Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. vii

List of Illustrations

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p. ix

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Preface

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pp. xi-xxi

In late 1996 I approached LaDonna Harris to discuss my idea of writing a book about her. She agreed, not hesitating for a moment, and we were suddenly under way. Friends for years, we lived only a few miles apart in New Mexico, and our mutual interests brought us together frequently. We both participated in ...

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Introduction

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pp. xxiii-xxviii

Imagine a hundred or more happy, friendly, noisy people filling a large, tastefully furnished stone house on Indian land just upriver from Albuquerque, New Mexico. In the stillness of the high desert night their voices create a kind of music, a melody reminiscent of the Indian songs and conversations that used to fill this once-rarefied air, right here. A ...

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1. Where I Came From

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pp. 1-11

The Tabbytite family farm in rural Walters, Oklahoma, was a good example of what U.S. senator Henry Laurens Dawes envisioned in the 1870s when the General Allotment Act that he sponsored began to take shape in Congress.1 Through the Choctaw treaty of 1805, the government had begun the practice of reserving lands for certain Indian groups, but it wasn’t until the mid-nineteenth ...

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2. A Comanche Girlhood

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pp. 13-28

In 1910, the approximate year the Tabbytites were farming and starting their family, the entire population of Comanches was only 1,171 men, women, and children.1 This was quite a difference from the estimated seven thousand calculated by Mooney in 1690.2 Warfare, a low birth rate, and disease had dramatically reduced the population until well after the turn of the century. ...

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3. Learning, Loving, and Living

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pp. 29-42

Fred was coming around our apartment, and I learned that he was very interested in boxing; he had boxed before I met him. On dates during the latter part of my senior year in Walters high school we borrowed Fred’s Dad’s car and went to Lawton to watch my aunt’s boyfriend box. At the time, Fort Sill had a big Indian boxing team who were mostly ...

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4. Politics and Partnership

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pp. 43-64

The political bug bit Fred R. Harris early in his life, when he was a student at the University of Oklahoma’s law school in the 1950s. To his credit, he fought off this infection as long as he could, which was until his senior year. Then he tried a run for the state legislature while he was still in law school. LaDonna remembered it clearly, with amusement. ...

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5. In the Capital

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pp. 65-82

In the 1950s and early 1960s many women took second place to their husbands, brothers, or sons. Only a few ventured forward to claim their own spotlight. LaDonna was becoming one of them, step by step. Though it occasionally sounds like she identified herself through Fred, LaDonna grew to see herself as much more than Fred’s wife. She was an individual, a full partner with her ...

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6. Washington DC Insiders

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pp. 83-98

In the heyday of the 1960s, when people marched in the streets against the Vietnam War and in favor of women’s liberation, when blacks and whites shouted epithets from jail cells, and when painted peace signs filled previously blank urban walls, LaDonna Harris sat beside her husband as he conducted meetings around the country for the Kerner Commission. Assembled by ...

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7. Activism

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pp. 99-108

As a result of the National Opportunities Council hearings, LaDonna was able to attract more money into the Indian communities. At the same time, a leading political organization, the National Congress of American Indians, lost its volatile director, Vine DeLoria Jr., and nothing appeared exciting to LaDonna in Indian country. That is usually a time when all sorts of adventurous ideas ...

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8. Spreading Wings

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pp. 109-116

We did many things through AIO, but all of my activities began to take their toll on my marriage. I knew a divorce was coming for several different reasons. First of all, Fred was stepping down from immense power and, as Miss Fixit, I should have gone into the void, filled it, and taken care of everything. Knowing that my husband was unhappy, my ...

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Epilogue: A Continuing Mission

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pp. 117-125

Those days seem so long ago, and yet I can’t imagine where the time has gone. AIO has grown beyond my wildest dreams and today has a long list of accomplishments. The future, as I see it for AIO, should have two thrusts: to work on how tribal governments fit in with the federal systems and how to institutionalize tribes within the federal ...

Notes

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pp. 127-144

Index

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pp. 145-147