November 18, 2014

Sgt. Shaft caricatureDear Sgt Shaft
I am a Cherokee Veteran of Iraq and current graduate student (Counseling Psychology Program), who is carrying out a survey on Native American veterans, and their perceptions of and attitudes towards Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This survey has met exemption criteria from Washington State University’s Institutional Review Board. It is my belief that if we as Native people speak as a group through this survey, places that provide veteran services for PTSD like the V.A. and I.H.S. will listen and will add our suggestions and preferences for treatment/healing to programs intended to help Native Veterans. I am asking for your assistance in spreading the word about our survey among your organization, friends from the service or any other interested groups or individuals.

The survey is open to anyone who is Native American and who has served in the military. They do not need to have been deployed or to have PTSD to participate in the survey. Below is a letter with more information about the survey and a link to the online version of the survey ( Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

Greg Urquhart
Native American Retention Counselor, Washington State University
Doctoral Student, Counseling Psychology, Washington State University
President, Society of Indian Psychologists, Washington State University Chapter
Student Representative, Society of Indian Psychologists
Veterans Career Coach, C.A.C.D., Washington State University
Student Representative, Psychologists in Indian Country (Division 18 of APA)
Student Representative, Human Animal Interaction (Division 17 of APA)
PO Box 641046
Pullman, WA  99164-1046
Fax:  509-335-0103
Phone:  509-335-8677

Dear Greg
Hopefully by printing your letter, many of your fellow Native American Veterans will contact you.

Shaft Notes
The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Center for Women Veterans (Center) entered into a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, to increase women Veterans’ leadership and career opportunities, which will benefit the Nation’s workforce and address women Veterans growing needs.

The MoA will allow the Center and CAWP to leverage existing resources and increase coordination of activities to help women Veterans develop public service and community engagement skill sets, so they will be prepared for public and community service opportunities.

“Women Veterans often contact us for information about how they can continue serving,” says Elisa M. Basnight, Director of the Center for Women Veterans.  “This MoA with the Center for American Women and Politics presents a prime opportunity for the Center to help prepare them for other forms of public service as it responds to a persistent need women Veterans tell us they have, which is the desire to continue to make a difference after the uniform.”

The Center, created in 1994 to monitor VA’s administration of benefits and services to women Veterans and to advise the Secretary on VA policy’s impact on Women Veterans, can provide advice to CAWP’s on how it focuses its resource information to address women Veterans’ issues.

CAWP is a source of scholarly research and current data about American women’s political participation.   Its mission is to promote greater knowledge and understanding about women’s participation in politics and government and to enhance women’s influence and leadership in public life.

“The Center for American Women and Politics is delighted to collaborate with the Center for Women Veterans to provide more information and resources for women Veterans who want to engage more fully in their communities. Women who have already put their country first by serving in the military are exactly the people we need as public leaders,” said Debbie Walsh, Director of the Center for American Women and Politics.

Women Veterans represent one of the fastest growing segments of the Veterans population—about 10 percent of the total 22 million Veterans in this country.  Today there are an estimated 2.2 million female Veterans.  The Center for Women Veterans participates in collaborative initiatives with Federal/state/local governmental and non-governmental stakeholders, to improve opportunities for women Veterans.

For more information about women Veterans, visit

U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, recently delivered remarks at a Veterans Day event in Federal Way, Washington in which city officials honorarily renamed the downtown corridor “Veterans Way” and erected a 60-foot flagpole to recognize the service and sacrifice of local veterans.

“So as we raise our great flag here today, and as Federal Way takes this step to rename this street to show deep gratitude and honor to our veterans, let us all join together in reaffirming the promise we’ve made to the men and women who answered the call of duty,” said Senator Murray. “And let us recommit to working each and every day, not just on the Eleventh of November, to fulfill that promise, no matter what it takes.”

Senator Murray was joined in speaking at the event by Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell, King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer, Federal Way City Councilman Bob Celski, Rich Garmong of King County Veteran’s Program, and Tom Leonard of Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Chairman Jeff Miller, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs recently commented on the announcement that VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System Director Terry Gerigk Wolf had been fired.

“Given that Wolf’s firing comes two years after the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System Legionnaires’ disease outbreak ended, its obvious VA had no interest in holding her accountable initially and was only driven to this point after intense congressional and media scrutiny. Still, this action falls fall short of what’s needed to provide closure to the veterans and families struck by an outbreak that VA failed to stop and actively hid from the public. Though VA is finally holding someone accountable, we must also remember that the department has rewarded other central figures in the outbreak. VA still has a lot to learn about honesty, integrity and accountability, and this action doesn’t change that fact.”


Comments are closed.