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Citizenship and culture: the role of disabled people in Navajo society

Written Material

The authors completed a study of thirty four Navajo extended families, with a member with a disability. The disabilities diagnosed were all severe. Their findings indicated a very different perception of disability to a western one. Most importantly perhaps, the manifestation of a disability (e.g. seizures) are seen as expressions of the uniqueness of the individual and are not regarded as "good" or "bad". Secondly, illness and health are regarded as mind/body/spirit conditions so it is possible for a person to be cured by ritual or ceremony and still have the physical manifestation of the disability. Thirdly, rather than being seen as eternal children (something that occurs often in western society), people with disabilities are seen as poised at the brink of adulthood and have the responsibilities appropriate to this highly significant stage in life. Keyword: Cross Cultural

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Connors, Jeanne Donnellan, Anne
Disability, Handicap and Society Volume 8 Number 3
Publication Date
1 January 1993
Cross Cultural

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