Suina Receives Scholarship to Study in New Zealand

By  Jesse Short Bull  

When Hailey Suina submitted an  essay  to  study abroad in New Zealand,  she didn’t realize that her writing  would be  one  of out of 6,797 applications to win  the  full scholarship  from  Education New Zealand and Go Overseas.    

On  Nov.  1,  2018  surrounded by family, friends  and instructors from the Institute of American Indian Arts community,  Suina was presented with a  check for $15,000  from members of  Education New Zealand and Go Overseas organizations,  who traveled from their  offices in  Berkeley,  California to the IAIA campus  to make the award in person.    

Suina,  who is from the  Pueblo  of Cochiti  and  the  Navajo Nation,  developed a strategy to create a compelling narrative that stood out,  but didn’t sacrifice her Indigenous culture for personal gain.    She  worked with  Jennifer Love, assistance professor in creative writing and an IAIA alum,  to help edit and polish Suina’s writing.    

Suina always wanted to visit New Zealand since she was little girl, and her resolve was further  solidified  when her  high school  had a sister  partnership with a high school in New Zealand.    

“That’s where I was introduced to the culture, the lifestyle  and the people,” Suina  said.    

However, there is a more profound connection that links her Pueblo and Navajo roots to  the Indigenous  Maori  people of New Zealand,  almost 7,000 miles away in the Southern  Hemisphere.    

“Going back to our  creation stories,  we always look at all Indigenous people from all over the world as coming from one single people at one point in time,”  said Suina.    

As  she  learned more about the Maori culture,  Suina found that  the  cultural and language revitalization here in New Mexico could be enhanced by learning from the Maori.    

“I  was inspired by  how much they had saved and preserved their culture and how it was so seamlessly interwoven into their society. It was practiced, it was there,”  said Suina.  

While  she  went about her typical school day  at  IAIA,  Suina  had no idea her family,  friends and  the  IAIA  community had  plotted  to  surprise  her while she was on her  way to a meeting. Her mother, grandmother, aunty, grandfather  and her  clan mother  were there too.  Judy Suina  drove three hours to attend the  ceremony.    

“I really want the best for her, this a person that never ever asks for anything. She never asks for anything. She would be happy if you gave her a dollar  or even just a handful of change. She’d be happy. She’d never ask, can I have more,”  said  Judy Suina,  tearfully.  

Suina will depart for New Zealand Feb.  6,  2019  through the  summer. After returning to New Mexico  and  IAIA, she will  graduate with her  Bachelor of Arts  in  creative  writing.    

IAIA president, Dr. Robert Martin  was at the award ceremony and said Suina represents the strength of the educational  experience students receive at IAIA.    

“We are so proud of her, she came here and worked hard. We’ve got a great  creative  writing program and she  is a reflection of  that.”



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