Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

GLNAEA Meeting

Story and Photos by Samantha Van Zile-Cottrell, Elder Director and Tenant Specialist

On March 9th and 10th, the Sokaogon Chippewa Elder Department hosted the Great Lakes Native American Elder Association (GLNAEA) meeting at the Mole Lake Lodge and Conference Center.

Elders from the 11 Tribes in Wisconsin were invited to attend, and there were over 130 attendees. In attendance was the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council, who oversee the Senior Companion and Foster Grandparent programs, the Tribal Elder Benefit Specialist, the Tribal Aging and Disability Resource Specialist, and many others.

The Elders have not had a meeting in over two years due to the pandemic. This GLNAEA meeting was special for the Elders, and it was a Celebration of Life for the Elders who passed on from Covid-19.

Wesley Martin, Chairman of the GLNAEA board, invited UW-Madison personnel to attend and inform them of the Alzheimer’s meetings on Wednesday night. There were several attendees that were receptive to the information, and after that meeting, the GLNAEA board had their Elder Abuse Task Force Meeting with bingo to follow.

The fun began on March 10th. There was a photo booth for Elders to take pictures with their loved ones and friends, and they received their photo right away. Elders were able to visit different vendor tables that showcased Native American beadings, blankets, skirts and other items.

Overall, the meeting was a successful gathering. Elders were required to provide their vaccination cards in order to enter the meeting and required to wear masks.

I am serving as the interim Elder Director, and I worked hard to put this important event together. Thank you to everyone who commented on how beautiful and well organized the event was.

All in all, Elders were extremely happy to be able to come together again. The next GLNAEA will be June 8th and 9th in St. Croix.