Cover image for LaDonna Harris : a Commanche life
LaDonna Harris : a Commanche life
Harris, LaDonna.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Lincoln : University of Nebraska Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xxv, 147 pages : illustrations, map ; 20 cm.
Personal Subject:
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Format :


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Material Type
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Item Holds
E99.C85 H284 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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This book is the unforgettable story of a Comanche woman who has become one of the most influential, inspired, and determined Native Americans in politics. LaDonna Harris was born on a Comanche allotment in southern Oklahoma in the 1930s. From her earliest years, she was immersed in a world of resistance, reform, and political action. As the wife of Senator Fred R. Harris, LaDonna was actively involved in political advising, campaigning, and networking.

Not content to remain in the background, LaDonna became a well-known political figure in her own right, serving on the National Indian Opportunities Council as President Lyndon B. Johnson's appointee and working beside such notable political figures as Hubert Humphrey, Robert Kennedy, and Sargent Shriver. In 1980 she became the vice-presidential nominee for the environmentalist Citizen's Party. Her story provides a witty and valuable American Indian insider's view of modern national political scenes.

Author Notes

LaDonna Harris lives in Bernalillo, New Mexico, and currently serves as the president of Americans for Indian Opportunity
H. Henrietta Stockel is the cofounder of the Albuquerque Indian Center and the author of seven books about Native Americans

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

With grace and quiet dignity, Native American activist LaDonna Harris recounts the highlights of her remarkable life. Born on a Comanche allotment in southern Oklahoma at the onset of the Depression, she defied convention by marrying Fred Harris, an ambitious white law student with a promising political future. Later, as the wife of a U.S. senator, she utilized her considerable people and campaigning skills to forge her own extraordinary career as an advocate for American Indian causes. Insisting that her own personal success has its roots in the life-sustaining Comanche values taught to her by her revered grandparents, LaDonna extols the virtues of family loyalty, communal responsibility, and respect for all persons. This brief, unpretentious autobiography provides a rare insider's glimpse into Native American culture and politics. --Margaret Flanagan

Choice Review

LaDonna Harris is an American original, Oklahoman and Comanche; her forebears include "the brilliant [Comanche] orator and leader Ten Bears ... who was active ... when [his people] ... roamed freely across the southern Plains." Now, Harris describes that heritage and her contemporary leadership roles. Stockel, author of Chiricahua Apache Women and Children: Safekeepers of the Heritage (CH, Sep'00) and six other books on American Indians, and cofounder of the Albuquerque Indian Center, has edited Harris's story unobtrusively; it is Harris who speaks. She rose to national prominence as a spokesperson on Indian issues; she married the progressive former Oklahoma Senator Fred Harris, but she was known on her own merit. Few Indian (Harris prefers "Indian") women have come to such prominence; she ran for vice president in 1980 on the Citizen's Party ticket. Appointed by Lyndon Johnson to the National Indian Opportunities Council, she continues her activism ("I'm more radical now than I ever was, but there are only a few people who stayed that way."), serving as president of Americans for Indian Opportunity. Harris is a model for everyone. Her book is a must read for those with interests in ethnic, women, and family histories, and for political activists as well. Illustrations; notes. All levels. P. D. Travis; Texas Woman's University

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. ix
Prefacep. xi
Introductionp. xxiii
1. Where I Came Fromp. 1
2. A Comanche Girlhoodp. 13
3. Learning, Loving, and Livingp. 29
4. Politics and Partnershipp. 43
5. In the Capitalp. 65
6. Washington DC Insidersp. 83
7. Activismp. 99
8. Spreading Wingsp. 109
Epilogue: A Continuing Missionp. 117
Notesp. 127
Indexp. 145