Red Lake Hosts 9th Annual Gathering of Elders
Tribes from all over Minnesota and around the country gathered at the Seven Clans Casino in Red Lake to take part in this year’s Gathering of Elders. The Gathering started with a breakfast, an open ceremony and a flag ceremony. The MC for the event, Gary Jourdain, Jr., said that it’s great to see all the elders in one place because most of them don’t go out a lot.
“A lot of them don’t really go out a lot of places; when this event happens, it brings them out and it’s really great to see them all together and all that knowledge is in that room is just amazing,” Jourdain, Jr. said.
The event is put on every year to keep the elders in the community informed about new projects and services being offered by tribal program directors.
“With all the information booths to let them know that they’re services out there for them and the Red Lake Nation is here to help them out in any way that we can,” Jourdain, Jr. said.
There are around 20 information booths inside the Seven Clans Casino for the Gathering of Elders. One growing issue in the community is Alzheimer’s.
“As we live longer as Indian people, most likely we are going to see more and that’s a concern for us. We want to help educate people on taking better care of themselves now, hopefully as a preventative measure against dementia later in life and also a warning for the younger people because we know that there seems to be an increase in younger onset, too, of dementia,” Northwoods Caregivers Dementia Outreach Specialist Karen Bedeau said.
Bedaue said that dementia in Native American elders is being looked into closely because Indigenous people in the past haven’t lived as long as other people from different cultures.
Other informational booths included family and children services, senior companion programs, housing initiatives, public safety and even instructions on how to obtain medical insurance. Most of these services are offered around Red Lake and are put in place to help the elders.