Published September 19, 2016
TAHLEQUAH — Cherokee elders across the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction are invited to the second annual Cherokee Nation Elder’s Summit. This year’s summit is being held in two locations, Vinita and Tahlequah, in order to reach more elders.
The Elder’s Summit in Vinita will be hosted at the Vinita Health Center on Tuesday, September 27, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with the summit in Tahlequah being hosted at the Tahlequah Armory Municipal Center on Thursday, September 29, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Last year’s summit marked the launch of the tribe’s Elder Fraud Protection Initiative. Led by Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, the Cherokee Nation administration, Attorney General’s office and Marshal Service joined forces, seeking to put an end to the growing problem of elder abuse. The coalition continues to collaborate with state and local agencies to prevent elder abuse and prosecute individuals who financially exploit or otherwise abuse Cherokee elders.
“It’s our responsibly to ensure our most valuable, and in many cases our most vulnerable, citizens remain safe from abuse, whether it’s physical or financial or emotional. Our elders should be respected and appreciated for their experience and cultural knowledge. That has always been an important Cherokee value,” said Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. “We started this awareness and education initiative last year and continue to add more content to better connect Cherokee senior citizens with programs and services that can help them the most.”
Various booths will be set up at the summit locations, offering information on how to spot and report elder abuse and resources if one is a victim. Elder abuse has reached epidemic proportions in Oklahoma. In 2012, Oklahoma Adult Protective Services received nearly 19,000 reports of abuse, neglect or exploitation of seniors. Often elders experiencing abuse or exploitation don’t know where to turn or how to seek help.
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