Unedited Session Transcript
Culturally Appropriate Outreach and Transition Methods for American Indians and Alaska Natives who are Deaf, Deaf Blind, Hard of Hearing, or Late Deafened
Damara Paris, Katrina Miller, Alan Cartwright, & Daniel LaBrosse
>>> How about the slides, are they okay? Can you see enough? We need to show respect to the visually impaired person in the room who needs to be able to see their interpreter, so we'll just leave the lights on. Are we ready? Hello? Greetings. S I Y O, siyo, which is greetings in Cherokee, and wago (phonetic), which means thank you. Thank you for coming here. I'm excited to be here and to see all of you filling up the room. This is great. It is exciting. We have a little surprise for you. Do you like candy? Maybe you've got some candy underneath your seat. Check and see under your chair. You do over there. Oh, great. You can keep the candy and we have this book for you as a gift. There should be one more. Who else has some candy under their chair? Oh, nobody's sitting in that chair maybe. Check the ones around you. Look and see if any empty chairs. Don't be fighting over the candy. No. Don't fight over the candy. Ah we found the other one. Okay. And this is for you. Another book. Yes? Oh, sorry. You have to be sitting on the chair with candy. No more free books. You already bought it any way I bet. Okay, welcome and thank you for coming. Today we're going to talk about an exciting topic. We have a grant to help improve programs and access to Native American people, to Indians. I would like to introduce the speakers today. I am Damara Paris from Oregon. I'm a local person. Very happy to be here in the beautiful state of Washington. Sometimes I think Washington's just a little bit greener than Oregon. And would you please stand. This is Katrina Miller. Katrina, would you like to say something?
MILLER: Hello. I'm delighted to be here today. And I work at the University of Arkansas and I also have a history here in the Northwest. I worked with people in Alaska and also in Oregon, so it is fun to be back.
>>> Alan Cartwright.
CARTWRIGHT: Greetings. I'm from the far north, Alaska, town of Anchorage. The director of the deaf and hard of hearing center. Have been for ten years. It has been a long time that I have been there, 26 years. I'm deaf, from a deaf family. I have a lot of international experience with various native groups, and I feel very much a part of this team. Thank you.
PARIS: And Dan LaBrosse.
LaBROSSE: I'm going to talk. I'm also from Alaska I moved up there in 1980 and decided to homestead and build a home and live in a tent for the first year, and I have been working as a rehab counselor for 23 years, covering the entire northern region of the state. Setting up tribal rehab programs and working with the state until recently. I'm back in the community rehab program again.
>>> There are other members of the team that are not able to be here today and we'll talk more about them later. I am part native. Cherokee and Blackfoot. But I'm also white. And I respect all of my cultures. They all make up a part of me. Some of the people here do not have any native blood but they work with us in our area as well. And the reason we wanted to do this, well, can you give me the next slide? The circle begins. The book that I gave away at the beginning that I'm showing up here on the slide is the first book that's been published that includes stories, poetry, thoughts, biographies, all of native people. Not only the lower 48, but other first nation peoples as well, in Canada, as well as Alaska. We have over a hundred people who sent in their contributions. We wanted to publish it because there was such a void. There was nothing there for native people who are deaf. It says: Through the People. There are pictures of different native people. And these are some of the people who are in the book. We wanted to honor their experiences, all the different backgrounds that they came from, and the book was finally published. We wanted to improve the situation, to do outreach. There are some services, but reading the book let us know how much was missing. We're just ready now to begin the discussion to get feedback from everyone here, from native people themselves, we want to know what the needs are, what needs to be done, what the improvements are that need to happen. We want to produce some guidelines and some resources for VR counselors. The next slide. The mission of the grant is to identify the barriers and to remove them as experienced by American Indians and Alaska natives who are deaf, deaf-blind or hard of hearing. And secondly, to develop a set of standards for a holistic approach to rehabilitation services. And I want to emphasize holistic. Something that is a family approach that includes a consideration of the whole tribe as well as the individual. There's a core team. We selected people to participate, to include deaf, deaf-blind, and hard of hearing people who were native. The people on the team must have good writing skills. And they must be from VR, because the money comes from vocational rehabilitation. Those of us in the group are not just going off willy-nilly. We must have strong writing skills, and we depend on input from everyone in VR, from natives on the reservation, from the organization of IDC, Intertribal Deaf Council. We want to know what it is that we need to develop. And once we have gotten this input from all these individuals and groups, we will write it up and then send it back again for their response, critique, so that we can continually improve it. It is not just a one-time thing. It is a process. So the writers on the team include Howard Busby, do you know Howard Busby? He's been at Gallaudet. He has excellent writing skills. He's a researcher and he's also Native American. Linda Carroll. Also has excellent writing skills and has been involved in various native groups. And our own Alan Cartwright sitting right here with us. I don't need to give you any more information about him, right? He's a writer, who has been involved with native people for a long time. Dan LaBrosse who has been involved with invoke rehab for many, many years who has excellent writing skills. And me, I wouldn't say I have such wonderful writing skills, but I do have experience in publishing. I have published six books. I have been an editor for the silent news which is a national deaf publication and written several articles myself. And Judy Stout who is Lumbee who is deaf, who is married to Claude Stout who is quite a politician, very involved in politics. This is our project time line. It is somewhat flexible. We're not going to be too rigid about this time line, but we needed the guidelines and we'll try and follow it as carefully as possible. We're here to get input from you from people in different native groups. We may get input through the web. Getting input from the IDC board, from leaders, elders, we'll go back to our spiritual leaders and have them lock at what it is we write and make suggestions for changes. Input from natives in Alaska, from Lumbee natives. In North Carolina the Lumbee natives in North Carolina. Another opportunity will be at the ADA R A conference we'll give a presentation similar to this one and ask for input and feedback from people there. It is in New Jersey. That phase will stop in the summer. We'll gather all the information and write it up. And give it to reviewers who are also good writers. Make the final changes, and be ready in the fall with the guidelines. We're looking to make five hundred copies to send out to VR counselors at that time. So what is it that we're writing? In the beginning we'll introduce who native people are. We'll give some demographic information including hard of hearing and deaf-blind people as well. Chapter two will identify what the issues are that impact this group, what the social issues are, employment, of course is one but there are other social issues as well that are important that we need to discuss. We have seen the impact on people who are both deaf and native, Allan, if you would like to add, please step in here, okay? Then we will move into recommendations. Specifically to improve out reach and what our goals are for the future, where we want to go from here. This is just the first step or maybe not the first but it is a beginning. We'll also include resources, people to contact, where to learn Indian sign language. How to get in touch with tribes. And VR counselors, VR services, VR people who know about native issues and resources. So that'll be in the chapter on resources. So going back to chapter 1, we want you to participate to tell us as well. It is not just a one-sided kind of communication here. So there will be American Indians, Alaska native, degrees of Indianness, people who are very traditional, people who are not acculturated, who are very much a part of the native community and always have been. So by non-acculturated I mean people who are not part of the mainstream. They may or may not be very traditional. Others who have been acculturated but who have decided to return. They have come back to their roots as Indian. And then people who are both, traditional and acculturated bi cultural if you will. There will be some with minimal contact with those in the majority, who have most of their contact with other members of the tribe. There will be some who move between the two cultures and some people who are fully acculturated who have joined the mainstream. Is there anything to add?
