Endangered Native Languages, Lands, and Natural Resources

October 13, 2016 (Thursday) / 5:00 pm6:30 pm

Rainey Auditorium, Penn Museum, 3260 South Street

Endangered Native Languages, Lands, and Natural Resources

Conference Keynote presented by Penn Humanities Forum

Winona LaDuke

Executive Director, Honor the Earth; Founder, White Earth Land Recovery Project; Native American Activist, Anishinaabekwe (Ojibwe Tribe)


Because of the urgent situation at Standing Rock—a gathering of the tribes viewed by many as the most widely important event in Indian Country since Little Big Horn—Ms. LaDuke will remain at the site of the ongoing protests and join the Penn Humanities Forum and American Philosophical Society via large-screen video. She will make a statement live from Standing Rock about events unfolding there, and then converse with the scholars and activists gathered on the Forum's stage and with the audience.

Participants onstage will include nehiyaw iskwew (Cree) scholar and activist Erica Violet Lee, as well as Penn Anthropology professor and Native American & Indigenous Studies coordinator Margaret Bruchac, Penn Barra Postdoctoral Fellow Elizabeth Ellis, who is completing research on Louisiana's small Indigenous polities (petites nations) during the eighteenth century, and Forum on Translation topic director Bethany Wiggin,

LaDuke is one of the great overlooked orators of our time. [The Winona LaDuke Chronicles] reads like a prayer. . . holy words—inspirational stories taken straight from the heart of indigenous communities throughout the world. LaDuke provides a roadmap through tribal nations' belief systems; offering a spiritual compass and invaluable insight into the relationship of prophesy to the realities of climate change, economic collapse, food scarcity and basic human rights.  —G. Nienaber, "Winona LaDuke: A Bard for Environmental Justice," The Huffington Post, 5/10/2016.

A graduate of Harvard and Antioch Universities, Winona LaDuke has campaigned and written extensively on Native American and environmental issues. In 1985 she helped found the Indigenous Women's Network, and worked with Women of All Red Nations to publicize the forced sterilization of Native American women. She is a former board member of Greenpeace USA and serves a cochair of the Indigenous Women's Network. In 1994, Time magazine nominated her one of America's fifty most promising leaders under age 40. She received the Thomas Merton Award in 1996, the BIHA Community Service Award in 1997, Woman of the Year in 1998 from Ms. Magazine for her work with Honor the Earth, the Ann Bancroft Award for Women's Leadership Fellowship, and the Reebok Human Rights Award, with which she began the White Earth Land Recovery Project. In 1996 and 2000, Ms. LaDuke ran as Ralph Nader's Vice-Presidential Candidate on the Green Party Ticket.

LaDuke is the author and co-author of over 15 books. Among them are The Militarization of Indian Country (2011), Recovering the Sacred (2005), All Our Relations (2002), Struggle for the Land: Native North American Resistance to Genocide, Ecocide, and Colonization (2002), and Last Woman Standing (1997). Her latest book, The Winona LaDuke Chronicles: Stories from the Front Lines in the Battle for Environmental Justice (2016), is infused with metaphors of fire and resurrection. The book begins with the loss of her home to fire in the winter of 2008 and other profound personal losses.