Climate Action in the Era of #NoDAPL: Following the Footsteps of the First Nations
March 23, 2017 | Winona Laduke, internationally renowned activist focused on sustainable development, renewable energy, and food systems, reports on what lies ahead in the climate-change movement during a Wrigley Lecture at Arizona State University.Related Events: Climate Action in the Era of #NoDAPL: Following the Footsteps of the First Nations
This presentation is brought to you by Arizona State University's Global Institute of Sustainability and a generous investment by Julie Ann Wrigley. Wrigley Lecture Series-- world-renowned thinkers and problem solvers engage the community in dialogues to address sustainability challenges.
Jacob Moore: So before we get started, and thank you all for coming out this evening, my name is Jacob Moore. I'm the assistant vice president of tribal relations for Arizona State University. I am an enrolled member of the Tohono O'odham Nation in Southern Arizona. I'm also Akimel O'odham from Gila River. And my mother is from Montana. So I have Lakota Dakota. My mother is from Fort Peck in Northeastern Montana. My grandmother is from Cheyenne River in South Dakota. So again, thank you for joining us.
Christopher Boone: My name is Christopher Boone. I am the dean of the School of Sustainability. And on behalf of the Julianne Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, it's my pleasure to welcome all of you here this evening. I just want to say a couple of words about this series. The Wrigley Series is the result of a lot of hard work of our faculty, students, and staff.
We spend a lot of time, months, in advance thinking about who we can invite to campus who we think are the most compelling thinkers and doers in sustainability. And we reserve the Wrigley Speakers Series specifically for people of that stature, people who have inspired many others in the work that we try to do in sustainability. And certainly our featured speaker tonight certainly fits that bill.
But I'm going to ask Jacob to come back up again, because he will be giving the introductory remarks to our featured speaker tonight. But I just wanted to let you know that we are very proud to have you here as one of our speakers, and I want to thank all of you for coming.
Moore: So thank you, Dean Boone, and also Royce for the blessing this evening. Again, as he mentioned, we are in the ancestral land of the Akimel O'odham and the Pee-Posh. And I really appreciate working for a university that will acknowledge that, that will recognize that.
We have a Native American Advisory Committee made up of some of our senior faculty. And they do have the opportunity to share with the president's office the concerns, the dreams, the issues within our communities. We have 22 tribes in Arizona.
And about a year ago, we had asked the president's office for a letter acknowledging where we're located. So President Crow had issued a letter stating that we are in the ancestral lands regardless of which campus we're on and that it's important to recognize where this place is and what it meant to those that were here before still here now, but here long before.
And what the letter also said was our deans, our professors, our staff, our faculty are also responsible for every student, every American Indian student that's on this campus. So I'd like to ask those students if they could please stand and be recognized. We have any ASU students here tonight?
So this is really what it's all about. And again, this is an important evening, but I think it's also important that we know that we are also here to support our future, that obviously we're in a difficult time. We're in a time where the leader of the free world is corresponding with us by tweets.
And it's really important to have people like Winona LaDuke to know that we still have intelligent people, [APPLAUSE] that we have real thinkers, that we have people that care about the environment, about our communities, about our way of life. And so with that, I'm going to keep my introductions short, but I do want to just make sure that I give a proper introduction to Winona LaDuke, who is an environmentalist, a political activist.
She is an internationally-renowned activist, working on issues of sustainable development, renewable energy, and food systems. She lives and works on the White Earth Reservation in Northern Minnesota and is a two-time vice presidential candidate with Ralph Nader for the Green Party.
As program director for Honor the Earth, she works nationally and internationally on the issues of climate change, renewable energy, and environmental justice with indigenous communities. And in her own community, she is the founder of the White Earth Land Recovery Project, one of the largest reservation-based nonprofit organizations in the country. And she's also a leader on issues of culturally-based sustainable development strategies-- renewable energy and food systems. And in this work, she also continues national and international work to protect indigenous plants and heritage foods from patenting in genetic engineering.
She is a graduate of Harvard and Antioch Universities. She has written extensively on Native American and environmental issues. She is a former board member of Greenpeace-- ASU-- sorry about that-- Greenpeace USA-- it's my dyslexia-- so Go Devils-- and is presently an advisory board member for the Trust of Public Lands Native Lands Program as well as board member of the Christensen Fund.
She is the author of five books, including Recovering the Sacred, All of Our Relations, and a novel, Last Woman Standing. And more recently, her most recent book is Winona LaDuke's Chronicles. So she is widely recognized for her work on environmental and human rights issues. And please give a warm welcome to Winona LaDuke.
Winona LaDuke: That was a very big introduction. Thank you. I'm really honored to be here with you today. Thank you very much for the opening as well-- the prayer. [speaks Native language]
Hello my relatives. [speaks Native language]
Thank you again for the honor of being here. I rewrote my notes so that they were tidy. They were kind of scribbly. This month in our language is called [speaks Native language], which is the hard-crusted snow moon. And then [speaks Native language] is the one that follows that. It's the maple syrupy moon that came early this year because of climate change are all sapping now up North.
And then we have [speaks Native language]. That's the flower moon. [speaks Native language] the strawberry moon, [speaks Native language] the blueberry moon. Then we have a moon called [speaks Native language] is the wild rice making moon. Those are some of the moons in my language. I thought you might like to hear it.
And I wanted to say-- I don't know if any of you noticed that none of those is named after a Roman emperor. Did you guys all get that? So I just wanted to say you could take a break from all that empire stuff. It's going to be OK.
Just let some of it go. It's a big burden to carry around, a lot of karmic stuff, might be OK. Let it go.
I liked how you said take a breath, because that's what I was thinking, because I come down here, and I feel like everybody is always in a really big hurry down here-- like build more, do more, make more of this. You know?
And sometimes I feel like we should take a breath. Maybe we don't need to do all that stuff, which I think is this moment, a little bit about this moment.
So this is a piece of art that we have. And this is Kim Smith, who is a Dine woman, and she's one of my board members. And this is the art show called The Art of Indigenous Resistance that she curates. And it's traveling around, and I really like it. And I like that piece, and that's me and her at opening.
But to me, this is this interesting time that we are in. And as I reflect on this moment and the first 100 days of the big guy in DC, and I think about his plan and then what the plan is we need, I think we really need something more like the Sitting Bull plan. That's what we need.
And we need something where we put our minds together to see what kind of future we can make for our children. And that's our moment. And as I reflect on that, and as I think about that, I ask the question that probably a lot of you might ask is, what's it going to be like 50 years from now here? 100 years from now? Where is your water coming from? Where is your food going to come from? What are we going to be thinking? Are we going to be conscious thinkers? Will we be creative and beautiful people? Will we treat each other well?
Those are really the questions that we need to ask in our society. And I reflect on that a lot, because I think that those are really things that we need to decide. And I don't feel very confident about relinquishing control over all of that to pretty much the guys in DC or a lot of these other guys, because I don't think they'll make good decisions. We don't have any experience with them making good decisions.
But then that requires us to have agency, to take responsibility for those decisions and to do the right thing, and not just to talk about it, but to do it. This is the just do it speech really-- no, not quite, something like that.
