fbpx
 

WASHINGTON — After 25 years since conceptualization, the National Native American Veterans Memorial was unveiled on Wednesday, which marks Veterans Day, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. at the National Museum of the American Indian.

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the opening was held virtually via the museum’s website.

“The National Native American Veterans Memorial will serve as a reminder to the nation and the world of the service and sacrifice of Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian veterans,” said Kevin Gover, director of the museum. “Native Americans have always answered the call to serve, and this memorial is a fitting tribute to their patriotism and deep commitment to this country.”

American Indians and Alaska Natives serve in the U.S. armed forces at a higher rate than any other demographic. Since 9/11, almost 19 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives have served in the military compared to an average of 14 percent of other racial and ethnic groups in the United States.

The memorial, which sits on the grounds of the museum, was commissioned by Congress to give “all Americans the opportunity to learn of the proud and courageous tradition of service of Native Americans in the Armed Forces of the United States.” Native Americans have served in every major military conflict in the U.S. since the Revolutionary War. This will be the first national landmark in Washington to focus on the contributions of American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians who have served in the military.

The memorial design is by Harvey Pratt (Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma), a multimedia artist, retired forensic artist and Marine Corps Vietnam veteran. The design features an elevated stainless-steel circle resting on a carved stone drum. It also incorporates water for sacred ceremonies, benches for gatherings and four lances where veterans, family members, tribal leaders and others can tie cloths for prayers and healing.

The museum planned to host a dedication ceremony and veterans’ procession to mark the memorial’s completion but postponed those events due to current health and safety guidelines. The museum will reschedule both events when it is safe to do so.

Major support for the National Native American Veterans Memorial has been provided by the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes; Chickasaw Nation; Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies; Poarch Band of Creek Indians; San Manuel Band of Mission Indians; and Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. The memorial has also been widely supported by tribal governments and tribal veterans organizations. More than 85 tribes, individuals, corporations and other organizations have contributed to the memorial.

More Stories Like This

Native News Weekly (October 2, 2022): D.C. Briefs
Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Citizen, Justice Mark Montour,  Appointed State Appellate Court Justice
Hundreds Gather in St. Paul for Boarding School Survivors Candlelight Vigil
Walk to Freedom for Leonard Peltier Halfway to Washington
President Biden Welcomes a “Conversation” about Atlanta Braves’s Name and the Infamous Tomahawk Chop

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 $20 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]