Suzan Shown Harjo
Advocate for American Indian Rights and President & Executive Director, Morning Star Institute. Received Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama
Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne & Hodulgee Muscogee) is a poet, writer, lecturer, curator, and policy advocate, who has helped Native Peoples recover more than one million acres of land and numerous sacred places. She has developed key federal Indian law since 1975, including the most important national policy advances in the modern era for the…
Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne & Hodulgee Muscogee) is a poet, writer, lecturer, curator, and policy advocate, who has helped Native Peoples recover more than one million acres of land and numerous sacred places.
She has developed key federal Indian law since 1975, including the most important national policy advances in the modern era for the protection of Native American cultures and arts, including the 1996 Executive Order on Indian Sacred Sites, the 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the 1989 National Museum of the American Indian Act, and the 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act.
Harjo is president and executive director of The Morning Star Institute, a national Native rights organization founded in 1984 for Native Peoples’ traditional and cultural advocacy, arts promotion, and research. A leader in cultural property protection and stereotype busting, Morning Star sponsors the Just Good Sports project, organizes the National Day of Prayer to Protect Native American Sacred Places, and coordinated The 1992 Alliance (1990-1993). Harjo is one of seven prominent Native people who filed Harjo et al v. Pro Football, Inc., regarding the name of the Washington football team, before the US Patent & Trademark Board in 1992. They won in 1999, when a three-judge panel unanimously decided to cancel federal protections for the team’s name because it “may disparage Native Americans and may bring them into contempt or disrepute.” The District Court reversed their victory in 2003 and the case is now before the US Court of Appeals. Harjo’s essay, “Fighting Name-Calling: Challenging ‘Redskins’ in Court,” is published in Team Spirits: The Native American Mascots Controversy (University of Nebraska Press, 2001). She also wrote “Just Good Sports: The Impact of ‘Native’ References in Sports on Native Youth and What Some Decolonizers Have Done About It,” a chapter in For Indigenous Eyes Only: A Decolonization Handbook (SAR Press, 2005).
An award-winning columnist for Indian Country Today (2000-2006), she wrote the foreword “Camp Criers Speaking Across the Generations” and eleven columns featured in America Is Indian Country: Opinions and Perspectives from Indian Country Today (Fulcrum Publishing, 2005). Founding co-chair of The Howard Simons Fund for American Indian Journalists, she was news director of the American Indian Press Association and drama and literature director and “Seeing Red” producer for WBAI-FM Radio in New York City. A keynoter for the 2000 Journalism & Women Symposium, she was a 1998-99 Brain Trust Member for UNITY Journalists of Color and an organizer/presenter for UNITY ’04 in DC, ’99 in Seattle, and ’94 in Atlanta. Her essay “Redskins, Savages and Other Indian Enemies: An Historical Overview of American Media Coverage of Native Peoples” is in Images of Color: Images of Crime (2005).
As the School of American Research 2004 Dobkin Artist Fellow for Poetry and a 2004 Summer Scholar, Harjo received unprecedented back-to-back residency fellowships in Santa Fe and chaired the SAR Seminars on Native Identity and on Native Women’s Cultural Matters. She chaired a 2006 Seminar on US Civilization and Native Identity Policies at the University of Pennsylvania Museum and is editing a book on the subject.
A 1996 Stanford University Visiting Mentor and a 1992 Dartmouth College Montgomery Fellow, she was the first Native American person selected for the honor by Stanford’s Haas Center for Public Policy and the first Native woman chosen for the prestigious Montgomery Fellowship Award. Executive Director of the National Congress of American Indians (1984-89), she also was Special Assistant for Indian Legislation & Liaison in the Carter Administration and Principal Author of the 1979 President’s Report to Congress on American Indian Religious Freedom. She keynoted Arizona State University College of Law’s 2003 Symposium on AIRFA at 25 and introduced the journal of proceedings (Wicazo Sa Review, 2004).
More Magazine named her as one of its “Alpha Women 2004: The Year’s Brightest and Best Heroines” for protecting sacred places. A founding trustee of the National Museum of the American Indian (1990-1996), she began work in 1967 that led to the NMAI, to repatriation law, and to reform of national museum policies dealing with Native Americans. She was a trustee of NMAI’s predecessor museum and collection in New York City from 1980 to 1990, and was NMAI’s first Program Planning Committee Chair and principal author of the NMAI Policies on Exhibits (1994), Indian Identity (1993), and Repatriation (1991). Director of the 2004-2005 NMAI Native Languages Archives Repository Project, she now serves on NMAI’s Advisory Committee on Seminars & Symposiums and is entering the third season as moderator of the NMAI Native Writers Series.
Suzan Shown Harjo was a guest curator of the Peabody Essex Museum’s 1996-1997 major exhibition and her curatorial essay appears in the show’s award-winning catalogue, Gifts of the Spirit: Works by Nineteenth-Century & Contemporary Native American Artists (traveling exhibit, Eitlejorg Museum, 1998). She curated “Healing Art,” the 1998-2000 exhibit at the American Psychological Association in Washington, DC, and “Visions from Native America,” the first Native art exhibit ever shown in the US Senate and House Rotundas (1992). Curator of a magazine exhibit of 9/11 art by Native artists (Native Peoples, 2002), she also curated three print gallery exhibits for Native Americas Journal: “Native Images in American Editorial Cartoons” (2001); “New Native Warrior Images in Art” (2001); and “Identity Perspectives by Native Artists” (2002). The Honorary Guest for the 2001 Tulsa Indian Art Festival, Harjo co-founded Indian Art Northwest and was its Judges Committee Chair (1997-2000); judged the Sundance Institute’s first Native American Initiative, Lawrence Indian Art Show and Red Earth Film & Video Competition; and co-chaired “Our Visions: The Next 500 Years” (Taos, 1992). She also is a Member of the Aboriginal Program Council for the Banff Centre in Canada (2005-present).
Ernie was perfect for our Elders Conference at Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Michigan. We will definitely be using PDA again!
LITTLE RIVER BAND OF OTTAWA INDIANS
Our speaker was great and the crowd enjoyed her! She was very engaging. Thank you again PDA for the great list of suggestions!
Everything went great! and our speaker was wonderful! Thank you so much for all your help PDA! Looking forward to the next one.
UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI – KANSAS CITY
I hope that this message finds you well. We had a phenomenal time with Atsuko this past Thursday. We wanted to just let you know how amazing she was. All those that were in attendance thoroughly enjoyed her and had nothing but amazing things to say about her. Thank you for working with us to make sure this happened!
BAYLOR UNIVERSITY CAMPUS
We had a fantastic day with Inge! She was very engaging with all those that attended. Her personal stories about the holocaust were very special and we were moved that she was willing to share them with everyone. Thank you again, PDA for all your hard work and dedication to make this program such a success!
SALT LAKE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Dear PDA Group, Thank you so much for your hard work in scheduling our speaker! From the moment we reached out to you the first time, you worked with us on all details and logistics and kept us up-to-date on the progress. Thank you for all your hard work on making our event such a success! We couldn't have done it without you and your team!
Thank you again, Dr. Kimbrough, for a great presentation, our attendees are still talking about it!
Dr. Henry Lee's presentation was entertaining, insightful and wise. I, and everyone at Pfizer, especially appreciate the remarks you directed about following your passion and preparing yourself to excel. Thank you, everyone, at PDA for helping to make this happen!
The event was successful! I received many messages expressing how awesome, outstanding and inspiring Ms. Webb-Christburg's speech was."
DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. MEMORIAL BREAKFAST, BOSTON, MLK SPEAKER
Everything went well. Atsuko was very easy to work with and the students enjoyed her performance! Thank you again for your recommendation and I hope to work with you again in the future!
CENTRAL MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Dr. Novello left this morning after a very successful event on our campus! Thank you PDA Group for your help from the first phone to the last you were with us every step of the way.
GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY
Jordan Carlos was very very entertaining! A majority of students who answered the event survey indicated they really enjoyed Jordan and definitely will bring him back!
WESTERN CAROLINA UNIVERSITY
On behalf of myself and my organization Entertainment Unlimited the Campus Programming Board of Ferris State University, we thank you PDA and Dan for a successful event!! Dan was magnificent! Students really enjoyed the presentation. I know I did. Can't wait to bring in more programs with PDA Group.
FERRIS STATE UNIVERSITY
It was a great pleasure to work with PDA Group! The communication was always prompt, friendly and helpful. We loved the speakers and events we booked through Mr. Peter Walker (PDA Group).
WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Thank you, Peter, for all your help, you'll be happy to know that the event went incredibly well! Aneesa Ferreira was by far one of the best speakers we've ever had!
Nobody Gives Us Sovereignty: Busting Stereotypes & Walking the Walk
Promoting Native American Traditional Cultural Rights & Artistic Expression
Suzan Harjo on US-Tribal Treaties
Suzan Shown Harjo
1 HOUR OR LESS