Presentation on theme: "Sharon Baker, Ed.D. Associate Professor of Deaf Education"— Presentation transcript:
1 Sharon Baker, Ed.D. Associate Professor of Deaf Education Native American Deaf Experience: Perspectives on Language, Culture, and EducationSharon Baker, Ed.D. Associate Professor of Deaf Education
2 Oklahoma The name Oklahoma comes from the Choctaw language. Okla means people humma means red, so Oklahoma translates to red people. Oklahoma has a large population of Native American people. Most live on tribal lands, sometimes in housing provided by the tribe.The state is divided into two zones that are occupied by eastern tribes and western tribes
3 Native American Tribes are Unique Although there are some common elements, they vary significantly.They have different traditions, histories, and cultures.They have different ways of life.They vary is the extent of assimilation into majority culture.They speak different languages.American Indian Sign Language was used with many western plains tribes.
4 Tribes in this StudyCherokeeCreekChickasawChoctawSeminole
5 Indian TerritoryThe United States government forced most of the Indians in the southeastern states to move to Indian Territory. Five tribes, known as the Five Civilized Tribes, were removed between 1827 and 1839.
6 The CherokeeRelocated from Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina betweenLady of the Spring, Willard Stone
7 Creek Removed from Georgia to Indian Territory between 1827 -1832. A Creek Warrior
8 Choctaw Removed to Indian Territory in 1830 from Mississippi and Alabama.
9 ChickasawRemoved from Mississippi in 1835 by boat.
10 SeminoleRemoved with the Creeks from Florida.Dana Tiger
11 Other Tribes Relocated to Indian Territory Some Tribes Were in Indian Territory When the Southeastern Tribes Were RemovedOther Tribes Relocated to Indian TerritoryEastern OklahomaQuapawMiamiWyandotteOttawaModocPeoriaSeneca-CayugaEastern ShawneeOsageWestern OklahomaKiowaComancheArapahoApacheDelawareSac and FoxPawnee
12 1889 brought settlers to Oklahoma as free land became available. Statehood: 1907
13 Oklahoma Tribes Have Common Historical Elements Vanishing Culture andLanguageEfforts to preserve native languagesPowerlessnessPovertyAlcoholismDiabetesUnemploymentBingo and GamingAnnihilationOppressionRemovalRelocationMission SchoolsIndian Boarding SchoolsDisempowerment
14 The Native American Deaf Experience Ethnographic, phenomenological research Phenomenological research is the study of human experience and aims at gaining a deeper understanding of the nature or meaning of our every day experiences.Two groups were involved:Native American Caregivers of Deaf ChildrenNative American Deaf Adults
15 Description of Activities Literature review which revealed that little information has been published regard Native American people who are deaf.Difficulty in identifying Native American deaf and hard of hearing children and adults in OklahomaTraveled throughout state to different tribes.Met with community leaders and social workers.Met with teachers at OSD and other deaf education programsSearched through yearbooksAsk around
16 FindingsThe incidence of deafness is very low, especially in the Indigenous Oklahoma tribes and the western tribes where the etiology most often involves trauma or disease.However, every tribe had at least one member who was deaf or hard of hearing.Data pertaining to the Five Civilized Tribes revealed a higher incidence rate among their population.
17 Interviews with Caregivers Interviews were conducted with 15 caregivers in Western Oklahoma.Nine interviews were with mothers. The others were with grandmothers or maternal aunts.Interviews were usually held in the yard, not in the houseSometimes a sibling served as an interpreter from English to the Native American language.They talked openly about their deaf children, cultural conflicts, and fears for the future.Interviews revealed that Native American mothers go through similar grieving processes as other hearing mothers of deaf children.
18 Interviews with Native American Deaf Adults ChallengesGeographic IsolationMost Native American adults live in the community of their birth.AccessNo phone service (They often had a TTY provided by the Deaf Services agency.)Of the 12 individuals identified, 8 were willing to share their storiesCapturing the interview in written form since most requested not to be videotaped.
19 FindingsContent analysis of narratives from interviews revealed 21 themes:Most Native American Deaf adults lack an understanding of etiology and prevention of hearing loss.Most were born in US Indian HospitalsPossible involvement of genetic deafness in Cherokee Tribe.They responded that most often traditional medicines were used to try to cure their deafness (medicine men, sweat lodges, etc.)Identification of Hearing Loss by Maternal AuntLimited Use of Assistive Devices
20 Residency in Rural Areas of the State Lack of Residency Shifts Native American Deaf people, even if they attended the residential school for the deaf for a period of time, returned to their Native American community.IsolationMost responded that they felt isolated and lonely. They were able to communicate with only a few individuals in their community and mostly through a home sign system.ShameRespondents reported that their families felt shame for their deafness. Mothers reported that their child was deaf because of something they had done previously.Communication BarriersNo interpreters were identified in rural Native American communities.Sibling Serving as the Deaf Individual’s InterpreterMost of the sibling nearest the age of the Deaf individual served as his/her interpreter.
21 Utilization of American Indian Sign Language by western tribes more than eastern tribes. Orality of Native American Culture Precludes Participation in that CultureLack of Cultural IdentityRespondents noted that they didn’t belong to Native American nor Deaf culture.Deterioration of communication skills with continued residency patterns in home community.Lack of Cultural ParticipationThey reported tat even though they attended PowWows and other cultural events, they were on the margins.Changing Sites of Educational ProgramsMost often, individuals started school late, attended the residential school for a brief time, then moved back home to their neighborhood schools.AbandonmentIndividuals reported a strong feeling of abandonment when left at the residential school.
22 Family Members to Oversee Education Often a family member would move to the community of the residential school in order to make sure the child was safe.Greater Awareness Increases AngerAt the residential school, Native American Deaf individuals became aware of many things that made them feel angry and isolated in their home community.Societal Role As CaregiverAs adults, most individuals reported that they served in the role of caregiver for elders in the community.Lack of Educational AchievementMost often respondents reported that they felt cheated out of their education.Lack of Employment OpportunitiesUnemployment is extremely high in Native American communitiesTranslucencySchools often were oblivious to the Native American child enrolled in their school. When they looked at the child they saw a deaf child.Native American communities do the opposite. When they look at the child they see an Indian child, not the deafness. The child then is never viewed as a whole child.
23 Most Prevalent ThemeIsolation, is a consequence of 17 out of 21 or 81% of the essential themes; therefore, isolation transcends or over-arches a majority of the findings in this study.
24 Further Investigation into Language: What Early Dictionaries Revealed Cherokee Language
25 Tribal Connection to Deaf Education The Cherokee NationStrong commitment to educationEstablished an Asylum for the Insane, Deaf, and BlindTwo missionaries (Mr. and Mrs. Long) established a school for blind children, then later added deaf children at Ft. Gibson, the last stop of the Trail of Tears
26 Current Research Activities Focusing on the Cherokee Nation to determine if there existed schools for deaf children prior to removal.Working with Dr. Harry Lang of NTID