Meet 3 VL Alums Supporting the Native American Community

October 29, 2021
Alumni Stories and Updates

November marks the start of Native American Heritage Month. Get to know three VL alums: Traci Morris, Hans Klose and Michelle “Mo” Osife.

Dr. Traci Morris (VL Institute Class 40) is the executive director of the American Indian Policy Institute at Arizona State University. She is also 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. Throughout her career she has worked with Native American nations; Tribal businesses; Native American nonprofits; written a college-accredited curriculum; and has advocated for digital inclusion federally. She is president of the Board of the Phoenix Indian Center, serves on the AISES Board of Directors, and is a member of the Advisory Council of the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums.  

Hans Klose (VL Institute Class 22 and former member of VL’s board of directors) owns Sovereign Beneficial LLC, which provides consulting on matters of commercial development on Native American federal trust properties, and owns and operates retail businesses like Sovereign Coffee Company, whose profits support causes related to Native American education, land and culture. Hans is an enrolled member of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and grew up on the Salt River, Gila River and Tohono O’odham Indian communities. He is the former director of Salt River’s community development department and a former 12-year president of the Salt River Education Board. He likewise has served on the Indian Land Tenure Foundation and is currently vice president of the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools.

Michelle “Mo” Osife (VL Institute Class 41) is philanthropy manager for Cancer Support Community Arizona. She is Diné (Navajo Nation) on her mother’s side and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Community on her father’s side. As CSCAZ’s Philanthropy Manager, Mo supports the creation, implementation and management of strategic fundraising, marketing and communications. Mo participated in the American Express Leadership Academy at the ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation (Class 11). Most recently, Mo was appointed to the Advisory Board for Bring Change to Mind (BC2M), whose mission is to end the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness.