2017 Washington State Native American Veterans Summit held on September 26-27

The Washington Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) recently participated in the 2017 Washington State Native American Veterans Summit on September 26-27.

This event was hosted by the Suquamish Tribe in Suquamish WA and cosponsored by the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Tribal Government Relations.

The purpose of this event was to share knowledge on federal and state benefits and programs available to American Indian and Alaska Native veterans including service-connected disability and nonservice-connected pension benefits, and to develop collaborative approaches to supporting these veterans in their own communities.

This event also helped tribal, federal, and state leaders in the veterans community development the network of veterans service providers and provided an opportunity for these service providers to learn about and celebrate American Indian culture and history in order to better serve these veterans and their families.  

There are approximately 6,000 American Indian and Alaskan Native veterans in Washington State. America Indians and Alaska Natives serve in the United States armed forces at a higher rate than any other ethnic population and they have access to some unique programs in order to better meet their needs in their communities, in addition to having the same access to all the other veterans benefits that any veteran is eligible for.

Earlier this year the Suquamish Tribe became the first American Indian tribe in Washington State to enter into a memorandum of agreement with the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs, which was made possible by recent Federal rule changes that allow accredited state veterans agencies, such as WDVA, to extend accreditation to Tribal Veterans Representatives and Service Officers.

If you would like to learn more about the new Federal rules or this agreement, please contact Steven Gill, WDVA Veteran Services Administrator and Tribal Liaison at 360-725-2235 or steveng@dva.wa.gov.

EVENT PHOTOS: https://www.flickr.com/photos/98326753@N03/albums/72157689108365526