James DeLa Cruz, Sr. of Quinault Indian Nation in Taholah, Washington, has been serving on the National Indian Council on Aging’s (NICOA) board of directors for nearly 40 years.
Previously he was a national Title VI director. He secured funding for tribal governments as well as Title VI programs. “I’m thankful I’ve had the opportunity to address the needs of Indian elders,” he said.
As a member of NICOA’s board of directors, James says he’s had the opportunity to work with many gifted people in Indian and non-Indian Country. “I’ve made a lot of great connections,” he said, “and many friends in the field of aging.”
He likes being part of an advocate organization that listens to elders and has enjoyed working with them through the years. It was the elders of his tribe that encouraged him to become a member of NICOA’s board.
“Elders give a different perspective,” said James. “They’re a gift. Elders give medicine, knowledge, assistance in our personal lives. We need them.”