Amber J. Poleviyuma - Arizona State University

Amber sharing health information with students.

Amber sharing health information with students.

Amber HomÖynom (bamboo arrow laid out to dry) from the village of lower Munqapi  represents the Iswungwa (Coyote Clan) and is currently pursuing a BS in Community Health/Nursing at Arizona State University. She grew up around her kwa’a (grandfather) who was the most traditional person she knew yet encouraged education because he saw it as a means to protect Hopi culture. Amber shared, “I saw my mother work hard for her education so that my siblings and I could be cared for and still be involved in Hopi life.”

What have you learned from your educational journey?
“I would like to say that there is no right way to get your education. Every person is different, so play to your strengths and do what is right for you. You know you the best and that is how you will succeed. For me, I started out at Coconino Community College and then transferred to Arizona State University. This was the best choice for me because I wasn’t overloaded with course work or financial hardship. After receiving my AA degree, I transferred, realizing that I wanted to challenge myself more and be more independent. By participating in new opportunities, I have been able to be a better student and gain experience as a leader and future healthcare provider. Keep your head up! Nahongvita! (exert oneself, make your utmost effort)”
What tools have helped you most?
“One of the most helpful tools has been prayer. Prayer can be done anywhere and has gotten me through the most stressful times in my life.”

Amber participating in her hopi culture. hopi social dance.

Amber participating in her hopi culture. hopi social dance.

How is being a part of Hopi special for you?
“My culture and traditions mean everything to me. This is because I have seen many people search their whole lives for a purpose and meaning, but for me being Hopi provides a foundation and guidance. The values of sumi’nangwa (coming together to do activities that benefit all) and kyaptsi (respect) have provided my family and I guidance through tough times. The best and happiest times of my life were also because of Hopi culture and traditions: practicing for social dances, dancing, seeing the katsinas (spirit being), preparing for weddings and baby namings. I am very thankful to our ancestor for all of their sacrifices to keep our culture and traditions intact, because not many people have these anymore.”