Veterans always lead the Grand Entry at American Indian powwows. Native News Online photograph by Levi Rickert
Published November 11, 2019
Today is Veterans Day 2019. All across the United States, the 18,000 million 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.
Watching Native honor guards carry eagle staffs and tribal nations flags into the dance circle during grand entries at powwows is breathtaking 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.
The rich contributions the Native American code talkers during World War II have been chronicled in recent years. The fact that their codes were never broken is witness to the power of Native language that fortunately was available to those who spoke it then. One irony of history is Native languages that helped to save democracy during World War II were, at one point, beaten out of many of that generation at Indian boarding schools. Thankfully, the language survived.
Veterans groups are prominently featured in the “Parade of Champions” in Bismarck. United Tribes News photo
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.
The US Department of Defense estimates there are currently some 31,000 active duty Native service members in the US Armed Forces. Of the 18 million veterans in the United States, some 144,000 are American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Today, the Native News Online honors all warrior veterans who bravely served in the US Armed Forces and says “megwetch” (thank you) for all you did for this country.