Sheilah Nicholas


Sheilah Nicholas—In her ancestral and home community of Hopi in the Black Mesa region of the U.S. Southwest (northeastern Arizona), she is Qötsahonmana, White Bear Girl, Sunforehead Clan from Songoopavi, her maternal village. Her birth parents are Muuyi, Ann Joseph, Sunforehead Clan and Ahöla, Ernest Joseph, Bear Strap Clan. She was raised from birth by her maternal aunt, Piqöshaynöm, Laura Nasetoynewa, Eagle Clan and her husband, Milton Nicholas, Coyote Clan; they too, are her parents. This foundation provides her grounding in the Hopi ethics of respect, responsibility, and accountability and guides her aspirations to research ancestral knowledge respectfully, to reclaim Indigenous ways of knowing, and to validate and advance Indigenous knowledge systems as important contributions to scholarship and the academy. In the Western world and academia, she is Sheilah E. Nicholas, professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies at the University of Arizona and faculty instructor for the American Indian Language Development Institute. Her focus areas of instruction are research methodology, multicultural education, Indigenous education, Indigenous language and culture in the classroom, teaching responsibly—teaching with responsibility, and Indigenous oral immersion language teaching. Her research focus is the role of Indigenous languages and knowledge in the academic, familial, community, and cultural identities of Indigenous youth, and ways in which Indigenous educators mediate those processes.