Veterans Society hosting open house

Photo submitted to the Daily Mining Gazette Wiikwedong Ogichidaa Veterans Society members George DeCota, Rodney in red Traditional regalia, Joe Dowd, Commander Virgil Loonsfoot, Glenn Bressette and Dan Garceau at the Sault Tribe Pow Wow 2017.

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community’s Wiikwedong Ogichidaa Veterans Society will host an open house in January.

The Veterans Society was formerly known as the KBIC Veterans, but they changed their name because they wanted the name to reflect who they are.

“Ogichidaa means warrior, strong-hearted,” said KBIC Veteran Service Officer, Rodney Loonsfoot. “That’s what we are.”

The open house will be held to discuss future plans for the society and introduce veterans to other organizations that can help them.

“We’re going to invite some VA resources from Michigan Works and talk about what’s moving forward with the society.”

The open house will be held on Jan. 17 from 4-6 p.m., with their regular meeting beginning afterward at 6 p.m. Both are open to the public.

Loonsfoot says one of their future plans include “coming together and recruiting more members.” They have about twenty members so far.

The Veterans Society helps veterans apply for benefits for them and their families, and also helps with compensation and educational resources.

For the upcoming year, they would like to “work toward creating a veterans memorial and a volunteer auxiliary,” said Loonsfoot.

The veterans are also planning to host an Eagle Staff in September, 2018. The Eagle Staff is their first flag.

This past September, the Veterans Society attended the Eagles Staff gathering hosted by the Bay Mills Indian Community. They then offered to host for 2018, and BMIC agreed.

The gathering features Indian community’s from Canada, Wisconsin and Michigan. The purpose is to showcase cultural teachings and networking, said Loonsfoot.