Program Description

The Native & Indigenous Student Support program exists to:

  • Provide student resources and support including referrals to appropriate campus partners, programs, and offices.
  • Plan and conduct a needs assessment to help inform practices, programs, and policies for establishing student-centered programming from a culturally conscious lens.
  • In collaboration with campus leaders and partners, engage in program development, coordination, and evaluation.
  • Strengthen relationships with Native-Indigenous campus and community members.
  • Develop a Native & Indigenous community advisory board by Spring of 2023, comprised of both internal and external community members.

Indigenous & Native Peoples' Grant

Click the link below to be directed to be directed to the page on MSU Denver’s Financial Aid website that outlines the details and eligibility for the grant, as well as a link for the certification process.

Programming & Events

Celebrate Native American and Indigenous Heritage Month (November 1 – 30)

Metropolitan State University of Denver resides on the ancestral lands of the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Sioux, and Ute people, all of whom still are in an ongoing relationship with this land. One of the ways we fight the erasure of Indigenous peoples is by recognizing the history that brought settlers, whether voluntary or formerly enslaved, to occupy this land. Here, that history is the Colorado Gold Rush of 1858 and 1859, where settlements like Auraria and Denver as well as other land grabs for gold mining that devastated the land and interrupted Ute and Cheyenne ways of living. Over the course of the next 20 years and the next rushes to take silver from the ground, the Cheyenne and Ute were displaced from this area, their homeland. By knowing this history, we can better understand our place within it and seek to be in the right relationship with the people who were here before us, and with the lands we, too, must steward in our work.

In recognition of Native Indigenous Heritage Month in November, the Native Indigenous Student Alliance in partnership with locally based organizations, the Center for Equity and Student Achievement (CESA), the Center for Multicultural Engagement and Inclusion (CMEI), and the University of Colorado Denver Center for Identity and Inclusion (CII), will be hosting a variety of events to educate the campus on issues that are pertinent to the Native Indigenous communities. It is especially important to understand that Native Indigenous communities still exist and with your support, their voices can be centered and heard. Join us, to dispel preconceived notions of indigeneity and to better understand indigenous intersectional identities.


Indigenous Movie Night:  Smoke Signals

Please join us for a screening of “Smoke Signals”, a 1998 coming-of-age comedy-drama film from a screenplay by Sherman Alexie, based on Alexie’s short story collection The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (1993). The film won several awards and accolades, and was well received at numerous film festivals.

Popcorn, trail mix, hot chocolate, tea and more provided.  Everyone is welcome!

Tivoli Student Union, Room 640

Wednesday, November 1:  11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Native Indigenous Heritage Month Kick-Off: Understanding the Indian Child Welfare Act Supreme Court Decision

We would like to invite you to a thought-provoking and engaging panel discussion hosted by the Center for Multicultural Engagement and Inclusion (CMEI), in collaboration with The Center for Equity and Student Achievement (CESA) and The University of Colorado Denver’s Center for Identity and Inclusion. Join us for an enlightening conversation featuring esteemed guests: Colorado Senator Jesse Danielson, accomplished Attorney Lisa Shellenberger, Sheldon Spotted Elk, a respected advocate, and Community Activist Donna ChrisJohn.
This insightful panel will delve into the implications of the recent Supreme Court decision concerning the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Our distinguished panelists will provide diverse perspectives and expertise on this pivotal legal matter, shedding light on its significance for our communities and the broader landscape of justice and equity.

St. Cajetan’s Event Center

Thursday, November 2:  11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.


Lunch & Learn:  Native Origins of LaCrosse

With Clark TallBull and Shoot Around with Club LaCrosse

Come join the Center for Equity and Student Achievement and the Lacrosse Athletics team for an educational conversation about the history of the sport Lacrosse in collaboration with the lacrosse team at MSU Denver and the Native-Indigenous Student Support Initiatives.

PE Event Center Lobby (PE116)

Monday, November 6:  11 a.m. – 1 p.m.


