18th Annual Native American Indian Disability Summit is April 1

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18th Annual Native American Indian Disability Summit is April 1

The 18th annual Native American Indian Disability Summit, under the theme “Gathering Native Voices to Build Strength Through Unity,” is Friday, April 1 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Desert Willow Conference Center, 4340 E. Cotton Center Blvd. in Phoenix.

            A virtual online component is available. The event is fragrance free to accommodate those with allergies, breathing conditions or multiple chemical sensitivities.

            There is no cost to attend the Summit, but registration is required.  To register, visit www.ability360.org/american-indian-disability-summit.

            The Summit officially begins with opening ceremonies at 8:30 a.m. featuring the presentation of colors by the honor guard from the Ira Hayes Post 84 in Sacaton, a blessing song by Grammy Award-winner and flute maker Aaron White (a Canyon Records artist) and greetings from Miss Indian Arizona 2021-22, Alyse Marrietta of the Gila River Indian Community.

            Kimberly Yellow Robe of The Lakota people will introduce keynote speaker Darold H. Joseph, Ph.D. (Hopi), Assistant Professor at Northern Arizona University who will discuss “Indigenous Abundance: Cultivating Advocacy Through Community.”

            One-hour breakout sessions begin at 10:45. Topics and speakers are:

• 10:45-11:45 a.m.: Special Services for American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians Available through Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD)– Anthony Dekker, D.O., Chief Medical Officer, DDD.

• 1:15-2:15 p.m.: Communities Coming Together, Supporting Tribal Members With Disabilities– Wendy Parent-Johnson, Jim E. Warne, Jacy Farkas, Sonoran Center for Excellence in Disabilities, University of Arizona. 

• 2:30-3:30 p.m.: Transitioning to Independent Living is Possible– Ivan L. Rivera, Program Manager, Benefits 2 Work, Ability360.

            One-hour panel discussions, also beginning at 10:45 a.m., topics and panelists are:

• 10:45-11:45 a.m.: How to Advocate for the Health Care You Want– Heather Williamson, Northern Arizona University; Julie Armin and Tamsen Bassford, University of Arizona; Kenneth Kundert, self advocate; Dana Russell, Northern Arizona University Hopi Cancer Support Services; Veronica Boone, Tucson Indian Center.

• 10:45-11:45: Supporting Fathers of Children With Special Needs– Neil Tift, Outreach Coordinator, Native American Fatherhood & Families Association.

• 1:15-2:15 p.m.: Native American Resource Collection at Center for Parent Information and Resources: Culturally Responsive Resources Created by Native American Authors– Judy Wiley and Joann Sebastian Morris.

• 1:15-2:15 p.m.: Building Community Resiliency Before, During and After a Disaster– Stephanie Miller, Disability Access Educator, Arizona Statewide Independent Living Council.

• 2:30-3:30 p.m.: In Our Own Voice– Terry McDermott and Arthur Jackson, Peer Support Specialists, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Valley of the Sun.

            Summit sponsors are Ability360, Ak-Chin Indian Community, Desert Diamond Casino, Dust Devil Legal, Molina Health, Native Health, Rehabilitation Services Administration, The University of Arizona College of Medicine Tucson Sonoran Center for Excellence in Disabilities, The Arc Arizona, UnitedHealthcare, Banner University Family Care and Mercy Care.

            For more information, visit www.ability360.org/american-indian-disability-summit.

            For more information about Ability360, visit www.ability360.org.

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