SWNAVA’s Conference in Indian Country Today

The 2014 Regional Veterans Conference recently made headlines at Indian Country Today. The article featured two SWNAVA Board members and Laguna Pueblo veterans, including 96-year-old, six-time governor Tim Dailey, who obtains VA benefits to have home health care. Below is an excerpt of the story:

Inaugural Meeting Aimed to Help Tribal Veterans Get Services They Deserve

He enlisted in the Marines like his three uncles did after graduating from high school in hopes of taking advantage of the military’s educational benefits. Mike, who did not want to give his last name, trained in Saudi Arabia for 18 months before fighting in the Gulf War in Kuwait.ITC

“It was quite awful,” said Mike, 46, who was an artillery cannoneer. “We killed a whole bunch of people,” he said of his squad’s mission to secure Kuwait. “For a while there I couldn’t eat barbecue because the smell reminded me of what I saw over there, like human flesh.”

He requested a discharge after he found out his wife had divorced and left him to care for his two children. He worked at a nearby prison and as a heavy equipment operator after returning from the war. But when he lost his appetite, and the nightmares and then sleepless began, he knew he needed help.

“I was putting it off,” said the veteran living on the Laguna Reservation 45 miles west of Albuquerque. “I was embarrassed about it. I thought I wasn’t man enough to take what I distributed out in the war.”

Mike is one of thousands of Native American veterans across the nation who has earned benefits after military service, but either put off obtaining them or gave up after repeated efforts. Other veterans, especially those in rural areas, don’t know where to apply for services, or don’t have transportation or access to where services are administered.

Organizers of a free, inaugural conference September 22-24 at the Isleta Resort & Casino hope to help. The Southwest Native American Veterans Association Regional Conference will feature representatives from federal . . .

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/09/03/inaugural-meeting-aimed-help-tribal-veterans-get-services-they-deserve-156679