updated Native American Veteran' Memorial Amendments Act of 2013
early December of 2013, the United States Congress approved the
Native American Veterans' Memorial Amendments Act of 2013 which
provides for a veteran statue to be placed on the grounds of the
National Museum of American Indians (NMAI). President Obama signed
the Act into law on December 26, 2013. The fundraising for this
statue will be the responsibility of the Museum. We congratulate
NMAI for this milestone in their history.
In the fall of 2010, the Seminole Tribe of Florida spearheaded
a project to build a veteran statue on the National Mall in Washington
DC near the Vietnam Wall Memorial that would provide recognition
for American Indian/Alaskan Native and Pacific Islanders veteran
contributions and sacrifices in the US military. "We fought side
by side with those groups honored through the Three Servicemen Statue
at the Wall, the Caucasian, African American and Hispanic. Why shouldn't
we be recognized alongside our brothers with whom we served?" Numerous
veterans believe that an American Indian soldier should be near
that statue, but Congress thought otherwise, so we accept it and
We [my wife, Elizabeth and I], are starting our fourth year
working to obtain a prominent place of recognition for the American
Indian military service to this country in time of war through the
American Indian Veterans Memorial (AIVMI). Whenever the United States
went into battle, the American Indians/Alaska Natives and Pacific
Islanders participated in greater numbers than any other group.
"We want a more profound recognition of service beyond just a statue
at the National Museum of American Indians. Why does everything
Indian have to go into an Indian Museum?"
While campaigning for a statue at the Vietnam Wall Memorial
area, we had the chance to meet on multiple occasions with Jan Scruggs,
the Founder of the Vietnam Veteran Memorial Fund (VVMF). He started
this organization in 1979 to lobby Congress for the land the "Wall"
sits on now, and raise the money needed to build the Wall using
private donations. This task was accomplished in less than three
years which is amazing considering the "hoops" one has to go through
to get things passed by Congress, let alone to get permission and
approval for something to be built on the National Mall.
The next big undertaking on VVMF's agenda is to build The Education
Center at the Wall to be located across the street from the Vietnam
Wall and in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial. We have been invited
to have an exhibit in the Center that will honor the" First American
Veterans" involvement in military service from the Revolutionary
War through Afghanistan. The Education Center will provide an innovative
space where visitors will come face to face with those who gave
their lives in service to this country. It will also provide a time
line of the Vietnam War, and display memorabilia that has been left
at Wall since it was dedicated in 1982.
We have established a working relationship between AIVMI and
VVMF to help raise the funds for building the Education Center,
and have committed to raise $10 million. Our success will ensure
that we will have an American Indian Veterans Memorial exhibit be
part of the Education Center. In an addition to touring the Center,
multimedia programs will exist online to help students, educators
and all visitors deepen their understanding of American Indian/Alaska
Native and Island Pacific veteran contributions and sacrifices.
The Education Center is an exciting opportunity for "Honoring
First American Veterans". The Education Center at the Wall will
offer a place for our people to be truly recognized and can become
a rallying point for younger generations to learn more about their
The following are the goals of the "Honoring First American
Objective 1. Raise at least $10
million to build the Education Center at The Wall, pledged at
the earliest possible opportunity and paid through the end of
the campaign on December 30, 2018.
Objective 2. Collect the missing
67 photographs of First Americans Veterans who fell in the Vietnam
War. During the Vietnam conflict, 227 American Indian/Alaskan
Native and Pacific Islanders made the ultimate sacrifice for this
country. These young men hailed from thirty states and territories,
and served in all branches of the Armed Forces. They deserve proper
recognition and honor on the National Mall through the Honoring
First American Veterans Campaign.
Objective 3. Collect photographs
and remembrances of American Indian/Alaskan Native and Pacific
Islanders who served in America's wars from the Revolutionary
War through today's conflicts.
As Jan Scruggs puts it, "The Education Center at the Wall will
make it possible for this and future generations to connect with
those who served wearing our nation's uniform, as well as those
who died, ensuring that their service and sacrifices will always
be treasured and that their legacies will never be forgotten. "
As Chairman of the Honoring First American Veterans (HFAV) Capital
Campaign, I am honored to be associated with a group led by someone
who has never stopped at his unflinching drive to honor our veterans.
For more information on how you and your tribe can participate in
the HFAV Campaign, contact Stephen Bowers, Seminole Tribe of Florida,
6311 Stirling Rd, Hollywood FL 33024, 954-966-6300 x11480, email@example.com
Indian Veterans Memorial
American Indian Veterans Memorial, Inc. (AIVMI) is a native-led
organization whose mission is to advocate for a clearer understanding
of the involvement of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Pacific
Islander veterans in wartime.
To help achieve its mission, AIVMI is collaborating with the Vietnam
Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) to build an American Indian Veterans
Memorial Exhibit at the Education Center at the Wall (www.vvmf.org)
near the Vietnam Memorial on the National Mall in Washington DC
to honor our "First American Veterans". The American Indian Veterans
Memorial Exhibit will highlight the bravery, contributions, and
sacrifices of the American Indian, Alaska Native, and Pacific Islander
veterans during their service in the American military.