October 26, 2007

Navajos roll for disabled rights

Disabled advocates highlight victims, vetsDennison, a lobbyist for the Native American Advocacy Group in Window Rock, was among about 35 individuals who participated in the 3rd Annual People with Disabilities Walk to the Navajo Nation Council chambers last Thursday.

But many didn't walk because they were confined to wheelchairs. And if they could walk, it was done with a lot of effort and very slowly.
The scope of the problem:According to the law center survey, which will be released next month, about 30,000 disabled individuals reside on the Navajo Nation.

Benally expressed disappointment that, despite those numbers, no Navajo government program that provides services to the disabled participated in the Oct. 18 walk.
MIA on needs of disabled

Advocate asks why Shirley administration is unresponsive to needs of the handicappedFor more than a year now, Doris Dennison, 44, has been trying to speak face to face with President Joe Shirley Jr.--again.

The last time Dennison spoke directly with Shirley was in March 2006. He listened to the description of the many obstacles faced by disabled residents of the Navajo Nation, and promised to make their concerns a priority once the election was over.

"And then nothing," she said.

Dennison, who works as an advocate for the Native American Advocacy Group in Window Rock, pointed out that most tribal buildings lack wheelchair access, despite tribal and federal laws requiring it.

In one instance described by officials of the judicial branch during a budget hearing, they recalled that a family member had to carry a disabled person in their arms to a second-floor courtroom.

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