Dennis and Betty Smartt live in a neatly painted white-and-blue home on the Fort McDermitt Paiute and Shoshone Reservation, on the Nevada-Oregon border. They’ve spent their entire lives here, in this small tribal community of 600 people.
The Smartts, members of the Paiute Tribe, exemplify the challenges Native elders face as they get older in remote communities with poor health care access.
At their home, Dennis’ handcrafted eagle feather headdress adorns a stand in the living room. He recently returned from a trip to Fort Bidwell, Calif., where he spoke at a traditional gathering of elders for prayer and cultural talks. That trip illustrated some of the challenges the Smartts and.... Read More
Native American Heritage Month – Digital Storytelling
National Native American Heritage Month pays tribute to the rich traditions of Native Americans, and one of those traditions is storytelling. For the past month, the National Indian Council On Aging (NICOA) has been sharing the most recent stories from the Native Elder Storytelling Project to help celebrate that tradition.
Click above to watch our latest videos. They can also be found on NICOA’s YouTube channel along with our first round of videos.
Native Storytelling Importance
Shannon Smith from the Native Daughters Project beautifully paints the picture of the importance of Native storytelling:
Storytelling is a diverse and powerful medium of imagery and.... Read More
NEW Your Money, Your Goals Train the Trainer Webinars
In November, the National Indian Council on Aging, Inc. (NICOA) is hosting two FREE online webinars that will teach attendees how to become trainers of a financial empowerment program called Your Money, Your Goals. The program is from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and focuses on helping people to reach their financial goals, bring cash flow budgets into balance, order and fix credit reports, reduce debt, and avoid financial tricks and traps.
NICOA will bring a unique perspective to this program by providing Your Money, Your Goals through the lens of Native culture and traditions, focusing specifically on how to reach and provide culturally appropriate examples and training for American Indian and Alaska Natives. Attendees will also get PDFs.... Read More
Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) and Social Health
One aspect of healthy aging that may be overlooked is social health. Although the importance of friends and family to our health is well understood by American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs), in today’s culture many Elders are separated from their communities and therefore from some of this tradition. These connections with our families and friends are incredibly important to our health and wellbeing as Elders.
As the Center for Advancing Health states, “Staying connected to other people through a wide variety of social activities can yield important health consequences as you age… a new study that found that older adults who maintain high levels of.... Read More
Celebrating NICOA American Indian and Alaska Native Elders’ Day
The National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA) is closed today, September 21st, in observance and celebration of NICOA American Indian and Alaska Native Elders’ Day. This day is important to Indian Country because September 21, 1976 is recognized as the day that NICOA was founded by Tribal Leaders, community advocates, and American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) Elders.
How It All Started
The first National Indian Conference on Aging was sponsored by the National Tribal Chairman’s Association (NTCA) in Phoenix, Arizona on June 15-17, 1976. Close to 1,500 AI/AN people.... Read More
Your Money, Your Goals – Overcoming Barriers Through Financial Empowerment
Finances can be overwhelming for many people, and a variety of factors can increase financial challenges, especially for Elders.
Economic barriers are a significant challenge for many who already feel that finances are overwhelming, and these barriers in turn can create additional challenges, often related to health.
Low-income households, especially people that live and work in areas where there is a lack of employment or educational resources (which disproportionately include racial and ethnic minorities), often experience a lack of access to healthy lifestyle options. Low-income.... Read More
Serving Diverse Populations: Strengthening the Aging Network’s Cultural Competency
The National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA) is a member of both the Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC) and the Elder Equity Consortium. Both entities work to provide education and outreach to the Aging Network and other stakeholders. As a result of discussions initiated by Heather Chun of the National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA) with Amy Gotwals and Rebecca Levine from the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), our Consortium partners were invited to participate in a webinar series titled Serving Diverse Populations: Strengthening the Aging Network’s Cultural Competency. Not only did we appreciate.... Read More
It is officially summer time, and with summer comes hot weather. Unfortunately, sometimes the weather gets too hot and becomes extreme heat, which can cause heat-related illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note that “around 618 people in the United States are killed by extreme heat every year” even though heat-related deaths and illness are preventable.
I don’t let cold weather stand between me and exercise. I enjoy pulling on my cleated hiking boots, grabbing my walking sticks and taking a brisk walk on an icy sand beach on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. It does something for my spirit. I can enjoy it now at age 73 because I have the muscle mass and tone to extend myself. I can actually work up a sweat! I credit my positive attitude and agility to a variety of reasons. I.... Read More
How does the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) impact elders in Indian Country?
The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is the only federal community service and job training program focused exclusively on serving low-income older adults 55 and older, in nearly all 3,000 U.S. counties and territories through state and national grantees. Seventy-five percent of the money spent for this program goes directly to wages for 65,170 older Americans.
Participants in the program work and receive on the job training at 20,000 local nonprofit and government programs. These host agencies include libraries, senior centers, schools, and tribal government offices. Last year, SCSEP participants provided nearly 35 million staffing hours to these local programs, including more than 7 million hours serving older.... Read More