Ms. Magazine
The Activist Issue
Keeping the Flame Alive
Take inspiration from the lives and work of six women whose passion for justice and commitment to their communiities make the world a better place for all.
- Kitchen Table Candidate: Winona LaDuke
-Speak Truth to Power: Kek Galabru, Wangari Maathai, Senal Sarihan, Maria Teresa Tula
- Street Fighting Woman: Cheri Honkala
- Mementos of a Movement: Coline Jenkins-Sahlin

-Word: Bush

Honey, Disney Shrunk the Kids
What's in your child's VCR these days? We asked progressive parents and their kids what they watch. The answers might surprise you.
Dorothy Roberts talks about reproductive rights in black and white.
Women and Venture Capital: Women vie for a place in the world of high-tech venture capital.

Work Notes: Grrl power to Scotland ASAP and more
Editor's Page: Making Mischief

Ms News

TECHNO.FEM: Digital Divide

-Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Now?, by Angela Dillard
- Toy Guns, by Lisa Norris
- Boy Still Missing, by John Searles
- Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich
- Women and Popular Music, by Sheila Whiteley

-First Person: Give Me Shelter
-Columns: Daisy Hernandez, Patricia Smith and Gloria Steinem
Call for Woman of the Year
Tell us who you think should be recognized in this special issue.

Excerpted from the April/May 2001 issue.

Picture a candidate for vice president of the United States who is truly outside the system: a woman, half-Jewish, a person of color.

A candidate who cares about the pollution in our air and water, who lives far off the Washington Beltway on an Indian reservation. Lets say this candidate has worked for over half her life as an activist for antinuclear causes and counts some of the poorest people in the country as her constituents. Imagine she says things like Its women that public policy should be written for. One might think that candidate would be cause for a major feminist celebration. But when Winona LaDuke reprised her 1996 role as the Green partys vice-presidential candidate, running alongside Ralph Nader in the 2000 election (at least on the buttons and bumper stickers), there was very little dancing in the streets by feminist activists. And if you looked at the media surrounding the campaign, you might think Nader's running mate was rock star Eddie Vedder, who appeared with him at many campaign stops. Given that the primary criticism against Nader, the corporate-raider and oligarch-hater, was that he didnt get any women s issues beyond suffrage and didnt speak to people of color, why wasn't this 41-year-old Anishinaabe single mother, environmentalist, feminist, and economist front and center?

A Conversation with Winona LaDuke

Jennifer Baumgardner: Why didnt the campaign emphasize that you are a feminist and a leader with your own vision?

Winona LaDuke: I do think that my issues that didn t overlap with Ralphs were marginalized, but I would never put that on Ralph. You know, I ve worked with groups like the Indigenous Womens Network for 20 years. I don't believe that womens issues are simply Roe v. Wade. They're quality of health care; quality of the life in your family; domestic violence, and the violence around you in your community. The toxins getting into breast milk. Pro-choice is one issue in a spectrum of issues, and I dont consider it the most important one. Ralph didn t say much about womens issues because he s a 67-year-old Lebanese bachelor and his familiarity with some of the experiences that I have had is nonexistent. He speaks from his own experience.

JB: What do you say to the criticism that you talk about motherhood rather than feminism?

WL: I talk about womens right to determine their destiny, to be treated with dignity and respect. The living wage, health care, welfare reform, these aren t motherhood issues, theyre women s issues. I mean, welfare reform was a pretty antiwoman piece of legislation, especially in this community where weve got 50 percent at poverty level. Where are they going to work?

JB: The Greens got on 44 state ballots, raised almost $8 million, mobilized 150,000 volunteers, and started hundreds of local groups. How are you building on the momentum?

WL: Ralph says, We are going back into our communities to build alliances and strengthen the party from the inside. I m going to work on a campaign for corporate accountability that links indigenous health work with, for example, a center for breast cancer research. Im going to cash in my political capital if I have any!

JB: When I first met you, you said that youd relish a chance to discuss in Ms. the tension between the way you organize with women and the mainstream women s movement. Heres your chance.

WL: Well, that s a doozy. Lets take the focus on choice I hate that kind of forced prioritizing. I dont run my house doing just one thing, I do eight things at once. We need to be broadening the discussion toward the human rights of women, which is a whole set of issues. In the context of most native women, you cannot separate the woman from her community. We have always had roles that women have and roles men have. My assessment of my community, and I can t speak for all native communities, is that we got the confusion about roles all worked out a long time ago.

You can read the complete article in the magazine, on newstands now.