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Office of Tribal Government Relations


About VA’s Office of Tribal Government Relations (OTGR)

The OTGR team works to strengthen and build closer relations between the VA, tribal governments and other key federal, state, private and non-profit partners in an effort to effectively and respectfully serve Veterans across Indian Country. Read more...

2017 VA/OTGR Executive Summary Report

Tribal color guard

VA’s Office of Tribal Government Relations (OTGR) has a special responsibility to oversee tribal consultation and support VA’s commitment to honor government-to-government relationships with tribes. OTGR works to engage tribes and strengthen VA’s ability to work with tribal governments by building trust, sharing information, and continuing to expand services to American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans. This report describes how VA engaged with Indian Country in 2015. Download the report in PDF format.

Tribal Consultation

Image of a man and a woman looking at each otherThe Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) consults with tribal governments in order to facilitate tribal engagement and input in VA policies, programs and services that may affect Veterans living in Indian Country and tribal governments. Tribal Consultation is either formal, or informal in nature, with a focus on emphasizing the importance of establishing and sustaining enduring, trusting relationships necessary to serve our Nation’s heroes.

2016 Tribal Consultation Report

Tribal Consultation Report Cover

In 2016, VA initiated consultation with American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments on recognition of tribal organizations for representation of VA benefit claimants, the top three to five priorities for Veterans in Indian Country, and a proposed consolidation of non-VA care into a more standardized system under the Veterans Choice Program. This report presents tribal responses and policy background for each consultation topic. Download the report in PDF format.

See the Tribal Consultation page for more information.


Amended IHS and VA Agreement Expands Reimbursement for Direct Health Care Services

The Acting Director informs Tribal Leaders that the Indian Health Service (IHS) and Department of Veterans Affairs recently amended its agreement for reimbursement for direct health care services to eligible American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans at 77 IHS facilities.

Outreach, Communication & Training

VA Presumptive Campaign in Indian Country

This initiative is a nationwide outreach campaign focused on identifying and assisting Veterans across Indian Country who may have presumptive disabilities and Veterans who may have non-compensable disabilities (VA pension claims).

Winter Office of Tribal Government Relations Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Click here for a list of past events

Borne the Battle Podcast

In Episode 64: Benefits Breakdown, OTGR Director Stephanie Birdwell talks about how her office works with tribal governments, how these partnerships help deliver benefits to Native Veterans, and the nuances of these benefits as it relates to Native Veterans (such as VA home loan for property on tribal land).

Navajo Code Talker Thomas Begay

Navajo Code Talker Thomas Begay

Earlier this year, The American Veteran had the opportunity to sit down Marine Corps Veteran Thomas Begay at his childhood home in New Mexico. The Battle of Iwo Jima Veteran spoke of his experiences joining the classified Navajo Code Talker program during World War II. Watch video

National Native American Veterans Memorial

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) has been charged by Congress with establishing a National Native American Veterans Memorial, to give “all Americans the opportunity to learn of the proud and courageous tradition of service of Native Americans in the Armed Forces of the United States.”

Kevin Gover, Director of the National Museum of the American Indian, gives a presentation on the National Native American Veterans Memorial on September 28, 2016.

Viist the National Native American Veterans Memorial website

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