Why Winona Runs: An Interview With Winona LaDuke

Winona LaDuke, a Harvard-trained economist, novelist, Native American activist and Utne Visionary, is running for vice-president for the second time on the Green Party ticket, alongside presidential candidate Ralph Nader.

In an interview in the webzine Awakened Woman, reprinted from Minnesota Women’s Press, Cynthia Scott asks LaDuke what motivates her to run a race she is almost certain to lose?

“My goal in the campaign is to change the content of American democracy … so it’s actually functional. That will require building a multiparty system that allows broader participation and a wider range of ideas. It’s a two-party duopoly and those parties have become increasingly exclusive.”

When Nader first asked her to be his running mate, LaDuke said no. But when friends and tribal elders on Minnesota’s White Earth Reservation, where she lives, counseled her to take the opportunity to do something for her community, she changed her mind.

“There’s a divide between politicians and common people. You’ve got to eliminate that mystique. Look at me: a woman who is a mother and a person of color who lives in a rural area. Those are four things that aren’t supposed to be in politics, and I disagree with that.”

And besides, adds LaDuke, who is campaigning while still breastfeeding her six-month-old son Gwekaanimid: “I’m the only nursing candidate.”— Leif Utne
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