OIPO Disability Abstracts: Indigeneity and Postcolonialism

This literature review includes material from across several disciplines interrelated to indigeneity, postcolonialism, and disability. Included are books, articles, and other resources on topics such as:

  • Decolonization, imperialism and anti-imperialism, settler-colonialism, and the Global South
  • Inequities in health care and support services, including the COVID-19 pandemic and aging
  • Institutionalization and incarceration
  • Kinship and families
  • Indigenous arts, literature, and culture 
  • Activism and occupation
  • Ecology, climate change, and the environment
  • Intersectionality and disability justice

Content Warning: Some materials may concern controversial subject matters; therefore, discretion is advised.

Updated 4/17/2024

Abustan, P. (2022, Fall). Surviving and thriving: Queer Crip Pilipinx Kapwa dream worlds in Animal Crossing New Horizons. In A. Patsavas & T. Danylevich (Eds.), Crip Pandemic Life: A Tapestry [Special Issue]. Lateral, 11(2). 

As a queer, crip, genderfluid, and diasporic Pilipinx scholar-activist-educator, my ancestors, communities, and I live at the intersections of multiple sites of oppression and resistance. As someone who is sick, disabled, and neurodivergent, I experienced anxiety, depression, and chronic bodymind pain before the pandemic and even more during the pandemic. Nintendo Switch’s Animal Crossing New Horizons (ACNH) video game kept me afloat during uncertain times. ACNH opened up a whole new alternative universe for me to live in. I meditated more when escaping to my scenic and calming virtual island. I relaxed more when fishing, catching butterflies, and hearing the tranquil ocean waves crash within the game. Building my dream world within my ACNH virtual game contributed to me surviving and fostering deeper friendships with fellow sick, disabled, neurodivergent, queer, transgender, Black, Indigenous, and/or people of color (BIPOC) friends. ACNH became a safe way for us to socialize and it continues to be a source of joy for many of us. I highlight how my experiences with ACNH allowed me to cultivate queer, crip, and decolonial Pilipinx Kapwa dream worlds where all beings including people, animals, land, water, and air thrive together.

Abay, R. A., & Soldatić, K. (Eds). (2024) Intersectional colonialities: Embodied colonial violence and practices of resistance at the axis of disability, race, indigeneity, class, and gender. London: Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003280422.

This book provides a rich synthesis of empirical research and theoretical engagements with questions of disability across different practices of colonialism as historically defined – post/de/anti/settler colonialism.

It synthesises, critiques, and expands the boundaries of existing disability research which has been undertaken within different colonial contexts through the rich examination of recent empirical work mapping across disability and its intersectional colonialities. Filling an existing gap within the international literature through embedding the importance of grounding these within scholarly debates of colonialism, it empirically demonstrates the significance of disability for the broader scholarly fields of postcolonial, decolonial, and intersectional theories.

It will be of interest to all scholars and students of disability studies, sociology, critical studies, sociology of race and ethic relations, intersectionality, postcolonial and decolonial studies, and human geography.

Allen, A., Penketh, C., & Wexler, A. (Eds.). (2022). Thematic Issue on Disability Justice: Decentering Colonial Knowledge, Centering Decolonial Epistemologies. Research in Arts and Education, 2022(3). 

This thematic issue of Research in Arts and Education derives from the presentations and keynote addresses of the 3rd International Disability Studies, Arts & Education Conference (DSAE). In light of the ongoing global pandemic, the conference was held online for the first time from October 7 to October 9, 2021. In preparation for the conference, we recognized how the pandemic had fore-fronted social justice in disability studies, art education, and society: the inequity of economic resources, the exploitation of the most vulnerable people, systemic racism, and the disproportionate effects of climate change on non-industrial countries. The intersection of racial, able-bodied, ethnic, sexual, cultural, gendered, environmental, and economic power disparities are interlocking oppressions that cannot be detached from colonial history. Decolonial work is foregrounded in the lived realities of marginalized people who diverge from neurotypical and dominant systems. Thus, these issues were threaded throughout the conference presentations.

The issue includes an editorial, a review of the book Eco-Soma, and the following contributions:</span

Elizabeth Armstrong, E., Colegate, K., Papertalk, L., Crowe, S., McAllister, M., Hersh, D., Ciccone, N., Godecke, E.,  Katzenellenbogen, J., & Coffin, J. (2023). Intersectionality and Its Relevance in the Context of Aboriginal People with Brain Injury in Australia. Seminars in Speech and Language eFirst. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0043-1776755.

In this article, we explore the benefits of recognizing the impact of intersectionality on access to, and provision of, brain injury care in a First Nations context. While disadvantage and discrimination are often associated with the intersection of culture, gender, disability, and socioeconomic disadvantage, it is only when these factors are explored together that clinicians can really understand what people need to recover and thrive following acquired brain injury. In this article, we challenge speech-language pathologists to examine their own practices, to look beyond Western models of health and constraints of many current institutional models of care and ways of framing research, to acknowledge historical and ongoing colonizing influences, and to engage with community-led solutions. We provide a model of Aboriginal-led care, where intersection of discrimination and marginalization is minimized and the multiple components of the individual, carers/communication partners, and the environment become empowering factors instead.

Avery, S. (2022). Intersections in human rights and public policy for indigenous people with disability. In F. Felder, L. Davy, & R. Kayess (Eds.), Disability law and human rights [Palgrave Studies in Disability and International Development] (pp. 221–238). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-86545-0_11

As a group intersecting two marginalized populations, Australia’s Indigenous people with disability experience greater social inequality compared to other groups in society, including Indigenous people without disability and people with disability who are not Indigenous. Human rights frameworks and social policy that are designed to address one aspect of their rights have proven inadequate in securing their composite rights as an Indigenous person and as a person with disability.

Barker, C. (2011). ‘Decrepit, deranged, deformed’: Indigeneity and cultural health in Potiki. In Postcolonial Fiction and Disability. London: Palgrave Macmillan. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230360006_2

“In the prologue of Patricia Grace’s Potiki (1986), we are presented with the tale of a master carver whose life’s work is dedicated to the representation of his Mãori community’s ancestors in their whare whakairo (carved meeting house). In his carvings, he characterizes these ancestors in all their multiplicity as ‘eccentric or brave, dour, whimsical, crafty, beguiling, tormenting, tormented or loving figures’ (Grace, 1987, p. 7). He draws on their embodied differences to acknowledge and celebrate the richness of their diversity:

And these ancestors come to the people with large heads that may be round or square, pointed or egg-shaped. They have gaping mouths with protruding tongues; but sometimes the tongue is a hand or tail coming through from behind the head, or it is formed into a funnel or divided in two, the two parts pointing in different directions. There will be a reason for the type of head or tongue the figures have been given.”

Boda, P. A. (2022). Identity making as a colonization process, and the power of disability justice to cultivate intersectional disobedience. Education Sciences, 12(7), 462. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12070462

Intersectionality has been used to describe the products of difference but scholars who work intersectionally in the tradition of Disability Justice have argued that attention should focus on the process of identity making—those processes by which some Lives–Hopes–Dreams are positioned as more valuable and Whole because of our societies’ commitments to racial capitalist coloniality. This work uses intersectionality as critical social theory, combined with broader cultural analyses of colonization as a process that did not stop within the creation of the Modern Western world, to visibilize identities often explicitly erased: students labeled with disabilities. Through excavating group-made artifacts from a larger research study, I show how intersectionally-disobedient grammars can serve to illuminate complex identity making beyond juxtaposed colonialities of power, and, therein, I situate this bricolage approach as an embodiment toward Disability Justice.

Boda, P. A., Nusbaum, E. A., & Kulkarni, S. S. (2022). From ‘what is’ toward ‘what if’ through intersectionality: Problematizing ableist erasures and coloniality in racially just research. In S. Rizvi (Ed.), Racially-Just Epistemologies and Methodologies, Part 2 [Special Issue]. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 45(4), 356-369. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1743727X.2022.2054981.

Drawing from critical theory and intersectionality, we speak with and through racially just methodologies and epistemologies to problematize who is being centred, for what purpose, and encourage the visibilizing of identities not explicitly engaged within this work. We argue that for racially just research to challenge how whiteness and ableism are embodied by traditional research design approaches it needs to problematize the coloniality wedded in such commitments and bear witness to the importance that disability identities, culture, justice, and freedom have in this endeavour. We first unpack what racially just methodologies and epistemologies have enquired from the late 1990s-2020, as well as where disability and coloniality have been represented (erased) in this work. Then, we engage with Mignolo’s seminal theorization of epistemic disobedience and its importance in the generation of our thesis. Finally, we make visible the need to conceptualize the margins within racially just enquiries that seek to disrupt whiteness in educational research by problematizing the ontological erasure of disability among these justice-oriented projects. We end by shifting from ‘what is’ toward ‘what if’ to envision radical possibilities for the future that disrupt mono-categorical enquiries seeking to challenge racism but invariably leave Othered identity nexuses undertheorized by design.

Bruno, G., Chan, T. A., Zwaigenbaum, L., Nicholas, D., & Coombs, E. (2023, March 21). Indigenous autism in Canada: A scoping review [Preprint Version 1]. Research Square. DOI: https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-2661859/v1.

Purpose: Currently there is a severe lack of research on autism and Indigenous people in Canada. This scoping review explores explore this literature gap and assesses the same literature from an Indigenous perspective.

Methods: Scoping reviews are an effective means to explore the literature in a specific area, in this case, autism and Indigenous people in Canada. We explored existing literature as it pertains to Indigenous populations and autism in Canada. To support this review, the Indigenous Quality Assessment Tool (QAT) was adapted to appraise the quality of literature.

Results: In total, there were a total of 212 articles identified of which 24 met the inclusion criteria: (1) some focus on autism, (2) a component specific to Indigenous people, and (3) specific to Canada. Of the 24 articles and reports, 15 were peer-reviewed and the rest considered grey literature. Most articles focused on program delivery with some literature using primary data (quantitative and/or qualitative). Overall, the quality of the research was appraised as poor, as determined by the QAT.

Conclusion: Findings reaffirm the critical need for research that addresses autism in Indigenous communities within Canada and show the importance of having research done in full partnership with, or led by, Indigenous people.

Burch, S. (2014, Fall). “Dislocated histories”: The Canton Asylum for Insane Indians. In L. Ben-Moshe & S. Magaña (Eds.), Race, Gender, and Disability: Intersectionality, Disability Studies, and Families of Color [Special Issue]. Women, Gender, and Families of Color, 2(2), 141-162. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5406/womgenfamcol.2.2.0141

This work examines removals, institutions, and community lives in U.S. history. It centers on “dislocated histories” from South Dakota’s Canton Asylum, the only federal psychiatric hospital for American Indians. Between its opening in 1902 and forced closure in 1934, the Asylum ultimately held four hundred men, women, and children from seventeen states and nearly fifty tribal nations. Individual histories of those confined at Canton and their families are inextricably tied to broader stories of forced removals; the rise of penal, medical, and disability institutions; eugenics; and contests over citizenship and American identity in U.S. history. This work explores some of the methodological issues around how to present Canton Asylum, Native American, split family, and dislocated community histories. Central to the process is relocating this history, placing Canton inmates at the center. Considering the dislocated history of Elizabeth Alexis Fairbault and her family draws attention to the highly relational dimensions of these factors; this approach intentionally challenges racist, sexist, and ableist systems of power that shaped the options and experiences of people incarcerated at Canton. It complicates the dominant, institutional interpretation and–to a limited degree–restores those removed from their communities to our historical frameworks.

Burch, S. (2021). Committed: Remembering native kinship in and beyond institutions [Critical Indigeneities]. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. 

Between 1902 and 1934, the United States confined hundreds of adults and children from dozens of Native nations at the Canton Asylum for Insane Indians, a federal psychiatric hospital in South Dakota. But detention at the Indian Asylum, as families experienced it, was not the beginning or end of the story. For them, Canton Asylum was one of many places of imposed removal and confinement, including reservations, boarding schools, orphanages, and prison-hospitals. Despite the long reach of institutionalization for those forcibly held at the Asylum, the tenacity of relationships extended within and beyond institutional walls.

In this accessible and innovative work, Susan Burch tells the story of the Indigenous people—families, communities, and nations, across generations to the present day—who have experienced the impact of this history. Drawing on oral history interviews, correspondence, material objects, and archival sources, Burch reframes the histories of institutionalized people and the places that held them. Committed expands the boundaries of Native American history, disability studies, and U.S. social and cultural history generally.

Cachia, A. (2022). Art history’s co-inhabitants: Disabled artistic approaches to indigeneity. In K. Watson & T. W. Hiles (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to Art and Disability. New York: Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003009986-10.

What are some disabled artistic approaches to indigeneity? This chapter examines the contemporary art practices of Oceanic artist Pelenakeke Brown, who resides in Aotearoa New Zealand, and Lenape and Potawatomi neuro-diverse artist Vanessa Dion Fletcher, who resides in Canada. Both artists have appropriated long held and respected practices tied to their Indigenous heritage through tatau and quillwork respectively in an attempt to establish a sense of place, a sense of cultural affinity, and a sense of who they are. Both artists have also used their unique disabled embodied knowledge to activate production of Indigenous traditions, customs and rituals, inspired initially through their mothers, and feminist guidance. They create their artwork through individual physical, cognitive and neuro-diverse capacities, be it through cerebral palsy or short-term memory loss, through choreography, space, time, and language. Their approaches posit disability as a methodology that frames the production of the work. In other words, disability perspective is an integral funnel or channel in the path to executing a final product or object. Their intersectional identities as disabled, Indigenous women are inextricably woven together. Brown and Dion Fletcher draw on their personal ties to these histories through multidisciplinary art forms.

Canagarajah, S. (2023, February). A decolonial crip linguistics. Applied Linguistics, 44(1), 1–21. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/amac042

This article opens a conversation between disability studies and linguistics from the author’s positionality from the Global South. It argues that capacity building for both the abled and disabled in the North is implicated in the disablement of people in the Global South. A decolonial orientation to disability studies values vulnerability, relationality, and ethics which are less privileged in the academy. The article demonstrates how such a crip linguistics might facilitate a different understanding of language competence and analysis. Bringing out the ableism in dominant models of language competence, the article illustrates how linguistics might conceive communication as anomalous embodiment. Such an orientation will move from grammatical norms to nonnormativity, and diversity to multiplicity, as speakers engage with social networks and material ecologies for generating meanings in distributed practice motivated by relational ethics.

Collings, S., Dew, A., Gordon, T., Spencer, M., & Dowse, L. (2018). Intersectional disadvantage: Exploring differences between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal parents with intellectual disability in the New South Wales child protection system. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 12(2), 170-189. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/15548732.2017.1379456

Background: Parents with intellectual disability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents are overrepresented in child removal but research has not explored the intersection of Aboriginality and intellectual disability in child protection.

Methods: A case file review of 45 parents with intellectual disability (n = 14 Aboriginal and n = 31 non-Aboriginal) engaged in care proceedings in New South Wales was undertaken. Parent and child demographics and investigation triggers and outcomes were compared.

Results: Aboriginal parents were significantly younger than non-Aboriginal parents at initiation of an investigation, twice as likely to be investigated due to concerns about parenting capacity, and more likely to have children removed than non-Aboriginal parents.

Conclusion: The intersection of Aboriginality and intellectual disability appears to increase the risk of negative encounters with child protection systems. Targeted support for young Aboriginal parents and greater disability awareness and cultural sensitivity by child welfare workers are needed.

Changfoot, N., Rice, C., Chivers, S., Williams, A. O., Connors, A., Barrett, A., Gordon, M., & Lalonde, G. (2022, December). In R. Jones, N. Changfoot, & A. King, (Eds.). Special Section: Revisioning ageing futures: Feminist, queer, crip and decolonial visions of a good old age. Journal of Aging Studies, 63, 100930. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaging.2021.100930

In this article, we re-vision Anishinaabe, crip and queer futures of aging against and beyond dominant successful aging narratives by drawing on our archive of digital/multimedia videos (short documentaries) produced in conjunction with older/e/Elder persons and the Re•Vision: Centre for Art and Social Justice. These documentaries are directed and come from the lives of those older and e/Elder persons whose aging embodiments intra-sect with their Indigenous, disabled and queer selves. Disrupting hegemonic successful aging narratives, and specifically heteronormative and ableist trajectories of aging, these alternative renderings of aging futures offer rich, affective relationalities and cyclical timescapes of older experience that draw on the past even as they reach into divergent futurities. Anishinaabe, crip and queer aging emerge. While we discern resonances in relationalities and temporalities among and between the Anishinaabe and non-Indigenous stories, we also identify significant differences across accounts, indicating that they cannot be collapsed together. Instead, we argue for holding different life-ways and futures alongside one another, following the 1613 Two Row Wampum Treaty between the Dutch and the Haudenosaunee, in which each party promised to respect the other’s ways, and committed to non-interference, as well as to the development and maintenance of relationship.

Cooms, S., Muurlink, O., & Leroy-Dyer, S. (2022). Intersectional theory and disadvantage: A tool for decolonisation. Disability & Society. DOI:   https://doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2022.2071678

It is widely recognised that First Nations peoples in Australia (also known as Aboriginal Australians) have some of the poorest health and social outcomes of any other group. This is evidenced in a number of areas including the disproportionately high rates of disability for First Nations peoples in Australia. This paper explores how the intersection of race and disability compounds disadvantage for First Nations peoples with disability in Australia. Additionally, it explores the conceptual diversity of disability and the role colonisation has played, and continues to play, in creating and maintaining high rates of disability for First Nations peoples in Australia. This paper argues for the decolonisation of the disability sector as a step towards improving outcomes for all. In particular, the use of intersectionality theory is examined as a potentially effective tool for mapping and enacting the decolonisation of the disability sector.

Coráñez Bolton, S. (2023). Crip colony: Mestizaje, US imperialism, and the queer politics of disability in the Philippines. New York: Duke University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9781478024187

Sony Coráñez Bolton examines the racial politics of disability, mestizaje, and sexuality in the Philippines, showing how heteronormative, able-bodied, and able-minded mixed-race Filipinos offered a model and path for assimilation into the US empire.

Cowing, J. L. (2020, Fall). Occupied land is an access issue: Interventions in feminist disability studies and narratives of indigenous activism. In J. Waggone & A. Mog (Eds.), Visionary Politics and Methods in Feminist Disability Studies [Special Issue]. Journal of Feminist Scholarship, 17, 9-25. DOI: https://doi.org/10.23860/jfs.2020.17.02.

“Native/Indigenous narratives of health and environmental activism often engage with feminist disability issues to center the connections between land, health, sovereignty, and historical legacies of settler militarized colonialism.” 

Dalvit, L. (2022). Differently Included: A decolonial perspective on disability and digital media in South Africa. In P. Tsatsou (Ed.), Vulnerable people and digital inclusion: Theoretical and applied perspectives. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-94122-2_16.

South Africa is a diverse country with a legacy of inequalities which extend to the digital domain. Alongside race, gender, socio-economic status and others, (dis)ability is an important dimension of inclusion/exclusion. In this chapter, the digital inclusion of people with disabilities in South Africa is explored through a decolonial lens. In particular, the focus is on unmasking digital inclusion as constructive absence, in problematising it as a right and in exploring its liberatory (as opposed to emancipatory) potential. By analysing publicly available online texts, it is argued that digital inclusion should be regarded as a complex and nuanced phenomenon, with the potential to address as well as reproduce inequalities and the marginalisation of (some) people with disabilities.

DeMirjyn, M. (2020). Bridging mindbodyspirit in a borderlands reframing of disability. Gender and Women’s Studies, 3(1), Art. 3. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31532/GendWomensStud.3.1.003

“Th[is]… article engages with the written works by Gloria Anzaldúa as a disability theorist implementing a mindbodyspirit aesthetic. Additionally, Anzaldúa’s constructions of spiritual mestizaje and Nepantla are discussed as platforms for the integration of multiple subjectivities.”

Dew, A., Barton, R., Gilroy, J., Ryall, L., Lincoln, M., Jensen, H., Flood, V.,  Taylor, K., & McCrae, K. (2020, December). Importance of land, family and culture for a good life: Remote Aboriginal people with disability and carers. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 55(4), 418-438. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/ajs4.96

Worldwide health and social outcomes of Indigenous people are poorer than those of non-Indigenous. In Australia, the Indigenous population experience disability at more than twice the rate of the non-Indigenous population, and a quarter live in geographically remote areas. The challenges associated with accessing services and supports in remote communities can impact on a good life for Aboriginal people with disability. Interviews were conducted with Aboriginal people (Anangu) with disability and family carers from remote Central Australian communities and service workers. Thematic data analysis determined factors Anangu viewed as essential to living a good life: connection to their Lands, being with family and engaging in cultural activities. Workers’ support for a good life involves “Proper Way” help and an understanding of Anangu culture. Three culturally relevant strengths-based concepts are important in supporting Anangu with disability to live a good life: being connected to the Lands and family, sharing together and working together.

Dhand, R. (2023). Indigenous peoples with disabilities and Canadian mental capacity law. In C. Kong, J. Coggon, P. Cooper, M. Dunn, & A. R. Keene (Eds.), Capacity, Participation and Values in Comparative Legal Perspective. Bristol, UK: Bristol University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.51952/9781529224474.ch007.

Indigenous peoples with disabilities are extremely vulnerable when interacting with Canadian mental capacity law. They are disproportionately at risk of experiencing barriers to accessing justice, undermining their cultural values and Charter-protected rights of autonomy, medical self-determination and equality. There is a dearth of research addressing the values underlying supported decision-making and substitute decision-making for Indigenous communities in Canada. This chapter analyses the legal framing of mental capacity in Canada and the values and principles that are relevant for Indigenous peoples in Canada. I highlight the significant perspectives of Indigenous peoples in the framing of capacity and the types of intersectional barriers they experience accessing equitable decision-making processes in capacity law. The analysis reveals how Indigenous peoples with disabilities are isolated and denied autonomy. Their participation is curtailed as a result of lack of access to culturally appropriate treatment and systemic discrimination.

Duke Disability Alliance.  (2022). Jen Deerinwater: Accompliceship Now! Disability and Indigeneity on the Frontlines of Climate Crisis [YouTube Video]. Durham, NC: Duke University.

“How does climate crisis impact disabled and indigenous communities? What can we learn about resistance from crip wisdom and indigenous knowledges? Hear about the intersections of these topics from disabled Cherokee organizer and journalist, Jen Deerinwater.”

Dwornik, A. (2021). The interface of Mad Studies and Indigenous ways of knowing: Innovation, co-creation, and decolonization. Critical Social Work: An Interdisciplinary Journal Dedicated to Social Justice, 22(2). DOI: https://doi.org/10.22329/csw.v22i2.7097

This paper explores the interface between Mad Studies and Indigenous ways of knowing, and argues that the dialogical expanse that exists between these two fields could be a site for innovation, co-creation, and decolonization. Mad Studies is a radical approach to studying the ways we organize and respond to mental health experiences. The field questions and unsettles biomedical understandings of mental illness, and frames psychiatric experiences as diverse forms of human emotional or spiritual expression. Indigenous perspectives on disability describe mental health using a holistic, wellness-based lens, with many scholars highlighting the link to colonial violence and oppression. The interface of Mad Studies and Indigenous ways of knowing could provide a unique platform for gaining a broader understanding of Indigenous mental health while resisting Western, psy explanations of emotional distress. Different interpretations and understandings can be discussed and debated, and through ethical spaces (Ermine, 2007) new understandings or ideas may emerge. These, in turn, may help decolonize some of the dominant biomedical biases that underpin many contemporary psychiatric treatment approaches. Social workers have a particularly important role to play in these conversations. Our professional commitment to anti-oppression and social justice implores us to take an active role in these debates. Through our workplaces we can problematize dominant discourses from within dominant systems, and make our contribution to decolonization.

Friedman, C. (2023, May). Ableism, racism, and the quality of life of Black, Indigenous, people of colour with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 36(3), 604-614. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jar.13084

Background: Research indicates Black, Indigenous, people of colour (BIPOC) with intellectual and developmental disabilities face disparities in quality of life outcomes. This study’s aim was to examine how ableism and racism impacted the quality of life of BIPOC with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Methods: Using a multilevel linear regression, we analysed secondary quality of life outcome data from Personal Outcome Measures® interviews with 1393 BIPOC with intellectual and developmental disabilities and implicit ableism and racism data from the 128 regions of the United States in which they lived (discrimination data came from 7.4 million people).

Results: When BIPOC with intellectual and developmental disabilities lived in regions of the United States which were more ableist and racist, they had a lower quality of life, regardless of their demographics.

Conclusion: Ableism and racism are a direct threat to BIPOC with intellectual and developmental disabilities’ health, wellbeing, and overall quality of life.

Gerlach, A. J., Matthiesen, A., Moola, F. J., & Watts, J. (2022). Autism and autism services with Indigenous families and children in the settler-colonial context of Canada: A critical scoping review. Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, 11(2), 1-39. DOI: https://doi.org/10.15353/cjds.v11i2.886

In Canada, Indigenous families and children experience structurally-rooted marginalization due to longstanding and ongoing histories of colonization and discrimination. Indigenous children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are currently underrepresented in literature and databases on ASD in Canada, raising concerns about their equitable access to related services and optimal health outcomes. This critical scoping review maps out existing and emerging themes in literature pertaining to ASD and the provision of ASD services with Indigenous children and families in Canada. No previous reviews of literature have focused exclusively on ASD among Indigenous children in Canada. A literature search conducted across eight databases between 2011 and 2021 resulted in 362 potentially relevant publications, of which 19 met our inclusion criteria. Findings point to a clear lack of data on ASD and unmet health, social, and educational service needs among Indigenous children with ASD in Canada. ASD is also frequently discussed through a Western, deficit and medical discourse. The main contributors to the lack of data and unmet service needs relate to the historical positioning of colonial oppression, stigma, an overrepresentation of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), lack of funding, and concerns about standardized diagnostic and assessment tools, and social determinants of health. Recommendations for policy, practice and research concerning Indigenous children with ASD are proposed.

Gilroy, J., Donelly, M., Colmar, S., & Parmenter, T. (2013). Conceptual framework for policy and research development with Indigenous people with disabilities. Australian Aboriginal Studies, 2, 42-58

No explicitly Indigenous conceptual framework to advance research and policy development to assist Indigenous people with disabilities exists. This paper proposes a conceptual framework that brings together the strengths of both the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health and Indigenous Standpoint Theory for research and policy development regarding Indigenous people with disabilities. This framework provides six criteria that bridge the cultural interface between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities, while emancipating Indigenous people with disabilities in the research and policy development process in Australian disability and Indigenous affairs.

Grech, S., & Soldatic, K. (2015). Disability and Colonialism: (Dis)encounters and Anxious Intersectionalities [Special Issue]. Social Identities, 21(1). 

“This special issue sets out to position disability within the colonial (the real and imagined), as it explores a range of (often anxious) intersectionalities as disability is theorised, constructed, and lived as a post/neocolonial condition. The issue emerged from serious and pressing concerns from disability and other scholars engaged in a dialogical praxis that seeks to critically explore, interrogate and challenge a series of epistemic,ontological and practical negligences. Much of this work has occurred at the margins of various disciplines and projects, in particular the intersections of disability studies and postcolonial theory, intersections that continue to be marked by ambivalence. Disability Theorists who have traversed this path have mooted that, too often, disability is drawn upon as a metaphor by (post)colonial theorists, while for disability theorists, colonisation has become a key metaphor to describe experiences of oppression, marginalisation and exclusion to which disabled people are often subjected (Barker & Murray,2010; Sherry,2007). This process of conflation within either field has denied the necessary recognition of an uneven biopolitical incorporation’(McRuer,2010, p. 171), while the spatial,historical, temporal and geopolitical factors that emerged to govern bodies-and-minds in differential ways, are confined to silence (Soldatic & Grech,2014).”

This special issues includes an introduction and the following articles: 

Grech, S., & Soldatic, K. (2016). Disability in the Global South: The Critical Handbook [International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice (IPSPAP)]. Springer International Publishing AG. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-42488-0.

This first-of-its kind volume spans the breadth of disability research and practice specifically focusing on the global South. Established and emerging scholars alongside advocates adopt a critical and interdisciplinary stance to probe, challenge and shift common held social understandings of disability in established discourses, epistemologies and practices, including those in prominent areas such as global health, disability studies and international development. Motivated by decolonizing approaches, contributors carefully weave the lived and embodied experiences of disabled people, families and communities through contextual, cultural, spatial, racial, economic, identity and geopolitical complexities and heterogeneities.

Dispatches from Ghana, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Venezuela among many others spotlight the complex uncertainties of modern geopolitics of coloniality; emergent forms of governance including neoliberal globalization, war and conflicts; the interstices of gender, race, ethnicity, space and religion; structural barriers to redistribution and realization of rights; and processes of disability representation. This handbook examines in rigorous depth, established practices and discourses in disability including those on development, rights, policies and practices, opening a space for critical debate on hegemonic and often unquestioned terrains.

Highlights of the coverage include:

  • Critical issues in conceptualizing disability across cultures, time and space
  • The challenges of disability models, metrics and statistics
  • Disability, poverty and livelihoods in urban and rural contexts
  • Disability interstices with migration, race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality
  • Disability, religion and customary societies and practice
  • The UNCRPD, disability rights orientations and instrumentalities
  • Redistributive systems including budgeting, cash transfer systems and programming.
  • Global South–North partnerships: intercultural methodologies in disability research.

This much awaited handbook provides students, academics, practitioners and policymakers with an authoritative framework for critical thinking and debate about disability, while pushing theoretical and practical frontiers in unprecedented ways.

Supplementary materials are also available.

Green, A., Abbott, P., & DiGiacomo, M. (2018). Interacting with providers: An intersectional exploration of the experiences of carers of Aboriginal children with a disability. Qualitative Health Research, 28(12), 1923-1932. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732318793416

Intersectionality has potential to create new ways to describe disparities and craft meaningful solutions. This study aimed to explore Aboriginal carers’ experiences of interactions with health, social, and education providers in accessing services and support for their child. Carers of Aboriginal children with a disability were recruited from an Australian metropolitan Aboriginal community-controlled health service. In-depth, semistructured interviews were conducted with 19 female carers. Intersectionality was applied as an analytical framework due to the inherent power differentials for Aboriginal Australians and carers for people with a disability. Marginalization and a lack of empowerment were evident in the experiences of interactions with providers due to cultural stereotypes and racism, lack of cultural awareness and sensitivity, and poverty and homelessness. Community-led models of care can help overcome the intersectional effects of these identities and forms of oppression in carers’ interactions with providers and enhance access to care.

Haitana, T., Pitama, S., Cormack, D., Clark, M. T. R., & Lacey, C. (2022, September). “If we can just dream…” Māori talk about healthcare for bipolar disorder in New Zealand: A qualitative study privileging Indigenous voices on organisational transformation for health equity. The International Journal of Health Planning and Management, 37(5), 2613-2634. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/hpm.3486

Objectives: This paper identifies barriers to equity and proposes changes to improve the organisation of healthcare in New Zealand for Māori with bipolar disorder (BD) and their families.

Design: A qualitative Kaupapa Māori methodology was used. Twenty-four semi-structured interviews were completed with Māori with BD and members of their family. Structural and descriptive coding was used to organise and analyse the data, including an analytic frame that explored participants’ critique of attributes of the organisation of healthcare and alignment with Māori health policy.

Results: Transformation to the organisation of healthcare is needed to achieve health equity. Executive management must lead changes to organisational culture, deliver an equity partnership model with Māori, embed cultural safety and redesign the organisation of healthcare to improve wellbeing. Healthcare incentive structures must diversify, develop and retain a culturally competent health workforce. Information management and technology systems must guide continued whole system improvements.

Conclusion: This paper provides recommendations that should be considered in planned reforms to the organisation of healthcare in New Zealand. The challenge remains whether resourcing for an equitable healthcare organisation will be implemented in partial fulfillment of promises of equity in policy.

Harpur, P., & Stein, M. A. (2018). Indigenous persons with disabilities and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: An identity without a home? International Human Rights Law Review, 7(2), 165-200. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/22131035-00702002

This article analyses how disability human rights protections and processes under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) have responded to the heightened vulnerability created when disability intersects with indigeneity. It considers the evolution of international human rights law instruments for indigenous persons with disabilities. It further examines the drafting history of the CRPD related to indigenous-specific content and examines the crpd Committee’s engagement with the human rights protections and violations of indigenous persons with disabilities. It demonstrates that the CRPD Committee has advanced these rights by acknowledging the rights of indigenous persons in the general course of its work, but has fallen short of adequately recognising the special vulnerabilities that are created when disability and indigeneity intersect. This evaluation is illustrated by expounding on the CRPD Committee’s recommendation in Noble v Australia, a communication brought by an indigenous person with a ‘mental and intellectual disability’ whose indigenous status was not engaged.

Hickey, H. (2020). A personal reflection on indigeneity, colonisation and the CRPD. In E. J. Kakoullis & K. Johnson (Eds.), Recognising human rights in different cultural contexts. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-0786-1_5

Huhana Hickey provides an account of the different ways in which indigeneity has been defined historically and in contemporary cultural contexts. She uses her own experience to provide a particular case study of Māori cultural perspectives to disability and the impact of colonialism on the lives of persons with disabilities who are also members of indigenous cultures. Hickey argues that the effects of colonialism on this group continue to the present through Government and community failure to take account of and respect the cultural values and beliefs of Māori people and continuing discrimination. As someone involved in the drafting of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD 2006) Hickey explores the unsuccessful attempts made to give the rights of indigenous people with disabilities stronger representation in its articles.

Good, G. A., Lee, J., & McBride-Henry, K. (2023). Parenting during a pandemic: Mothers and disabled children in Aotearoa/New Zealand—A hidden minority. Journal of the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement, 14(1), 22.

Every country has its own COVID-19 pandemic story; similarly, every family has their own experiences of lockdowns, isolation, illness, death, struggles, and resiliency related to the pandemic. Although myriad narratives appear about these familial and societal experiences, few explore those of mothers of disabled children; these have been largely invisible, and as a result, this minority group and their needs have failed to be addressed by those who make decisions and plan for public health crises and for the subsequent recovery.

Autoethnography, a qualitative method that coalesces personal experience and research literature to advance sociological understanding, underpins this exploration. The authors are New Zealand/Aotearoa mothers of disabled children. Our approach employs autoethnographic reflection about our pandemic experiences to create mean-ing, forge identities, and explore power structures. Connections of our family stories enable the creation of an understanding of what has happened in our communities.

The authors’ reflections on their pandemic experiences are woven together with stories of how governments, schools, public health organizations, disability organizations, healthcare providers and communities directed us and responded to or failed to address our needs. We have identified five interwoven themes throughout our stories: anxiety, invisibility, devalued lives, coping, and advocacy. Together, as an outcome of the autoethnographic study of our pandemic experiences, we offer ideas for survival to pass on to mothers for future disasters and crises. Furthermore, we have developed recommendations for organizations and others living with disability.

Hillier, S., & Vorstermans, J. (2022). Disability and disablement in settler colonial states: Indigenous perspectives of disability since time in memorial. In M. H. Rioux, J. Viera, A. Buettgen, & E. Zubrow (Eds.), Handbook of disability: Critical thought and social change in a globalizing world [Springer Nature Reference: Living Ed.]. Singapore: Springer. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-1278-7_41-1

This chapter is a journey of learning, focusing on the experiences of Indigeneity, disability, and disablement in the settler colonial states of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States and how we collectively can work on healing or reconciling. We start by taking up colonization, which for many settler states share numerous elements and functions (removal from land and forced relocation to reserves, residential schools, and removal of children to “care” by the state). We take up three main periods of time: First, learning about notions of disability prior to widespread European contact. Second, using an intersectional lens, we will learn about the initiation of colonization and ongoing processes of colonization impacting Indigenous Peoples in settler states, using the life span as a way to organize this section. Finally, we conclude with our journey toward healing and knowing by discussing the lived and imagined futures that return to Indigenous ways of being, knowing, and relationality that resist Western and settler-state productions and reproductions of disability and disablement.

Ineese-Nash, N. (2020). Disability as a colonial construct: The missing discourse of culture in conceptualizations of disabled Indigenous children. In T. L. Haley & C. T. Jones (Eds.), Sites and Shapes of Transinstitutionalization [Special Issue]. Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, 9(3), 28-51. DOI: https://doi.org/10.15353/cjds.v9i3.645

This paper explores the concept of disability through a critical disability lens to understand how Indigenous ontologies are positioned within the dominant discourse of disabled peoples in Canada. This paper draws on the inherent knowledge of Indigenous (predominantly Anishinaabek) communities through an integration of story and relational understandings from Indigenous Elders, knowledge keepers, and community members. Indigenous perspectives paired with academic literature illustrate the dichotomous viewpoints that position Indigenous peoples, most often children, as ‘disabled’ within mainstream institutions, regardless of individual designation. Such positioning suggests that the label of disability is a colonial construct that conflicts with Indigenous perspectives of community membership and perpetuates assimilation practices which maintain colonial harm.

Ingham, T. R., Jones, B., Perry, M., King, P. T., Baker, G., Hickey, H., Pouwhare, R., & Nikora, L. W. (2022). The multidimensional impacts of inequities for Tāngata Whaikaha Māori (Indigenous Māori with Lived Experience of Disability) in Aotearoa, New Zealand. In M. Perry, A. Calder, & T. Ingham (Eds.), Addressing Disability Inequities: Environments, Society and Wellbeing [Special Issue]. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(20), 13558. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192013558

People with lived experience of disability have poorer health and socioeconomic outcomes than people without it. However, within this population, certain social groups are more likely to experience poorer outcomes due to the impacts of multiple intersecting forms of oppression including colonisation, coloniality and racism. This paper describes the multidimensional impacts of inequities for Indigenous tāngata whaikaha Māori (Māori with lived experience of disability). Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 28 tāngata whaikaha Māori and their whānau (extended family) using a kaupapa Māori Research methodology. An equity framework was used to analyse the data. The results describe: (1) inequitable access to the determinants of health and well-being; (2) inequitable access to and through health and disability care; (3) differential quality of health and disability care received; and (4) Indigenous Māori-driven solutions. These data confirm that tāngata whaikaha Māori in the nation-state known as New Zealand experience racism, ableism and disablism, compounded by the intersection between these types of discrimination. Recommendations from the data support the inclusion of tāngata whaikaha Māori in decision-making structures, including all policies and practices, along with equal partnership rights when it comes to designing health and disability systems and services.

Ingham, T., Jones, B., King, P. T., Smiler, K., Tuteao, H., Baker, G. & Hickey, H. (2022). Decolonising disability: Indigenous Māori perspectives of disability research in the modern era. In M. H. Rioux, J. Viera, A. Buettgen, & E. Zubrow (Eds.), Handbook of disability: Critical thought and social change in a globalizing world [Springer Nature Reference: Living Ed.]. Singapore: Springer. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-1278-7_68-1.

Qualitative research methods show promise in building shared understanding of Indigenous experiences of disability and have the potential to address the power imbalances inherent in Western epistemologies methodologies, particularly (but not exclusively) when it comes to quantitative research.

This chapter explores indigenous Māori research epistemologies and methodologies for disability research in Aotearoa New Zealand. In particular, we highlight the methodologies of pūrākau (storytelling) and wānanga (workshopping) which serve as examples in the richness of Māori-centered understandings that both give prominence to and make sense of Māori experiences. We structure our discourse throughout the chapter within this narrative framework as an exemplar.

The chapter also provides indigenous perspectives from a Global South to identify the critical importance of understanding the ways in which colonization, coloniality, ableism, and racism have intersected in the lived experiences of indigenous disabled tāngata whaikaha Māori/whānau hauā.

Jaffee, L. J. (2022). Disability matters: A materialist history of disability under U.S. settler-capitalism. In M. Cole (Ed.), Equality, education, and human rights in the United States: Issues of gender, race, sexuality, disability, and social class. New York: Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003150671-7.

While often thought of as a fixed biological fact, disability is a social and political category. Bodily differences are made meaningful in relation to social, political, and economic contexts, and these meanings are constantly negotiated, shifting across time and place. This chapter offers a materialist history of disability in the U.S., focusing on the ways disability has been defined in relation to changing political-economic forces and shaped in relation to class, race, and gender. The chapter pays particular attention to the disabling of land and bodies via the conditions of settler-capitalism, the possibilities and perils of the fourth industrial revolution for undoing ableism, and some of the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic for disability in/justice.

Johnson, D. E., Fisher, K., & Parsons, M. (2022). Diversifying Indigenous vulnerability and adaptation: An intersectional reading of Māori women’s experiences of health, wellbeing, and climate change. In M. Parsons (Ed.), Indigenous Transformations towards Sustainability: Indigenous Peoples’ Experiences of and Responses to Global Environmental Changes [Special Issue]. Sustainability, 14(9), 5452. DO: https://doi.org/10.3390/su14095452

Despite evidence that Indigenous peoples’ multiple subjectivities engender diverse lived experiences both between and within Indigenous groups, the influence of multiple subjectivities on Indigenous peoples’ vulnerability and adaptation to climate change is largely un-explored. Drawing on ethnographic research with Indigenous Māori women in Aotearoa New Zealand, this paper provides empirical evidence that subjectivity-mediated power dynamics operating within Indigenous societies (at the individual and household scale) are important determinants of vulnerability and adaptation which should be considered in both scholarship and policy. Using an intersectional framework, I demonstrate how different Māori women and their whānau (families) live, cope with, and adapt to the embodied physical and emotional health effects of climate change in radically different ways because of their subject positionings, even though they belong to the same community, hapū (sub-tribe), or iwi (tribe). In underlining these heterogenous experiences, I provide an avenue for reconsidering how climate adaptation scholarship, policies, and practices might better engage with the complex, amorphous realities within Māori and other Indigenous communities. I argue it is possible to develop more inclusive, tailored, and sustainable adaptation that considers divergent vulnerabilities and adaptive capacities within Indigenous communities, groups, and societies and supports customised vulnerability-reduction strategies.

Jones, B., King, P. T., Baker, G., & Ingham, T. (2020). COVID-19, intersectionality, and health equity for Indigenous peoples with lived experience of disability. American Indian Culture and Research Journal, 44(2), 71–88. DOI: https://doi.org/10.17953/aicrj.44.2.jones

As Māori and tāngata whaikaha (Māori with lived experience of disability) of the nation-state known as New Zealand, we are deeply concerned about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this commentary, we invoke intersectionality as an analytical tool for understanding critical issues tāngata whaikaha face in the context of the universal approach encompassing New Zealand’s pandemic response. We propose a “call to action” framework comprising four elements: (1) guaranteeing self-determination for tāngata whaikaha; (2) addressing all forms of racism, ableism, and other structural forms of oppression; (3) rectifying historical injustices; and (4) allocating resources for the pandemic and beyond in alignment with need.

Jones, J., Roarty, L., Gilroy, J., Brook, J., Wilson, M., Garlett, C., McGlade, H., Williams, R. & Leonard, H. (2023). Wangkiny Yirra “Speaking Up” project: First Nations women and children with disability and their experiences of family and domestic violence. Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

First Nations women and children with disability are at greater risk of family and domestic violence (FDV) and its consequences than their non-Indigenous peers. A recent report (Ringland et al., 2022) found that First Nations women with disability had the highest rates of victimisation of any group, with 34.4% recorded as being victims of crime. Despite this, the voices of First Nations people are largely missing from disability research in Australia (Dew et al., 2019).

The purpose of this research was to engage with First Nations women and children and key stakeholders in Western Australia to: gain an understanding of their experiences of FDV, identify factors they believe open them up to the risk of harm, document their observations and experiences of barriers and/or enablers to seeking assistance and support, obtain their views on what works in currently available programs, and make recommendations for future culturally safe prevention and protection programs.

An easy-read version of this report is also available.

King, J. (2022, August). Listening to First Nations voices: Something about us, without us: The intersect between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, disability and the pursuit for self determination. BRIEF, 49(5), 28-29. 

When you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) Person with a Disability (ATSIPwD), you do not see yourself as a Person with a Disability (PwD) because society does not view you as a PwD. I have witnessed this cognitive dissonance extend into public policy and although ATSI activists and disability causes have championed for self-determination using the phrase ‘Nothing about us without us’, for ATSIPwDs it can leave us to feel that there is ‘Something about us, without us’. Whether it is in relation to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP), the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), any Commonwealth collated statistics or academic literature, the lack of visibility of ATSIPwDs is both glaring and damning.

Kore, J. (2022, December). YoungDeafDesign: Participatory design with young Deaf children. International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction, 34, 100542. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcci.2022.100542.

It is common in HCI research to involve children in the design of their own technology. However, no design methods exist to design with young Deaf children. To address this gap, I have created YoungDeafDesign, a design method for designing with young Deaf children. YoungDeafDesign was originally intended to be a design method for working with young Deaf children as equal design partners, according to Druin’s levels of involvement (Druin, 2002) . However, in YoungDeafDesign as it is presented here, the children’s involvement level falls between design partner and informant, as the communication gap between hearing designers and young Deaf children prevents the dialogue which is required for working with children as design partners. The YoungDeafDesign method addresses children’s youth, language level, individual Deafness and cultural Deafness, enabling adult, hearing designers to design technologies with and for this unique group of children.

YoungDeafDesign will be described in this paper through the lens of patterns and themes which are common in designing with children (Korte, 2020) , and which were evaluated for applicability to designing with young Deaf children through a series of twenty-five design sessions conducted with young Deaf children (3–5 years), staff members from the children’s preschool programme in the role of sign language interpreter or support assistant; and at times, the children’s parents. This led to a synthesis of the relevant aspects of existing methods into a new design method for designing with young Deaf children.

The existence of YoungDeafDesign will enable the creation of technologies to assist young Deaf children and their families in ways which address young Deaf children’s needs and abilities.

Krentz, C. (2022). Elusive kinship: Disability and Human Rights in Postcolonial Literature. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Characters with disabilities are often overlooked in fiction, but many occupy central places in literature by celebrated authors like Chinua Achebe, Salman Rushdie, J. M. Coetzee, Anita Desai, Jhumpa Lahiri, Edwidge Danticat, and others. These authors deploy disability to do important cultural work, writes Christopher Krentz in his innovative study, Elusive Kinship. Such representations not only relate to the millions of disabled people in the Global South, but also make more vivid such issues as the effects of colonialism, global capitalism, racism and sexism, war, and environmental disaster.

Krentz is the first to put the fields of postcolonial studies, studies of human rights and literature, and literary disability in conversation with each other in a book-length study. He enhances our appreciation of key texts of Anglophone postcolonial literature of the Global South, including Things Fall Apart and Midnight’s Children. In addition, he uncovers the myriad ways fiction gains energy, vitality, and metaphoric force from characters with extraordinary bodies or minds.

Depicting injustices faced by characters with disabilities is vital to raising awareness and achieving human rights. Elusive Kinship nudges us toward a fuller understanding of disability worldwide.

Kress, M. M. (2017). Reclaiming disability through pimatisiwin: Indigenous ethics, spatial justice, and Gentle Teaching. In A. Gajewski (Ed.), Ethics, Equity, and Inclusive Education [International Perspectives on Inclusive Education, Vol. 9] (pp. 23-57). Bingley: Emerald Publishing Limited. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003204572-15.

The situating of pimatisiwin as a framework for spatial justice and self-determination aids educators in strengthening their understandings of Indigenous knowledges to support an authentic inclusion of Indigenous students with disabilities. Through the sharing of Canada’s colonial history, and by critically examining the principles of care within special education, the author exposes its relationship with ableism, normalcy, eugenics, and white privilege to show how Indigenous peoples continue to be marginalized in the twenty-first century. This justice work asks educators to shift their perspectives of inclusion and wellness through the insertion of an Indigenous lens, one to help them see and hear the faces and voices of disabled Aboriginal children and their kinships. The chapter discusses the social model of disability, the psychology of Gentle Teaching, Indigenous ethics, and principles of natural laws through the voices of Nehiyawak and other knowledge keepers, in order to suggest an agenda for educators to come to an understanding of an emancipatory and gentle education. Spatial justice and Indigenous epistemologies merge as synergistic, inclusive, and holistic entities, to support Aboriginal children and youth as both they and those who teach learn to celebrate disabled ontologies. The chapter concludes by presenting how Gentle Teaching and Indigenous ways of knowing should be honored in this quest of creating an equitable, caring, and inclusive society for all disabled Indigenous children and youth.

Kuppers, P. (2013). Decolonizing disability, indigeneity, and poetic methods: Hanging out in Australia. Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies, 7(2), 175-193. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3828/jlcds.2013.13.

The article witnesses encounters in Australia, many centered in Aboriginal Australian contexts, and asks what arts-based research methods can offer to intercultural contact. It offers a meditation on decolonizing methodologies and the use of literary forms by a white Western subject in disability culture. The argument focuses on productive unknowability, on finding machines that respectfully align research methods and cultural production at the site of encounter.

Kuppers, P. (2016). Landings: Decolonizing disability, indigeneity and poetic methods. In P. Block, D. Kasnitz, A. Nishida, & N. Pollard (Eds.), Occupying disability: Critical approaches to community, justice, and decolonizing disability. Dordrecht: Springer. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-9984-3_5

The article witnesses encounters in Australia, many centered in Aboriginal Australian contexts, and asks what arts-based research methods can offer to intercultural contact. It offers a meditation on decolonizing methodologies and the use of poetry and performance by a white Western subject in disability culture. The argument focuses on productive unknowability, on finding machines that respectfully align research methods and cultural production at the site of encounter.

Lapierre, M. (2023). Disability and Latin American indigenous peoples. Disability & Society. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2023.2192381.

Disability among Latin American indigenous peoples is frequent and has particular characteristics. On the one hand, people understand and experience disability from their own worldview and cultural practices, but on the other hand, these cultural characteristics coexist with the reality of a disability produced by colonialism, colonization and forced assimilation into the states. Additionally, the socioeconomic conditions in which indigenous peoples live, as well as the political violence to which they are subjected, create a complex panorama that challenges disability studies to dialogue with other philosophies. Decoloniality, interculturality, epistemologies of the South, and indigenous thought can be approaches that discuss and problematize the study of disability in indigenous cultures from a more just and situated perspective.

Larkin-Gilmore, J., Callow, E., & Burch, S. (2021, Fall). Indigeneity & Disability: Kinship, Place, and Knowledge-Making [Special Issue]. Disability Studies Quarterly, 41(4). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18061/dsq.v41i4

“This special issue centers on Indigeneity and disability. Reciprocity is our question, practice, and aspiration: What is possible when we Indigenize disability studies (DST) and when we fully embed disability studies in Native American Indigenous studies (NAIS)?”

This special issue includes the following articles, divided into three sections, Kinship, Place, and Knowledge Making:

Liasidou, A. (2022). Decolonizing inclusive education through trauma-informed theories. Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, 24(1), 277-287. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16993/sjdr.951.

Notwithstanding its noble orientations and social justice foundations, inclusion has been contested, interrogated, and subjected to multiple interpretations and enactments. Inclusive education has been, inter alia, characterized as a neo-colonial project that is embroiled in and reinforces geopolitical power asymmetries and oppressive regimes. The article suggests that the enduring legacy of colonial perspectives needs to be problematized and challenged through a trauma-responsive lens that captures the traumatizing effects of colonialism/ty on the ‘lived’ realities of disabled and other disenfranchised groups of students. Trauma is a constituent element of intersectional oppression stemming from and imbricated in conditions of colonial structures of power that conceal and legitimize social inequalities, extreme poverty, malnutrition, violence, substandard childcare, racism, and other ‘cultural’ traumas. This is an issue that highlights the imperative of developing theories of inclusion that acknowledge and address the intersections of colonialism/ty, disability and trauma and their impact on educational accessibility, participation, and achievement.

Lieffers, C. (2022). Imperial mobilities: Disability, Indigeneity, and the United States West, 1850-1920. In E. Cleall (Ed.), Global histories of disability, 1700-2015: Power, place and people. New York: Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429323980-8

This chapter uses three stories of artificial limbs and Indigenous peoples to examine the complex relationships between American imperialism, disability, and technology that emerged as the United States expanded westward in the nineteenth century. As the stories in this chapter show, ableist curative violence was manifest in the imperialist’s desire to identify what he classed as intolerable injury and repair it using medical expertise, to eliminate what he saw as pathologically primitive cultures and ways of life, and to take what he perceived as underused landscapes and press them into service. Paul Kramer (2011) has defined imperialism as ‘a dimension of power in which asymmetries in the scale of political action, regimes of spatial ordering, and modes of exceptionalizing difference enable and produce relations of hierarchy, discipline, dispossession, extraction, and exploitation.’ Imperial ableism, as I term it, trusted in scientific and medical experts and their technologies to assert this power to assess and to right Indigenous bodies and minds, as well as the cultures in which they lived and the landscapes with which they were entwined.

Lovern, L. (2014). Embracing differenceNative American approaches to disability. In Special Section: Disability Justice and Spirituality. Tikkun, 29(4), 37–40. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1215/08879982-2810110.

“Most U.S. progressives share the view that the destigmatization of “disability” is a positive thing. Translating that vision into widespread social practice, however, is proving difficult to do. The U.S. mainstream has much to learn from Native American communities, many of which have lived experience with non-stigmatizing approaches to differences in community members’ talents and abilities.

Western knowledge systems establish opposition concepts such as day/night, good/bad, and able/disabled. These dichotomies form the basis of Western social hierarchies by establishing certain identities as superior and others as inferior, and they shape how people with disabilities are defined and treated within Western communities and institutions.

While there is no single, unified Native American culture, language, spirituality, or way of being, it is generally accurate to say that Native American worldviews do not adhere to this same dichotomous logic structure. Instead, they focus on an interrelatedness of all things. It is useful to draw generalizations such as these in order to illustrate how Native American approaches to disability offer a counter-model to Western approaches” (p. 37).

Lovern, L. L., & Locust, C. (2013). Native American communities on health and disability: A borderland dialogues. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137312020

This volume examines concepts of disability and wellness in Native American communities, prominently featuring the life’s work of Dr. Carol Locust. Authors Locust and Lovern confront the difficulties of translating not only words but also entire concepts between Western and Indigenous cultures, and by increasing the cultural competency of those unfamiliar with Native American ways of being are able to bring readers from both cultures into a more equal dialogue. The three sections contained herein focus on intercultural translation; dialogues with Native American community members; and finally a discussion of being in the world gently as caregivers.

Mackey, H. J. (2018). Towards an Indigenous leadership paradigm for dismantling ableism. In H. Manaseri & J. Bornstein (Eds.), Dismantling Ableism: The Moral Imperative for Leaders [Special Forum]. Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal, 14(3). 

The purpose of this article is to propose an Indigenous leadership paradigm for dismantling ableism. I begin by defining ableism within the context of school leadership, then apply an Indigenous ontological and epistemological framework to strategies educational leaders can use to dismantle cultures of ableism within school communities.

Manhique, J., Amos, A. (2022). Role of culture and legacy of colonialism in qualitative research methods with persons with disabilities in the Global South. In M. H. Rioux, J. Viera, A. Buettgen, & E. Zubrow (Eds.), Handbook of disability: Critical thought and social change in a globalizing world [Springer Nature Reference: Living Ed.]. Singapore: Springer. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-1278-7_44-1

In this chapter the authors reflect on the ability/possibility of qualitative research methods to enable persons with disability in the Global South to conceptualize disability and reflect on their lived experience. Disability studies theorists have recognized the importance of qualitative research methods in empowering persons with disabilities by lifting their voices. In this chapter we reflect on how research on disability in the Global South has been done. The chapter focuses on the case of persons with epilepsy and psychosocial disabilities (in Malawi) and persons with disabilities more generally (in Mozambique). Based on our own work as early-stage researchers, we reflect on our experience of engaging persons with disabilities as informants. The chapter highlights the role of culture and the legacy of colonialism as issues that researchers must deal with to ensure that disability studies in the Global South is at the service of those with disabilities and cease from engaging in predatory practices.

Medak-Saltzman, D., Misri, D., & Weber, B. (2022). Decolonizing time, knowledge, and disability on the tenure clock. Feminist Formations 34(1), 1-24. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1353/ff.2022.0000

We consider the tenure clock’s enmeshment in the neoliberal academy’s settler colonial and ableist modes of organizing labor and valuing knowledge, modes in turn informed by heteropatriarchal spatiotemporal logics. The tenure clock in the settler academy relies on labor performed by those positioned outside of its time—such as those in temporary or semi-temporary positions, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students. Our motivation in tracing these logics and formulating feminist strategies to undo them stems directly from observing “faculty with disabilities” at our university struggling against the tenure clock; as well as seemingly abled women faculty, faculty of color, and contingent faculty, who have strained against the academic clock and ended up debilitated in the process. We articulate ways in which more collaborative understandings of university culture and knowledge production might serve to challenge the peculiar temporalities produced by the tenure clock. Listening and learning at the intersections of feminist, Indigenous, and disability studies scholarship teaches us to work toward imagining a different approach to tenure, and from there, the way to a different academy.

Mitchell, D. T., & Snyder, S. L. (2023). Precarity and the global dispossession of indigeneity through representations of disability. In M. Fernández-Santiago & C. M. Gámez-Fernández (Eds.), Representing vulnerabilities in contemporary literature (pp. 17-32). New York: Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781032130323-2

This chapter analyzes representations of disability in three key historical novels about indigenous people under Western colonialism: O. A. Bushnell’s The Return of Lono (1956), Leslie Marion Silko’s Ceremony (1977), and William Vollmann’s Fathers and Crows (1992). Each work reaches back from a future moment to exhume past violence and the continuing efforts of colonialism in the Americas along with its attendant genocidal impact. 

Murdock, E. G. (2022). Terrortories: Colonialism’s built environments as structural disablement. Critical Philosophy of Race, 10(1), 106-127. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5325/critphilrace.10.1.0106

This article proceeds from the thesis proposed by Frantz Fanon that colonialism, specifically settler colonialism, is a world-destroying structure that the colonized witness as a “veritable apocalypse.” Settler colonialism is apocalyptic not only in the sense that it attempts to permanently destroy and make irretrievable various other Indigenous worlds and ways of being-in-the-world, but also in that it builds the settler colonial world in, on, and with Indigenous lands and bodies. I read Fanon as proposing that settler colonialism builds apocalyptic worlds with the murdered worlds of the colonized and then forces the colonized to navigate and embrace these violent and traumatic landscapes, which I call terrortories. I argue this is directly connected to Fanon’s revolutionary psychiatric work and practice to decolonize and disalienate colonial medical and psychiatric facilities as structures of disablement, which requires the abolition of settler colonialism altogether.

Moya, L., & Bertie, J. A. (2018). Crip posthumanism and Native American Indian postanthropocentrism: Keys to a bodily perspective in science. In M. Ruzzeddu (Ed.), Systemic Sociology and Innovation [Feature Issue]. International Review of Sociology, 28(3), 492-509. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03906701.2018.1478688

The dominant thought in the Western Culture, put the soul first and despised the body, generating distinctions and hierarchies in which the spiritual or immaterial was considered superior to the corporeal or material. But the bodies have not allowed themselves to be reduced to these dichotomous patterns. The queer discovered the body, worked with it, but returned to the field of immateriality in which the identity is lodged. The crip has completed the gesture of the queer entering fully into the field of the body, denaturalizing categories (deficiency and disability) and interpreting it as radically interdependent. However, in the absence of tradition in dealing with the body, both in reflection and politics, we are inspired by other cultures that always put corporeality in the foreground. The Native American Indians are explicit in terms of contrast between humans and non-humans, because for them there is a unique culture with multiple natures, as opposed to Western, because we believe in plurality of cultures and in a uniform nature. In order to coexist with this diversity, the West has invented ‘cultural relativism’ and ‘multiculturalism’, while the Native American Indians have developed a ‘multinaturalism’ with their ‘perspectivism’. We propose to denominate perspectivism a modality of science and politics that could manifest the radical influence of bodies.

Nguyen, X. T., Mitchell, C., & Bernasky, T. (2022). Qualitative visual methods in research with girls and women with disabilities in the Global South. In M. H. Rioux, J. Viera, A. Buettgen, & E. Zubrow (Eds.), Handbook of disability: Critical thought and social change in a globalizing world [Springer Nature Reference: Living Ed.]. Singapore: Springer. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-1278-7_16-1.

This chapter examines how Participatory Visual Methodologies can be used to create more inclusive and accessible spaces with disabled people in the Global South. Drawing on a 4-year research project, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2016–2020) with girls and women with disabilities in Vietnam, we argue that a decolonial Participatory Visual Methodology (PVM) approach is critical for centering the perspectives of girls and women with disabilities in spaces where they may have previously been excluded. This work is important for disability rights because it creates a more transformative approach to social justice in communities in the global South.

Ohajunwa, C. O., & Sefotho, M. M. (2024). Epistemologies of disability from the Global South: Towards good health. In L. Ned, M. R. Velarde, S. Singh, L. Swartz, & K. Soldatić (Eds.), The Routledge International Handbook of Disability and Global Health. London: Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003228059-4.

The understanding ascribed to disability within contexts informs how the concept is perceived and researched in academia. Hues of this understanding are perceived within the conceptualisation, research processes and outcomes of research to influence the lived experience of disability. Exploration of epistemologies of disability provides the knowledge and understanding of disability from the margins. Africa is in the Global South, within a shared history of marginalisation and subjugation of its knowledge systems from the Global North. Therefore, this chapter aims to discuss and present epistemologies of disability from the African context. The chapter argues for epistemic justice and relevance of exploring the understanding of disability from the African perspective, to influence academic research and practice within the field of disability studies. This aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 3): Good health and well-being of persons with disabilities. Emerging from the reflections and discussions, recommendations highlighting possible ways forward for disability research within academia in Africa are envisaged.

Padilla, A. (2021). Disability, intersectional agency, and Latinx identity: Theorizing LatDisCrit counterstories [Interdisciplinary Disability Studies]. London: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003084150.

This interdisciplinary volume links dis/ability and agency by exploring LatDisCrit’s theory and activist emancipatory practice. It uses the author’s experiential and analytical views as a blind brown Latinx engaged scholar and activist from the global south living and struggling in the highly racialized global north context of the United States.

LatDisCrit integrates critically LatCrit and DisCrit, which look at the interplay of race/ethnicity, diasporic cultures, historical sociopolitics, and disability within multiple Latinx identities in mostly global north contexts, while incorporating global south epistemologies. Using intersectional analysis of key concepts through critical counterstories, following critical race theory methodological traditions, and engaging possible decoloniality treatments of material precarity and agency, this book emphasizes intersectionality’s complex underpinnings within and beyond Latinidades. Through a careful interplay of dis/ability identity and dis/ability rights/empowerment, the volume opens avenues for intersectional solidarity and spaces for radical transformational learning.

Pino-Morán, A P., Rodríguez-Garrido, P., & Lapierre, M. (2023, July). Wild, indigenous, lame, invalid: Anti-ableist epistemologies of the South. Saude soc. 32(2), e211010en. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1590/S0104-12902023211010en.

The aim of the article was to present a first approach to an epistemological proposal that reflects on and deals with the construction and legitimation of knowledge generated from abject, abnormal, or crippled corporeities geopolitically located in the South. It pays special attention to the sex-gender-ability system in the social and epistemological organization of knowledge. In this development, we identify a positionality and wasted wealth for regional social analysis and transformation as a result of a modern colonial order. Hence, this proposal is inscribed within the Latin American critical thinking to reflect on those other places of abject enunciation.

Puszka, S., Walsh, C., Markham, F., Barney, J., Yap, M., & Driese, T. (2022, November). Community-based social care models for Indigenous people with disability: A scoping review of scholarly and policy literature. Health & Social Care in the Community, 30(6), e3716-e3732. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.14040

Disability is experienced and understood by Indigenous people internationally in distinct ways from other populations, requiring different approaches in disability services. Furthermore, Indigenous populations access disability services at low rates. In response, policymakers, service providers and Indigenous organisations have developed specific models of care for Indigenous people with disability. Social care services, comprising personal care, transport and social activities, can support Indigenous people with disability to live with their families and in their communities. However, little is known about the range of social care models for Indigenous people with disability. To inform policy and practice, we conducted a scoping review of community-based models of social care designed to meet the needs of Indigenous peoples in Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, Canada and the United States. Our methods were informed by best practice scoping review principles and a collaborative approach that centred Indigenous voices within research appraisal and project governance processes. Literature searches (conducted March–April 2021) yielded 25 results reporting on 10 models of care. We identified two over-arching themes (funding and governance arrangements; service delivery design) that encompass nine key characteristics of the included models. Our analysis shows promising practice in contextually relevant place-based social activity programs, support and remuneration for family carers and workforce strategies that integrate Indigenous staff roles with kinship relationships and social roles. While more research and evaluation are needed, disability funding bodies and service systems that facilitate these areas of promising practice may improve the accessibility of social care for Indigenous peoples.

Puszka, S., Walsh, C., Markham, F.,  Barney, B., Yap, M., & Dreise, T. (2022). Towards the decolonisation of disability: A systematic review of disability conceptualisations, practices and experiences of First Nations people of Australia. Social Science & Medicine, 305, 115047. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2022.115047.

In many settler-colonial countries, Indigenous people do not access disability services at rates commensurate with disability prevalence. Existing research suggests that services often do not reflect Indigenous values and social practices, impacting on accessibility. Furthermore, disability services have historically been implicated in processes of colonisation. There is an urgent need to decolonise disability services. Understanding Indigenous knowledge and experience of disability is a necessary step towards achieving this. We systematically reviewed the disability conceptualisations, practices and experiences of First Nations peoples of Australia. Twelve studies met inclusion criteria. There was a consensus among these studies that Western constructs of disability do not resonate with many First Nations people across Australia. The studies reported that many First Nations people conceptualise most disabilities as unremarkable conditions that reflect the normal range of human diversity, although some conditions may be associated with social stigma. Inclusive attitudes and practices of caregiving in First Nations families facilitate the participation of First Nations people with disabilities in family and community life. However, ableism and racism in broader society combine to exclude many First Nations peoples with disabilities from public spaces and from labour markets. Disability services regularly fail to reflect First Nations values and social practices, and can lead to further disempowerment and marginalisation due to diagnostic processes; displacement from country and communities; gendered discrimination; and poor relationships with service providers. We argue that intersectional experiences of colonialism, racism, ableism and sexism, particularly in disability services, can lead to the marginalisation of First Nations participants and families. The decolonisation of disability services requires services to embrace diverse First Nations values and practices associated with human capability, social participation and caregiving. Decolonising disability services also necessitates First Nations control of the governance of disability services and reform across service, organisational, systemic and conceptual levels.

Rabang, N. J., West, A. E., Kurtz, E., Warne, J., &  Hiratsuka, V. Y. (2023). Disability decolonized: Indigenous peoples enacting self-determination. Developmental Disabilities Network Journal, 3(1), Article 11. 

Populations researched often have little if any input in the means of data collection, analysis, or authorship of the findings published. They are excluded from participating in the scientific methods even though they are the subject of the content that is being produced. This is true for Indigenous populations and the disability community around the globe. Researchers usually use colonial methodology that does not encompass the values of these communities or have their well-being in mind. This paper examines the history of colonization and how it has infiltrated science and inhibits self-determination of Indigenous peoples. Indigenous communities need to have the means and power for self-determination. For individuals with disabilities, this includes rights to services and programs that give the respect and person-centered care they deserve to make informed decisions about their lives. Moreover, there is a recognized need for culturally appropriate services that empower American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) people with disabilities to lead independent lives in their own communities—urban or rural. AI/AN cultures may view disabilities differently than those in the mainstream U.S. Barriers and challenges for AI/AN individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and AI/AN families of individuals with IDD in access to services include inadequate funding, personnel shortages, housing shortages, lack of coordination among agencies, lack of consultation with tribes, and problems identifying persons eligible for services. AI/AN-specific programs that have begun to bridge the gap in access to and development of culturally competent services such as Oyáte Circle and development of collegiate courses focused on AI/AN disabilities issues. There remains a need for partnership with AI/AN tribes for disability services and incorporation of AI/AN people with disabilities as equitable partners in program development and implementation. To reach a full decolonization of IDD health care and fully embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) principles, individuals in these communities need to be viewed as experts in their journey of resilience.

Rice, C., Dion, S. D., & Chandler, E. (2021, Spring). Decolonizing disability through activist art. In E. Brewer, B. Brueggemann, J. Gallagher, & K. Henry (Eds.), Disability Studies, In Time [Feature Issue]. Disability Studies Quarterly, 41(2). DOI: https://doi.org/10.18061/dsq.v41i2.7130

This paper mobilizes activist art at the intersections of disability, non-normativity, and Indigeneity to think through ways of decolonizing and indigenizing understandings of disability. We present and analyze artwork produced by Vanessa Dion Fletcher, the first Indigenous disability-identified Artist-in-Residence for Bodies in Translation (BIT), a research project that uses a decolonized, cripped lens to cultivate disabled, D/deaf, fat, Mad, and aging arts on the lands currently known as Canada. We begin by setting the context, outlining why disentangling the disability, non-normativity, and Indigeneity knot is a necessary and urgent project for disability studies and activisms. Drawing on Indigenous ontologies of relationality, we present a methodological guide for our reading of Dion Fletcher’s work. We take this approach from her installation piece Relationship or Transaction?, which, we argue, foregrounds the need for white settlers to turn a critical gaze on transactional concepts of relationship as integral to a decolonized and an indigenized analysis of disability and non-normative arts. We then centre three original pieces created by Dion Fletcher to surface some of the intricacies of the Indigeneity/disability/non-normativity nexus that complicate recent discussions about recuperating Indigenous concepts of bodymind differences across white supremist settler colonial regimes on Turtle Island (North America) that seek to debilitate Indigenous bodies and lives. We intervene in these debates with reflections on what might be created—and what we might learn—when the categories of Indigeneity and (Western conceptions of) disability and non-normativity are understood as contiguous, particularly focusing on meaning-making within Dion Fletcher’s developing oeuvre.

Rivas Velarde, M. C. (2017, October). Addressing double layers of discrimination as barriers to health care: Indigenous peoples with disabilities. ab-Original, 1(2), 269-278. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5325/aboriginal.1.2.0269

Multiple or aggravated forms of discrimination have not been properly dealt with in health systems. This article reports on the findings of three case studies conducted in Australia, Mexico, and New Zealand that look at the experiences of Indigenous persons with disabilities accessing health care. The findings show that health systems in these three countries have not sufficiently addressed barriers to health care arising from aggravated forms of discrimination, such as the intersection between disability and indigeneity. Findings reveal also how both interpersonal and systematic discrimination emerged from protocols and procedures that often had no discriminatory intent but had a disproportionately negative impact on populations such as Indigenous persons with disabilities. The article also offers recommendations on how to improve awareness and cultural competency to tackle discriminatory practices in order to improve health access and effective adherence of Indigenous peoples in health care settings.

Rohman, A., & Pitaloka, D. (2023). Disconnected and disabled during the pandemic: Toward more inclusive pandemic response plans in the Global South. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/09610006231207657.

This study centers on the information world of Persons with Disabilities (PwD) living in the Global South during the COVID-19 pandemic. The intersection between information practices and disability studies have been mainly situated within the context of the Global North although the pandemic has perpetuated the global power imbalance between rich and poor countries. Based on an analysis of qualitative data collected from PwD in Vietnam during the pandemic, we found that the boundaries between individual, social, and professional domains blurred as the PwD used the same digital platforms accessible and affordable for them to meet different information needs arising from the continuous shifts and disruptions the pandemic had brought to their everyday life. The platforms also allowed the PwD to make stronger connections with themselves, others with disability, and the country during difficult times. In tandem, the PwD’s information world was characterized by the need to protect themselves from contracting the virus and to follow official pandemic response guidelines. The findings demonstrate the importance of centering disability rights and digital rights in pandemic preparedness, response, and recovery plans, particularly in countries with limited resources in Southeast Asia.

Russette, H., Hill, S. B., & Goldman, A. (2020, August 12). Teaching the intersectionality of disability, American Indians, and rurality at tribal colleges. Tribal College: Journal of American Indian Higher Education.

“At the University of Montana, course offerings did not address the intersection of disability, American Indian populations, and public health until recently. This course gap was problematic because American Indians and Alaska Natives experience a high prevalence of disability which is partially attributed to reservations being located in rural settings, particularly in Montana. From this deficit, the University of Montana Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities (RIIC), a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, secured federal funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Community Living to support two graduate-level diversity fellowship positions and to develop a community-grounded public health and disability course appropriate to the 12 Montana-based Native nations. RIIC leadership recognized the need to provide training to professionals working with American Indian communities. In 2018, two fellows and a staff mentor started a year-long process to gather resources, develop a curriculum, and teach a course called ‘The Intersectionality of Disability, American Indians, and Rurality’ through the Native American Studies Department at the University of Montana.” 

Saisi, B. (2022). Barred by the maddening state: Mental health and incarceration in the heterosexist, anti-Black, settler colonial carceral state. In M. J. Coyle & D. Scott (Eds.), The Routledge international handbook of penal abolition. New York: Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429425035-34.

This chapter examines how reformist policies around mental health care in prisons reproduces the logics of carcerality whereby the medicalization of mental distress is utilized as a means to expand the carceral state. This chapter traces past and contemporary histories that illustrate the relationship between institutionalized psychiatry and the pathologization of Black and Indigenous peoples and nonnormative gender and sexual expressions to justify their containment in order to maintain the White supremacist nation-state. Through analyzing newsletters written by incarcerated and formerly incarcerated peoples in women’s prisons and their experiences of mental distress alongside liberal reformist legal literature, a critical race, feminist, and disability analysis of psychological and psychiatric institutions is revealed to be germane to the overall project of penal abolition.

Senier, S. (2021). Disability, Blackness, and Indigeneity: An invitation to a conversation. In T. A. Pickens (Ed.)., Blackness and Disability: This. Is. The. Remix. or I Thought I Told You That We Won’t Stop [Special Issue]. CLA Journal, 64(1), 166-173. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1353/caj.2021.0011

The author “…offer[s] CLAJ readers and colleagues a few insights into what has been occurring in the field of Indigenous Studies and Disability, in the spirit of inviting us all to think through this ‘wide range of entry points’” (p. 167).

Senier, S., & Barker, C. (2013). Disability and Indigeneity [Special Issue]. Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies, 7(2). 

“…the articles [in this special] issue multiple calls for decolonization, both material and discursive in nature. They collectively discuss the decolonization of disability studies, of genetic science, of research methodologies, of the boarding school, and of medical institutions. We would argue that far from signaling some loose or amorphous concept of social justice, these articles use the term decolonization in its most precise and rigorous sense: as a form of ‘giving back to,’ or (even better) ‘refusing to take from,’ indigenous peoples. While this notion of ‘giving back’ might be aspirational rather than a readily achievable goal in many of the cases considered in the present special issue, as a principle it certainly upholds the productive notion of ‘world-making’ (or re-making) discussed above. To ‘decolonize’ disability studies, as conceptualized by the authors collected here, is to commit to a form of disability studies praxis that refuses to impose non-indigenous frameworks of health or disability upon native communities, whether these might be medical or more progressive social models” (p. 137).

Articles in this special issue include an introduction, two book reviews and the following articles:

Shepherd, Z. (2023). Inclusive and equitable education in postcolonial Caribbean. In M. H. Rioux, J. Viera, A. Buettgen, & E. Zubrow (Eds.), Handbook of disability: Critical thought and social change in a globalizing world [Springer Nature Reference: Living Ed.]. Singapore: Springer. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-1278-7_46-1

In a society riddled with the long-term economic effects of colonialism, access to inclusive and equitable education directly impacts that society’s ability to innovate and actively participate in the rapid unfolding of our globalized futures. The present-day Caribbean education model perpetuates systemic segregation which continues to place barriers on societal growth. As a region, the Caribbean has been in a period of rapid transformation for a while, where entire industries are changing, identity is in constant flux, and the role people play in the productivity of world affairs is increasingly questionable. Considering the many vulnerabilities that the region faces, Caribbean nations need to actively participate in creating a new kind of future for themselves.

Opportunity lies in the untapped potential of the creative economy, and thus the possibilities of redesigning education to better equip the youth to engage creative thinking in their lives is necessary. Centered in Barbados, this study aims to bridge the gap between the need for creativity in the economy and the lack of teaching adequate creative thinking methods in the school curriculum, by introducing a flexible way for teachers to explore implementing creative thinking methods in classrooms across a variety of subjects. The design of accessible and practical tools allows the shifting of critical consciousness of both teachers and students alike, to co-create more inclusive and robust local communities.

Shrodes, A. & Paré, D. (2022). Advancing equitable education with intersectional approaches in queer theory [Rapid Community Report Series]. Digital Promise and the International Society of the Learning Sciences. 

“Intersectional queer theory is an orienting frame assembling traditions of thought that consider gender and sexuality at the intersection of other identities and structures. We consider intersectional queer theory through scholarship on queer of color critique, queer Indigenous and Two-Spirit theorizing, and queer disability studies. Using these frames, educators and researchers can design and study learning environments that affirm learners across marginalized identities and examine how interlocking power structures (re)produce dominant and subordinate relations.”

Simpson, H. A. (2021). Forming strong cultural identities in an intersecting space of Indigeneity and autism in Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, 17(3), 416–424. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/11771801211039274

Through its hegemonic ideologies, colonialism and its constituent underpinnings of religious and racial superiority, necessitates the erasure of the cultural identity of people outside the dominant Euro-Western culture and as non-normative groups, Indigenous Peoples and autistic people disabled per colonized paradigms, experience oppression, and subjugation harmful to self-identity and mental health. This article discusses culturally responsive interventions aimed at supporting strong cultural identity formation and safeguard Indigenous and autistic people from stigmatization, misrepresentation, and erasure of identity. Promising research uses Indigenous knowledges in education and arts programming to disrupt patterns of social injustice, exclusion, and cultural genocide while promote positive identity formation, pride, and resilience for Indigenous autistics. While Indigenous and autistic people exist globally, this article reviews literature from Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.

Simpson, H. A. (Stswecem’c Xget’tem First Nation, Secwépemc). (2023). Forming strong cultural identities in an intersecting space of Indigeneity and autism using participatory action research and digital storytelling. AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples, 19(4), 862-872. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/11771801231197838.

This research responds to the urgency to disrupt patterns of social injustice, exclusion, and cultural genocide while promoting positive identity formation, pride, and resilience for Indigenous autistics in the post-secondary education system. This study utilized a participatory action research approach positioning participants as collaborators with the research team. Data collection involved qualitative data derived from the transcripts of online sessions, participant digital stories, and a summative survey. Thematic analysis was used to identify emergent themes of individual and a collective narrative. Findings are presented as an original concept of the author called Thrivival: The Fire Within, comprising four themes: self-identity, time, balance, and community. This work contributes to a broader understanding and expressions of Indigenization, decolonization, equity, diversity, and inclusion in post-secondary teaching, learning, and policy to better support the identity and success of Indigenous autistic students and arguably, all students who experience intersectional discrimination within post-secondary education systems.

Sipuka, O., & Ngubane, S. A. (2022). Rethinking power and the complexities between critical disability studies and decoloniality in higher education. In M. H. Rioux, J. Viera, A. Buettgen, & E. Zubrow (Eds.), Handbook of disability: Critical thought and social change in a globalizing world [Springer Nature Reference: Living Ed.]. Singapore: Springer. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-1278-7_19-1

This chapter explores the intersecting facets of people with disabilities and open distance learning. It examines how the increased decolonization of higher education (HE) and experiences for students with disabilities in a South Africa university can be positively and negatively affected. We relate the biggest issues to the institutional level strategic support, personnel preparation and understanding, policy reflection and planning, inclusive programs, and student engagement. Above all, how disability inclusion drive change is reflected through decolonized Student Walk system that has been conceptualized can play a pivotal role in the education of students with disabilities. It found structural discrimination; staff and students alike poorly understood social injustices, suggesting there are more obstacles than opportunities for further decolonization in HE. The chapter suggests that several contradictory institutional support programs need to be decolonized and integrated within inclusive teaching and student support.

Slopek, C. (2021). Aboriginal speculations: Queer rhetoric, disability, and interspecies conviviality in The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf. In B. Burger, D. Kern, & L. Mattila (Eds.), Gender and Sexuality in Australian Speculative Fiction [Feature Issue]. Gender Forum, 81, 9-29.

The Anthropocene looms large in the 21st century, and queer and disabled people continue to be exposed to harassment and discrimination. What do these issues have in common, though? In Ambelin Kwaymullina’s speculative fiction novel The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf (2012), queer discourse collaborates with, promotes, and diversifies a non-anthropocentric world order, simultaneously implicating a dis/ability dialectic. This article brings together queer, disability, interspecies studies and literary analysis to explore how Kwaymullina’s young adult novel creates links between queerness and interspecies relations and how disability comes into play. The rhetoric used against children with so-called special abilities in the novel, who come to occupy the structural position of the queer in Kwaymullina’s narrative at the expense of those living with disabilities, as well as the role interspecies conviviality plays for future community construction are focal points of the article. For the latter part, in particular, this article draws on Aboriginal knowledge systems to explore how The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf weaves these marginalised epistemologies into literature and thus changes the field of speculative fiction.

Soldatic, K., & Fitts, M. (2021). The pedagogics of disability–Indigenous intersectionalities in the age of austerity. In B. Offord, C. Fleay, L. Hartley, Y. G.Woldeyes, & D. Chan, (Eds.), Activating cultural and social change: The pedagogies of human rights (pp. 60-74). London: Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003042488-5.

“In this chapter, we explore the important pedagogic opportunities afforded through interrogating the role of disability rights in the lives of Indigenous peoples subjected to settler-colonial regimes of power. It is well established and documented within the United Nations that Indigenous peoples within settler-colonial regimes experience some of the highest rates of disability and chronic illness (UNDESA 2019). Yet, there has been limited pedagogic consideration of the possible importance of disability rights in promoting, protecting and securing the rights of Indigenous peoples and communities in the settler-colonial context. Core questions, such as what does disability teach us about settler-colonial relationships of racialised power, what role does disability and disablement play in Indigenous dispossession in settler-colonial regimes, and how does the state denial of disability social and economic rights further Indigenous people’s oppression, are critical if we are to fully identify, challenge and disrupt the uneven production and distribution of disability currently experienced by Indigenous peoples. In this chapter, we explore these very questions through examining the central role of disability and its pedagogic relations of power in the material realisation of social and economic rights in the lives of Indigenous carers who also live with their own disability. As we illustrate in this chapter, through a critical engagement with disability rights, we are presented rich and nuanced pedagogical moments and opportunities, to support Indigenous peoples claims for rights and recognition within settler-colonial contexts, alongside challenging settler-colonial racialised structures of ableism with the onset of austerity as policy orthodoxy” (p. 60).

Soldatic, K., & Gilroy, J. (2018). Intersecting Indigeneity, Colonisation and Disability [Special Issue]. Disability and the Global South, 5(2). 

“This special issue sought to open a space for critical debates and reflections on the issues and challenges of bringing together Indigeneity and disability as an intersecting identity. The overall aim was to question and challenge existing approaches to modern Western understandings of disability, how it is regulated, governed and experienced once the cultural identity of being Indigenous is positioned at the fore” (p. 1338). 

This special issue includes an editorial and the following articles: 

Springgay, S. (2021). Stitching language: Sounding voice in the art practice of Vanessa Dion Fletcher. In E. Chandler, K. Aubrecht, K., E. Ignagni, & C. Rice (Eds.), Cripistemologies of Disability Arts and Culture: Reflections on the Cripping the Arts Symposium [Special Issue]. Studies in Social Justice, 15(2). DOI: https://doi.org/10.26522/ssj.v15i2.2431.

This paper engages with the artistic practice and work of Vanessa Dion Fletcher (Potawatomi and Lenapé) from my perspective as a non-Indigenous academic and curator. Dion Fletcher and I have worked together over the past several years through discussions about her work, studio visits, and various events. In her art practice, Dion Fletcher uses porcupine quills and menstrual blood to inquire into a range of issues and concepts including Indigenous language revitalization, feminist Indigenous corporeality, Land as pedagogy, decolonization, and neurodiversity. In particular her work confronts the ways that Indigeneity, the queer and gendered body, and disability are rendered expendable. In this paper I engage with Dylan Robinson’s “sovereign sense”: a transcorporeal mode of perception that is affective, land-based, and formed through relations between human and non-humans. Dion Fletcher’s work makes palpable this sense of sovereignty through its unruly and mutating feltness. Further, her work makes visible feminist Indigenous artistic acts of resurgence alongside the frictions at the intersections of settler colonialism and disability. Following Karyn Recollet, I contend that Dion Fletcher’s work activates an Indigenous affective experience of futurity and creative intimacy that in turn imagines disability and Indigeneity as sites through which new pedagogical relations can be formed.

Taleyratne, J. (2021, August 3). First Nations women, disabilities, and family violence: An intersectional approach. One Woman Project Blog. Queensland, Australia.G

“Indigenous women with disabilities are identified as having experienced domestic violence at a much greater rate than the rest of the population (Cripps, Miller and Saxton-Barney, 2010). According to Aboriginal Justice Council (1999), 69% of assault cases against First Nations women are carried out by their spouse or partner. Compounding this issue, is that Indigenous women with disabilities experience additional barriers to the disclosure and seeking of help. While the statistics highlight a higher rate of Indigenous women with disabilities as victims of abuse, little is known about their experiences of violence and their access to services (Cripps, Miller and Saxton-Barney, 2010). This article will examine that although current policies are attempting to integrate and improve family violence (FV) services in Victoria, there is a lack of services that help to navigate the challenges Indigenous women with disabilities may face as victims of family violence. It will analyse the current family violence services, the impacts of discrimination through a critical disability lens, and the nuanced relationship between disability and gender-based violence.” 

Varas-Díaz, N., & Nevárez Araújo, D. (2024). Dis/abling narratives of indigenous bodies through decolonial metal music in Latin America. In J. H. Shadrack & K. Kahn-Harris  (Eds.), Heavy metal and disability: Crips, crowds, and cacophonies (pp. 140-161). Intellect Ltd. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1386/9781789389456_12.

Walsh, C., Puszka, S., Markham, F., Barney, J., Yap, M., & Dreise, T. (2023). Supporting Indigenous people with disability in contact with the justice system: A systematic scoping review. Disability & Society. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2023.2215395.

The relationship between race, disability and criminality is complex and poorly understood. Scant information, and lack of action, exists on how to best keep Indigenous people with disability out of the justice system, and support this cohort while in the system. This systematic scoping review collates grey and peer-reviewed literature in Australia, Aotearoa (New Zealand), the United States and Canada, to gain insight into the current practices in place for justice-involved Indigenous people with disability, and list promising principles which may inform future practice. We identified 1,301 sources, and 19 of these met the inclusion criteria. Across these sources, nine key principles emerged: need for Indigenous designed, led and owned approaches; appropriately identify and respond to disability/needs; appropriate court models; appropriate diversionary options; therapeutic, trauma-informed, strengths-based and agency-building responses; facilitate connection to family, community and support networks; break down communication barriers; protect human rights; and provide post-release support.

Yellowhorse (Diné Nation), S. (2022). Disability and Indigenous resistance: Mapping value politics during the time of COVID-19. AlterNative: An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples,18(4), 605–612. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/11771801221123328

This article is about value politics and Indigenous resistance in the time of COVID-19. The effects of the pandemic on our global community have fuelled rhetoric of productivity—advancing collective lamentations of losing our normal lives within wider socio-political dialogue. This article examines how global responses to the COVID-19 pandemic amplified the visibility of settler-colonial histories in union with capitalist discourses to form value politics that impact Indigenous and disabled communities. Mapping wider social dialogue through time, I focus on current economy-based solutions in the call to return to a social normal at the risk of disabled communities. Such global responses are premised on capitalist logics of productivity and ableism which continue to disproportionately impact marginalised communities. By mapping rubrics of value within two settler nation states—the United States and Aotearoa New Zealand—I offer another rubric of value predicated on Diné (Navajo) practices of relationship and resistance.

Zaborskis, M. (2024). Queer childhoods: Institutional futures of indigeneity, race, and disability [Sexual Cultures]. New York: NYU Press.

Tracing the US’s investment in disciplining minoritarian sexualities since the late nineteenth century, Mary Zaborskis focuses on a ubiquitous but understudied figure: the queer child. Queer Childhoods examines the lived and literary experiences of children who attended reform schools, schools for the blind, African American industrial schools, and Native American boarding schools. In mapping the institutional terrain of queer childhoods in educational settings of the late nineteenth- and twentieth-century, the book offers an original archive of children’s sexual and embodied experiences.

Zaborskis argues that these boarding schools—designed to segregate racialized, criminalized, and disabled children from mainstream culture—produced new forms of childhood. These childhoods have secured American futures in which institutionalized children (and the adults they become) have not been considered full-fledged citizens or participants. By locating this queerness in state archives and institutions, Queer Childhoods exposes a queer social history entangled with genocide, eugenics, and racialized violence.

Ziarkowska, J. (2022). Cherishing the impaired land: Traditional knowledge and the Anthropocene in the poetry of Gwen Westerman. In M. Premoli & D. Carlson (Eds.), Indigeneity and the Anthropocene II [Special Issue]. Transmotion, 8(1). DOI: https://doi.org/10.22024/UniKent/03/tm.1007.

In the article I propose to read the work of Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate poet Gwen Westerman from the perspective of environmental humanities and disability studies. Following the insights of Heather Davis and Zoe Todd, I would like to indigenize the field by emphasizing the importance of traditional Indigenous knowledge in the responses to the effects of the Anthropocene. In Westerman’s poetry, the Anthropocene and the accompanying destruction of the environment begin with settler colonialism, which has more serious consequences than the ecological crisis: the loss of traditional lifestyles, foodways, and languages. If Westerman’s speakers believe in Indigenous survival, it can be found in the preservation of traditions and attention to/care for the land that is polluted, altered, and in pain. The emphasis on the need to return the land to the state of balance stands in sharp contrast with the way the discourse of capitalism describes the polluted environment as overexploited, useless, and “impaired.” As Sunaura Taylor has eloquently argued in her presentation “Disabled Ecologies: Living with Impaired Landscapes”, such a use of the “impaired” modifier demonstrates the extent to which Western preoccupation with and privileging of ableism – able bodies which are productive under capitalism – has penetrated thinking about damaged environments. Again, in Westerman’s work, “impairment” is an invitation to  a relationship with the land and its human, non-human, and inanimate beings. The condition of environmental change and pollution necessitates a new understanding of this relationship rather than its abandonment due to the capitalist logic of profit accumulation.