>>> Many of you -- how many in the room here identify themselves as Native American or Alaska native? Could you raise your hand please? Of these categories, which do you feel that you fit into? Are there traditional Indians here who feel like you've grown up and experienced the full impact of native culture? That's very often not the case for deaf people. They are often moved quickly into a majority cultural situation in the school systems and there's -- that person often feels an identity conflict and looking at where their roots are as a native person. What we're looking at is where people identify themselves and how they can be best served. Some people who may be fully acculturate and not identify with their native roots. For example, I have traveled to Ecuador. I was there for a couple of years. And there were a large number of natives and when I would ask them about their cultural background they would deny that was part of their identity. Because for them, it was an embarrassment and they felt that they would be looked down upon because of that background. And I would try to indicate that it is something they should be proud of, but they preferred to be called or identified as Latin owe rather than from their native culture. Latino. And the indigenous peoples there were, when the Spanish came were influenced strongly by the European cultures and have been greatly oppressed. And this is the sign that they use in Ecuador for a person who is an Indian or native. It is indicated in fingers alongside of the nose to talk about the size of their nose. Instead of looking at the native culture and all of its beauty and richness that it has to share, you know, there's a lot of clothing and other types of fabric art that are just provided by that culture but they are not valued. So I have seen a lot of -- a variety of reactions and I see that in this country as well, and people have similar reactions to their own identity. This talks about deaf Native Americans who have -- who have incorporated the native values into their identity. They have a very different experience. Their experience growing up and the tales they tell I have noticed when I have met a lot of these people at first they are very cautious in how they communicate with me because I'm a white person. You know I came from New York and you know how people in New York communicate. We're all speed demons. And then when I would meet a Native Alaskan person, I would sign them with the same pace and fluidity that they would be comfortable with and then we would be able to build a rapport and communicate with one another. And it wasn't a matter of making them fit into my mold but rather me adjusting to how they communicate their eye gaze, what types of food they would eat and what kinds of cultural roles that were important in their families. There's also people that grew up in a native culture but there was no communication available to them as a deaf person. And so they weren't able to learn about their background. The first group of people had information about their culture within the family, but the second group didn't have access to that and got access to communication and information in the schools for the deaf. So they would have -- they would experience difficulty in moving back and forth between the two cultures. And in the native culture they would have say a value long hair in a male and they would move to be with the majority deaf culture and they would have to cut their hair and follow the majority ways of hygiene and so forth so that their experience between the school for the deaf and their experience at home in their native community would be very different. There's also people who are very involved in deaf culture but do not learn about their native culture until at a later point in life. And it is not too late at that point but there are a lot of native families who when they find they have a deaf child send them off to other -- they would rather keep them at home as part of their culture. And then once they would grow up and learn about their native background, they would be able to learn more about that part of themselves and it would really build their self-esteem. So that's deaf culture consistent deaf Native American that families often withheld their cultural information. People had a variety of experiences and all this information is shared in chapter 3 where you will get the real feeling for the character of the deaf native experience.
>>> So I think right now, yes, did you have a comment or a question over here?
AUDIENCE: Yes, I'm Dorothy Walt. Are you finding deaf families that have deaf children who are native, native families where the people in the family are all deaf? And how does that compare with deaf families? How do you compare the families that are native, some of whom who have deaf parents, some of whom have hearing parents, but they are all native?
PARIS: There's no formal research at this point. This is Damara answering. But I would like to hold that question. We have two people here who are written up in the book and I would like to introduce them, Melanie Cody over here sitting right next to you, Dorothy. And she's done quite a bit of research. So would you be able to answer Dorothy's question?
>>> My background is in education and the development of cultural curriculum. I have done quite a bit of research on the reservations. I have met a few families that are deaf families. Mostly in South Dakota, North Dakota, that area of the country. And when I compare them, people who are white deaf families with native deaf families, I find that they are not as much deaf and culturated as are the native people. Some people live on a reservation. Others are urbanized, more mainstream. They tend to be more bicultural and go back and forth between mainstream culture and Indian culture and that's partly because they have gone to the residential school as deaf children often and so they incorporate both cultures in their lives.
>>> There's also another person here, Gene, who grew up in Alaska, came to the state school here in Washington. Would you like to say anything?
>>> Hello everyone. My name is Eugene Edwin from Alaska. I missed a large part of my life and as you read the book I'm sure you'll learn more about that. I live in Alaska, moved to the state school and I felt like I had two lives, as Alan said. Going back and forth between the two worlds was my experience for 15 years and I lost a lot of my heritage because of that. I got into drinking, alcoholism, I was quite bitter. I straightened out, got sober, started learning more about where my heart was. About my tribe. About my heritage: It helped me to heal. It helped me to fill my heart. So it was very important to me. Learning about my heritage. Thank you.
>>> So I'm wondering how many -- if you look at the number of deaf natives there are, looking at the U S census of 2000, we see that almost ten percent indicated that they were of an American Indian or an Alaskan native descent within the general hearing community and they identified themselves because this was relying on self-identification. Some were raised on a reservation and some were not. They also looked at the number of these people who indicated that they had disabilities. 212 thousand 223 of these Alaskan natives or American Indians indicated a disability. And there seemed to be a higher incidence of hearing loss and vision loss among the people that indicated that they were Native American. It is very difficult to get information about this and there have not been a lot of studies but it is very difficult to get statistics in deafness in general and even more so in talking about a Native American and native Alaskan people. And now I'm going to turn it over to the next speaker.
>>> Hello. I just want to take a minute to thank the American people who are here today to give feedback and I hope you'll continue to do so throughout the presentation. I have the what some people might call the boring job. I have to get on the computer and find all kinds of articles and books and gather them together and read through all of them and try to present some kind of background history for various social problems that can impact American Indians and also deaf people. It would have been nice to find literature about American Indian deaf people, but there's not very much out there. So I have had to get from both of those two resources information about Native Americans and information about deaf people. And some of the areas that I'm looking at are substance abuse which we know impacts the American Indian community in many different ways, and domestic violence and sexual abuse which I have not found a lot written on in terms of American Indians. I did find some -- I didn't find much on deaf people either, but I did find some so I'm working on that. And also suicide rates and mental illness. The suicide rate is very high in the American Indian community. And not much has been done in the area of deafness on that. So these are challenges for me. And also criminal legal problems. I think Dan can even talk to us a little bit about criminal legal problems in the American Indian community in Alaska. He has some experience there. Let's hold on that for a minute. I want to ask if anyone has any ideas or thoughts about these topics. And what we're going to be looking at with substance abuse for example. What I have been finding as I go through these topics is one common thing and that is a lack of access to services. Even with American Indian and with deaf people there's always a barrier to getting services. With deaf people it might be communication. They can't find agencies that is correct serve them that have people who can sign. What do you suppose the issue would be with American Indian people? Why wouldn't they have access? And we're talking about American Indian people who are not living on the reservation. Any thoughts on that?
>>> Cultural values, barriers.
>>> Very good. People working in VR or maybe in other social service agencies don't always know how to interact or reach out to people who need services. They work in a different structure. A good example of that is the grant writing itself. When I got involved in writing the grant we had federal guidelines we had to follow and we had just a few days to write this grant because there was an opportunity that came over for some left-over money. And so the white be the -- white American way and the Federal Way is to get that stuff together and get it in yet other groups like deaf and American Indian groups would get together and they would communicate and they would have a discussion about what they wanted to do and they would take more time to prepare and to consult with everybody. So we have two different systems that people have to work in and so when an American Indian person or a deaf American Indian person goes for services, they might -- they may find that the structure of the system that they are going to doesn't work in the same way they work. They may work a little slower. They may have other networks that they want to work within. And the main system doesn't accommodate that. Any other thoughts?
