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My slideshow is an interactive “scrapbook”. I have clickable text throughout the piece to add in or justify or to provide further information on pieces or ideas I crafted for my person. I also used this method to cite my sources. Due to file space, adding special effects makes the data larger, so I opted for no special effects. When you see a , you will know that this is a note for a barrier, and it’ll be discussed.
on Rosebud Reservation located in South Dakota. Birthday: 6/18/85 Mother: Single, named Mary Mae Wanbli Siblings: 3, 2 sisters 1 Rosebud Indian Reservation - WikiImages brother. Deaf from meningitis at age 3.
Image taken from California Indian Education’s parade page.
According to his audiogram, Rick is hovering at moderate to some severe. Meningitis is a disease that commonly results in deafness.
Rosebud, EI services are non-existant, and sometimes borrow from Pine Ridge’s EI services. Elders at the Rosebud did know Plains Sign Language, and many Northern Cheyenne relatives brought them over. A cousin of Mary Mae Wanbli’s helped her with signing, as did Mary Mae’s elderly mother (whom remembered some as well).
attended St. Francis Indian School that is located at Rosebud. He was put in a SPED class that had mildly inadequate service. The two aides he worked with, one was ASL using and the other Signed English. He was inapplicable for the South Dakota School for the Deaf, due to jurisdiction, and Mary Mae not wanting Rick to live off-reservation.
Education – Limited professionals and the poor condition of reservations leads to poor EI and education. School systems can remain inadequate with limited knowledge and enforcement of policies. Poverty – Due to the lack of funds, Rick’s mother could not afford the residential costs of a deaf school. Also in high-poverty areas, poor or limited access to quality education exists as well. Rick was put into SPED classes; basically with mildprofound disability students that may or may not be deaf as well if not a small group of just-deaf children. Having deafness remain in Special Education can cause problems in terms of not receiving adequate services and attention, since attention/care is given to more severe disabilities.
Deaf Schools – Even though there is a jurisdiction issue of tribal children going to state schools, Mary Mae could have sought legal services and argue that the Deaf school was the best education option for Rick. However, that would mean living at the school, and with the limited resources of his family, it may not have been a viable option. Amy Marie – Rick’s sister who went on to become an interpreter also became a resource. Other family members as well helped and supplemented with signed languages easily and afforded Rick communication.
family helped provide signed languages (Plains Indian Sign Language and ASL), which helped him build communication at a young age. By providing a means of communication, adjustment to social situations at school and his family were easier. Support of the signed languages was also extremely important to help keep him stimulated during toddler years.
continued to sign mixes at home, one older sister took an interest in ASL and went to college in North Dakota State for their Interpreter Training Program. His family encouraged signing, and thought really nothing ill of it. At the age of 10, Rick was put in foster care. His two sisters were not notified, and his brother (age 16) was also put in foster care.
Mary Mae became addicted to alcohol soon after a miscarriage that happened when Rick was 4. Rosebud uses state provided social workers, instead of having their own like Pine Ridge. The social workers deemed the house not suitable, and Rick and his brother lived with his grandparents for a while. Soon his grandparents were deemed not okay due to their advanced age. His biological father, who is from Pine Ridge, signed away his parental rights when approached.
Ridge social workers were unable to intervene due to the father’s signing off of parental rights. It then became an issue of jurisdiction. Rick was applicable for adoption, while his brother simply stayed at various friends’ and cousins’ houses.
family from Scranton, PA were interested in adopting Rick. They were the typical suburban middle class white family.
Photo taken from The London Sector
moved to Scranton at the age of 11, and attended the Scranton School for the Deaf. He participated in athletics as a productive coping mechanism to the rapid changes. His favorite sport is Baseball, but he did attend the Basketball team as well.
adopted mother had some sign knowledge, though his adopted brother and sister were minimally interested in signing in public. The father was mostly working. Most of the family relied on Rick’s speech reading, which he started learning more at Scranton School for the Deaf.
most kids, had a hard time adjusting with hormonal changes, family life, etc. He came in contact with his sister who is an interpreter (named Amy Marie Wanbli), which did help some. At the age of 14, Rick was caught in the locker-room with another male student who was on the basketball team.
and flawed implementations of “Zero Tolerance”– The school sought repercussive measures on the boys, which back lashed onto Rick. The other male student explained Rick initiated “the incident”, to which his parents argued for harsher punishment on Rick. Due to zerotolerance, Rick faced a possible expulsion. His adopted parents opted to move him to a different school.
Why is this a barrier? • Zero Tolerance also extends to sexual harassment.
Even though it is proposed as a “safe net” for LGBTQI youth to prevent or save them from bullying, the fact is that sexual misconduct can be grounds for discipline under the Zero Tolerance policy. Even if both individuals are consenting (such as Rick and his classmate), one set of parents can claim bullying or explicit behavior. • Homophobia is an underlying theme here. With little to no sex-education provided on residential schools, and if there was it was most likely centered on Heterosexual relationships. The school and parents reacting so viscerally could make the children internalize this as “bad behavior” or “wrong”.
– Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. They host meetings in various cities and towns, and also provide support for parents. NativeOUT – A gay/lesbian/transgender resource for Native American populations. Book: GLBTQ: The Survival Guide For Queer and Questioning Teens – a great book that provides real-world and down to earth advice for gay teens. They also have an extensive resource list.
Church of Christ – a Christian faith organization that is accepting and promotes activism for LGBTQ/Black/Latino/etc rights.
For their LGBT page, go here
possible occurrence that could have gone down at Rick’s school would be something similar to Constance McMillen’s case.
parents opted to transfer him to the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf for a fresh start. Rick’s sister, the Amy Marie, was very angry with the decisions and the school’s reaction. Amy subsequently moved to Baltimore, Maryland, and frequently visited with Rick and brought him to some PFLAG meetings.
Rick is very proficient in English, and gained awards and recognition at the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf where he was transferred to residentially. Amy Marie gave him books by Vine Deloria, Jr., who became an idol in a way. Rick’s other sister, Laura Deerkiller Wanbli was concerned about a lack of Native identity. This caused a lot of arguments between the family members. Rick’s growing affirmation of being gay also caused tension between his adoptive family and himself. However, his adopted sister and himself did grow closer. They frequently met off campus and hung out.
Name: Richard “Rick” Wanbli
Age: 18, fresh out of High school Race: Native American
Marital Status: Single
Sexual Orientation: Gay, semi-closeted. Hobbies: Reading/writing, and baseball. Languages: English and ASL Pref. Comm.: Signing, can lip read.
Pref. Tech: iPhone, VP, and light signalers
(shaking/vibrating ones annoy him). Hearing Aids: Family could not afford
them, so never opted for them. After
Actor Nathaniel Arcand
adoption, the issue never arose.
graduation, Rick attended the Community College of Philadelphia, where he majored in Liberal Arts – Humanities option. The college, since it was in the same city as his deaf school, was familiar and accommodating to deaf students. Rick had a 3.5 GPA upon graduation, but he was not interested in Honors.
did find a small dating pool, mostly with curious hearing white males on campus. A few deaf gay individuals who went to the PAH!ASL Club became good friends of Rick’s. Rick did have a hard time within the Human Rights Club and opted to not pursue the student government due to comments about Native Americans that were made by some members. He also had a few run ins with the Evangelical club, too.
was interested in a career in Law like Vine Deloria, Jr. He was accepted to George Washington. Unlike CCofP, GWU’s professors often seemed intimidated, uninterested, or clueless when it came to the services. While the services were great, and even his sister became an interpreter that served Gallaudet and other local universities, it was discouraging for Rick. Audism – Audist professors were discouraging Rick from pursuing an academic career.
– Like homophobia or heterosexism, the effect it has on the individual is that they are inherently “bad” or “wrong”. It’s persistence is partially credited to the fact that audism isn’t accepted as a traditional word or concept by mainstream America/Western Thought. The Disability Services at GWU did not provide advocacy or educational activism, just services. This provided limited academic support personnel to help make a difference.
University – Deaf professors and mentors could provide activist/grass roots support. Section 504 under the Rehabilitation Act provides coverage for discrimination, which Rick did experience. Family – Rick’s biological sisters are supportive to both his gay and deaf identity.
transferred to Gallaudet University to study undergrad in Government. This time he opted into the Honors program. Rick met a deaf mix-blood Black and Cherokee individual named Leroy at Gallaudet. Rick also finished requirements to become an ASL teacher on the side. His dream is to bring ASL back to the reservation as well as be a legal personnel for it.
Editor’s Note: Yes, I have a crush on Lenny Kravitz. Hush, you guys! ;)
moving out west to pursue his dream, both Leroy and Richard got married.
Taken from Connecticut Lesbian and Gay Law Blog
and Leroy do marry happily ever after. Rick attends University of Colorado in Boulder (where Vine Deloria, Jr. attended) and obtained a law degree. Rick currently teaches ASL at a local community college near Rosebud reservation. He also learned Plains Signed Language from more elders, and from the local Cheyenne and Kiowa people. Rick stays in touch with his adoptive sister, and much of his Native family.
Rick and I thank you for watching our slide I hope you enjoyed!
Taken from First Americans in the Arts
Book: Step into the Circle: The Heartbeat of American Indian, Alaska Native, and First Nations Deaf Communities; anthology Website: Intertribal Deaf Council Website: Handspeak.com PowerPoint: Deaf Native Americans Library Database: RIT Deaf Native Resources Website: National Multicultural Interpreting Project Book: Legal Rights 5th ed, Guide for Deaf and Hard of Hearing; NAD Website: A Guide to Disability Rights by the U.S Justice Department Book: Coming Out of Gay Shame: Transforming Gay and Lesbian Lives; Gershen Kaufman and Lev Raphael, 1996 Archived Journal: Spotlight on Special Populations: Native American; National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Volume 22, Number 4, 1998 Book: Addressing Racism: Facilitating Cultural Competence in Mental Health and Educational Settings; Anthology Book: Psychosocial Aspects of Deafness; Nanci A. Scheetz
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