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AARP Oklahoma Continues Work with American Indians

AARP Oklahoma is continuing its on-going project to engage American Indians through targeted activities in 2010. According to the Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission, there are more than 420,000 Indians who live in Oklahoma.

Nominations for the 2010 AARP Oklahoma Indian Elder Honors close on July 31st. This is the second year the state has honored 50 Indian elders for their contributions to their tribe, community and/or state. Last year’s event drew more than 300 people with honorees from 36 of Oklahoma’s 38-federally recognized tribe.

Earlier this summer, AARP worked with Driver’s Safety State Coordinator Tillman Ryser on a pilot project that was held at the Pawnee Nation complex in Pawnee. Approximately 10 people attended the course that was taught by a full-blooded Pawnee Indian. In addition, a driver’s safety instructor from the Missouria-Otoe tribe was recruited. Additional Driver’s Safety programs focusing on American Indians are being planned.

Two other projects that targeted Indians in Oklahoma this year included a voter registration drive and stops by the AARP/Walgreen’s Wellness Tour at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation complex and the Senior Nutrition Site of the Choctaw Nation in Holdenville.

AARP Oklahoma has an informal group of volunteer Indian Advisors that assist in planning and executing these activities. These volunteers include former chiefs and tribal leaders from the Miami, Absentee Shawnee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Kiowa and Comanche tribes.

For more information on Indian engagement opportunities, contact Craig Davis at cedavis@aarp.org or call 1-877-295-7277.

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