SWNAVA Conference Commercial

This SWNAVA conference commercial is currently airing on 2 KASA FOX in New Mexico.

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – December 12, 2014 – First Class Sgt. Oliver Arviso will get a hearty welcome on Saturday as 30 members of his family, the Pueblo of Isleta Color Guard and members of the Blue Star Mothers greet Arviso as he arrives here after serving in Afghanistan with the New York-based 10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade.
Arviso, who grew up in Ft. Defiance, Ariz., will be arriving at the Albuquerque International Sunport and greeted by his 92-year-old grandfather, Wilson Arviso, a WWII Air Force veteran. The sergeant chose to fly into Albuquerque because his grandfather wanted to make the trip to see his grandson. Arviso left to aid in combat support in Operation Enduring Freedom in January 2013. The sergeant oversaw nine platoons or 186 soldiers and has been serving in the reserves since 1990. This is his fourth tour serving in the Middle East.
Other family members will drive to the Duke City from Flagstaff and Phoenix to greet their brother, nephew and uncle. Members of the Blue Star Mothers, a support organization for mothers who have children serving in the military, will also greet Arviso. The sergeant’s mother, Katherine D. Arviso, started the first Blue Star Mothers organization on the Navajo Nation more than 20 years ago. His mother said she plans a traditional Navajo welcoming for her by butchering a sheep in January.

WHO:       Thirty members of the Navajo Nation and family members of 1st Class Sgt. Oliver Arviso, a Navajo Army Reservist, and the Pueblo of Isleta Color Guard

WHAT:      Honor and hug Sgt. Arviso for the first time in nearly two years
WHERE:   Albuquerque International Support
WHEN:     2:43 p.m. Saturday, December 13 on US Airways Flight #6572

The Southwest Native American Veterans Association (SWNAVA) is a newly-created organization with a mission to educate and assist Native veterans and their families with service benefits.

 For more information, go to www.swnava.org.

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Contact:  Carlene Aragon, (505) 917-1262 orcarlenejaragon@msn.com

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The Cowboy Up Fundraiser Event

Veterans’ Team Roping Fundraiser

Date:  September 19, 2015

Location:  DC’s Arena Southwest Event Center in Los Lunas, NM

Sponsored by: SWNAVA & Pueblo of Isleta Veterans Association

Hosted by: Isleta Pueblo

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For Immediate Release

 Contact: Marvin Trujillo, 505-366-1560 or 01twineagle@gmail.com

Kim Baca, 505-270-3890 or kjbaca@yahoo.com


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – August 26, 2015 – Native American and non-Native American veterans seeking information or aid in attaining earned benefits will get some help during a conference Sept. 20-22.

The Southwest Native American Veterans Association (SWNAVA) and the Pueblo of Isleta Veteran’s Association will host the 2nd Annual Southwest Regional Veterans Conference, Speak with One Voice to Shape Policy: Veterans Rising for Healing, at the Isleta Resort & Casino.

The conference comes a year after news reports of veterans dying of health complications after waiting for care at a Phoenix Veterans Affairs hospital. Congress passed the Veterans Choice Program in response to the report and discovering long wait times at other VA hospitals across the country, including in Albuquerque.

The program, which called for the hiring of more VA doctors and nurses and the construction of 26 new facilities, among other provisions, also allowed veterans who live more than 40 miles away from the closest VA health care center to seek treatment from another health care facility.

“Although this program is in place there are still many veterans, especially Native American veterans living on the reservation, who have no health care access, even primary care,” said Marvin Trujillo, Jr., SWNAVA chairman. “This conference will help veterans get information to find the services they need.”

Some health care facilities are located more than 100 miles away from reservations. Other veterans do not have electronic access as the VA makes it way toward a paperless agency. Other vets aren’t aware of all the benefits available, including home loans, educational aid, employment assistance, extended care and VA reimbursements to Indian Health Service.

More than 150,000 American Indian and Alaska Native veterans live in the U.S., with 14,000 in New Mexico, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

State and federal VA representatives will speak about health care, housing, pensions, business loans, and educational and burial services. Top-level representatives of the VA’s Office of Tribal Government Relations and Center for Minority Veterans, as well as U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.), will also address event attendees. Free health care screenings will also be available.

A fundraising golf tournament, gourd dance, and a walk and run will also be part of the conference. Cost is $25 or $30 with a guest. For more information or to register, go to www.swnava.org.

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About the Southwest Native American Veterans Association

The SWNAVA is a new organization created in 2014 with a mission to educate and assist Native American veterans and their families with service benefits. For more information, go to www.swnava.org.

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Laguna Veterans & SWNAVA featured in Cibola Beacon

The Southwest Native American Veterans Association’s conference was featured in the Grants Cibola Beacon, including a 96-year-old veteran who has obtained some service benefits.


