Nicole joined Keystone Policy Center in July 2022 working as the project director within the 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 with more than a decade of experience in the government and nonprofit sectors. Her previous governmental 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, Tribal Nations, 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 and projects that focused on food security, elder services, mental health, child welfare, domestic violence programs, early childhood education, infant and maternal programs, as well as state-wide COVID-19 response. 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 Colorado Department of Human Services as a proxy voting commissioner for the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs (CCIA).
Her nonprofit work within the Native American Services Program and Veterans Services Program at Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) included developing and implementing new processes as well as strengthening existing processes. She worked on several issues and projects including housing resilience in the Denver Metro area, case management, talking circle facilitation, program coordination as well as property management. While at CCH Nicole was honored with the Philosophy of Service award for her work within the Veterans Service Program.
Nicole has over a decade of experience working within the realm of juvenile justice reform in Colorado and nationally. Her work was centered around reducing the number of young people who become juvenile justice involved as well as reducing the number of young people who are charged and incarcerated as adults.