Photo courtesy The White House
President Barack Obama awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to activist Suzan Shown Harjo last November.

Lauded Activist Suzan Shown Harjo to be Honored by Cheyenne, Arapaho

Simon Moya-Smith
4/17/15

Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Suzan Shown Harjo will be honored today in Concho, Oklahoma with a homecoming celebration, hosted by the Cheyenne and Arapaho people.

Harjo, who is a member of both tribes, was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom last November for her lifetime of altruism. Harjo is known as a champion of Native American sovereignty and preservation, and she continues her work to inspire Native American youths.

RELATED: Suzan Shown Harjo Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom in White House Ceremony

Harjo is also known for her decades-long activism against to the Washington football team's name and logo. In the 1990s, she was a plaintiff in a case that stripped the team of its trademark protection. Later, a U.S. District Court overturned that decision and the team's trademark protection was reinstated.

Then, with Harjo at the helm, the Washington football team once again lost its trademark protection in 2014 when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled that its name is "disparaging to Native Americans."

Today, Harjo is the president of the Morningstar Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that lobbies for the return of sacred Native American lands as well as advocates for the protection of Native American rights.

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