Eduardo Galeano in his masterwork, The Open Veins of Latin America wrote that 500 years ago European settler colonialists came to this hemisphere and “sank their teeth” into the throats of Indian civilizations. You know the story. Genocide. Land was stolen. Broken promises and broken treaties. Survivors exiled to inhospitable reservations. In recent years indigenous people are organizing and asserting their rights. Standing Rock in North Dakota was a key moment where some 200 nations came together to resist the Keystone XL pipeline. New terms entered the lexicon of resistance such as water protectors and stewards of the land. Keystone and other struggles continue as does corporate capitalism’s monomaniacal drive for profits regardless of the cost to Mother Nature and indigenous peoples. Chief Seattle once said, “The Earth does not belong to us; we belong to the Earth.”
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, the first Native American to run for national office. She is the author of All Our Relations, Recovering the Sacred, The Militarization of Indian Country andThe Winona LaDuke Chronicles.