VA Secretary Robert Wilkie holds town hall with Native American veterans

Kaylah Jackson
November 29, 2018 - 6:58 am

(DoD Photo By: Jhomil Bansil)

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VA Secretary Robert Wilkie visited Native veterans and tribal leaders in Ada, Oklahoma Wednesday, to discuss ways the VA can better serve their communities.

A native of Lawton, Oklahoma, Wilkie told KTEN news, “They [Native American veterans] serve in the military in numbers disproportionate to their size of the population. I want that service to be recognized.”

The secretary discussed with the 39 tribal leaders present at the Chickasaw Nation Community Center how he wants to improve relationships between VA at the national level, and state and local leaders.

According to the VA, American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans serve at a higher rate with than other service members but tend to have lower incomes, educational background and experience higher unemployment when compared to other veteran groups.

Wilkie also noted during the town hall that the VA’s commitment to supporting military caregivers as well as making the suicide task force a national effort.

“Those family caregivers from Vietnam, from Korea, will finally get financial support so that they can take care of those veterans from those two wars,” said Wilkie.

This won’t be the last stop in the Midwest for the VA secretary as he noted his focus will be “rural America.”

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