ASHA’s Native American Caucus was formed in 1986, when speech-language pathologists and audiologists who had a common interest in the unique attributes of the Native American culture met at the ASHA Convention for the first time. To this day, members include Native American and Alaska-Native clinicians, researchers, and students; as well as non-Native clinicians, researchers, and students who serve Native American communities.
The Caucus serves as a resource for information and as a forum for discussion on the issues that influence the provision of quality services to Native American populations including:
- Recruitment of Native American students to the field of speech-language pathology and audiology
- Enhancement of services to Native Americans
- Encouragement of Native American leadership in the professions of speech-language pathology and audiology
- Research and advocacy efforts for issues directly impacting Native American and Alaskan Native communities
- Public awareness and understanding of the uniqueness of Native American culture
Understanding the Uniqueness of Native American Culture within CSD
“Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view, not only the past and present, but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground . . . the unborn of the future Nation.” – The Great Law of the Iroquois (Tribe) Confederacy
“Communication is vital to Indigenous kinship. It allows us to build relationships and strong community ties. Helping Diné children communicate with their caregivers and community is the goal of speech-language pathology. This work is important to preserving Indigenous values.” — Traci Reid, undergraduate CSD student at Northern Arizona University, member of the Navajo Nation
Recruitment of Native American Students to the Field of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology
According to ASHA’s 2020 Member and Affiliate Profile, 0.3% of ASHA members and affiliates self-identify as American Indians and Alaska Natives only. This translates to a lack of service providers for Native American communities and those in rural areas. It’s a challenge to provide culturally responsive services to Native children and families. Representation matters and prioritizing recruitment will help with empowering tribal communities and uplifting Native professionals into leadership roles.
“Professionals and students have a duty to push for services in rural and native communities. Right now, it’s an underserved area. We don’t have enough SLPs who are Native, let alone providing services to those communities. It’s a very underserved group.” — Taylor Stewart, CCC-SLP, Norman Regional Hospital in Oklahoma, member of the Chickasaw Nation
“Native SLPs and audiologists can help the community in so many ways. It can enrich so many lives. The need for it is always there. We need to get Native representation.” — Elaine Kee, CF-SLP, member of the Navajo Nation
We encourage you to learn more about and join ASHA’s Native American Caucus, as well as follow them on Instagram and Facebook. You may also be interested in following Evangeline Begay, the caucus co-chair, on Instagram.
Check out these resources too . . .
- American Indian & Alaska Native Student Recruitment Video, ASHA’s Native American Caucus (October 2019)
- Audiologists in Alaska’s Indian Health Services, David J. Brueggemann, The ASHA Leader (Vol. 13, Issue 10, August 2008)
- Audiology Telepractice Overcomes Inaccessibility [see: Store and Forward in Alaska], Carol Polovoy, The ASHA Leader (June 2008)
- Native American Caucus of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
- Native American Caucus