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Pet Sins July 2009

Winona LaDuke, Founding Director of the White Earth Land Recovery Project

Winona LaDuke is a renowned U.S. environmentalist who has twice been the Green Party candidate for the U.S. vice-presidency. Of Jewish and native descent, LaDuke is an Anishinaabekwe (Ojibwe) enrolled member of the Mississippi Band Anishinaabeg.

Among the Harvard graduate's many achievements in environmentalism and human rights activism is LaDuke's founding of the White Earth Land Recovery Project, through which she helped the Ojibwe of Minnesota buy back thousands of acres of ancestral land. WELRP has launched environmentally-friendly projects on and beyond the reservation, such as an alternative energy program, replenishing fish stocks and restoring the biodiversity of indigenous agriculture.

Winona LaDuke's influence and activism extends beyond the Ojibwe to Native America and the U.S. at large. She serves as Executive Director of Honor the Earth, an indigenous organization supporting Native environmental issues and the development of financial and political resources for the survival of sustainable Native communities. She is also a founding member of Women of All Red Nations.

Time Magazine named her one of America's fifty most promising leaders under forty years of age, and in 1997 she was named a Ms. Magazine Woman of the Year. LaDuke won the Reebok Human Rights Award in 1998.

For more on LaDuke's work, see:

Winona LaDuke on Native Harvest
Winono LaDuke on honorearth.com
Speaking to Survival in Awakened Woman e-magazine

LaDuke also wrote the book All our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life.

LaDuke's tireless activism is part of a larger picture of First Nations people's ongoing efforts at environmental restoration and conservation. Indigenous people in the United States have suffered disproportionately from environmental racism and the destruction of the natural resources that supported traditional lifestyles. But Native peoples, instead of passively accepting the ongoing pollution of native land by corporate and government entities, are taking measures to improve their environment and create a sustainable world.

Some links to native environmentalist and conservation efforts:

National Environmental Coalition Of Native Americans - Native American Environmentalists working to keep nuclear waste off Indian landsq
'The First Environmentalists' (Jan 2000, The Nation)
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes - Fish, Wildlife, Recreation, and Conservation
Indigenous Environment Network