View this email in your browser

Fall Issue

  Follow NICOA


A Message from the Executive Director

It has been almost a year since I assumed the position of executive director of the National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA) and it has been an exhilarating journey. I found that the paths of growth and vision were overgrown and a sense of “comfort and status quo” had overtaken these paths. Today, NICOA has a vision of recommitment to the cause for which it was originally intended: To be the nation’s voice for the nation’s American Indian and Alaskan Native elders.

This country, as we all know, is in the midst of a challenging time. It is the challenge that is characterized by the expression of volatile discourse that has led to discord, divisiveness and suspicion. The land upon which this country was established is covered by the ashes and dust of our ancestors — it is, therefore, sacred land.

What this country is going through currently — morally and philosophically — is an affront to the sacredness of this land. Our Mother, the land we revere, is pained by this. Wendell Chino, president of the Mescalero Tribe in 1976, in his address to the First National Indian Conference on Aging remarked that “The Indian people, at one time, were the greatest landowners of this country. Not only were they the greatest landowner, but the Indian people have been the greatest donors this world has ever known, for they have shared their land, their gold, their coal, their gas, their men and women, and, for a group of people who have given so much, we receive very little in return.”

He shared his understanding of the role of the elder by remarking, “The elderly Indian, down through the years, has been the preserver of the Indian race, Indian culture, Indian history. Today, we salute the Indian elder for preserving what is left of our Indianness. All that we hold so dear and so precious in our Indianness comes from those who have gone before us.”

These are words and beliefs that were true then and still rings true for us — the NICOA board members and those of us who work on behalf our Indian elders. We, as a people, have lived through hard times and survived. The National Indian Council on Aging understands that very well and will continue to advocate for the “precious” in Indian Country: Our Elders. Your prayers and support are greatly appreciated.

Larry Curley
Executive Director

In August, NICOA Executive Director Larry Curley and tribal representatives attended the National Title VI Training & Technical Assistance Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

2020-2021 Membership Now Available for Purchase 

Registration for 2020 American Indian Elders Conference attendees begins January 1, 2020. Pricing is based on your 2020-2021 membership type, which is now available for purchase. Apply or renew your membership online or via mail or fax.

  • $150 per person for Voting Members: Any person age 55 or older and is a member of a federally recognized tribe (must provide a copy of Certificate of Indian Blood or tribal registration letter).
  • $250 per person for Associate Members: Any person that is not a tribal member and under age 55.
  • $500 per person for Organization Associate Members: Any one person that is representing an organization, government agency, tribe, nonprofit, etc.

Caregivers do not pay a membership fee but must provide the name of the elder accompanying them, and the elder must provide the name of their caregiver.

  • Early Bird Registration is from January 1-February 29, 2020.
  • Regular Registration (an increase of $25 from Early Bird) is from March 1-June 30, 2020.
  • Late Registration (an increase of $25 from Regular) is from July 1-31, 2020.
  • After July 31 Registration (an increase of $25 from Regular) are paid at the Late Registration rate and must be done on-site at the conference location.

NICOA’s 23rd conference on aging in Indian Country will be August 17-21, 2020 in Reno, Nevada, at the Nugget Resort & Casino. NICOA will be partnering with the 2020 National Title VI Training & Technical Assistance Conference, held at the same time and place.

NICOA’s biennial conferences benefit our 300,000 elders as well as the entire American Indian and Alaska Native population from all 573 tribes. The conference consists of educational presentations from tribal, state and federal organizations as well as a diverse network of aging service partners that provide information and updates on aging services, health care, civic engagement and economic development in Indian Country.


Profile: Lucia Trujillo 

Board Member Lucia Trujillo resides in Sandia Pueblo, New Mexico, and manages the Southwest region. She decided to join the National Indian Council on Aging’s (NICOA) board of directors in 2011. As she was nearing retirement, she found she had a lot of questions about benefits and senior health issues. After becoming more familiar with NICOA and its mission, Lucia felt that becoming a board member would help her stay apprised of the issues facing American Indian elders as well as give her the opportunity to speak about their needs and advocate for change.

