Our Native veterans have been honored many times, but there is currently not a national monument erected in their honor. That will all change soon as the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) has been charged by Congress with establishing a National Native American Veterans Memorial, in hopes that “all Americans (have) the opportunity to learn of the proud and courageous tradition of service of Native Americans in the Armed Forces of the United States.”
The Honorable Ben Nighthorse Campbell (Northern Cheyenne) and Chickasaw Nation Lieutenant Governor Jefferson Keel are leading an advisory committee of tribal leaders and veterans representing the geographic diversity of Indian Country and the various branches of the Armed Forces. The committee will assist with outreach to Native American nations and tribes and their veterans and advise on plans for the memorial.
Throughout 2016, the advisory committee and the museum will conduct community consultations to seek input and support for the memorial. Regional events will bring together tribal leaders, Native veterans, and community members to gather their insights and advice.
A traveling banner exhibition, Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation’s Armed Forces, will tell the stories of American Indian veterans as well as the museum’s plans to build the memorial. The exhibition, made possible with support from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, will travel to tribal centers, museums, and libraries beginning in late fall of 2016.
A design for the memorial will be selected by a juried competition. The National Native American Veterans Memorial will be located prominently on the NMAI’s grounds on the National Mall, between the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and the U.S. Capitol, and will honor the immense contributions and patriotism of Native Americans in the U.S. Armed Forces.
In 2016 and 2017, the advisory committee and NMAI is holding consultations in each of the twelve NCAI regions of the country to discuss plans for the memorial. The schedule below shows the remaining dates for 2016.
National Native American Veterans Memorial Confirmed Regional Consultations
June 29, 2016 Crow Agency, MT
Little Big Horn College
July 19, 2016 Oklahoma City, OK
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes hosting
July 21, 2016 Tulsa, OK
Cherokee Nation’s Hard Rock Casino
October 5, 2016 Sacaton, AZ
Gila River Indian Community
October 20, 2016 Fairbanks, AK
Alaska Federation of Natives Conference
To learn how you can donate to the memorial and sign up for the newsletter, visit http://nmai.si.edu/support/national-native-american-veterans-memorial/. For more information you can email: [email protected]