TITLE: Support for a National American Indian/Alaska Native Hearing on Aging
WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and
WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and
WHEREAS, AI/ANs are struggling with many issues that are unrecognized by policy makers as poverty increases, substandard housing deteriorates, health care dollars shrink, the cost of living increases, veterans suffer long waits and lack of care, and federal funding decreases. Native Elders age in greater numbers and require home and community-based long term services and supports, raise grandchildren, live with Alzheimer’s Disease, provide caregiving as they cope with their own aging challenges, work for acceptance of LGBT Elders; and
WHEREAS, Congress has stated that “older individuals who are Indians, older individuals who are Alaskan Natives, and older individuals who are Native Hawaiians are a vital resource entitled to all benefits and services available and that such services and benefits should be provided in a manner that preserves and restores their respective dignity, self-respect, and cultural identities” (42 U.S.C. 3057a); and
WHEREAS, in the 36 years since Title VI was added to the Older Americans Act, funding and services for Title VI have never been comparable to funding for Title III, leaving older American Indians and Alaska Natives without needed services to allow them to live vital, independent lives, as long as possible in their homes and communities. These immediate concerns require a broader audience to create awareness and a sense of the crucial, imperative nature of the problem.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that NCAI request full Congressional Hearings on the Needs of American Indian, Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian Elders to enable tribal leadership to testify on the status and unmet needs of tribal Elders. These hearings should also be held throughout Indian Country to allow for our esteemed Elders attendance and participation; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the congressional hearings be co-sponsored by the Senate Select Committee on Aging and the Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.
The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2014 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, October 26-31, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia, with a quorum present.