November is Native American Heritage Month! Please note that within this blog we are using the words Native and Indigenous, as is preferred by many Nations. However, individual Nations or people may have different preferred terminology (e.g. First American, Native American, American Indian, etc), and we encourage open discussion to ensure that you are using the most affirming language possible.
CHAT amplifies the Indigenous protectors who continue to advocate and care for our natural resources, the artists and activists who embody Native resilience and power, and the many Native communities who are among the most violently impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Uplifting this month also requires that we grapple with histories of genocide, forced removal, and colonization that continue to impact Indigenous communities. This ongoing reality is deeply intertwined with CHAT’s work. Native youth are historically overrepresented in special education, with the 2010 US Census Bureau reporting that Native children were up to 96% more likely to be placed in special education than their White peers. Furthermore, up to 79% of the Native children who qualify for special education services are specifically diagnosed with a speech or language condition. As speech pathologists, we can and must support Native and Indigenous youth with communication diagnoses by advocating for a just, inclusive school curriculum, as well as committing ourselves to culturally humble speech services.
Whether we offer our services in-person or virtually, we must uplift the Native communities on whose land we carry our work. Our Lombard clinic stands on the traditional homelands of several Native Nations including the Kickapoo, Peoria, Potawatomi, Miami, and Oglala Sioux Nations, who used these lands as a site of trade, travel, and healing. Today in Illinois, over 100,000 tribal members continue this legacy of resilience and community-building. As we carry out our commitment to social justice through inclusive speech services, we center our mission in the communities who build this shared future of justice, sustainability, and empowerment.
To find out which Native Nations are home to where you live, you can type in your address at https://native-land.ca/ !