Americans for Indian Opportunity



Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2016):

Revenue: $364,973
Expenses: $629,205
Assets: $151,835




LaDonna Harris

LaDonna Harris founded Americans for Indian Opportunity (or AIO) in 1970 after she served on the National Indian Opportunities Council during the Johnson administration.[1] Ms. Harris was at one time married to U.S. Sen. Fred Harris, (D-Oklahoma), an outspoken “populist” candidate for president in the 1976 general election.[2] AIO runs the American Indian Ambassadors Program which teaches four “core values”—one being “redistribution” that teaches, “wealth must be shared for the greater good of the whole”—to students who enter the program. [3]

Harris has historically advocated for “redistribution of income” and has said that, “redistribution ensures that no one accumulates so much wealth or material things that it sets that person above others.”[4] In 1980, Harris was a vice-presidential candidate on the extreme-left Environmentalist Citizens Party ticket with Barry Commoner as the presidential candidate.[5] Ms. Harris, a supporter of Bernie Sanders, penned an op-ed with her grandson on Sanders’s campaign in 2016 stating, “Bernie knows that when Indians vote, Democrats win.”[6]

AIO has received funding from American Express,[7] the W.K. Kellogg Foundation,[8] the Marguerite Casey Foundation,[9] and the Ford Foundation.[10]


Political Advocacy

AIO has called for the National Football League to change the name of the Washington Redskins football team. To broaden their campaign AIO targeted FedEx, a sponsor of the Redskins, in a video commercial to highlight, “that the Washington team name is racist.”[11] The Washington Redskins play in FedexField but to date the campaign to change the name of the Washington team has had no effect.[12] AIO has also joined in calling for, “ a ban Indian mascots on the ground that such images and language have a negative impact on a Native American child’s self esteem.”[13]

AIO has worked to change the University of New Mexico’s seal,[14] which has been criticized for featuring, “a conquistador and a white frontiersman.”[15] AIO submitted a letter to the university calling for the seal to be abolished.[16] In 2016, the Board of Regents for the University of New Mexico voted unanimously to keep the seal. Board President Rob Daughty noted that “he was surprised that only 300 people weighed in on the seal, despite the tens of thousands of people in the UNM community.”[17]

LaDonna Harris

LaDonna Harris is the former wife of U.S. Senator Fred Harris of Oklahoma. In the 1960s Ms. Harris founded Oklahomans for Indian Opportunity as a way, “to reverse the stifling socio-economic conditions that impact Indian communities.”[18]

President Jimmy Carter appointed Harris a special advisor to UNESCO’s Office of Economic Opportunity.[19] In 1980, she ran for Vice President on the Citizens Party ticket with Barry Commoner, described as a “social revolutionary in environmentalist’s clothes” with an undergraduate degree in Marxist theory.[20] (In the general election, the Citizens Party garnered .27% of the total vote.[21])

In 1994, Harris was appointed to the Advisory Council on National Information Infrastructure by then-Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown.[22] Harris has advocated for, “a new global order (not just an economic order) has to be constructed based on the obligation of equitable exchange which nurtures our communal relationships.”  She continued, “A key to establish this more equitable order would be to…investigat(e) the control of financial markets and investment funds, of production, the marketing of technology and the easy access to raw materials.”[23]


  1. Janda, Sarah Eppler. ” “Her Heritage is Helpful”: Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in the Politicization of Ladonna Harris.” [email protected] of Nebraska – Lincoln. 2005. Accessed August 06, 2017.