She believes that the political and social treatment of Native elders has improved over the last 20 years — “to some degree,” she says. “Some state and local governments have become more concerned but unfortunately politics will continue to play a major role in funding.”

In her eight years of experience, one of the most pressing issues facing Indian Country is its long-term care, which is minimal, she says.

“There’s a dire need for our congressional leaders to get more funding for caregivers because of the growing population of elders. It really takes the right kind of person to be a caregiver,” says Lucia. “Finding a compassionate person to care for our elders is difficult without proper training and education. This is why funding is so critical. Some tribes are having a hard time getting that funding. Here in Sandia [Pueblo] we are very fortune to have a caregiving program.”

Lucia’s term on NICOA’s board of directors originally ended in 2018, but her Southwest region members requested she stay. In the future she hopes to find a replacement who can continue to advocate for the increasing needs of Indian Country.

Lucia says she’s proud to be part of an organization that serves Native elders. She played a major role in guiding NICOA in the right direction these past eight years, as well as keeping the organization open to continue its advocacy.

“We have a lot of good board members who care a lot and I’m proud to be a part of that,” she says.

Now Accepting Ads

NICOA is now accepting ad submissions for our quarterly newsletter. NICOA’s newsletter has over 2,500 subscribers and is seen by tribal leaders, American Indian elders, Title VI directors, stakeholders, government agencies, conference attendees and as well as a diverse network of aging service partners.

Your ad gives you the opportunity to bring patrons to your business or expand the reach of your organization. Ads cost $50 and must be vertical, around 800px to 1200px wide. If interested, email NICOA or call (505) 292-2001.

Partner Spotlight: Wells Fargo 

NICOA has made great progress since it was awarded a national 501 (c) (3) Capacity Building grant by the Wells Fargo Foundation last year. The $400,000 multi-year grant has been and will continue to be utilized by NICOA for Native capacity building.

NICOA’s mission aligns with Wells Fargo’s commitment to address the unique economic, social and environmental needs of the American Indian and Alaska Native community. Through this grant program, NICOA has increased its organizational capacity and provided support for improved comprehensive health, social services and economic well-being to American Indian and Alaska Native elders.

In our desire to be a fiscally solvent, efficient, competitive and sustainable advocacy organization, NICOA needs the help of partners such as Wells Fargo to help us on our way to success. The funds awarded to NICOA were earmarked for use in completing the following goals: hosting a strategic planning session with board and staff, hiring staff to write grants, improving fundraising capabilities, providing educational webinars and improving communication between tribal leadership and tribal elders on resource allocation and service development.

The project is part of Wells Fargo’s five-year, $50 million commitment to support American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Wells Fargo has been serving American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities in the United States for more than 50 years. The company is dedicated to serving these communities with products, services and financial education programs tailored to help tribal clients, tribal governments, tribal enterprises and tribal members succeed financially. The resources from the Wells Fargo Foundation allows NICOA, and our Native partners, to expand its reach and to positively impact a number of American Indian and Alaska Native families.


Follow NICOA on Social Media

We love our community of members and supporters and want to keep you up-to-date on all the great things happening at NICOA. Our social media platforms are a great place to share information. They’re updated regularly and include photos, videos, announcements, aging information, Native news and more.

Please take a moment to visit our pages. Once there, click “Like” or “Follow”. We look forward to connecting with you and bringing you tons of great information. Feel free to comment, ask questions or share the content with your friends, family and co-workers.

Senior Community Service
Employment Program

Fall is in the air and holidays are right around the corner! NICOA’s Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) has completed the first quarter of this year’s program and successfully assisted many participants in finding employment.

Now that it’s shopping season, it’s a good time to find holiday employment. With some extra cash, you can make everyone on your shopping list happy. Malls are in hiring mode, and after visiting a mall in Phoenix, Arizona, this past week, I was very encouraged to hear that many stores are seeking mature workers.

Why do employers want mature workers? They have finally realized that they are some of the most dependable employees on the market. Mature workers tend to be more loyal, punctual and can be relied upon to go above and beyond.

If you would like more information on NICOA’s SCSEP, visit our website, call 505-292-2001 or send an email. If you are interested in participating in the program, fill out the pre-application form.

