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DHS news release

February 22, 2005

Contact: Nadine Jelsing, DHS, (503) 945-5950

Program contact: Judy Bowen, DHS, (503) 945-6401


First Native American caregiving conference in Oregon partners state and tribes

Oregon's first conference to support caregiving among Native Americans will be held Wednesday and Thursday at the Chinook Winds Casino Resort in Lincoln City.


Native Caring…A Conference to Learn, Connect & Share is targeted at Native American caregivers and those caring for Native Americans. The conference is sponsored by the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS); the Coquille Indian Tribe; Coos, Lower Umpqua & Siuslaw Indians; Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians; Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs; and the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.


The keynote address will be delivered on Wednesday at 9 a.m. by Terry Tafoya, Ph.D., a Native American clinical psychologist and member of the Taos Pueblo and Warm Springs nations. A prayer ceremony performed by the Siletz Royalty will open the conference at 8:30 a.m. followed by a Tribal Council and DHS welcome.


"This conference is a highly collaborative effort among Oregon tribal members, DHS, Area Agencies on Aging and the business community," says DHS Director Gary K. Weeks. "In the Native American culture, caregiving is one of the highest duties that one can perform, and I'm pleased that we're all coming together to best serve the caregiver’s needs."


Topics and sessions at the conference are tailored around key issues in the Native American community and include Elder Abuse; Medication Management; Nutrition and Diabetes; Depression; Grandparents Raising Grandchildren; Self-care for the Caregiver; Communicating with Healthcare Professionals; Alzheimer's and Dementia; and Circles and Cedars, a workshop helping caregivers use cross-cultural elements of communications and strengths in their communities.


"All of the sessions and workshops will focus on providing tools and resouces for Native American caregivers," says DHS' Judy Bowen of the Office of Seniors and People with Disabilities. "It's also a chance for participants to network and share information with other caregivers from other Indian communities."


Participants include members of the nine tribes of Oregon and Native Americans from Idaho, Washington and Arizona. In addition there will be speakers and presenters from the Alzheimer's Association, American Red Cross, Legacy Health System, Washington Department of Health and Human Services and DHS.


For registration information contact Angela Ramirez, Siletz Elders Program Coordinator, at (800) 922-1399, ext. 1225.