CODI: Cornucopia of Disability Information
Native American Rehabilitation - New Mexico
Geography: The Pueblo of Zuni is a rural community in northwestern New Mexico. The reservation area covers in excess of 420,000 acres in McKinley County. The closest city is Gallup, New Mexico over 40 miles from the Pueblo. The elevation of the area is approximately 7,000 feet above sea level and the terrain consists mostly of forests, grazing land, and valleys well suited to agriculture. The current Pueblo is located in close proximity to the historical Pueblo of the Zuni people.
People: The 1990 census established the population of the Pueblo at 8,527 members. The Zuni people are considered to be one of the most traditional Indian tribes in the United States. The Zuni people have made a concerted effort to maintain their culture. Their religion and language play an important role in everyday life. The Zuni language is unique to the Zuni people and significantly different from all other tribal languages spoken in New Mexico.
Government: The tribe is governed by a constitution adopted in 1970. The tribal government includes Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches. The Legislative Branch consists of a Tribal Council made up of a GovernorT Lieutenant Governor, and six Tribal Council members. The Tribal Council are elected by popular vote of registered Tribal members. Elections are held every four years.
The impact of alcohol can be measured across the spectrum of health issues faced by the Zuni people. Major problems include diabetes, liver, and kidney ailments. The Indian Health Services Program has established a Wellness Program as a prevention measure to diabetes and a dialysis unit to deal with the impact of the disease. The community also has an excellent outpatient program. A home health care agency addresses health needs of home bound patients and a vocational rehabilitation program addresses the vocational goals of disabled community members.
There are three major employers in the community: The Tribal Government, the Zuni Public School District and Indian Health Services. These employers require special skills and education levels. Many community members rely on traditional arts and crafts as a means of making a living. Unemployment commonly ranges between 400/o to 50% of the available labor force.
The Educational system is extensive with a Public School District comprised of five (5) schools which includes a high school, a middle school, an alternative high school, and two elementary schools. There are also two parochial schools and a branch of The University of New Mexico. The community also has a federally funded Headstart Program serving children ages three to four years of age.
The vocational counselor can communicate in both Zuni and English which is a very big asset to serving the clientele. Also, being aware of the traditional and religious aspects plays a major role in providing services to the clients.
The 1990 census data showed a substantial disabled population of 283 individuals. There are 103 individuals within this group with a work disability and 24 are prevented from working. Sixty-eight have a mobility limitation requiring special transportation and another twenty-nine require self care assistance.