KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz. — The Hopi Leadership Program just launched their sixth cohort of 18 members during an opening banquet Sept. 10 in Polacca, Arizona.
New members represent villages, clans, organizations and local businesses throughout the various Hopi and Tewa communities on the Hopi Reservation.
The new cohort includes: Ruby Torivio, Sampson Taylor, Tracy Honani, Terri Honani, Lori Nuvayestewa, Michael Adams, Glatrina Kagenveama, Justin Hongeva, Camelia Dewakuku, Jeremy King, Lexie James, Mandy Poneoma, Marissa Adams, Aeon Albert, CiAnna Sakeva, Brian Humetewa, Eugene Cody and Humewysi Sockyma.
In 2006, the Hopi Foundation developed the Hopi Leadership Program in an effort to grow and encourage a new generation of Hopi and Tewa leaders and professionals. Since its inception, there have been five cohorts that graduated from the program and 58 alumni.
Samantha Honani, program manager, explained the new members of the cohort were carefully selected by an independent selection committee of alumni and community members.
“Each applicant scored above average—demonstrating the leadership qualities that the program aims to host through [it’s] 15-month leadership journey that will end in October 2020,” she said.
The leadership program is in the business of changing and helping to shape lives. Their scope is aimed at providing a cultural and modern approach to growing both adult and youth leaders while creating opportunities for them to be successful.
Honani explained the 15-month program is carefully structured to include a curriculum designed using a combination of Hopi culture and western education. The program is further enhanced by the inclusion of local individuals that share their cultural knowledge and experience in management and leadership skills.
“[Our] program’s curriculum is unique in comparison to other fellowship programs,” she said. “This curriculum successfully bridges the cultural and non-native worldview in a way that is firmly grounded in community.”
Bryan Humetewa, a new cohort member, said he is excited for the road ahead.
“It has already been an amazing experience so far,” he said. “I never knew there was such a program here on Hopi. Everyone who is a part of the group is meant to be there and it is all working out the way it’s supposed to.”
Another cohort member Eugene Cody feels optimistic.
“[I am] looking forward to the outcomes of being in this cohort,” Cody said. “The [program] is making me feel optimistic about myself and my future as a Hopi.”
Honani said the program recently experienced new funding and staff transitions.
“After being on hiatus since 2016, there are newly appointed staff bringing fresh experience and energy to revitalize the nationally-recognized leadership program,” she explained.
Honani, an alumna of the leadership program, is now one of the new staff members and she brings experience in program development. She was the former program manager for the Natwani Coalition Program and a former educator at First Mesa Elementary School.
Honani said she is humbled by the opportunity and will help build a new layer to the program with her experience and training.
“I’m fortunate to be a part of leading change in the form of community development under the Hopi Leadership Program,” she said. “We are looking forward to what comes ahead with the newly formed cohort. It’s like building family and community one layer at a time and watching how individuals grow and blossom into their own leadership is an amazing and humbling process.”
Another new staff member is Xavier Sakeva from the village of Kykotsmovi. He has a background in health and wellness, the service industry, as a facilitator of the Native American Fathers and Families Association, and the Fatherhood is Sacred/Motherhood is Sacred Program.
Honani said the program is fortunate to have the support of many people and organizations, including past contributors like Barbara Poley, a former executive director and founder of the Hopi Leadership Program.
Other supporters include Laurel Secakuku, a former program coordinator, and Monica Nuvamsa, the current executive director of the Hopi Foundation who also oversees four other community programs.
“It’s exciting to see the program continue to thrive after a decade of growth and change,” Nuvamsa said. “The opening event helped to recognize all those that contributed to the development of this idea in support of the foundation’s mission to create self-sufficiency and sustainable solutions for the benefit of our community.”
The leadership program also includes the newly-established Hopi Youth Leadership Program which will be offered to local Hopi and Tewa students this year. A condensed one-week version of the program will also be offered to Hopi youth living off the reservation during spring break.
The program’s alumni committee also meets quarterly to help create opportunities for continued growth and development for all its participants.
The foundation is funded by the Kalliopeia Foundation, the Santa Fe Community Foundation, and by many private and community donors.
More information about the leadership program is available at www.hopileadershipprogram.org or (928) 734-2380.