Magazine article E Magazine

Onaway Builds Native Trust

Magazine article E Magazine

Onaway Builds Native Trust

Article excerpt

Native Americans across the continent continue to struggle against environmental and social injustice. Tribal lands are disproportionately ravaged by mining and forestry industries, and every site in America currently proposed to store nuclear waste is on Native lands, according to the advocacy group Honor the Earth. Along with the destruction or traditional culture and the unusually high occurrence of crippling diseases like diabetes, alcoholism and drug abuse have plagued tribal communities. At the White Earth Reservation in north western Minnesota, where the average per-capita income is $4,917, barely 10 percent of the land is Native-owned, according to the reservation's website. White Earth tribal member and national activist Winona LaDuke says, "If you don't control your land, you don't control your destiny."

Since the 1970s, the Onaway Trust, a small, progressive foundation based in Yorkshire, United Kingdom, has helped Native Americans build sustainable communities on traditional principles.

The organization, named after the Ojibwe word for "awake," receives individual donations from a few dedicated supporters. Trust Administrator David Watters, who spends much of the year visiting the group's project sites around the world, says the strength of the organization lies in its open communication and small size.

At the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the Onaway Trust is helping Lakota communities establish organic gardens and sustainably produce traditional artwork. …

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