About us — Native American Veterans Association (2023)

Serving and Honoring our Legacy.

Started in 2002, the Native American Veterans Association began as a mutual fraternal non-profit organization 501 (c)(3), built around the American military culture with a rich history and legacy that dates back to and around the creation of our great nation. We are a Native American based organization that stretches its helping hand out to all tribal and non-tribal veterans and their families.

NAVA is also an advocate for veterans and their families. Our services include assisting veterans and dependents when applying for Federal, State, and County benefits and all other rights to which they are entitled in the most expedient manner possible.

The official colors of NAVA are black, red, purple and gold. The black represents our POW/MIAs and those who still have not returned to us. The red is a very strong color to veterans and represents the blood of those shed in battle. The purple represents the Purple Heart, and the gold respresents Honor in Service.

About us — Native American Veterans Association (1)

About us — Native American Veterans Association (2)

Although Bill has now passed on, we continue to remember him and honor him for his service and for his extraordinary vision for and commitment to NAVA.

Co-founder / commander & Chief

Bill Givens

Bill Givens Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Native American Veterans Association Founder.

I am a community employment and training coordinator who helps Native American veterans find gainful careers and jobs working with the unrepresented Native American communities in the County of Los Angeles. Before starting my community role as a public servant, I served my county in the United States Air Force. After my tour of duty I reenlisted with the California United States Air Force Guard and was honorably discharged with 10 years in service. After a successful career in the United Air Force I enlisted in the United States Army reserve where I served for the next 20 years before retiring from the Army with another honorable discharge. I am also is a disable veteran.

I took full advantage of my GI Bill and attended California State University Northridge, studying political science and public administration, and achieved a Bachelor of Administration Degree. Prior to entering the higher education institution, I attended Los Angeles City College, majoring in political science and received my Associated Arts Degree.

I worked as an Indian Police-Light Horseman, Los Angeles Unified School District as a High School Teacher. Although I loved my work with the general public, I longed to worked directly with veterans and got the chance when the State of California Employment Development Department, Workforce Services, offered me a job as a Local Veteran Employer Representative working directly with veterans. I worked for the State of California for 20 years before retiring.

There is a saying “You can retire from a career, but you cannot retire from life” and I was born with a mission to serve my Native American community, and have worked tirelessly as the founder of the Native American Veterans Association, United American Indian Involvement, member of the Board of Directors, helping veterans get their military records and aiding Native American with their tribal enrollments.

United States Air Force & Army

About us — Native American Veterans Association (3)


Ted Tenorio

I am a descendant of the Isleta Pueblo, New Mexico, and served in the U.S. Army as a Communication Specialist, then received an honorable discharge. I became active in the Native American community after finishing college, and was working at California State University Northridge where I received an honorarium and taught in the American Indians Studies Department and mentored transitioning native students from the reservations. I served for three years with the California Rural Indian Health Board, developing traditional tobacco education programs for American Indian Health clinics on California reservations and rancheras. I am a member of the California Gourd Dance Society a Kiowa/Comanche warriors society.

For the past 12 years I have served on the Native American Veterans Association (NAVA) Executive Board of Directors as Vice President and now President since 2015. NAVA has received Veterans Excellence Service awards from Senators, Assembly members, County and City Councils and California American Indian Reservations for its many service activities.

I was also appointed to the Los Angeles City-County Native American Indian Commission in 2019.

United States Army

About us — Native American Veterans Association (4)

Vice President

Mario Salgado

I was born in Los Angeles, CA and grew up in Boyle Heights near downtown Los Angeles. I am a member of the Juaneno Band of Mission Indians of San Juan Capistrano, traditionally the AcjachemenNation. I enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1980 during my senior year of high school on the delayed entry program, and served for 6 years as a 4421; Legal Services Man working with the Judge Advocates office and was Honorably Discharged as a Sergeant.

I was, and still am, proud to have served my country and my family, and to have represented my people. I have been active in the Native community since 1999, working with United American Indian Involvement and Torres Martinez Tribal TANF, and helping to found the Native American Veterans Association along with Glenna Amos, William Givens and Tony Lil'Hawk. As a husband, father, and grandfather, I am proud to serve the Native community, all other Tribal Nations, and those who have also served; Native and Non-Native alike.

I firmly believe that it is our duty to carry our heritage on to our children and grandchildren.

As proud Native people, we will all be known by the tracks we leave behind us.

United States Marine Corps

About us — Native American Veterans Association (5)

Spiritual Advisor / Keeper of the Eagle Staff

Roy Twobears Delarosa

I am Yaqui/Apache and have been a member of the Native American Veterans Association ( NAVA ) for over 19 years. In 2001 I was acting Vice President and have served on many special committees to further the mission of NAVA as well as the community of veterans. Today I am NAVA's Spiritual advisor and keeper of the Eagle Staff and am recognized by the Native American Orthodox Church of America.

I am a United States Marine Corps Veteran and my last duty station was 1st Marine Division HQ Bn. Reinforced Fleet Marine Force Camp Pendleton 1st Fleet.