Drag Bingo w/ Special Guest:  Buffalo Barbie

Step into the world of cultural discovery and entertainment as the Center for Multicultural Engagement and Inclusion, in collaboration with the Center for Equity and Student Achievement and the University of Colorado Denver’s Center for Identity and Inclusion, invites you to an exciting game of Bingo with a twist! Join us for a delightful afternoon of Bingo, where you’ll not only have fun but also gain a deeper understanding of Native Indigenous cultures and traditions, all hosted by the captivating Buffalo Barbie.

Tivoli Garage Lounge 257

Wednesday, November 15:  12 – 1 p.m.

Buffalo Barbie aka Travis (Diné)

Buffalo Barbie, aka Travis, is a Two Spirit, Diné man and an advocate for LGBTQ rights within the Native American community. He reigned as 2019’s Miss Montana Two Spirit and used this title as a platform to speak to other Indigenous people on the blessing of being a Two-Spirit person. The term “Two Spirit” derives from traditional philosophies of gender-defined spaces: a male and female universe, a male rain and a female rain, Father Sky and Mother Earth, etc. It is believed that among these spaces some people are born with the gift of walking between both these identities and offering value of both worlds.

Indigenous Movie Night:  Lakota Nation vs. United States

Please join us for a screening of “Lakota Nation vs. United States”.

The Lakota fight to protect their sacred land.

A provocative, visually stunning testament to a land and a people who have survived removal, exploitation and genocide – and whose best days are yet to come.

Popcorn, trail mix, hot chocolate, tea and more provided.  Everyone is welcome!

Tivoli Student Union, Room 640

Wednesday, November 29:  11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Sand Creek Massacre Awareness and Educational Discussion

Please join the Center for Multicultural Engagement and Inclusion, The Center for Equity and Student Achievement, and The University of Colorado – Denver’s Center for Identity and Inclusion for an educational discussion on the Sand Creek Massacre with Sand Creek Massacre descendant Greg Spottedbird-Lamebull.

Jordan Student Success Building, Room 400

Thursday, November 30:  12 – 1 p.m.

Greg Spottedbird-Lamebull is a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma and comes from Suhtai descendance of Montana.  He is a ceremonial Priest and Indigenous Studies teacher at the Sovereign Community School in Oklahoma City.  He is also an educator and spiritual leader and has served as the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes Culture and Heritage Program representative, Tradition Not Addiction program organizer, Sand Creek Massacre Spiritual Healing Run coordinator, and Outreach Specialist for the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma.

Land & Labor Acknowledgment

MSU Denver acknowledges the indigenous people and land of Auraria and the broader Denver area and the labor of enslaved and exploited people that built the country.

We honor and acknowledge that we are on the traditional territories and ancestral homelands of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Nations. We acknowledge the land and history of this space we are fortunate to gather in today. This area was also the site of trade, hunting, gathering, and healing for many other Native Nations: The Lakota, Ute, Kiowa, Comanche, Apache, Shoshone, and others. 48 Tribes have called this land home. We recognize the Indigenous peoples as the original stewards of the land, water, plants, and animals who called this place home.

Let us also acknowledge the painful history of genocide and forced removal from this territory. We recognize that U.S. public policy has been used to displace Indigenous communities, erode Tribal Nation sovereignty, and forcibly assimilate Native individuals into U.S. society. We respect the many diverse Indigenous peoples still connected to this land on which we gather. We pay our respect to them and give thanks to all Tribal Nations and the ancestors of this place.

We also acknowledge the labor of enslaved Africans and their descendants who worked this stolen land for the colonists, and who continue to disproportionately face economic oppression, racism, violence, and exploitation.

Lastly, we want to recognize the communities and families of Auraria displaced by the creation of this campus for MSU Denver to have a place that we now call home. We share this acknowledgment to encourage all of us here on the Auraria campus to consider how our work in this space and in our daily lives can address these historic and contemporary atrocities perpetuated against Native people and other marginalized communities.

Meet Our Coordinator

Deserea Richards

Program Coordinator

Contact Info:

Phone: 303-605-7972


Email: [email protected]


Office Location:

Jordan Student Success Building

2nd Floor – #230P