Laura Harris, enrolled citizen of the Comanche Nation, has led the national nonprofit advocacy organization Americans for Indian Opportunity for 25 years where she coordinates an international network of Indigenous leaders and organizations. She is a trained fundraiser and experienced facilitator in consensus building community engagement. Before joining AIO, she served on the original staff of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Indian. Prior to that, Harris worked in the DC office of U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman.
Harris developed the curriculum and implements the award-winning Ambassadors Program, the only Indigenous values-based leadership training. She provides an AIO crafted presentation, “Indian 101” to hundreds of groups and businesses.
Harris has extensive experience in politics and has served as senior advisor, paid staff and volunteer to several Presidential and Congressional campaigns. Harris founded and was the first Chair of the Native American Democratic Caucus of New Mexico.
In 1997, President Clinton appointed Harris senior consultant to the President’s Initiative on Race. Harris received the YWCA 2001 Women on the Move Award. In the past, she served on the national governing boards of the Center for Policy Alternatives, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy and Parents Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
Currently, Harris serves on the national boards of the Latin American Working Group and the Native American Hall of Fame. She is elected secretary of the Toyah Band of Comanche and active huutsie (Comanche paternal grandmother) to Maddie (age 4).