This past weekend I got to join FNX in attending the 2nd Annual San Diego American Indian Film Festival (SDAIFF). Many films were showcased during the night including, “Sycuan: Our People. Our Culture. Our History,” “Once We Had a River,” “Empire of Dirt” and “LaDonna Harris: Indian 101.” Long into the night, a huge screen captured the attention of all ages in the audience, the majority excitedly being Native youth.

During the event, I found myself so absorbed and moved by the film “LaDonna Harris: Indian 101.” I got to discover a Native woman of power in a time when prejudice was strongly held in the minds and hearts of the masses. LaDonna defied the odds and rose with her husband as he moved through the political spectrum, eventually becoming a U.S. Senator in Washington DC.

The film dug into LaDonna’s natural activist stance on many topics involving the Native community. She used her husband’s status to influence the minds of high-ranking officials that they were often around, throwing dinner parties where much of her humanitarian ideas were discussed. As a national leader, Harris influenced the agendas of world peace, environmentalism, feminism, and civil rights movements. She is a founding member of Common Cause and the National Urban Coalition and is, still to this day, a spokesperson against poverty and social injustice. She also made a new form of history, being the first Senator’s wife to testify before a Congressional committee.

During intermission, FNX had the opportunity to speak with LaDonna Harris, getting an interview in the process. She was just as loving and warm as she was portrayed as in the film. She made strangers feel as though they were long-time friends. Completely unaware of what my night would entail as I entered the SDAIFF, I left the festival fired up with ambition and enlightenment, even more driven to continue high education for the sake of future generations. Amazing film, amazing woman! I am looking forward to the next annual San Diego American Indian Film Festival and hope to see you all there!

Submitted by: Robin Underwood, FNX Intern

Watch the trailer for “LaDonna Harris: Indian 101” here:
LaDonna Harris: Indian 101 Trailer from San Diego Film Festival on Vimeo.