Why Every Elder Vote Counts
Join the National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA) and AARP as we prepare to play our part in an historic United States presidential election. On October 1, 2020, NICOA held a live, national webinar about “Why Every Elder Vote Counts”. If you missed it, you can still watch it here.
Learn about the history of American Indian and Alaska Native voting rights, hear from AARP on voter engagement, learn ways you can vote safely, reflect on the barriers facing Native people and what can be done to overcome them.
Discussions on the importance of advocacy, data, census, and financial security wrap up an information packed three-hour session. Arm yourself with strategies to make your vote count during this pivotal period in our history.
Featured speakers include Jacqueline De León, a staff attorney at Native American Rights Fund and member of the Isleta Pueblo, and Charmaine S. Fuller Cooper, the South Region AARP campaigns field manager and campaign liaison on multicultural voter engagement efforts focusing on American Indian and Alaska Native and African American audiences.
NICOA Executive Director and Navajo Nation member Larry Curley is also a featured speaker; along with Rebecca Owl Morgan, NICOA project coordinator and a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians; Cheryl Archibald, executive assistant to NICOA’s executive director; Sue Chapman, director of NICOA’s Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP); Leslie Nicole Maly, NICOA’s SCSEP compliance manager; and NICOA Data Analyst Desiree Lapaphie (Navajo Nation).
Learn about the history of American Indian and Alaska Native voting and the trailblazers who fought for it, as told by National Indian Council on Aging Project Director Rebecca Owl Morgan (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians). Discover the roots of American democracy and the reality of voting rights today.
Jacqueline De León, an attorney from the Native American Rights Fund, discusses the contemporary obstacles that American Indians currently face during the voting process. She details the findings from her report, “Obstacles at Every Turn: Barriers to Political Participation faced by Native American Voters”, which include voter ID laws, non-traditional mailing addresses, redistricting, isolation, poverty, disenfranchisement, racism and more.
Make sure you know how you can vote safely, and all your voting options. Listen to Charmaine Fuller Cooper, AARP’s South Region campaign field manager and liaison on multicultural voter engagement efforts, on how to protect voters over 50.
Data Analyst Desiree Lapahie (Navajo Nation) talks about how data can be used and what types of stories it can tell us. The Census provides some of the most critical data. Cheryl Archibald, executive assistant to the executive director of the National Indian Council on Aging, talks about its importance and how it affects Indian Country.
Find out how Social Security works, how it affects your retirement benefits, eligibility requirements, Medicare, Medigap plans, tax updates, filing status and requirements, and more. Listen to Cheryl Archibald, executive assistant to the executive director of the National Indian Council on Aging, discuss financial security for elders.
Learn how to get involved in the tribal, state and federal issue affecting your community, and the many ways you can make your voice heard. National Indian Council on Aging Compliance Manager Leslie Maly shares how to locate elected leaders so you can take action.
Money Management During COVID-19
Introducing the National Indian Council on Aging’s (NICOA) first video podcast, “Using Your Values to Set Goals”. This is the first of six podcasts focusing on money management during COVID-19.
In this episode, NICOA Executive Director Larry Curley (Navajo Nation) shares his top three values and how they affect the way he manages his financial resources. Take some time while you’re stuck at home during this pandemic and think about your community’s values and how they influence your goals.
The National Indian Council on Aging trains Native communities about “Your Money, Your Goals,” a financial empowerment toolkit. We want to provide elders with good information, skills, and tools so they can make smart financial decisions. Your Money Your Goals was developed and tested in Native communities to ensure that it would be relevant to Native people.
Executive Director Larry Curley discusses the long and inspiring process of lobbying for the groundbreaking amendment to Title 6 of the Older Americans Act to provide direct funding for American Indian tribes to support their elders.
In August 2020, American Society on Aging President and CEO Peter Kaldes and NICOA Executive Director Larry Curley discussed issues of equity and justice and how they intersect with his work with elders in the Navajo Nation and how recently there have been resurgences in racism against members of the Navajo Nation in New Mexico due to COVID-19.
Check out this special “Telephone Town Hall” livestream on brain health with the National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA), AARP and the Global Council on Brain Health.
NICOA Executive Director Larry Curley, AARP’s Mashell Sourjohn of community outreach and Sarah Lock of policy and brain health, discuss the five pillars of brain health and debunking myths about the aging brain.
Find out how you and your loved ones can maintain your brain health as you age.
The values and teachings of American Indian people have always promoted good thoughts, prayers, health, balance and stamina. Through the voices and stories of Native elders who lead and advocate for regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle, this film explores the importance of athleticism as a means of survival and resilience for Native people.
The National Senior Games came to Albuquerque from June 14-25, 2019, attracting a record number of 13,712 athletes from 50 states, and setting more than 202 new records.
This was the first year the Games were held in New Mexico, and it was the largest in National Senior Games 32-year history. June 17 was a particularly special day of the Games — Indian Day, set aside to honor American Indian and Alaska Native elder athletes. More than 100 Native elders registered for the biennial games — a number that contributes to the event’s record-breaking year.
82-year-old Nina Tortilla of Mescalero, New Mexico, who is Apache and Navajo, tells her story of growing up on the reservation, what she learned from her grandparents, and how she started competing in the New Mexico Senior Olympics and National Senior Games. Click here to read more about American Indian elders at the National Senior Games.
81-year-old veteran Ralph Paytiamo is from Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico and competed in the 1993 National Senior Games in Virginia. He joined the New Mexico Senior Games in 1998 when he was 62, according to the association. He had to slow down on his active lifestyle due to prostate cancer and an aortic aneurysm.
Since 2005, he has competed in the race walk, not running. Click here to read more about American Indian elders at the National Senior Games.