Sue Chapman
SCSEP Director

SCSEP Job Developer Abigail Pestalozzi-Conley and Sue Chapman, SCSEP director, held a two-day job readiness class for 17 participants in Phoenix, Arizona. Afterwards, the group met at a local mall to meet employers and practice their networking skills. Several employers were hiring and specifically seeking older employees.

Elder Equity

A Message from the Elder Equity Program

Hello friends!

The air is crisp, people are cleaning up their yards, cooking with apples and spices, and having fun as we move into the fall. Lots of positive things are happening at NICOA. Please take some time to learn about our partner, Wells Fargo, and their philanthropic work supporting NICOA and others.

Fall is the perfect time to assess your Medicare coverage plan and make sure it works for you, and to check your home and make modifications to avoid fall risks. It is also a good time to start thinking about tax season, gathering receipts and paperwork. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program provides free tax help to people who qualify, starting in January.

Enjoy this edition of NICOA's newsletter, keep learning, spending time with friends and taking good care of yourself and your loved ones!

Rebecca Owl Morgan
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians
Elder Equity Project Coordinator

Check Your Eligibility for Benefits 

Millions of older adults are eligible for benefits from a variety of public programs, but never receive help because they either don’t know what assistance is available or how to apply for it. Thankfully, BenefitsCheckUp is a free online service of the National Council on Aging (NCOA) to help older adults and their families determine their eligibility for and enroll in federal, state, local and private benefit programs like Medicare and Medicaid. 

BenefitsCheckUp is a comprehensive tool that connects struggling seniors to programs that can help them afford food, rent, medicine and more. It screens for more than 2,500 federal, state and private benefit programs available to older adults. The BenefitsCheckUp team monitors the benefits landscape for updates and changes to policies and programs. They can match your unique needs to benefit programs and eligibility requirements using their comprehensive tool. You can also find relevant program information about benefits that are available in your state and quick access to specific benefits like Medicare Rx Extra help and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Answer some questions to see if you are eligible for benefits that could help you afford food, utilities, medicine and more. 

Membership Information
Do you care about helping to improve aging services for American Indian and Alaska Native elders? Then please join NICOA! We need you as an advocate. NICOA is the premier organization calling attention to the needs of American Indian elders.

Your involvement and support can bring attention, education and improved services to elders across the country. Every elder should have the freedom to age in place and access services and resources in every community across Indian Country as well as urban areas.

If you're interested in learning more, email NICOA or call (505) 292-2001.
Elder Wellness

American Indian Suicide Rate Increases

The U.S. suicide rate is up 33 percent since 1999, but for American Indian and Alaska Native women and men, the increase is even greater: 139 percent and 71 percent, respectively, according to an analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

Native communities experience higher rates of suicide compared to all other racial and ethnic groups in the U.S., with suicide being the eighth leading cause of death for American Indians and Alaska Natives across all ages. For Native youth ages 10 to 24, suicide is the second leading cause of death; and the Native youth suicide rate is 2.5 times higher than the overall national average, making these rates the highest across all ethnic and racial groups.

American Indian and Alaska Native women experience higher levels of violence than other U.S. women. Nearly 84 percent experience violence in their lifetime, according to a 2016 report from the National Institute of Justice. Research shows more than a third of women who have been raped have contemplated suicide, and 13 percent have attempted, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. American Indian and Alaska Natives also experience PTSD more than twice as often as the general population, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Historical disenfranchisement through genocide and institutional racism has resulted in American Indians and Alaska Natives experiencing poorer health and socioeconomic outcomes. These social determinants of health intersect to create a situation that is detrimental to the physical and mental health of Indian communities. Cultural disconnection, alienation and pressure to assimilate all contribute to higher rates of suicide among American Indians and Alaska Natives.


Celebrate Centenarians

Did you know that only one in 10,000 people will live to be 100-years-old? It is estimated that the number of people over 100 years old will reach 110,000 by 2037 and those over 80 will reach six million by that same year.

