Native American Veteran’s Memorial Amendments Passed Unanimously Out of House Committee

Native American Veterans' Memorial will be close to National Museum of the American Indian

Native American Veterans’ Memorial will be close to National Museum of the American Indian

WASHINGTON – The House Natural Resources Committee unanimously approved Native American Veterans’ Memorial Amendments Act on Wednesday, December 4, 2013.

H.R. 2319 amends the Native American Veterans’ Memorial Establishment Act of 1994 to allow construction of a memorial to American Indian veterans on the grounds of the National Museum of the American Indian. The memorial is currently authorized to be constructed inside the confines of the museum, but with limited space within the museum itself.

The memorial cannot be paid for with taxpayer funds, so H.R. 2319 allows for the museum to raise money for its construction.

Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R - Oklahoma)

Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R – Oklahoma)

Congressman Markwayne Mullin, a Cherokee, is one of only two American Indians who serve in this Congress, the other being Congressman Tom Cole (OK-4), a Chickasaw, who is one of the 14 cosponsors of the legislation.

“As Cherokee, we take pride in our heritage but we also take pride in being American,” said Mullin. “Oklahoma has been blessed with countless Native American veterans, including my grandfather Kenneth Morris, and it is important that we properly honor these brave soldiers and tell their story for generations to come. This memorial to our Native American veterans will serve as a small measure of thanks for their service and sacrifice to this great nation.”

American Indians United States Military Involvement

According to a 2012 report released by the Department of Veterans Affairs:

More than 154,000 Veterans identify themselves as solely American Indian and Alaska Native

Over 44,000 Native Americans served between 1941 and 1945. The entire population of Native Americans in the United States was less than 350,000 at the time

More than 42,000 Native Americans served in the military in the Vietnam Era, and over 90 percent of these Service members were volunteers.

Kevin Gover, Pawnee, director of the National Museum of American Indians, said from his Washington office on Thursday he is excited about the Museum’s involvement.

“American Indians have participated in wars on behalf of the United States since the Revolutionary War at higher rates than any other groups. We have been true patriots. No other veterans’ memorial recognizes the contributions of Native people,” Gover commented back in May when the legislation was introduced.

Gover said the first step will be for a “call for artists” for a competitive artist rendering the future Native American Veterans’ Memorial.

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