    Center for Great Plains Studies ^

  2. Lydon, Christopher. “Fred Harris Seeks Presidency; McCarthy Runs as Independent.” The New York Times. January 12, 1975. Accessed August 07, 2017. ^
  3. Saenz, Ricardo. “Americans for Indian Opportunity Ambassador Program.” CrowdRise. Accessed August 06, 2017. ^
  4. Bordas, Juana. “Salsa, Soul, and Spirit.” Google Books. Accessed August 06, 2017. ^
  5. Guerra, Tiffany. “Year of Women in History.” LaDonna Harris, Native American Social Activist. April 08, 2016. Accessed August 06, 2017. ^
  6. Harris, LaDonna, and Samuel Fred Goodhope. “Bernie Shares Our Core Cultural Values.” Indian Country Media Network. May 19, 2016. Accessed August 06, 2017. ^
  7. “American Express Social Responsibility .” American Express. 2011. Accessed August 06, 2017. ^
  8. “W.K. Kellogg Foundation.” Grants. 2008. Accessed August 6, 2017. ^
  9. “Americans for Indian Opportunity.” Marguerite Casey Foundation. 2015. Accessed August 06, 2017. ^
  10. “Reporting Commitment – The Ford Foundation.” Glass pockets – Looking Inside Foundations. 2012-2014. Accessed August 06, 2017. ^
  11. Moya-Smith, Simon, “New Anti-Redskins Video Says FedEx ‘Embraces Racism’, Indian Country Today, September 4, 2014, ^
  12. “FedExField.” News RSS. Accessed August 06, 2017. ^
  13. Moya-Smith, Simon. “New Anti-Redskins Video Says FedEx ‘Embraces Racism’.” Indian Country Media Network. September 04, 2014. Accessed August 06, 2017. ^
  14. Mintnhorne, Robin. “UNM Faculty Stand with Students.” May 01, 2016. Accessed August 06, 2017. ^
  15. “Sign the Petition.” Accessed August 06, 2017. ^
  16. Mintnhorne, Robin. “UNM Faculty Stand with Students.” May 01, 2016. Accessed August 06, 2017. ^
  17. Chris Quintana | Journal Staff Writer. “Regents keep UNM seal unchanged.” Albuquerque Journal. November 16, 2016. Accessed August 06, 2017. ^
  18. “LaDonna Harris.” LaDonna Harris | Women’s Plaza of Honor. October 23, 2014. Accessed August 06, 2017. ^
  19. Wentworth, Karen. “LaDonna Harris and Americans for Indian Opportunity Collection Opened for Scholars.” UNM Newsroom. April 11, 2011. Accessed August 07, 2017. ^
  20. Ropeik, David. “The Lesson of Barry Commoner, A Social Revolutionary in Environmentalist’s Clothes.” Big Think. October 02, 2012. Accessed August 06, 2017. ^
  21. Leip, David. 1980 Presidential General Election Results. Accessed August 06, 2017. ^
  22. “LaDonna Harris.” LaDonna Harris | Women’s Plaza of Honor. October 23, 2014. Accessed August 06, 2017. ^
  23. Harris, LaDonna, and Jacqueline Wasilewski. “Indigeneity,an Alternative Worldview; Four R’s (Relationship, Responsibility, Reciprocity, Redistribution) vs. Two P’s (Power and Profit). Sharing the Journey Towards Conscious Evolution .” Systems Research and Behavioral Science. 2004. Accessed August 6, 2017. ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: October - September
  • Tax Exemption Received: March 1, 1970

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2016 Oct Form 990 $364,973 $629,205 $151,835 $10,745 N $350,651 $0 $371 $129,757
    2015 Oct Form 990 $508,101 $652,118 $547,840 $142,518 N $454,619 $0 $10,331 $126,749 PDF
    2014 Oct Form 990 $625,970 $842,005 $805,688 $207,626 N $555,213 $0 $19,091 $149,532 PDF
    2013 Oct Form 990 $412,274 $740,019 $1,086,732 $247,766 N $293,933 $0 $26,240 $131,181 PDF
    2012 Oct Form 990 $723,282 $693,320 $1,428,167 $263,479 N $720,457 $0 $32,440 $126,849 PDF
    2011 Oct Form 990 $337,672 $766,747 $1,343,032 $258,186 N $131,173 $0 $32,753 $126,360 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Americans for Indian Opportunity

    ALBUQUERQUE, NM 87102-1937