LaDuke speaks of reforming public health

From the White Earth Reservation in northwestern Minnesota, Winona LaDuke, Ojibwe community organizer, ran for vice president of the United States in 2000 on Ralph Nader’s Green Party ticket.

Using analogies such as the challenges of mothers teaching children right from wrong, LaDuke spoke here last Wednesday of her political ideas and goals concerning American society and government.

She spoke of government land theft, environmental problems, alternative energy options, wealth disparity and terrorism.

LaDuke’s remarks were “very on point, especially about corporations and their impact on people,” said Brandon Hill of Students Together Against Racism.

Concerning land originally held by indigenous peoples now owned by the American government, LaDuke quipped, “how can I tell my kids not to steal and not (be able to) tell the government not to steal?”

LaDuke criticized the United States nuclear waste policy as a public health issue by saying the government’s policy is to “take nuclear waste from 109 reactors and put it on trucks and trains, major American interstates, major American railways, drive it across reservations within a one half mile of 73 million Americans and dump it on an Indian reservation.”

She also said each nuclear waste cask is equal to 250 Hiroshima bombs, which would cause serious problems if mishandled.

As a solution to nuclear energy, LaDuke suggested investigating alternative energy options such as wind, water, and solar power.

The Great Plains are the Saudi Arabia of wind power and could supply up to 50 percent of the present electrical consumption of the United States, as compared with 13 percent with nuclear power, she said.

“America is a country which totally worships greed and over-consumption,” which can be seen in the disparity in wealth among its people, said LaDuke.

Some of the richest people in the world are corporations such as the Republic of Wal Mart with a higher Gross Domestic Product that 100 countries in the world, yet they cannot afford to pay decent living wages to workers, LaDuke complained.

Regarding the events of September 11 and her stance on terrorism, LaDuke answered that she has a zero tolerance policy, but the U.S. government should not fund various terrorist organizations.

“We have no absence of money to do the right thing in this country. LaDuke said. “What we have is an absence of political will.”

When asked whether capitalism was compatible with Green goals, LaDuke admitted, “I am debating that right now myself.”