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CNY Veterans and Oneida Nation Reflect on Long Standing Bond

Chris Bolt/WAER News

Hundreds of Central New York current and former military service members attended a Veterans Day event at the Oneida Nation today, kicking off the holiday observance.  The Oneidas thanked them for their service to the country, while emphasizing the bond the Oneida Nation has had with the US through the years. 

The Oneida Thanksgiving Address started the event -- as it starts important Oneida meetings – asking that our minds be one for joint purpose.  Leader Ray Halbritter reminded veterans and their families of the Oneidas’ long connection of military support.

Credit Chris Bolt/WAER News
Oneida Nation Officials emphasized how the Native Americans stood next to American soldiers for more than two centuries.

“Our bond was forged nearly 250 years ago during the Revolutionary War when our nation, the Oneida nation,  fought alongside the rebel colonists. The Oneida people played a key role in the battles of Oriskany, Fort Stanwix, and Saratoga which were crucial to winning the war and ushering in the birth of America,” said Halbritter.

He added, Oneidas have fought in every war involving the United States since.  Congress Member Anthony Brindisi noted his support, saying the first bill the freshman had signed into law was about veterans benefits.

“This bill extended transportation and housing programs for many of our nations veterans, and especially veterans who are in more rural areas where access to transportation and healthcare is much harder to come by.”

Credit Chris Bolt/WAER News
Oneida Representative Ray Halbritter presents gift of two-row wampum to Anthony Brindisi, symbolizing 'working together' alongside one another.

Brindisi told military families he’s working on measures to increase resources for VA medical facilities, including more counselors for those considering suicide.  He said 20 vets are taking their lives each day and most of those never sought help from the VA.  It was the 19th annual Oneida Nation Veterans Day Breakfast. 

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at