But one of my friends, Mike Wiggins, he's a former travel chair of the Bad River Reservation in Wisconsin. And one day he was fighting a big mining company, and those guys scrapped it out on that mining company, and they have three or four big battles they won-- big mining company that was upstream for them, and he said, he'd been down to the legislature in Madison, Wisconsin.
And he came back, and he shook his head. He says, it seems like those guys don't want to hang around another 1,000 years. And it really made me think, because whether it is the Tohono O'odham, or the Dine, or all of us, we come from people who lived here for thousands of years, thousands of years.
So as I reflect on where we are and where we're going, this is where I come from. My village-- this is my lake-- Gaawaawiye Gamaag, Round Lake. It's funny, in the history books, it says that the last Indian uprising in Minnesota was on that lake. We stopped them from stealing our trees.
And I always say, no, we ain't done yet. I always hate that last Indian uprising thing, you know what I mean? It seems like really short-sighted, not reflective. So that's where we live. And this is where I think we are a piece of art by Roy Thomas. He's deceased.
But I always like to talk about the paradigm of knowledge, which I think some of the professors here discuss. And in that, when I was an undergraduate at Harvard University, if you wanted to study the art from Europe, you went to the fine arts department. But if you wanted to study the art of indigenous people, you went to anthropology.
And I think that there is a very significant valuation of knowledge that comes from that. But this is our art. We are all in this together, and we use this for this gathering that I just hosted of about 90 Ojibwe leaders to talk about the black snakes-- the pipelines coming our way, because we know that we are all in this together.
But let us talk about when America was great. I have a totally different idea than that other guy. My feeling is when America was great was when there were 8,000 varieties of corn. That's when America was great. And a lot of that corn, the seed selection was by women, because women are really good at that, because we know how it is when you're processing it and how it cooks, and how it keeps, right?
So that was before Monsanto, right? That was like nobody in a white coat. And a lot of the world's agriculture was practiced like that. That's when America was great when we had 8,000 varieties of corn. America was great when we had 250 species of grass in the Northern Plains-- tremendous biodiversity and, with it, 50 million buffalo. That's when America was great.
America was great when you had maple syrup and wild rice throughout our territory. And America was great when you could drink the water from our rivers. And I really liked what [? Harlan ?] [? Bear ?] Hands said today-- he was talking about how that you used to be able to go take your horses, and you could dig down, and the spring would fill. The water would fill from the spring, because it was close to the surface. And you can no longer do that here.
You could no longer do that in many places. But where I live, you can still drink the water from a lake. That's where I live. I live in a place where if you go into the Boundary Waters, you could still drink the water from a lake. And the springs on our reservation you can still drink from. They are good springs.
I live in a place where we have so much wild rice that we can feed our people. And we still have fish. And we have worked very hard to fight for that.
So I'm going to tell you a little bit of a story of my past four years. If you guys hung out with me for a few minutes-- basically, I'd like to be a writer, and a gardener, and hang out with my horses. And now, I want to raise-- I want to make goat cheese. That's my bucket list, right? That's my idea of what I should do.
But I've spent a lot of time fighting stupid projects. A lot of my life has been doing that. And I'm an economist by training. And as I look out there and the economic choices that we face in the world, there's some really dumb decisions that are made. And they continue to be made by people who make dumb decisions.
But those dumb decisions include a set of oil pipelines, and so what's happened is that in the past 15 years, they've come up with this mythology of American self-sufficiency. And instead of buying oil from the country that has the largest oil reserves in the world, which is Venezuela, not Saudi Arabia, it's Venezuela, we've retooled the whole energy infrastructure of this country to get oil from places it's really hard to get oil from.
And we've entered this era which is known as extreme extraction. And what it means when you're kind of at the bottom of the barrel is that you have to do things like drill 20,000 feet under the ocean to get oil. That's not like gushing oil wells in Oklahoma anymore. That's scary stuff. And it works out until that Deepwater Horizon, right?
Then you've got to do stuff like frack-- frack everything-- 672 chemicals-- bust up the bedrock of Mother Earth-- that stuff, right? And then you do stuff like the tar sands. So about four years ago, the Enbridge Company announced a pipeline project that would cut through, as you see, the northeast corner of my reservation. And that pipeline project was called the Sandpiper.
And the Sandpiper was a fracked oil pipeline of 640,000 barrels a day that was to come from the fracking fields of North Dakota. And we didn't know anything about it. And I was like, dang, it kind of broadsided me, blindsided me, and I said, I am going to study up. So I studied up, I spent a lot of time educating my own people, my own community, my tribal governments in the region, because it would affect a lot of us. And plus, we have these extraterritorial treaty rights, which is that we harvest throughout that territory.
And so we spent a lot of time, and then I spent a lot of time getting-- I always say getting no Norwegians mad, because who lives in the north country? There is a lot of Scandinavians. And I was like, y'all, check this out, you know?
So over four years, we built this multiracial alliance, you know? And we went to every hearing-- went to every hearing. We challenged them. I challenged Enbridge to many debates. They never took me up. But we intervened in every process. We took over the media, because we have the moral high ground. It's an oil company that wants to risk us for its profits. We don't produce oil. We're just the conduit.
And we already had this set of pipelines that are going through our territory that none of us knew much about. So we fought them for four years. About a year and a half ago, Friends of the Headwaters filed the lawsuits, a non-Indian people, saying that the state should do an environmental impact statement. The state didn't want to appeal the court case. And finally, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that they had to do an environmental impact statement.
At this point, four years in, Enbridge's plans were kind of disheveled, a little bit problematic. I understand we cost them $600 million. And at the same time, I want to say we did this, but we also did a lot of ceremonies. And that's why I really appreciated that prayer with the water, because we're water people. But we prayed. We had a lot of our ceremonies about this. And we rode our horses-- rode our horses against the current of the oil. We rode hundreds of miles-- hundreds of miles on the proposed pipeline route.
And one day after our last ceremonial and spiritual ride against the current of the oil last year, one day after, on August 2, the Enbridge Company announced that it was withdrawing all of its applications to go forward with that pipeline. That was a big victory for our people. That was a big victory for our people.
So we felt good about it. And then the next day we find out that what they have done is purchased 28% of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which is the pipeline that would go through the Standing Rock Reservation. And so while we had already known something about that pipeline, and my organization, Honor the Earth had been out there, starting in April, working with the Sacred Stone Camp and working in the community.
So we said, well, if it's not good for us, it's not good for them either. So we followed them out there. We followed that company out there. And in buying 28% of that pipeline, we felt that they bought quite a bit of the liability. So early on, I approached the Enbridge Company, and I said, you want to do business with Indian people. In our story, they tried really hard to talk to us and bridged it.
So they had these guys-- I know that they have them down here-- they had these guys called the tribal relations specialists that they sent to talk to all the tribes-- the tribal relations specialist. So we referred to them as the Indian whispers. And they had no game. They got nowhere. They got nowhere. You know?
But then they gave me this other person to talk to called the Indian listener. That's how we referred to her. So I was in a meeting with the Indian listener. I said to them, you guys moved to North Dakota, and you didn't even tell us. I said, I feel like you dumped me. You know what I'm saying? For four years, they told us that it was an essential route, but they had to do it this way. There was no other way to do it. There was no other way to go around us, and then one day-- dumped.
