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Activist Winona LaDuke eyes chair position with Chippewa committee


A former vice presidential candidate and accomplished activist is looking to take a leadership position with Minnesota's Chippewa Tribal Executive Committee.

Winona LaDuke, in an email to MPR, said she will run to be chair of the White Earth Nation in Mahnomen when the spot is open (which, at the latest, will be in June).

The position is part of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribal Executive Committee – a group of chairpersons and secretary/treasurers from six Chippewa tribes (Grand Portage, Fond du Lac, Mille Lacs, Bois Forte, Leech Lake, White Earth).

It's the official governing body of the Chippewa tribe, and they meet four times a year.

Her interest in the White Earth chair comes at a time of controversy in the committee.

They voted 10-1 to censure current White Earth Chair, Erma Vizenor, after she reportedly kept working with outside parties on a constitutional project without the committee's consent, and despite it being put on hold, the Pioneer Press says.

They'll vote in the near future to remove her – though an election for the spot is scheduled for June 2016.

LaDuke is a prominent environmental activist, has written six books and co-authored several more, is founding director of the White Earth Land and Recovery Project, and was the vice presidential nominee on Ralph Nader's Green Party ticket in 1996 and 2000.

In 2007, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.

She also helped establish (and is now the executive director of) the Honor the Earth foundation, a Native American-led initiative aimed at opening up and increasing financial resources for those communities.

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