Currently I am a public speaker and founder of “Indian Talk" in California, lecturing at high schools and universities on Native culture and my life experience as an urban Indian. In 2013 I was an invitee and Keynote speaker in Ornans France as a guest of the Four Winds Society. I have dedicated my life to the cause of Veterans and am a strong advocate for today's Veteran's and the Native community. I have been recognized by the City of Los Angeles, the County Board of Supervisors, Los Angeles County Department of Mental health, and the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CALVET ) for my dedicated service to the affairs of the community and for civic pride demonstrated by my numerous contributions for the benefit of all the citizens of Los Angeles County.

United States Marine Corps

About us — Native American Veterans Association (6)


Ron Gallegos

I attended Pasadena City College, and upon graduation was employed as a draftsman. I served in the United States Marine Corps for four years, was afterwards employed by the County of Los Angeles as a construction cost estimator, and have since retired. I went on to work as a construction superintendent, as an engineering construction estimator, and have started my own construction engineering company. I currently work as a business engineering cost estimator. As a widower, my current family consists of my son and daughter, granddaughter and great-grandson. My son is a proud member of the Alabama National Guard.

United States Marine Corps

About us — Native American Veterans Association (7)


Rev. Michael Wayne Marousek-Belcher, Your Hungry Coyote, NativeOrthodoxChurch.org

I am a Native Californian of Mission Indian descent, grandson of Artie Ortego (aka Chief Little Horse) who participated in parades, rodeos, pageants, and in over 24 motion pictures from 1912-1955. I am a student of Indian Lore, history, and theology, and studied under Ataloa Mary Stone McClendon, Chickasaw. I worked at various private camps as an Indian Lore and Craft Director, Camp Counselor, and Archery Instructor.

I have been an active member and worker of the Indian Center Youth Group and the Navajo San Painters Club. In 1969, I joined the LA Times and worked with the Associated Press on a documentary about problems indigenous people face in the inner city, and kept reporters informed on the Native American community. In 1971 I was elected to the Indian Center Board, and the following year appointed to board of directors for the Huntington Park Free Clinic. In 1980 I became Provisional Scout Master for the Indian Center and became a member of the American Indian Education Commission. In 1997, I retired from the LA Times and worked to incorporate the Native Orthodox Church.

My true passion is working to ensure the vitality and relevance of leadership in the communities we serve. There isn’t a week that goes by that I’m not moved by how meetings, pow-pows, and dances have united people and changed lives. It’s wonderful to see our community make new friendships and in a few cases find their life partner. I love bringing people together to breakdown stereotypes. We have an incredible opportunity to be innovative and take risks to reinvent and reinvigorate our roles in society. I hope we can continue to learn and evolve from one another.

California Coast Guard

About us — Native American Veterans Association (8)

Board Member at large

Jenni McCown

Halito, I’m a Native Californian Choctaw who grew up most her life in Los Angeles county. I have worked in the printing industry for the last 30 years. I am happily married and in my spare time I love spending time with my four grand-girls and riding horses. Being raised by a single mom, it couldn’t have been easy on her. I am the oldest of four and I can remember being signed up for every Indian program available to us. At the time, I didn’t think too much about it. As an adult now, I understand and thank those individuals who took the time, volunteered, made these programs available, and made a difference. I have helped my mom with NAVA events when needed over the past 10 years. I was honored to be elected to the board as an advisor in 2017. This is my chance to give back and keep (Glenna Amos, NAVA co-founder) my Mom’s spirit and dream alive. Over the years I have made so many friendships through NAVA and can’t help getting attached to our faithful members. I consider them my second family. Aho

About us — Native American Veterans Association (9)

Board Member at large

Fred McCown

Hello, I am a friend of and volunteer for NAVA. I was born in Cairo, Illinois, in 1952 and came to California in 1976. I have worked in student housing at the University of Southern California for the last 27 years. My wife has been involved with NAVA for over 10 years. Her passion to help Native Americans has always impressed me. I truly feel the need for this Organization. My interests are my grandchildren and horses.

A Message from the President

It’s Official! We are a Non-Profit Organization! Our work thus far without this designation was only possible through the tremendous supports from our community .. . YOU! Now, as an official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, we can do So Much More. !! You may be asking: “Like what?” Well, allow us to share with you:

  • Apply for grants- before we were limited as most funders want you to be a non-profit organization

  • Accept Interns- College students and budding researchers can receive credit to intern with us onspecial projects such as the Annual Summit and other literary works

  • Accept Donations- Thank you to those who donated without the tax exemption, or who served asmembers and paid dues . . . now you can not only claim -your previous donations, but all of the onesyou will make in the future and for sure you are “our friend”

  • Solicit Donations- Most large businesses and small businesses love the opportunity to give back, youjust gotta ask! …. And provide your non-profit status. We are there!

This also solidifies our commitment to our community by attending to and honoring men and women whohave served active duty and their families’ transition from their warrior’s journey to civilian life. NAVA willcontinue to provide readjustment assistance; strengthen family ties; offer links to mental health and wellnessservices and career and educational training.