Living to be 100 is an impressive accomplishment, especially since our average national life expectancy is about 79 years (compared to an average of 82.2 years for comparable countries). Centenarians are more common in some states and regions in the U.S. than in others. States with the largest populations generally have the most. According to the 2010 Census, California had the largest number of centenarians (5,921), followed by New York, Florida and Texas. Alaska had the fewest centenarians (40), followed by Wyoming (72), Vermont (133) and Delaware (146).

Centenarians also are considerably less diverse than the overall U.S. population. The majority are women, and the 2010 Census revealed that some 82.5 percent of centenarians were white, and 85.7 percent lived in urban areas.

Many centenarians say the secret to a long life is exercise, healthy eating and a good night’s sleep. Studies have shown that staying single increases longevity in women.


Falls Cause Most Injury Deaths Among American Indian Elders

One in four Americans over the age of 65 falls every year. However, falling is not a normal part of aging. Falls Prevention Awareness Day raises awareness about how to prevent fall-related injuries among older adults.

Falls are the leading cause of injury deaths for American Indian adults age 65 and over, according to the Centers for Disease Control’s Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System. American Indian and Alaska Native elders report the greatest percentage of falls (34.2 percent) of all races/ethnicities. A 2012-2016 survey by the New Mexico Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System found that one in three American Indian adults age 45 and over in New Mexico fell at least one time in the past 12 months, and that 45 percent of those who fell were injured.

Additionally, American Indian and Alaska Natives experience health disparities that can potentially increase the risk and rate of falls and fall-related injuries. They have a greater burden of chronic disease, along with a lower life expectancy. More than 30 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native elders reported at least one form of heart disease in 2012, while only 10.9 percent of non-Hispanic whites did in the same period.

American Indian and Alaska Natives have the highest rate of Type 2 diabetes in the U.S. and are over twice as likely to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes than non-Hispanic whites. Diabetic neuropathy can contribute to falling due to a loss of feeling in the lower extremities. Diabetes can also increase the chance of having osteoporosis, leading to a higher risk of injuries and fractures from a fall. Furthermore, the higher rate of many other chronic illnesses in the American Indian population increases the risk of dying from a fall when one does occur.

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 older adults.
Social Services

Older Americans Act Expires

This year the Older Americans Act (OAA) was up for Congress’ periodic reauthorization. Whether they know it or not, older adults across the U.S. rely on critical programs and services funded by the OAA to help them live safely in their homes and communities as they age.

By the year 2030, more than one in five people in the U.S. will be age 65 or older. Increasing our investment in cost-effective OAA programs and services is a critical step in responding to the needs of our aging America.

The OAA expired on September 30, 2019, which makes securing a bipartisan reauthorization a top policy priority. Advocacy is especially needed in the Senate where the bill is currently stalled over issues related to the Act’s federal funding formula.

OAA funding is lagging far behind senior population growth, as well as economic inflation. The biggest chunk of the act’s budget — nutrition services — dropped by 8 percent over the past 18 years when adjusted for inflation, an AARP report found in February. Home-delivered and group meals have decreased by nearly 21 million since 2005.

To get OAA funding back to 2010 levels would require a 30 percent increase. Meanwhile, 10,000 people a day turn 65. This means that the waiting lists are growing faster than the funding.

At NICOA, we are advocating for these programs in Washington, D.C., and working to ensure that federal lawmakers understand how important OAA is to their constituents. However, we need you to help make our voices stronger. Please take a few moments to contact our elected officials to share your OAA story and educate them about how these vital OAA services help older adults and caregivers in your community.


2020 Census Overlooks Caregivers

The 2020 Census fails to ask two important questions that affect more than 43.5 million Americans. The missing questions address whether a U.S. resident is a caregiver for an adult family member or a disabled child and whether a resident is receiving care from a family member.

Although the 2020 Census does include questions about grandparents caring for their grandchildren (up to age 18) in their homes, there’s no Census Bureau on family caregivingAccording to estimates from the National Alliance for Caregiving, 65.7 million Americans (or 29 percent of the adult U.S. adult population involving 31 percent of all U.S. households) served as family caregivers for an ill or disabled relative.

