National Native American Veterans Memorial to Open Near Capitol Hill Nov. 11

October 16, 2020 by Dan McCue
The National Native American Veterans Memorial will open to the public Nov. 11, 2020 on the grounds of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alan Karchmer for NMAI)

WASHINGTON – Right now, it’s just a hub of activity behind a construction area awning at the foot of Capitol Hill, but come Nov. 11 the site, on the grounds of the National Museum of the American Indian, will be transformed into the National Native American Veterans Memorial.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the moment will be marked with a short virtual message honoring the service and sacrifice of Native veterans and their families.

The museum, which is part of the Smithsonian Institution, has said the message will be posted both on the museum’s website and its YouTube channel.

A more formal dedication, including a veterans’ procession, will be scheduled as soon as it is safe to hold them, museum officials said.

“The National Native American Veterans Memorial will serve as a reminder to the nation and the world of the service and sacrifice of Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian veterans,” said Kevin Gover, director of the museum.

“Native Americans have always answered the call to serve, and this memorial is a fitting tribute to their patriotism and deep commitment to this country,” he said.

Still under wraps. The site of the new National Native American Veterans Memorial. (Photo by Dan McCue)

The memorial was commissioned by Congress 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.”

Native Americans have served in every major military conflict in the U.S. since the Revolutionary War. This will be the first national landmark in Washington, D.C., to focus on the contributions of American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians who have served in the military.

The memorial design is by Harvey Pratt, a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, a multimedia artist, retired forensic artist and Marine Corps Vietnam veteran.

The design features an elevated stainless steel circle resting on a carved stone drum. It also incorporates water for sacred ceremonies, benches for gatherings and four lances where veterans, family members, tribal leaders and others can tie cloths for prayers and healing.

Major support for the National Native American Veterans Memorial has been provided by the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes; Chickasaw Nation; Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies; Poarch Band of Creek Indians; San Manuel Band of Mission Indians; and Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community. The memorial has also been widely supported by tribal governments and tribal veterans organizations. More than 85 tribes, individuals, corporations and other organizations have contributed to the memorial.

To coincide with the completion of the National Native American Veterans Memorial, the museum has published “Why We Serve: Native Americans in the United States Armed Forces,” a 240-page book that commemorates the history of Native American military service.

The book is co-authored by Alexandra Harris and Mark Hirsch, senior editor and historian, respectively, at the National Museum of the American Indian.

Other contributors include Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (Northern Cheyenne), Rep. Deb Haaland (Pueblo of Laguna), Rep. Markwayne Mullin (Cherokee Nation), Gover (Pawnee), Jefferson Keel (Chickasaw) and Herman Viola.

An exhibition stemming from the book will be on online and on view in the museum’s Potomac Atrium beginning Nov. 11.

The museum will host a virtual discussion with Harris about identity and the warrior stereotype of Native people serving in the military, as well as actual traditions of peace and war within American Indian communities.

The event takes place Thursday, Nov. 12, at noon. Details for registering for this Zoom event are available here.

In other museum related news, the National Museum of the United States Army, the first museum dedicated entirely to the history of the service, will also open to the public on Nov. 11.

The museum, which was postponed for several months due to coronavirus-related construction delays, is located in a publicly accessible area of Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, Va.

Construction on the privately funded museum began in 2016. The 185,000-square-foot museum houses almost 1,400 artifacts throughout 11 galleries in a five-story building.

The museum’s 84 acres also include a garden, amphitheater and a parade ground.

“The National Army Museum will be a place for members of the total Army family to gather and share their stories, while also creating an opportunity for visitors to connect with our nation’s history through the eyes and voices of individual soldiers,” said Ryan D. McCarthy, secretary of the Army.

The National Museum of the U.S. Army is a joint project between the Army and the non-profit Army Historical Foundation

Veterans

National Native American Veterans Memorial to Open Near Capitol Hill Nov. 11
Veterans
National Native American Veterans Memorial to Open Near Capitol Hill Nov. 11
October 16, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - Right now, it's just a hub of activity behind a construction area awning at the foot of Capitol Hill, but come Nov. 11 the site, on the grounds of the National Museum of the American Indian, will be transformed into the National Native American... Read More

Fitzpatrick, Kilmer, Connolly Co-Sponsor Resolution Defending Veterans’ Health Benefits
Veterans
Fitzpatrick, Kilmer, Connolly Co-Sponsor Resolution Defending Veterans’ Health Benefits
October 16, 2020
by Reece Nations

LANGHORNE, Pa. — Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, D-Pa., Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., and Gerry Connolly, D-Va., brought forth a bill that would ensure disabled veterans can fully utilize their benefits following disruptions in veterans’ health care due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Back in March 2020, the novel coronavirus... Read More

From Defeat to a First-Ever Bill: How Veterans Are Fighting Back on Toxic Exposure
Veterans
From Defeat to a First-Ever Bill: How Veterans Are Fighting Back on Toxic Exposure

WASHINGTON — When Rosie Torres first knocked on Congress’ doors almost a decade ago, asking for help for her husband and other veterans who became sick following exposure to military burn pits, she gained little traction. What she heard: More research was needed to determine if... Read More

Tester, IAVA Detail Economic and Emotional Toll Coronavirus Taking On U.S. Veterans
Veterans
Tester, IAVA Detail Economic and Emotional Toll Coronavirus Taking On U.S. Veterans
June 4, 2020
by Gaspard Le Dem

As the U.S. struggles to fight off a lingering coronavirus pandemic, the full impact of the crisis on the lives of Americans is just starting to come into view. But for the veteran community -- as for many other groups -- the crisis has already taken... Read More

Census Bureau Finds High Disability Rates Among Post 9-11 Vets
Veterans
Census Bureau Finds High Disability Rates Among Post 9-11 Vets
June 4, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - America's veteran population is changing, with its overall size declining, the number of women in its ranks on the rise, and a generation of Post 9-11 vets who are far more likely to suffer from a service-connected disability than their predecessors. Those are primary... Read More

Congressional Leaders Push to Remove Swastikas, Praise for Hitler from Veterans’ Cemeteries
Veterans
Congressional Leaders Push to Remove Swastikas, Praise for Hitler from Veterans’ Cemeteries

Congressional leaders who oversee the budget for the Veterans Administration are making a Memorial Day push for the removal of gravestones containing swastikas and praise for Adolf Hitler from veterans’ cemeteries. Outrage over the symbols representing Nazism is bipartisan. The push for action comes from U.S.... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top