Laguna Veterans Participate in Inaugural Benefits Conference


Tom Dailey, a six-time former governor at Laguna Pueblo, shows the stripes he earned in the U.S. Army while he served during World War II. Dailey uses his veteran’s benefits to obtain home healthcare.

CIBOLA COUNTY – It was the bombing of Pearl Harbor plastered on the local paper’s front-page and repeated blaring of the news on the radio that caused Tom Dailey to decide to enlist in the U.S. Army. He became a mechanic in the 407th Infantry Regiment and fought in the Battle of the Bulge.

“I was lucky I didn’t get hurt—just some minor stuff,” said Dailey, a retired business owner and six-time Laguna Pueblo governor, who still can hear explosions and the whistle of missiles going by.

Dailey celebrated his 96 birthday yesterday.

The World War II vet, one of five in the Pueblo, remains in good health by taking advantage of his benefits such as home modification and home healthcare services he obtained with the help of his son and daughter.

However, others aren’t so lucky and officials reported that there are 535 veterans who reside in the Pueblo.

Some veterans, especial rural vets, don’t have access to services or just don’t know what benefits they are entitled to. Or others, after starting the sometimes long, multi-step process of obtaining benefits, simply give up.

A new organization plans to familiarize veterans and their families with the government’s procedures with an inaugural conference …

Read more.

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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
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SWNAVA Board Member Marvin Trujillo on Native America Calling

Board member and veteran, 1st Lt. USMC, Marvin Trujillo, Jr., (Laguna Pueblo) was an expert guest today on the nation’s only live Native American radio talk show, Native NACAmerica Calling. Trujillo spoke about the challenges of obtaining benefits and the VA’s benefit process.  Below is the program description and a link to download an MP3 of the show.

Thursday, August 21, 2014– Veterans Affairs (click here to listen)

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has seen a lot of change recently. Not only does the department have a new leader but more reforms are ahead at the national level. What do all of these changes mean for Native American and Alaska Native veterans and their famlies? Will you take advantage of the option to seek outside care if you’re far from a VA facility? Do you think VA reforms will be a good thing for you or a veteran in your life? If you have ideas for improving care for our Native veterans, we also want to hear from you during our conversation about changes in Veterans Affairs.


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Conference to Focus on Native American Veterans Accessing VA Benefits

Southwest Native American Veterans Association and Isleta Pueblo Veterans Association Combine Efforts to Empower Native American Veterans

Albuquerque, N.M . – July 25, 2014 – The Southwest Native American Veterans Association, Inc. (SWNAVA), an organization dedicated to ensuring access to the Veterans Benefit Administration (VBA), Veterans Health Administration (VHA), National Cemetery Administration (NCA), Veterans Housing, and Veterans Business, today announced its collaboration with the Isleta Pueblo Veterans Association in hosting the inaugural Southwest Regional Veterans Conference.

The three-day conference, which will be held September 22-24 at the Isleta Resort and Casino just south of Albuquerque, will focus on empowering Native American veterans in understanding the process of accessing services through the Veterans Administration.

“Awareness is critical in creating change and improving access to services and benefits offered to all veterans,” said Marvin Trujillo, Jr., SWNAVA board member and a Native American veteran who served in the U.S. Marine Corps. “This event gives us the unique opportunity to collectively look at areas that can be improved and establish a unified voice.”

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, there are more than 150,000 American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) veterans living in the U.S. and more than 14,000 of them reside in New Mexico. The Pentagon estimates that well over 22,000 American Indian and Alaska Native active duty personnel currently serve across the Armed Forces. Additionally, AIAN population comprises 0.6 percent of minority veterans.

“The American Indian community is an important group within the overall population of military servicemen and women,” said Fred Lujan, Vice Chairman of SWNAVA and a former governor of the Pueblo of Isleta. “There are many state and federal benefits available to veterans, in addition to services and outreach specifically for Native American veterans. The purpose of this event is to hear from veterans on their needs and focus outreach to state and federal agencies to ensure they understand our needs.”

The conference will kick off with at Veterans Golf Tournament at the Isleta Golf Course on Sunday, September 21 at 12 p.m. There will also be a Veterans gourd dance at 6 p.m. on Monday, September 22. Exhibitors, sponsors, attendees and others interested in the event can learn more at www.swnava.org or contact Carlene Aragon, (505) 552-5752 or caragon@lagunapueblo-nsn.gov; or Glenda Toledo (505)205-3401 or glenda@chamisasprings.com.

Sponsorship opportunities are also available.

Download PDF News Release
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SWNAVA Inc. Website Launch

The Southwest Native American Veterans Association, Inc. (SWNAVA) is proud to announce the launch of its new website.  SWNAVA partnered with Iroots Media, LLC (a native owned design and marketing firm) in Santa Fe, NM to develop a user-friendly site.  Iroots Media also developed the association logo.  To learn more about the logo visit our About page.

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