowledged Alcatraz had played no role in the accident. But it did provide a convenient excuse to end the 19 month stand-off.
The Alcatraz occupation galvanized the political mind of John Trudell. Two years later he emerged as National Chairman of the American Indian Movement (AIM), the most radical native rights group in America. AIM had catapulted to the forefront of the media with a 71-day occupation of Wounded Knee that year. During and after Wounded Knee there were more than 100 unsolved murders on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, none of which were ever investigated.
Trudell, meanwhile, became the most-watched Native American in history, eventually amassing an FBI file of over 16,000 pages, one of the largest in agency history.
In 1979, Trudell's home was fire-bombed, killing his wife, three children and mother-in-law. Devastated, he withdrew from public life for three years..
He re-emerged with his first spoken-word recording, "Tribal Voice." In 1985, Trudell released a stunning masterpiece "AKA Graffiti Man," recognized as "best album of that year" by Bob Dylan. He has gone on to release nine more albums, while also starring in numerous films, including, "Thunderheart," "Smoke Signals" and "Incident at Oglala." Trudell was the first recipient of the Native American Music "Living Legend Award," and has received numerous Nammys (Native American equivalent of a Grammy). Last winter, his biographical documentary "Trudell, The Movie" was one of 15 documentaries invited to screen at the annual Sundance Festival competition. The film was also accepted at the Tribeca Film Festival, held in Manhattan every April.
This Thanksgiving, John Trudell will become the 14th person inducted in the High Times Counterculture Hall of Fame at the 18th Cannabis Cup Awards Show in Amsterdam, a ceremony that will undoubtedly be one of the greatest in Cup history because Native American culture represents an essential part of counterculture history and Trudell will be the first Native to receive the Cup's highest honor.