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Advocacy for American Indians with Disabilities Phyllis Preston, Advocate Native American Affairs Protection & Advocacy, Inc. October 7, 2004.

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Presentation on theme: "Advocacy for American Indians with Disabilities Phyllis Preston, Advocate Native American Affairs Protection & Advocacy, Inc. October 7, 2004."— Presentation transcript:

1 Advocacy for American Indians with Disabilities Phyllis Preston, Advocate Native American Affairs Protection & Advocacy, Inc. October 7, 2004

2 Disabilities in Indian Country  At least 550,000 Indians live with disabilities in United States. (2000 Census identify 2.5 million as “Indian or Alaska Native”.)  22% of the American Indian and Alaska Native population has one or more disabilities.  Highest rate of disability when compared to all other races in U.S.

3 Unique Legal Status Government-to-Government relationship with the United states that is based upon:  Treaties  The U.S. Constitution  Federal Law  Executive Orders

4  Indian Country is disproportionately rural  Posing logistical and resource challenges to provision of and access to social, health and support services.  Ameican Indians tend to have less education  Greater unemployment  Higher rates of poverty

5 Barriers that May Exist in Indian Country for People with Disabilities  Attitude: Not being understood. Disability may be seen but not the person. Emotional or mental health problems, learning disabilities, Emotional or mental health problems, learning disabilities, alcohol/drug dependence, alcohol/drug dependence, or deafness. or deafness.

6  Lack of Awareness: Need better protection, advocacy, and assistance for people with disabilities.  Lack of Understanding: About the number of Indians with disabilities, the types of disabilities.  Complex Federal programs: Federal and State programs may having overlapping or conflicting responsibilities.

7  Housing: Homes are not generally designed to meet the needs of people with disabilities. Limited funding to retrofit tribal or private housing. Homes are not generally designed to meet the needs of people with disabilities. Limited funding to retrofit tribal or private housing. This housing barrier can mean the difference between an individual with disabilities living independently or living under the care of others. This housing barrier can mean the difference between an individual with disabilities living independently or living under the care of others.

8  No Sidewalks  No Lighting  No Elevators  Lack of sufficient services for visually and hearing impaired at local schools.  No TDD or TTY machines for hearing impaired.

9  Support facilities or agencies more than 1 hour away from reservation.  Lack of professional training regarding care for children and adults with disabilities.  No Braille or Audio Equipment on reservation.  Access to Voting

10  Recreational/Hunting/Fishing/ Horseback Riding Horseback Riding  Group Youth Activities  Arts and Crafts  Church  Gambling at Casinos  Going to Post Office

11  Visiting Neighbors  Housekeeping/Yard Maintenance  Medical Visits  Going to Grocery Store  Going to Movies  Social Gatherings/Pow Wows

12  Attending Tribal Meetings  Travel out of State  Going out to Dinner  Softball Teams

13  Ceremonies  Gathering Traditional Herbs  Dancing & Singing  Weddings  Funerals  Having Children

14 Advocating Change  Success lies in creativity, passion, perseverance, commitment and respect.  Consider the awareness of local tribal culture. Programs must be culturally responsive, or consumers will not patronize the services offered.  Design program services that fits the needs of the consumers, rather than making the consumer fit your program design.

15  Most tribes have their tribal laws, resolutions, or personnel policies and procedures that protect the rights of tribal members with disabilities. resolutions, or personnel policies and procedures that protect the rights of tribal members with disabilities.  Increase the awareness of disability rights.

16 Resources  Feather River Tribal Health Organization th Avenue Oroville, CA th Avenue Oroville, CA (530) (530)  Intertribal Deaf Council P.O. Box 7598 Salem, OR P.O. Box 7598 Salem, OR  American Indian Disability Technical Assistance Center (AIDTAC) The University of Montana Rural Institute The University of Montana Rural Institute 52 Corbin Hall Missoula, MT Corbin Hall Missoula, MT (866) (866)  California Rural Indian Health Board, Inc Auburn Blvd, 2 nd Floor Sacramento, CA Auburn Blvd, 2 nd Floor Sacramento, CA (916) (916)


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