There is no way that we can possibly convey Amanda Cheromiah’s story as well as we would want to, here in this blog. But here we provide a snapshot of her work leading up to and completing her dissertation, and a brief interview.
Dr. Amanda Cheromiah (Laguna Pueblo) is a loved member of our community who we wish to lift up in gratitude for sharing her dissertation and story with us.
Invitation to a Dissertation
In May 2021, Menaul School staff were thrilled to receive an invitation to Amanda’s dissertation this past May.
The note read:
“Menaul School Staff, You are invited to attend my dissertation defense on May 10. Menaul prepared me in so many ways to obtain my doctorate degree. I’m grateful for the Menaul Community!”
Of course, a ripple of pride waved through the Menaul community as we shared the invitation amongst the staff. Some of us who couldn’t join her presentation “live,” have since watched it on You Tube along with her other works, and were floored.
Her dissertation is entitled, “Indigenous Revolt in Education: Indigenous Feat—A Scholar’s Pace.”
Run for Those Who Can’t Run
Amanda shares some earlier films that inspired her dissertation.
For example, she directed a film called “A Scholar’s Pace—A Running Narrative of Indigenous Feat” which you can and should watch for yourself on You Tube. “11 Indigenous people share their narratives about how they use running as an important mechanism to navigate the academy and beyond.” This film played at the Loft Cinema in Tucson in 2019 and was made public in May 2020.
The methodology or approach that she uses honors indigenous ways of knowing and incorporates storytelling and filmmaking. This film was the primary inspiration for her dissertation.
Amanda had a professor at U of A who said, “Run for those of us who can’t run.” This is something she took to heart.
Interview with Dr. Cheromiah, class of 2004
Here, we share a brief interview with Dr. Amanda Cheromiah.
When asked which teacher or staff person had the biggest impact on her, she immediately said, Reverend Buddy Monahan, our chaplain of many years. She thinks about him often.
As a Chaplain Associate, she experienced her formative days as a public speaker. Even years after graduating from high school, she still feels the sense of Menaul’s community in online spaces like social media. You could say we are physically distant, but always connected.
She advises the students who follow in her footsteps to
“ …center your stories. You come from a precious heritage and your culture is beautiful. Share your stories with many people!”
When in elementary and middle school, Dr. Cheromiah felt that she was very introverted. Sports were everything to her in high school.
“Through sports, Menaul helped me to grow more confident and the community helped build my self-esteem.”
A Long Path of Education
Immediately after graduating from Menaul, newly graduated Amanda went to the University of Arizona in Tucson for freshman year, and never left! She earned all three of her degrees from the U of A. And, as pointed out earlier in this article, is now known as Dr. Cheromiah due to her hard work and persistent effort.
“At Menaul, I learned how to engage with various communities and those skills I acquired at that time set me on a fruitful path of blessings.”
Future Plans: A Metaphorical and Actual Marathon
When asked what she plans to do in the future, she says,
“I have always been in school, and it is strange to not be in school anymore. Now that I have finished my Ph.D., I want to create my own Indigenous-focused storytelling business that empowers indigenous students and communities.”
The following is a video directed, produced and filmed by Dr. Cheromiah, who also speaks in the video. Native SOAR is a mentor program she participated in since she was an undergrad, that provides mentorship for native students from many tribal communities to find a pathway to college.
“I’m planning to run the Honolulu Marathon. This is a significant event for me because earlier this year I contracted COVID-19. My body is still recovering but finishing the marathon would be a great feat because it signifies overcoming the virus.”
That statement exemplifies the determination and persistence Menaul School’s beloved “Mandy”, now Dr. Cheromiah, brings to her life and education as a whole!
Congratulations to you, to your family and community, and many blessings on your path forward.