Veteran services

Navajo Council delegate meets with AZ Department of Veterans Services

PHOENIX, AZ – Navajo Nation Council Delegate Kee Allen Begay, Jr. met with Gerardo Ochoa, deputy deputy director of the Arizona Department of Veterans Services, to discuss establishing veterans services officers veterans on tribal lands.

“I believe the Navajo Nation needs to make a request for five additional Veterans Service officers for our Navajo veterans,” Delegate Begay said. “With General Appropriations Act funding, hiring must be local and they should be paid a starting salary of $40,000.”

In September 2021, Resolution NABIAU-25-21 was passed by the 24th Council of the Navajo Nation calling on the U.S. Congress and the Biden-Harris administration to establish a hotline for veterans and their families on the Navajo Nation.

Currently, no veterans office or direct federal service is available on the Navajo Nation. Although the Navajo Nation Veterans Administration provides some basic services, it does not have the full capacity to meet all the needs of Navajo veterans.

The Navajo Nation is seeking more funding opportunities to meet the needs of Navajo veterans, veteran spouses, and Gold & Blue Star mothers. In the Navajo Nation, there is a Veterans Services Officer for each of the five Navajo Nation agencies. The role of the Navajo Nation Veterans Services Officer is to assist veterans and their surviving dependents in obtaining federal and state veterans benefits.

“I want to thank our Navajo delegation for securing these funds for the Navajo people at the state level,” Begay said. “Without our Arizona State Senators standing up for the Navajo Nation, we would not be able to move forward as they continue to work hard to solve the challenges facing our Navajo people.”

Council Delegate Begay requested an additional session between the State of Arizona and the Navajo Nation to discuss ways to implement these services for the Navajo people. He also continues to advocate for veterans and their families by holding tribal consultation meetings with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs and congressional leaders.