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Cereescia Sandoval

Cereescia Sandoval

Job Title: Kindergarten Teacher - High Tech Elementary

Tribal Affiliation: San Felipe, Pueblo

1. Why did you choose the UO College of Education for your graduate studies?

Honestly, I don't think I would have been able to attend graduate school without the Sapsikwala Program. I wanted to pursue my Masters but had no plans of going to school due to my already existent undergraduate loans. When I found out about the program I was beyond excited. I researched the school and even went to visit to make sure it was the right choice for me. When I witnessed the level of commitment the program had to equitable and social justice oriented pedagogy I knew I found a place I could do work that I was connected to and proud of. 

2. Tell us about why the Sapsik'ʷałá Program is important, from your perspective?

We need educators of color. Students will not cultivate a respect of different cultures if they never learn about them in authentic and meaningful ways. Our schools need teachers that can speak to the Native experience, that can challenge biased curriculum, and also be role models for our young people. 

3. What advice do you have for future American Indian/Alaska Native educators?

It is a hard road. Sometimes you feel that your legitimacy is constantly challenged. Your legitimacy as a teacher. Your legitimacy as an Indian. It is as if others feel they have more right to your culture and to tell your story than you do. I spend a lot of time standing up and speaking out but it becomes exhausting. So, my advice is to pick your battles carefully. Peace must still exist in your heart and mind to do the work. And our focus should be on the minds and spirits we are guiding/nurturing. Then you will find the strength you need from your students to continue the fight.