Dr. Nicky Kay Michael is Bacone College’s executive director of Indigenous Studies and Curriculum.
Michael (Lenape, aka Delaware Tribe of Indians) holds a bachelor's degree from Stanford University, master's degree from Oklahoma State University, and a doctorate from the University of Oklahoma. She is the only Lenapexkwe to use her language for both her master's and doctorate language requirements.
Michael chairs Lenapeowsi Foundation, a 501(c)3, which teaches Lenape language and culture to local tribal and non-Indian children. She is also on her second term of the Delaware Tribal Council and third term as an elected leader of the Delaware Tribe.
“We are confident Dr. Michael will use her expansive education and experience to help Bacone as we transition to a public, tribal college,” said President Dr. Ferlin Clark. “Welcome to Bacone College, the original Indian University, Dr. Michael.”
Michael is a mother to three boys, who are also Kiowa and Florida Seminole. She has taught Indigenous and American Indian Studies for over 10 years in Oklahoma, Wyoming and Minnesota. A number of her Ojibwe and Dakota students honor Dr. Michael by regarding her as an auntie or older sister for the way she cares for them. “We have to support students with a wraparound approach to well-being for them to succeed in education,” she said. “I emphasize Indigenous world views, pedagogies, and decolonization in my courses.”
Michael has published articles on Indian Child Welfare and the Delaware relationship with the Cherokee Nation and teaches everything from tribal governance to Indigenous environmental sustainability.
Michael and her family participate in ceremonies and stomp dancing. She and her boys also enjoy powwow dancing and singing.
“I am excited to return home to Oklahoma where I can assist, perpetuate, and revitalize Indigenous language and cultures by supporting Indigenous students in education,” she said.
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