FLOW is pleased to announce that Carrie La Seur has joined our staff as Legal Director. A graduate of Yale Law School, Carrie recently relocated to northern Michigan from Montana, where she practiced civil litigation, specializing in environmental and climate issues. From 2006-2012 served as Executive Director of Plains Justice, a legal nonprofit she co-founded, litigating against new fossil fuel infrastructure. Carrie also authored two novels from William Morrow, and her writing has been featured in publications including the Daily Montanan, the Guardian, Harvard Law and Policy Review, Huffington Post, Salon, and elsewhere.
As FLOW’s Legal Director, Carrie will develop and implement legal and policy strategies to maximize protection of public trust resources and uses. She will work to ensure that existing state and federal laws are effectively used to address threats to water resources in Michigan and throughout the Great Lakes, assist with the development of legislation to expand protection for such resources, and collaborate on policy interventions to advance FLOW’s mission.
What attracted you to FLOW?
A few years ago, I had the privilege of interviewing David and Jodi Archambault, brother and sister leaders of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. Dave and I visited the Sacred Stone encampment site along the Cannonball River, where the family kayaks in the summer, near the place where the pipeline runs under the Missouri River – water essential to the tribe’s history and future survival. We talked about the spiritual importance of water and being good ancestors. Talking to FLOW staff reminded me of that conversation. I thought, “They get it.”
What connects you to the Great Lakes?
My French Canadian heritage. My father’s last name, La Seur, is a bastardization of what was probably Lessard, from a maternal ancestor who was married ‘à la façon du pays’ – a sort of voyageur-era common law marriage. The paternal ancestor was supposedly a Léger. They would have known Michilimackinaw in its glory days as a trading center for the pays d’en haut and the seat of Ojibwe and Odawa power.
Do you have a favorite place in Michigan (or the Great Lakes Basin)?
I’m a mountain biker, so I’ve been exploring rural trails in Grand Traverse, Benzie, and Leelanau Counties, where there are breathtaking flash glimpses through the trees of lakes reflecting sky. But so far, I have not as much a favorite place as a favorite moment, a few hours after sunset when the clouds clear, the galaxy emerges, and the barred owls start to call. It’s otherworldly.
Can you share a fun fact about yourself?
Although it’s all about my seven generations of family history in Montana, I haven’t been able to watch more than a few episodes of Yellowstone and the prequels. They make me want to throw things at the screen.
How about a favorite Great Lakes fact?
I’m blown away that there are shipwrecks in the Great Lakes that have never been recovered, and century old wrecks still being found. It makes me want to abandon everything and join a salvage crew – but without the sketchy submersibles.