I went to North Dakota. I said, how's that working out for you? They said there's a lot of Indians out there. I said, there's more coming. There's more coming. And so, that is how I became involved in the Dakota Access Pipeline. And this is what it looked like. A lot of you were probably up there actually. How many of you went out there to Standing Rock? That's cool. Thank you all for going. Thank you.
Thank our water protectors, you know? Thank our water protectors. And thank you those of you who supported us, because I took home some really cool Navajo squash that some of you sent up. I don't know. It was sitting there. I was like, can I have that? It's like long. It's a cool-looking squash. I know it came from some Navajo farm.
But this is what we saw up there, you know? And you know this. And this is what's wrong. This is what's wrong, that a people who are trying to protect some water are faced with in North Dakota. And we call North Dakota-- we call it the Deep North. We call it the Deep North. And I think a lot of people saw why after they went up there, you know?
And how that happened is it happened for a lot of reasons, but over the past 50 years, nobody's really gone in North Dakota. They had like this constant depopulation. And you ended up with a lot of older, Scandinavian farmers whose kids were now living in cool places like Phoenix, Minneapolis, and Berkeley, and they weren't coming home.
And the native community kept growing, and every racial statistic you don't want have, they had-- incarceration rates 11 times that for non-Indians, you know, everything. It was really bad what's going on out there-- disparities in sentencing.
Then the Bakken came. And the Bakken was like-- the oil boom. It came, and they thought that that would be the answer to their problems. But it wasn't the answer to their problems, and when this pipeline came through, North Dakota really wanted to protect what they perceived was their interests.
My problem here is that, look, I saw things out there I shouldn't have see, and I saw this. This is where they put the dogs on our people-- put the dogs on our people. And I saw this, which is when they sprayed our people in the water with mace, with tear gas. And I saw this, which is called an MRAP-- Mine Resistant Armored Personnel carrier.
Now, to the best of my knowledge, there are no landmines in North Dakota. Right? There's no reason that you should have an MRAP in North Dakota. There's really not a building that would justify that. I asked someone who was in the military, and they said that's for plowing through the side of a building.
And I was like, there's no buildings in Morton County that need that. It's a really rural area. And that was rough, you know? And that other piece of equipment called an LRAD-- it's a Long-Range Acoustic Device that's to bust up your ear drums, you know? And so that's what they did to our people, you know?
And all of this-- this is what happens when Department of Homeland Security and the military surpluses equipment to police departments. They get stuff they shouldn't have. And there needs to be a lot more monitoring of what these police departments have, because they tried a lot of stuff on us. And we don't even know the full extent of what they tried on our people.
What I'll tell you is, I didn't take any bullets. I didn't take any bullets, but my family took some bullets. You know? I didn't take any of that stuff, and I didn't get arrested, and a lot of my people got arrested-- a lot of my people got arrested.
And I feel like that the question is, why did this all happen? And how did we get to this place? And it's been a slow creeping, and it's going to augment right now where the rights of corporations supersede the rights of people.
And that's what's happened, because corporations are considered natural persons under the law. You know?
But what happened is that when we had a meeting with Enbridge, they came back to Northern Minnesota, and I am now facing a new 760,0000 barrel a day pipeline. And they had their first meeting here in December, and it was right after a lot of people had came back from Standing Rock. And they had a meeting in Bemidji, and it was a landowner meeting. And I think they thought they'd be 20 white guys there or something. But they were wrong.
And there was 100 Indians there, because we're landowners too. You know?
So they had a small room. It was about that size. And they had no chairs in it. And one of my relatives was up against a wall with her oxygen tank-- not even a chair for that elder. That's how crazy they were. And at a certain point, someone asked me to say something, and so I said hey, Enbridge-- that sucks-- they just know me. I was like, hey, Enbridge, we've got a question to ask you.
I said, we were all up in North Dakota, because about 40 people in the room were water protectors. I said, we were in North Dakota, and we saw what happened there. And we feel-- I called you Enbridge. It was such a dysfunctional relationship. I called them. I texted them. I wrote them.
I said, you need to demilitarize that. You need to call off the dogs. You, Enbridge, who talks about wanting to work with native people, you need to do an EIS. You have the influence you just put in 28% of the funding. You need to tell them to not fire bullets at us. I called them. I talked to the Indian whisperer, Indian listener, they did nothing.
So I said to Enbridge-- I said in this meeting-- it was my big girl voice-- I was like, hey Enbridge-- hey, Enbridge, we want to know. So I said to them, hey, we were all out there in North Dakota. We all saw what you did. We all saw those bullets. We all saw those tanks. We all saw those water cannons. We all saw that tear gas.
So we feel that you're responsible for 28% of it. We think you're responsible 28% of the bullets-- 28% of the injuries. And we want to know what you're going to do here. Are you going to bring your tanks. You know? So it almost got me arrested. It was a fabulous moment.
But then two big Indian girls grabbed me on the side and said, she's not going anywhere. That's it. But this is this time that we are in. And you have to be courageous to face them down, you know? And Enbridge is not pleased.
They're very worried about us, you know?
That's on the night of the water cannons. And this is just when it was still peaceful out. And this is when they're leaving. This is what this story called The Filth of North Dakota, because they talked about cleaning up at the garbage at the camp. And I said, if you had let our people get out of there when there was in in the middle of snowstorms and blizzards-- if you let us get out of there, we would have been good, you know? But they bulldozed. And they took tens of thousands of pounds of food and dumped it in dumpsters rather than distributing it-- just hateful. It was hateful.
And I was with LaDonna Allard from Sacred Stone Camp when this photo came out, and she said, they're burning everything. She said, but our people burned it. She said, they burned it out of grief. She said, our people burned their teepees out of grief. They burned everything. You know?
And so for me, I am not someone that has amnesia. And most native people do not have amnesia. We have long oral histories of what happened, you know? I don't have ecological amnesia either just that a lot of people have.
They forgot that there used to be water there, or they forgot there used to be trees there, or they forgot that there used to be something beautiful there. I don't have that, and I don't want to have it. And I don't think any of us do. I think we want to be the people that remember and live that life, you know? So I remember them people.
And when I think about what we're all fighting about out there, it's this era of extreme extraction. And so we're at the bottom of the barrel. That's the same thing up at Chaco Canyon and every place. It's the bottom of the barrel. It's the bottom of the barrel.
So in North Dakota, the thing that really makes me angry aside from everything else that makes me angry in North Dakota is this. So the average drilling rig in North Dakota-- the average drilling rig-- well, it's about four years, because it's the bottom of the barrel.
And so they've got to keep drilling. That's production. They've got to keep drilling to keep opening up more oil. That's why it's so expensive. And they have to have a really high price of oil in order to get that. And so the thing that about this is that today in North Dakota, there's an 85% drop in drilling rigs. It's busted. The Bakken is busted.
