Less than two weeks after being sworn in, Rep. Mary Sattler Petola (D-AK), who won the special election to fill the congressional seat left vacant by the death of Rep. Don Young (R-AK) who died in March 2022, has hit the ground running as the newest member of Congress.

Peltola was sworn in on Tuesday, Sept. 14. On Monday,  Sept. 19, Peltola introduced her first piece of legislation:  the Food Security for all Veterans Act (H.R.8888) that calls for the creation of an Office of Food Security within the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

On Wednesday, Sept. 21, the bill was voted out of the House's Veterans Affairs committee.


Never miss Indian Country’s biggest stories and breaking news. Sign up to get our reporting sent straight to your inbox every weekday morning. 

“Veterans are more likely than others in the general population to suffer from food insecurity, depression, and other psychological disorders. These men and women have sacrificed so much for our country. It is our responsibility to ensure that they are cared for in every way necessary after their service,” Peltola said.

The office established in Peltola’s bill would be charged with providing information to veterans concerning the availability of, and eligibility requirements for federal nutrition assistance programs. Additionally, the office would collaborate with other government agencies to implement policies used to identify and treat veterans at risk or already experiencing food insecurity.

“I’m beyond excited that my bill has already been voted out of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and am optimistic it will come before the House for final consideration yet this year,” said Peltola.

Peltola, who is Yup’ik, made history because she is the first Alaska Native member of Congress, as well as the first Democratic woman to represent Alaska in the U.S. House of Representatives and only the fifth person to represent the state in the House since Alaska gained statehood in 1959.

She needs to win reelection in the upcoming midterm elections on Nov. 8, 2022.

More Stories Like This

Manitoba Man Charged with Killing 3 More Indigenous Women, House of Commons Rejects State of Emergency Request
SEEN & HEARD at the White House Tribal Nations Summit
Native News Weekly (December 4, 2022): D.C. Briefs
White House Tribal Summit, Day Two: Biden Administration Commits to Tribal Health and Justice Programs
San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Surprises Native Nonprofits with $1M in Donations on #GivingTuesday

Do you appreciate a Native perspective on the news? 

For the past decade-plus, we’ve covered the important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests, to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) and the past-due reckoning related to assimilation, cultural genocide and Indian Boarding Schools, we have been there to provide a Native perspective and elevate Native voices.

Our news is free for everyone to read, but it is not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to make a donation this month to help support our efforts. Any contribution — big or small — helps us remain a force for change in Indian Country and continue telling the stories that are so often ignored, erased or overlooked.  Most often, our donors make a one-time gift of $25 or more, while many choose to make a recurring monthly donation of $5 or $10.  Whatever you can do, it helps fund our Indigenous-led newsroom and our ability to cover Native news. 

Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you. 

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online StaffEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Native News Online is one of the most-read publications covering Indian Country and the news that matters to American Indians, Alaska Natives and other Indigenous people. Reach out to us at [email protected]