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University of Arizona to Honor Wilma Mankiller and LaDonna Harris

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The lives and accomplishments of LaDonna Harris, Comanche Stateswoman and activist, and the late Wilma P. Mankiller, the first female Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, will be honored on October 24 at the University of Arizona Women’s Plaza of Honor.

“LaDonna is one of the foremost American Indian women activists in the country… At a time in American history when Indian women are being heard as never before, LaDonna belongs on center stage,” Henrietta Stockel, co-founder of the Albuquerque Indian Center and author of numerous books about Native Americans, has said. “Her voice echoes throughout Indian country, which is the length and breadth of America. She is admired, respected, and held in deference by non-Indians and Indians alike.”

Harris will appear in person at the honoring, as will Charlie Soap, Cherokee, the late Ms. Mankiller’s husband and community development partner for more than 30 years.

“…As the Cherokee Nation’s first female chief, she transformed the Nation-to-Nation relationship between the Cherokee Nation and the Federal Government, and served as an inspiration to women in Indian country and across America. A recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, she was recognized for her vision and commitment to a brighter future for all Americans…” President Barack Obama said on the passing of Wilma Mankiller.

The ceremony will include remarks by University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart; Regents’ Professor and Head of American Indian Studies Department Ofelia Zapeda, Tohono O'odham; Dr. Mary Jo Fox, Comanche; Dr. Tom Holm, Muscogee Creek/Cherokee; Arizona State Museum Director Dr. Patrick Lyons; and honor songs by the Pumpkin Vyne drum group.

The ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m. and will be followed by a reception at the Arizona State Museum.

To read more about the accomplishments of both women being honored, visit

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