Reaching Out to Native American Veterans

Rincon - group

CalVet Secretary Vito Imbasciani, center, meets with Navy Nurse Regin Bayla and Nurse Practitioner Esther Calac Heller at the Rincon Indian Health Clinic.

CalVet Secretary Vito Imbasciani is meeting with Native American tribes throughout California in an effort to ensure that Native American veterans are receiving access to the benefits they have earned through their service.

He met with Bo Mazzetti, Chairman of the Rincon Band of Luiseño Indians, and other Native American veterans on Oct. 23 in Valley Center, Calif.

“I wanted to learn more about our successes and challenges in serving the Native American veteran community and this is an opportunity to hear directly from the people we serve,” said Imbasciani. “This is part of our effort to ensure that every Native American veteran – and every veteran in California – understands how to access the many state and federal benefits that are available to them.”

There are 140,000 American Indian and Alaska Native veterans in the United States, with more than 13,500 living in California. This group of veterans has served in the U.S. Armed Forces at higher rates than any other ethnic group. More than 30,000 Native American men and women serve our country today in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places around the world.

California Veterans Board member Elizabeth Perez also attended the gathering.

“As a Mono Indian and veteran, I’m extremely honored to be part of something monumental,” she said. “I knew what this would mean for the California Native American veterans. Outreach was overdue and needed. This is the beginning of many good things to come. We still have a lot of hard work to do to continue to move things forward. I’m up for the challenge.

The final meeting in this series is scheduled for November 29th at Mooretown Rancheria at 3 Alverda Drive, Oroville, CA at 8:30 a.m.

Rincon - Liz Perez

From left: Marine Veteran Armando Telles, Korean War Veteran Saginaw Grant and California Veterans Board Member Elizabeth Perez at the Rincon Tribal Hall.

Big Sandy Veterans Memorial

From left: John Spangler, CalVet Deputy Secretary for Legislation; CalVet Secretary Vito Imbasciani; Elizabeth Kipp, Tribal Council Chair of Big Sandy Rancheria Band of Western Mono Indians; Elizabeth Perez, California Veterans Board Member; and Regina Riley, Tribal Council Secretary, at the Big Sandy Rancheria Veterans Memorial.





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