A Reason to be Hopeful: Lessons from Suzan Harjo

Suzan Harjo
Suzan Harjo

Leading Native American rights activist Suzan Harjo was at Mitchell Hamline Law School earlier this week to talk about the future of Indian Law under a Trump administration.

She spent most of her time talking about the Reagan and Bush years.Her message was, even thought those were difficult times, too, advocates were still able to get major legislative wins.

The Reagan years were particularly bad for Indian people, with Reagan trying to cut the federal Indian budget by a third, and privatize the Indian Trust money, she said. Regardless, advocates were able to get passage of theĀ National Museum for the Native American Act (1989) and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (1990) (both signed by President Bush.)

Connecting the dots to today’s situation and worries about the Trump administration, she offered the following advice: “In addition to a combative strategy, have some positive goals,” she said. “You never know how powerful you are until you exercise your power.” Continue reading

Lecture: Future of Indian Law Under a Trump Administration

Suzan Harjo
Suzan Harjo (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee), a poet, writer, and leading Native American rights advocate, will be speaking tonight on the future of Indian law under a Trump administration at Mitchell Hamline Law School, 875 Summit Ave, St Paul. The talk will be held in Room 323 starting at 6:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public. Here is the announcement.

According to an online bio of Harjo posted by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, she is the former executive director of the National Congress of American Indians and has advocated for decades for laws to promote Native nations’ sovereignty, languages and religious freedom, as well as pass the National Museum of the American Indian Act. Harjo is one of seven Native people “who filed the 1992 landmark case Harjo et al v. Pro Football, Inc., against the disparaging name of the Washington football team.”

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