Darius Lee Smith (Navajo/Black) is the Director of the Denver Anti-Discrimination Office where he investigates, conducts administrative hearings and mediates civil rights discrimination complaints in accordance with Revised Municipal Code of the City and County of Denver [Chapter 28, Article IV, § 28-91, et seq.]. Darius’ high resolution and satisfaction rate is a result of his ability to apply Indigenous “peacemaking” principles based in respect for all parties, inclusion of culturally responsive perspectives, and the belief that all parties have the potential to reach common ground in a non-adversarial manner.
Darius has constructed his personal identity as a result of his family background, culture, life experiences, professional responsibilities, and age. Darius begins his mediation process by telling his story of self-determination through his Navajo and African-American experience and how he facilitates resolution of civil rights discrimination complaints by utilizing the Indigenous form of "Peacemaking". Darius draws from deep cultural connections - making sense of cultural intersections and how that plays out in social, economic, professional and systems areas. He'll share his common sense interview techniques of how he uses motivational interviewing when working with the community and how ethical communication is the key to true dialogue. Darius makes these methods relevant to enable public civic servants to “dialog across differences in order to take it to the workplace and the community.”
Darius also serves as the American Indian Liaison to the Denver American Indian Commission that promotes communications between the Denver American Indian Community and the City and County of Denver advocating for social and cultural awareness to promote economic and political equality. Darius has served the American Indian community since 1992 as the Director of Indian Education for Denver Public Schools (DPS), National Director of the Native Peoples’ Initiative for Habitat for Humanity International, Board Member of the several local nonprofits, including the Denver Indian Center, Colorado Indian Education Foundation and the Stronghold Society.
Darius conducts many community outreach efforts including as a founding committee member of the annual Pathways to Respecting American Indian Civil Rights Annual Conference attended by local and national civil rights experts, activists and students. Recognized for his service to the community, Darius has received various honors and awards including being selected for the American for Indian Opportunity-AIO Ambassadors Program, awarded a Denver Mayoral Proclamation declaring July 1, 1999 as “Darius Lee Smith Day,” and selected as a 2002 Colorado Trust & American Marshall Memorial Fellow.
An adjunct faculty member of the University of Colorado Denver in the Ethnic Studies Department on the topic of American Indian Contemporary Studies, Darius is a respected and in-demand speaker. He has published the following educational materials and papers:
The Dine’- The Navajo Nation, a graduate level course for Regis University.
Sports Warrior™ - A Physical Education Challenge Program, for the Native American Sports Council, (was taught in five New Mexico tribal/pueblo communities).
American Indian Mascot: Hype, Insult, or Ignorance, a high school level unit-of-study for the Denver Public Schools-Alma Project.
NAIG: Increasing American Indian Participation, a post-conference essay submission for the 2002 North American Indigenous Games Research Symposium “Proceedings".
Additionally, Darius speaks nationally on the topic of American Indian as Mascots and the negative effects it has on the self-esteem and self-determination of Native people.
A life-long runner, Darius is also a Denver Native and a graduate of Montbello High School. He received his Bachelor’s Degree from Azusa Pacific University and his Master’s in Nonprofit Management from Regis University.
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