LaDonna is the Founder and President, Americans for Indian Opportunity. She is an enrolled citizen of the Comanche Nation, is founder and president of Americans for Indian Opportunity (www.aio.org). She is a remarkable statesman and international leader, devoted to building networks and coalitions that create systemic change. Harris was raised by her maternal grandparents on a farm in southwestern Oklahoma. She modeled a life and career on her Comanche values, embracing an Indigenous values-based approach to movement building and leadership development.
Harris has influenced the agendas of the civil rights, feminist, environmental and world peace movements. She was a founding member of Common Cause, the Women’s Political Caucus and the National Urban Coalition as an ardent spokesperson against poverty and for social justice. As the 1980 Citizens Party’s Vice Presidential nominee with Barry Commoner, Harris firmly added environmental issues to that and future presidential campaigns. At the international level, Harris was the U.S. Representative to UNESCO and the OAS Inter-American Indigenous Institute. She has been appointed by Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter and Bill Clinton to several commissions, including the Mental Health of Children, the Celebration of Women in American History, and Al Gore’s Advisory Council on the National Information Infrastructure. Currently, Harris serves on the boards of Think New Mexico, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.
Through AIO’s Ambassadors Program, a leadership training she developed, more than 250 Indigenous leaders representing over 100 tribes and 7 countries refer to her as “Mama LaDonna.”