Conservationist and Writer Winona LaDuke to give Gila River Festival Keynote Address

Conservationist and Writer Winona LaDuke to give
Keynote Address at 13th Annual Gila River Festival
Friday, September 22 at 7 PM
WNMU Fine Arts Center Theatre, Silver City, NM

The Gila River Festival and Gila Conservation Coalition are proud to announce that conservationist, writer and activist Winona LaDuke will give the festival keynote address on Friday, September 22. Ms. LaDuke is renowned for her passion about traditional native foods and has worked tirelessly to maintain the integrity of traditional native foods.

LaDuke’s keynote presentation will address the harvesting, preparation and cultural significance of traditional native food plants that are an integral part of the Anishinaabe people’s culture and health. She will discuss the work to protect traditional foods from genetic contamination and extinction, to restore ancient varieties, and the vital importance of these well-adapted plants in the face of climate change. LaDuke will speak to the urgent need to protect and learn from ancient cultures, and to incorporate their beliefs, wisdom, and philosophy into today’s society. 

As Program Director of the Honor the Earth, she works nationally and internationally on the issues of climate change, renewable energy, and environmental justice with Indigenous communities. In her own community, the White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota, she founded the White Earth Land Recovery Project, one of the largest reservation based non-profit organizations in the country, and a leader in the issues of culturally-based sustainable development strategies, renewable energy and food systems. In this work, she also continues national and international work to protect Indigenous plants and heritage foods from patenting and genetic engineering.

In 2007, LaDuke was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, recognizing her leadership and community commitment. In 1994, LaDuke was nominated by Time magazine as one of America’s fifty most promising leaders under forty years of age.  She was awarded the Thomas Merton Award in 1996, Ms. Magazine’s Woman of the Year, and the Reebok Human Rights Award, some of the proceeds of which she used to start the White Earth Land Recovery Project. The White Earth Land Recovery Project has won many awards, including the prestigious 2003 International Slow Food Award for Biodiversity, recognizing the organization’s work to protect wild rice from patenting and genetic engineering.

A graduate of Harvard and Antioch Universities, she has written extensively on Native American and environmental issues, authoring five books, including Recovering the Sacred, All our Relations and a novel, Last Standing Woman. She is a former board member of Greenpeace USA and is presently an advisory board member for the Trust for Public Lands Native Lands Program.  She is a two time vice presidential candidate for the Green Party.

No tickets are necessary for this event. Suggested donation is $15 at the door. Proceeds benefit the Gila Conservation Coalition’s work to protect the Gila River. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Many thanks to our major sponsors: New Mexico Humanities Council, National Endowment for the Humanities, McCune Charitable Foundation, Fort Sill Apache Tribe, ALAYA, Stream Dynamics, Gila/Mimbres Community Radio, Western New Mexico University, Town and Country Garden Club, The Glasserie, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Town of Silver City Lodgers Tax, and our lodging sponsor, the Murray Hotel.

On-line registration is now open for field trips and workshops at

For more information visit: or call 575-538-8078.

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Allyson Siwik