California Educator

April/May 2023

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Vanessa Yava is Hopi, Navajo and Tewa on her father 's side, and her Native roots have always been a big part of her identity. Because of her father 's alcoholism, her parents divorced and Yava was raised by her mother. Yet her Native culture, tribal involvement and Indian education were a constant. She has been active in the Bay Area Native community for years. Prior to her current position teaching science to 7th graders (and previously math and art), Yava was the coordi- nator for the Native American Studies Program for Fremont Unified School District and worked with Native children to improve their academic skills, with an emphasis on Native culture and identity. Now, Yava infuses science with Native stud- ies and helps make updated Native resources, including historically accurate curriculum, videos and land acknowledgments, accessible to her peers. She tries to imbue her culture in her teaching, so students understand there are different viewpoints. "In science, they 'll say that things are living and non-living. I'll follow the curriculum, but I'll add that 'in our culture, there are not things that are dead and alive. Vanessa Yava Pittsburg Education Association AMERICAN INDIAN/ALASKA NATIVE HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD IN HONOR OF JIM CLARK N I N E E X C E P T I O N A L E D U C A T O R S from across California are this year's winners of CTA's annual Human Rights Awards for their outstanding commitment to social justice and for promoting and protecting human and civil rights, both in the classroom and in their wider school communities. In addition, CTA chapter Anaheim Secondary Teachers Association received an award for its exemplary work on community schools. "I'm proud to honor these educators for the truly extraordinary work they're doing," said CTA President E. Toby Boyd at the awards ceremony in Santa Clara on March 18. "ere isn't a student who goes unseen in the communities of these exceptional educators. eir individual commitment to inclusiveness and to celebrating every student's uniqueness will have a lifelong impact on our students, as well as on our schools and our communities." Congratulations to this year's winners! (Photo caption on p. 31.) CTA's 2023 HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD WINNERS 26 Social Justice

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