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Tribal Elders and Ombudsman Services

Ombudsmen are likely to provide information or services to Tribal Elders living in every state. Thirty-five states have federally recognized tribes living within their borders.  There are nineteen long-term care facilities in Indian Country, so the majority of Tribal Elders living in long-term care facilities reside in facilities in other communities. This page contains resources and information to increase your effectiveness in serving Tribal Elders.

Ombudsman Services


Long-Term Care Ombudsman Services to Tribal Elders (TA Brief: Technical Assistance for LTCO Practice)
This brief includes prompts to consider in order to gain a better understanding of the tribal elder population in your state, communication and coordination tips from LTCO programs currently working with tribal elders, and additional resources. 

Long-Term Care Ombudsman Services in Indian Country (August 2015)

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program was included on the agenda of the 2015 National Title VI Training & Technical Assistance Conference in DC. The conference was sponsored by the Administration on Aging (AoA), Administration for Community Living (ACL). This session provided information about the LTCOP, how services can be accessed, and explored opportunities for the LTCOP to increase and improve culturally competent services to Native Americans in facilities.

Title VI Ombudsman Services
Tribes may use Title VI funds for ombudsman services, the services are to be “substantially in compliance” with provisions of Title III (Section 614(a)(9) of OAA). http://www.agid.acl.gov/DataGlance/NA/

  • Title VI Directors: Contact Cynthia LaCounte (cynthia.lacounte@aoa.hhs.gov), Director, Office for American Indian, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiian Programs, ACL/AoA for contact information for Title VI Directors by Tribe and geographic location.

Outreach and Cultural Competency


A Healing Journey for Alaska Natives - Video Series
This educational video series was made by ​The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) and is designed for federal, state, local, and tribal victim service providers, criminal justice professionals, and others who work with Alaska Native victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. The videos in this series will increase awareness about violence committed against Alaska Natives; identify first responders to Alaska Native victims of crime; illustrate the challenges faced by Alaska Native victims and the critical role that culture and tradition play in both the well–being of Alaska Natives and in helping victims and communities heal; present techniques and strategies for enhancing responses to and the investigation of violence against Alaska Natives; and illustrate – through case studies and personal experiences – how local customs, traditions and best practices underscore the need for a multidisciplinary, multijurisdictional, collaborative response to violence committed against Alaska Natives. View the videos online or order the DVD from the OVC Resource Center.

Culture Card: A Guide to Build Cultural Awareness, American Indian and Alaska Native 

This card provides a general briefing of five elements of cultural competence, including topics such as the role of veterans and elders, health and wellness challenges, and spirituality. It is a useful, concise reference guide.

Engaging American Indian and Alaska Native Medicare Beneficiaries: Senior Medicare Patrol Toolkit
This toolkit provides background information on Tribal Elders, outreach strategies, cultural competency tips, specific information on individual Tribes, and a list of resources. Much of the information in the Toolkit is applicable to ombudsman services.

Working Effectively with Tribal Governments
A curriculum consisting of short modules providing an introduction to working with Tribes. The curriculum was developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. One module, Cultural Orientation and Working with Tribal Governments provides tips on communication and beliefs and values. There is a link to a list of resources for additional information and federal agencies serving Tribes. Registration is required to access the curriculum but there is no charge.

New Efforts to Serve Displaced Native Elders, Diana Weber, AK SLTCO, Senior Voice, June 2013
This article discusses the needs of Native Elders living in facilities removed from family and friends and ombudsman services.

Long Term Care Ombudsman Program for Tribal Residents, pp. 91 - 93 (May 2013)
Tiffany Yazzie, Regional Ombudsman Coordinator, AAA, Region 8, Inter-Tribal Council on Arizona, Inc., Phoenix, AZ. Ombudsman services to Tribal Elders from seventeen tribes living off Tribal lands is described. Examples are given of cultural differences, the needs of elders, and the impact on ombudsman services.  

Long Term Care Ombudsman Program: Opportunities for Services for American Indians, pp. 94 - 94 (May 2013)
Becky A. Kurtz, Director, Office of Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs, ACL, Washington, DC. A description of the ombudsman program, creating or expanding tribal ombudsman services, serving residents of facilities on tribal lands, and the availability of Title VI funds are discussed.

Cultural Communication Information - Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium
This page contains audio recordings of Residents' Rights in Alaska native languages as well as additional resources on how to communicate effectively with Alaska Native Elders.

What Works for Us: Culture and Community
Many tribal LTSS programs have reached success by reflecting their unique cultures and involving their communities in the services they provide. Learn more about the strategies that worked for these programs by watching the LTSS Technical Assistance Center’s video, “What Works for Us: Culture and Community.”

