New Memorandum Provides Framework for Supporting Tribal Veterans


Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs Signs Agreement with Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians to Assist Tribal Veterans

The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs signed a formal agreement with the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians on Nov. 29, 2023 that provides a framework for helping the Tribe’s veterans in accessing their earned federal and state veterans’ benefits.

The formal signing took place at the Cow Creek Umpqua Tribal Government Office in Roseburg. Both the Department of Veteran’s Affairs Director Dr. Nakeia Council Daniels and Cow Creek Umpqua Chairman Carla Keene signed the new Memorandum of Understanding. Tribal government leaders and representatives, tribal veterans and Department of Veteran’s Affairs staff also gathered to commemorate the historic partnership.

“This monumental partnership will help ensure veterans and members of the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians will receive the same high-quality, trustworthy and timely level of service as any other veteran in our state, from a trained and certified Tribal Veteran Service Officer who understands their unique experiences and cultural identity,” said Daniels. “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. We at ODVA are so grateful for the leadership of Chairman Keene and her Tribal Board of Directors who have made this historic partnership possible.”

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

Nearly six percent of the Tribe’s population identify as veterans. As part of the agreement, a new Tribal Veterans Service Officer position will be established within the Tribe’s government to support this population. This position will be part of the newly-established Veterans Services Program housed within the Tribe’s Cultural Resources Department. Both the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians will jointly fund the position.

Tribal Veteran Service Officers are trained by the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs and then accredited by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs through a series of regular trainings facilitated by both agencies. These officers provide a wide variety of critical services to veterans and their families, including the development and submission of claims to the federal VA for earned veteran benefits.

Oregon’s County Veteran Service Offices and Tribal Veteran Service Offices form a network of collaborative partnerships between the state, counties and Tribal governments. These offices provide free local access to veteran benefits for veterans and their families.

This is the Department of Veteran’s Affairs fourth Memorandum of Understanding with Oregon’s nine federally-recognized Tribes, including the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.

The position of Tribal Veteran Service Officer is currently open to qualified applicants on the employment page of the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians website. To learn more about veteran benefits, resources and services near you, or to schedule a session with your local veteran service officer, visit the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs website.

Established in 1945, the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs is dedicated to serving Oregon’s diverse veteran community that spans five eras of service members. This department administers programs and provides special advocacy and assistance in accessing earned veteran benefits across the state. Visit the ODVA website to learn about veteran benefits and services or locate a county or tribal veteran service office.

About Author

Tyler Francke is the Community and Media Relations Coordinator with the Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs.

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