The Difference a Culture Can Make

Lee Anne Nichols

Lee Anne Nichols, Associate Professor of Nursing and a member of the Cherokee Nation, conducts research within Native American communities. Her research describes how Cherokee mothers take care of their infants using traditional Cherokee mothering practices. “Cherokee mothers take care of their children differently than mainstream mothers,” Nichols says. “They share similar values with the mainstream culture, but have cultural values that are different and socialize their Indian children to be members of the Cherokee society. This is how the Cherokee culture is passed on to the next generation of Cherokees.”

Nichols has worked with many tribes across the country, and her research has been published in several journals. She hopes her research will document and rebuild knowledge about Indian culture, especially related to areas of parenting, developmental disabilities and family adaptation. “Because Indian families have gone through assimilation experiences that other families may not have, some of the knowledge related to parenting in the Indian way may have been lost and needs to be rediscovered so parents can continue parenting in this way and pass on their culture to their children.”

Nichols’ commitment to the Native American community and to producing responsible, caring, sensitive and professional nurses through the School of Nursing further demonstrates a faculty focused on excellence.