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Havasupai plaintiffs hope their lawsuit forces changes at the Bureau of Indian Education

In 2020, an Arizona district court approved a settlement brought against the Bureau of Indian Education filed by students of Havasupai Elementary School who claimed the students were subject to “the wholesale denial of educational opportunities for Native American students with disabilities.”

The school sits at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, where the entire Havasupai Reservation is located. It’s only accessible to the outside world by helicopter or an 8-mile hike into the canyon.

Now, an element of that suit has been revived by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — this time addressing the lack of basic education for all students at the school. 

To learn about the new claim, The Show spoke with both the Native American Disability Law Center’s Alexis DeLaCruz, as well as the mother of three of the student plaintiffs listed in the lawsuit; we're calling her Billie P.

The Show also reached out to the Bureau of Indian Education and did not receive a response.

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.