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During the twentieth century, the United States federal government claimed to be working in partnership with Indigenous governments. However, it neither sufficiently ensured that Indigenous people were protected to the same extent as settlers nor fully released Indigenous governments to create their own protections. The results of this dynamic can be seen through examining civil rights legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Although settler disability historians have tended to view the ADA as a unifying success, it did not legally or culturally account for disabled Indigenous people living on Indigenous land within the United States.

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