Throughout history, Native Americans have served as great leaders, healers, political activists, and advocates for their people. We invite the FNU Community to join us in celebration of National Native American Heritage Month.
Our campus is located in Kentucky, an area that many different tribes once called home, including the Cherokee, the Chickasaw, and the Shawnee. The archeology in Kentucky, such as rock art, cave paintings, arrowheads, and ancient pottery shards, are evidence that Indigenous Americans lived throughout the state prior to European contact (Source: visitlex.com).
As part of our Versailles, Ky., campus ribbon cutting ceremony in 2022, FNU held a land acknowledgment ceremony. Land acknowledgments recognize Indigenous Peoples who are the original stewards of the lands we now occupy. Versailles is the traditional territory of the Shawnee and Cherokee people.
In honor of Native American Heritage Month, we invite you to learn more about two Cherokee women and their impact on our country, as well as Brandon Locklear, RN, BSN, a Native American Lumbee and FNU student from Robeson County, North Carolina.
Wilma Mankiller (1945-2010) was the first female Chief of the Cherokee Nation, an Activist, a Writer, and a Professor at Dartmouth College. She also served as an advisor to the U.S. Government on tribal affairs. In 1993, Wilma Mankiller was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998 by President Bill Clinton. During her tenure as chief, she accomplished the following:
- Dramatic decline in infant mortality
- Tribal employment doubled
- Increased the number of tribal health clinics
- Development of several programs for Cherokee youth
Mary Golda Ross (1908-2008) was a Cherokee woman who earned her master’s degree in astronomy and mathematics from the University of Northern Colorado. She later joined Lockheed Martin aircraft corporation in 1942. She helped to design the Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter jet that came very close to breaking the sound barrier. She later joined Lockheed Martin Missile Systems Division (Skunk Works), a top-secret division that paved the way for space travel. She also helped to write NASA’s Planetary Flight Handbook.
FNU Alumni Brandon Locklear, FNP, works in acute hospital environments, assisting underserved communities that are facing nursing shortages. He graduated with a Master of Science in Nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) in May 2023.
He treats adult and elderly patients, and many suffer from chronic diseases such as heart disorders, diabetes, and lung diseases. Locklear strives to give back to his community by being a light in a dark place for his patients. He educates his patients about their chronic conditions and provides them with the skills they need for a better quality of life.
Locklear, a Native American Lumbee from Robeson County, North Carolina, provides culturally competent care to help the underprivileged people in his hometown. He says the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina is culturally rich and undeniably unique. He notes this region of North Carolina has experienced a significant amount overdoses, suicides, mental illnesses, heart disease and diabetes. Locklear, as a native, hopes to help his people overcome these challenges.
We encourage you to learn more about Native American Heritage Month by visit these sites:
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is a priority at Frontier Nursing University. Patients are more receptive to care from a health provider who understands their culture and socioeconomic background. We want to build a culture that is inclusive and caring for all.