Winona LaDuke

Born:August 18, 1959 (age 60)
Career:Executive director, Honor the Earth, 1993-present
Executive director, White Earth Land Recovery Project, 1989-2014
High school principal
Education:B.A., Harvard University
M.A., Antioch University

Winona LaDuke, an American activist, environmentalist, economist, and writer, is the executive director of Honor the Earth, and was also executive director of the White Earth Land Recovery Project until 2014. In 1996 and 2000, she ran for vice president of the United States as the nominee of the Green Party with Ralph Nader.

LaDuke was born August 18, 1959 in Los Angeles, California. Her father was an Ojibwe from White Earth Reservation in Minnesota who had been an activist on treaty rights and tribal issues but was working as an actor at the time of her birth. Her parents separated when LaDuke was five, and she and her mother, who was of Russian Jewish descent, moved to Ashland, Oregon. LaDuke's father enrolled her as a member of the tribe at an early age, but she did not live at White Earth until later. After graduating from Harvard University in 1982 with a degree in rural economic development, LaDuke moved to White Earth and worked as principal of the high school while doing research for her master's thesis on the reservation's subsistence. She completed an M.A. in community economic development at Antioch University.

In 1985, LaDuke helped found the Indigenous Women's Network. She worked with Women of All Red Nations to publicize the alleged high level of forced sterilization among Native American women. She also became involved in the struggle to recover lands for the Anishinaabe. In 1989, she founded the White Earth Land Recovery Project (WELRP), whose goal is to buy back land within the reservation that had been bought by non-Natives and to create enterprises that provide work to Anishinaabe. She is also executive director of Honor the Earth, an organization she co-founded with Indigo Girls in 1993.

In 1996 and 2000, LaDuke ran as the vice-presidential candidate with Ralph Nader on the Green Party ticket. She has worked to raise political awareness and voting rates among the people on the reservation.

LaDuke has written six books and co-written several others. She appeared in the 1997 documentary film "Anthem," directed by Shainee Gabel and Kristin Hahn. She also appeared in the 2002 TV documentary "The Main Stream."