They laid off 13,000 people. They sent them home. The man camps are empty. Right? The man camps are empty. The camps that brought us this, you know? It was a billboard out in North Dakota a couple of years ago. They're empty. So what I'm trying to figure out is is that Lynn Helms, who is kind of like my nemesis. He's the commissioner of mines in North Dakota.
And Lynn Helms-- he published this interview, and he said that in 2017, there's going to be 900,000 barrels of oil coming out of the Bakken-- 900,000 barrels of oil of coming out of the Bakken. And he said in 2019, there's going to be 900,000 barrels of oil coming out of the Bakken-- so no jump in production.
And in order to restart the Bakken, it doesn't just like restart. It takes a little while. There's lag time in drilling. So without getting too technical, what I'm saying is there's 900,000 barrels coming out now, and there's 900,000 barrels of oil coming out now and 900,000 barrels of oil coming out in 2019.
And so what I'm trying to figure out is how they're going to fill a 570,000 barrel-per-day pipeline. You understand what I'm saying? There's no massive jump that would have required running over all those people. All those people losing their eyes, losing their arms.
One of your Dine women lost an eye, right? Yeah, Vanessa. You know? Nothing required that. And that's this moment, you know? And I believe it's a Selma moment. I think it's a Selma moment when people said, we're done.
We're not afraid of you. We're going to stand here, and you're going to try to beat on us, and we're going to stand here.
So what I want to say to those of you that are here is a couple of things. We want justice. We want justice. And there's a couple of things about justice and what it looks like. So I'm going home here in a couple of days, and I'm going back to North Dakota.
So I'm going to a trial, because 750 people are facing charges in North Dakota. And some of them were probably from down here. And the National Jury Project surveyed the jury pool in Bismarck, right? They surveyed the jury pool to see what bias was. 82% percent of the jury pool in Bismarck believes that they're guilty. Right?
These people are not going to get justice in North Dakota. But it's this time of reckoning in North Dakota. And so I'm going to be part of that reckoning, because at some point, they've got to come clean on what happened. At some point, we've got to have justice.
And for those of you who have people that were arrested, or if you were arrested, go back to trial. Go to trial, but bring your people with you. And I want to see something like the Freedom Riders, you know what I'm saying? I want people to go to the trials. And I want North Dakota to see our faces-- to see our faces-- because they need to be held accountable. They can no longer live in this little fiefdom of oil regulatory capture.
I know you got it in New Mexico too, you know? It's the same thing. You know? Oil companies should not run our democracies. And that's really it. So I'm just saying as you think of your schedule, see if you can get to North Dakota at some point. Spring is breaking. It's OK to go back.
This is my sister. I always say, if you don't want to talk to me, you can talk to my sister. She spent a lot of time out there. Did you meet her out there when you were out there? She's 6' 2", right? She's like the Genghis Khan of the Ojibwe women.
She's not much on talking about it. She's more on doing about it. So you probably just want to talk to me. Let's put it that way. But anyway, this is what we were looking at and where our resistance is at. And I don't need to give you the lecture on climate change. But this is this moment. And in our prophesies, we talk about this as the Time of the Seventh Fire, where we say that we as Anishnaabe people have a choice between two paths.
The prophets told us this a long time ago. And they said there's a choice between two paths. And one path they said was well-worn, but scorched. And the other path is not well-worn, and it's green. And we were told it was our choice upon which path to embark.
And I really feel like that's pretty much where we're all it. We've seen a lot of scorching. And you all don't need the lecture on this one, but there you go. There's some scorching-- Navajo generating station-- another set of scorching. All the CO2 we are combusting ourselves to the edge of oblivion.
And one of the problems that we face in this is that unless you've been watching too much Fox News, you know this is what's going on, right? The ice is melting. This is what's happening to the ocean. It's acidifying. Right?
And this is climate change in an Alaska native village. I was visiting this one young woman. She's from Northern Manitoba, and they've been flooded out for five years. And the Canadian government in its infinite wisdom has put entire villages in hotel rooms-- apartment complexes in Winnipeg from climate change.
They said by 2020, the tag for climate change is going to be 20% of world GDP. I have no idea what that's like three years from now, right? And what I'm saying is, it's pretty damn expensive already when we start quantifying it. So I don't know who's supposed to pay that.
I've got an idea who should be paying for it-- Exxon, Enbridge. That's who should be paying for that, right? This is what your ocean looks like on acid.
So this is where we're at. And I just have to talk about this for a minute. I've lived my entire life in the fossil fuels era. I've had a blast. You know, Manny, you had a blast too, right? We drove everywhere, right?I drove everywhere. I used to go to drive-in movies. Remember those? No? Yeah, some of you do. It was fun. You know? So in this, I've had a great time. And I've consumed half the world's known oil supplies in my life. It's been a blast. What I want is an elegant transition out of it, right? I want an elegant transition out.
And what has happened is that because our society is so inefficient and so addicted to fossil fuels, we behave like a big addict. You know? And so what an addict does-- I know some of you have addicts in their family. I only have one addiction, which is caffeine-- my cup of coffee. I really like it. You know? And I'm going to stick with it.
But addicts are kind of a drag. They rationalize things, right? It's never their fault. Did you ever notice this? It's totally never their fault, right? Something happens, and they're like, no, they did that. You know? They behave badly. Sometimes they steal. They beat people up. They do bad stuff-- bad stuff.
That's kind of what we've become. You know? It's kind of like we're so addicted to fossil fuels that we rationalize our behavior. We end up invading countries for fossil fuels. We bust up the bedrock of Mother Earth for fossil fuels.
We have this fantasy of some kind of a green transition through natural gas that's fracked. That is not it. You know?
And then they come up with all these other fantasies. I like the carbon sequestration fairy plan. We're going to take it and put it into the ocean or up in space. Y'all have been watching these things-- billions of dollars being spent on the carbon sequestration plan. And I believe that this carbon sequestration fairy lives next to the nuclear waste fairy. You don't get to do that. You have not make the mess.
So this is this moment that we're in. And what happens is that it's kind of like being a junkie and then letting the drug dealers write your loss. That's what we've got. So we got it in North Dakota. And I know you got it down here.
There's this great thing in North Dakota they just passed called technically-enhanced, naturally-occurring radioactive materials-- technically-enhanced, naturally-occurring radioactive materials.
And that sounds like positive, right? Technically enhanced. And this is fracking waste. And they just allow the increase they recommended daily, or they increase the allowance from 5 picocuries per liter to 50 picocuries per liter that you could put in certain landfills.
I went to the first hearing, and I said are you guys high? At no point did the recommended daily allowance of radiation increase. Right? But that's what happens when you're an addict. You rationalize your industry. You make up for them. You increase the background levels for all your studies, right? That's what's going on. We got to quit.
So how I know things are going to change is a couple of things. So we're going to keep working on it. Now, this is the big guys aren't doing so good, which I didn't really realize until I was reading some geeky report, which is,
OK, so look at this. The past five years, these companies-- it's the end of the fossil fuel era.
And how I know it's the end is stuff like this. So in 2011, as you see, these guys, the big three-- Exxon, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips made $80.4 billion in net income, right? And then look at this-- 2016, $3.7 billion net income, right? Under the Koch brothers, I guess they just bought you guys a new building or something there on this list too some place. Sorry.
