NAVO (Northern Agency Veterans Organization) exists to facilitate the healing process for Diné veterans including acknowledging the veterans’ mental health needs. The organization helps Diné veterans unmask from the Silent Warrior label. Silent Warrior is a term that describes Diné veterans returning from military service and transitioning back into civilian life while living with untreated Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and unresolved trauma. They are less likely to seek professional mental health help to resolve their traumas and they suffer in silence. We assist veterans in healing their spirit by connecting them to their ancestral teachings and providing access to traditional ceremonies rooted in the concept of Hózhó. It offers a safe space to help them ground and maintain their ties to family and community, and seeks to provide a program to help veterans overcome traumatic experiences encountered during military combat while assisting them in transitioning from military to civilian life.

We are engaged in all aspects of working with Diné veterans on their mental, physical and spiritual well being. These services and support include providing housing, transportation and helping with cultural traditional practices. During the recent pandemic, NAVO established a workstation to file applications for Veterans, surviving spouses and Gold Star families. We worked with other organization in bringing in PPE, sanitizers, 350-gallon water tanks and filed for veterans benefits to receive compensations. We worked with Albuquerque Veterans Regional Office, Prescott Southwest Tribal Governmental VA, met with Secretary of Veterans Affairs and advocated for our mission. We supported Shiprock Veterans Organization and Upper Fruitland Honor Guards in Veterans Burials and posting of colors at events upon request. Further, we hosted the National Vietnam War veterans day every year on March 29th, and provided 27 Veterans Burial Services and 17 Color Guard details. We also attended the NM Honor Guard Training and competition in 2022 and recently on August 25, 2023.

NAVO, through our volunteers, provides Honor Guard services for deceased veterans. The ceremony provides healing and closure for the families by draping the U.S. Flag over the casket, a bugle playing taps, shoot three round volley, folding of the Flag and presentation of the Flag to next of kin. This Honor Guard services are conducted in a manner that is sensitive to specific needs of the Navajo families involved.