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Minnesota Indian Area Agency on Aging reorganizing to better serve Native American elders

Historic changes coming to the Minnesota Indian Area Agency on Aging later this year will improve services for Native American elders across the state.

Starting in July 2024, the agency’s planning and service areas will change to better serve American Indian elders in 10 of the 11 Tribal Nations that share geographic area with Minnesota.

The changes are happening after several years of consultation with Tribal leaders seeking a better way to meet the needs of their elders. The reorganized Minnesota Indian Area Agency on Aging will support the development of culturally significant and appropriate resources for elders, with services administered and run by Tribal governments.

The result will be more and better services and programs for Tribal elders. The new resources will help close the wide disparities for Native American elders in all areas of aging needs, particularly in-home and social services.

“We believe these changes will improve the lives of Indigenous elders living in Minnesota,” said Maureen Schneider, interim chair of the Minnesota Board on Aging. “Tribal leadership collaborated with us on this reorganization to better serve their people.”

Administration of the reorganized Minnesota Indian Area Agency on Aging will be housed at Red Lake Nation’s Ombimindwaa Gidinawemaaganinaadog (Uplifting Our Relatives), formerly Red Lake Family and Children Services, and will begin operations in January 2025.

Established by the Minnesota Board on Aging in 1980, the Minnesota Indian Area Agency on Aging was originally administered by the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, and served the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and the White Earth Nation. The reorganized agency will continue to serve the original four Tribal communities, as well as the Lower Sioux Indian Community, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Prairie Island Indian Community, Red Lake Nation, Upper Sioux Community and Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

The Minnesota Board on Aging is federally designated to administer Older Americans Act funds in Minnesota. The board designates Area Agencies on Aging, regional organizations that fund local service providers to connect older adults and their families to services, supports and information. Services include nutrition, chore, caregiver support, health promotion, homemaker and transportation that help older adults live well, age well. Minnesota has seven Area Agencies on Aging that connect older Minnesotans to the community support they need as they age.

 

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