WINONA LADUKE Biography - Activists, Revolutionaries and other freedom fighters


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Name: Winona LaDuke                                                                     
Born: 1959                                                                               
Winona LaDuke (b. 1959) is a Native American activist, environmentalist,                 
economist, and writer. In 1996 and 2000, she ran for election to the office of           
Vice President of the United States as the nominee of the United States Green           
Party, on the ticket headed by Ralph Nader.                                             
LaDuke was born in Los Angeles, California to Vincent and Betty LaDuke. Her             
father was part Anishinaabe (Ojibwe or "Chippewa") from an Indian reservation of         
Minnesota. He was an actor with supporting roles in Western movies, an activist,         
a writer, and at the end of his life, a spiritual guru under the name Sun Bear.         
Her mother was a Jewish artist, employed as an art professor at Southern Oregon         
University in Ashland, Oregon. LaDuke is the mother of five.                             
LaDuke was raised in Ashland, but after graduating from Harvard in 1982 with             
a degree in rural economic development, she accepted a job as principal of the           
high school on the Ojibwe White Earth Indian Reservation in Minnesota. She soon         
became an activist, involved in the struggle to recover lands promised to the           
Ojibwe by an 1867 treaty. She helped the Ojibwe buy back thousands of acres of           
ancestral land.                                                                         
She worked with Women of All Red Nations to publicize the alarmingly high level         
of forced sterilization among Native American women.                                     
LaDuke was named Woman of the Year by Ms. Magazine in 1997 and won the Reebok           
Human Rights Award in 1998. She is the founder of the White Earth Land Recovery         
Project in Minnesota, the Indigenous Women's Network, and Honor the Earth.               
LaDuke is the author of the novel Last Standing Woman (1997), the non-fiction           
book All our Relations: Native Struggles for Land and Life (1999), and                   
Recovering the Sacred: the Power of Naming and Claiming (2005), a book about             
traditional beliefs and practices.                                                       
She appeared in the documentary film Anthem, directed by Shainee Gabel and               
Kristin Hahn. The film was first released in the United States on July 25, 1997.         
Both directors were awarded by the 1997 Amsterdam International Documentary Film         
Festival. LaDuke also appeared in the TV documentary The Main Stream, first             
released on December 17, 2002. The film was directed by Roger Weisberg who is           
better known for winning the 2002 Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject as         
director of Why Can't We Be a Family Again?.                                             
LaDuke appeared as an actor in the film Skins, first released on January 14,             
2002. The film depicted the problems of unemployment, alcoholism and domestic           
violence within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation through the eyes of two Lakota         
Sioux Native American brothers. The main fictional characters were police               
detective Rudy Yellow Lodge (Eric Schweig) and his brother Mogie Yellow Lodge (Graham   
Greene) the latter with an apparent tendency toward self-destruction. LaDuke             
played secondary character Rose Two Buffalo. The film was awarded the 2003 Prism         
Award. Graham Green won the Best Actor Award of the 2002 Tokyo International             
Film Festival and was nominated for a Best Male Lead award in the 2003                   
Independent Spirit Awards.                                                               
In the 2004 primary elections, LaDuke endorsed Democratic presidential candidate         
Dennis Kucinich. She later endorsed John Kerry for president in the general             
In Sept 2007, LaDuke was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.