Join us during Veterans Day weekend for NAVA Veterans Pow Wow.

NAVA’s Annual Summit held in the Fall; is right on target - stay tuned for more info!

We recognize it is the perfect time to recommit to what should never change. Our work must always be consistentwith our vision and mission…NAVA is a partner and stakeholder to agencies, government and municipal entities,community health agencies, government leaders, educational institutions, and the Native American community . . . tobring the deserved services to veterans, Native American veterans and their families in the communities we serve.

I look forward to working with the NAVA Executive Board of Directors as we continue to bring the highest level ofveterans’ services to the Native American community.

In the Spirit of Gathering,
Ted Tenorio, President


Is Native American Veterans Assistance a good charity? ›

Rating Information

This charity's score is 82%, earning it a Three-Star rating. If this organization aligns with your passions and values, you can give with confidence. This overall score is calculated entirely from a single beacon score, weighted as follows: 100% Accountability & Finance.

What benefits do Native American veterans get? ›

Native American Veterans may be eligible for a wide-variety of benefits available to all U.S. military Veterans. VA benefits include disability compensation, pension, education and training, health care, home loans, insurance, Veteran readiness and employment, and burial.

How do Native American communities honor their veterans? ›

Veterans are among the most honored and respected individuals in many Native American communities. Honor songs are composed and sung for them. In many communities, ceremonies are held for service members when they – before they leave for their service and again when they return.

Why is the National Native American Veterans Memorial important? ›

The memorial creates an interactive yet intimate space for gathering, remembrance, reflection, and healing. It welcomes and honors Native American veterans and their families, and educates the public about their extraordinary contributions.

What is the best charity for Native Americans? ›

The best charities for Native Americans are the Native American Heritage Association, First Nations Development Institute, and Association on American Indian Affairs.

What veterans charity gives the highest percentage? ›

The Fisher House Foundation. One of the most well-known and well-regarded organizations for veterans is the Fisher House Foundation, which donates over 90 percent of its contributions and expenses back to the programs and services it provides to veterans and their families.

How much money do Native Americans get a month? ›

As of Jun 1, 2023, the average annual pay for a Native American in the United States is $132,829 a year. Just in case you need a simple salary calculator, that works out to be approximately $63.86 an hour. This is the equivalent of $2,554/week or $11,069/month.

How much money do natives get when they turn 18? ›

The resolution approved by the Tribal Council in 2016 divided the Minors Fund payments into blocks. Starting in June 2017, the EBCI began releasing $25,000 to individuals when they turned 18, another $25,000 when they turned 21, and the remainder of the fund when they turned 25.

Do Native Americans receive money every month? ›

The bottom line is Native Americans do not get automatic monthly or quarterly checks from the United States government. Maybe they should, and maybe one day they will, but at this time it is merely a myth.

What are three 3 ways we can Honor veterans? ›

How to honor veterans in your life
  • Say “thank you!” ...
  • Write an old-fashioned letter or send a care package. ...
  • Treat a veteran to a meal. ...
  • Offer to help with household chores. ...
  • Make a commitment to volunteer. ...
  • Donate to a cause that supports veterans. ...
  • Invite a veteran to speak at your child's school. ...
  • Support veteran-owned companies.

What do Native Americans prefer to be called? ›

The consensus, however, is that whenever possible, Native people prefer to be called by their specific tribal name. In the United States, Native American has been widely used but is falling out of favor with some groups, and the terms American Indian or Indigenous American are preferred by many Native people.

What privileges do Native American have? ›

Right to free speech, press, and assembly. Protection from unreasonable invasion of homes. Right of criminal defendant to a speedy trial, to be advised of the charges, and to confront any adverse witnesses. Right to hire an attorney in a criminal case.

How many Native American veterans are there? ›

The US Department of Defense estimates there are currently over 24,000 active duty Native service members in the US Armed Forces.

Why do Native Americans serve in the military? ›

Native people have served for the same reasons as anyone else: to demonstrate patriotism or pursue employment, education, or adventure. Many were drafted.

Are there any Native American Medal of Honor recipients? ›

A member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Ernest Childers became the first American Indian to be awarded the Medal of Honor in World War II.

Which is a better charity dav or wounded warrior? ›

To maximize contributions that will directly impact disabled veterans, DAV is a better choice. WWP gets a lot of attention because it receives many celebrity endorsements, but all of that comes at a cost.

What is the best charity for the Navajo Nation? ›

The Navajo Relief Fund (NRF) brings hope to these struggling people.

What percentage of donation goes to St Joseph Indian School? ›

For every dollar raised, 66% goes directly to the children attending St. Joseph's Indian School, their families living in reservation communities, and toward cultural and faith development.

Is Saint Joseph's Indian School a legitimate charity? ›

St. Joseph's Indian School is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA). This accreditation process examines finances, governance, ethics, appropriateness of services and more. Through the Council on Accreditation's extensive audit process, we receive evaluation by a panel of experts in social service fields.


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