Dear Trusted Friend,
I am asking you to join me. After 35 years as a grassroots community organizer, this week, I file to seek the office of Tribal Chair of the White Earth reservation. The time is now. While I intend to continue with our work at Honor the Earth, the need to transition my own community into a fossil fuel reduced, local food future is pressing. This model will be a leading model, not only in Minnesota, and Anishinaabe territory, but also nationally. That is, if I am elected. To do that, I need to start with some seed money; because this campaign will be one of the largest challenges in my life. I am asking you to consider a contribution to the Winona LaDuke Campaign Fund, and to pass the word. Every bit helps, as it will take resources to win this election.
On January 20, as I file, I am challenged to face my own community’s deep need for visionary leadership in the face of huge challenges. Not only are we challenged by two major oil pipelines, but we face ongoing and deep crisis- the crisis of four generations of people being forced into poverty, and the consequences today. My community continues to face health disparities, economic injustices, and major ongoing social trauma. And I will face some opposition from within and without our community.
There is no easy answer, but let me share with you some of my thoughts.
- Transition to a restored Anishinaabeg centric economy. This will be an economy of local food, local energy and export of these products at a fair trade rate. My tribe has immense wind potential, the potential to be energy self sufficient, and the potential to be food self sufficient, as well as secure fair trade markets for our heritage foods. We need to have a retail sector of tribal businesses capitalized on this reservation, and those businesses can flourish with the correct tax structure. We need businesses in each community, so people do not have to travel 70 miles a day for a minimum wage job, facing vehicle and childcare challenges. We need access and the ability to protect more of the land in our reservation, including the one third of the reservation held by state, county and federal agencies. We need a just economy.
- Our tribe needs to decriminalize poverty and marijuana. Why is this important? Because being poor means that you have no driver’s license, no insurance; have the ongoing trauma of higher arrests and structural poverty- there are no jobs for those who live here, or return from the prison industrial complex. My tribe has a high level of health impacts and problems related to poverty and the injustice of our health system. My tribe has a high level of drug abuse, and a significant amount of marijuana consumption- many people face time for this, and we need to heal the problems which cause our people to self medicate, and decriminalize marijuana- looking to medical marijuana, hemp and the long term policy of legalizing. We need programs like a Fresh Start, to get rid of fines which plague people and get their licenses back.
- We need to take jurisdiction of energy, the environment, food, and from the cradle to the grave- our own birth and burial ordinances. We need to be hard on polluters and drug dealers- whether in the chemical addition of pollutants to our lands, or the pushing of heroin or meth on our reservation. We need to secure GMO free zones in our territory and continue our work to have wolf sanctuaries. Since the majority of the world’s biodiversity is in Indigenous territories, we need to take the leadership to protect our relatives, whether they have wings, feet, root or paws. We need to be a strong people once again.
- In the time of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we need to remind the state of Minnesota , and the US federal government that this is not l889, or l930, when our people’s houses were burned to create national wildlife refuges and to take our trees. In this era, Indigenous Peoples must be treated as first class citizens of the world; and our protection of our people, lands, and waters are essential.
I can see where we can go- ji- misawaabandaaming, the future is good for us. But, I will need your help to make this happen. I am setting up a web site, a Kitchen cabinet, and a team of people to work on this election. And I am starting to raise funds for this work.
This has national implications. And international implications- as the issues of Anishinaabe Akiing are pivotal; whether the issues of genetic engineering, or fossil fuel oil pipelines. My opposition will come from not only some in my community; but also a lot of forces who would like to keep our dependency and poverty intact. A vote for me is a vote for the future, Minobimaatisiiwin.
I have lived most of my life in my community; traveled the world, and am home. This is where I want to be, and intend to serve the larger world from this place- omaa akiing. I am asking for you to join me.
January 19, 2016: This is me filing for the office of White Earth tribal chairwoman after thirty five years of community organizing. The Primary is APRIL 5, 2016 ! Get registered. Please. get your ballots and vote for our future Anishinaabeg !
And if you are able to set up a donation to my campaign , that’s a check or money order, it will need to be written to Winona LaDuke Campaign Fund 2016.
Mailing address: Winona LaDuke P.O. Box 268 White Earth, Minnesota 56591
If you are able to make an online contribution: Safe Secure, SquareUpLink