Focus on Native Americans No. 97-03
Date: Summer 1997
_American Indian Library Association meeting_
The American Indian Library Association presented a
panel discussion, "Native Visions: Native Writers
Telling Their Stories," when the American Library
Association (ALA) convened in San Francisco, June 28.
Alex Ramirez of the Ohlone tribe and Clifford Trafzer
of the Wyandotte tribe shared information about their
work in communicating and recording American
Indian oral traditions. Ramirez is a popular
storyteller and regaled the group with stories
of "Coyote," a prominent character in Indian
folklore. Trafzer is a professor at the
University of California at Los Angeles-Riverside. He
recounted his efforts in collecting and using oral
history in academic writing. He compiles unrecorded
and new oral tales from from a variety of tribes to
produce publications such as _Earth Song, Sky Spirit:
Short Stories of the Contemporary Native American
Experience_, RC 38244 (NY: Doubleday, 1993. 495p.
$25) and _Blue Dawn, Red Earth: New Native American
Storytellers_ (NY: Anchor Books, 1996. 431p. $14.95).
_American Indian Disability Legislation Project
Highlights of findings from the American Indian
Disability Legislation Project are given in _The
Rural Exchange_ (v. 10, Apr. 1997: 11-12). The
report noted that the cultures and traditional
beliefs among tribes vary significantly and that
each group responds to the world differently and
has developed distinctive views of life and
disability. A sampling of some of the beliefs
researchers found and the problems they may
cause for Native Americans with disabilities
were: a) elders are more likely to perceive
disability as "just the way that life is
supposed to be;" b) traditional people believe
that introducing foreign objects into a person's
body can impact the spirit negatively;
therefore, they may refuse medical treatment or
the use of assistive devices because intervention
disrupts spiritual health; c) people are often
reluctant to ask for services because of the stigma of
being labeled "disabled;" the label may prevent people
from requesting services or seeking help; d) the
prevalence of diabetes in the Native American
population has produced the expectation of developing
the disease and, therefore it is not recognized as a
disability; people may not seek medical care until the
disease becomes life threatening. A complete copy of
the AIDL final project report, _American Indian
Approaches to Disability Policy_, is available for $5
from the Rural Institute, 52 Corbin Hall, University of
Montana, Missoula, MT 59812, attention: Diana Spas;
Several articles dealing with the development of
rehabilitation programs for Native Americans
with disabilities have come out in the past
year. They are:
D'Alonzo, Bruno, Gerard Giordano, and Wayne
Oyenque. American Indian Vocational
Rehabilitation Services: A Unique Project.
_American Rehabilitation_, v. 22, spring 1996:
Hassin, Jeanette. After Substance Abuse
Treatment, Then What? The NARTC/Oregon Tribal
and Vocational Rehabilitation Project. _American
Rehabilitation_, v. 22, summer 1996: 12-19.
Lachowicz, Joseph. Developing a VR Program on
the Tohono O'Odham Reservation. _American
Rehabilitation_, v. 22, summer 1996: 29-30.
Locust, Carol, and Jerry Lang. Walking in Two
Worlds: Native Americans and the VR System.
_American Rehabilitation_, v. 22, summer 1996:
Shafer, Michael, S., and Doug Six-Killer St.
Clair. Community Rehabilitation Programs:
Serving Native Americans with Disabilities.
_The Rural Exchange_, v. 10, Apr. 1997: 13-15.
Young, R.S. The Native American Research and
Training Center. _Disability Studies Quarterly_,
v. 16, spring 1996: 28-31.