How to Reframe Deaf Culture and Deaf History

Deafness is a journey; whether it be by birth or a medical incident or some other reason, our deafness brings community members together in various ways. Racism, however, has long endured in our deaf community; cultures and histories have long been lost and/or looted by the members within. We need to be able to clearly explain the past, to understand the implications of history, and of the reasons why this matters in our culture. This is a sensitive, significant subject to discuss and the audience is expected to take this into consideration. The NAD Deaf Culture and History Section (DCHS) appreciates the time, as well as the education, the panelists are sharing with us all. 

Please consider a donation to the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) so we can continue our advocacy efforts and plan important events like this series. 

Wednesday, May 25, 6-8p ET


Amelia is smiling.Amelia S. Dall, M.A., RPA, is an Archaeologist with the Bureau of Land Management (Royal Gorge Field Office) and an Archaeologist & Creative Specialist with SEARCH, Inc.; with 7+ years of experience in archaeology, cultural resource management, collection management, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and public archaeology outreach. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History from Gallaudet University (’12), a Master of Arts degree in Archaeology from Texas State University (’17), and a Certificate in Geographic Information Systems from Front Range Community College (’22). Her thesis dissertation, Saving Sites: One Looting Step at a Time, explored the possibilities of utilizing Geographic Information Systems and Google Earth to analyze looting patterns of Nasca cultural sites (Peru). Amelia’s long-time research focus is documenting information regarding deaf people in pre-colonial archaeological records. Amelia is the DCHS Chair and the moderator of the panel discussion.
Melanie is looking at the camera.Dr. Melanie McKay-Cody (Cherokee) earned her doctoral degree in linguistic and socio-cultural anthropology at the University of Oklahoma. She has studied critically endangered Tribal Sign Languages in North America since 1994 and helps different tribes preserve their tribal signs. She also specialized in Indigenous Deaf studies and interpreter training incorporating Native culture, North American Indian Sign Language and ASL. She is also an educator and advocate for Indigenous interpreters and students in educational settings. Besides North American Indian Sign Language research, she had taught ASL classes in several universities for over 30 years. She is one of eight founders of Turtle Island Hand Talk, a new organization focused on Indigenous Deaf/Hard of Hearing/DeafBlind and Hearing people.
Rezenet is looking out.Rezenet Moges-Riedel, Ed.D, is Assistant Professor in ASL Linguistics and Deaf Cultures program at California State University, Long Beach. She also teaches as an Adjunct Lecturer at Gallaudet University in MASLED program. Her dissertation focuses on intersectional experiences and retention of Deaf Faculty of Color, working at postsecondary institutions. Her current works are heavily shaped by critical race theory, which she reframed "White Oralism" and "Black Deaf Gain". Her research interests also encompass in linguistic anthropological issues, such as sign language contact, demissionization, and female masculinity signing styles. Moges(-Riedel) has published in Journal Committed to Social Change on Race and Ethnicity and Sign Language Studies journal. She also had several book-chapters published by University of California Press, Oxford University Press and Gallaudet University Press.
David is smiling.Language, identity, and race are always interconnected. As a Black Deaf man, being Black and Deaf is considered a "double-whammy" because society discriminates against historically marginalized communities based on race, disability, and language modalities. David has forged a bond among both communities to form a singular identity. Having a bi-cultural identity caused David to walk between worlds in both communities. It's quite challenging to be accepted by both communities. David felt blessed to learn several varieties of American Sign Language (ASL) and written English influenced by minority communities. He noticed different varieties of ASL thanks to his friends. When David's Black Deaf friends transferred to Louisiana School for the Deaf, their signing changed from Signed English to ASL. It wasn’t until he saw a documentary chronicling Deaf history in America that he began to understand this phenomenon. In the Black ASL Project film, a Black Deaf woman describes her experience learning Black ASL during segregation, then transferring to a white Deaf school when Alabama schools were integrated. She explained that she didn't understand her white teachers and peers because the segregated communities had developed different varieties of ASL during segregation. David began to understand sociolinguistics and the ways sociolinguists study sociocultural influences on ASL and the positive impact of this Black ASL sociolinguistic study on Black Deaf communities. David earned his B.S in Sociology with a minor in Black Studies from RIT. David wrote a series of articles published on his medium website and WordPress blog about the contemporary issues related to racism and audism during the Black Lives Matter Movement. Eventually, David began his Master’s degree at UNM and learned that New Mexico also has many varieties of ASL linking language, identity, and race. His goal for his MA thesis is to analyze, document, and encourage the larger Deaf community to recognize the New Mexican varieties of ASL.

Webinar Policies

We value access and strive to make our meetings accessible and welcoming to all participants. The NAD is committed to access and all of the presenters have been provided with guidance on making their presentations accessible. We also provide accommodations to meet individual needs during the webinars. If you have a question about an auxiliary aid or service you requested on your registration, please email [email protected] All webinars will be in American Sign Language (ASL) unless specified.
  • Our webinars are intended to be a safe, secure, and learning environment for all participants with the purpose of encouraging productive discussions
  • All participants are expected to conduct themselves in a professional and courteous manner, and to show respect to everyone at all times without any form of harassment.
  • The NAD does not tolerate harassment of any kind, including but not limited to: race, national origin, age, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, religion, or political affiliation. The NAD reserves the right to expel any person who engages in violations of this conduct policy, and also reserves the right to ban such person from future events. No refunds will be given to any person who has been expelled from the conference for violating this conduct policy.
  • Anyone can report harassment or inappropriate conduct. If any person’s behavior has made you uncomfortable, or if you witness inappropriate conduct towards someone else, please immediately contact any staff or security affiliated with the NAD.
By attending a webinar, you agree and understand that you are giving permission to the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) to obtain and use screenshots, audio, and video recordings at the webinar, without restriction or limitation for such use. You also agree and understand that you will not be compensated for the use of such photographs, or audio, or video recordings. You further agree and understand that if you do not want to be photographed or recorded in audio or video, you will notify [email protected] before the webinar.
NAD webinars may be free (with a charge only for CEUs) or might have a cost for registration. Any payments made towards registering for a webinar and/or the CEUs are non-refundable except for a medical emergency or a death in the family (written documentation is required).