So these guys are not doing so good. So ExxonMobil went from about $40 billion in net income down to about $2.8 billion in net income. If you lost that much of your company's assets over five years, you probably couldn't get a job anywhere, right? Probably couldn't get a job anywhere except if you go to work for the smartest guy in the world, and that would be Donald Trump.
And that's what Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon, just did, and he's our new secretary of state. But my point in this is that he wouldn't even make it on The Apprentice like that, right? But he gets to go work for us. He's our big guy now, right? So this is what it looks like.
This is where we're going. This is what we all need it to be living in in North Dakota. This is the Foundation for [INAUDIBLE] and Earthwatch. And how I know that the fossil fuel era is ending is a few things. First of all, things are not going well for these guys. Second of all, if you look at the-- Shell just jumped out of the-- Shell just left the tar sands-- closed up a really big project up there. Let's see how much was it-- a huge project that they just closed up. And Shell pulled out $8.5 billion dollars. They just moved out. The divestment movement, now according to the UN Secretary General-- the divestment movement is about $3 trillion, something like that, divesting out of fossil fuels.
And these guys with their really brilliant plans-- you see all those pipelines that Donald Trump just approved-- kind of the willy nilly approving of pipelines, right? He approved Keystone, right? He wants that one all back. And then in Canada, they approved three pipelines. They didn't approve the Gateway Pipeline. But they approved Line 3. They approved the Trans Mountain Pipeline, which is out of the tar sands, and they approved Energy East.
And what I know is that all of the pipelines they approved out of Canada exceed the amount of oil that they're producing. And the projections for additional production in the tar sands are increasingly lower each year as climate change regulation moves in and divestment moves. And so you could be the guy who thinks you are the most powerful guy in the world, but you can't actually make oil for your pipelines. It's not there.
So it's really important as we move ahead into divestment to keep pushing ahead with that, because they may have taken control of the political system, but he does not control the whole economic system. And so as I look at what that looks like in North Dakota, not only does justice look like the 750 water protectors get justice.
But if you took the $3.9 billion that was spent on the Dakota Access Pipeline and spent it on cool stuff, you could have bought 62,000 PV panels, or 5 kilowatt PV units for houses-- 62,000 of them. And you could have bought 323 2 megawatt wind turbines, right? And you could have put 160,000 solar heating panels on North Dakota houses or houses anywhere.
So $3.9 billion dollars-- you could spend it on one pipeline. Or you could actually have energy self-sufficiency, right? And it's the same thing with what we're facing. We looked at the same figures, and we could do twice as much as that in my community. And so to me, it's this moment. We have a country that has a D in infrastructure.
We've got crumbling gas mains. You've got 50-year-old pipelines all over this country that are exploding and leaking. You've got bridges that fall down. You've got roads that are falling apart-- all kinds of bad, crazy stuff, right? We have a D in infrastructure, and we're like the first-world country, right?
And so you could either spend it on people or you could spend it on corporations. In Northern Minnesota right now, I have 300 miles of pipe sitting there from a pipeline they're never going to build. And my position is you should send those pipes to Flint, Michigan, because that's who needs pipes. We don't need those pipes, you know?
So this is not a jobs versus the environment thing. This is a let's put union people to work building infrastructure that makes sense and is not going to be a liability for all of us 10 years from now or 20 years from now. And this is what the future looks like.
Do something cool like this. I worked on this project, which is at the Navajo tribal college at Shiprock-- 25 kilowatts of solar. It was leveraged with funds from the now defunct Mohave Generating Station-- worked on that project leveraging funds. This is what a sustainable economy looks like. This is my reservation. That's wild rice. All you got to do is take care of your ecosystem, and it shows up every year-- millions of pounds.
If you were us, you'd be saying that's worth fighting for, right? The Creator gave us that rice. That's who I work for-- those guys, right? This is what a sustainable economy looks like. You decouple your agriculture system from fossil fuels. Today, about 25% of our fossil fuels is used on agriculture, whether it's shipping it around or slathering it on.
A lot of our tribes have-- the Napi-- all these projects-- a lot of these tribal projects are fossil fuel intensive. And one of the things that I could never really understand frankly is how you get something like-- to me, you put pesticide, herbicide, fungicide, all that stuff on it and all fossil fuel derivatives-- all of that stuff ends with -cide, you which is also like suicide, homicide, genocide, you know? It means death, right?
So I was like, why do you want to put that on your food? I'm saying, dumb people put things that end with -cide on their food. I'm just saying just some things, at a certain point, you got to say, well, that's dumb. We just got to move on.
So that to me is what we do. So this is a corn variety I grow on the right side is a Bear Island Flint. It's what I'd rather do. It's hominy corn-- dry corn. It's like your corns down here-- twice the protein, half the calories. It rocks the B vitamins-- never had a failure. It grows about this tall.
The first time I grew it, I thought I failed. I always tell this story. My father came to see me once at Harvard, and he said, you're a really smart young woman, Winona, but I don't want to hear your philosophy if you can't grow corn. So then I worked really hard to be a corn grower, and I can grow corn, but I never had a crop failure.
It only grows this tall. First I thought I failed, and then I realized it just had to put on a head-- just had to put on a corn cob. And it's frost resistant. And it's drought resistant. And the big winds came through, and they knocked over the Monsanto varieties, but ours stood. Plant for climate change-- plant for climate change. People down here are really intelligent about that, but those are some of our varieties.
This is what the future looks like in renewables. And that's what justice looks like for Standing Rock. That tribe has a 50-year-old hospital. The road doesn't have a shoulder on it. Justice looks like infrastructure for people. And that's what I want to see.
People say renewable energy won't meet our present demand. And I say, why would you want to? If you waste 57% of your energy between point of origin and point of consumption-- I know there's a lot of solar on these campuses, right? Efficiency is the answer. And that's where the future is.
And this is where the investments are going. Even Shell is moving into renewables. So the reason I know this is all going to work out is a couple of things. One is that I was reading my Harvard Magazine. I always laugh, because they said me that with the appeal for the Harvard Fund every year since I graduated.
I haven't given to the Harvard Fund yet, but maybe I will this year. But they send it. So you guys can look forward to that in your future if you're a student here. Every year, you will get your appeal request. But I read my Harvard Magazine. And there's this woman named Mara Prentiss on the cover.
She's a physics professor, and she says, the reason the fossil fuel era is going to end is because of physics. She said that the combustion engine in those cars that we all drove here in-- a combustion engine is 16% efficient. Does that sound dumb or what? Between the drive train-- everything in there that moves reduces its efficiency in physics.
Now, an electric engine is 65% efficient. So when I was out in Washington, D.C. A few years ago, my sister and I, you've seen her, we were asked to ride our horses with the Cowboys and Indian Alliance opposing the Keystone Pipeline. And so we rode our horses. And most of you probably ride horse, or a lot of you do, but one place you don't want to ride is Washington, D.C. Right? Because you're out there, and it's cops, and banners, and flashers, and sirens. And I was like so terrified. I'm a super nervous rider.
And so we get there, and we're riding our horses, and I'm just praying the whole time that nothing bad will happen. And I get off my horse, and I go to my teepee, which is on the Washington Mall. I should have a picture of my tepee, but that sounds cool anyway though, right?
