LaDonna Harris


LaDonna Harris

A Comanche Life

LaDonna Harris
Edited by H. Henrietta Stockel

American Indian Lives Series

160 pages
Illus., map


April 2006


$16.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

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 Bio

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, including Women of the Apache Nation: Voices of Truth.


“This brief, unpretentious autobiography provides a rare insider's glimpse into Native American culture and politics.”—Booklist

“[A] very readable autobiography”—Library Journal

“Harris is considered one the country’s foremost American Indian female activists. . . . She relates many interesting stories of trials and tribulations along the campaign trails and the years spent in Washington, D.C. . . . This is a moving personal story with valuable insights into Comanche life and values, both in the traditional and modern sense.”—Sunday Oklahoman

"LaDonna Harris is an American original, Oklahoman and Comanche. . . . Now, Harris describes . . . [her] heritage and her contemporary leadership roles. Stockel . . . has edited Harris's story unobtrusively; it is Harris who speaks. . . . 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. . . . All levels."—Choice

"This well-conceived and thoughtfully constructed work offers great insight into both the public career and private experiences of the most influential Native American women in contemporary society. Authored in a rich, conversational style, LaDonna Harris: A Comanche Life provides for the reader a colorful account of some of the more memorable moments of Harris’s very memorable life.”—West Texas Historical Association Newsletter

“This inspirational book chronicles LaDonna’s rich life of laughter, energy, spirit, intellect, and organizing. She is always weaving together ideas, people, and resources to make things happen. She has had a significant impact on Native American policy in the U.S.”—Wilma Mankiller, author and former principal chief of the Cherokee Nation

“This is a major contribution to the role of American Indian women in the political arena. Almost nothing has been written in this area. The subject matter is extremely important in understanding the expanding role of women in tribal and national issues.”—Troy Johnson, coeditor of Red Power: The American Indians’ Fight for Freedom