Della Warrior was born in Pawnee, Oklahoma and grew up in Red Rock, Oklahoma. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma in 1966. She went on to earn a Master’s degree in Education in 1971 from Harvard University, and she has forty-four doctoral credits from the University of New Mexico.
Warrior is the first and only woman thus far to serve as Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe, which she did from 1989 to 1992.
While serving as President of the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) from 1998 to 2006, Warrior established a permanent home for the Institute after thirty-eight years of temporary campus facilities. She also increased funding for the Institute from the private sector by three-hundred percent, raising over one hundred million dollars for IAIA over twelve years. Before her term as President she served the IAIA as Director of Development and Acting Director of Development from 1993 to 1998. Warrior tripled departmental annual funding when she served as Director of Indian Education for Albuquerque Public Schools from 1971 to 1987. She has served as a consultant for Ponca Tribal Bingo, Andrew Skeeter, Inc. and for Tulsa Indian Health Care Resource Center, consulting a number of clients all over the United States including the University of New Mexico, NYC College Board, Kaw Nation of Oklahoma, and the National Indian Training and Research Center in Tempe, Arizona.
Warrior is an advisor to the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum and a board member of Wings of America, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the Smithsonian Institute. She volunteers for the National Organization of Native American Women as well as the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma. She is an appointee to President Bush’s Board of Advisors on Tribal Colleges and Universities as well as a charter member of World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium.
Warrior was inducted to the Oklahoma Women’s Hall of Fame in 2007. Among many other honors, in 2002 she was named Woman of the Year by the Albuquerque YWCA and Paul Harris Fellow from Rotary International in 2000.
(Bio current as of 2010)