I get off my horse and go to my teepee on the Washington Mall. So that's what I did. I spend my time thinking of cool stuff to do basically, which is true about half the time. I was like, yeah, let's do that. That sounds cool.
Anyway, so we had our teepee on the Washington Mall, and the Lakotas all had their teepees. We had ours. But we had a really cool teepee. And so I'm in my teepee hanging out in the Washington Mall with my two 15-year-old sons. And cool people are coming to my teepee-- not when I'm there, but cool people are coming in all the time. Neil Young is in my teepee, right? And Darryl Hannah is in my teepee. And cool people are in the teepee. You know?
And so then I'm sitting in the teepee in the Washington Mall with my sons, and this guy comes and sticks his head in the teepee. And he says, Mrs. LaDuke, would you like to go for a ride in my car? And my sons are like, no, mom. I'm looking at that guy going, that's such a great pickup line from the 1980s or something. I'm like, why do I want to go for a ride in your car? I don't know you. You know? It's like, no. I look over, and he says, it's a Tesla. And I was like, yes, I want to go for a ride in your car.
So I walked out of my teepee into a red four-door Tesla, right? And I want to say, that's basically what I want to do. That's called an elegant transition. You all got that? You all got that? And don't go for second-rate stuff. That's what we want. We want the cool things.
So got to divest to get there. I'm going to show you a couple of pictures, and I'm going to tell you the rest of the story. This is my village. This was in the movie called The Seventh Fire. Someone asked me about that today. And this is a film. I didn't like this film, but it was kind of rough in my village-- took this picture. And we said, we don't want to be those people, you know?
And so my village, which nobody is going to fix for us, we looked around, and we started do some stuff. So this is what we started. We took the tagged buildings, which are painted-- we've got seven with murals on them-- it kind of was based on-- I don't know, I got inspired in San Francisco on a mission. Right? I was like, I want to do that.
So we did that. The solar at my house. We're putting solar panels-- south-facing walls-- saved 25% of our heating bill. It's what my project does. That's a pretty cool house, huh? Yeah. Our water tower. And this what doing it yourself looks like-- a lot of volunteers-- a lot of that.
And that's what ours-- that's what we want to do. This is what we think energy justice looks like an area. This is solar farms with a grid system on a reservation. It's our idea, not their idea. This is what justice looks like in the tar sands. This is a woman named Melina Laboucan. And this was her master's project.
She put 20 kilowatts of solar up in her village that was a diesel generator powered village in the tar sands. Cool, huh? I'm like, just do it. Just do it. That's my feeling is if we could do it, anybody could. Now, this is your little video. I got off the horse, and these guys got on.
This is the Yes Men.
We knew there was a way to pull the plug on big oil. Can you hear it?
But we needed some help. Ever since we met Giz, we wanted to do something together. Posing as government bigwigs, we would infiltrate the Homeland Security conference and announce that the USA was outlawing fossil fuels and replacing them with renewables. And the best part-- the new wind and solar power plants would be owned by native tribes as partial reparations for genocide.
To actually have white people wearing bands saying native headdress instead of a feather-- a windmill. This is us making fun of the American ideal of what it is to be Indian.
This would truly be a second Thanksgiving. I told the conference that I represented General Colin Powell. And they were pumped to have him speak.
So our speakers are arriving just a tad late. We're not going to worry about it. General Colin Powell is coming to speak to us. And he is bringing a couple of colleagues.
General Powell, of course, would not show up. But his colleagues were nearly there.
Oh, my god, you guys. This is not going to be a total giveaway?
Is there a way to maybe make it a little less like it is?
Well, Daniel, and he is-- and he's followed by the deputy of the Secret Service. So you've got two exceedingly senior people.
OK, all right, well, I'm going to just confirm with them, because he's so late. I'm beginning to wonder what's going on.
[INAUDIBLE] Alexander. I am so glad to meet you.
I'm nervous. Me and [INAUDIBLE] are sitting down. We're trying to make small talk. You ever tried yoga?
No, actuallly, I need to. I'm having a hard time finding the yoga pants.
I don't know. It's a bad hair day. These guys weren't exactly tree-hugging eco freaks. We had an aspiring Republican congressman, a two-star general, lots of defense contractors, and weird security guards in trenchcoats. How would they react to an energy revolution?
Our first speaker is undersecretary of policy implementation at the Department of Energy-- Mr. Benedict Waterman.
On behalf of the Department of Energy, I'm very excited to announce today a great new plan that will do nothing less than convert the United States' energy grid into one that's powered entirely by renewable sources. As the dire reality of climate change becomes more and more inescapable, people will take the future into their own hands and, historically, we know that popular resistance is a force that can only, with difficulty, be countervailed.
A revolutionary energy program today is easier than a real revolution tomorrow. By 2030, America will produce 100% of our energy from renewables, establishing us once again as a global leader in confronting the supreme challenge of climate change.
We're excited to be working with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and some of the largest tribes from Arizona to the Dakotas to site major wind and solar facilities that will provide a large chunk of America's power. The tribes will own these facilities. It will provide an enormous stimulus to the economy and great resilience in the face of future threats. It's time for a second Thanksgiving.
I am Bana Slowhorse. I am the director of industrial development at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. I am a member of the Wanabi Nation, and joining me is my nephew here. He's the fire chief, war chief, the water chief, and he's actually also a midwife. He helps young mothers.
There's a long sort of history between the Americans and indigenous people. It always hasn't been a beneficial relationship, at least not for us. First, we have a voice, and we will truly own this energy production, and that's progress. It will build us a stronger economy, a brighter future. And we'll give something to our children.
There was a lot of work done on Benedict's Path. We want to acknowledge and honor that. So I actually went to kill a deer and tanned the hide myself.
Keep this here.
Indigenous peoples. We want to acknowledge this as the Round Dance. And I encourage everybody to join us. Form a circle around as much as possible.
All the way around.
Yeah. Move all the way around. OK. Ladies and gentlemen, excuse me, I composed this song for this occasion. I made it a simple song so we can sing it together, because it's not just my song. It belongs to all of us.
(SINGING) Way ya hey! Way ya ho! Way ya hey! Way ya ho! Way ya hey, hey now. Way ya ho, ho, ho. The sun is going to shine. The wind is going to blow. That's all we need, to continue to grow.
It would be worthwhile, I think, to get an opportunity perhaps to chat with you or your staff.
When would be more appropriate?
What kind of effect do you expect us to have on renewable energy in the next year?
This is ultimately going to benefit the economy tremendously.
Thank you. Thank you so much.
How did midwifery come about for you?
So he had lot of sisters.
And a grateful nieces and nephews.
[INAUDIBLE] We're a large business, but very interested in seeing how destroyed this novel cause.
It's fantastic-- so excited.
Yeah, this is outstanding, man. We feel really good. It's a very emotional day.
I was surprised to see someone from Northrop Grumman acting so excited. You weren't talking about weapons. You're talking about renewables.
You know, surprisingly enough, most people are not megalomaniacally insane, even people who work for Northrop Grumman, and if they're given the opportunity to do what they actually believe in their hearts is the right thing, they go with it.