>>> I would like to talk a little bit about this criminal problems and incarceration. This is certainly true in Alaska. I have been involved in court working as an intermediary interpreter. And I have been come across many barriers in the court system. The court system itself is one big barrier. One is the issue of time. Everyone is under pressure to hurry up. And when you say things like all rise. What is that about? What does that symbolize? What does that mean? People are lost in the system. And we've been able to identify that 90 percent of Alaskan native men who are deaf are in prison. This is a shocking statistic. This is -- they don't understand the law. They don't understand their rights. They get involved in drinking and drugs. Communication is such a huge barrier. They are isolated. Often in small villages. So when I come and gesture and try and establish some kind of services or set, up a framework and talk about drinking, talk about voting, what's allowed, what is not, deaf people are often behind. For example, they may have taken a vote to say that drinking is illegal, and the deaf person doesn't know anything about it. They may go around with a brown bag. People have known each other for years. They grew up as childhood friends. And some of the deaf Native Americans are so innocent, they may walk into a police station with their brown bag with an alcohol bottle inside and not even realize that what they are doing is illegal. They have been set up. They end up in jail, they end up incarcerated and it is so hard to explain to people. They don't realize what they have done. And other people can't believe that they don't know what they have done. And they are so oppressed. So again, in the court system, I mean, this bothers me tremendously. Say, for example, "What do you plead? Guilty or no guilty? Or no contest?" I told the court: "We have to stop right here. This is going to take a long time. We can't just ask this question." What do you mean when you say guilty? Guilty of what? Not guilty. Not guilty? What does that mean? No contest? You mean I can't play? I can't compete in the sports? What is this no contest? And we're communicating this without language. This is through actions, mime, gesture, pictures. So I have to come up with a symbol, such as the first, the second, the third, for each of those rich concepts, rather than staying with guilty, not guilty, or no contest. It takes a long time to explain to the deaf natives what's happening. And still, it is happening again and again. People get drunk. A lot of serious issues. We have to understand.
>>> Thank you Alan for those examples. So, what we're going to do here is basically just give an overview kind of a broad overview, because it is very difficult to attack every different problem that comes up but of these social problems and how it impacts the deaf and American Indian communities, how many people the percentages of people that are affected in each category here. Okay, before I pass it on, is there a comment? Yes thank you.
>>> One other area that is found to have a high incidence in the Native American community in the deaf education system, there are many that drop out of high school and that impacts a lot of hearing families of deaf children. They do not receive the education that they need and they get taken advantage of because they are not well educated. So that's another social problem that impacts other social problems and affects -- the effects are --
>>> Thank you we will add that to our list of things to look at. I believe that is an important issue in not only American Indian but in the deaf culture, the educational experience that deaf children and American Indian children have. Thank you.
AUDIENCE: I think another social problem that needs to be added to your list is poverty.
>>> Thank you. Do you have -- want to elaborate a little bit for us? A.
AUDIENCE: Well I think if you look at the statistics, the poorest people in the nation are the south Dakota tribes, the O L A L A pine ridge folks. They have the poorest reservation in the country. I think the poverty is widespread in tribal communities in spite of what people believe that all tribes have (inaudible). They don't. Along with poverty comes the other social ills that you are talking about here. I don't think it gets addressed enough that it is an issue in the Indian country.
>>> Great point. In fact it is probably the underlying issue here in all of these. So we will add that and some of the research that I have done so far has shown clearly lack of telephones, lack of Internet access. A really big digital divide in some of those things that you're talking about. So thank you. More comments? More thoughts on what we ought to do with this section?
>>> Can you repeat the comments or give people the microphone?
>>> Sure. Do you want to go back and do that right now?
>>> Do you mind?
>>> We were talking about poverty.
>>> I made the comment that poverty is an issue for a lot of Indian -- I made the comment that poverty is another issue in Indian country. For instance, in South Dakota, the O G A L A L A or pine ridge reservation is supposed to be the poorest reservation in the country and also the poorest population in the nation. And the comment was made by Katrina that that probably is an overlay for all of the social ills that you see here. Along with poverty comes malnourishment. People are not well fed. And the issue about the drop-out rates are a reality as well.
>>> Thank you. Okay. Are there any more comments to share? One other thing that I noticed as I went through here was with these categories was oppression. And I noticed a lot of writing about things like using Native American logos for baseball and football teams and things like that and how destructive that can be and other signs of oppression that go along with poverty and lack of education. Was there a hand back there?
AUDIENCE: In the Portland area they have been considering purchasing a baseball team from Montreal and there has been quite a controversy around it because of the Indian issue and then they are concerned if they buy the team, there's over fifty percent of that group or so forth that are Latin owe and would that affect the group. It is actually an Indian-owned team then would they be more recognized? Would they receive support? And for -- hopefully it'll work out but they are going through a lot of controversy in different areas, DC, and Montreal's team. I don't know how many of you are familiar with this but or if it is something that the Indian folks are actually interested in to have a group purchasing their own team with that identity.
>>> One of the issues that I have been reading about is that the stereotypes of American Indians as vicious, blood-thirsty those kinds of stereotypes they like to use for the team savages perhaps are damaging to the American Indian image socially and cause people to believe things about them. Stereotypes. Did you have a comment? Melanie.
>>> About Indians and mascots, yes. I don't need the microphone. What are you doing? [Laughter.] .
>>> So, yes, relating to what was just said, this isn't the point. The point is what we're talking about mascot it is not about money or purchasing a team we're talking about words like Injun, and chiefs, and all of that. And as you say, Kansas City Chiefs. Atlanta, remember the Braves? And they stopped -- they made them stop that? Choctaw and tomahawks and all of that sort of thing? Because it is a very derogatory symbol. It is very negative in terms of what it says about native people. And we are not animals. We are not like the Huskies or other mascots. We are people and we should be respected and treated the same. So the issue is the mascot, the logo that's related to being a mascot and all of that.
>>> Thank you for clarifying that Melanie.
>>> This is Alan. I would like to add to this. Poverty is definitely an issue. I don't want to go on and on about it, but there's a continuum. As this young man was saying, I would like to try to rephrase what he said. What impact has the casino movement had on native people or American Indians when poverty is not an issue? For example, in Alaska there's a native corporation that has been quite profitable and the dividends have gone to different members, people have got ten 50 thousand dollars simply for being a member of the tribe. What impact does has that had? What do they do with the money? What skills do they need? So we want you to look at the suicide rates, the mental illness rates among American Indians. There's a cultural conflict. And the culture tends to hide these issues. They don't want to talk openly about suicide and mental illness. People are sorry and they have an initial response that is supportive but they don't want to dwell on this. It is an illness. They don't want to talk about it. It is a very different approach. Say in South America not only the Indians but non Indian people, hearing people, et cetera, they talk a lot about death. They will have an entire publication that's all about death, with pictures of people who have died, it is a very different cultural perspective on what death means. A very different perspective on grieve. People will wear black for an entire year to show their grieve. People in America would not do that. We sort of feel like once someone has died okay well we went to the funeral. A week later we should be moving on.
>>> This is Eugene. In line with what Alan has said, around people in the tribe getting money, having investments, and the question of what to do with it. In my tribe what we do is give it to the children so they can go to college so they can improve their lives and be successful, to establish goals. So there's not just one response to getting the money. There are different responses.
>>> Yes I would like to add about the casino. From my experience in meeting different Indians across the country. Once the federal government has given the money and then the budgets are cut and there isn't enough money on the reservation to meet the needs of the tribe, they set up a casino, and often the profits are invested in schools, invested in roads, invested in enforcement or law enforcement systems. So the money is used to support the tribes in a way that really even the federal money was not. So I think it is much more positive. You may look at the casino as a very negative thing but I personally see it as a very positive event in the life of tribal people. Thank you.
