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Alumni

From hairdresser to business consultant

June 21, 2011
by Beth Etter

In her early twenties, Traci Morris ('95), was making good money as a hairdresser in Boulder. But when a friend packed up one day to go to CSU, she thought, "If he can do it, I can do it!" and she enrolled for the following semester.

Traci Morris and Geoffrey Blackwell, chief of the Office of Native American Affairs and Policy, at the Federal Communications Commission.Back in touch

Morris, owner of Homahota Consulting and director of operations for Native Public Media, is part Norwegian and part Oklahoma Chickasaw. Having grown up in Longmont, Colo., however, she was not in touch with her native roots until she decided to attend CSU at the age of 22. There she majored in liberal arts with five minors, including ethnic studies, women’s studies, history, Native American studies, and art history. She then moved to pursue her master’s and Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in American Indian studies and comparative cultural and literary studies.

CSU's impact

CSU provided Morris with the foundation for her future career, she says. Several professors were mentors to her and she still stays in touch with them. In addition to taking classes in native American issues, Morris – with the help of Native American Student Services (now the Native American Cultural Center) and her friends – began to reclaim her heritage.

“I made a commitment to not just study it,” she says. “It’s part of my life now. It’s who I am.” Because of this – and everything about CSU that made an impact – she has a strong attachment to the University. “I know I wouldn’t have gotten here without CSU and the people there. They really have a special place in my heart,” she says.

Helping the community

Morris started Homahota Consulting in 2009 in Phoenix, Ariz. with the goal of helping those in Indian Country with a number of things, including education, connecting people with others as well as resources they may need, and more. She also worked as a policy analyst at Native Public Media (NPM), dealing with Native telecommunication issues. Her research includes co-authoring a study on behalf of Native Public Media published in 2009, the New Media and Internet use in Indian Country Study, which still is the only research done on the subject and is essential information for the Federal Communications Commission.

A new role with Native Public Media

This year, Morris was brought on as director of operations at NPM, a job she says she absolutely loves – even if it does take up most of her free time. Among other things, Morris is working to get broadband Internet more widely deployed on tribal lands, assisting current and upcoming tribal radio stations, and acting as an advocate with the FCC in Washington, D.C.

Because of the importance of her NPM position, she’s had to significantly scale back Homahota Consulting. Morris says she’s okay with this development, however. “Homahota has gotten me where I am now,” she says. “I am solely focused right now on building NPM. I’m just going to follow it where it goes.”

Plans for the future

One thing she wishes she had time for – or will soon have time for – is music. “I consume music like other people drink,” she jokes. Morris plays guitar and bass and was in a band in college. Her husband, Ron, is a former music promoter and booker and DJ.

"My goal is to play in another working band,” she says. “I would love that. I miss it.” She tries to find time to play at home, but has had to give up going to shows for now.

Morris plans to continue researching and publishing, as she has an academic affiliation with Fordham University’s McGannon Center of Communication Research, and eventually wants to begin a film project to merge her interests in research and multimedia.


Contact: Beth Etter
E-mail: beth.etter@colostate.edu
Phone: 491-6533