A fluent speaker of the Hopi language, Ferrell Secakuku co-founded Mesa Media in 2004. He earned his M.S. degree in Anthropology from Northern Arizona University at the age of 69. His thesis explored the similarities between the Snake Society at Hopi and MesoAmerican snake ceremonies. Ferrell was involved in many efforts to preserve Hopi culture. He served for many years as a cultural consultant for the Smithsonian Museum. He composed the music for the songs on Mesa Media’s learning CDs and wrote all of the songs for the Living Through Hopi Songs CD. He coordinated the Supawlavi Village Peach Orchard Restoration Project, which seeks to reunite Hopi people with agricultural practices associated with springs. During his four-year term as Tribal Chairman, Ferrell helped conclude the Hopi-Navajo land dispute and acquired $30 million for the Hopi Health Care Center. Ferrell was a true leader in both the modern business world and as an active member in ceremonies at Supawlavi Village (Second Mesa). In July 2007, Ferrell passed away after several months of illness, but his vision to provide opportunities for Hopi people lives on.
Anita Poleahla co-founded Mesa Media in 2004. Since 2003, she has taught the Hopi language in the Hopi Public School System, which, in addition to her work as the Hopi Lavayi Curriculum Developer, has provided experience in developing classroom curriculum and teacher training materials. Anita is the first certified Hopi language teacher in the State of Arizona (Arizona Department of Education Hopi K-12). She earned two M.S. degrees in Public Administration and Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University. In 2008, she became an American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) Sequoyah Fellow and presented at the 2008 AISES National Conference in Anaheim, CA. Anita also presented at the Stabilizing Indigenous Languages Symposium in 2009 at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ. Anita co-wrote many of the lyrics for the songs on Mesa Media’s learning CDs and consults with a number of Hopi organizations on Hopi language. Anita was raised in a traditional home at First Mesa and is a fluent Hopi speaker.
Cultural scholar Loretta Goldtooth first got involved with Mesa Media two years ago. Her son took Anita’s Hopi language class in high school. Loretta can understand Hopi and she knows some vocabulary. She was not taught Hopi as a child, so she is now working on her fluency by building her conversational skills. Loretta is from the village of Munqapi, and is a single mother with five boys. Mesa Media is extremely important in her life.
Valérie Martin serves as Mesa Media’s secretary. Valérie is from France and obtained a Master’s Degree in Anthropology at the Sorbonne in Paris. She has been working with Hopi youth since 1997, as a language teacher (Spanish / French / English) and is now the Librarian at Hopi Junior Senior High School. Valérie specializes in photography, and organizes Mesa Media’s image collection. She also participates in the creation of language learning activities, posters and the Hopi calendar.
Peter Bungart serves as Mesa Media’s treasurer. He has a Master’s Degree in Anthropology from Northern Arizona University, with over 30 years’ experience in Southwest archaeology, ethno-historic studies, and multimedia development. He has worked as an employee and/or consultant for the Hualapai, Hopi, Navajo, Yavapai-Prescott, and Yavapai-Apache tribes. Peter is also Mesa Media’s recording specialist.
Mesa Media’s Advisory Board provides a forum for knowledgeable Hopi community members to offer their perspective on our projects and organizational goals. Many of our learning materials were developed directly from ideas and needs brought to us directly by Hopi people.
Hopi advisory board members review and advise on Mesa Media’s educational resources, their cultural appropriateness and their ability to meet the needs of the Hopi people. We involve Hopi board members from a variety of villages on all three Hopi Mesas. Each mesa has its own dialect, with its own nuances, yet each is rooted in the basics of the Hopi language. Therefore, each Hopi individual is diverse in their understanding of the language but also in their teachings from the village, clan, religious society, and relatives.
Cultural scholar Rosalie Kaye is a fluent speaker from Sitsom’ovi. She is a member of the Flute Clan and is very active in the village activities. She advises on language and cultural sensitivity.
Cultural scholar Max Taylor is a fluent speaker from Songoopavi. He is a member of the Sun Clan. Max has worked for the Department of Natural Resources for over 20 years to promote sustainable range use, restoration of waterways and the passing on of teachings about wild Hopi foods. He teaches workshops and classes to help Hopi people reconnect with knowledge about wild Hopi plant use.