Research Core

This month Dr. Lisa Hardy from the NAU Department of Anthropology served as co-lead of training on Second Mesa with Joe Seidenberg from Red Feather Development Group on a partnership project between NAU, Red Feather Development Group, and Hopi Department of Community Health Services. The project, a New Investigator project through the Center for American Indian Resilience (CAIR) called Healthy Home Assessments launched a collaborative pilot program to work with 20 families to assess their home health and receive a Healthy Home Kit an informational packet that includes do-it-yourself green cleaning recipes and tips for self-remediation techniques for issues like dust, moisture, mold, and pests. These common issues not only affect household environment and structure but also cause many preventable health problems. The training allowed participants to think through ideas and solutions for people living on Hopi tribal lands to maintain healthy indoor spaces in their meaningful homes.


Two Community health representatives, several NAU undergraduate health students, one NAU anthropology MA student, and others attended the training where they learned how to assess structural damage, air quality, and other conditions of common types of local houses. They also learned how to install fire alarms and use fire extinguishers from Hopi firefighters and Mansel Nelson of NAUs Tribal Environmental Education Outreach Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP). Dr. Hardy provided training on the community-based process of developing and implementing locally-appropriate data collection techniques during home assessments.


Community members spoke about cultural meanings and values of home. They also shared personal histories of health and resilience, while preserving the wellbeing of their own homes. Through this initial training Hopi CHRs, Red Feather personnel, and CAIR wove together different approaches, perspectives, and practical experiences. Together they developed inspection lists, occupant questionnaires, data gathering instruments, and strategies to effectively and supportively recognize remediation techniques in place and empower homeowners to creatively work towards healthier homes.


 CAIR fire ext  Photo A: NAU MA Student learns how to use fire extinguisher                                                                                  CAIR home kit

 Photo B:  Contents of a sample Healthy Home Kit

Employment opportunity with Red Feather.

New Investigator Projects

Disability Conference Group Page
L-R Madeline, Aaron, Kellen, Desiree, Kwaayesnom, Shawn, Bucky and Darold.


Darold Joseph

My name is Darold H. Joseph I am Coyote Clan from the Hopi village of Moenkopi and I am a doctoral candidate in the Disability and Psychoeducational Studies department at the University of Arizona. I currently serve as Research Assistant with the Center for American Indian Resilience and a Lecturer, with the Applied Indigenous Studies Department both at Northern Arizona University.  My experience includes serving persons with developmental disabilities in urban areas, as a special education teacher, and as a special education administrator in a rural junior high and high school serving American Indian students. 

Desiree Shawn
L-R Desiree Cody and Shawn Namoki editing Shawn’s story.

Through these experiences I learned about the various barriers and challenges individuals with disabilities and their families face when trying to improve their quality of lives. Some of these challenges include, combating the negative stereotypes and generalizations our society constructs about people with disabilities; coping with the process of acceptance, loss, denial, diagnoses; and parents learning how to cope and manage having a child with a disability.  I also saw individuals and their families struggling with policies and laws that were meant to be accommodating but instead contradicted individual rights to equity and fairness. Each of these issues effect the opportunity to attain higher standards of living including: independent living, higher education and employment. Within these experiences there are many unheard stories. 

Hongvi Preston
L-R Aaron Preston, Bucky Preston and Darold Joseph planning their story.

However challenging, I have also witnessed the ability of people with disabilities to practice resilience. In March 2015, I facilitated a digital story training workshop in collaboration with the Hopi Health and Human Services Department and the Office of Hopi Special Needs. The purpose of this workshop was to support individuals with disabilities create and tell their stories of resilience. The following are the personal stories of resilience of four amazing individuals with disabilities and their families who at times have struggled but found the resilience to continue on.  Our hope is that their stories will speak to a broad audience to educate our society about the assets these individuals possess that included the intersection of culture, community, education, disability, and identity. 

Kellen Erica
L-R Kellen Polingyumptwa and Erica Kalliestewa recording flute music for Kellen’s story.
Madeline Sahneyah sharing her daughter Ivy’s story of what it’s like to grow up deaf in a hearing world.

Click on the title to view the digital stories:

  1. My Invisible Life  

         Kellen Polingyumptewa, Hopi Community Health Representative

  1. Hongvi’s Story  

         Aaron Preston, KUYI radio announcer and Bucky Preston, Father

  1. Welcome to My World  

         Ivy Sahneyah, Student, Galladet University and Madeline Sahneyah, Mother

  1. “Hak Navasngwu, Kush Hintak Katsi” (Take Good Care of Yourself, You Don’t Know What’s Going to Happen)

         Shawn Namoki Sr., Mentor, Hopi Substance Abuse Prevention Center Team



*Darold and his panel have presented at the American Indian Disabilities Summit in Phoenix, AZ in March 2016 

 Digital stories were supported by the National Institute On Minority Health And Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number P20MD006872. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health

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