>>> Thank you thank you both for sharing those perspectives. We're going to move on from this chapter now. Basically what we've done here is just identified some of the problems and we've seen this big barrier of people not being able to access services. So Alan and Dan are going to talk to us a little bit, break it down for us, what kinds of differences are there between the four what I call the four competing cultures, deaf, deaf American Indian, American Indian, and hearing -- what were the four? Thank you. Majority. There's four of them. They will talk about it. They will make it more clear. But anyway, and they are going to explain some of the differences and some of the ways that people who are deaf and American Indian have to transition and move between all of these cultures and how can they do that successfully with all of these different expectations?
>>> Our culture is called the cultural premises, which create the barriers. And in working with Alan on this, we tried to answer that question that Dorothy Walt asked because she asked a very pertinent question, when you look at a regular American family, deaf American family, a regular Native American family, and a deaf Native American family, and we looked at different areas amongst those four groups considering family values, educational values, environmental social values, and attitudinal values. We were able to note significant differences at each one of those areas between the four groups, and we set up this matrix here and based our perspective on this from this structure. We needed a structure to put this into a perspective, otherwise it's awful hard to grasp what we're talking about here. In my experience, even though this is a solid block structure, it is also very much a continuum. There is people that go from one area to the next and some of the more successful people have been able to negotiate between the deaf culture, the deaf Native American culture and just the general Native American culture. And I think that's one of the keys to the success. When we look at services that are impacting different groups, of course most of the services are developed and designed to meet the needs of the dominant culture and that's where we run bio problems with the Native American community and especially the deaf Native American community because the services are not designed to meet their needs and they are set up in a way which is not culturally appropriate. So in my work in Alaska and in working with Alan, we've written grants to do outreach work in the Native American communities throughout Alaska. It is interesting. People will say oh, you're from Fairbanks, Alaska. That's way out in the toolies. You're living on the edge of civilization. I'll tell you Fairbanks, Alaska and Anatovak (phonetic) Pass is a world of difference. When I go there in the Brooks Range and work with Native Americans there and stay at the family's home and ate the food, it is so completely different you can't even begin to imagine. And whether you see the extent of isolation that people experience in that kind of setting and you think, well, why don't we just move down to Fairbanks where there are some services and you can get some support? It is just like taking a fish out of water and trying to let them flop around on the ground. That's not an easy transition at all. And so to take it in reverse, how do we get services? How do we make services work? One of my big emphasis in my responsibility in providing voc rehab to the whole northern region of Alaska which is bigger than the state of Delaware and probably half the size of Texas is to say, okay I can maybe get out to these communities once or twice a year if I'm lucky and if I'm really lucky I will be able to find and actually meet with people and work with folks and families. Sometimes they don't want to meet with me. Sometimes they are gone and they are out to fish camp. We heard that a lot. They went out to fish camp. They knew we were coming and they went out to fish camp. We have to kind of respect that. Other times we'll go out there and oh, can we meet at ten? And things don't get started till one in the afternoon. Timetables are completely different. We have to respect that. One of the efforts I did and I think this has been an effort from the rehab services administration that I really applaud and I really applaud efforts of people like Dick Corbridge is to establish tribal voc rehab programs. We have ten of them throughout Alaska and they are established all over the country. These are established in the communities. I was very proud to say that I was able to establish a tribal voc rehab in every major community I had in my area and that made a significant difference in getting voc rehab services which they were modeled after and then what I watched was they were culturally sensitive programs. They came at it from a native cultural perspective. And we used voc rehab as a model to get them started but as they took off they went into a different direction and I watched and I said this is beautiful. They use different statistic gathering devices they measured their success differently and I really learned a lot from watching the tribal voc rehab programs come about. Now, the next challenge that we have in this system is how do we get the tribal voc rehab programs to also work with the deaf population in those areas. And that is what I see as our challenge. And what I hope that we can influence in this research article. So this is the matrix that we're working from. We've kind of left this part blank because we're still asking for feedback on that. Myself being hearing, white, Alan being white deaf and from that culture, I felt like okay I can talk about this pretty well. And Alan can talk about the deaf culture pretty well. I've had a lot of experience and contact with the Alaska native communities. Mostly because of my involvement with the deaf for example in Alaska. Had I not worked with deaf people I would not have the access and been able to stay at native people's homes and what not as a white person coming to the village. I mean, you're just simply not accepted. But working with deaf persons with the children in the family and with adults in the community, I was welcomed into the home and I felt very privileged for that because not very many white people are accepted into the communities. They see the white persons coming into village mainly to do some work and then they leave. Quick and do some work and then leave and they are never really part of the community and that's one of the problems with our service providers is that as a white voc rehab person I'm going to come in do a quick fix and get out of there. It doesn't work that way. You needs to establish the supports within the community. The community needs to be able to start providing the services them self. My goal for the ream I'm in is I would like to get a deaf Native American person to be the voc rehab counselor. I think that is the best approach because that's how the tribal voc rehab programs have been set up. Mostly tribal membranes are educated learn the system and provide the services. There's no other way to have that cultural sensitivity. Alan would you like to add something?
>>> Yes. I would like to can you go back one slide. Okay, chapter three, the premises. This was the most challenging, the most difficult chapter to write. Dan and I spent a lot of time agonizing over how we could describe to people who were totally uneducated about the American Indian and Alaska native populations. It was incredibly difficult. We're supposed experts but in fact we're not. I would not call myself an expert. I feel ignorant just as we all do. The answer is in us collectively. The people sitting in this room have part of the answer. We all need -- we need all of your input. We need all of these pieces. Give it to us through the web site. So this is how this chapter 3 works. What do you sign for multicultural here in the northwest? Do you have a sign? Some people have used this like many people gathering together. Do you have a particular sign for multicultural? Ah, many cultures I guess the compound. The W F D world federation of the deaf sign is this, many people coming together. So I as a deaf white person who also am acculturated as a hearing person, I eat, sleep, and wake up every day with these three cultures as a part of my life, and for American Indians there is at least a fourth, and there may be many others as well. There may be other cultural factors and issues involved as well that they must deal with and accommodate in order to achieve, in order to succeed. So we call this people of color? I begin to understand how they deal with their lives. They are often marginalized. They have many more struggles and barriers in order to just survive day-to-day. The word marginal comes from that word margin, being out on the outside, not being in the center. If you see the movie Pleasantville, things in black and white that become color. It is a nice movie. You should see this. And, of course, the message there is to have us think about what it means to be marginal, to think about people who have a different view, to think about becoming a person of color who is multicultural. People who think in black and white don't understand. The more we come to understand, the more color we have in our lives. So now to the next slide where we have this graph of cultural interactions. We got the six of us together from the team, two from Alaska, two from the eastern part of the United States, and two from the western part of the United States. We had those three regions represented. And in a very short intense three-day period, we brain stormed and came up with this graph. And, of course, as Damara has said, this has to be written and written well and clearly and our language is limited. Language is limited. How can you explain these concepts? Language can't incorporate these ideas. I personally am a very visual person. I like the idea of a graph. It helps me conceptualize these topics that we're talking about. But is this the right answer? No. We can't think of it that way. We could fill in the column on deaf. I mean Dan and I certainly know about deaf culture. We could fill in what deaf people think about family, how deaf people think about education but it would be an abstract label, a one-size fits all, where people are unique, individuals are unique. We could make a statement about deaf people but would all the deaf people in this room say that was true of them? I don't think so. It becomes a bias. It becomes a stereotype. So we don't want it that way. We want to make it clear that this is just a generalization, a guideline, and the people who are resistant to this are often white people, people who understand are often people of color. So we need to remember to think of it in color and not in black and white. Have you heard the term WASP? White Anglo-Saxon protestant? That's kind of what we're talking about up here, the dominant culture. Not necessarily domineering culture. So we're thinking of changing this word. And using the term mainstream instead. So the second column is deaf. The third column is deaf American Indian or Alaska native. Some people have used the sign native, which is similar to the sign superficial. And I have asked people and they say they prefer the sign native with an N that is more of a C sign and a the although of people in Alaska still use that N on the face just as the old Indian sign. But the term on the top of the skin, on the top of your hand was used by some people so if you -- we use Alaska native. So now you can see on the other side of the chart, then, the fourth column is American Indian and Alaska native. The two columns with deaf people are in the middle. Those who are white mainstream but deaf, those who are Indian but deaf. The Indian culture uses an extended family model aunts, uncles, grandparents are all considered a part of the culture, a part of the family. The uncle has a very specific responsibility to the children. While the parents are out fishing, gathering berries, the uncle and aunt may be responsible to watch the children. So they use an extended family model. Their discipline is very different from the mainstream culture. Often mainstream culture reward children for doing what they want. This does not happen in native cultures. In the mainstream culture, parents will decide the rules. In the Indian culture, the elders decide the rules. There are different signs for elders. Okay I'm being helped here. The sign I was using for elders is actually the sign for chief. Sign for elders is one who uses a staff. He is a person who is very respected.
