EAGAN, Minn. (Dec. 5, 2006) — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation have named Winona LaDuke the first recipient of the Upstream Health Leadership Award for her leadership in health as founder of the White Earth Land Recovery Project. The award recognizes and furthers the work of an individual and community that increase awareness of the impact of social, economic and environmental influences on health.
“Today’s growing recognition that health is not just the result of genes, lifestyle, and health care treatment, but also determined by the day-to-day conditions in which we live and work, is illustrated in Ms. LaDuke’s vision,” said Marsha Shotley, Blue Cross Foundation president and vice president of board and community relations for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.
The award was presented at the foundation’s November 13 forum on upstream health. More than 150 Minnesota leaders from the public and private sectors met with national and international experts in the health effects of housing, the environment, early childhood development and racism. The recognition includes a $15,000 Blue Cross Foundation grant to the White Earth Land Recovery Project.
LaDuke is an enrolled member of the Mississippi Band Anishinaabeg and lives and works on the White Earth Reservation in Northern Minnesota. Formed in 1989, the White Earth Land Recovery Project community helps recover White Earth land for the Anishinaabeg people, explores renewable energy and economic development, honors cultural practices and protects traditional native foods.
“We started the White Earth Land Recovery Project because we know that to have sustainability and vitality in a community over the long term, you need to deal with the structural elements that lead to good health, not just symptoms,” said LaDuke. “We have a teaching that in each deliberation, we must consider the impact on the 7th generation from now.”
A graduate of Harvard and Antioch Universities, LaDuke has written extensively on Native American and environmental issues, and is involved in related national organizations, including serving as co-chair of the Indigenous Women’s Network.
“Having our project recognized by Blue Cross is an amazing thing for our community,” said LaDuke.
For more information on the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation, visit us on the Web at www.bluecrossmn.com/foundation or call (651) 662-3950 or toll free 1 (866) 812-1593.
The Blue Cross Foundation’s purpose is to look beyond health care today for ideas that create healthier communities tomorrow. By addressing key social, economic and environmental factors that determine health — beyond genes, lifestyle and access to health care — the Foundation’s work extends beyond the traditional reach of the health care system to improve community health long-term and close the health gap that affects many Minnesotans. Since it was established 20 years ago, the Foundation has become the state’s largest grantmaking foundation to exclusively dedicate its assets to improving health in Minnesota, awarding $20 million since 1986.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, with headquarters in the St. Paul suburb of Eagan, was chartered in 1933 as Minnesota’s first health plan and continues to carry out its charter mission today: to promote a wider, more economical and timely availability of health services for the people of Minnesota. A not-for-profit, taxable organization, Blue Cross is the largest health plan based in Minnesota, covering 2.7 million members in Minnesota and nationally through its health plans or plans administered by its affiliated companies. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, headquartered in Chicago. Go to www.bluecrossmn.com to learn more about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.
Phone: (651) 662-6889