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Sonya Frazier

President, Oklahoma Indigenous Nurses Association

The complex work of addressing health inequities within Indigenous communities begins with a deep understanding of their culture and history — an understanding that Sonya Frazier knows all too well. As the co-founder and president of the Oklahoma Indigenous Nurses Association (OINA), Sonya, who is both Chickasaw and Choctaw, works to elevate Indigenous nurses and make the nursing profession aware of their role as the natural healers of their communities. Leading with the idea that Indigenous nurses must strike a balance between their world and the western world, Sonya’s work to train nurses on how to address disparities with compassion and educate Native American children on their heritage embodies the importance of cultural competency in nursing.


All the data and the research that we see today, it’s all negative for Native populations. We hardly see any of the good. That’s what we’re trying to change. We want our people back to the way they used to be, before colonization. They were healthy, strong people.

Sonya Frazier, RN, BSN


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Sonya Frazier, RN, BSN, along with her colleague Taloa Sharp, founders of the Oklahoma Indigenous Nurses Association (OINA), are working to build bridges beyond their community. A registered nurse for 19 years and an officer in the United Public Health Service Commissioned Corps (USPHS) for 14 years, Sonya is also Chickasaw and Choctaw. Sonya believes that Indigenous nurses have always been — and continue to be — the natural healers of their communities. It is with this conviction and a desire to give Native American nurses a platform to share, heal, and learn from each other that Sonya connected with Jane Nelson, CAE, Chief Executive Officer of the Oklahoma Nurses Association (ONA), to establish an Oklahoma chapter of the Indigenous Nurses Association inside the ONA.

A platform for Native American nurses and nursing students, the OINA seeks to bring awareness of Indigenous culture to healthcare. As the first president of the OINA, Sonya works to represent the Indigenous nurses of Oklahoma, provide them with resources, and advocate for their needs. Sonya understands that the job of the Indigenous nurse is to balance the western world and the Indigenous world — and it’s a job that she takes seriously. Sonya is also the founder of the Regalia Making Relatives organization, which seeks to educate and assist Native American children and their communities to stay connected to their Indigenous heritage.

Sonya believes that addressing the health inequities within Indigenous communities will always begin with understanding and appreciating their rich culture and history. She has created Indigenous cultural educational training for nursing programs to train nurses on addressing the health and social disparities among Indigenous populations. It is Sonya’s passion and expertise in this subject that led to her being selected to join the National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing, an initiative that seeks to foster a nursing profession that exemplifies diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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