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Honoring Indigenous Peoples’ Day


As Monday was Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the Disability Rights Arizona (DRAZ) wants to share some exciting information about the Native American Disability Law Center and a historic settlement it recently achieved on behalf of Havasupai Elementary School students.

The Native American Disability Law Center (NADLC) is one of DRAZ’s sister Protection and Advocacy (P&A) agencies. NADLC serves Native Americans with disabilities in the Four Corners region, including residents of Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico. Along with its work in other disability rights areas, NADLC has a robust special education practice.

Did you know that while most public schools in the United States are funded and run by the state in which they are located, some are instead controlled by Native American tribal nations or by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Education (BIE)? No matter what entity runs a public school, if that school receives Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funding, it is required to provide special education and related services to qualifying students with disabilities.

In January of 2017, NADLC and its partners filed a lawsuit against the BIE for failing to provide educational opportunities to Havasupai students. After several years of trials and negotiations, NADLC was able to reach a landmark settlement agreement with the BIE in May 2023 that includes $850K in compensatory education funds for affected Havasupai students.

If you know a student attending a BIE or tribal school and have concerns about their special education, you can contact NADLC or DRAZ to complete an intake.

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