Nikishna Polequaptewa

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News About Nikishna

Young CEO Receives Leadership Award

Nikishna Polequaptewa, 35, has recently been awarded the Young Executive Leadership Award by the Hastings Review, awarded to the nation’s most promising emerging entrepreneurs and business people under the age of 45 years old.

The award was presented at the Dallas Marriott City Center Hotel in Dallas, Texas on Friday, January 12, 2018. The awards dinner and ceremony began at 7:30pm. “I am very grateful to have my work recognized by the Hastings Review. Thank you to the committee for selecting me for this year’s Young Executive Leadership Award, Polequaptewa stated. “I am working on a book detailing my life and the struggles I overcame to get where I am today. I hope that it will serve as a guide for other young people who come from similar circumstances and dream of something more.”

Earl Chetterling, President of the Board of Directors for the Hastings Review and Chair of the award’s Selection Committee stated, “we were honored to review and select Nikishna Polequaptewa’s work in the public and private sector. The obstacles he has had to overcome were tremendous and it is nothing short of a miracle that he has had this type of success so far. We wish him well in expanding his work and know that he is on a great trajectory.

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Hopi Tribe Elects “People’s Chairman”

Kykotsmovi, AZ – On Dec. 1, the Hopi Tribe inaugurated the “People’s Chairman,” Timothy L. Nuvangyaoma, of Mishongnovi Village.

Nuvangyaoma has a degree in management and previously worked in the finance industry. Most importantly, he ran on a platform in which he acknowledges that there are many knowledgeable people in the Hopi community that need to be involved in the solutions for the issues that are brought forward. He has stated that he wants the Hopi community to be part of these solutions. Hopi language and culture are very important to him, leading him to volunteer for KUYI, the Hopi reservation-based radio station, which strives to reaffirm respect for tradition by “preserving language and culture in a contemporary context” with a particular emphasis on Hopi perspectives and interests.

Nuvangyaoma’s Senior Staff will include Bruce Talawyma, Malinda Andrews, and Nikishna Polequaptewa. Bruce Talawyma, a Marine Corps Veteran, retired as Chief Administrative Officer for Indian Health Service at the Hopi Health Care Center after 43 years of service. Talawyma served in Vietnam’s 1st Marine Division, 7th Communications Battalion. He began his career at Hopi Day School in Kykotsmovi, Arizona, attended Phoenix Indian School, and graduated from Central High School. He earned an Associate Degree in Business from the Haskell Institute and secured his first job in the Housing and Urban Development Administration in Los Angeles, California. He also worked for the Department of Labor as a Human Resource Specialist for the BIA.

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Hopi school officials invite Nikishna Polequaptewa to empower youth

POLACCA, Ariz. – Nikishna Polequaptewa, keynote speaker for the Youth Convening session at Hopi Jr./Sr. High School, told students about growing up mostly without parents and living in poverty before finding success through education.

Dozens of students participated in the day long session Aug. 26 dealing with mentoring, service learning and cultural well-being. The Hopi Foundation, school officials and community members came together to identify ways to help students.

Born in Torrence, California, Polequaptewa recounted that his mom left when he was 1-year-old and his father went to prison when he was 3 years old. He was placed in the foster care system where he would stay in 15 foster homes in the next six months. He became used to packing his bag in one hour.

Nikishna Polequaptewa Navajo Hopi Observer Article

In these foster homes, Polequaptewa suffered neglect, abuse and was often told that he was “eating too much” because the foster parents were more interested in the paycheck then in him.

Polequaptewa, a Hopi Corps VISTA volunteer, finally stayed in one home for about two and a half years where he found “a little bit of love and that somebody cared for me.”

Polequaptewa lived with his dad after he was released from prison, even though they were poor. Sometimes they would have bread with ketchup on it for dinner. He would get broken G.I. Joe toys for Christmas. His brother took custody of him after he turned 21, but they lived in an area of Los Angeles where prostitutes and drug dealers were common.

He eventually moved out to Hopi to live with his auntie and went to Prescott for counseling – starting his way to success through education. He graduated from Sherman Indian High School before attending the University of California at Irvine and Central Washington University. Now he is majoring in earth science and environmental sustainability at Northern Arizona University.

“Sometimes the resources don’t exist and you have to create them,” he said. “If you put forth the effort then anything is possible. You can’t be crying around. You need to stand up.”

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  • Respected Native American Educator & Professional

  • Overcoming Challenges and Giving Back to Others

  • A Proven Track Record of Success

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