Winona LaDuke: Fossil fuels are bad for Native women's health

Winona LaDuke. Photo from Dakota Rural Action

Activist Winona LaDuke explains why Honor the Earth launched the Pipeline Free Breast Campaign to protect the health of Native women
More women in remote tribal communities are contracting lupus, and very rare forms of cancer (ie: bile duct cancer). During the summer months, it is not uncommon to find mysterious lesions and sores after swimming in Lake Athabasca. “When you look at what is happening in the area, it can’t not be related to development,” says Eriel Deranger, a spokesperson for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. “Too many times, we see things in the animals and health that the elders have never seen before.”

Following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, scientists found PAH levels to be 40 times higher than before the spill. Local fishermen reported finding horribly mutated shrimp with tumors on their heads, some lacking eyes and eye sockets, clawless crabs “with shells that look like they’ve been burned off by chemicals.” The effects of PAHs to wildlife in the Gulf waters may merit attention in North Dakota and the region.

On its own, North Dakota had over 300 oil spills reported as of 2012, but the self-reporting of oil and pipeline companies, including Enbridge (with 800 spills in a decade) is, according to Honor the Earth, a risk to your breasts, and your health. For sure, the l7,000 miles of pipeline in North Dakota as well as nearly l0,000 miles of pipeline in Minnesota, pose some risks.

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Winona LaDuke: Fossil Fuels Are Bad for Breasts (Indian Country Today 10/16)

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