Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian has been
charged by Congress with building a National Native American
Veterans Memorial. (photo by Vincent Schilling)
The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian has
been charged by Congress with building a National Native American
Veterans Memorial 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," according to a press
release issued by the NMAI on Monday.
Working with the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)
and other Native American organizations, the museum has begun preliminary
plans to construct this memorial in the next four years.
The Honorable Ben Nighthorse Campbell (Northern Cheyenne) and
Chickasaw Nation Lieutenant Governor Jefferson Keel are leading
an advisory committee of tribal leaders and veterans.
A statement from the NMAI outlines a substantial reason for
creating such a memorial:
"The service and sacrifice of Native American veterans spans
nearly two and a half centuries of American History. American Indians
have served in the U.S. Armed Forces in every major conflict since
the Revolutionary War and in greater numbers per capita than any
other ethnic group-facts unknown to many Americans.
"During World War II, over 44,000 Native Americans served in
the U.S. military. Hundreds of Navajo, Comanche and other Native
language speakers-Code Talker-played a crucial role. More than 42,000
Native American served during the Vietnam War as well. Today, the
U.S. Department of Defense estimates more than 24,000 American Indian
and Alaska Native men and women are on active duty, and more that
150,000 veterans self-identity as American Indian or Alaska Native."
As part of its fundraising efforts, the NMAI will celebrate
its Native Nations Inaugural Ball on On January 20, 2017. Funds
raised for the Ball will support the National Native American Veterans
According to the NMAI, a design for the memorial will be selected
in a juried competition. The National Native American Veterans Memorial
will be located prominently on the NMAI's grounds on the National
Mall in Washington, D.C.,, between the Smithsonian's National Air
and Space Museum and the U.S. Capitol to honor the immense contributions
of Native Americans in the U.S. Armed Forces.
To learn for about the National Native American Veterans Memorial
please visit http://nmai.si.edu/support/national-native-american-veterans-memorial/
For more information on the Native Nations Inaugural Ball, please