LaDonna Harris is a Comanche activist from Oklahoma who is passing on her traditional cultural and leadership values to a new generation of emerging Native leaders. She began her public service as the wife of U.S. Senator Fred Harris. President Lyndon Johnson tapped her to educate the executive and legislative branches on the unique role of American Indian tribes and their relationship to the U.S. government. The course, called “Indian 101,” was taught to members of Congress and other agencies for more than 35 years. Since the 1970s, she has presided over Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO) which advances the cultural, political and economic rights of Indigenous peoples.
A documentary about Harris’ life, LaDonna Harris: Indian 101, was produced and directed by Julianna Brannum, who also produced the film Wounded Knee about the 71-day standoff between 200 armed Oglala Lakota Indians and federal agents on the Pine Ridge Reservation. LaDonna Harris: Indian 101 will air Saturday, November 8 at 8pm on PBS.