Winona LaDuke

author and activist

Winona LaDuke (August 18, 1959) is an American environmentalist, economist, and writer.

Winona LaDuke


  • Rarely is there money in the federal bureaucracy for the cultural and environmental needs of the Natives. I find it ironic however, that federal monies always miraculously appear to study and develop coal strip miners, uranium mines and nuclear waste dumps on Reservations.
    • As quoted in All Our Relations Native Struggle For Land & Life (1999), pg.101
  • Winona LaDuke became involved in Native American issues after meeting Jimmy Durham, a well known Cherokee activist, while she was attending Harvard University. At the age of 18, she spoke in front of the United Nations regarding Native American rights and has remained one of the most prominent voices for American Indian economic and environmental concerns.
    • As quoted in All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life. (2015), p.225
  • We have a lot of teachings and language about how a people can live a thousand years in the same place and not destroy things. The phrase anishinaabe akiing, for example, means the land to which the people belong. It’s not the same thing as private property or even common property. It has to do with a relationship that a people has to a place—a relationship that reaffirms the sacredness of that place…
  • And in our covenant with the Creator, we understand that it is not about managing their behavior—it’s about managing ours, because we’re the ones who cause extinction of species. We’re the youngest species, and we don’t necessarily have the most smarts. We’ve bungled up along the way, and we acknowledge these mistakes in our stories and in our history as Indian people. The question is whether you have the humility and the commitment to get some learning out of these experiences.
  • A Navajo woman said to me, “In our old mythologies and stories, they talked of monster slayers.” She says we need a new generation of monster slayers. I think that’s such a powerful analogy, and it’s so true. It’s a David and Goliath moment, and we’ve got to hang in there because they are weakening…
  • It’s so ironic and so tragic, this dichotomy between the large oil corporations and the people who have always stood for their land. To all of us it was a Selma moment, that’s how I look at it. And if you contextualize it in the history of American movements and social movements, Standing Rock is a Selma moment when we all woke up, we all woke up and said, “This is what it looks like on the front lines.”…
  • Within a decade of the completion of the La Grande Complex, signs of environmental disasters have become obvious. Massive flooding had once again leached methyl Mercury from the soil, changing an inorganic Mercury compound in the water into organic mercury.
    • LaDuke (2015) All Our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life , P. 62

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