Native American Activist Winona LaDuke is speaking out against a proposal for an iron mine in the Penokee Range.
LaDuke holds degrees in economic development from Harvard and Antioch Universities. She says she doesn’t buy the argument that the mine is needed to create jobs.
“It’s absolutely not true. The fact is that it’s a short-term economic gain for a few people and a corporation with the rest of us paying all of the externality expenses. So what I’m saying that their math is bad.”
She says there are other more sustainable resources that the region could draw upon. She points to historic data that show Keewenaw Bay communities producing more than 460-thousand pounds of maple sugar in 1865…an amount LaDuke says would be valued at 9 million dollars in today’s market.
LaDuke lives on the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota, where she’s active in trying to stop Enbridge from building a new oil pipeline called the Sandpiper. She draws a connection between the two projects, because she says they’re a result of accounting systems that don’t recognize full environmental costs.
“We are in an extreme extraction era. Extreme extraction is when you do that is when you do that and you shove it a pipeline and send it to Lake Superior. Do the same thing with the tar sands, or mine something that is so low in ore content, and the environmental impact will be so huge – just because you don’t have to pay the full price for it.”
LaDuke spoke at a film screening and panel discussion in Wausau, hosted by the Marathon County Democratic Party.