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VCGS Compliance Review Program Josh de Leon, VCGS Director John Gardner, Program Specialist March xx, 2013 Veterans Cemetery Grants Service1 VA National.

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Presentation on theme: "VCGS Compliance Review Program Josh de Leon, VCGS Director John Gardner, Program Specialist March xx, 2013 Veterans Cemetery Grants Service1 VA National."— Presentation transcript:

1 VCGS Compliance Review Program Josh de Leon, VCGS Director John Gardner, Program Specialist March xx, 2013 Veterans Cemetery Grants Service1 VA National Cemeteries in Indian Country Mr. George D. Eisenbach, Jr. Acting Director Veterans Cemetery Grants Service June 6, 2013

2 Agenda Caring for our History Serving Veterans and Families -Benefits and Eligibility -Cemeteries in Indian Country Improving Cultural Competency -Diversity/Special Emphasis Programs -Emerging Burial Needs Study Q &A

3 Caring for our History Navajo code talker Roy Hawthorne stands next to the code talker monument unveiled March 21, 2013 at Santa Fe National Cemetery, New Mexico (Photo credit: Eddie Moore/ABQ Journal)

4 Serving Veterans and Families: Our Responsibilities Provide burial space for Veterans and eligible family members, and maintain national cemeteries as national shrines Administer the Federal grants program for construction of State and Tribal Veterans cemeteries Furnish headstones, markers and medallions for the graves of Veterans around the world Administer the Presidential Memorial Certificate program Administer the First Notice of Death program 4

5 Serving Veterans and Families: Burial Benefits Gravesite Opening and closing of the grave Grave liner Perpetual care of the gravesite Headstone, marker or medallion U.S. Flag Presidential Memorial Certificate 5

6 Headstones, Markers and Medallions “In Memory of…” Upright Headstone Niche Covers Flat Marker Medallion 6

7 Emblems of Belief Medicine Wheel (left); Native American Church of North America (below); Four Directions (bottom right)

8 Presidential Memorial Certificates For active duty and honorably discharged Veterans Inscribed with the deceased’s name Bears the President’s signature 8

9 Serving Veterans and Families: Eligibility Criteria Any member of the U.S. Armed Forces who dies on active duty Any Veteran who was discharged under qualifying conditions (other than dishonorable) National Guard members and Reservists with 20 years of qualifying service, who are entitled to retired pay Spouses and minor children Certain eligible parents (Corey Shea Act) 9

10 National Cemeteries in Indian Country Fort Richardson National Cemetery, Anchorage, Alaska Fort Gibson National Cemetery, Oklahoma

11 National Cemeteries in Indian Country Tahoma National Cemetery, Kent, Washington National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, Phoenix

12 National Cemeteries in Indian Country Santa Fe National Cemetery, New Mexico Leavenworth National Cemetery, Kansas

13 National Cemeteries in Indian Country MT ID WY NV UT ND WI ME National Veterans Burial Grounds/Rural Initiative 13

14 Tribal Cemeteries in Indian Country Tribal Government grants - Law enacted December 2006  Made tribal organizations eligible for cemetery establishment grants on tribal trust lands -First grants awarded in 2011  4 awarded to-date; 5 on FY13 priority list -Awarded annually, in same manner as states -Opportunity to serve additional Veterans

15 Tribal Cemeteries in Indian Country Tribal Veterans cemeteries aim to honor tribal customs and traditions, such as: –Use of tribal symbols –Longer committal services –Graveside burials –Areas to tie-up horses –Areas for traditional burials

16 Tribal Cemeteries in Indian Country First Operational VA-funded Tribal Veterans Cemetery Monte Calvario Cemetery, Tucson, Arizona Pascua Yaqui Tribe Dedicated Veterans Day, 2011

17 Tribal Cemeteries in Indian Country Grant Award and Groundbreaking Ceremony Sicangu Akicita Owicahe (Veterans Cemetery) Near Mission, South Dakota Rosebud Sioux Tribe September 19, 2011

18 Tribal Cemeteries in Indian Country Under Construction; Projected Opening FY2013 Sicangu Akicita Owicahe (Veterans Cemetery) Rosebud Sioux Tribe

19 Tribal Cemeteries in Indian Country Under Construction; Projected Opening FY2013 Tribal Veterans Cemetery Humboldt County, California Yurok Tribe

20 Tribal Cemeteries in Indian Country Under Construction; Projected Opening FY2014 Lakota Freedom Veterans Cemetery Pine Ridge, South Dakota Oglala Sioux Tribe

21 Tribal Cemeteries in Indian Country Tribal grants on 2013 Priority List: -Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, Wewoka, Oklahoma -Big Sandy Rancheria, Auberry, California -Navajo Nation, Chinle, Arizona -Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma, Pawnee, Oklahoma -Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, Fallon, Nevada -Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians, Tuolumne, Calif.

22 Residency vs. Tribal Requirements National cemeteries allow all eligible veterans to be interred at national cemeteries States have the option to have a residency requirement as an additional eligibility requirement for their cemeteries -e.g., Must have lived in state for 2 years Tribal governments may add tribal requirements -e.g., Any Sioux Veteran may be interred

23 Joshua de Leon, Director (202) Howard Orr, Project Manager (202) Tom Paquelet, Project Manager (202) John Gardner, Program Specialist (202) Veterans Cemetery Grants Service Contact List

24 Improving Cultural Competency NCA Executive Diversity Council/Special Emphasis Program Advisory Committee -Strategic plan objective; stood up January Establish and champion diversity -Promote Federal workplace as model of cultural competency DC-area members of NCA’s Executive Diversity Council attend training

25 Veterans serving Veterans -Over 74% of NCA employees are Vets -Highest % in any Federal agency -Includes 400+ returning Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan Improving Cultural Competency National Defense Service Medal Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Vietnam Service Medal Southwest Asia Service Medal Kosovo Campaign Medal Afghanistan Campaign Medal Iraq Campaign Medal Global War on Terrorism Exp. Medal Global War on Terrorism Service Medal Korea Defense Service Medal Armed Forces Service Medal Humanitarian Service Medal 25

26 Improving Cultural Competency Increasing workforce representation of American Indians/Alaska Natives in NCA -Doubled from FY Still underrepresented, though Longstanding relationships with SAIGE, American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) and Minority Access, Inc. to assist with AI/AN recruitment and retention

27 Improving Cultural Competency Outreach, FY12 and 13 -National Congress of American Indians Annual National Convention -Gathering of Nations Pow Wow, Indian Trader's Market -SAIGE Annual Training Conference American Indian representation on Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Cemeteries and Memorials

28 Improving Cultural Competency Emerging Burial Needs Study -Identify emerging burial trends -Identify Veteran preferences -Ensure burial needs of Veterans and families are met Natural Burial Area Courtesy Natural Burial Co-operative

29 Partners in Honoring Our Fallen Warriors Native American Honor Guard, Black Hills National Cemetery, Sturgis, South Dakota


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