Listen: Winona - profile and update on Winona LaDuke

MPR’s Joelle Audette profiles Native American enivironmentalist activist Winona LaDuke, who is involved in a land recovery project for the White Earth Indian Reservation. Report includes interview with LaDuke on her various activities.  


(00:00:00) Winona Laduke may seem like your everyday Northern Minnesota resident in December with the boots cluttered in the entryway over cabin home on the white Earth reservation and a hot cup of coffee. Not more than an Arm's Reach away, but it soon becomes apparent. This anishinabe woman is looking too much larger things than just the day ahead. The phone rings non-stop at the Leduc residents her basement office is cluttered with assorted books proposals and a map of the white Earth Indian reservation in the middle of the map a small red section signifies the Indian old land within the reservation borders. The rest of the reservation is owned by the county state and federal government and non Indian residents Leduc with the white Earth. Land recovery project is working by back that land. The Duke says 90% of the land inside wide earth borders is not held by Indians.

(00:01:01) We exhausted our legal recourse. We have no rights according to the US justice system to have our land returned largely because they said that the that we should have sued for our land within seven years of the time of taking about 1920. So my grandparents who could not read or write English we're supposed to have sued to get their land back in not having done so we have no other remedy to get on and returned

(00:01:25) more than 1,000 Acres have been purchased by white Earth land recovery since the project began in 1988 Laduke says land ownership is essential for the economic and cultural growth of her people. She says the recovery project is established in organic raspberry Farm, maple syrup operations and language immersion programs on the reservation. There are also fighting to make all of the road signs on the reservation bilingual, but our homeland is not the only land she's fought for

(00:01:54) I have many times. Bennett hearings or I've been in debates with public officials or corporations who are lying. And I have stood up and said and oppose them with words. I have many times Steward in protest of nuclear power plants of uranium mines of coal strip mines of dams. I've I've placed my body in this in the face of trucks and I've looked at a lot of policemen in my life

(00:02:31) just weeks ago Leduc was arrested in Los. Angela's for chaining herself to the front gate of a company Leduc says the company is cutting down the old-growth rainforest on Vancouver Island to support their production of phone books blue Dukes high-profile campaigns of attracted lot of positive attention from environmental groups. They've also made her the subject of some controversy some argue. She's campaigning for Winona Laduke first and her causes second and in the traditionally all-male atmosphere of the white Earth Tribal Council her efforts have resulted. Robbed some the wrong way. However, Leduc says she's only doing what's right Leduc began her career as an environmental activist 17 years ago when she was a student at Harvard along with her commitment to the white Earth land recovery project. She also sits on the board of u.s. Greenpeace co-chairs, the international indigenous women's Network and raises money for similar organizations around the country. The Duke is also helping prepare a document on the status of indigenous women for the you Conference in Beijing Leduc says she views her work not as a career, but as her life, she says her work focuses on making the world a better place not only for her children, but for all children

(00:03:48) and I think that you know the issues that I work on our basic issues of a right to determine your destiny to control your future to live in a clean area to drink clean water to breathe clean air that our fundamental rights of individuals. Not just native people but everyone but it is their fundamental issues of this society that this Society must deal with the issues of how we live because native peoples issues are not separate

(00:04:23) no matter what the issue is the Dukes advice if you see an injustice, you should stand in the way. For the FM news station. I'm Joelle audit in Bemidji.


Digitization made possible by the National Historical Publications & Records Commission.

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