LaDonna Harris


The finding guide for the papers of Ladonna Harris, a nationally known Native American activist and the organization she founded, Americans for Indian Opportunity, is now available online in the Rocky Mountain Online Archive.

The collection itself can be found at the Center for Southwest Research in UNM's Zimmerman Library. Harris, an Albuquerque resident for many years, has been an ardent advocate and activist for Native American equality and social justice for more than four decades.  She is a member of the Comanche tribe and was born and raised in Oklahoma. In the 1960s and 1970s, she became nationally known as a Native American activist. She was instrumental in founding Oklahomans for Indian Opportunity and was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson to serve on the National Council on Indian Opportunity (NCIO).

In 1970, she founded Americans for Indian Opportunity, an organization dedicated to advocating for the cultural, political, and economic rights of Indigenous peoples around the world. During the Carter administration, Harris was appointed to UNESCO as a special advisor to the Office of Economic Opportunity. She was instrumental in founding the National Indian Housing Council, National Indian Business Association, and the Council for Energy Resource Tribes, among others.  AIO continues to serve indigenous peoples around the world, and the CSWR is committed to preserving LaDonna Harris' and AIO's record of achievement for researchers and scholars.

Two fellows from CWSR, Ashley Sherry and Max Fitzpatrick who processed the papers under the direction of archivist Beth Silbergleit put together a video "Everybody Has Medicine: LaDonna Harris and Americans for Indian Opportunity and 40 years of Activism.  That video can be accessed here.

Ashley Sherry is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Anthropology. Max Fitzpatrick is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology.

Media contact: Karen Wentworth (505) 277-5627; e-mail: