Title

Rural Cherokee Children With Disabilities: Parental Stories of Special Education

Date of Degree

5-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Program

Education

Advisor

Norman St. Clair

Advisor

Jessica Kimmel

Advisor

Roberta Leichnitz

Advisor

Kevin Vichcales

Abstract

This qualitative study explores parental involvement with special educational agencies and laws represented by the United States, the State of Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation, and the local school district.

Parents of Cherokee children with disabilities encounter educational agencies from their child’s birth to adulthood. Living rurally within the Cherokee Nation’s jurisdictional boundaries, these indigenous families engage with a myriad of special education agencies and subsequent policies. This qualitative study explores parental involvement with special educational agencies and laws represented by the United States, the State of Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation, and the local school district. Using oral tradition as a means of exploration, the findings highlight continual negation of special education laws: the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, No Child Left Behind, and the American with Disabilities Act. In addition, the research contributes to the paucity of literature specific to Native American youth with special needs not living on a reservation. It was accomplished through a qualitative case study design methodology using in-depth interviews and extensive field work.

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