Winona LaDuke addresses an emotional crowd outside the PUC offices shortly after their approval of 
the Line 3 Certificate of Need. The paint on her face is to show mourning for democracy’s loss 

(Photo: Pickett Pictures LLC)
Winona LaDuke addresses an emotional crowd outside the PUC offices shortly after their approval of the Line 3 Certificate of Need. The paint on her face is to show mourning for democracy’s loss (Photo: Pickett Pictures LLC)

As leader of the Honor the Earth organization, Winona LaDuke has been focused for several years on the issue of Enbridge’s desire to put an oil pipeline through Native lands. She offered these comments in a conversation with managing editor Sarah Whiting earlier this year.


There’s a huge civil crisis in this country, where corporations have more rights than people. At Standing Rock, we saw how the state allowed guns and other violent methods to be used — again — to push indigenous people away from land rights to clean water.

Minnesota is not North Dakota. I don’t think they are going to shoot us over the Line 3 pipeline, or mining. But last year, the Duluth police ordered $83,700 dollars worth of riot gear for 2018, and another $41,500 for 2019. Who are they going to use that on? 

They are going to fight for it, and we’re going to defend our water and way of life. They already have six pipelines in northern Minnesota and my position is that six pipelines is enough.



An Old Economy

It makes no sense. Why would we destroy our water? We’ve got to quit pretending that it makes sense. We should know better by now that not only is there limited economic value, but there are debilitating consequences to the lakes and rivers everyone in our state depends on — for life, for recreation, for food.

The Boundary Waters mining proposals have the same backwards thinking about solutions. There, they are mining for 0.01% or 0.02% copper. It’s the bottom of the barrel. There’s more copper in a landfill in Duluth than there is in that mine. Get over it. It’s time to move on to a more efficient economy. 

Why waste 57 percent of our energy that is lost between point of origin and point of consumption? It’s time to retool our economy if we are going to survive. 

What I want to see is something more similar to the efficient economy they have been building for years in Germany. European countries like Germany and Scandinavia have about 50 to 60 percent more efficiency than we do in the United States. How long are we going to compete if we remain stuck in the old ways? 

I’m ready to grow the next economy — one that’s fair and clean.