>>> I would like to add and maybe you in the audience can help us with this. A lot of tribes do not use the same signs and so each tribe has their sign for various concepts. Chief could be chief indicating a headdress but not all tribes use feathered headdresses. So you know some groups sign Indian on the cheek and chin. Others sign Indian as first nations on the back of the hand. So it really varies.
>>> Right. So we want to avoid the idea of right or wrong. We want to accept all. Someone asked what happens about A S L when you -- remember the old signs for Japanese and Korean and all of that? Old signs for A S L. And as languages change we have accepted the original signs for Japan, Japanese, Chinese, et cetera, from those countries. So back again, mainstream culture is competitive, Indian culture is cooperative. Eugene did you want to add to that?
>>> Yes, the six tribes have different signs. Some use Eskimo. Some use Indian. So we have to you know we're trying to standardize the signs somewhat in Alaska and we use the N. And also the sign for Eskimo not made on the nose like some people used to do that. Alan says thank you. So the Indian family's emphasize sharing. It is very much a part of the culture and has been for many, many generations. In terms of education, that was the family part. In terms of education, there's passive learning. That's how schools taught us in the mainstream schools, to sit and pay attention. You remember that lesson? This is not true in the Indian cultures. The learning is active. One is trained to observe, to observe nature, to observe the world around us. It is not a very verbal way of learning as opposed to the mainstream culture which is a very verbal way of learning. We talk about everything. Things are named. Whereas in the Indian culture, one observes and fits the environment. Mainstream culture SDP much more mechanism can nucleotides, standardized, whereas the traditional Indian tribe thinks of the collective, thinks of the group, thinks of the circle. I was very frustrated in the mainstream way of education. I E Ps are written out. Goals are established. They were often imposed goals. All right. You're in third grade level. And I thought goodness, I'm going to graduate in May, and they are calling me a third-grade level. Thanks a lot. I started with all of those feelings as a result of being labeled. The Indian peoples are bilingual. They value heritage and they are very spiritual people. Where is the spirit in the dominant culture? There's not much emphasis on spirituality. It is there, but it is not focused on. Next category of environment and social. Many dominant people identify themselves by their work. They will tell you their name, perhaps where they graduated from school, and where they work. People are proud to say they work in service. You can see by their body language and the way they talk to you. So in the native cultures, this is not the way people identify themselves. They don't identify themselves by the profession but rather by where they are in the circle. Where they are in the group. By the season of the year. By the environment. By where they are in relation to the earth, the four directions, north, south, east, west. So it is a very contextualized way of thinking of themselves. Dominant culture, the mainstream culture is very task-oriented, very product-oriented. One must check off things on a list. One must produce. One must move along. As opposed to the Indian people in which the emphasis is on exchange. The economy is one of subsistence. People depend on what is theirs there. Is this the season for berries? Alaska has a lot of berries, then it is time to gather berries. And the role of the person depends on the season, depends on the resources. The mainstream culture, I have worked in other countries and people tell me oh, Americans. They have things to say about Americans. Your cowboys. [Laughter.] I would go to these other cultures with things to give, with ideas to bring, but we were identified as very low context. So the Indians think of the group. It is very cooperative. A person can't succeed without the group succeeding. We move together or we don't move. Mainstream culture's very low context. People have a lot of friends but not real friends. People will talk about oh, this is my friend. I met him three hours ago. So we emphasize that kind of meeting lots and lots of people as opposed to developing a strong bond. The Indian people are much more high context. There's much more of an emphasis on the depth of the bond and the length. The person who is a friend, there's much more than just having talked for a brief period of time. Another important difference is how people look at time. Americans are interested in efficiency. Following the clock. We must follow the clock. We must follow the calendar, as opposed to following what's happening, or the season. And often this is imposed on native people. Native people don't feel ready. So instead of having an appointment at 3:00. You have a plan to get together when you feel like it is time to get together. And if you can't come together in this way of looking at time and feeling that the time is right, that the spirit is right, that the context is right, then it is difficult to do good work. Who is respected in the culture is also different. Say for example basketball teams, the stars, the her rose, and there's a lot of emotion about winning in this culture, very competitive. We respect winners. You go to the ball games and you look at how people root for the winners. They get they emotional about this as opposed to Indian people who respect the elders, respect people who have the wisdom, who have shown leadership. And again, they are part of our group. If you look at games, it is very interesting. There is an Indian game called lacrosse. It is not Dan's LaBrosse. It is lacrosse. It is a very different game from the kind of game we're used to playing. Indian games are very different from the white people games. The rules are very different. The objectives are different. It is much like when I went to Mexico and worked with Aztec people. I'm sure you've heard of Aztecs. They have ball games as well. There's one that looks very much like basketball. There's a hole up on the wall, and you can't touch the ball with your hands. You have to use your upper arms to move the ball. And so I thought, ah all right this looks familiar it is much like basketball just like we throw a ball into the hoop they are throwing a ball into the hole and I didn't know the rules of the game but it was very interesting. The captain of the losing team in ancient times was put to death. So this was a very serious game. This was a life and death game. This was not something that you joined after school to play. So this was the ancient Aztec thought about ball games. So when we look at how people play games we have to recognize that there might be a whole different interpretation of what the game means. And should I continue and go to the last part here, the attitudes and psychology Dan or would you like to do this?
>>> Oppression. Do you want to talk about oppression and what that means in terms of the mainstream culture?
