Hopi Candidate Nikishna Polequaptewa for NIEA Board
The following post was originally published on the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) website: http://niea.org/Convention/Board-Elections.aspx. NIEA board member elections will take place at the this year’s NIEA Convention & Tradeshow in Albuquerque, NM, October 26-30.
NIEA members can also vote by absentee ballot. Click here (scroll to the bottom of the page) for more information.
I have known Nikishna Polequaptewa for the past 4 years, and I have written about his accomplishments in a previous post. I have a lot of respect and appreciation for him and the work that he is doing with and for Native people. NIEA and its members would be very fortunate to have Polequaptewa on the Board of Directors.
By Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert
Board Nominee Nikishna Polequaptewa Hopi
“I envision a meaningful shift toward a higher percentage of college educated tribal administrators, dignitaries, business owners, operators, managers, and executives that will have the ability to make informed decisions that will promote Indian self-sufficiency and strengthen tribal sovereignty.”
NIKISHNA POLEQUAPTEWA is a devoted Hopi tribal member and Native education advocate. Through his innovative outreach and retention programs, he has set a standard of excellence for programs involving access, outreach, and retention to higher education for Native students across the country.
Nikishna’s commitment to education and academic achievement was evident long before he attended college. He was a participant in the California Baptist University’s University Bridge Program (1998- 1999), and then in the University of California‘s, Riverside’s High School-University Program the following year (1999- 2000). In 2000, he graduated as class president from Sherman Indian High School and continued his educational pursuits at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). While there, he continued to actively contribute to outreach and retention programs for American Indian students holding roles such as the American Indian Student Association President and Director of American Indian Summer Institute in Computer Science, a UCI American Indian academic resource program. He also reinstated and coordinated the UCI Pow Wow. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Analysis and Design with a minor in Information and Computer Science in 2005 from the University of California, Irvine.
Nikishna obtained his Master’s Degree from Central Washington University (CWU) with a Master’s of Science in the Resource Management Program in 2007. While at CWU, he served as a research assistant (2005- 2007) and as a Program Manager for the La Jolla Band of Luiseno Indians (2007). That same year, he became founding Director of the American Indian Resource Program at the University of California, Irvine (2007).
Nikishna has earned several honors including: Special Congressional Recognition (through U.S. House of Representative Ken Calvert and U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer), the Presidential Recognition Award (through former President Bill Clinton), the Native American 40 Under 40 Award (2009); and has been successful in securing multiple grants for the American Indian Resource Program and other projects.
Nikishna holds numerous community and leadership positions in organizations such as the UCI Campuswide Climate Council, the American Indian Children’s Council, AISES Chapter (President), the University of California, American Indian Counselors and Recruiters Association (Chair), Nakwatsvewat Institute (Board Chairman), Chancellor’s Advisor Committee (Diversity Chair), and the American Indian Scholarship Fund (Vice Chair). He also holds national memberships in the American Indian Science & Engineering Society (Lifetime Sequoyah Fellow), Society for Advancement for Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, and the National Indian Education Association and holds state memberships in the California Alliance for Minority participation, Inter-tribal Colligate Alliance, the American Indian Chamber of Commerce, and the California Indian Education Association.