Ernie Stevens: Indian Country honors civil rights champions

"Through Reverend King’s vision, we know that our people should be measured not by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character.

It is also important to remember the contributions from our Native leaders who have provided a civil rights foundation based on equality and recognition of our sovereign rights;

Omaha tribal woman, Susan (Insta Theumba/Bright Eyes) LaFlesche, who fought extensively for Native American rights, and continued against incompetence and corruption of the government as well as against those laws that contributed to the dependency and demoralization of the Native American,

LaDonna Harris (Comanche) served on the National Indian Opportunities Council as President Lyndon B. Johnson’s appointee and worked beside Robert Kennedy and Sargent Shriver. In 1970, she founded an organization dedicated to advocating for cultural, political and economic rights of Indigenous peoples. During the Carter administration, Harris was appointed as a special advisor to the Office of Economic Opportunity;

Elouise Cobell (Blackfeet) was a longtime champion of Indian rights. She dedicated the last sixteen years of her life to obtaining justice for Native Americans. She advocated that Native people should have more control over their lands and be able to pursue higher education."

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Ernie Stevens, Jr.: Honor MLK and Native Civil Rights Leaders (Indian Country Today 1/16)

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