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National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month, November 2012

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) is pleased to join the President in recognizing November as Native American Heritage Month. What started in the early 1900s in the State of New York as a day to recognize the first Americans has become a month long National recognition of these individuals and their significant contributions to the growth of the United States.

The 2012 theme, “Native Families Moving Ahead – Together We Strengthen Our Nations”, encourages the nation to reflect and celebrate the cultures, histories and traditions of American Indians and Alaska Natives. We at ACL are committed to working with Native American elders and their caregivers. We recognize the need and desire of elders to remain in their homes and communities close to their family, friends, traditions and culture as they age. It is through the hard work of our Program Directors who administer our Tribal Senior Programs that elders and their caregivers are supported to enable elders to remain independent, at home and in the community.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has also shown its commitment to the health and independence of American Indians and Alaska Natives through the HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. The goal of the HHS Action Plan is to reduce health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities. It does so by building on the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), investing in prevention and wellness, supporting primary care, and creating links between health and human services to provide better care for our first Americans. The ACA specifically benefits our first Americans by providing affordable health care options and expanding health care coverage as well as permanently authorizing the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, allowing IHS additional opportunities in long term care.

HHS has further shown its commitment to improving access to health care in Indian Country through the development of the Secretary’s Tribal Advisory Council which is comprised of Tribal Leadership and Federal Representatives, and the work of the Interdepartmental Coordinating Committee for Native American Affairs both of which are committed to improving access to HHS grants and improving State and Tribal relationships. ACL is supporting these goals by working with States and Tribal Governments on improving Title III and Title VI coordination at the State level.

We proudly join the nation in recognizing our Native American elders, their caregivers and those that work with them by celebrating Native American Heritage Month. Read the President’s proclamation for Native American Heritage Month