Minority Affairs Committee Update September/October 2016

As I’ve previously reported, the Minority Affairs Committee is doing outreach and operating booths at events in Native American veteran communities nationwide.

Committee members will be attending the Southwest Native American Veterans Association Conference in Albuquerque, N.M., at the end of September. Last year our members distributed four hundred membership applications at this conference and talked to many Native American veterans and family members about VA benefits and about illnesses and injuries incurred during military service. The committee also will send representatives to the Las Vegas Intertribal Pow Wow.

Our members are doing outreach in their own regions. George Bennett, who lives in Sitka, Alaska, last October formed an All Alaska Native Veterans Council, which he chairs. The council’s mission is to help veterans and their families get information on benefits available to them. The Veterans Council is working with other organizations to promote the health and welfare of minority veterans in Alaska. For info, call 907-738-3688.

Anthony Molina is the Tribal Veteran Representative for the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon. Please contact him at stmolina@msn.com if you wish to help, join him, or find out how to organize the tribes in your area.

I am working with the Native American Veterans Association in Los Angeles to support its annual Native American Veterans Summit and Annual pow wow in November. We distribute VVA brochures on health benefit issues and discuss issues with veterans and their family members.

Our committee’s message to tribal leaders is that we would like the tribes to consider having their own members trained as veteran service representatives. That way, they can sign up tribal members for VA benefits. We don’t believe tribes want nontribal members working with their members.

Jerry Yamamoto, Chair

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