DotOrg Foundation Director



LaDonna Harris
DotOrg Foundation
51 Broad Street
Salem, MA, 01970
  - Honorary Doctor of Law, Dartmouth College
- Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Cedar Crest College
- Honorary Doctor of Humanities, Marymount College
- Honorary Doctor of Public Service, Westfield State College
- Honorary Doctor of Humanities, Northern Michigan University

Snapshot of Relevant Experience

40 Years      Work Within Non-Profit/Non-Commercial Sector
40 Years      Policy Analysis and Development
32  Years     Business Operations
12 Years      Internet Industry Experience




LaDonna Harris is a remarkable statesman and national leader who has enriched the lives of thousands. She has devoted her life to building coalitions that create change. She has been a consistent and ardent advocate on behalf of Tribal America. In addition, she continues her activism in the area of civil rights, environmental protection, the women’s movement and world peace.

She was instrumental in the return of the Tao’s Blue Lake to the people of Taos Pueblo and to the Menominee Tribe in regaining their federal recognition. Her guiding influence on both pieces of legislation led to landmark laws that set a precedent that still guides Indian policy today.

For more than 3 decades. Harris has been a strong voice for Native American rights. In the 1960’s she founded Oklahomans for Indian Opportunity to find ways to reverse the stifling socio-economic conditions that impact Indian communities. Today, this organization remains vital, serving the tribes of Oklahoma. From the 1970’s to the present, she has presided over Americans fort Indian Opportunity. A catalyst for new concepts and opportunities for Indian peoples, this national organization works to enhance the cultural, social, political and economic self-sufficiency of tribes. Harris also founded some of today’s leading national Indian organizations including the National Indian Housing Council, Council of Energy Resource Tribes, Nation Tribal Environmental Council, and National Indian Business Association.

Harris applies much of her energy to reinforcing and strengthening tribal governments. She has encouraged tribes to reweave traditional value based methods of consensus building into their governance systems. She has worked directly with the Winnebago, Poarch Band Creek, Oklahoma Apache, Cheyenne-Arapaho, Comanche, Pawnee, and Menominee tribes in assessing how those tribes can reincorporate traditional dispute resolution methodologies into contemporary systems of government. “Tribal Issues Management System,” the process used to facilitate dialogue, was developed by Harris and has been used to facilitate resolution throughout the county an in two international forums. Harris believes that as cultural groups throughout the world struggle for autonomy and as tribal and ethnic strife become the focus of unrest on nearly every continent, Tribal America has a unique opportunity to make a positive contribution to our global society.

Harris has spent many years training the executive branch of the federal government regarding tribes’ unique role in the U.S. Federal system. She has held hundreds of forums on the issues surrounding the intergovernmental interaction between tribes and federal agencies. She has published significant papers, including, To Govern or Be Governed: Indian Tribes at a Crossroads, Partnerships for the Protection of Tribal Environments, Indian Business Opportunities and the Defense Sector, Alternatives for Agriculture; Successful Tribal Farms, Hard Choices: development of Non-Energy Non-Replenishable Resources, and Tribal Governments in the U.S. Federal System. In the 1980’s Harris was instrumental in the adoption of official Indian policies by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Agriculture.

In helping tribes plan for the future, Harris recognizes the significance of the Information Age and the impact computer technology will have on tribal communities. She has created the first Indian owned and operated computer telecommunications network is dedicated to establishing and developing free public access to electronic information and communication services for Native Americans. Harris wants Indians to enter the information revolution as equal partners by ensuring that Indian people avoid electronic colonialism. Earlier this decade, Vice President Gore recognized Harris as a leader in the area of telecommunications in his remarks at the White House Tribal Summit and then Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown appointed her to the Advisory Council on the National Information Infrastructure.

Presently, Harris directs a very successful national Indian Leadership training initiative entitled the American Indian Ambassadors Program. Based on her past work with tribal governments and using traditional tribal values and perspectives as a foundation, this special Program is designed to empower a new generation of Native American leaders to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. This project is a fitting legacy to Harris’ devotion to strengthening tribal governments and gives Tribal America a new cadre of leaders blessed by her spirit.

As a national leader, Harris has influenced the agendas of the civil rights, feminist, environmental and world peace movements. She was a founding member of Common Cause and the National Urban Coalition and is an ardent spokes person against poverty and social injustice. As an advocate for women’s rights, she was a founder of the National Women’s Political Causes. In 1980, as the Vice Presidential nominee on the Citizens Party ticket with Barry Commoner, Harris firmly added environmental issues to that and future presidential campaigns. Her influence now reaches to the international community to promote peace as well. She was an original member of Global Tomorrow Coalition, the U.S. Representative to the OAS Inter-American indigenous Institute.

In addition, she was appointed to the following Presidential Commisissions’ National Council on Indian Opportunity (Johnson); White House Fellows Commission (Nixon): U.S. commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year (Ford); Commission on Mental Health (Carter); and she represented the United States on the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO) (Carter).

Public Service
Wife of US Senator, Fred Harris. First Senator’s wife to testify before a Congressional committee. Her partnership with Senator Harris made her a strong force in Congress where she was the first Senator’s wife to testify before a Congressional committee.

Civil rights, environmental protection, the women’s movement and world peace Advocate on behalf of Tribal America

Boards (currently serving)
Native American Public Telecommunications; the National Senior Citizens Law Center; Think New Mexico; Shakespeare in Santa Fe, and Women for Meaningful Summits.

National Boards
Girl Scouts USA; Independent Sector; Council on Foundations; National Organization of Women; National Urban League; Save the Children Federation, the National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing, and the Overseas Development orporation.

Advisory Boards
The National Museum of the American Indian; American Indian Ritual Objects Repatriation Foundation,
National Institute for Women of Color; Pax World Foundation; and the Delphi International Group.