>>> Yeah. I think in terms of the dominant mainstream culture, which here we are in America the melting pot, yet oppression is a big part of the mainstream culture. If you don't fit in if you don't meet the norm then you're going to experience some oppression. And I guess I can speak from my own experience just as being a professional in deafness I have missed job opportunities, I have been in jobs situations where I felt I was owe pressed because I'm a professional in deafness. And that's part of our culture whether we like it or not it needs to be recognized and I don't think sweeping it under the carpet is going to help anybody. So we put that right up front. The dominant culture has a bad habit of owe pressing people that don't fit what the normal idea of it. Being a voc rehab counselor that signs, I think every voc rehab counselor should sign. I think that is normal, otherwise you're not accessible to a large group of voc rehab people that need services. In the Native American community we put dual oppressions probably based on the perspective that Native Americans do experience a lot of oppression from the mainstream community because of not fitting into the normal idea of white bread. And I also have the feeling or the impression that deaf Native Americans have a dual minority status. They are a minority within a minority. And so we label that as they also experience oppression within their own community. And it may not even be intentional but when you have Native Americans that have gone off to deaf school have learned how to sign in American Sign Language have been educated in a white person's school and come back into their community, what they have learned in school, you know, for their life to be an adult doesn't usually fit very well with the native community they are coming back to and this can cause a lot of cultural identity crisis and I see as the root of a lot of the social problems that were identified before, the suicide, and alcohol problems. And it is interesting that when people are able to overcome this, when they come to terms with who they are as a deaf person, as a native person and blend the two cultural identities together then they usually get beyond a lot of the social problems that we listed, the alcohol, and the suicidal problems aren't as prevalent for people who have adjusted and blended the two cultures together, and that's the beauty of organizations like the Intertribal Deaf Council. Where they have been able to blend the values the traditional values of Native Americans as a whole and traditional values of deaf Americans and make it cerebro- one cultural identity. I think that's helped a lot of people kind of figure out where they are at and become part of a bigger group instead of being isolated. The legal system is a huge barrier. And I think to demonstrate this, I mean, the statistics Alan stated are very true. I see this. It is unusual that you see an Alaskan deaf native man who has not been in jail for a significant amount of time for all kinds of reasons. I was recently involved in a case way up north from a gentleman who was in a remote village who didn't finish high school who didn't know how to read or write very well who is very high visual gestural and very proud member of his community. He was one of the tops subsistence providers, excellent hunter. Great shot. 4 or 5 caribou a season. Keeping his parents' and elders' freezers full of meat. He was a very proud individual and friend of mine. In the remote villages they have public safety officers that are Alaska state troopers that come in. In his village they shift out and have a couple new public safety officers come in and they had a brand new shiny truck. That truck was the biggest symbol of oppression because the troopers drove around like they owned the place, probably cutting folks off in their snow machines or driving around like they were not going to stop for pedestrians walking. And when you go to a village, you usually walk around. This truck became a symbol of oppression for the young man and he was offended by the actions and the mannerisms of the state troopers so he wanted to make a symbol that he was not going to accept the oppression. So what did he do? The troopers were at a restaurant in the community and he parked himself across the street, pulled out his high powered rifle and says I'm going to take out some windows of the police car. So he started shooting out the windows and the lights off the car. The troopers heard this, ran out, and one of the bullets ricocheted off the car and skimmed the trooper. They thought he was trying to kill them. They pulled out their guns. His father came in, got between the troopers. And his son who was scared at the time saw the troopers were shooting back. He did not have an intention to kill anybody. He was making gestures, threw down his gun. He was running and crying. So they arrested him and charged him with attempted murder. And when I got involved, they had all kinds of misconceptions about this individual. One is that they said he could read and write fine because they wrote a note to him in jail "Are you okay" and he said "Yes, I'm okay." They said he can read and write and understand fine, so he had planned the attack on the trooper. I know he'll get letters from Social Security and won't have a clue of what they say, and have big challenges trying to figure out the systems and what's going on. So fortunately I was able to clarify some of the misconceptions. That's an example. This guy could have been in jail for the rest of his life for something that was a total miscommunication. And the state troopers, who I was not favored by once I was up there, they were all lined up. They had different stories about what happened. It was like they were making stuff up as they went along. That shows the oppressive narrow perspective of the dominant culture. You have a proud person, you have somebody who is going to stand up for themselves and they come against the legal system that is controlling and, you know, domineering, and it doesn't mix at all. So the native communities have in some areas set up their own legal systems like for child welfare and protection. Those have been effective and work really well. This is the same model I was talking about before. It is like let's set up the structure within the native communities to manage their own affairs because that really works the best. Cultural norms, I mean, this is just a whole slew of cultural norms in white culture that are completely different from the traditional norms of Native American culture. Native Americans have spiritually connected rituals and gatherings that are very much different than what the white culture has. I believe racism and oppression kind of go hand in hand. It is an underlying current in our dominant culture. Even though we are the melting pot, there still is a fair amount of racism around. Hostility, fight to win. I think we see this more than ever in this day and age. We're out there fighting people in other countries and toppling over statues and whatnot. In the native communities it is more work together, let's cooperate and work together. So I think there's a lot to be learned from that.
>>> How are we doing for time? Can we go back just a bit? Good thank you. Dorothy, do you have a question?
WALT : Yes. This is Dorothy. I have a question. For American Indians and Alaska natives who are deaf, do they have people with additional disabilities, maybe blind, maybe other disabilities? Do you have a separate column for that?
>>> What a good question, Dorothy. Thank you. You read my mind. Great. We're in sync. We're good old friends. Yes, I was going to say that we have these four columns and, of course, time is limited as you know, but please give us input, things that you feel should go in these columns. Some of the things that you think are similar, some of the things that you think are different to either side of this continuum, and as I say, this is so difficult. We're trying to simplify it enough to be clear but at the same time, we're trying to be accurate and so Dorothy has now suggested maybe we should add a column for people who are hard of hearing, add a people who are deaf-blind, perhaps American Indian Alaska Native hard of hearing. And Alaskan -- American Indian Alaska Native deaf-blind. There are indeed people who are also deaf-blind. So as you've asked me if there are people who -- there's a deaf family who are native with deaf children as opposed to hearing parents with deaf children, there is some research, you know, are you aware of the research? Parents with deaf children constitute ninety percent of the deaf children. That is to say deaf children, 90 percent of their children are deaf -- pardon me, are hearing. So my experience of being a deaf person from a deaf family is the minority experience. The largest number come from hearing parents and families. So is this the same with American Indians and with Alaska Natives? This is not exactly our purpose there, but we're trying to be -- we're trying to be full of color and differences and be more contextualized. Eugene?
>>> To speak of the legal system, Dan was speaking a moment ago about the gentleman in Alaska, his experience. It is very important for DVR and VR to bring -- come together with deaf Native Americans and how to work with people in these situations. You can't and have an interpreter also. You can't continue in these situations in isolation. You need to bring in the people that is correct really speak to the people involved.
>>> Was there a comment?
>>> Thank you. I'm curious. I work with the deaf blind project in Alaska, and one of the things that we often talk about is the expectations of the villagers for the children who are deaf-blind in their own village, what do they expect from those young children and from the children who are deaf? What do they want to see them do as adults? What are their expectations?
>>> Are you asking me or are you asking Alan here?
>>> Whoever wants to answer.
>>> The respect for the position of elders we need to talk to the elders. As a service provider we can't decide. We need to get that kind of an answer. You need -- from the elders. Approach the elders and ask them what their expectations are, what they would like. And act as a consultant in terms of what the resources are, in terms of other ideas, but the decisions need to be made there in the tribe. So it is always a dialogue, it is always dynamic. Are people going to stay in the village or are they going to come where the services are available? And this is an issue. This is an issue. A conflict in values. Dan were you going to say something else? No did you have more to your question? Did you have more to your question or -- a semi answer, huh?
AUDIENCE: Could -- I guess what I'm getting at, that partly answered my question. But more of, you know, one of the things that in the dominant culture we really look at self determination and how we can infuse self determination with our youth with disabilities or who are deaf and so that would certainly be different in the native cultures. So -- and part of that is what the families -- and I -- you answered my question with the elders. So the service providers really need to go in and work with the elders and -- but where does that play a role in -- is that part of the breakdown in the system? Is that's not occurring? That the vision for the elders is not really high for these individuals? Or what's your opinion?
