Little River Band of Ottawa Indians
REMARKS TO HOUSE VETERAN’S AFFAIRS COMMITTEE MEETING OF AUGUST 27, 2014
FROM THE LITTLE RIVER BAND OF OTTAWA INDIANS
I am Larry Romanelli, Ogema or Chief and the elected leader of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians in Manistee Michigan.
I am unable to attend in person due to conflicts in scheduling but want to offer my support for efforts of the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee in looking at services to Native American’s in rural areas.
It is a well-known fact that Native Americans have the highest record of service per capita when compared to other ethnic groups in serving the United States and have since the war of 1812.
A little known fact is that the US Government used other Native Americans from other tribes besides the Navajo to secretly communicate during World War Two. While Navajo Code Talkers are the most notable and deservedly respected, members of our own Tribe were documented as “Code Talkers” including members of my own family who spoke in the Odawa or Ottawa language to keep the enemy from being able to understand the communications.
It is a great thing that healthcare for veterans has made major improvements over the years however for many Native American veterans, access to such healthcare remains a roadblock. Again, Native American veterans represent the largest number of those rural vets.
I thank the efforts of the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee for taking the time and effort to address this issue. Migwetch (Thank you)