The Winona LaDuke Chronicles by Winona LaDuke

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Summary

On Place

In this chapter, Winona LaDuke discusses the various ways in which Native people are tied to Place—the specific, sacred land where they have always lived and on which they rely. The first example is Madeline Island, ancestral home of the Ojibwe, which was slowly stolen from them through treaties. Forced onto reservations, the People continue to mourn their stolen homeland and way of life. Now, the island is dominated by summer homes for the wealthy, but the Native presence is gradually reinstating itself through bilingual signs and an increased presence there.

Next, LaDuke tackles the topic of mining, particularly copper, coal, and oil fracking mines. Given their extremely negative impact on the earth, Native people fight to limit and control these mining operations on their land. Indigenous communities prioritize keeping a place—and its people—alive over profit. This is challenging, as many indigenous communities are in desperate need of income. However, corruption and corporate dishonesty prevent tribal members from getting the money they are owed. This, along with the environmental impact, prompts LaDuke to reflect on the possibilities for healthier and more lucrative energy sources, such as wind and solar energy.

Indigenous people are based in the place where they belong, which provides for their needs (for example, the wild rice fields of the Ojibwe). Native people persist in fighting for their rights and their sacred land. There is a conflict of worldviews between indigenous people and the current dominant culture of the United States and Canada. Slowly, change is coming, such as through the reclamation of Native names (for example, Mt. Denali in Alaska, the Haida Gwaii homeland, and the Salish Sea in Washington State). Native people continue to fight for their sacred land.

Short Stories and Fargo Forum Communications

This chapter is a diverse collection of essays and stories, all based around the theme of Native American identity and the many cultural contributions made (both voluntarily and involuntarily) by indigenous people. An example of this is the Irish Potato Famine, during which the Choctaw people, having recently endured forcible removal and a death march from their homeland, donated a large sum of money toward famine relief. In modern times, LaDuke reflects on the need for action on climate change and how essential the indigenous perspective is when it comes to respecting and protecting the land. On the Standing Rock reservation, a Lakota leader meets with President Obama and reads text from the 1868 treaty, suggesting how it may be applied to today's problems. In his words, all are invited to reject consumerism and live with the land.

LaDuke also mentions the ongoing conflict over the Washington Redskins team name and other organizations with Indian mascots. It is notable how many people express frustration and protest against this appropriate and necessary change. On the positive side, the example of lacrosse is given....

(The entire section is 1,086 words.)