Everton 1 Daniel W. Everton S.

Lygren DST210 11 December, 2010 My Deaf Person: The Final Project

From the audiogram given to me by Sandy, my person is on the moderate-severe scale, leaning more towards moderate. From this, I built my deaf person: Richard “Rick” Wanbli, a deaf Native American who had meningitis which resulted in his deafness (A.D.A.M). Rick comes from the Santee-Sioux tribe, located in Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. Rosebud is one of the more poor reservations in the Sioux area, and Rick is no exception. His family is poor, but manages. Early Intervention is nearly non-existent on the reservation, and that is part of his first barrier. The other part is his early education, which has only two aides that do not use the same signed languages (one uses ASL, the other Signed English). Rick is unable to attend a Deaf school because of both the cost and distance, but also the fact that enrolled tribal children attend the local tribal school. Another issue is that at the Indian School he’s put in SPED classes; being in a mix of possibly some other deaf individuals with a majority of mentally disabled children is difficult to manage in one setting. Majority of the attention will be on the children that may have autism, Down’s syndrome, and other MR pieces. The education may also be dumbed down, to be applicable for the more mildly to severely retarded children. Rick is capable of performing at a hearing level, if given the opportunity. At home, his family does learn some ASL and Plains Indian Sign Language. Rick’s sister was inspired by having a deaf brother to eventually go into interpreting, and also became a great resource for sign. So while his family did have little educational opportunities for him, he did have a basis of

Everton 2 communication and language, which is essential for developing minds (Scheetz). He was able to learn to read quite well, even though his tribal school put him in SPED classes. Rick’s home life became unstable with his mother’s alcohol addiction. Due to high poverty levels and a prevalence of drug/alcohol abuse during the post-colonization times, it is not unlikely for Rick’s mother to fall prey to it (Beauvais). He was put with his grandparents after social workers found the home unfit. However, unlike Pine Ridge (another Sioux reservation, with a bit more resources), Rosebud does not have its’ own social workers. Most borrowed social workers are ill-equipped for dealing with the cultural differences between their culture and Native American culture and norms. Rick’s home was deemed unfit because he and his siblings share a room, which was a limited space anyhow, and that too many people lived in the small house. Culturally, having an open door for family members is traditional and still practiced amongst Plains people, so it is not unusual to have a large group of your family staying the night or the week, especially if they are traveling far between places. His grandparents’ place was much the same, so they were soon deemed unfit as well. Custody was placed with his father for a brief moment of time, and because his grandparents were slow and not well versed with the legal system, they could not prepare to gain custody of Rick and his brother (both sisters were off the reservation at this time, at school). Rick’s father signed off custody, thus changing custodianship to the state and no longer the tribe. Rick’s brother, who was 16, skipped the foster care system and jumped around from place to place, typically staying at distant relatives or friends houses on and off the reservation. Rick was then adopted out to a family in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The family was a typical white suburban family. Dad, mom, two kids (boy and girl). The differences between them were obvious: Rick was Native and deaf, his family was white and hearing. This created quite a divide already. His sisters were not notified of the adoption until it was too late, and they could not gain custody. However, they fought for the right of visitation which was granted. Despite

Everton 3 all this, Rick adjusted very well. He was active at the school he attended (Scranton State School for the Deaf), participating in sports and making deaf friends. He was not living there residentially at this time, so he had little to no affiliation to the dorms. He was popular, but distant to his family. Feelings of being ostracized are common amongst children to hearing adults, more so if there are language (Scheetz) and cultural barriers. Towards late middle school, Rick was like any typical teen and was exploring himself and his new pubescent body, and was curious about boys. He was caught by a staff individual in the locker room with a class and teammate from the basketball team, kissing him. The school reported it to the parents, and both Rick and the other male student admitted that Rick did initiate the “lewd act”. This prompted the parents of the other male student to argue sexual harassment, indecency, conduct code violation, etc. Anything they could come up with, you name it. Zero Tolerance, which is portrayed as some magnificent safety net for LGBTQI children to be protected from bullying, can be used against them in incidents like this. With the Zero Tolerance policy, the student can face expulsion. Rick’s family opted to transfer him to a different Deaf school in Pennsylvania, out in Pittsburg. This reaction and rejection from the school, parents, and other members involved creates an association that what Rick did is fundamentally wrong, and is unacceptable (Kaufman, Raphael). Rick attended Pennsylvania School for the Deaf for high school located in Philadelphia. He excelled academically, especially with support from his sister Amy Mae (the interpreter). He did continue to explore his sexuality, and his adoptive sister and Amy Mae helped by going to PFLAG with him and being supportive. After graduating, Rick attended Community College of Philadelphia. Services and teachers were generally nice, and with the deaf school nearby and a significant deaf population, support was easily at hand. He also managed to get closer to his adoptive sister as well, though his other

