I want us to remember our core values as Indigenous people and that our ability to adapt to our circumstances is a story that is 1000’s of years in the making.                       

Devyn Kazhe

Devyn Kazhe

Devyn J. Kazhe, 25, is a Native athlete from the village of Paguate within the Pueblo of Laguna in New Mexico.

From Trauma to Triumph

In 2021, Devyn sustained a traumatic Spinal Cord Injury resulting in paralysis from the chest down. With the support of her family and cultural teachings, she endured and overcame the challenges of paraplegia, becoming a skilled wheelchair basketball player, mountain biker, and skier.

Native Americans have the highest rate of disability in the United States. Challenges such as accessibility, perception of disability, poor health care facilities and lack of opportunities all are common issues faced by Native Americans with disabilities.

Changing the Narrative for Differently Abled Native Athletes

Devyn will create a 20-minute educational and inspirational film documenting her story and the stories of other Native Americans with disabilities that have used adaptive sports as a tool to lead successful lives, families, and careers.

Following the successes of Native American Para athletes and telling their stories through the lens of her own personal story of rehabilitation, Devyn will examine the importance of traditional cultural values in transitioning from an able-bodied athlete to a disabled athlete, begin to change the story and language around disability, and help Native youth develop a better understanding of disability.

“I want them to understand that no matter what the obstacle they face in life that they can adapt and overcome and that our traditional core values are an important tool to do that. I want to bring the message that our culture helped me in my journey and that we need to keep it alive and strong.”

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