Americans for Indian Opportunity, Inc.

Core Values: Relationships, Responsibility, Reciprocity and Redistribution

aka AIO   |   Albuquerque, NM   |


Americans for Indian Opportunity advances the rights of Indigenous peoples through the development of community-driven initiatives and values-based leaders. AIO draws upon traditional Indigenous philosophies to foster a network of value-based leaders, spark and sustain stakeholder-driven solutions, and, for over 40 years, AIO continues to work alongside of visionary leaders and progressive organizations in a national Indigenous movement to create transformational change.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Ms. Laura Harris

Main address

1001 Marquette Ave NW

Albuquerque, NM 87102 USA

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NTEE code info

Civil Rights, Advocacy for Specific Groups (R20)

Urban, Community (S31)

Leadership Development (W70)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Ambassadors Program/Indigenous Values-Based Leadership Development

Ambassadors Program, the only national Indigenous values-based leadership development initiative nurtures the skills of young Native adults to be proactive change agents, bragging more than 250 graduates, representing 100 tribes, 33 states and 7 countries who are proactive change agents in their communities.

“AIO nurtures growth in a new generation of leaders through
experiential learning activities and specialized curriculum that reaffirms cultural values and identity, and helps emerging community leaders incorporate these values into solutions that build sustainable communities,” says Laura
Harris, AIO Executive Director. 

During the course of the program, Ambassadors meet and work with leading Native decision-makers and national policymakers, explore family and tribal histories, develop and implement a community-based project, explore
personal “medicine” or inner strength, and strengthen communications skills. They attend gatherings in communities across the nation and visit at least one
Indigenous community outside the United States.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples
Young adults

Think Indigeneity, a series of dialogues around current key issues in Indigenous communities, resulting in community-based strategies for systemic change.
Indigenous Leaders Interactive System, based on traditional Native American consensus decision-making practices, the ILIS is an AIO-developed community engagement tool that assists communities through a structured dialogue process that can be utilized for strategic planning and problem solving. Grounded in system science, the ILIS allows groups to uncover deep underlying issues and generate actions to address root problems rather than spend energy on symptoms.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples

The Native Voice Network is a virtual community of Native American families and organizations who mobilize through Indigenous cultural values to inspire positive change in our communities. With 35 member-orgs the NVN engages in online campaigns to build awareness, support and to take action on key issues effecting Indigenous peoples.

Ambassador Alliance Network is made up of more than 200 Ambassador alumni, Program advisors, AIO board members and other supporters. Making up AIO’s key constituency, the Network, shares information, opportunities and calls to action.

Indigenous Leaders Global Network includes established and emerging leaders who share information, best practices and and find ways to engage in collective actions.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples

Indian 101, AIO’s cultural competency training, is lauded for its non-victim/no blame approach to presenting Native American history, culture, analysis of federal/tribal relations and Indian policy. The interactive training moves participants away from a culture of oppression mentality and toward a positive, realistic understanding of the contemporary Indigenous peoples of the United States. The training is geared toward all audiences, both Native and non-Native, sharing the resilience, sophistication and values of Native Americans.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples

Where we work


Yawa' Award 2018

San Manuel Indian Tribe

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Indigenous peoples internationally, in the United States, and locally in Albuquerque, NM

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Community meetings/Town halls, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Paticipatory Evaluation via community engagement process,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners, National Coaltions that we belong to,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection,


Americans for Indian Opportunity, Inc.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Americans for Indian Opportunity, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 9/8/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Ms. LaDonna Harris

Americans for Indian Opportunity

Term: 1970 - 2020

Board co-chair

Hon. Ivan Posey

Central Wyoming College

Term: 1997 - 2020

Grace McCullah-Ryan (Navajo)

Navajos for Navajo Opportunity

Gilbert Thompson (Mississippi Choctaw)

Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians

Louie LaRose (Winnebago/Ute)

Retired Tribal Chair

Bentham Ohia (Maori)

Advancement of Maori Opportunity

Eddie Tullis (Poarch Creek)

Retired Tribal Chair

Jerry Muskrat (Cherokee)

Retired Federal Judge

Judy Winchester (Pokagon Band Potawatomi)

Elders Council, Pokagon Band of Potawatomi

Faith Roessel (Navajo)


Andrew Ebona (Tlingit)

Copper Shield Consulting

Kate Cherrington (Maori)

Pauta Hou Ltd

Alexander Christakis (Cretan)

CWA, Ltd.

Teresa Peterson (Dakota Upper Sioux)

Dakota Wicohan

LeeAnn Muntz (Maori)

Aotearoa Experience Limited

James Washinawatok (Menominee/Akwesasne Mohawk)

Southern Ute Indian Tribe Legal Dept.

Terry Tanner (Salish/Kootenai Nation)

Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes

Valorie Johnson (Seneca-Cayuga/Eastern Cherokee)


Anathea Chino (Acoma Pueblo)

Advance Native Political Leadership

John Beaver (Muscogee Creek)

Muscogee Nation Culture Department

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 09/08/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Native American/American Indian/Indigenous
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 09/07/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.