Letter: US won't honor treaty rights of American Indian veterans
"As a First American and a veteran, I would like to advise American Indian people who are considering enlisting in the United States Armed Services to seriously reconsider this decision, based on the fact that our treaty rights are still not being fully honored by the United States government.

Back in 1997, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs discontinued my benefits contending that income from my land should have been reported. As an enrolled member of a federally-recognized tribe, all income derived from Indian Trust Land is not taxable and should not be reported on my income tax return as cited in Squire v. Capoeman. As a result of not honoring this treaty right, the VA penalized and required me to repay all benefits received. In an attempt at resolving this issue and regaining my benefits with the VA, I contacted Montana senators, the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Civil Rights and the Office of the United States president, to no avail.

In this matter, the VA is not honoring treaties.

I strongly urge American Indians to reconsider their service to this country until the U.S. begins to fully honor our treaty rights, and respects our existence as the First Americans of this country."

Get the Story:
Edward J. Filesteel, Sr.: Native Americans should reconsider military service (The Billings Gazette 9/26)