Faculty: Vangee Nez
Funding Amount: $3,500.00
This study is a follow-up of a 2019–2022 cohort of a grant to prepare teachers to complete a master’s degree remotely in ESL and Bilingual Education for the Arizona ESL Endorsement. Navajo language teachers were interviewed to find out where they are currently teaching. The teachers work in the Window Rock Unified School District, Kayenta Unified School District, Chinle Unified School District, Rock Point Community School, Flagstaff Unified School District, and the Little Singer Community School. During the pandemic, the Navajo teachers finished their master’s degrees.
In the study, we also aim to bring awareness that Indigenous educators are needed. Education departments across the country, along with the Navajo Nation, need to do more to develop Indigenous teacher preparation programs that use culturally relevant pedagogy and hire more Indigenous faculty to teach from an Indigenous perspective. Reform is needed for Indigenous education, and the Bureau of Indian Education must work with local tribal nations to build stronger educational programs for both students and teachers. I hope the study will bring to light the Navajo language and culture, continue language activism, and inspire the youth and communities they serve.