Art & Politics
Human Rights
Internalized Oppression
Native Americans
Poetry/Spoken Word
Programs for High School Students
Racism/Racial Justice
Violence Against Women
Violence-Prevention, Conflict Resolution
Women & Feminism

Lakota Harden (Minnecoujou/Yankton Lakota and HoChunk) is a highly-respected, award-winning organizer, community leader, and elder who has been part of Native American struggles for the past four decades.

She first became an accomplished speaker as a youth and representative of the early American Indian Movement's “We Will Remember” Survival School on the Pine Ridge reservation, established out of the 1973 Wounded Knee occupation. She has continued her activism over the years, working with the International Indian Treaty Council, Women of All Red Nations (WARN), Idle No More, Indigenous Women's Network, Lakota Traditional Birthing Project, and OYATE, a Native organization working to see that the lives and histories of Native peoples are portrayed honestly through books.

Lakota was the co-host, for many years, of the weekly radio program, Bay Native Circle, on Pacifica radio station KPFA in the San Francisco Bay Area. The program featured interviews, current events, and perspectives of the Native American community.

Lakota was also trained in unlearning oppression work by the Oakland-based Todos Alliance-Building Institute and the Oakland Men’s Project. In addition to keynotes and presentations, she has conducted workshops and trainings nationwide for youth and adults who work with youth, across lines of gender, race, and age to stop violence as well as workshops on unlearning racism, sexism and other social oppressions. She also offers “Decolonization” workshops for Indigenous peoples, addressing the impact of genocidal policies on individuals, families, and communities.

Growing out of Lakota’s work with youth of Alaska’s Sitka Tribe, she spent time as a counselor at Raven’s Way, an residential treatment program for Indigenous youth and later worked with Health Promotions, focusing on diabetes prevention in the community. Currently, she is the Community Outreach Coordinator of Sitka Counseling and Prevention Services, providing outreach education and intervention programs related to substance misuse and wellness for groups within the community. She also serves on the City of Sitka's Heath Needs and Human Services Commission.

Lakota is also a co-founder of the Herring Protectors, an environmental group that works to protect herring and salmon from overfishing by corporate interests. In the spirit of Standing Rock, this group focuses on the issue of herring depletion as a local embodiment of the destruction of culture and the earth.

Much of Lakota’s work focuses on the healing of intergenerational historical trauma that stems out of the systematic genocide implemented  by the U.S. government. The colonization of Indigenous communities has had multiple affects on those who have survived "Manifest Destiny" tactics. In healing work, she stresses, it is important to look at the spiritual, mental, as well as physical and emotional complexities of individuals. Acknowledging trauma, exploring methods and resources for healing, drawing on cultural practices and centuries old knowledge, are some of the ways to move forward.

Lakota is recipient of a Brave Hearted Woman Award presented by Mills College (Oakland CA) and a Sisters of Fire Award presented by the Women of Color Resource Center to leading women of color activists and artists for their outstanding commitments to social justice.  
Lakota is also featured in the 2018 documentary, Warrior Women.


"(Lakota's) words are illuminated with compassion and wisdom, steeped in history, yet thoroughly accessible to every listener. (She) has a unique ability to speak deeply to an intergenerationally, multiculturally, and socio-economically diverse audience range. Students, community, staff, and professors alike were mesmerized, moved, and transformed. "

— Sara Littlecrow-Russell, J.D. Manager of Special Events, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

"Lakota's lecture was one of the most successful events sponsored by the UNT Women's Studies Program this year. Her lecture was extremely well received by our students and faculty and provoked discussion about gender and racial stereotyping throughout our campus for days afterward. Lakota was warm, engaging, thought-provoking and sensitive to her audience."

— Claire L. Sahlin, Director of Women's Studies, University of North Texas, Denton TX

“Of all the speakers I have brought to the Storrs campus, Lakota Harden was without a doubt one of the finest. Our students, staff and faculty benefited tremendously from her visit. She was professional, honest, humorous, skillful, and most of all, respectful in helping each of us who attended further understand ourselves and each other.”

— Barbara Gurr, Assistant Director of Women’s Studies, University of Connecticut, Storrs CT

"I never have experienced such a transformational program (the film "Follow Me Home" facilitated by Lakota Harden), an experience that truly touched me to the core. This is truly what it is all about; sharing, respecting, honoring and celebrating our similarities and our differences.”

— Jacob Peltier, Associated Student Government, Bellevue Community College, Bellevue WA


Decolonization and Rematriation: Righting Historic Wrongs and Reclaiming Our Path
In this presentation, Lakota draws on her life experiences, ancestral memory, and four decades in Native American struggles to look at how we can liberate ourselves, our society, and cultivate roots for connection. She uses the framework of decolonization to counter its manifestations in gender, race, knowledge, and educational systems as well as rematriation, the act of returning or aligning with a collective worldview under the stewardship and leadership of women. She discusses how we can right historic wrongs rooted in white supremacy, settler colonialism, and patriarchy by lifting up cultural practices that restore balance to our lives and all our relations - human and non-human relatives alike. This powerful presentation will help us reclaim our original way of being and feel revived, encouraged, and empowered to continue our walk on this earth with self-respect, love, and deeper connections on a path to healing ourselves and our world. Lakota Harden is the best medicine one could hope to receive!

Indian Boarding Schools: The Path to Healing and Reconciliation
Speaking from her personal experiences attending Indian boarding schools as a child and as a descendant of boarding school attendees, Lakota looks at the the intergenerational impact of the boarding school experience for Native America. She examines the federal policies under which American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian children were forcibly removed from their family homes and placed in boarding schools. She looks at how it is still a major part of the collective problems in Indigenous communities, affecting the generations who were raised by those who attended, even if the people themselves did not. Through her lifetime of work with Native children, she has seen repeatedly how the chronic adverse childhood experience all stem from the genocidal effects of repressive legislation created to "deal" with Indigenous people. H.R. 5444, which was under consideration in the 117th Congress (2021-2022), would establish a Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies -- a step in the right direction. For there to be accountability, Lakota argues, the truth of the boarding school process needs to be brought to light so the nation can heal.

We are the Land! Cultivating Roots for a Connection to a Centuries-Old Community
During this time of re-examining our place on this planet, we need to take time to consciously look at ways to liberate oneself from learned conditioning. Drawing on our ancestral memory as well as modernization of Indigenous philosophies, how we can create a network of support and inspiration for our daily lives?  We are the voice of the Waters, Trees, Air, Four-leggeds, Winged,  and our future generations. This talk will address the importance of Identifying and restoring cultural practices and  rediscovering our beliefs and values for the empowerment of our original role - living with our relatives on this planet.

“Decolonization” Workshop for Indigenous Peoples
This workshop addresses the impact of genocidal policies on Indigenous individuals, families, and communities. The colonization of Indigenous communities has had multiple affects on those who have survived the "Manifest Destiny" tactics. In healing work, it is important to look at the spiritual and mental, as well as physical and emotional complexities of individuals. Acknowledging trauma, exploring methods and resources for healing, drawing on cultural practices and centuries old knowledge, are some of the ways to move forward.

Singer/songwriter Holly Near interviews Lakota about the women's music movement.