- George Martin (Ojibwe), Korean Conflict veteran, representing well
Today is Veterans Day 2014. All across the United States, veterans who served in our country’s military are being celebrated. With pride, American Indians celebrate veterans at our powwows and other celebrations throughout the year. Today is a great day to thank a veteran.
Watching Native honor guards carry eagle staffs and tribal nations flags into the dance circle during grand entries at powwows is breath taking and a powerful experience. The power of the drum, coupled with the brilliance of the eagle feathers and colorful flags still cause a tremendous moment of remembrance to their service. They represent well because they served our country well.
Historically, American Indians have been known as warriors. It is a deep tradition that has continued to modern times. This is perhaps the reason the Pentagon reports American Indians and Alaska Natives participate in the military at a higher rate than any other racial or ethnic group in the United States.
According to the 2010 Census, it is estimated that over 150,000 veterans identified as American Indian and Alaska Native alone. The US Department of Defense estimates there are currently over 24,000 active duty Native service members in the US Armed Forces.
The Department of Veteran Affairs reported in 2006 more than 36,000 female /veterans are American Indians Alaska Natives, representing almost 10 percent of all American Indians/Alaska Natives veterans, and nearly twice the national average (6 percent of women in the overall population are veterans).
The vast contributions the Navajo and Comanche code talkers during World War II have chronicled in recent years. The fact that their code has never been broken is witness to the power of Native language that fortunately was available to those who spoke it then.
Today, the Native News Online honors all warrior veterans and says “megwetch” (thank you) for all you did for this country.