Less than a month after her first Native American Veterans Summit in Bismark, North Dakota, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) introduced a one-stop-shop for Native veterans.
The launch of the site came from the summit where 140 Native veterans and advocates shared their concerns with the Senator, key local, state and federal officials that included Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. Many veterans said they were unable to find a simple answer to questions about their benefits and services.
“It was very clear during my Native American Veterans Summit that many Native veterans face similar problems in getting access to resources about their benefits and services. After putting their lives on the line for each of us, they should not have any trouble getting the support they earned,” Heitkamp said following the July 25 launch of the site. “Today, I’m fulfilling a pledge I made at that Summit to create a one-stop-shop webpage with resources and information that makes it easy for veterans to find out about the services and benefits available to them. However, this step is only part of the solution to improving how we share information. The VA also has to step up, and I’ll continue to urge key VA officials to travel to our reservations and make every effort to meet and connect with Native American veterans in person. Everyone needs to do a better job in making sure Native veterans are taken care of.”
The website includes important information and resources, such as:
–Web links organized by topic – such as health care, disability benefits, housing, education benefits, and more – so users can easily find the information they are looking for.
–Phone numbers for the Fargo VA Health Care System, North Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs, Tribal Veterans Services Officers, and other key contacts.
–Frequently asked questions and answers to quickly and easily address common issues Native veterans may face.
–Information on how to best contact Heitkamp’s office for additional questions or casework assistance.
Heitkamp includes a message on the home page of her one-stop-shop site, stating, “One of my key goals as your U.S. Senator is to make sure all veterans have access to the support and benefits they earned. And an important part of this mission is making sure services and benefits are reaching Native American veterans, who serve in the military at a higher rate than any other ethnic group.”