The fact that we can get all these people that we think of as being from the dark side. The dance in support of renewable energy is that there are very few people who actually want us to continue on this fossil fuel path, and we have to force our leaders to actually do what we need them to do, and then people will follow except for a few oil companies.
Thank you. Thank you. Don't forget that song now. You sing it anytime.
Isn't that amazing? They pulled that off. That was so great. So that's the Yes Men. That was pretty cool. And we've got some good-- this is leaving Standing Rock. We've got some great ladies out there. I just want to say it's really our time, and we are-- I just want to say, we're basically way cooler than those guys are too. So just keep on.
Do good stuff. It's really all up to us. There's no one going to come in and make these changes for us. It requires us making changes in our communities, being enlightened thinkers, and you know really doing the right thing and being courageous. You know? Thank you very much for your time.
Moore: So that was great. I am going to have to work on that song a little bit. I got a few places around here where I think we can get that started.
So what we're going to do is we're going to take a little bit of time just to have a conversation. And Winona was kind enough to be with us all day. So she had a session this morning with activists. We had folks here from-- what's it called? Oak Flats up in San Carlos. And then we had folks here from the 202 Freeway, going through the Gila River Indian Community. And let me see, Eric Descheenie, who is involved in Bear's Ears and was successful. Let's give them a round of applause for Bear's Ears.
And they've added national park status. And so it's been a really interesting day, and we also had a chance to spend some time with students as well. So what we had asked the students to do was come up with a series of questions. And so I have some prepared questions that I'd like to share with you. And then, also, there are refreshments. But the idea is that we'll try and keep this fairly short, because we also just want you to hang around a little bit too. So there's going to be dessert after.
But I do think that we're expected to wrap up around 8 o' clock. So we've got a little bit of time, but I'd like to go ahead and get to the questions, and then we'll just see how this goes. So the first question, and this is really hard, because there's so many things that I think is really worth hearing-- what your thoughts are on.
But the first one I think is based on what we had talked about this evening is, what is the best way to help Standing Rock and other human rights fights from afar?
LaDuke: I don't know that there is an easy answer. I did say that I am encouraging people to go back to North Dakota and to be vigilant, because those people should not stand. We need justice. And I think we need to face North Dakota down.
Audience: What are that dates on that?
LaDuke: There are trials every week. There are 750 trials. And so our website, Honor the Earth, or my staff started something called Freshette, and I think that we're going to have a lot of the dates listed up there. I'll just check with making sure there's a link on the Honor the Earth website, but you know we hired a whole bunch of lawyers.
But to me, we still need more help on our legal defense. And we need help but our legal offense, because no one's been charged with the dog bite incident. You know what I'm saying? You shouldn't be able to put your dogs on people. The water cannon case-- it's not clear on that. But some people were seriously injured.
And I feel that North Dakota should be charged itself with the use of excessive force. And that hasn't happened. And so it's one of the hopes that we'll be working on those cases too. But we will see how that works. It's not just defense. It's also offense, because I don't think you should be able to do that to people.
And then just don't let them militarize all the police in your state. Hold these guys accountable. That's what I would say. And then as we work on renewable energy, some of the divest movement-- divest-invest-- the big foundations are looking at investing in wind and solar on Standing Rock. And Standing Rock should get those projects, you know? Because everybody is looking at Standing Rock. So I'd like to see that happen. But you know, there should be a lot of good projects in these other communities too. So make your battles here too. There are battles right here. You know?
Moore: I think we did want to acknowledge really what was happening. And in some ways, there was an effort to not share that information. Those of us that grew up in the '60s and '70s understood what was happening at that time. And being here at the university, it was really interesting to see our young people, who I never really quite had that experience to the degree that our grandparents, our great-grandparents, or even our parents had.
And to watch it occur on social media was really difficult for a lot of our students. And in many ways, we were encouraging our students to stay in school and the importance of being here. We also want them to be protectors and on the front lines. But then we also try to help them understand that this is why they are in school.
So it's difficult, and I think it was important for us to acknowledge what was occurring so that people-- and I think it even came after the election that people were just out of balance. And I like the idea of just taking a breath and sitting back-- and you know, we're resilient. We'll survive this.
But given all of that that's going on in your courage, your experience, all those things that you've done over your time, and I know that you're not done yet, is that one of the questions is, do you have any examples of false reporting-- I think they also call it now alternative news-- or stories that affected you or your causes? And what tactics and strategies do you employ to anticipate and minimize its impact on your mission? And what advice would you have to those that are protectors and also organizing to take action as well?
LaDuke: It is all the time. And I think that it was really important that-- you know, we started using the term in Northern Minnesota that we are protectors, because I'm not a protester. And I had this engagement about three years ago with actually a tribal chairwoman on one reservation. And she said, you're protesting. I said, I'm not protesting. I'm here to protect the water.
And so I think it's really important to claim the language and to not be trivialized or minimalized as to who we are. And I really like that you know we call ourselves water protectors. I like it. And a lot of us were inspired. There was tens of thousands of people that went there. And a lot of people were inspired by their courage, you know?
And one day, I was writing on my kitchen table, and trying to mind my own business, and write some articles. I was all happy. I was home, and I look up, and I have three grandsons there. And one of them is wearing my DAPL helmet, which is a snowmobile helmet with stickers on it, because I was like, they can't shoot me in the head with a rubber bullet. That would be a problem, you know? It's like I had a helmet for going to North Dakota, right?
So one of my grandkids is wearing that. One has a gas mask on. And one has a bandana over his face. And they have pan lids for their shields. And they're like, we're water protectors, Grammy. And I thought there are tens of thousands of kids that are saying that right now. Let us encourage them. And let us make sure that our heroes are kept as heroes. You know?
And so I just keep thinking about that. And in Northern Minnesota, we don't have exactly the same problems with the media, because we are correcting Enbridge all the time. They'll put out something, and we'll say, no, that's not right. But we are winning the media battle, because people have seen what's happened. But in North Dakota, you know they just put out this big media spin on the garbage of the water protectors. They totally packaged that.
And it was really mis-spun.
And I wrote a story for the Fargo paper called The Filth of North Dakota. And I was like, let's just talk about filth, like the 40,000 pounds of Rozol that one guy bought, which is a prairie dog poison-- 40,000 pounds of Rozol, and he broadcast it all over the Cannonball Ranch and all over another ranch to kill the prairie dogs.
And you're not supposed to broadcast it. You're supposed to put it in their prairie dog houses or whatever. But he broadcast it. And so then the prairie dogs died, and then the eagles ate the prairie dogs, and they died. And then the buffalo died. Right? So it's like, let's talk about garbage, North Dakota. Let's talk about-- you know what I'm saying?
Do not put that on us, because you're the people who do that. And so I think it's really important to always counter them, and you have to keep at it all the time. Their spin is toxic, and their spin is wrong. And I think people are now far more aware-- not that other presidents haven't been using alternative facts. But the alternative facts of this president are really amazing. You know? His collection of alternative facts.
Moore: So do you ever get tired of fighting? Where do you derive your power to persist? And how do you recharge?