Everton 4 adopted family relations were strained. He graduated with an A.A in Liberal Arts – Humanities Option. He then went to George Washington University, which resulted in a different experience. At GWU, Rick faced a lot of ignorance from teachers. Though services were provided, it was often a conflict in nearly all classes he had. Teachers and students made comments, and he was one of the very few deaf people on campus. The disability services program did not provide advocacy or educational trainings to faculty, staff, and students, which could have been a major support for Rick. Under 504, Rick could claim discrimination (U.S Justice Department), but Rick opted to transfer to Gallaudet. He majored in Government, and met his soon to be husband named Leroy Brown who majored in Social Work. Leroy is a mixed blood Black and Cherokee individual, registered in the Eastern Band of Cherokees. Both he and Leroy grew close easily since both are deaf, were in foster care at some point, and both are people of color. They bonded quickly and graduated together. Rick met the requirements for becoming an ASL teacher and gained certification as well. After graduating from Gallaudet, both he and Leroy moved to Boulder, Colorado so Rick could pursue a law career. He attended University of Colorado just like his idol Vine Deloria, Jr. did, and found a great amount of support and advocacy from their disability services, and a substantial deaf, gay, and Native population to intermingle with. Rick hopes to brings ASL back to the Sioux reservations in a more formal way, and become a legal figure within a tribal setting. Rick Wanbli has an interesting, full life that he did have to adjust abruptly with so many barriers. However, I focused on three: his early education, his exploration back as a teen, and his stint at George Washington University. The power point provides resources in order to help for possible decisions, and sometimes they were taken up such as the example of PFLAG. This project was quite a revelation, and challenging at times, but it was more than a delight to work on.

Everton 5

Works Cited
A.D.A.M. Google Health. 2010. 10 December 2010 <https://health.google.com/health/ref/Meningitis>. Beauvais, Fred Ph.D. "American Indians and Alcohol." Spotlight on Special Populations (1998): 253-259. College, El Paso Community. EPCC National Multicultural Interpreter Project. 10 December 2010 <http://dnn.epcc.edu/nmip/Home/tabid/2729/language/en-US/Default.aspx>. Constantine, Madonna G. and Derald Wing Sue. Addressing Racism: Facilitating Cultural Competence in Mental Health and Educational Settings. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2006. Council, Intertribal Deaf. Intertribal Deaf Council. 7 December 2010. 2010 December 13 <http://www.deafnative.com/Deaf_Native/Welcome.html>. Davis, Jeffrey. Hand Talk: American Indian Sign Language. 2006-2007. 13 December 2010 <http://sunsite.utk.edu/pisl/>. Deaf, National Association of the. Legal Rights, 5th Ed.: The Guide for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People. Washington D.C: Gallaudet University Press, 2000. Department, U.S Justice. A Guide to Disability Rights Laws. September 2005. 7 December 2010 <http://www.ada.gov/cguide.htm>. Kaufman, Gershen and Lev Raphael. Coming Out of Gay Shame: Transforming Gay and Lesbian Lives. New York: Main Street Books, 1996. Scheetz, Nanci A. Psychosocial Aspects of Deafness. Allyn & Bacon, 2003. Step Into the Circle: The Heartbeat of American Indian, Alaska Native, and First Nations Deaf Communities. AGO Publications, 2002. Technology, Rochester Institute of. Wallace Library. 10 December 2010 <http://library.rit.edu/guides/deaf-studies/deaf-culture-diversity-and-sociology/deaf-native-americanresources.html>. Training, Transition Services &. "Deaf Native Americans." 2005. Kent State University. 13 December 2010 <http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=4&ved=0CDUQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.eh hs.kent.edu%2Ffundedprojects%2FTSPT%2Funitexamples%2FDeaNativeAmericansSept05.ppt&rct=j&q=deaf%20native%20americans&ei=8zAKTfbVJIGKlwehxrmoAw&usg=AFQjCNFwVsPexefIyqvCE2r>.

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