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American Indian Movement of Colorado

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Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Vine and Winona in the news

Winona LaDuke and Vine Deloria Jr. were the recent subjects of news stories

First, Vine declined an honorary doctor degree in order to protest the lack of accountability/responsibility by those in leadership positions at the University of Colorado. The University tried to bestow an honorary Degree on Vine and he told them "no thanks." Vine has always raised the hard questions and set a high standard for himself and others. Those that don't know Vine may have been suprised that he declined the degree, but for those of us in indian country, we are not at
all suprised that Vine declined the Doctorate as a matter of principle. He even managed to get in a quote that encompassed the CU scandal, the Abu Ghraib Prison Torture and sexual abuse cover ups by the Catholic Church.
"We're running amok in Iraq, but it turns out nobody knew what was going on" in Abu Ghraib prison. "The Catholic Church has all this pedophile abuse, and none of the bishops knew what was happening." Similarly, he said, coaches and administrators at CU claim they didn't know about the use of sex, drugs and alcohol to attract football recruits.

"That's no excuse. They should know what's going on. None of them is willing to accept the blame."

Deloria said he mulled his options for two days before sending the letter. He's proud of his career as a scholar. He didn't take the action lightly.

"Then I remembered Rosa Parks refusing to go to the back of the bus. I felt embarrassed that I even had doubts about objecting to the coverup. She had a lot more to lose than I ever did and more courage than I'll ever have.

"So to hell with the degree." full article


Winona LaDuke also was the subject of an interview by the Grand Forks Herald. Winona spoke at the University of Denver a few weeks ago. One of the themes in her talk was about cultural differences in a democratic society. In this interview, she continues to discuss the role society plays in the lives of indigenous peoples.
So, to start with, I am someone interested in making change - making things better. The communities I work for are poor, rural communities of color and farming communities - not really on the national political radar. I asked myself if these communities deserve to be heard in Washington, D.C., and if what happens to us is indicative of national politics. I think it is.


Winona LaDuke

For me, that is part of the process, because I think American politics are not stagnant. Democracy is a vibrant process. Democracy is not a spectator sport. It actually requires people to form it and change it. If you don't participate and you don't raise your voice and say what you believe, it is just not going to get out there. full article.

Both Vine and Winona have a history of offering vision, direction and examples of action rooted in principle. Here again, they remind us what is possible as well as what is necessary in this time of cynicism

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