Veterans Center adds more help, events
The Cherokee Nation’s Veterans Center sits east of the W.W. Keeler Tribal Complex in Tahlequah. All veterans are welcome to use the center and its services. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Veterans Center customer service representative Norman Littledave sets out information brochures for veterans who visit the center, which was formerly under Humans Services. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – After opening in 2013, the Cherokee Nation’s Veterans Center continues to strive to service all veterans through different programs and events. The center was formerly under Human Services, which set the foundation for what is now offered to veterans. In 2017, Barbara Foreman became the director of CN Veterans Affairs.
“I can say that Human Services laid a good foundation here. They actually started some of the programs, so we’re just trying to build on some the programs that have been started here and maybe to extend more services here for our veterans,” Foreman said.
The center offers readjustment counselor Matt Tiger of the Tulsa Veterans Affairs Center, who does group sessions and individual counseling. Representatives from the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs and Disabled American Veterans are available every Tuesday to offer help with benefits.
“We’re collecting resources to refer them to. In the future we are trying to have more and more services. We’re just trying to add to what we have,” Foreman said.
Foreman said she wants to add service personnel from the CN who have the same capabilities the ODVA and the DAV offer. She also said feedback from the veterans is important in knowing what is needed for them.
The Veterans Center is the first among many of the tribes in Oklahoma.
“I think we kind of, by taking the first steps and being the first tribe out there with this, we set the standard for other tribes. Now when veterans from other tribes are hearing what the Cherokees are doing for their veterans, they start asking those questions. It starts that ball rolling so other tribes think ‘well, we need to be something like that for our veterans, too,’” CN General Counsel Bryan Shade said.
Shade said he’s working with the center to help it expand its offerings to veterans.
The center also offers various event opportunities for veteran participation.
Foreman said they host events on Memorial Day, Veterans Day, the Cherokee National Holiday, and every September a select group of veterans participate in the Cherokee Warrior Flight to Washington, D.C.
New events have recently been added such as employee veteran’s lunches, bingo nights and a Valentine’s dance and social event.
The Veterans Center is fully funded through a tribal appropriations budget to maintain the building and staff.
“We’re never going to stop reaching out for more. We owe it to them to never get satisfied with what we’re doing for them, to keep wanting to do more,” Shade said.
For more information call 1-800-256-0671 or visit www.cherokee.org