The WAA: Cooweeja (cho-way-ja) Native and Indigenous Affinity Group strives to support the improvement of university policies as they relate to our students, create spaces for Native alumni to connect both professionally and socially, and provide opportunities for alumni to contribute to student success. We serve to advance the mission of the Wisconsin Alumni Association and the university by advocating for Native and Indigenous participation, access, and utilization of resources. Our group name — “Cooweeja” — means “Forward” in the Ho-Chunk language.
Meet The Board
NicoleI Soulier '09, MS '15
Nicole Soulier is an enrolled member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and grew up in Odanah, WI. She attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison to earn her undergraduate degree in Human Development & Family Studies and American Indian Studies. During this time Nicole was an active member of Wunk Sheek, Associated Students of Madison, and the Multicultural Student Coalition. She later returned to the university to earn a graduate degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis (ELPA) with an emphasis on higher education and leadership in two-year schools. She is currently enrolled in the ELPA doctoral program. Nicole has worked in higher education for over 13 years in both student services and curriculum management. She currently serves as a community engagement coordinator with Madison College where she combines community relationship building and project management to improve and increase the college’s engagement with historically underserved communities.
David O'Connor '05, MS '13
David J. O'Connor is originally from and is a member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Ojibwe) in northern Wisconsin. In January 2012, he became the American Indian Studies Consultant at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI). In David's role at DPI, he supports school districts' efforts to provide instruction on the history, culture and tribal sovereignty of Wisconsin's American Indian nations and tribal communities, often referenced as Wisconsin Act 31 and the education of Native American students. David provides training opportunities and presents at conferences and workshops throughout the state of Wisconsin on American Indian education and studies. He also provides general consultation on issues related to the education of American Indian students. David serves as liaison to American Indian nations and tribal communities of Wisconsin; tribal education departments, Wisconsin Indian Education Association (WIEA), Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council (GLITC) and the Special Committee on State-Tribal Relations. David received both his Masters of Science (M.S.) degree in Educational Leadership Policy and Analysis (ELPA) and Bachelors of Arts (B.A.) degree in History with certificates in American Indian Studies and Chican@ and Latin@ Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also a graduate of the School District of Ashland where he did his K-12 education and a graduate of the Bad River Tribal Head Start where he started his education and his early learning.
Faun Moses BA '04
Faun is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. She attended the University of Wisconsin- Madison from 2000-2004, where she was actively involved with Wunk Sheek, the Native American student organization.
Faun then began her career with the Wisconsin State Public Defender (WSPD) as an Investigator in 2005. A few years later, she attended UW-Madison Law School, where she worked with the Innocence Project, ACLU's Capital Punishment Project, and interned in the WSPD's Madison Trial Office Adult and Juvenile Division, as part of the Defender Project. In law school, Faun was actively involved with ILSA, the Indigenous Law Students Association.
After law school, in 2010, Faun continued her career with the Wisconsin State Public Defender's Office, when she began working in the Madison Appellate office. In 2015, she started working in the Janesville Trial office as a Local Attorney Manager and subsequently became the Regional Attorney Manager of the Janesville Region.
Crystal Lepscier BFA '05, MS '11
Crystal Lepscier (Waqsepāēhketukiw) is an enrolled member of the Little Shell Band of Chippewa of Montana. Her mother is enrolled Stockbridge-Munsee and father (kaeh nap) is enrolled Menominee, making her a descendant of both Wisconsin tribal communities. Her primary role at UWGB is to serve as the First Nations Student Success Coordinator, which means she strives to serve and support First Nations students on campus. She does this work by meeting with students to address their needs, creating programming that will support First Nations students interests and success, partnering throughout the University with various departments to build infrastructure designed with the needs of First Nations students in mind, and establishing and maintaining relationships with local tribal communities. Crystal earned both her Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis (2011) and her Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Studio Art (2005) from UW-Madison. She is currently a doctoral candidate in UWGB First Nations Education Doctorate program, and is focusing her research on First Nations students in Higher Education with an emphasis on well-being and healing.
Katrina Brook Flores BA '07
Katrina Brook Flores aka El La Katrina is a Xicanx IndigiQueer multi-practice artist with an artistic focus on storytelling through filmmaking, installation, music, movement and wearable design. Flores graduated with a BA from UW-Madison in 2007. At UW-Madison, Flores was founding Arts-In-Education Director for OMAI & FirstWave and Co-Director of Breakin’ The Law: International Festival of Urban Movement and was an active student member of The MultiCultural Student Coalition, Wunk Sheet, MEChA, ASM and SSFC among other campus involvements. After moving to Chicago, Flores served as Community Programs Director at RedMoon Theater and B-Series co-curator at The Dance Center at Columbia College in Chicago. Before becoming a full-time artist in 2019, El La Katrina worked as the COO of The Firehouse Community Arts Center in the North Lawndale neighborhood to assist in building the capacities of the organization in their inaugural year of funding with the Chicago CRED Program to achieve a transformative reduction in Chicago gun violence with justice involved youth. Following El La Katrina’s 2020 & 2021 Dark Matter Residency with Elastic Arts Foundation in Chicago, they now serve on the curatorial board for the Dark Matter Residency as well as The AfroFuturist Weekend Festival in Chicago. Flores is an award winning filmmaker and director with their 2022 debut short films Seed Pollinate Bloom and Assaman both of which were produced through their production company, GIT Productions LLC.