Winona LaDuke is an environmental activist, social activist, economist, speaker, professor, and writer. She is a native of Ojibwe. She was born in Los Angeles, California, United States, on August 18, 1959, and is now 59 years old. Her partner is Kevin Gasco and she is from the United States Green Party.
Her father was a western actor and also an Indian activist. Her mother is a professor of Jewish art. She praised her parents for giving up the spirit of activism on her. LaDuke was involved in Native American environmental issues after meeting Cherokee activist Jimmy Durham when she was a student at Harvard. She began to be an activist at the age of 18 when she spoke to the United Nations about the problems of India.
LaDuke is an internationally renowned activist in dealing with renewable energy issues and its development system. She lives and works on the White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota, and two times as a vice presidential candidate together with Ralph Nader for the Green Party.
Winona LaDuke and Career as an Activist
As Director of the Earth Honor Program, she works nationally and internationally about issues of climate change, renewable energy, and environmental justice with Indigenous communities. And in her own community, she is the founder of the White Earth Land Restoration Project, a non-profit organization and leader in the issue of culture-based sustainable development, renewable energy, and food systems.
In the White Earth Restoration project, she struggled to take 837,000 hectares of land to the original American owners. She is interested in Native Environmentalism, she also leads Honor the Earth, a non-profit that raises awareness and funding for environmental injustices – such as climate change, renewable energy, and sustainable development.
In her work, she also continued national and international work to protect Indigenous plants and food inherited from patents and genetic engineering.
After graduating from Harvard in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in original economic development, LaDuke moved to White Earth. She established the White Earth Restoration Project to reclaim the land of Anishinaabeg which was promised by the 1867 federal agreement but was slowly stolen and distributed by the US government on the orders of the logging industry.
Winona LaDuke and International Awards
Although LaDuke often found herself involved and lost the legal battle, she survived, got a grant and won the Reebok Human Rights Award. With this fund, she and White Earth have claimed 1,000 acres and hope to get 30,000 more in the next 15 years.
The challenge is huge. More than 90 percent of the original 837,000 hectares of the White Earth remain in the hands of non-Indians. LaDuke said if people did not have control of their land, they did not control their destiny.
In 1994, Time magazine named LaDuke one of the 50 most promising leaders under the age of 40. Currently, she is known to always voice Indian’s economic and environmental concerns throughout the United States and internationally.
LaDuke has served on the council of Indigenous Women’s Networks and Greenpeace USA. She is the founding director of the White Earth Land Recovery Program and Respect for the Earth, a Native American foundation.
She has sought to be a vice presidential candidate for the Green Party in 1996 and 2000. Her books include Last Standing Woman (fiction), All Our Relations, Winona LaDuke Reader (nonfiction), and In the Sugarbush which are children’s storybooks.
Courageous and dedicated to the earth is LaDuke character. Winona LaDuke always calls for a leading global voice on environmental and sustainability issues for American Indians and Indigenous Peoples and surrounding communities.