Staff

Traci L Morris, PhD
Executive Director

Dr. Morris, the executive director of the American Indian Policy (AIPI) Institute at Arizona State University, is a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma. Under her leadership, the AIPI has grown and diversified its service to Indian Country providing policy analysis, tribally driven research, and economic development capacity building and working with such Indian Country partners as NCAI, NAFOA, and AISES.

In her work at ASU and prior, Morris has worked with Native American nations, Tribal businesses, and Native American non-profits. Morris is a strong advocate for digital inclusion and digital equity.  A national expert in tribal broadband and access, she has testified at the Federal Communications Commission and on Capitol Hill.

Morris’s research and publications are focused on Internet use, digital inclusion, network neutrality, digital equity, and the development of broadband networks in Indian Country. Morris spearheaded and co-authored the groundbreaking Tribal Technology Assessment: The State of Internet Service on Tribal Lands in 2019. Her book, Native American Voices: A Reader, continues to be a primary teaching tool in colleges throughout the country.

Dr. Morris is Affiliated Faculty at ASU's School for the Future of Innovation in Society, an Affiliate of both ASU's Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology and ASU’s Center on Technology, Data, and Society, and serves as a Sustainability Scholar in the ASU School of Sustainability. Morris’ community service includes being the elected President of the Board of the Phoenix Indian Center, serving on the AISES Board of Directors, and on the Advisory Council of the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums.  Morris is currently a member of the National Tribal Library Broadband Council. Formerly, Morris served a two-year appointment (2014-2016 and 2010-2012) to the Federal Communications Commission's Consumer Advisory Committee and was a member of the Advisory Board for the Department of Labor's Native American Employment and Training Council.

As an entrepreneur before her ASU appointment, Morris founded Homahota Consulting LLC, a national Native American woman-owned professional services firm working in policy analysis, telecommunications, education, and research assisting tribes in their nation-building efforts and working with Native Nations, tribal businesses, and those businesses working with tribes. 

Morris has an M. A. and Ph.D. from the University of Arizona’s American Indian Studies and a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Colorado State University.  Morris can be reached at t[dot]morris[at]asu[dot]edu

JoAnn di Filippo, PhD
Associate Director

Dr. di Filippo currently serves as the Associate Director for AIPI.  During the past 20 years, di Filippo has worked as a business and finance consultant for American Indian tribes, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and institutions of higher education.  Di Filippo is responsible for securing over $50 million dollars for federally sponsored projects from the U.S. Departments of Justice/Community Capacity Development Office, Education, Health, HUD, Environmental Protection Agency, Labor/Employment Training & Administration, and Commerce/Economic Development Agency for research, and workforce, community, and economic development projects.

di Filippo has served as an instructor at Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona, teaching American Indian Studies courses and grant-writing.  While employed at the University of Arizona, she conducted workshops for graduate students and faculty in grant-writing and human subjects protection. 

di Filippo holds an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Arizona in Comparative Cultural & Literary Studies, Federal Indian Law & Policy, with minors in Anthropology and Media Arts.

E.J. John, JD
Policy & Research Analyst

E.J. is AIPI's Policy & Research Analyst and is a member of the Navajo Nation from Vanderwagen, New Mexico. He received his J.D. from the University of New Mexico School of Law in 2016 with a concentration in Indian Law. Prior to that, E.J. received his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of New Mexico in 2013. His interest in law and policy came from his time interning in the D.C. office of Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) in 2011 as an undergrad. Before coming to the AIPI, E.J. had been working on tribal government reform and development with the Office of Navajo Government Development in Window Rock, AZ.

Sadie Vermillion, JD
Policy Research Assistant

Sadie (Pawnee) is a Policy Research Assistant at the American Indian Policy Institute. She graduated from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law In 2018 with a focus on federal Indian law. She was the Vice President of the Native American Law Students Association (NALSA) from 2015-2017, and the President from 2017-2018.

Sadie grew up in Boulder, Colorado as a member of the Echohawk family of Native activists and has long been inspired to work within the Native community. She received a Bachelor of Arts with a degree in Gender Studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder and focused her research primarily on Native American Women and Domestic Violence.  

Sadie's notable accomplishments include being a recipient of the American Indian Achievement Award from the Rocky Mountain Indian Chamber of Commerce in 2015 and the Whittemore Eaglefeather Scholarship at the University of Denver from 2015-2018. Sadie also interned as a guardian ad litem at the Rocky Mountain Children's Law Center in 2017. 

Beth Santistevan, MA
Policy & Communications Program Coordinator

Beth Santistevan (Southern Ute) grew up on the Southern Ute reservation in Ignacio, CO. Beth has over a decade of experience working within Tribal governments. She has worked directly with tribal, local, and state leadership as a communications liaison. She enjoys working directly with Tribal membership and supporting concerns via storytelling. Beth has worked and volunteered for her Tribe in many capacities, and because of these experiences, she is a strong advocate for inherent tribal sovereignty.

Beth received her MA in Communications Studies, specializing in Advocacy, from Arizona State University (2019). During her time at ASU, she was selected to present her research on Tribal elders and alternative medicine at the Spring Colloquium for ASU New College. Her speech, “Entanglements of the Native Soul,” was selected for the TEDx ASU West event. 

Beth attained her BA from the University of New Mexico in Communications and Journalism, while at UNM, she interned as Assistant to the Producer for Native American Calling.

Kristen Talbert, MBA, MA
Indigenous Leadership Academy Program Manager

Kristen (Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Oyate) is the Program Manager for the Indigenous Leadership Academy at the American Indian Policy Institute. She has thirteen years of non-profit, for-profit,  case management, data collection, and teaching experience, as well as project and program planning. Her career has focused on the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and connecting American Indian families with resources to provide them with the best outcomes for success.

She has previously served as a St. Paul Urban Representative for the Indian Child Welfare Advisory Council for the Minnesota Department of Human Services. She also previously served as an active member of the Indian Education Advisory Council for the Arizona Department of Education and Vice President of the Tempe Union High School District Indian Education Parent Advisory Committee.

Kristen received an MBA with concentrations in entrepreneurship and leadership from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. She also has a MA in K-12 Education from the University of St. Thomas and a BA in American Indian Studies from the University of Minnesota.