The Mellon Distinguished Fellow in Environmental Humanities visits campus for a week-long stay, characterized by multiple opportunities for the community to engage with her or him in a variety of ways, from the intimate (e.g. a writing workshop, classroom visit), to the collective (e.g. public lecture), to the convivial (dinners, receptions, etc.). To ensure that the community is thoroughly prepared to gain maximum benefit from these different interactions, we will recruit faculty to make the Distinguished Fellow’s work part of the curriculum of their courses during the semester of the visit. This recruiting effort will involve bringing faculty together, in the semester before the visit, to discuss the Fellow’s work (we will distribute copies of a recent book by the Fellow to faculty in disciplines affiliated with the Fellow’s area, and to any others who express an interest). This strategy will provide yet another opportunity for faculty to collaborate and work together on things scholarly, and it will encourage faculty to share with their students the different approaches they hear from one another. These two steps will ensure that a broad group of faculty and students have the necessary background to engage on a deeper level with the Distinguished Fellow at the various events during the course of the residency.

Winona LaDuke: Inaugural Fellow 2017

Winona LaDuke is an internationally renowned activist working on issues of sustainable development renewable energy and food systems. She lives and works on the White Earth reservation in northern Minnesota, and is a two time vice presidential candidate with Ralph Nader for the Green Party.
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. And in her own community, she is the founder of the White Earth Land Recovery Project, one of the largest reservation based nonprofit 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 has been awarded the Thomas Merton Award in 1996, Ms. Woman of the Year (with the Indigo Girls in l997) , and the Reebok Human Rights Award, with which in part she began 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. 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 as well as a board member of the Christensen Fund. The Author of five books, including Recovering the Sacred, All our Relations and a novel- Last Standing Woman, she is widely recognized for her work on environmental and human rights issues.