NICOA Points to American Indian/Alaska Health Disparities during National Minority Health Month

This post originally appeared on the NICOA blog.

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American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) Elders have long experienced disparities in health and healthcare. A health disparity is a difference in health outcomes from different groups within the population.

Historically, AI/AN communities have had limited access to quality healthcare. One outcome of treaties between AI/AN communities and the federal government is that all federal recognized tribes have a right to healthcare services. The Indian Health Service (IHS)* was created to meet this federal commitment.

Although there are 567 federally recognized tribes to date, there are many more tribes still seeking federal recognition..... Read More

             

Happy Memories of My Visit to Grandma’s

Memories of my maternal grandma will always be with me. We called her “Ma’sani’ “(translated from my language it means — “Elder Mother.”) Our tribe is matrilineal so my four clans come to me through the female lineage of my parents ancestors. When I was a child I remember traveling to the deep frontier country in the back of our pickup truck to visit Grandma. The roads were dirt – not paved. The air was fresh and my hair would blow wild in the breeze. I was so excited because we were going to grandma’s house. My maternal grandmother lived about 35 miles off the main roadway. On rainy days the dirt roads were hard to maneuver because of the.... Read More

             

NICOA Conference Celebrates American Indian and Alaska Native Elders

The 20th Biennial National Indian Council on Aging, Inc. (NICOA) Conference took place September 3rd through 6th at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown in Phoenix, Arizona. The NICOA conference was held in partnership with the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona, and the Area Agency on Aging, Region 8. There were 1,387 elders attending from 65 different tribal nations.

The five day affair offered a range of events and activities for participants, speakers, families, and guests. Here are some of the highlights from each day:

Wednesday September 3

The first day of the conference began with a whirlwind of activity as many more attendees than expected arrived and were registered. An opening prayer was offered. The Ira H. Hayes American Legion Post 84 posted.... Read More

             

Living the Legacy: Keeping the Comanche Language and Culture Alive

Moribund: In terminal decline; lacking vitality or vigor. (Oxford Dictionary)

“Languages across the world are in crisis. Half of the world’s languages are “moribund, spoken only by adults who no longer teach them to the next generation.” The language loss among North American indigenous people is “especially acute,” where an estimated 155 languages are still spoken, if you add in the Alaskan Native languages. Of these 135 are moribund; and the U.S. Census of 1990 indicated that one-third of these have fewer than 100 speakers. “Native American Language Immersion: Innovative Native Education for Children and Families” Pease Pretty On Top, J.

My mother, Geneva Woomavoyah Navarro, was born in the small town of.... Read More

             

What Being American Indian Means to Me: In Recognition of Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month and November 29, 2013 is Native American Heritage Day. What does this mean to me? I am American Indian of Navajo descent. I was raised on the Navajo Nation all my life. Since I grew up on the Navajo Nation I thought the world was like me. I was taught in school that I am American and I accepted that. I was taught at home to be a good and capable person.

I had inadequate preparation in our public school so I never contemplated going off to college. My mother on the other hand had other dreams for me. She filled out my paperwork to attend the local community college. It was there.... Read More