To bring together our members, aging advocates, caregivers, and tribal representatives working in the aging field, the National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA) hosts a biennial conference to offer support, resources, the latest research, tools and camaraderie for American Indian and Alaska Native elders across the United States. For its 24th conference on aging in Indian Country, NICOA chose Cherokee, North Carolina, and carried the theme of “A Trail of Determination: Our Culture, Our History and Our Future”.
Keynote speakers from federal, state and tribal programs and agencies were present to provide program updates and listen to the aging needs of American Indian and Alaska Native elders. Symposium topics included “Elders & Tree Rings: Indigenous Approaches to Research with Elders,” “Ataa’ Dadiin Ba’ Hane (The Corn Pollen Model): The Spiritual, Mental, Physical, and Social Vision of our Elders,” “Fraud and Scams Targeting Native American Older Adults,” “Indigenous Dementia Data Sovereignty,” “Later Life Domestic Violence and Indigenous Elders,” and many more. To see the full catalog of 2023 workshop session, view our conference program.
The 2023 conference was an opportunity for tribal leaders, policymakers and tribal elders to express their needs and make policy recommendations for the vital events occurring in years to come: the Older Americans Act reauthorization, the 2024 Presidential Elections, and the 2025 White House Conference on Aging. The events that follow the conference will shape the policies and laws that will affect Native elders for the next decade.
Some highlights of the 2023 conference were a justice-centered listening session, a focus group on Native elder caregiving, a health equity roundtable led by the American Society on Aging, and a national tribal consultation hosted by the Social Security Administration. Informational workshops were provided by service providers and aging network professionals with experience in providing services to Native elders. Workshop sessions included caregiver support, disability resources, elder abuse prevention, transportation, disease prevention, long-term services and supports, employment and training, financial and technical assistance, Medicare and Social Security information, and more.
Thank you to everyone who attended NICOA’s 2023 American Indian Elders Conference! We hope this conference was as enlightening as it was joyful for all those who attended and exhibited.