Social Justice, Racism and the Environmental Movement
Robert Frost once wrote, “The land was ours before we were the land’s.” Indigenous peoples of North America might take exception to that. They were on the land millennia before European settlers arrived. The ensuing conquest and devastation drenched the hemisphere in blood. But native peoples survive and endure. Much can be learned from them. They have a singular view of living in harmony with the environment. The environmental movement largely pays lip service to native perspectives and concerns. Anti-fur proponents, for example, do not appreciate that trapping is the sole source of livelihood for peoples in the northern latitudes.
Winona LaDuke is a brilliant and articulate representative of Indigenous perspectives. At the age of seventeen, she spoke at the UN on behalf of Native Americans. She is a founding member of Women of All Red Nations and director of the Land Recovery Project on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota. She was the 1996 and 2000 vice-presidential candidate of the Green Party. She is the author of All Our Relations, Recovering the Sacred, The Militarization of Indian Country, and The Winona LaDuke Chronicles.