>>> Yes. There's really no easy answer for this kind of a question. The issue of deaf-blind people is primarily one of neglect. They are seriously underserved. So the question of what is best -- the best service is should it come from the family, from the elders, from the service providers? We have to weigh the answers. Some families are willing to let their children go. In fact even to the extent of being adopted by other families who would know how to provide services for deaf-blind children. They are willing to do that. So that the child can establish skills and the tools that they need to live and to survive. And once the person understands all of that, they can always return to the tribe or perhaps be lost to the tribe. It is a very difficult decision to make and thank you. Yes back here.
>>> And also I wanted to add something Damara says.
AUDIENCE: I recently met with someone who is a CODA who has got an older sister who is deaf and native as well and they work in distributing TTY equipment. And I asked her about how they do outreach to these people and she said that first she makes contact with the elder and tries to convince them of the importance of having telephone access. But finds there to be a lot of resistance among the elders. So could you explain more about what's happening behind the scenes and why there are these difficulties where the resistance is coming from?
>>> Yes there is often resistance from elders or from the families. Partly it is from lack of information. Information that they don't have. Partly it is from a way of life that they have established and you heard the woman just mention self determination as something that we value, and it is not necessarily of value in the native culture. So these values have to be weighed. And I as a service provider want the very best for the individual but I have to be very careful to not go over the line. I can talk about what services we have but sometimes when I go over the line, the elders want me back across the line where I belong. So that they can consider, once given the information, what's best for not only the individual but for the tribe. And, of course, I always want to say so how long do you want to think about this? How long do we have to wait? Because I'm over here enough of a mainstream person that I want thing to happen more quickly and, of course, I'm aware that the longer the things are delayed for the child, the more severe the handicap is becoming. But I need to stay -- I need to know my place as a professional, to just provide information, input, resources, and not try and tell people what should happen, not try to make decisions for the child, the family, or the tribe. I keep the name on my mailing list. I keep sending information. And they can do with the information what they want. They can ignore it or incorporate it in what they do. Does that answer your question?
AUDIENCE: And that's you as a professional, how do you deal with your need to accomplish your task and also how to work with their culture?
>>> Yes, so what I do is try and show respect and negotiate. I have to go back and forth between what I think -- see as a value and what I'm hearing as a value. Remember, I've been oppressed many years as a deaf person and Indians and Alaska Natives have been oppressed many years and I don't want to be part of that oppression. I've learned by experience, just as we said today, casinos can be positive things. Thank you, Eugene. I just learned from him this morning I have been asleep to that whole issue that there are positive results, not just negative results.
>>> Can you wait for a minute? Well, please, I wanted to break in here and make a point, please. The reason I wanted to make a comment is that currently, I am on the technical expert panel through the National Council on Disability, and the purpose of that is a group of disabled advocates who work with native peoples who have come together to look at what kind of recommendations can be made to the tribes as a way to improve accommodation and access and information that the chiefs and elders need to have because, you know, the tribes are not bound by the ADA, although some do follow it. And some may choose to accommodate in their own way. But they don't always know what to do. So I'm involved in this group trying to encourage them very respectfully by making recommendations and as Alan said, it is not a matter of sitting down with them and telling them what they need to be doing. We have to use a different approach, which is to say, okay, well, we have a solution for your problem. This is what you need to do. That's not going to work. So we need to look at their time, pacing, and let them know the information that is there and there is a group currently working with the tribes on how to improve access for disabled natives in general. And that includes deaf and hard of hearing people.
>>> I have got several comments. First of all, I want to really applaud you for this information. It is a great model and a way for me to look at what's happening on the other side of the room with the tribal community. Our office is looking at ways to work with the native communities through TTY distribution, social services and so forth. And it is not that they are not receptive. They are. Or seem to be. And say thank you very much and go on your way. And as you said this morning, do with it as they will. But I think it becomes a problem when a government approaches a tribal community with our own set of values and they will presume that we represent the dominant culture and values. That's the idea that we give to the public. We are here to do what's best for the community. Whereas we don't recognize their own internal dynamics and what's -- what they consider to be best for them and it becomes an impasse. So I'm not sure how to resolve that. And then part of that is we do need to acknowledge the fact that Native Americans can be racist. They don't want to have anything to do with the dominant culture or white people. Whether those people are Asian or black or whatever that represent another part of the population. And so it becomes a conflict between the two cultures. I think that there can be rejection and also oppression within the community, oppression of deaf and hard of hearing children in looking at what is best done and looking to what is available in the system. Whereas if there is a hearing child that is learning challenges, we would look at what the needs of the child are first. Parents of deaf children in native schools need to learn how to advocate for their children and how did they act as elders for their children? So I think that's one model that needs to be broken, is the concept that parents aren't responsible for their child within the tribal communities. They are. They need to learn to be advocates and we need to teach them to advocate for their children just as we need to teach deaf and hard of hearing people to advocate for their own rights through ADA and 504. So there needs to be some advocacy training done within the native communities and I think that that would help them to be able to work within the system. But I think you're providing us with a wonderful model here.
>>> The best model is really direct services from native to native. That's really the best. I mean, that's the answer. Deaf people providing deaf services to deaf people directly, deaf-blind people having their own deaf-blind professionals to provide services directly. I think that's the best model. So your idea about elders becoming advocates I think is an excellent one. Dan?
>>> Yes, I would also like to add to your comments about trying to provide or offer services to native communities. And putting my voc rehab counselor hat on, what I found very interesting was when I tried to provide voc rehab services to people in the native community it was very hard for our. If we were helping somebody improve their self-sufficient efficiency or subsistence for their lifestyle that didn't classify a 26 closure. I think we need to look at how we provide voc rehab services in the native community. What the tribal voc rehab services do is don't just get a person find them a job and close them out. They look at their statistic gathering system as any improvement towards self-sufficiency which is a real nice way of looking at it.
AUDIENCE: I just -- a thought occurred to me. The date of people's have the native people have their own sovereign governments and the U S has its own governmental system. Does DVR provide services to this other sovereignty or how does that work? I guess I'm being naive but --
>>> Again, there's no one right or wrong answer. It is rather a gray area. If we look down here at the attitudes and psychology and our legal system compared to the legal system within the community, there is a court system or a justice system but the way they do it is very different. And, of course, it is not standard from one tribe to another. Standards vary from one tribe to another -- systems vary. So it is not just a one to one correspondence or handing it over from the mainstream legal system to the tribal system. They do have a police system on the reservation. Law enforcement. So that's part of the answer. Specifically for tribal voc rehab programs, that is federal money coming from rehab services administration directly to the tribal entity, usually a nonprofit entity within the tribal organization and they administer that fund. They set up the program. They hire the people, and the whole thing is controlled by the native community. , which is the beauty of that and why it has been so successful. So I completely agree with Allan having native people provide services to native people PRARP it is just starting to pick up speed in Alaska but I'm really inspired in what I see there. I think in serving deaf native people in Alaska when we have deaf native people who can become implied with the tribal rehab programs we'll see a significant improvement in the level of services. Become employed.
>>> How do you work with them? How do you work together?
>>> I guess I see my role as the rehab specialist in a specialist, and deafness as the bridge, and I work with the RSA with Dick Corbridge who has been my main contact for tribal voc rehab services, and I recommend different areas that are really in need of services and I try to maintain my ties with the native community and the deaf native community as best I can.
