Winona LaDuke at Cannabis as a Catalyst for Change: Let’s Be the Kind of Ancestors that Our Descendants will be Proud Of

Recently, while speaking at September’s Cannabis as a Catalyst for Change conference, hemp farmer and activist Winona LaDuke put a challenge to the cannabis community—work towards leaving an honorable legacy.

To an audience of farmers, educators, and investors gathered by Flow Kana, a California-based cannabis corporation that distributes the flower of small scale, sun grown farms, LaDuke first honored the Pomo people, the original inhabitants of the Emerald Triangle.

“Indigenous people are about 5% of the world’s population, but where we live is about 75% of the world’s biodiversity,” she said. “I think it’s time for all of us to really start working together if you want to protect the biodiversity of life, because that’s where it comes from, life comes from that.”

This topic is crucial to an agriculture-based industry that could explode at any second—maybe even in the wrong direction if we’re not careful. The cannabis community needs to stand firm against the “big businesses” that could monopolize or restrict it, like global agricultural and pharmaceutical businesses. 

Photo: Denzel Thompson

About our obsession with resources, LaDuke cuts deep, “Addiction is a bad thing to deal with—and y’all know that— a fossil fuel addict is what this country is. We have a whole materialist economy that has predicated on hauling shit around the world that shouldn’t be hauled around the world,” she added. “A lot of stuff that should stay in the ground isn’t staying in the ground, like carbon, right? Carbon’s not supposed to be in the air, it’s supposed to be in the ground, right?”

Though we sometimes look to corporations to use innovation to lead us to salvation, no one knows their treachery like indigenous communities. LaDuke has been battling pipelines pre- Standing Rock, and she points to this extraction of resources as the crux of our current plight. The resource of human intelligence is needed to fight our way out. 

LaDuke foretells,“This renaissance is not gonna be financed by the pillaging of Central America, and Africa.”

According to LaDuke, to be good ancestors is to break the chains of the past, and to not let them fuck up our descendants’ future. 

Emerald contributor since May 2017

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