Researcher ORCID Identifier

Date of Award

Summer 2020

Degree Type

Restricted to Claremont Colleges Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Education, MA


School of Educational Studies

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Rights Information

2020 Yoenesha Ortiz


The purpose of this ethnographic narrative is to highlight my experiences as an American Indian educator navigating the field of Special Education. I express my deep underlying passion for teaching through a culturally responsive and critical social justice lens. As a Diné woman I recognize where I come from, my journey in becoming an educator, where I stand within my career field, and how I will strategically continue to thrive in many different settings. Upon writing this ethnographic narrative and completing CGU’s graduate program, a global pandemic (COVID-19) unexpectedly took place and disrupted our lives drastically. I also speak on behalf of these experiences as a student and an educator during the 2019-2020 school year. I conducted research and completed three case studies that highlighted unique experiences and perspectives from three of my focus students and their families. Data was collected from home visits, interviews, student work, personal interactions, assessments, and observations.