Chickasaw citizen Traci Morris named American Indian Policy Institute Director

CONTRIBUTED BY Dana Lance, Media Relations.

This article appeared in the October 2014 edition of the Chickasaw Times

TEMPE, Ariz. – Chickasaw scholar Traci Morris, a nationally-recognized tribal communications leader and expert, has been selected to lead the American Indian Policy Institute (AIPI).

Dr. Morris has been named director of AIPI at Arizona State University.

The American Indian Policy Institute at ASU collaborates with and empowers tribal governments and Native American entities by providing policy analysis, technical assistance, training and certification; and facilitating participatory research benefiting tribal communities nationwide.

As AIPI director, Dr. Morris will oversee AIPI operations and programs such as education courses for tribal managers and tribal financial managers.

“We are pleased to learn of Dr. Traci Morris’ appointment to the American Indian Policy Institute directorship,” Gov. Bill Anoatubby said. “She is well-qualified to serve in that capacity as proven by her exceptional career. We expect Dr. Morris to use her experience to positively engage the American Indian Policy Institute with Indian Country to build its capacity and further the efforts of tribal self-determination.”

Dr. Morris will focus on developing AIPI’s entrepreneurial innovations academic courses into a nationwide offering and continuing the organization’s engagement in proactive policy analysis for Indian Country leaders, with special expertise in broadband connectivity on tribal lands and all that entails.

“We also have research in progress on Tribal Census data and broadband connectivity in Indian Country,” Dr. Morris said.

Dr. Morris, whose professional work encompasses all areas of Native American art and media, from the auditory to the visual to the digital realm, said she was honored to accept her new duties as AIPI director.

“It is an honor to join the visionary team at the American Indian Policy Institute at Arizona State University,” she said. “As director, I look forward to working cooperatively with Indian Country leaders and policy makers to further tribal self-determination goals. From the traditional to the technological, our team will build on the great work of the past and create new policy pathways to remain on the forefront of strategic storytelling.”

Dr. Morris, who coauthored a recent study “Digital Inclusion in Indian Country: The Role of Tribal Libraries,” has experience working on the national, regional and local level with Native nations, the federal government and tribal businesses and entities.

She is an expert on tribal broadband who has taught college courses, authored books and articles, presented numerous professional papers, written curriculum on Native American new media and advocated for digital inclusion at the Federal Communications Commission and on Capitol Hill.

Dr. Morris maintains a strong working relationship with her community. Her passion for communications and media policy and advocacy emerged from these tribal roots.

Her research and publications on Native American media and the digital divide focus on Internet use, network neutrality, digital and new media curriculums, digital inclusion and development of broadband networks in Indian Country. Her book, “Native American Voices: A Reader,” is a teaching tool utilized in colleges throughout the country.

Dr. Morris earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and her bachelor’s degree from Colorado State University.

She is the principal and founder of Homahota Consulting, an organization serving tribes, city, state and county agencies, nonprofits, and small businesses working with tribes, providing culturally competent policy analysis, technical training, research and writing, and grant writing and grant management. In this capacity, she has done work for Native Public Media Inc., a service and advocacy organization that works to strengthen and expand Native American media capacity.

Previously, Dr. Morris worked directly in the arts, in several museums and galleries, including internships at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian at the George Gustav Heye Center in lower Manhattan (New York) and the Arizona State Museum. She worked for Tucson’s oldest Native American Art Gallery, Bahti Indian Arts for more than 11 years, as manager and buyer.

About The American Indian Policy Institute at ASU

The American Indian Policy Institute at ASU is committed to tribally-driven participatory projects where tribal governments identify their research needs and collaborate with the university.

The institute responds to tribal direction and empowers tribes, tribal communities and American Indian students through projects that support self-determination and build tribal capacity. The institute transforms American Indian policy analysis through a transdisciplinary approach that includes departments and centers within the university as well as organizations in communities.

For more information about the American Indian Policy Institute at ASU, call 480-965-1055 or email