WASHINGTON — The Consortia of Administrators for Native American Rehabilitation, commonly referred to as CANAR, is pleased announce the hiring of Cinda Hughes as the organization’s legislative affairs coordinator. Established in January 1993, CANAR is the foremost professional membership organization serving some 85 American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation (AIVR) programs in Indian Country.
An enrolled tribal citizen of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma, Hughes comes to CANAR with a solid background of intergovernmental affairs positions with various federal agencies. Most recently, she served as the tribal affairs liaison in the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs for the U.S. Census Bureau.
“Cinda’s passion for American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation (AIVR) programs is unmatched,” stated Randy Slikkers, executive director of CANAR. “Having started as a consumer with an AIVR program, she has a very unique perspective on the entire system. Given this and her long history of advocating at the state and federal level, she was the perfect choice. We have been looking for the right person with the right experience to lead our public policy efforts and feel very privileged to have added Cinda to our team.”
“I have admired CANAR for so many years. The leadership, the dedicated counselors and the tenacious consumers are ALL warriors in my eyes! The struggle for full inclusion in the workforce and equal opportunities for education and training is vital for our tribal peoples,” commented Cinda Hughes on her appointment to Legislative Affairs Coordinator for CANAR.
“American Indians/Alaska Natives who live with a disability are rising together to become self-sufficient and claim our inherent right to be the authors of our own futures. CANAR will continue its hard work to provide the tools and environment necessary for our people with disabilities to thrive and grow.”
Prior to her federal service, Hughes served as a Legislative Associate for the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). NCAI is the oldest and largest organization representing tribal governments with headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Ms. Hughes is originally from Oklahoma, where she worked for ten years as a Research Assistant for the Oklahoma State Senate. While in Oklahoma, she volunteered her efforts for a number of organizations. Her positions included serving on the Advisory Board of Oklahoma’s Office of Disability Concerns as well as the Board of Trustees for the Gallery of the Plains Indians.
Notably, Ms. Hughes held the title of Ms. Wheelchair America in 2004, which is a position of national public advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities.
In addition to its tribal program membership, other vocational rehabilitation institutions, such as state vocational rehabilitation services and universities, become members of CANAR in order to better serve the American Indian and Alaska Native disability populations.