LaDonna Harris, President of Americans for Indian Opportunity, is a remarkable statesman and national leader who has enriched the lives of thousands. She has devoted her life to building coalitions that create change. She has been a consistent and ardent advocate on behalf of Tribal America. In addition, she continues her activism in the areas of civil rights, environmental protection, the women’s movement and world peace.
Harris began her public service as the wife of U.S. Senator, Fred Harris. She was instrumental in the return of the Taos Blue Lake to the people of Taos Pueblo and to the Menominee Tribe in regaining their federal recognition. In the 1960's, she founded Oklahomans for Indian Opportunity to find ways to reverse the stifling socio-economic conditions that impact Indian communities. From the 1970's to the present, she has presided over Americans for Indian Opportunity which catalyzes and facilitates culturally appropriate initiatives that enrich the lives of Indigenous peoples. Harris also helped to found some of today’s leading national Indian organizations including the National Indian Housing Council, Council of Energy Resource Tribes, National Tribal Environmental Council, and National Indian Business Association.
In 1994, Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown appointed her to the Advisory Council on the National Information Infrastructure. In addition, she was appointed to the following Presidential Commissions: National Council on Indian Opportunity (Johnson); White House Fellows Commission (Nixon); U.S. Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year (Ford); Commission on Mental Health (Carter); and she represented the United States on the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) (Carter). She was a founding member of Common Cause and the National Urban Coalition and is an ardent spokesperson against poverty and social injustice. As an advocate for women’s rights, she was a founder of the National Women’s Political Caucus. In 1980, as the Vice Presidential nominee on the Citizens Party ticket with Barry Commoner, Harris firmly added environmental issues to national debate and future presidential campaigns.
She currently serves on include the Advancement of Maori Opportunity, National Senior Citizens Law Center and Think New Mexico. She also serves on the following advisory boards: the National Museum of the American Indian; American Civil Liberties Union; National Institute for Women of Color; and the Delphi International Group. For more Information, visit: www.aio.org