instilled from her childhood,
one Hopi student strives to bolster awareness of her culture
Poleviyuma, a student at Arizona State University's College
of Nursing and Innovation, talks about the award she recieved
for her work towards the Native American community taken on
Friday, Jan. 27, 2017.
(photo by Cecilia Nguyen - The State Press)
Amber Poleviyuma and her dance partner participated in a "social
dance" with other dancers from the village in an effort to make
it rain. She said to her grandfather, "We are going to make it rain,
just us not the other dancers."
After two days of dancing, Poleviyuma said she finally felt
the first drops of rain and returned home to her grandfather who
said to her, "You did make it rain."
Poleviyuma said that this social dance was not just to bring
rain. It was to celebrate the harvest, and to bring about prayer
and happiness. Poleviyuma said sharing this moment with her grandfather
meant a lot to her.
Poleviyuma is a Native American who grew up on the Moenkopi
village in northern Arizona, and her grandfather taught her to value
her family and her community. Now a senior community health major
at Arizona State University, these values are portrayed in her work
"The values that he had instilled in me remind me why I'm here,"
she said. "I'm not just here to get an education, I'm here for my
Recently, Poleviyuma received the 2017
MLK Student Servant-Leadership Award for her efforts to represent
and increase awareness for Native American communities both on and
Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority Inc. - Tau Chapter
Our beautiful sister, Amber Poleviyuma. This morning was her
ceremony for the MLK Student Service Leadership award where
she sat next to President Michael Crow of ASU and was recognized
for her advocacy on social justice and service to the community
and the university.
In this photo she stands with her family and the awardees
Elva and Lattie Coor.
Poleviyuma said every aspect of her actions revolve around giving
back to her community.
Poleviyuma also said her end goal is to go back to her village
with an education and with experience that will allow her benefit
Through the ASU
Tribal Nations Tour, Poleviyuma said she was able to share her
ideals about how people can further their community by furthering
their education with students in schools with high Native American
According to the Tribal Nations Tour website, it brings college
students to schools that share their stories to encourage the younger
population to pursue higher education.
"We all have a responsibility to either our families or our
communities," Poleviyuma said.
Poleviyuma said when she was growing up in her community she
was taught the importance of individuals because to raise her, everyone
had to work together.
"It showed me how every person is valuable because they put
so much work into everyone," she said.
Poleviyuma said she was also the secretary of Native
Americans for Academics, Success and Unity during its first
year on campus. The club focused on building a community for Native
Americans on downtown campus and to promote the Native American
community and culture.
Poleviyuma also said she was co-nominated for the award she
received with one of the nominators being Bryan Brayboy, president's
professor and special adviser to the president on American Indian
Brayboy said Poleviyuma offered fresh perspectives to the studies
put on by the Center for Indian Education.
Brayboy also said Poleviyuma's job as research aid means that
she does a lot of background research and analysis of literature
for the studies, and he often uses her as a sounding board for ideas
"She is using her talents to serve other people," Brayboy said.
Jessica Solyom, assistant research professor at the Center
for Indian Education also nominated Poleviyuma for the award.
Solyom said Poleviyuma looks at the world in a different way
than most people because of her major and her experiences.
"She always has her eye on the bigger picture," Solyom said.
Poleviyuma was also the secretary of Native
Americans for Academics, Success and Unity during the club's
first year on campus. This club focused on building a community
for Native Americans on downtown campus and to show that Native
Americans are on campus by promoting their community and culture.
Ryan Bia, a co-founder and the first president of NAASU, said
Poleviyuma was important to the success of the club.
"She was dedicated and passionate about it and I think that's
what we really needed for a solid foundation for NAASU," Bia said.
Poleviyuma said that she believes it is important to step up
when the occasion arises, but also to be humble and able to step
aside if there is someone better equipped to work on the issue.
However, she is not waiting for graduation in order to start making
"You can make changes where you are right now," Poleviyuma said.