Reclaiming Native Culture with Winona Laduke

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Passionate, outspoken, and articulate, Winona LaDuke is an internationally known activist for indigenous rights and environmental and women's issues. All over the world, she observes, colonialism is encroaching upon natural ecosystems and the people who have lived in them for many centuries--but destroying land and cultures is not a sustainable option for anyone. In her home in northern Minnesota, traditionalist Anishinaabeg are struggling to defend their land and lifestyles against the powerful forces of government and mainstream culture. We hear how they are fighting in creative ways to reclaim their culture and protect the land. LaDuke's clear and strong words speak to vital contemporary issues affecting the future of all of us. "Settler society is not sustainable," she points out. "If all of us are going to live here, we've got to figure out how to become more as a native society." (hosted by Justine and Michael Toms)


Winona LaDuke is an Anishinaabekwe (Ojibwe) enrolled member of the Mississippi Band Anishinaabeg. She lives and works on the White Earth Reservation, and is the mother of three children. She is also the Executive Director of Honor The Earth. In 1994, Winona was nominated by Time magazine as one of America's fifty most promising leaders under forty years of age. She was awarded the Thomas Merton Award in 1996, the BIHA Community Service Award in 1997, the Ann Bancroft Award for Women's Leadership Fellowship, and the Reebok Human Rights Award, with which she began the White Earth Land Recovery Project. She was the U.S. Green Party’s vice-presidential candidate in 1996 sharing the ticket with Ralph Nader.

She’s the author of:

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Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • The implications of worldwide colonialism
  • The difference between Indian and white land ownership concepts
  • How the American government has usurped native lands
  • How her great-grandmother lost her land
  • Why treaties should not be decided upon in court
  • The work ethic in the industrial society vs. indigenous cultures
  • The "re-traditionalizing" of indigenous women
  • How she and others are reclaiming traditional lands
  • The indigenous concept of "continuous rebirth" vs. that of Armageddon
  • A new definition of "quality of life"
Host: Justine & Michael Toms      Interview Date:  5/15/1994      Program Number: 2480