John Collins is the editor of Rural America In These Times. He lives between Seattle and La Pointe, Wisconsin, a village on Madeline Island in Lake Superior.
La Pointe is a former French outpost that was established in 1693 by French fur traders. Madeline Island is the spiritual home of the Ojibwe. A part of the island is governed by the Bad River Band of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians, the rest is under the jurisdiction of Ashland County.
John is the great-great grandson of James B. Weaver (1833-1912). A member of Congress from Iowa, Weaver ran for president in 1892 as the candidate for the People’s Party (aka “The Populists”), a party that he helped found. (Weaver carried Kansas, Colorado, Nevada, Idaho and North Dakota, for a total of 22 electoral college votes, along with many majority black counties in the Deep South, who citizens supported the Populists because of their opposition to the doctrine of white supremacy championed by the Democratic Party) Weaver was also the editor of the Iowa-based Farmer’s Tribune.
In his 1892 book, A Call to Action: An Interpretation of the Great Uprising. Its Sources and Causes, James B. Weaver warned: “Corporate feudality has taken the place of chattel slavery and vaunts its power in every state.”
John wants to amplify the voices of rural America to make them heard. He says, “As James Weaver wrote, ‘As a rule, men and women in the private walks of life—the sufferers—are first to apprehend impending danger, and it is their sleepless energies which finally arouse the drowsy conscience of nations.’ ”
“Throughout his life Weaver was a steadfast champion of America’s farmers,” says John. “Today, the stories of people who live in our country’s small communities, native and non-native, are not being told. Both the independent media and the commercial media—social and televised—ignore an entire way of life.”
John, 31, graduated from the University of Utah in 2011 with a B.A. in English. From 2011 through 2014 he worked as a carpenter for Northwoods Construction on Madeline Island. From 2002 to 2006 he was a guitarist for the LA-based indie rock band Controlling the Famous, which released the album Automatic City in 2006 on The Militia Group label.
Busting the Myth of the Food Desert: A Farmer’s Market in Milwaukee Sautés Statistics
By any economic measure the 53206 zip code—part of a 120 block neighborhood on Milwaukee’s north side—is among Wisconsin’s most struggling. Sixty-six percent of households earn less... MORE
Rural America · August 27, 2015
Out of Site, Out of Mine: Who Pays When Toxic Sludge Escapes?
The Gold King Mine—the abandoned site near Silverton, Colorado, which contained 3 million gallons of toxic, heavy-metal-laced wastewater and tailings that are now flowing down the Animas River on their way to... MORE
Rural America · August 11, 2015
Will Wisconsin Be the Next Rice Capital of North America?
If you haven’t heard of the Wisconsin Rice Growers Association it’s because there isn’t one. In fact, when it comes to rice cultivation in the Dairy State,... MORE
Rural America · July 22, 2015
Happy 4th of July: A Celebration of Community
A 4th of July Speech for the Town of La Pointe on Madeline Island in Lake Superior: I spent a lot of time this winter reading science fiction. And somewhere in the middle... MORE
Rural America · July 3, 2015
West Coast Grange Wars: A Reborn Farmers’ Movement Takes on Corporate Agriculture
As more and more grocery shoppers refuse to write-off the origins of their food as some unsolvable whodunit, a network of sustainability minded, locally oriented farmers are working to connect those people to... MORE
Rural America · June 14, 2015
The Gray Wolf Rollercoaster
In 2012, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) removed the gray wolf from its list of endangered and threatened species. With the protections granted under the Endangered Species Act lifted, managing the... MORE
Rural America · March 11, 2015
Do We Need Wolves?
The Endangered Species Act is under attack as Congress moves to delist wolves. MORE
Features · March 10, 2015
Undermining the Upper Peninsula
The Chippewa take a stand against the return of mines to Michigan. MORE
Features · March 12, 2014
Saving Lake Superior
On the southern shore, the Chippewa band together to stop a mine. MORE
Features · February 10, 2014
A Bathroom of One’s Own
In a Kenyan slum, pocket privies offer women safety, autonomy and a way to make a living. MORE
Culture · October 30, 2013