ERIC Number: ED417898
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998-Mar
Traditional versus Contemporary Navajo Views of Special Education.
Medina, Catherine; Jones, Doris; Miller, Susan
A survey and interviews examined the beliefs of traditional and contemporary Navajos concerning individuals with disabilities. Participants were 30 staff members from the Kayenta and Pinon Unified School Districts (Arizona), of whom 21 were Navajos, 8 Anglos, and 1 Hispanic; 1 Anglo and 8 Navajo community professionals; and 15 Navajo parents, including 3 medicine persons. Eleven staff members and seven parents were interviewed; the rest completed surveys. Responses indicate that varying beliefs about individuals with disabilities exist. Traditional views about the cause of disabilities often centered around the breaking of taboos or not obeying traditional cultural ways. Other traditional views supported the belief that individuals with disabilities had a special "gift" or were"blessed." Contemporary views of individuals with disabilities highlighted social and environmental influences as primary causes of disabilities. The overwhelming majority of respondents felt that both traditional and contemporary interventions were appropriate for individuals with disabilities. Nearly all respondents felt that as services became more available on the reservation, attitudes toward individuals with disabilities became more positive. (TD)
Descriptors: American Indian Culture, American Indian Education, Attitudes toward Disabilities, Cross Cultural Studies, Cultural Differences, Disabilities, Elementary Secondary Education, Indigenous Knowledge, Intervention, Navajo (Nation), Parent Attitudes, Reservation American Indians, Social Attitudes, Special Education, Teacher Attitudes, Traditionalism
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Coming Together: Preparing for Rural Special Education in the 21st Century. Conference Proceedings of the American Council on Rural Special Education (18th, Charleston, SC, March 25-28, 1998); see RC 021 434.