AARP is seeking to honor at least one person from each of the 39-federally recognized tribes and nations headquartered in Oklahoma.Nominees must be an enrolled member of and Oklahoma tribe or nation, must be living and must be age 50 .
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“All Oklahomans are standing on the shoulders of people like tonight’s honorees,” she said.
“Whether they are well known or exhibit the quiet devotion to family and community, collectively, this year’s AARP Oklahoma Indian Elder Honorees represent what is best about Native American people in Oklahoma: love of family, dedication to culture and respect for all people.” Vermillion noted that AARP Oklahoma continues to expand its work on issues affecting Native Americans in the state, particularly working to address health disparities, transportation needs and cultural preservation.
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The annual event, which will be held in October, recognizes 50 tribal elders from federally-recognized Oklahoma tribes and nations for their contributions to their tribal nation, community, family, state or nation.
Artists and educators, ministers and veterans, language preservationists and tribal leaders.
Some were well-known, others have lived quiet lives of dignity.She highlighted innovative ways the Denver Indian Center is working with youth and elders to address health impacts, historical trauma through soil and seeds, harvesting and growing produce for its community food bank and seed library.AARP provided conference participants with a sample of six indigenous seeds (Cherokee White Flour, Painted Pony Beans, Golden Zucchini, Seneca Red Stalker Corn, Cherokee Trail Beans and Golden Hubbard) discussed by Ms.“I rarely go to any Indian event in Oklahoma that someone doesn’t tell me how much they appreciate AARP’s work within the Native American community and it’s exciting to see that work continue to grow.” Nominations for the 2016 AARP Oklahoma Indian Elder Honors are being accepted now through June 1 online HERE or by calling 405-715-4474.One by one, as their names were called and a short summary of their life read, they stood to the applause of the assembled audience as a medallion was hung around their neck.Tewanna Edwards, a member of the Chickasaw Nation who also serves on the AARP Oklahoma Executive Council, says as an outgrowth of the Indian Elder Honors, AARP has built partnerships and collaborations with tribal nations and organizations on issues affecting Native American elders, including cultural preservation, hunger, transportation, aging-in-place and health disparities.