The Citizen Potawatomi Nation Community Building in Rossville, Kansas, fosters kinship through a wide variety of classes. Elders, in particular, gather at the center for companionship and fun. Tribal member Judy Boyles teaches a gourd decorating class on occasion and appreciates the outlet.
According to a study published in 2016, American Indian and Alaska Native elders have higher Dementia incidence rates than their Latino, Pacific Islander, white and Asian American peers, with 22 cases for every 1,000 elders.
Amongst many others who worked for the Nation before and after the landmark 1975 Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, Tribal elder Beverly Hughes witnessed the changes firsthand. Elected Secretary-Treasurer in 1970, she served on the five-person Business Council, then the Tribe’s governing body.
During her time as coordinator of CPN’s Title VI and senior care program, RN Tami Fleeman has become a leader in her field. She offers guidance to several organizations in an effort to improve elder care across Oklahoma and Indian Country.