Nursing home for Native Americans set for Whiteclay

July 30, 2011 by , filed under: Retirement Homes 

The elders of a Native American tribe may get the chance to spend their twilight years back on their own reservation.

The Oglala Sioux Tribe is planning to build a nursing home in Whiteclay, Nebrasksa to bring together its scattered tribe members living in surrounding care facilities.

Two to three hundred Native American elders are based in nursing homes in North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska – the new home would allow these seniors to come back home to the place where they spent most of their youth.

Tribal President John Yellow Bird Steele said: “We’ve got a lot of elderly here, we’ve got a lot of elderly out in nursing homes, lonely, no one to visit.We want to bring them home. And they want to come home. I get calls every day; ‘When is the nursing home going to open? When can we apply for a job? When can we bring grandma or grandpa?’”

The Tribe hopes to secure the $13 million of funding required for the build from the Shakopee Tribe in Minnesota – they will pay back the capital with Medicaid reimbursements for the residents of the home. If the plans go ahead the facility will include 60 beds with room for further expansion and also require up to 100 staff members, which would help to reduce the levels of unemployment in the reservation area.

Jack Andersen, a commissioner for Sheridan County said: “My feeling is that anything that provides jobs in and around Sheridan County will provide money for people, whether they live on the reservation or whether they live in Sheridan County. Some of that money might get spent in places like Rushville, Whiteclay, Gordon and Hay Springs. And any money that comes into the area is a benefit to Sheridan County.”

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