Veterans Affairs Interim Deputy Secretary to visit Taos Pueblo

Officials planning to fly-in aboard Blackhawk helicopters


Leaders of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are scheduled to visit Taos Pueblo for an event today (April 21) from 4:15-6 p.m.

Titled an "Intergovernmental Site Visit and Cultural Tour," the visit is scheduled to include remarks by U.S. Interim Deputy Secretary Scott Blackburn. According to an itinerary, Blackburn and other VA officials are slated to arrive aboard Blackhawk helicopters that will land in the Pueblo's pasture, followed by a traditional procession through the tribe's historic village plaza.

The officials will then convene at the Pueblo's Traditional Council Hall. Remarks by Taos Pueblo Gov. Ruben Romero, War Chief Curtis Sandoval, Vietnam Veteran and former tribal cacique Carl Concha and Veterans Affairs leadership are planned to speak.

Among topics that may be addressed include:

• VA Tribal Consultation asked tribes to identify the top 3 to 5 Priorities for Veterans Living in Indian Country – do these reflect priorities for Taos Pueblo?

• Important partnerships between VA and Taos Pueblo include: VA collaborates with Taos Pueblo to care for Veterans by purchasing care in the amount of $154,000.000 from Taos-Picuris Service Unit (as of February 28, 2017).

• In 2015, VA and the Pueblo signed an MOU providing for Veterans living on the Taos Pueblo to have the opportunity to use their Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) home loan guaranty benefit on Pueblo land.

• In 2015, Veterans brought $27 million to Taos County including Taos Pueblo. These are for benefits earned by Veterans and require a Veteran be enrolled for these benefits.

• Discuss VA Transformational Initiatives