>>> A while back, my counselor, when Dan was actually my counselor, was trying to explain the system to me, and it wasn't really something that I could incorporate, you know. It was -- and he was coming from a very different system. So he provided me with information and then I had to take that and look and see how it fit with my system and way of thinking. And I felt that there were parts of what he had to offer that I could add and then I would add from my culture to the plan that we were able to develop.
>>> I would like to add in a part about the education that we see up here. How many of you work on IEP's? Do you fill out IEP forms from the age of 14 on to graduation? Right? Elementary and so on? Right? Okay, so you're familiar with the IEP's and I have noticed from the white perspective you have to have all of these measures, you have to have a whole list of tasks, and the IEP has nothing in it about the elders or the uncles. So this is something you can do. You can recommend that there be part of -- a line on the form that the part where it says "other," make sure elders and uncles are included in that, because it is a critical part of how plans should be made.
>>> Another hand up. This gentleman sitting next to me had his hand up.
>>> Let me get you a microphone. ?
AUDIENCE: I just had a quick question about how first nation people in Canada have dealt with these issues and how the Canadian government if they have done any better job than the U S government has done and if you've looked at that model, especially with, you know, deaf and deaf-blind community.
>>> Does anyone here have information? Maybe you can answer.
>>> I'm an adopted member of the board in Canada on the Willow Creek Tribe. My family had gone to Canada often. And the United States and Canada systems are very different. I don't know if they have a VR system specifically, but they have money that comes from the tribal offices, FSIN, and I don't know what that actually stands for. But the government provides money by the province, so each province gets a certain amount of money that is redistributed within the tribes within the province. Whereas here everything comes from the federal government. So individuals who want money go to the tribal office up there. That's what happens.
>>> Okay, wow. We've had a great discussion here. Are we ready to move on? Next, we're going to look at recommendations. We have all the answers, right? I guess the answer to that is no. But we do have ideas. We have recommendations. And we would like to have you look at some of the things we've come up with and ask you how you would like to see these be changed or modified or added to for the future. So these are our current recommendations for providing services. Number one, future studies need to focus more on providing service to Indian reservations. We focus on deaf natives, but not necessarily those within the tribe or within the reservation. We looked more for people who are within the mainstream cultured and we need much more study on Indians and American Natives that are on the reservation because there's not much information on that. Secondly, we need to see state VR counselors work in conjunction with the tribal VR. That also needs to incorporate the family members and elders. Need to all be part of the service provision team. And that's not happening. Not sufficiently. Also there needs to be a grad school program with curriculums for VR counselors focusing on native and deaf issues. There needs to be more information out there. The book that talks about making the first step, we need to see more -- we have the book -- developed the book as a first step but there needs to be more information written and published. We've got a start here but we need to have more materials for people. And also, training. Similar to what we're doing here but we need to have more in-depth training and intensive information rather than a short two hours. We need to have full-day workshops available to people on these issues. And also, people need to know where to get information, where the resources are on American Indians and native Alaskans. So that information needs to be available to people. There needs to be more outreach. And also, my dream is that there be a three-year position developed that would do coordination outreach, provide training and evaluation, train VR counselors, train people in the tribes, work with the families, and look at the whole environment surrounding people. Another -- are there any other recommendations that you would like to add to this list or do you have questions about the things that are listed as recommendations here? Did you want to add something? Just let people know about the web site. If they have a thought later on, you can add it to the web site.
>>> Right, there is a database on the web site.
AUDIENCE: What about mental health services and other services that may be offered with win VR.
>>> Yes we need to look the a wide range of services to be made available. Education, coupling, employment services, and so on. Not just VR. That is something that we should add to our recommendations. Other ideas? Did you want to add anything, Dan?
LaBROSSE: Again, my goal is to see the role of the tribal voc rehab expand and start hiring and training deaf individuals from these tribes to become voc rehab providers and I see that there are potentially people I know in our community that can do that, that are interested in doing it, and we just need to get the systems behind it and support it and funding.
>>> You know, you will have opportunities to contact us in the future once you leave here if ideas come to the fore. You can reach us. We have information on how to contact us. You can do that through the web via e-mail or there are a variety of ways to let us know about your ideas after this workshop. As far as resources, we're looking at what kind of resources need to be available. Either for VR or for the tribe.
AUDIENCE: There need to be people that work with deaf-blind -- the deaf-blind culture as well. That needs to be added to our list.
>>> Also sign language interpreters who can work with Native Americans. There is really not enough people who are skilled in that area. We also need to look at where the tribal VR offices are located. There needs to be a centralized resource so you know where to find what's out in your communities. And be able to identify who of the state counselors for the deaf are good resources and that's information we hope to provide an and update on an ongoing basis. And other native disability advocates we hope to also share in this resource guide. We'll include information about universities and the research that has been done, for example university of Arizona and at Gallaudet and Arkansas as well. Universities that have done studies on native and deaf issues. We'll include organizations such as the IDC, Intertribal Deaf Council. There's also an organization in Canada that is just newly forming that focuses on deaf native issues and it is run by native deaf people themselves.
>>> Other types of information that needs to be included? Right. The G L N D -- the greater lake Indian deaf council are some of the organizations that we plan to include. And a list of articles and publications that people can access. And as you say, we need to include information about deaf-blindness as well. There's quite a bit of information in there also about interpreters and counselors.
>>> Self-help for the hard of hearing.
>>> Yes. Other organizations that should be included? Again think about these things and you will have an opportunity to provide us with feedback later on. Be sure as it says, there's a number of book -- the books that are being sold here, we have authors here, Melanie, Gene, and others who contributed to the book are available here. We have a lot of copies, we don't want to carry them home. Make sure you get over to the table and make your purchases. And the money that is being raised from this publication is going directly to the IDC -- is going to the IDC. Tomorrow he will be providing another workshop. Mark Azure and who are the other people from -- Clay, John Sargent. So go to their workshop and learn more about what is going on.
>>> I highly recommend you go, tomorrow 8:30 over in the Lopez room. Mark Azure will be there. He'll explain more. You'll understand a lot more about the context and background about deaf native people and the circle very specifically, the four directions, the colors. His wife is here. Maureen over here. So she'll feel good if you come. In want everybody who is here to be there. Maybe they will have candy over there. What do you think?
>>> I don't know I will be providing another workshop that conflicts at the same time so we'll miss seeing it yourself. The web site is WWW -- are you ready with your pencil and paper? And that's the web site that you can provide more feedback to. We'll write this also up on the board. www.uark.edu/rtcdeaf. It is on the front easel here so you can copy that down. He asked if there was a dot com in the URL, and no, there is not. This is it right here.
>>> Do you want to talk a little bit more about the reviewers? Go ahead.
>>> Okay. Flash the lights. May I have your attention. This is very exciting to get all of your input. I'm anxious to include it in what we're writing up. You can help us fill in the gaps. Remember those two columns had virtually nothing in them and we talked about adding other columns with people who are hard of hearing and deaf-blind and so forth. We have from now until July to get your input and it is critical to us so once we get the information, it is not just going to be the six of us who make this determines in terms of what goes into the report. We'll give this to other reviewers. Again, including the same regions, the eastern part of the United States, the western part of the United States, and Alaska. There will be six from each of those three regions. So, yes, the Mississippi river is the dividing line between east and west so it makes it easy.
>>> Do we have copies of that?
>>> On the chairs, on the web, -- PowerPoint presentation is on the chairs.
>>> So if there's anything that you think of, please come and share that with us and we'll also have our authors here signing books at the booth in the other room. And that will be a great opportunity for you to share with us and meet the authors. So thank you so much for coming.
>>> Just to clarify, the outline of the project is on the web site. So if you want to look at the outline, just go to the web site and then there's a place where you can sends in your feedback. Thank you.
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