Congressional charters are granted to charitable organizations and many veterans service organizations have been recognized as such over the years, such as for Catholic veterans, Italian-American veterans, Polish-American veterans, and so on, but not for Native American veterans.
The Senate unanimously passed a bill this week to grant a congressional charter to the National American Indian Veterans (NAIV). Founded in 2004 and headquartered in South Dakota on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Reservation, NAIV advocates for American Indian veterans.
“In New Mexico and across the country, Native Americans have made a profound impact on our country by proudly serving in our Armed Forces,” explained Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.). “That’s why I’m proud the Senate passed our bipartisan legislation that will create a Congressional Charter for the National American Indian Veterans organization. This organization is an important resource that supports Native veterans and ensures they have access to the benefits that they have earned. This approval by the Senate reaffirms our nation’s commitment to Native veterans, who have proudly served throughout America’s history to present day.”
According to recent statistics from Veterans Affairs, there are around 140,000 Native American veterans in America today. NAIV serves this often underrepresented population and was instrumental in establishing the American Indian Veterans Memorial at the Riverside National Cemetery in California.