KYKOTSMOVI, Ariz. - Hopi veterans and their families have a new, young advocate for military service, honor and duty in the new 2013-14 Hopi Lori Piestewa Post No. 80 Princess Telisha Poleahla of the Sun Forehead clan from Shungopavy Village.
The Hopi Lori Piestewa Post No. 80 selection committee picked Poleahla based on an essay Poleahla wrote along with her community service activities, a willingness and genuine interest to serve all veterans and their military families and her intent to be a positive role model for other students in their areas of service.
Poleahla's two uncles, who both served in the military, inspired her to run for the Hopi princess. Irwin Poleahla served in the U.S. Army and Rodriguez Poleahla served in the Navy. Both are now inactive in their military careers and live at the village of Old Oraibi, but they expressed pride and joy when they learned of Poleahla's new title.
Hannah Polewytewa of the Hopi Veterans Association also encouraged Poleahla to run for the position. Polewytewa said she thought Poleahla would make an excellent student military ambassador for the Hopi reservation.
Poleahla said she was a bit hesitant at first, but after she thought about how her two uncles had served their country in their younger years, she felt that she could help support and represent students her own age and help them appreciate and honor local Native veterans in whatever way she could.
Princess Poleahla will have lots of support from her parents, Felicia Namingha and Wayne Poleahla and her two older brothers and one younger sister to be at veteran or military special events this year. The Lori Piestewa Post No. 80 is planning several fundraiser events for Poleahla to help her family with fuel, lodging and meal costs for her to be at state or local events.
A small portion of Poleahla's essay reads:
"If it wasn't for the veterans and military services being there to stand up for our people, we would have no one to look up to as heroes. We wouldn't know what to do if it came a time where we would have to fight for ourselves. Hopi veterans and military people deserve to be known and recognized in the world because they took their own personal time to stand up for our country. We should think of all the hard work that the veterans put in for us, so we could have freedom and peace that we live in today. We must realize we shouldn't be making bad choices and live the right way. We're lucky to have our veterans and military people, I would like to thank them for their courage, bravery to protect us."
Poleahla will serve a full year as Lori Piestewa Post No. 80's Princess.