Chelsey grew up in North Dakota (Turtle Mountain Chippewa / Standing Rock Sioux) and is now based in Phoenix, Arizona, where she lives with her partner, Thosh, and their daughter, Alo Akawe. She earned her undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College, where she designed a concentration of study based on comparative histories of Indigenous peoples. She then earned her M.S. in journalism at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism where she concentrated on broadcast and digital media. Chelsey is the co-founder and content editor of Well For Culture: a grassroots initiative which takes proactive approaches toward addressing health concerns for Native American people while sharing and promoting holistic Indigenous wellness knowledge for all.