Over 75 percent of caregivers are female, and they spend as much as 50 percent more time providing care than males, according to the Institute on Aging. Women who are family caregivers are 2.5 times more likely than non-caregivers to live in poverty and five times more likely to receive Supplemental Security Income.

Failure to include questions about family caregiving deprives the U.S. government of information about the financial impact of family caregiving on the national economy. Without this information, the government can’t properly allocate resources to support family caregivers.

Caregiving questions could tell us how medical, psychological and respite resources could be better dispersed throughout the country to assist family caregivers, or if unpaid family caregivers should receive a tax break. Estimates suggest that the number of caregivers will only continue to rise. Forty-three percent of the U.S. public report that it is very likely they will become a family caregiver in the future.

Economic Security

Pay Gap Worse for Native Women

Equal Pay Day for all women should be on December 31, but it’s not. The average woman must work far into the next year to earn what the average man earns the previous year.

American Indian women earn approximately $.58 cents on the dollar of white, non-Hispanic men (based on 2016 data). For Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander women, that number is $.62 cents. September 23, 2019 was Native Women’s Equal Pay Day, the day that the wages of American Indian and Alaska Native women catch up to the money white men were paid in 2018 (the exact day differs year by year). It took about 21 months for Native women to earn what white men were paid in 12 months alone — that’s nine extra months of labor.

The current gender wage gap becomes particularly detrimental when you look at how much less money women make over time compared to men. Based on today’s wage gap, women earn $406,760 less than men over the course of a 40-year career, according to the National Women’s Law Center. The wage gap that women experience in their working years morphs into a gender retirement gap.

The situation is even worse for Native women. Native women typically lose $977,720 compared to white, non-Hispanic men. In order to close this lifetime wage gaps, Native women would have to work nearly 30 years longer than their white, non-Hispanic peers retiring at age 60. This means that if a Native woman and her white male counterpart both began working at the age 20, she would have to work until she was 90 to earn the same amount he made by 60, the National Women’s Law Center reports.


Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition Restarts National EITC/VITA Network

The Oklahoma Native Assets Coalition (ONAC) is a nonprofit Native-led asset building coalition that works with tribes and partners interested in establishing asset-building initiatives and programs in Native communities, for the purpose of creating greater opportunities for economic self-sufficiency of tribal citizens. While their focus is on serving Oklahoma tribes and Native nonprofits, they’re now working on a national level with their participation in asset building advisory groups, requests for administrative policy guidance at the federal level, and in their work to open Children’s Savings Accounts for Native youth, and Emergency Savings Accounts for Native families.

With support from the Wells Fargo Foundation, ONAC has restarted the national Native EITC/VITA Network. The purpose of the ONAC Native EITC/VITA Network is to share resources and opportunities, to provide a platform for interaction among Native site coordinators, and to bring concerns from Native VITA sites to appropriate parties.

As part of these efforts, ONAC has generated a mailing list and a directory of Native-serving VITA sites and other interested parties. The directory will be available to Native VITA practitioners who would like to connect with others doing similar work throughout the country.

Click here to be added to the mailing list or directory.

Native News

Upcoming Events & Observances

5 Recent Tribal Newsletters

2019: International Year of Indigenous Languages

There are between 6,000-7,000 oral languages spoken worldwide. According to the United Nations, approximately 600 of them have disappeared in the last century. They’re disappearing at a rate of one language every two weeks. No less than 40 percent of languages spoken in 2016 were in danger of disappearing, many of them indigenous.

Presently, we’re in danger of losing 2,680 languages. The UN predicts that 50-90 percent of Indigenous languages will disappear by the end of this century, being replaced with English, Mandarin or Spanish. Any language spoken by less than 10,000 people is in danger.

In 2016, the UN proclaimed 2019 to be the International Year of Indigenous Languages with the aim to raise awareness of Indigenous languages to benefit those who speak them and teach those who don’t about the contributions they make to world. According to the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages, “the International Year is both an important mechanism for international cooperation and a year-long celebration.”

