Cow Creek Umpqua Tribe and Oregon Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs Partner to Assist Tribal Veterans

ROSEBURG — The Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians and the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs signed a formal agreement Wednesday that will provide a framework for collaboration and increased resources dedicated to supporting Tribal veterans.

The memorandum of understanding was signed at the Cow Creek Umpqua Tribal Government Office in Roseburg, as employees and government representatives gathered to commemorate the historic partnership.

“Today our agencies partner together with a shared mission: to recognize and care for those who have served our country,” said Cow Creek Umpqua Chairman Carla Keene. “Our military veterans have provided a profound service to our community, and we join together today to support and honor them.”

“We want to ensure that Tribal veterans and their family members are represented in culturally appropriate and timely manners,” said Dr. Nakia Daniels, Interim Director of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs. “The power of having someone who knows you and who comes from where you come from, or is connected to where you come from cannot be understated. It matters.”

The agreement establishes a new position, the Tribal Veterans Service Officer (TVSO), within the Cow Creek Umpqua Tribal Government. The TVSO will be part of the newly established Veterans Services Program housed within the Cultural Resources Department. The position is funded by both the Oregon Legislature as well as the Cow Creek Umpqua Tribal Government.

The TVSO will be officially trained by the ODVA and accredited by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, through a series of regular classes and conferences facilitated by both agencies. Accreditation permits the TVSO to submit benefit claims on behalf of veterans, thus removing barriers for Tribal veterans struggling to find support and resources.

Nearly 6% of adults aged 18 and older in the Cow Creek Umpqua Tribal population identify as veterans.

The position of TVSO is currently open to qualified applicants on the employment page of the Cow Creek Umpqua Tribal website, cowcreek-nsn.gov/employment. According to the job description, the TVSO will regularly be called upon to utilize deep knowledge of the values of Indigenous communities and military service communities to maintain outreach and communication with veterans. The TVSO will also play an integral role in facilitating involvement of Tribal veterans at cultural ceremonies and events.

Dr. Daniels presented Chairman Keene with a challenge coin at the ceremony on behalf of the ODVA.

This is the fourth agreement that the ODVA has signed with Oregon’s Tribal governments, including the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.

“To all the veterans and service members, thank you for your service to your community, the United States of America and for protecting the liberty each of us enjoy every day as Americans and Native Americans,” said Keene.