Linguists, artists, ministers, educators, veterans, tribal and community leaders and the first American Indian to receive a degree in Physics from the University of Oklahoma were among those recognized at the third annual AARP Oklahoma Indian Elder Honors.
See Also: AARP Oklahoma Indian Elder Navigator
Indian elders representing 37-federally recognized Oklahoma tribes and nations were celebrated at an event held at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.
AARP National Board Member John Penn was on hand to deliver the keynote address and help present medallions along with AARP Executive Vice President Hop Backus, Regional Vice President Nancy Stockbridge, State Director Sean Voskuhl and State President Marjorie Lyons.
Penn, whose great-great grandmother was on the Trail of Tears, praised the honorees and noted AARP’s commitment to work with diverse populations. He also reminded the audience of AARP Founder Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus’ commitment to serving all older Americans.
“It was a beautiful night to salute these Oklahoma Indian Elders,” said AARP State President Marjorie Lyons. “AARP Oklahoma has pledged to continue working with Oklahoma Indians to understand their unique needs and find ways that the association can help them age with dignity.”
The AARP Indian Elder Honors is the centerpiece of Oklahoma’s on-going project to build relationships with Indian elders throughout the state.
Read the complete list of honorees along with their biographies.
Earlier in the day, Oklahoma hosted a luncheon and conversation with 60 key volunteers where Penn, Backus, Stockbridge and Regional Volunteer Director Jim Clemmons spoke and took questions from the audience.
Penn explained AARP’s current work in the Protect Seniors II campaign and gave an overview of board activities. Penn also was interviewed about AARP’s efforts to protect Social Security and Medicare by KFOR-TV (NBC) earlier in the day. View a clip of that interview online.