Resource Centers


Administration on Aging, Services for Native Americans (OAA Title VI)

National Indigenous Elder Justice Initiative
The National Indigenous Elder Justice Initiative was created to address the lack of culturally appropriate information and community education materials on elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation in Indian Country.

National Indian Council on Aging
The National Indian Council on Aging focuses on 1) access to information; 2) more effective options for self-care and longevity information and awareness; and 3) to streamline and increase access to aging.

National Resource Center for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Elders
This Center focuses on: 1) empower Native communities to incorporate traditional and contemporary health practices within community health care systems; 2) provide technical information to promote culturally sensitive and functionally appropriate services to maintain social well-being; and 3) provide an arena for discussions about the increasing problems of elder abuse to help Native communities in developing their own plans to reduce and control occurrences. 

National Resource Center on Native American Aging
The goal of the program is to improve the quality of life for Native elders through research, training, and technical assistance. UND seeks to identify and increase awareness of evolving Native elder health and social issues and to empower Native people to develop community based solutions to meet their most pressing needs.

National Resource Center for Native Hawaiian Elders
The National Resource Center for Native Hawaiian Elders focuses on improving the well-being of Native Hawaiian elders by forging stronger collaborative relationships between the University, Native Hawaiian and  gerontology communities.

Tribal Resources, National Center on Elder Abuse and the Administration on Aging

Additional Resources


Tribal Nursing Home Best Practices: Traditional Foods 

This CMS report was produced in cooperation with Uniting Nursing Homes in Tribal Excellence (U.N.I.T.E.). The report explains how to plan a traditional foods menu, offers tips for sourcing traditional foods and navigating regulatory issues, provides links to webinars and additional resources. Valdeko (Val) Kreil with the Maniilaq Association says they serve traditional foods, like caribou and moose, to elders at the Utuqqanaat Inaat nursing home in Kotzebue, AK. “These are the foods they grew up on. These are the foods they’re comfortable with—home cooking, if you will.” While CMS’ new report on traditional foods was written as a nursing home best practices guide, much of the information in it applies to elder food programs offered to elders in their homes or tribal senior centers.

Traditional Foods Resource Guide

This Traditional Foods Resource Guide was made by SEARHC Health Promotion grant funds from the National Native Network and Administration for Native Americans. This resource will increase the knowledge of Traditional Foods to support the health, well-being, and prosperity of Alaska Native and American Indian People. Included in the resource guide is an introduction to a few traditional and local foods resource tools available in four Indian Health Service areas of the United States:  Alaska, California, Great Plains, and Portland. 

National Council of Urban Indian Health

This is the only National 501(c)(3) organization devoted to the support and development of quality, accessible, and culturally-competent health services for American Indians and Alaska Natives living in urban settings. The website contains fact sheets, including one on myths and realities and data about urban Indians. The members page contains an interactive map showing the location of the urban health centers across the country.

The Urban Indian Health Institute

This  Institute is a tribal epidemiology center funded by the Indian Health Service. The mission is to support the health and well-being of urban Indian communities through information, scientific, inquiry, and technology. It is an excellent resource and has several fact sheets, tool kits  and other information.

Native One-Stop- Benefits.gov

Benefits.gov, the official benefits website of the United States, launched a portal of resources for Native American, Alaskan Native, and tribal populations. The portal, Native One-Stop, provides information about the services that are available through the Federal government. Native One-Stop conveniently houses any service that these populations may need with topics ranging from assistance for populations with severe disabilities to congressional internships for Native Americans.

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A Healing Journey for Alaska Natives

 
 

The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) would like to announce a new video series, developed in collaboration with the Office on Violence Against Women, supporting Alaska Native victims of crime. A Healing Journey for Alaska Natives is an educational video series designed for federal, state, local, and tribal victim service providers, criminal justice professionals, and others who work with Alaska Native victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.

The videos in this series—

  • increase awareness about violence committed against Alaska Natives.
  • identify first responders to Alaska Native victims of crime.
  • illustrate the challenges faced by Alaska Native victims and the critical role that culture and tradition play in both the well–being of Alaska Natives and in helping victims and communities heal.
  • present techniques and strategies for enhancing responses to and the investigation of violence against Alaska Natives.
  • illustrate – through case studies and personal experiences – how local customs, traditions and best practices underscore the need for a multidisciplinary, multijurisdictional, collaborative response to violence committed against Alaska Natives.

Information to Share with Consumers


Traditional Food Resource Guide

Native One-Stop – Benefits.gov

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