ITEP Logos

About the Designer

Samuel Tenakhongva
Samuel Tenakhongva, Hopi Educator

Nu Taawma yan Hopi maatsiwa, Nu Katsinwungwa niikyangw nu Sistomongaqw. Greetings, my name is Samuel Tenakhongva and my Hopi name is Taawma (To Sing). I come from the Katsina clan from the Hopi village of Sitsomovi. I am a teacher among the Hopi community. I have had the good fortune to have been raised and educated on the Hopi reservation, as I was afforded the opportunity to be immersed in two distinct cultures, each with their own merits, from which I have been able to draw from as an educator. As an educator and cultural practitioner, I am the next generation of knowledge keepers and it is my responsibility to share this knowledge in both respectful and intentional ways with my students and community. I am honored that the Indigenous Teacher Education Project at the University of Arizona asked me to create logos for their program. The following is a narrative explaining how I envisioned the logos from a Hopi perspective and one that works to include connections to other Tribes within the region.

Logo Narrative

From a seed, a corn plant grows and for many Indigenous communities this image represents growth, nourishment, and responsibility to a task. In the case of ITEP, a metaphorical relationship is constructed between the seed and teacher candidates. The teacher candidates (seed) will become the corn plant if given the proper attention and will be able to provide multiple resources to the community when they complete the program.

Integral to survival in the arid southwest US is moisture, specifically water which provides nourishment for land, animals, and people. Integrated into the logo are various water designs derived from Indigenous cultures that are connected ancestrally to the land across the southwest region. In this instance, the water is the knowledge the teacher candidates (seed) absorb while completing the program.

Teacher candidates embark on their educational journey to the University of Arizona from various directions. From a Hopi perspective, the colors of Red (South), blue (West), yellow (North) and white (East) are representative of the cardinal directions. It symbolizes ITEP teacher candidates not only leaving and representing their ancestral homelands but also signifies that they return to be educators serving Indigenous communities.

In honor of the Tohono O'odham, whose traditional lands The University of Arizona resides on, coyote tracks are integrated into the letter P as a way to recognize the significance of coyote’s importance in their creation story. Lastly, the moon symbol recognizes the Pascua Yaqui people of the region who regard the moon as the Mother of Creation as well as a deity that provides assurance and safeguards.

The ITEP logos honor the unique relations across Indigenous communities—histories, perspectives, relationships to the land, tribal sovereignty—in order to build solidarity. They were created to honor this process as well as to recognize the inherent strengths of Indigenous values, languages, and cultures the teacher candidates embody.

ITEP round logo