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American Indian Commission

The Mission of the Denver American Indian Commission is to enhance present and future communications between the Denver American Indian Community and the City and County of Denver, to advocate for social and cultural awareness and to promote economic and political equality.


Commission Meetings

Monthly meetings take place during the second, Wednesday of each month.

Meeting Time: 
5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Denver Museum of Nature & Science (in the Harry T. Lewis Room)

2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver 80205

Right after each meeting the DAIC is proud to present the monthly 2015 Indigenous Film Series @ DMNS Phipps IMAX Theater: films start at 6:30pm, with the doors opening at 6:00pm and end time between 7:45 – 8:30pm.  The format will be a film screening followed by discussion with the audience.  Free and open to the public.

Download the 2015 schedule


2015 Meeting Calendar:

 January 14, 2015  MINUTES 
 February 11, 2015   
 March 11, 2015  
 April 8, 2015  
 May 13, 2015  
 June 10, 2015  
 July 8, 2015  
 August 12, 2015  
 September 9, 2015  
 October 14, 2015  
 November 11, 2015  
 December 9, 2015


Commission Members

(Taos Pueblo) 

Benito Concha is a traditional drummer and dancer, including the Taos Pueblo Hoop and Eagle Dances.  He is a certified Massage Therapist and has served in various leadership positions within his Tribal Government.  Additionally, Benito is an accomplished music performer who has toured nationally/internationally promoting two of his most popular albums, Songs of the Hummingbird and Secret Souls (1998).  From 1990 to 1996, Benito was a partner member of the very popular Indigenous Rock band, Red Thunder; a few of their songs were played in heavy rotation on both VH1 and MTV.  In 1994, along with Red Thunder front man, Robby Romero, Benito starred in a national Public Service Announcement, entitled, “Free Your Mind” to address Indigenous Human Rights,  Additionally, Benito has performed with Robbie Robertson.

Daryle Conquering Bear Crow serves as the Healthy Living Program Assistant for Denver Indian Family Resource Center, which provides services to Denver’s American Indian/Alaskan Native community. He manages programs in the Healthy Living Services, ranging from Community Indigenous Gardening, Mile High UNITY, Youth Sports, and Youth leadership.

In his current position, Daryle is able to draw from an expansive professional background working with various American Indian and non-native nonprofit institutions including the National Indian Child Welfare Association, FosterClub, National Resource Center for Tribes, Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, and work international, as a board member on the North Council on Adoptable Children organization.  Regardless of his role, Will is passionate in connecting information and people, focusing on youth development and Indian Child welfare.

A South Dakota native, Daryle will be receiving his bachelor’s degree from Oregon State University in Human Development and Sports and Political Science. 



Derek Brown loves to make videos and is a founding member of Café Cultura, a poetry-slam organization. His many honors and awards include the President Scholarship of the Art Institute of Colorado (Winter 2010), scholarship winner from the Rocky Mountain Indian Chamber of Commerce, awarded student of the quarter at The Art Institute of Colorado (Spring 2009), nominated for the 2009 Regional Heartland Emmy® Award for the Sand Creek Massacre Spiritual Healing Run/Walk.  Derek served as the Production Associate on the 2013 Emmy® Award (Heartland Chapter) Winner – Best Cultural Documentary for Urban Rez

(Navajo Nation and Spirit Lake Dakota Sioux)

Elicia resides in Firestone, CO and works as a Case Manager for Foothills United Way in Longmont, CO. She has been a member of the Denver American Indian Commission since July 2012 and is a co-Chair of the Commission.

Ms. Goodsoldier has continuously worked to raise awareness for the lack of behavioral health resources in reservation communities and the need for public policy changes at the national level in mental health awareness. She is a member of the Cultural Competency Advisory Council for the Division of Behavioral Health, Colorado Department of Human Services. 

When Elicia saw that there was a need for more culturally aware and responsive outreach to multicultural communities in the Denver metro area, she helped found the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Colorado Chapter. 

She works to educate mainstream behavioral health care providers about native issues and mental health care issues, and frequently speaks on the importance of understanding historical and intergenerational trauma and mental health impacts, among American Indian and Alaska Native communities and the local Denver area community. She also sits on the Health and Education committee of the Commission, which looks at the educational, mental and physical health gaps and needs of the urban Indian community in and around Denver.

