America this fall will honor our Native Americans who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America with a new memorial, the National Native American Veterans Memorial, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

One fact not well known is that Native Americans serve in our Armed Forces at a higher percentage than any other ethic group. Almost 20% of tribal members serve.  They have served in the National Guard,  all branches of the Reserves, and active branches, like the Air Force, Marines, Army, Navy, and Coast Guard.

When asked why they serve a country that almost wiped out tribal populations, while pushing entire communities on to reservations, a Marine Code Talker and Navajo tribal member said, “We have the warrior spirit.”

That warrior spirt was front and center in World War II when just over 25,000 Native Americans
enlisted in the Armed Forces and served in every branch of service. Many were highly decorated for heroism and earned numerous Purple Heart medals for wounds sustained in combat. Others received our highest award for gallantry in action —The Medal of Honor.

It is only fitting that this memorial honors warriors past, present, and future and takes its place on the National Mall. Located just across the street from the Native American History Museum this newest of national memorials is a tribute to all Native Americans who have served.

Expect Native American Veterans to show up in force. You will also see the military service organizations, like American Legion, National Guard Association, Veterans of Foreign War, Air Force Association, Association of the United Stares Army, and many others on hand to honor the meritorious service and heroism of those serving from America’s 573 federally recognized tribes.

You will also likely see our President, Defense Secretary, General Officers and Admirals, Officers, Warrant Officers, Non Commissioned Officers, enlistees, families of our Airman, Marines, sailors, and soldiers all turning out to honor our fellow Veterans from the Native American Tribes.

To our fellow Veterans of the Native American nations, thank you for your valor, fidelity, and ability while serving our nation.

If you will be anywhere near our nation’s capital, please visit our newest memorial honoring the men and women of the armed services.


Image Sources

  • National Native American Veterans Memorial: Design by Harvey Pratt/Butzer Architects and Urbanism, illustration by Skyline Ink, courtesy of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian.