Suzan Shown Harjo may be best known for her work on the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, or the American Indian Religious Act, but the writer, curator and activist has advocated for much more in the improvement of Native American lives. Her name is also synonymous with the fight against the NFL’s Washington football team over its use of the term Redskins and its mascot.
Now, the president of the Morning Star Institute and former member of the Carter Administration, will be known as a Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient.
President Barack Obama named 19 honorees (including: Alvin Ailey, Isabel Allende, Tom Brokaw, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, Mildred Dresselhaus, John Dingell, Ethel Kennedy, Abner Mikva, Patsy Takemoto Mink, Edward Roybal, Charles Sifford, Robert Solow, Stephen Sondheim, Meryl Streep, Marlo Thomas, and Stevie Wonder) on November 10 to receive the nation’s highest civilian honor. These individuals are those “who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors,” a White House release stated.
“I am humbled by this high honor and by being in this excellent company. The ICTMN family and readership certainly share in this award,” Harjo said via e-mail when asked for a comment on the honor.
The awards will be presented at the White House on November 24.
President Obama said, “I look forward to presenting these 19 bold, inspiring Americans with our Nation’s highest civilian honor. From activists who fought for change to artists who explored the furthest reaches of our imagination; from scientists who kept America on the cutting edge to public servants who help write new chapters in our American story, these citizens have made extraordinary contributions to our country and the world.”