CODI: Cornucopia of Disability Information
Cornucopia of Disability Information
The Fort Hall Indian Reservation consists of 500,000 acres and is located in southeastern Idaho. The major industries on the reservation are cattle production, farming, and phosphate. There are 5,114 people living on the reservation: 3,035 American Indians, 1,882 Caucasians, and the remainder are of Hispanic and other origins. Per capita income is $4,610.00 and 3,016 individuals are considered to live in poverty status. The languages of all reservation residents are English, American Indian (various tribes) and Spanish. The largest government body on the reservation is the Shoshone Bannock Tribes who governs all business on the reservation, land use and naturally existing resources. Other government bodies on the reservation are county and city who work with the tribal government to ensure reservation policies are followed by non-lndian individuals.
The major health issues addressed by the Rehabilitation and Medical Services are alcohol, drug abuse, diabetes, Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE)/Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), traumatic brain injury (TBI), mental health, and various physical ailments
Employment on the reservation consists of employment with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Indian Health Services (IHS), Tribal Government, J.R. Simplot Co., FMC Corporation, and various farming operations. The current rate of unemployment for American Indians registered with the Tribal Employment Rights Office is 40% The reservation educational system consists of an elementary school operated by the state school district and a junior and senior high school operated by the tribal government and BIA.
The Shoshone and Bannock people are originally from what are now the states of Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and Idaho. The Bannocks, who have a similar culture but a different language, were originally Northern Paiutes who left Nevada and Utah to move to Idaho and became known as Bannock. Most members of the Shoshone Bannock Tribes currently reside on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation and have extended families in Utah, Nevada, and Wyoming.
Rehabilitation is viewed in a positive light by reservation residents and especially by consumers of rehabilitation services. The entire staff of the 130 Project are enrolled members of the tribe which lends an element of uniqueness to the project on the reservation. The project provides services to the family and incorporates cultural, social, and community values in the rehabilitation plan.
Rehabilitation today is different from our practices five years ago in that we have gained a substantial amount of knowledge and experience that allows us to provide good rehabilitation to our clients. Five years ago, the project was in its second year and vocational rehabilitation counselors were still learning what rehabilitation was about. Twenty years ago, the state vocational rehabilitation agency was responsible for serving Indian clients.
Our rehabilitation project is unique in our ability to start innovative ventures to provide culturally relevant evaluation and training to our vocational rehabilitation clients. For instance, our 130 Project started a community rehabilitation program on the reservation, and all employees are American Indians. Evaluation and training are conducted by American Indians who are sensitive to the needs and background of the Indians that are served.
All clients are members of the Federally Recognized Indian Tribes. All clients must reside on the reservation. All clients have a disability that prevents them from obtaining or maintaining employment.
The needs and wants of individuals on our reservation and their immediate concerns are: (a) Can they attain employment on and off the reservation and employers understand the limitations they (clients) have due to their disability?; (b) How can clients go to work when
there is no public transportation to take them to their place of employment?; (c) Will employers understand clients' need to work part-time and/or be understanding when they are gone from work a lot due to their disabilities7
The future of rehabilitation looks good as it is a needed element of the tribal structure. Our project works closely with the Indian Health Service, mental health, human services, school districts and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. There is a basic need for vocational rehabilitation services due to the high rate of Fetal Alcohol Effect / Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, alcoholism, and severe learning disabled. As for all Indian tribes, I see a need for vocational rehabilitation programs on every reservation as vocational rehabilitation services are minimal from state vocational rehabilitation agencies.
The role technology plays on our reservation in relation to individuals with disabilities is a major factor in the rehabilitation process. There are no suppliers of technology located on the reservation so we have to purchase it from medical centers. In the case of adaptive equipment, we purchase it from suppliers in large cities off the reservation. We utilize our vocational rehabilitation counselors and local people when job accommodations and job restructuring are needed.