Ryan Chartrand

In the early ’90s, Time Magazine nominated her as one of America’s 50 most promising leaders under the age of 40. Since then she has worked as a board member for Greenpeace USA and ran as Ralph Nader’s vice president in 1996.

Environmentalist, feminist and internationally-known Winona LaDuke will be the spotlight speaker for the Provocative Perspectives series with a talk entitled: “A New American Identity for the Millennium” Thursday morning on campus.

“I am really looking forward to it,” LaDuke said.

“I will be speaking about climate change, renewable energy policy changes and biological threats to food security. I will also be talking about strategies for sustainability.”

The activist will be speaking at Vista Grande Café at 8 a.m. after a quick breakfast. The event is free but reservations are required for LaDuke’s talk.

LaDuke is an Anishinaabekwe (Ojibwe) member of the Mississippi Ban Anishinaabeg in which she lives and works on the White Earth Reservations.

Her talk will approach strategies that the United States and North America can use to obtain a sustainable present and future.

Many of the speakers chosen are picked by whom students and faculty want to hear from, and the ethnic studies department voiced their pick of LaDuke.

“We always take recommendations from campus,” Vice President of Student Affairs Cornell Morton said.

“This is the fifth year of this program. It is essentially designed to inspire conversations on student success and bringing in diversity.”

As a Harvard and Antioch Universities graduate and writer of Native American and environmental issues, LaDuke stays busy by serving as a co-chair of the Indigenous Women’s Network, a North American and Pacific indigenous women’s organization.

As if her life is not busy enough, she is also the founding director of The White Earth Land Recovery Project, an organization she started after she won the Reebok Human Rights Award.

The environmental actions LaDuke brings to her work and life is one of the reasons Cal Poly invited her.

“Cal Poly has a genuine care for sustainability, the environment and where we go as a community and a world,” Morton said.

LaDuke is expected to encompass her views on leadership with the environment along with how important it is for political and education circles and organizations to involve themselves and gain knowledge on issues that deal with the looming threats and disasters that come with climate change.

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