Fred Harris, LaDonna Harris (Comanche), and Wakeah Tabbytite in grandstands at a parade. Photo courtesy of LaDonna Harris.

Fred Harris, LaDonna Harris (Comanche), and Wakeah Tabbytite in grandstands at a parade. Photo courtesy of LaDonna Harris.

(Lincoln, Neb.): All-star filmmaking duo — Comanche producer and director Julianna Brannum and executive producer Johnny Depp (Transcendence, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Lone Ranger) — bring the story of politically influential Native American leader LaDonna Harris to Public Television stations nationwide with broadcasts beginning November 1.

LaDonna Harris reshaped Indian Country both in America and abroad. A Comanche from Oklahoma, she helped convince the Nixon administration to return sacred land to the Taos Pueblo Indians of New Mexico, founded the Americans for Indian Opportunity in 1970, and became a vice-presidential nominee in 1980.

LaDonna Harris: Indian 101 is a reflection of her political achievements, personal struggles, and the events that led her to becoming a voice for Native people. Raised on a farm in Oklahoma during the Great Depression, LaDonna did not attend college. However, she studied and learned alongside her husband, Fred Harris, who would become a U.S. Senator. Upon his taking office, she too undertook a public service role.

LaDonna is best known for her work in U.S. civil rights when she set the tone with a landmark legislation initiative that returned land to the Taos Pueblo Tribe and Native tribes of Alaska. She also served a pivotal role in helping the Menominee Tribe regain their federal recognition.

Her trailblazing efforts began when President Lyndon B. Johnson selected her to educate both the executive and legislative branches of U.S. government on the unique relationship that American Indian tribes hold within our nation. This education course was affectionately called “Indian 101” and was taught to members of Congress and other federal agencies for over 35 years.

La Donna Harris: Indian 101 is the first documentary about the Native activist and national civil rights leader, LaDonna Harris. Brannum commented, “LaDonna’s unique and bi-partisan approach to political and social issues made her a much-loved and well-respected icon in Washington. Not only was she a major force in Indian Country, but the media loved her and high-level politicians sought her input.”

Held in the highest regard by her colleagues for countless social and historical achievements, LaDonna is now passing her knowledge on to a new generation of emerging Indigenous leaders. With participation from students worldwide, LaDonna has created an educational program that trains Native professionals to incorporate their own tribes’ traditional values and perspectives into their work while building a global Indigenous coalition.

LaDonna Harris: Indian 101—which received major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and Vision Maker Media—is an offering of PBS Plus. This one-hour documentary will be available to public television stations nationwide on Friday, October 31, 2014, with rights beginning November 1, 2014. This program is suggested for scheduling for Native American Heritage Month. For viewing information in your area, please visit

About Vision Maker Media
Vision Maker Media shares Native stories with the world that represent the cultures, experiences, and values of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Founded in 1977, Vision Maker Media, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) which receives major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, nurtures creativity for development of new projects, partnerships, and funding. Vision Maker Media is the premier source for quality Native American and Pacific Islander educational and home videos. All aspects of our programs encourage the involvement of young people to learn more about careers in the media—to be the next generation of storytellers. Located at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, we offer student employment and internships. For more information, visit

About PBS Plus
PBS Plus is an optional programming service for public television stations, providing fully underwritten series and specials. Over 99% of PBS stations subscribe to this service—reaching 100% national TV households. Annually, stations are provided with approximately 600 hours of programming.

Additional Information Regarding LaDonna Harris: Indian 101 (1/60):

Broadcast Distributor/Feed Date/NOLA: PBS Plus | Friday, October 31, 2014 @ 1330-1430 ET | LADH
Broadcast rights beginning November 1, 2014
Credits: A film by Julianna Brannum (Comanche).
Executive Producer: Johnny Depp.
LaDonna Harris: Indian 101 is a co-production of Naru Mui Films and Vision Maker Media.
Funding: Major funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and Vision Maker Media.
Film Pages:
Official Website:
Vision Maker Media:
DVD Distributor: Women Make Movies
115 W. 29th Street, Suite 1200
New York, NY 10001 | 212-925-0606

Crew Bios:

Julianna Brannum (Comanche). Photo by Jerri Howell.

Julianna Brannum (Comanche).
Photo by Jerri Howell.

Julianna Brannum is a documentary filmmaker based in Austin, Texas. Her first film, The Creek Runs Red, was selected to air in Fall 2007 on PBS’s national prime-time series, “Independent Lens.” In early 2008, she co-produced a feature-length documentary with Emmy Award®-winning producer, Stanley Nelson for PBS’s We Shall Remain—a 5-part series on Native American history. The episode, “Wounded Knee,” chronicled the siege of Wounded Knee, South Dakota, in 1973 led by the American Indian Movement.

In 2007, Ms. Brannum was selected as a Sundance Institute/Ford Foundation Fellow and has been awarded grants from the Sundance Institute’s Native Initiative, National Geographic, ITVS, the Oklahoma Humanities Council, Vision Maker Media, and the Sundance Documentary Fund for her latest documentary LaDonna Harris: Indian 101. In April 2008, she was awarded a fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Tribeca Film Institute in support of the film. Ms. Brannum also spent 8 years working as a film programmer for AFI FEST, the Los Angeles Film Festival, and Film Independent before producing programs for Discovery Channel, HGTV, A&E, Bravo and PBS.

Ms. Brannum is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma and was awarded the 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award for the College of Arts and Sciences. She is a member of the Quahada band of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma.