CANAR will advance and improve rehabilitation services by:
- Providing a forum to enable administrators of Native American rehabilitation and to study, deliberate, and act upon matters affecting rehabilitation with the ultimate goal of expanding quality rehabilitation services to Native American persons with disabilities.
- Providing a resource for the formulation and expression of collective points of view of administrators for Native American rehabilitation on issues affecting rehabilitation on reservations, trust territories, Alaskan Native villages, and across the country and to disseminate these views to service providers, related facilities, companies, and concerned citizens.
- Providing a means of communication with related organizations and governmental bodies on matters related to rehabilitation service provision, education and research.
- Conducting and supporting research demonstration which leads to an improvement of rehabilitation services for Native Americans with disabilities on reservations, trust territories, Alaskan Native villages, and across the country.
- Promoting and maintaining service outcomes that develop a professional identity for practitioners in rehabilitation whose career goals are rehabilitation service provision, education, and administration to Native Americans with disabilities.
- Conducting and supporting efforts to increase the number of Native American practitioners in Vocational Rehabilitation.
The Creation Story
After passage of the Rehabilitation Act Amendment of 1992, considerable actions were taken to enhance cultural competence in rehabilitation service delivery, increase outreach and services to persons with disabilities from diverse populations, and develop recruitment strategies of persons from diverse backgrounds to work in areas of rehabilitation. The Amendments required the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services with the U.S. Department of Education, to develop a national strategic plan, known as the Rehabilitation Cultural Diversity Initiative (RCDI) that would implement priority training on issues of cultural diversity to all programs funded under the Rehabilitation Act.
Between 1992 and 1993, several RCDI meetings were coordinated by the Region VIII Rehabilitation Continuing Education Program (RCEP) to address the current service delivery system within Section 121 funded American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services Projects. Issues and concerns were expressed in regards to initiating and improving tribally appropriate vocational rehabilitation (VR) service provision on reservations nationwide as State VR services and administrative plans often conflicted with tribal norms, eventually leading to high rates of unsuccessful closures among Native American clients. As a result, on January 22, 1993, the Consortia of Administrators for Native American Rehabilitation (CANAR) was formed, and began to function as a national platform to advocate for effective rehabilitation service delivery to American Indian and Alaska Native individuals with disabilities. CANAR also began to serve as the official voice of Native American rehabilitation programs, which provided VR services to American Indians and Alaska Natives with disabilities who residing on or near Federal or State reservations, Alaska Native villages, rancheros, and pueblos.
After CANAR met its first five-year initiative (1993 - 1998), their administrative offices relocated from Region VIII RCEP at the University of Northern Colorado to the American Indian Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (AIRRTC) located at the Institute for Human Development, an Arizona University Affiliated Program at Northern Arizona University.
After several years at AIRRTC, the CANAR office was moved to a new home in Louisiana and was incorporated there as a 501.c3 Non Profit organization in 2003. As CANAR continued to grow it became apparent that there was a need for full time staff and in 2010 CANAR set up a full time office in Louisiana with an Executive Director and an Administrative Assistant.
CANAR continues to grow and form collaborative working relationships with like organizations such as the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR), the National Rehabilitation Association (NRA), the National Council on Independent Living (NICL), the National Council on Disability (NCD) and other nation organizations. In addition, CANAR partners with various state rehabilitation agencies, Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Centers (TACE), Capacity Building Projects, and federal service agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Labor to increase the quality of life for American Indian and Alaska Native individuals with disabilities.
Members of the CANAR consist of individuals who are associated with state or tribal vocational rehabilitation programs, university rehabilitation programs, regional rehabilitation, continuing education programs, and other organizations interested with improving the rehabilitative status of American Indians and Alaska Natives with disabilities.
Membership fees are due for renewal October 1st of each year. Every member shall be provided with a copy of the CANAR By-Laws.