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AARP Focuses on American Indian Issues

AARP Colorado was a major sponsor of the Pathways to Respecting American Indian Civil Rights conference, held in Denver August 8 and 9.

More than 200 representatives of tribes from across the country and of agencies and organizations serving the reservations participated in the conference. In addition to our support, AARP sponsored a booth during the event, from which AARP Colorado provided outreach and information about You’ve Earned A Say.

Michael E. Bird from New Mexico, former president of the American Health Association and current member of the AARP National Policy Council, was the keynote speaker on the second day of the conference.

In addition to his service on the AARP NPC, Bird was the first American Indian and first social worker to serve as president of the American Public Health Association. He has spent years dedicated to program development and health policy at the tribal, state and national level.

“It was a great event with lots of information and sessions about a number of topics, including issues surrounding health disparities, health services, civil rights and resources for elders,” said Roberto Rey, AARP Colorado director of multicultural outreach. “AARP is proud to have been a part of this successful event that was designed to help people improve their quality of life in so many ways.”

Also presenting during the program were Ernest House Jr, executive secretary of the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs Office of the Lt. Governor Joseph Garcia; Marguerite Salazar, regional director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Gyasi Ross, a lawyer, writer and filmmaker who works to empower indigenous populations.