An environmental activist who recently spoke on behalf of the resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline has been named for an annual UC Merced award that focuses on social justice.
Author Winona LaDuke is the 11th recipient of the Alice and Clifford Spendlove Prize in Social Justice, Diplomacy and Tolerance, the university announced this week.
Her work drew the attention of the Spendlove Prize Committee, according to the university, which selects honorees from scholars, authors, artists or other people who exemplify “the delivery of social justice, diplomacy and tolerance in our diverse local and global society.”
A Harvard University graduate, LaDuke spoke on behalf of the resistance camps in North Dakota as people stood against the Dakota Access Pipeline project, which was meant to transport oil. Activists fought to protect water, land and sites sacred to indigenous people.
Indigenous people have much to teach us about preserving and protecting the Earth, our only home.
Sherrie Spendlove, who established the Spendlove Prize
LaDuke helped found the Indigenous Women’s Network and worked with Women of All Red Nations to publicize forced sterilization of Native American women; helped recover lands for the Anishinaabe; and founded the White Earth Land Recovery Project in Minnesota to buy back land within the reservation that had been bought by non-natives.
Sherrie Spendlove established the prize in 2005 in honor of her parents, lifelong Merced residents Alice and Clifford Spendlove.
“Our country has a long and infamous history with its indigenous people, including genocide and the taking of their land and corruption of their culture,” Spendlove said in a statement. “Ms. LaDuke stands with Native Americans and works on their behalf to see justice done, reparations made and heritage preserved as they struggle to maintain control of and the health of their sacred native lands. Indigenous people have much to teach us about preserving and protecting the Earth, our only home.”
The Spendlove Prize includes a $10,000 award.