TEMPE, ARIZONA – Traci Morris, a nationally recognized tribal communications leader and expert, has been named director of the American Indian Policy Institute (AIPI) at Arizona State University.
Morris’ expertise includes working on the national, regional and local level with Native nations, the federal government and tribal businesses/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.
“I am very excited about the appointment of Dr. Morris as the new director of AIPI. Her extensive experience in addressing American Indian economic initiatives, in tandem with her national, regional, and local involvement with tribal governments and organizations, will well serve the Institute in carrying out its mission and goals,” said Eddie F. Brown, the Executive Director of the American Indian Policy Institute and American Indian Studies professor.
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 trans-disciplinary approach that includes departments and centers within the university as well as organizations in communities.
Members of the ASU academic community offered their thoughts on Morris’ appointment to AIPI:
- “Dr. Morris brings a wealth of meaningful experiences and knowledge to the position of Director, American Indian Policy Institute. We, in American Indian Studies, look forward to working on collaborative research, policy and service projects with Dr. Morris and her staff that benefit our Native communities,” said John Tippeconnic,ASU American Indian Studies director and professor.
- “This is an exciting time for all American Indian programs at ASU. The AIPI is uniquely situated to respond to the needs of tribal governments and communities while also fulfilling the mission and goals of our great university. The addition of Dr. Morris to lead the AIPI will further strengthen and enhance the great work that has already been started by this relatively young program. Her knowledge of both academia and tribal communities as well as her proven research and leadership skills will undoubtedly usher in a strong new era for AIPI,” said ASU Indian Legal Program Director Ann Bledsoe-Downes.
- “Dr. Morris has policy experience and expertise on cutting-edge issues, to continue and enrich the contributions of the institute and ASU in Arizona and nationally. The School of Public Affairs looks forward to close collaboration with her and the AIPI on issues of policy and indigenous self-governance,” said Karen Mossberger, Professor and Director, ASU School of Public Affairs.
Arizona tribal community member and the Chairman of Gila River Telecommunications Incorporated at the Gila River Tribe, Anthony Newkirk, said: “I am excited about the contributions that I know Traci will bring to ASU AIPI. I have had the pleasure of working with this amazing policy work and know of her contributions to Indian Country and more specifically to telecom and media. Congratulations Traci and ASU!”
Morris is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma and she maintains a strong working relationship with her community while her passion for communications and media policy and advocacy emerged from these tribal roots. Morris’ 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.
“We are pleased to learn of Dr. Traci Morris’ appointment to the American Indian Policy Institute directorship. Traci is well-qualified to serve in that capacity as proven by her exceptional career. We expect Traci 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,” said Governor Anoatubby of the Chickasaw Nation.
Morris is also the founder of Homahota Consulting LLC, a national Native American woman owned professional services firm that specializes in policy analysis, telecommunications, education and research that assists tribes with nation building and works with Native Nations, tribal businesses and companies working with tribes.
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.
The American Indian Policy Institute is fully committed to tribally-driven participatory research in which tribal governments identify their own research needs and seek out collaborations with the university. As part of tribally-driven participatory research, the American Indian Policy Institute responds to tribal research direction and empowers tribes, tribal communities and American Indian students through projects that support self-determination and build tribal capacity.
AIPI was established as a core element of President Michael Crow’s American Indian Initiative, Dr. Eddie F. Brown (American Indian Studies) and Professor Kevin Gover (Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law) worked with a group of faculty and administrators to develop a proposal for a trans-disciplinary institute focusing on American Indian policy research. The Arizona Board of Regents approved the new institute and Dr. Eddie Brown (Pascua-Yaqui/Tohono O’odham) and Professor Kevin Gover (Pawnee/Comanche) became the co-Executive Directors; by 2007, the American Indian Policy Institute began work on its first projects. In 2011, ASU completed the required five-year review and re-authorized the American Indian Policy Institute with the highest-level recommendation.
The mission of the American Indian Policy Institute the transformation of American Indian policy analysis using a trans-disciplinary approach via collaborations with other departments and centers at ASU as well as with organizations outside of ASU on its projects and initiatives.