Just Trying to Survive

WinonaFrom Winona LaDuke, the executive director of Honor the Earth, responding to an interview question from Amy Goodman about PTSD in the Native American community:

You say “Enbridge,” and I get this little like quirk because the Indian wars are far from over out here. But what you get is intergenerational trauma, is what it is known as, historic trauma. And other people have it. But you have a genetic memory, and every day you wake up, and you see that your land was flooded. And that big power line that runs through this land, that doesn’t benefit you. Everything that is out here was done at your expense, but you still have to pay for it. And every day you go out there, and you got a roadblock, that the white people put up, coming into your reservation. And every day you go out there, and you look at your houses, and you see that you’ve got crumbling infrastructure, and nobody cares about it. And you’ve got a meth epidemic, and you’ve got the highest suicide rates in the country, but nobody pays attention. So you just try to survive. That’s what you’re trying to do. Like 90 percent of my community, generally, I would say, is just trying to survive.

In my community, we have rice. We still have our wild rice. And we can go, and we can harvest wild rice. And we can be Anishinaabe people. We can still live off of our land. These people have a much tougher time living off of their land. The buffalo were wiped out, you know? But this year is their stand [Standing Rock]. This is their stand. They’ve got a chance to not have one more bad thing happen to them. My perspective is is that $3.9 billion pipeline, these guys don’t need a pipeline. What they need is solar. What they need is wind. Look at this wind. They have like Class 7 wind out here. What they need is solar on all their houses, solar thermal. They need housing that works for people. They need energy justice. This is this chance, America, to say, “Look, this community does not need a pipeline. What this community needs is real energy independence.” They call this energy independence, you know, shoving a pipeline down people’s throats, so that Canadian oil companies can benefit, and the world can worsen. That is not energy independence. Energy independence is when you have solar. Energy independence is when you have wind. Energy independence is when you have some control over your future. That’s what these people want.

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