About 97 percent of the world’s population speak only 4 percent of its languages, while only 3 percent of the world speaks 96 percent of all languages. Most of these languages are spoken by Indigenous people. There are 370-500 million Indigenous people in the world, 5,000 different Indigenous cultures and 90 countries with Indigenous communities.


Indigenous Peoples' Day

This year, for the first time, Columbus Day was officially “Indigenous Peoples’ Day” in our nation’s capital. The District of Columbia joined Wisconsin, Maine, Vermont and New Mexico, who also made the switch this year. One by one, cities and states across the United States are beginning to publicly replace Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s Day. Even Columbus, Ohio does not observe its namesake’s holiday.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday celebrated on the second Monday of October in many parts of the U.S. This date is significant because it coincides with the federal observance of Columbus Day and is seen by many as a counter-celebration to Columbus Day or an anti-Columbus Day holiday.

The observation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day counters false historical narratives embedded within the celebration of Columbus Day. It recognizes that Native people are the first inhabitants of the Americas, including the lands that later became the U.S. And it urges Americans to rethink history. On this day, people are encouraged to remember and celebrate the many Native people who have traditionally lived and currently live in the U.S and its territories.

In 1977 a delegation of Native nations at the International Conference on Discrimination Against Indigenous Populations in the Americas proposed renaming Columbus Day to “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.” They believed renaming the holiday would help honor the victims of American colonization. Though the resolution passed by an overwhelming majority, it took 15 years for the first city — Berkeley, California — to rename Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 1992.

Treaty Rights News

Polluted Fish

Washington tribes and environmental groups have accused President Donald Trump’s administration of breaking the law and endangering public health with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal to allow more pollution in Washington waters and Washington fish. In September, tribal leaders told EPA officials that the proposed rollback of regulations on 99 different water pollutants violated their treaty rights by making fish dangerous to eat.

With tribes relying heavily on salmon and other seafood, they are affected more than most. Regulations under section 304 (a) of the federal Clean Water Act allow different concentrations of each pollutant, with the goal of limiting cancer risk to one in a million by assuming that people eat 175 grams of fish a day. But many tribal members eat more fish than state and federal regulations assume. The state Department of Ecology estimates the Suquamish locally source up to 96 percent of fish and 81 percent of shellfish they consume, eating more than 700 grams a day.

Under the Clean Water Act, tribes and states — not the federal government — are responsible for setting water-quality standards. But tribal leaders say the EPA failed to undertake government-to-government consultations with the tribes, in violation of treaties between the tribes and the U.S.

Border Wall

Tribal leaders from the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas are challenging President Donald Trump’s border wall with a lawsuit against the federal government. In addition to sovereignty, the tribe is seeking monetary damages including compensation for pain and suffering. Tribal Chair Juan Mancias says they have claim to the original lands dating back to 1532 and the history to back it up.

He says he hopes the suit will force border wall officials to be more transparent about their exact plans for the tribe’s Eli Jackson Cemetery in San Juan, Texas. He claims officials are misleading the public because the wall is not being built on the actual border and is being funded by taxpayers.

Despite a statement from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency saying they would avoid going through the historic cemetery — where many of the tribe’s ancestors are buried — surveyors were recorded putting up stakes and colored ribbons on tribal lands to test soil in anticipation of building the border wall. In October, survey stakes appeared in the cemetery that seem to be marking off the 150-foot buffer zone on one side of the pending wall. The buffer zone covers an area of the cemetery containing marked graves, which would have to be exhumed and moved if construction of the wall proceeds.

The tribe, through their lawyer, issued a cease and desist order to employees working for a border wall subcontractor — a geological survey company called Southwest Drilling — because the crew was taking core samples from the ground on tribal land, but surveyors failed to adhere to the order and simply returned again later.

Mancias and his tribe say they plan to file documents in federal court that will establish their right to be consulted and to grant informed consent before the wall is constructed. Once those papers are submitted, they will then issue cease and desist orders to any construction crew working on the wall.

Gold Mine

Five Native organizations, representing 31 tribes and tribal governments, as well as a seafood development association and hundreds of commercial fishing interests, have all sued the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over President Donald Trump’s administration lifting the 2014 Clean Water Act protections.