Jerrod Moore, Tribal Injury Prevention Resource Center (TIPPC) Manager at Albuquerque Area Southwest Tribal Epidemiology Center, and TIPPC Coordinator A. Sixtus Dominguez, detail the importance of stretching and staying active for elders.
Native Elder Storytelling Project
The National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA) worked with the Native group nDigiDreams to gather elders to share their stories about their lives and how their experiences were impacted by federal programs such as the Older Americans Act, Social Security, healthcare and the Senior Community Service Employment Program. The nDigiDreams video production team is made up of Native women who have created over 1,500 digital stories across the country.
Digital storytelling offers unique differences from other approaches which is why it is a great fit for Native elders. NICOA presents heartfelt videos by Native elders about lives lived with courage, humor and resilience. Through these stories NICOA seeks to help educate and encourage tribal communities, the aging network and policymakers to positively impact the future of American Indian and Alaska Native elders. Each elder’s story is a living legacy for generations to come.
- You Retired at 60?
- Teach Sandra to Speak Tewa
- Grandparent's Values
- We Are All Special
- Pie's Many Blessings
- SwaHuux Following Grandma's Path
- Becoming a Dimooyehn
- It Takes a Village
- Miracles Happen
- Life is a Perfect Balance
- In Old Age I Travel on the Beautiful Trail
- Helping Hands
- Caring and Tradition
- All in the Name of Love
- A Comanche Story
- Our First Stories
Cassandra Manuelito Kerkvliet, the first Native woman to lead a mainstream university, shares the financial knowledge she learned from her family and how she taught herself about saving money, budgeting, planning ahead, and money management.
Sandra Romero, an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Pojoaque in New Mexico, tells her story of attending an all English speaking school and being bullied. She shares what she learned from the experience as well as lessons learned from her parents that she’s passing on to her own children and grandchildren, along with the beautiful Tewa language and culture.
Stephanie Ballew is Penobscot, Irish, and Slovakian. She shares the valuable lessons she learned from her grandparents and how those lessons carried her through divorce, being a single parent, meeting her educational goals, and surviving the loss of her second husband to cancer.
Deborah Joan Guerrero, from the Eagle Brown Bear Clan, is Tlingit and Filipino on her father’s side and Snohomish Cowlitz, French Canadian, Irish and German on her mother’s side. She shares the story of her upbringing, education, career, her tumultuous relationship, and becoming a role model for her family.
Clara Fernando, an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna in New Mexico, talks about being a successful self-employed artist. She shares how she was inspired by watching her father work hard to provide for the family. And just like her father, she’s passing the life lessons she learned to her two young sons.
Denver March Powwow Executive Director Grace Gillette, from the Fort Berthold Reservation of North Dakota, shares her story.
Linda Woods, a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians in Michigan, tells the story of her family’s maternal lineage and how three generations of strong Odawa women were the heart of their families.
Elder Norby Blake, an enrolled member of the White Earth Tribe, shares his history as a community organizer and how he helped build the very first urban health clinic in the nation for American Indians in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Ms. Garcia tells the story of her upbringing with her family on the Santa Domingo Pueblo of New Mexico, the rich cultural traditions that influenced her career as a professional nurse, and the current chapter of her life — learning new job skills through the National Indian Council on Aging’s Senior Community Service Employment Program and what this means for her.
Roland Cheeku (Paiute/Zuni) tells of his long and dedicated service to Indian Country, in a variety of capacities. He sends a message to leaders, employers, educators and policymakers that there is a growing number of highly trained and qualified elder American Indians and that programs like the National Indian Council on Aging’s Senior Community Service Employment Program need more funding.
Former National Indian Council on Aging Executive Director Randella Bluehouse tells the story of her Navajo roots and familial influences. She describes how these have shaped her life and vision to serve elders in Indian Country.
Kathy Brito has worked in various capacities all her life. As an elder now, she describes the discrimination she experiences in spite of being an accomplished and dedicated worker. She credits the National Indian Council on Aging’s Senior Community Service Employment Program as the answer to her prayers, and is now developing new job skills to continue working as an elder.
Ms. Villarreal, of Pojoaque Pueblo, New Mexico, reflects on her over 40 years serving in many roles within the Pojoaque Tribal Council and how caring and tradition (including encouraging a return to traditional dancing) has helped her village and people.
Ms. Romero, of Pojoaque Pueblo, New Mexico, tells of her challenges and resiliency in navigating her health journey, and the importance of cultural competency in successfully delivering services to Native elders.
Ms. Navarro shares the rich history and influence of her Comanche heritage. She reflects on her role as interpreter for her grandparents as a young child, her career as a nurse, and her dedication to teaching the Comanche language to future generations.
Through the Native Elder Storytelling Project, the National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA) seeks to help educate and encourage tribal communities, the Aging Network and policymakers to positively impact the future of American Indian and Alaska Native elders. The power of storytelling has been a Native tradition for time immemorial. Through the use of digital storytelling we can share, heal, and inspire our communities.
Each elder’s story is a living legacy for the generations to come. The National Indian Council on Aging gratefully acknowledges the participating elders for being an inspiration and for their contribution to the life of our people.
SCSEP Success Stories
The National Indian Council on Aging’s (NICOA) Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) mission is to provide opportunity for low-income elders through paid training, meaningful community service and skills development. The following highlight the resiliency and success of real SCSEP participants who are living proof of the value this program has on these elders, their communities and employers.
Former Senior Community Service Employment Program participant and current Salvation Army Red Shield Kitchen employee Patricia Harrison talks about how the National Indian Council on Aging’s SCSEP changed her life.
Former Senior Community Service Employment Program participant and current Salvation Army employee John Hairston shares his experience with the National Indian Council on Aging’s program.