Paula M. Nelson is an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. She was raised and now lives in the Kolanvyi (Big Cove) Community within the Qualla Boundary near Cherokee, North Carolina. Paula uses her talents as an award winning multimedia visual/textile artist, performance artist, poet, and singer/songwriter to preserve the rich cultural heritage of her People, the Ani Kituwah (Those Under the Special Care of Creator). She has composed original songs in the Cherokee language to serve as language retention tools for schools and families, and has been involved in “Project Songbird”, a song-writing/composing collaboration in the Cherokee language. Her albums include CHANT: Cherokee Hopes and New Traditions (2007) and her work is included in the anthology Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas (2011) and in Indigenous Message: On Water, Indigenous Form on Water & Peace (2014). Paula was chosen by the Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to illustrate children’s books to promote literacy.
Through her travels to many countries, Paula has developed a keen interest as a bridge builder between diverse cultures. With humor and embodied wisdom she points to the shared humanity of all Peoples, and reminds her audience about the Indigenous perspective of the sacred, interconnected Nature of all Life.
Paula has worked for numerous cultural educational facilities such as: The Cherokee Historical Association, The Cherokee Preservation Foundation, The Sequoyah Birthplace Museum, Berea College Heritage Center, Colonial Williamsburg, The Kituwah Language Academy, The Funk Heritage Center and Bennett Museum and the Museum of the Cherokee Indians. Nelson is an endorsed educational performer through PBS, and her educational interactive program can now be accessed by educators throughout the world.