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S.I.V.A Attempting To Locate First Nations Veterans

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      DECEMBER 1996      v26 n01 p35  
S.I.V.A. Grand Chief, Howard Anderson
S.I.V.A. Grand Chief Howard Anderson
The Saskatchewan Indian Veterans Association (SIVA) is working to gain recognition for the many First Nations youth who fought in various wars throughout the past century. Because there appears to be very few records that clearly demonstrate First Nations involvement in international conflicts, SIVA is attempting to establish its own records.

SIVA Grand Chief Howard Anderson believes that there are many First Nations veterans who remain unaccounted for and who are not receiving benefits they deserve. These veterans are encouraged to contact SIVA to establish their entitlements.

INTERVIEW WITH GRAND CHIEF HOWARD ANDERSON

How many veterans belong to SIVA?

"That's a real problem, we are trying to figure that out right now. We have contacted all the reserves but have not received responses from all of them. We know there are many veterans out there who have been missed. I have a feeling most of them don't know who all the veterans are. I want to begin calling to see if we can locate everyone."

What is the structure of SIVA?

"SIVA has a Grand Chief and area presidents and vice-presidents. The province is divided into three areas. There is a president and vice-president of each area. The three areas are the South, the North Battleford area and the Prince Albert and Saskatoon area. I am currently working out of Regina."

In which wars and conflicts have the veterans been involved in?

"From the turn of the century, the Boer War in South Africa, through WWI and II and Korea. We have some Vietnam veterans and Canadian Forces Peacekeepers. We have some members who took part in Desert Storm just a few years ago."

S.I.V.A. Grand Chief Howard Anderson

What do you see as the important issues facing SIVA over the next year?

"Getting more recognition by the federal government, mostly Indian Affairs. We need to insist on more being done for the veterans. I would like to see the formal recognition of all Native veterans."

Do you feel that SIVA has been given enough support and recognition within the FSIN?

"Oh yes, they have been supportive and continue to support our efforts. When we ask for help they make every effort to assist us. For example, when we needed a lawyer for some work, the Chief made one available right away."

What would you like to accomplish as Grand Chief of SIVA?

"I want to establish a more regular schedule of meetings. We don't have the money to meet as often as we would like to, but, with the support of FSIN we will look at ways that we can meet more often and strengthen the organization. We will keep working towards formal recognition and the betterment of the veterans and fair compensation for their contributions to the country."