COLT participates in Congressional Charter Signing Ceremony for National American Indian Veterans

National American Indian Veterans Charter - US Senate Photo by Ryan Donnell

Official U.S. Senate photo provided by Ryan Donnell.

The Coalition of Large Tribes attended the Congressional Charter Signing Ceremony for National American Indian Veterans (NAIV) on March 14th, 2024. Chairman Weatherwax, Treasurer White Pipe, Chairman LeBeau and Michaela Red Cherries attended a special Congressional Ceremony in Washington, DC honoring veterans.  Chairman Weatherwax offered the opening prayer.  Associate Member Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians graciously allowed use of their row house for a reception as well. 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Committees on Indian Affairs and Veterans’ Affairs, today held a ceremony in Washington, D.C. to commemorate the granting of a congressional charter to the National American Indian Veterans (NAIV).  

Official U.S. Senate photoby Ryan Donnell.

Rounds first introduced this legislation in 2020 during the 116th Congress and again in the 117th and 118th Congress with Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.). This legislation was co-sponsored by 40 bipartisan senators. The NAIV Congressional Charter was signed into law in December last year as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.

“The NAIV was originally established as a result of a request by Senators Akaka, Inouye and Nighthorse Campbell during a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing in 2004,” said Rounds in his remarks at today’s event. “At that time, no Native American veterans organization had ever received a congressional charter. I am proud to say that 20 years later, your hard work has paid off and the charter is a reality.”

The ceremony also included keynote remarks from Senator Luján and Veterans’ Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough; a Presentation of Colors and Ceremony Drum Group by Kiowa Black Leggings Warrior Society, Kiowa Women Warriors, Kiowa, Comanche and Apache (KCA) Veterans Organization, Kiowa-Comanche-Apache Drum Society; and a presentation of NAIV Charter documents to NAIV National Commander Don Loudner. Don is a Korean War Era veteran and a member of the Hunkpati Sioux Tribe based in South Dakota.  

Also in attendance were Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army Jaime Pinkham, Army Major General Patrick Gaydon, Coalition of Large Tribes (C.O.L.T), C.O.L.T Chairman Marvin Weatherwax, Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Association and others.  

Event Video

Event Agenda