LaDonna Harris, internationally-recognized civil rights activist and founder of Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO), will begin her tenure Monday, Feb. 23, as the 2004 Elder-in-Residence with West Virginia Universitys Native American Studies Program.
While in Morgantown, Harris will meet with WVU students and community leaders, keynote both a Health Science Center Conversation Hour and a College of Human Resources&Education Luncheon Colloquium, and guest lecture in a number of University courses during her three-day visit.
A highlight of the 2004 residency will be a Feb. 25 public lecture. Harrispresentation,Indigeneity: Indigenous Leadership in the Face of Globalization,will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhododendron Room of the Mountainlair. The event is free and open to the public.
To help commemorate her residency and express gratitude for her many significant contributions, Harris will receive anHonorary West Virginiancertificate signed by West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise. It will be presented to her at the lecture.
As a prelude to her talk, Native American flute music will be performed by Rick Rivard of the Turtle Island Band beginning at 7 p.m., also in the Rhododendron Room. Members of the Middle Island Creek Band of Shawnee will perform an honoring song on their community drum,Struck by Lightning.
Harris will also address the monthly teaching luncheon,Motivating Students to Social Action,co-sponsored by Native American Studies, the Center for Womens Studies and the Center for Black Culture and Research, Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Hatfields B in the Mountainlair.
Coordinator of the WVU Native American Studies Program Ellesa High said,”It is a great honor that LaDonna Harris has accepted our invitation to be the 2004 Elder-in-Residence. We are fortunate to welcome this active, well-respected national leader to our campus.
During her career, Harris served in a variety of important positions on several different Presidential Commissions, including appointments by the Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations. She has published a number of significant works, includingTo 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,andTribal Governments in the U.S. Federal System.She also has published her well-received autobiography,LaDonna Harris: A Comanche Life.
Harris currently directs a very successful national Indian leadership training initiative, the American Indian Ambassadors Program.
Harris is WVU s third Elder-in-Residence. The first in 2002 was Inuk leader Angaangaq Lyberth, followed by former Navajo President and Tribal Chairman Peterson Zah in 2003.
Co-sponsors of the Elder-in-Residence program are the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, the WVU Native American Studies Program and the Reyer Endowment for Native American Studies, with additional support from the Appalachian Gallery and the WVU School of Dentistry, College of Human Resources and Education, Center for Womens Studies and Center for Black Culture and Research.