LaDonna Harris

Social Activist and Politician

“What is it like to live in a tent?” asked Robert F. Kennedy’s five-year-old daughter, Kerry, when she met Ladonna Harris for the first time in 1965. This exchange between Harris and the Kennedy family resembled many of LaDonna’s experiences with the media, the public, and government leaders as she rose to national prominence as a leading advocate of Native American rights. LaDonna Harris is a Comanche Native American from Oklahoma. She founded the Americans for Indian Opportunity and was a vice presidential candidate for the Citizens Party in the United States presidential election in 1980 alongside Barry Commoner for president. LaDonna was given access to power in Washington, DC, because of her marriage to Oklahoma US Senator Fred Harris. To understand what took Harris from the poor farm community where she grew up to the national spotlight, it is necessary to listen to LaDonna talk about the formative years of her childhood.

In 2000, Harris published her autobiography, LaDonna Harris: A Comanche Life

She serves on the advisory boards of the National Museum of the American Indian, American Civil Liberties Union, Delphi International Group, and National Institute for Women of Color.

Interview with LaDonna Harris

Program Credits:
LaDonna Harris — Interviewee
John Erling — Interviewer
Mel Myers — Announcer

Honest Media
Mel Myers — Audio Editor

Müllerhaus Legacy Website Team
Douglas Miller — Art Director
Mark DeMoss — Webmaster
Laura Hyde — Upload Coordinator

Date Created: September 21, 2017

Date Published: November 8, 2018

Notes: Recorded by John Erling in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Digital Audio Sound Recording, Non-Music.

Tags: General MacArthur, Comanche, President Roosevelt, Look Magazine, President Lyndon B. Johnson, Lady Bird Johnson, Senator Robert S. Kerr, Hubert Humphrey, Senator Walter Mondale, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Ethel Kennedy, Sargent Shriver, Vietnam War, Art Buchwald, Adlai Stevenson, Carl Alpert, President Richard Nixon, Betty Friedan, N. Scott Momaday, civil rights, feminism, Native Americans