Look seven generations ahead, urges water week speaker Winona LaDuke

Winona LaDuke, the next presenter in UBC Okanagan’s Distinguished Speaker Series, will address indigenous views of the environment, efforts to protect land on the White Earth Ojibwe Reservation in Minnesota where she lives, and how thinking seven generations ahead would impact our world’s natural systems – particularly water, agriculture and energy.

LaDuke, a U.S. vice-presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000 with Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader, is a Native American activist applauded worldwide for her work on environmental and social issues. She will speak in Kelowna on March 25 during World Water Week.

“I’ll talk about the challenges we will be facing in terms of the intersection of these issues with climate change,” LaDuke says. “I will use the examples of our community at White Earth, and other relocalization and sustainability initiatives, as well as larger international strategies and proposals to address the creation of sustainable world systems.”

LaDuke received the Reebok Human Rights Award in 1989 and used that $20,000 prize and other grants to begin the White Earth Land Recovery Project, buying back lands promised by U.S. government treaty more than 100 years ago but never transferred to the tribal communities.

In 1994, LaDuke was among Time’s 50 most promising leaders under the age of 40. LaDuke and the White Earth Land Recovery Project recently received the prestigious International Slow Food Award for their work with protecting wild rice and local biodiversity.

“Winona LaDuke’s message is one we all should hear,” says John Wagner, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and chair of UBC Okanagan’s World Water Week committee. “It’s a globally important message about sustainability and responsibility that we’re proud to bring to our community during World Water Week.”

LaDuke’s presentation – entitled Creating for Future Generations: Indigenous Thinking on Sustainability in a Climate-Challenged World – is at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 25, at the Rotary Centre for the Arts, 421 Cawston Ave., Kelowna.

Tickets are free and are available starting Saturday, March 1. Tickets must be picked up or ordered in advance from the Rotary Centre for the Arts box office (call 250-717-5304). If the event is sold out, there will be a standby lineup at the event and efforts will be made to accommodate everyone.

The Distinguished Speaker Series is funded by the Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences endowment at UBC Okanagan.

About Winona LaDuke

Winona LaDuke’s 25-year-old car runs on used cooking oil – biodiesel. It’s the first alternative-fuel car of its kind on Minnesota’s White Earth Reservation and it’s just one example of how everyday living can be sustainable living – not just at her home in Minnesota, but around the planet.

LaDuke is an Anishinaabekwe (Ojibwe) enrolled member of the Mississippi Band Anishinaabeg who lives and works on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota, and is the mother of three children.

As program director of the Honor the Earth Fund, she works on a national level in the United States to advocate, raise public support, and create funding for frontline native environmental groups. She also works as founding director for White Earth Land Recovery Project.

In 1994, LaDuke was nominated by Time magazine as one of America's 50 most promising leaders under 40 years of age. She has been 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.

A graduate of Harvard and Antioch Universities, LaDuke has written extensively on Native American and environmental issues. She is a former board member of Greenpeace USA and serves as co-chair of the Indigenous Women's Network, a North American and Pacific indigenous women's organization.

In 1998, Ms. Magazine named her Woman of the Year for her work with Honor the Earth. Also in 1997, her first novel, Last Standing Woman, was published by Voyager Press.

In 1999, South End Press published All Our Relations, a non-fiction book on Native environmental struggles. Her editorials and essays have also been published numerous times in American and international journals and newspapers.

White Earth Land Recovery Project

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