Amy Hendrix Dickens - Cherokee Culture Warrior

Amy Hendrix Dickens - Cherokee Culture Warrior


amy hendrix dicken

Our Culture Warrior Series continues. As the saying goes, not all heroes wear capes. Amy is a prime example of this. You wouldn’t expect a researcher to be a warrior yet she is.  Read along and learn more about how Amy works to keep all indigenous culture on the top of our minds. 

When you encounter someone as passionate about their heritage as Amy Hendrix-Dicken, it's hard not to be inspired. For the Cherokee Nation member and dedicated researcher, blending the wisdom of her ancestors with contemporary scholarly pursuits is more than a job.

Amy's name might be familiar to those in the academic world, especially those connected to the OU-School of  Medicine. There, she doesn't just work as the Research Assistant Supervisor in the Department of Pediatrics; she uses her position to shed light on the many challenges facing Indigenous communities. She delves deep into issues such as child maltreatment, adverse childhood experiences, and how policy impacts Indigenous children.

It is through her meticulous research and unwavering determination that she's been able to uncover the fact that Indigenous children experience discrimination at a rate far surpassing other minority groups in the US. This is not merely a statistic for Amy. It’s a calling, prompting her to further her studies as a doctoral student in OU-Tulsa’s Organizational and Community Leadership program. 

Yet, her professional titles only give a glimpse of her holistic dedication. Amy’s work goes beyond academic papers and presentations, vital as they are. To truly understand her passion, you need to delve into how she incorporates traditional Cherokee beliefs and knowledge into her daily life.

Amy's life  is interwoven with moments of profound connection: from the simple joy of being in nature to wearing symbolic pieces like her ribbon skirt or a copper gorget. These aren't just acts; they're a vital connection to culture. Recounting past experiences, Amy fondly remembers the impact of programs like Johnson O'Malley, which introduced her to activities like foraging and visits to the Cherokee capital, Tahlequah. These formative experiences kindled a desire to not only preserve her culture but also to reintroduce it to younger generations. For Amy, connecting with her roots is crucial for wellbeing. It’s a bond that sustains, nurtures, and inspires.

Her dedication is palpable when she says, “Our culture is the core of who we are. It is vital that we continue to preserve it for the sake of our future generations.” These aren't mere words. They are a declaration of intent, a mission statement from someone who has seen firsthand the challenges and rewards of being connected to culture.

In the end, Amy Hendrix-Dickens journey is more than just that of an academic or a researcher. She is a Culture Warrior. She represents Cherokee people and all indigenous in her work as a researcher. Amy is sowing the seeds for a future where Cherokee traditions and knowledge continue to flourish. For those of us privileged enough to witness or partake in her journey, it's a poignant reminder of the power of heritage and the role we all play in its preservation.


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