Congressman Mullin Visits United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians
TAHLEQUAH - United States Congressman for the 2nd District of Oklahoma, Markwayne Mullin, and, Field Veterans Representative, William Barnes, met with Native American Veterans Representative for the United Keetoowah Band, Jacob Littledave, on Tuesday, August 30 in the UKB tribal court chambers.
During Congressman Mullin’s visit to the United Keetoowah Band complex, Littledave discussed several issues relating to our veterans. One of the issues introduced was in regards to a 100 percent service connected veteran or a veteran at 70 percent is declared unemployable. When veterans apply for assistance they don’t qualify because they count the veteran’s disability as income, even though it’s considered non-taxable income. Littledave informed Congressman Mullin that he would like to see a bill introduced in Congress that would waive that requirement for using the veteran’s disability as an income; it creates a problem for the veterans.
Another veteran issue discussed was the absence of debriefing before a soldier is discharged from their service.
“The veterans have served their country, the Vietnam veterans have the highest divorce and suicide rate, and we are losing 22 veterans a day to suicide. In the Afrighanistan and Iraq conflict our warriors are serving two, three, four and five tours, but there’s no debriefing when they come home, that is where we are losing them. We have to change that, this is where the government is making a mistake. Thirty days before their discharge they should be in debriefing,” said Littledave.
Littledave also requested the aid of Congressman Mullin and Veteran Representative Barnes, on a veteran who is full-blood Kiowa-Cheyenne-Arapaho Indian who was a Prisoner of War during the Korean War. Littledave informed them that this Native American has never file a claim.
Congressman Mullin assured Littledave that his office would be as helpful as they can. He shared his admiration to Littledave for his unselfish desire and determination to help his fellow veterans.
“We’ll be as helpful as we can. For what you do, words cannot express my gratitude for what you are doing because no one can help a veteran better than a veteran himself,” stated Congressman Mullin.
“Our office is setup to help with situations like this, and we try to reach out as much as possible, but there is that barrier that gets stop because I am considered government,” added Congressman Mullin.
Littledave expressed to Congressman Mullin the importance of Chapter 14.
“You made a statement earlier that it takes veterans to take care of veterans, but it also takes Native Americans to take care of Native Americans. That’s what Washington doesn’t seem to understand,” said Littledave.
Congressman Mullin commented on the veteran’s disability issue stating that he would look into it, he told Littledave at the moment he didn’t know what category this falls underneath and why it’s not accepted. Congressman Mullin informed Littledave that this was considered double dipping because it fell into two different federally entities. He said that he would look into it.
Congressman Mullin also informed Littledave that he and his office would help with what they could and also help him in the future for the benefit of the veterans.
“We are going to be here to help. If there are any veteran cases that come up you let us know, anything we can help you with,” stated Congressman Mullin.
With that Littledave thanked Congressman Mullin for coming down and sharing his time to meet with him. The meeting ended with a handshake and a promised of support and aid for the veterans from Congressman Mullin.