On White Feminists

Winona LaDuke

What is it about that Lateral Oppression? I want to speak out on some white feminists. While I fully understand the critique of the privileging of white feminists and their ability, historically, who feel that they can speak on our behalf: this is not always the case. I think that as Native women we need allies, and those allies are of all colors; and the question is the relationship. In this case, Eve Ensler of V Day is a good target- because of her international profile, however, my experience with Eve and V Day is positive, nurturing and continues. I have worked with her, traveled with her, and shared coffee and stories with her. At this point I am standing with her.

Let me back up. I am not going to credential myself as a Native feminist. I am going to say that I’ve spent my whole life working on the issues that impact our communities, and Native women. For two decades I was a board Co-chair of the Indigenous Women’s Network, and I advocate for the status protection and furtherance of Native women. I’ve faced down completely privileged white women, aggressive Black women, and faced my own community, if I disagree. What I want is a positive future - ji misawaabanaaming.

As a writer and journalist, I often share stories. Those stories are told to me, or I am asked to tell those stories. I don’t’ tell stories, unless someone wants me to share their story. That is the ethic. From experience in working with Eve Ensler, I know that she shares those ethics. She has come to events for us, to raise awareness on the link between the exploitation of the fossil fuels industry and sex trafficking - last year we did an amazing event on this, and she has supported our work at Honor the Earth in the arena of environmental justice and Native women. I don’t think that the Indian Country Today piece targeting Eve was fair; although the general critique is essential.

The challenges we face as Indigenous women in North America are related to the challenges faced by women elsewhere; and we need true allies.

Winona LaDuke, Anishinaabe, is an American Indian activist, environmentalist, economist and writer.

You need to be logged in in order to post comments
Please use the log in option at the bottom of this page




niijii's picture
There are a lot of "I's" in this piece. The ego seems to come to the forefront in politics. Always amusing.