Nicole joined Keystone Policy Center in July 2022 working in our Center for Tribal and Indigenous Engagement. She is Tó’aheedlíinii (Water Flows Together) born for Tlazazalca (Argillaceous Place). Her maternal grandfather is Kinyaa’áanii (Towering House Clan) and her paternal Grandfather is Michoacan Clan.
She joined Keystone Policy Center after serving over 10 years in both government and nonprofit sectors. Her previous experience includes serving as the County and Tribal Liaison at the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS). In that role, Nicole engaged and partnered with counties, Tribes, as well as American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Indigenous communities. In addition to her role as a department-wide generalist, she worked closely on issues like food security, elder services, child welfare, domestic violence programs, early childhood education, as well as infant and maternal programs. Nicole’s state work also included government-to-government engagement and formal consultations between Tribal Nations and state government. Formal Tribal State Consultations encompassed annual consultations as well as subject matter specific consultations including Indian Boarding School consultation between multiple state agencies and Tribal Nations. Additionally, she represented the Executive Director, including voting in proxy as a commissioner on her behalf, for the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs (CCIA). Her nonprofit work includes working for Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) within the Native American Services Program as well as Veterans Services. She worked on several issues, including housing case management, talking circle facilitator, program coordination as well as property management. While at CCH Nicole was awarded the Philosophy of Service award for her work within the Veterans Service Program. Nicole has over ten years experience working within the realm of juvenile justice reform in Colorado and nationally. Nicole has worked toward reducing the number of youth and young people who become juvenile justice involved as well as reducing the number of children who are charged and incarcerated as adults.