The lawsuit, filed in October, alleges that the Trump administration broke the law by reversing an Obama-era decision that had stopped an Alaska gold and copper mine over environmental concerns. The federal court suit claims the EPA's action under Trump was illegal, arbitrary and capricious, and did not consider copious scientific and technical information developed in two years of study by the EPA under President Barack Obama's administration. The EPA, reportedly after intervention by Trump, in July withdrew a determination that the massive proposed Pebble Mine would cause enormous potential harm to rivers and wetlands where salmon spawn.

The area the mine is proposed for in Bristol Bay is a sensitive and pristine watershed that is home to one of the world's last and largest wild salmon spawning areas. It's responsible for a vast quantity of the salmon fished and consumed in the world, and it sustains millions of fishers and Native populations across the northwest. The mine would be located between two of the most productive salmon streams in the Bristol Bay fishery. 

Without the Obama EPA's protection, Pebble Mine is free to move forward towards the permit process.


Turkey-Black Bean Chili

Recipe from Cheryl Alters Jamison

2 tablespoons vegetable oil (divided use)
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 pounds coarsely ground turkey thighs or other dark meat
4 plump garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground dried chipotle chile, or more to taste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons kosher salt or coarse sea salt
1 bay leaf
3 15-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
Approximately 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Sour cream, for garnish


"Generously rub the inside of the slow cooker with 1 teaspoon oil. Warm remaining oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion and sauté until limp, about 3 minutes. Mix in bell pepper and garlic and sauté until tender, 5-8 minutes.

Add the turkey and sauté it just until it loses its raw color. Scrape the mixture into the slow cooker. Add the chili powder, chipotle chile, cumin, salt, and bay leaf. Add the beans and tomato sauce. Stir together. Pour in just enough broth to cover the beans and meat.

Cover and cook on low for 5–6 hours. Serve the chili immediately, or cool, refrigerate overnight, and reheat. Serve hot in bowls, with sour cream, if you wish. Serves 8 people."

Jalapeño Spinach

Recipe from Cheryl Alters Jamison

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup thin-sliced oyster or button mushrooms
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
Two 14-to-15-ounce bags frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup crème fraîche
3/4 cup grated mild to medium cheddar cheese
2–3 tablespoons minced pickled jalapeño, plus 1 or more tablespoons jalapeño pickling liquid to taste
Salt and freshly milled pepper
6-ounce container French’s Original Crispy Fried Onions


"Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a medium baking dish. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and celery and sauté until vegetables are very soft, 8–10 minutes. Add spinach and continue cooking until all standing liquid has evaporated from vegetable mixture.

Sprinkle flour over vegetables, then cook for another couple of minutes, stirring frequently. Pour in half-and-half and crème fraiche and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook briefly until the mixture is lightly thickened. Remove from heat and immediately stir in cheese.

Add as much jalapeño and pickling liquid as you wish for zip, but keep it balanced with the other flavors. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into prepared dish. Scatter onions over spinach mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until bubbly with onions that have darkened a shade or two. Serve warm. Serves 6-8 people."

Do you have any healthy, traditional recipes to share, or any stories or tribal news to contribute? Send them to NICOA and they may be featured in our next newsletter.

The National Indian Council on Aging, Inc. (NICOA) is a not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) charitable organization. Please consider adding NICOA to the charities you support.

NICOA needs your financial support as the advocacy and political work we do for our elders is not free. Grants that have helped fund NICOA are under threat in Washington, D.C., but you can help.

Your financial support will go directly to support our mission to improve health, social services and economic wellbeing for all American Indian and Alaska Native elders. Donations are tax deductible.

We would like to hear from elders, service providers and tribal programs serving American Indian or Alaska Native elders. You can email NICOA or send information by mail to National Indian Council on Aging, 8500 Menaul Blvd. NE Suite B-470, Albuquerque, NM 87112. We ask that you please share this newsletter with anyone with a limited or nonexistent internet signal.

Was this newsletter forwarded to you?

Click here to become a subscriber and watch for our next newsletter on January 13.
Copyright © *|CURRENT_YEAR|* *|LIST:COMPANY|*, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.