Thursday, November 23, 2023

Does the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Cover Native Americans?

Native Americans have the highest rate of disability among all US population groups. Sovereign Tribal Nations are generally not covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act’s requirements. Tribal governments are specifically excluded from ADA coverage, although private employers on reservations are included. Because of a lack of disability services due to rurality, cultural attitudes, and other reasons, many disabled Native Americans do not receive the support needed for independent living and good quality of life. Other less-well-known disability legislation does apply to Native Americans. This includes the Individuals with Educational Disabilities Act (IDEA) and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).  IDEA guarantees free, appropriate public early interventions and special education services for all children. ESSA requires state education agencies to consult with tribes and allows the Bureau of Indian Education to apply to states for discretionary funding. For more information about disability support for Native Americans and a list of tribal disability services in each state, please download the “How does the ADA apply to Tribal Nations and what resources are available within Region 8?” PDF document here:

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