Hopi leader receives awards

In November 2007, the History Department at the University of California, Riverside, hosted a screening of Beyond the Mesas in the banquet room of Zacateca’s Cafe. A few days prior to the showing, I was told that I group of Hopis living in the San Diego area were planning on making the 2 hour trip for the event. One of these individuals was Nikishna Polequaptewa, Director of the American Indian Resource Center at UC Irvine. Yeseterday I heard that he recently received the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) Sequoyah Fellowship, and the National Center for American Indian Development “40 under 40” award for outstanding qualities as a Native American leader. Last week, a write-up about him appeared in the Navajo-Hopi Observer. Nikishna is doing great work at UC Irvine, but at some point he will return to Hopi. His lifelong dream is to serve as Chairman of the Hopi Tribe. Nikishna must be commended for his desire to give back to the Hopi community. He has a bright future ahead of him. To read the article in the Navajo-Hopi Observer, click here.

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert

An organization to help Hopi students pursue an education

One of the organizations that the film producers acknowledged and thanked in Beyond the Mesas was the Hopi Education Endowment Fund (HEEF). In addition to providing funds to support educational research, HEEF has generated millions of dollars to help Hopi students receive an education on and off the reservation. I was one of these students, and I remain very thankful and indebted to HEEF and the Hopi Tribe Grants and Scholarship Program (HTGSP) for helping me to attend college and graduate school. I would not be where I am at today without the support of HEEF and the HTGSP. Below is a brief film about the organization’s purpose and goals. A reoccurring theme in the film is that many Hopis consider education to be a tool that will ensure the survival of our people. This understanding is key to HEEF’s existence. Please consider donating to this worthy organization. To learn more about HEEF, click here.

Sheilah E. Nicholas publishes article on Hopi language and youth

Sheilah E. Nicholas (Hopi) from the village of Songoopavi, and assistant professor in the College of Education at the University of Arizona, recently published an article titled, “‘I Live Hopi, I Just Don’t Speak It’ – The Critical Intersection of Language, Culture, and Identity in the Lives of Contemporary Hopi Youth”, Journal of Language, Identity & Education, Vol. 8, Issue 5, November 2009, pp. 321-334. This article is a major contribution to the fields of education and Hopi studies. It is a wonderful essay to read alongside Beyond the Mesas. To view the abstract, click here.