(Sicangu Lakota)

Gemma Lockhart is a journalist and filmmaker who has been invited to work extensively among America Indian tribes in the United States.   She owns an entertainment company with program development including stories for children, television series and major motion film.

Gemma holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College and has studied International Political Economy of Resources at the Colorado School of Mines.  Her public service has encompassed school board work and the non-profit sector focusing on women’s leadership, children and celebration of cultural diversity.

Born in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Gemma makes Colorado her home.  She feels the most important part of leadership is listening.


(Lakota and Ahtna Dine)

Kimmila currently teaches Lakota within the Denver school system. Kimimila has her MA in Teaching and has been in education for the past fourteen years as a middle and high school English teacher. In addition to teaching in several states including New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Georgia, and Colorado, she also taught two years overseas in the United Arab Emirates.

(Lakota, Ojibwe, and Akimel O'odham)

Maymangwa is a lawyer with expertise in small business development and government contracting. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Minnesota and her Doctor of Law from Cornell University.


Michelle volunteers with Indigenous youth in the Denver-Metro area, as the Director for the Medicine Heart Dancers. 

Through her non-profit work, Michelle has  helped to create opportunities for youth members to actively participate in cultural activities, including performances at schools and events statewide. 

At the Denver Indian Center, Michelle works with youth teaching Pow-Wow style dancing and encouraging healthy lifestyles. 

As a student of Anthropology and Journalism at Metropolitan State University, Michelle supports her community through her own education. She recently presented at the High Plains Society Annual Conference on Historical Trauma and Cultural Preservation through Traditional Education. 

Michelle also works in Public Relations for a local minority-female owned firm.

(Sauk and Fox Nation)

Niabi grew up in the Denver-metro area and is an active supporter of events and fundraisers benefiting the Colorado Indian Education Foundation where their main objective is to provide scholarships for Native students attending an institution of higher education in the state of Colorado.

Niabi’s interest included youth advocacy, mental health, education, and community mobilization.  She is most dedicated to American Indian leadership, multicultural competency, role modeling and being an encouraging parent to Anthony, Alexandrea, Cante and Amara.  Niabi believes being a responsive, proactive and engaging parent will help all our children to grow up to be thoughtful, independent and confident.

Niabi has been on the Denver American Indian Commission since 2011, she received her Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Ethnic Studies from the University of Colorado Denver and she is also a Certified Emergency Medical Technician. 


(Canadian Cree) Peacemaker – Enterprise Development Consultant

(Sicangu Lakota)

Stella is the Office Manager/Training Coordinator at Joining Vision and Action (formerly JVA Consulting). Prior to joining the JVA team, Stella worked with the Native Workforce Program through the Denver Indian Center. For 20 years, Stella has worked within her tribal government, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, providing direct services to tribal members. She has worked with the Tribe’s land office for 10 years, providing assistance to tribal members with land issues such as land exchanges, land assignments, home sites, business sites and land disputes/conflicts. Stella was instrumental in the establishment and development of the Tribe’s land office back in 2000. She assisted the Tribe and the Tribe’s Land Use & Environment Commission in the establishment of the Environmental Protection Office.

Stella has also worked with nonprofit organizations and was co-director of the board of the White Buffalo Calf Woman’s Society, a nonprofit organization that serves victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. She has served her tribal community through two, one-year terms as a community vice-chair, and one term as a tribal liquor commissioner. Stella has also volunteered her time and energy by helping coordinate events benefiting tribal youth and elders on the reservation. Stella is currently serving her second term on the Denver American Indian Commission. Stella serves as JVA’s liaison with the Denver American Indian community and is active with Native Americans in Philanthropy.

Stella’s greatest passion is being a grandmother. It is her desire to teach her two little granddaughters to love life, to love the earth and to live in harmony with all life.


American Indian Commission News

Contact the Commission

If you would like more information regarding the Denver American Indian Commission please contact Darius Smith at the number or email address.

Darius Lee Smith, 
(720) 913-8458

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