LaDuke: Well, today I was a little tired, because I got up at 3:45 AM I just want y'all to know. So that's why I'm a little bit tired today. I need a nap. But yes and no. I live a good life. You know? I live a good life. Like a lot of other native people here, I live in the lake in the middle of the woods on my reservation where my great, great, great, great, greats harvested wild rice. I can still drink the water. I can look out there in the lake, and I can see the swans, and I could see everything that means everything to me is right there.
And I get to go to my ceremonies. I get to go dance. I got horses. I have a good life. And what I want is-- I feel like the Creator-- in our language it's called [speaks Native language], which means a good life. And that's this covenant I have with the Creator. That's the life I'm supposed to have. And that's what I want.
And these corporations are interrupting my good life. You know what I'm saying? So I'm like, you're not going to do that. I am going to push you back, because I'm going to keep this life. It's good. And so just do that. And then every once in a while I just-- it's good. You got to make sure you balance yourself.
And then think about how privileged we are. We're all really first world. My crisis is my cell phone didn't get charged. Right? I mean, get real. We're all a super-privileged bunch by and large, right? And our stuff is nowhere near. Sometimes my kids are whining. I'm like, well, good thing you ain't in Syria, right?
You know what I'm saying? It's like get real. And all of us-- a lot of people went through a lot of hardships, you know? I knew Roberta Blackgoat. People had some hard times up here. So remember that. So I'm like, let's be appreciative about things. And then plus, we're just way cooler than them. That's why I like that Yes Man thing. It's like we are so funny. And we're so cool-- you know?
So just make sure you do entertaining things all the time. Enbridge is really afraid of what we're going to do to them next, because we did a whole video called The Indian Whisperer, which is based on the Yes Men video. And when they hired their Indian whisperers, I said, did you see that video? He said, yes. He hung his head. He said, yes, they made us watch it.
So just think of conniving things to do to the enemy all the time. It's fun.
Moore: So we are in a university environment. And again, I think that we certainly take pride in what we can do for our students-- native, non-native. And we know that it's a system that sometimes can be challenging.
As you mentioned, Koch brothers has a couple of centers here. And those of us that work in the role of, at least in my job, as assistant vice president of tribal relations and working with my counterparts at NAU and U of A, we talk about the fact that sometimes we spend as much time protecting our tribal communities from universities as we do from advocating on behalf of universities.
But the fact of the matter is that we've come a long ways in terms of what education can do for our native students. And with that in mind, what reforms would you recommend in terms of educational systems that what most impact addressing environmental issues and indigenous rights from your perspective?
LaDuke: I was just really pleased to be at the Sustainability Institute today and this intersection between sustainability and the indigenous community that was there. That's basically the answer. A lot of it is contained within that. But then also, to be honest, I'm an economist by training. And the business model that is still dished out in these schools is not an appropriate business model for the world that we live in.
It was actually never an appropriate business model, to tell you the truth. If you're going to pretend that there's a never-ending access to resources and that you look at something like the fossil fuel industry, and they say that there's 5,785 gigatons of carbon held by the Koch brothers, and Exxon, and Peabody, and all those guys-- 5,785 gigatons of carbon is what they hold.
And the business school here, business school anywhere, will call that a reserve. It's called the reserve. Or it's called an asset of the corporation. But the reality is is that in order to keep the planet from combusting, we can only burn about 550 gigatons of carbon-- 1/10th of what those guys hold as assets.
And so what I say is that that is actually a liability. It's not an asset. And so I could say you can pepper your school-- flavor your school with a little indigenous here and there. Or you can challenge the paradigm that continues to cause the destruction of the Earth. And I think that it is incumbent upon enlightened schools to re-evaluate how business is taught.
Moore: So one last question, and then I have a gift for you. So what do you think it means that a large portion of the people that were camping at Standing Rock were non-natives? And does this signify a turning point in relationships between Native Americans and white Americans or America at large?
LaDuke: That's a really funny question. I think there's a couple of things, because the youth of this country-- I love them. They are alive. They are awake. They reject a lot of what has been shoved down their throats by the system. They reject the racism. They reject the paradigm of the capitalism. They reject.
So they are alive. And they are very courageous. I had three Standing Rock refugees at my house, two girls that were 20-year-old girls from Philadelphia with felony charges. I love those girls, you know? I was like, I'm going to get you girls a lawyer. The public defenders wouldn't return their calls. Right? And I just love those girls.
But to me, that's great. That's why they wanted to support them. And I have to be super honest. I was like, about half of them were like, we get to go hang out with Lakotas? We get to go there? I know they were like, can we go? I was like, yes, you can go. Pack your own stuff though. We ain't feeding y' all.
So I think that there was that whole thing too is like-- you know, anybody who is up there, it was like this moment-- it was a great moment. I'm just going to leave with this one quote where-- I've been really privileged in my life. And I've hung out with a lot of really awesome people. And I hope to continue doing that.
But once as a very young woman, I was about 18, I got to sit with two Ogallala chiefs. And one of them was Frank Fools Crow, and the other one was Matthew King. And they are two of the traditional Ogallala headsmen. And I was outside with them, and they were there, and I was listening to them. And I remember this one thing that Matthew King said that I'm never going to forget. And what he said is, the only thing sadder than an Indian who isn't free is the Indian who doesn't remember what it's like to be free. I think that's it, because to me, Standing Rock was, like, we all remembered what it was like to be free. Right?
And once people remember that, they ain't going back. And to me, that's a lot of what I felt there. I really felt that. And I'm not going forget. You know? And so I don't want any of us to forget, because it's our chance to be fully human-- whatever that means. Anyway, thank you.
Moore: Let's give Winona LaDuke one more round of applause.
And I have a gift here, and before I do that, I also want to think the School of Sustainability, the Global Institute of Sustainability, and all those that helped organize this whole day and for this evening's event. So earlier this week, I had the opportunity to take one of our deans up to Window Rock, and Tsaile, out to Dine College, and then over to Hopi.
And I really appreciated the fact that this dean wanted to go out and see what it's like in the tribal community, even though we have educators-- we have paradigms within the university. It's interesting to see that transition in terms of what they thought it was and what it's like to understand how much learning-- how much more learning that you can learn outside of an institution-- and up in the community.
So as part of that tour, Regent Leonard, who had just stepped down from the Board of Regents. She's Hopi-- LuAnne Leonard-- she gave us a tour of their education and their Head Start programs, and also up to the village of Walpi. And so while we were there, along with Old Oraibi, one of the oldest continuous living communities in the United States in North America.
And so while we were walking around, there was a grandfather and grandson sitting outside their house, and they had done some of their arts and crafts. And so this seemed to be the perfect place and perfect time, I was going to get you a different box, but I really like this cool box.
So I promise you it's not a size 8 shoe. It's a nice little shoe box. I probably could have got something nicer, and I'll get you a better box if you need one before you go. So we have napkins in here to help protect this, but we have a kachina from a Hopi, and this is Mother Earth. So for you.
So, again, one more round of applause. And thank you for coming out this evening.
This presentation is brought to you by Arizona State University's Global Institute of Sustainability for educational and non-commercial use only.