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

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

A+
a-

In The News

Health

Voting

Veterans

March 17, 2022
by Alexa Hornbeck
VA Raises the Bar on Improving Veteran Health Services

WASHINGTON — The $1.5 trillion omnibus spending package signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 15 includes funds... Read More

WASHINGTON — The $1.5 trillion omnibus spending package signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 15 includes funds to modernize the VA infrastructure and allow registered nurses and physician assistants in the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs to receive a maximum salary to address... Read More

January 5, 2022
by Dan McCue
VA Seeking Comment on Waiving Copayments for Veterans at High Risk for Suicide

WASHINGTON — The Department of Veteran Affairs is seeking public comment on a proposal to waive copayments for medications and... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Department of Veteran Affairs is seeking public comment on a proposal to waive copayments for medications and health care services for veterans who have been identified as being at a high risk for suicide. According to a notice published in the Federal Register... Read More

January 3, 2022
by Dan McCue
Familiar Face Returns to Lead Global War on Terrorism Memorial Effort

WASHINGTON — Michael “Rod” Rodriguez, the former head of the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation, is returning to the... Read More

WASHINGTON — Michael “Rod” Rodriguez, the former head of the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation, is returning to the role of president and CEO as the effort to build the memorial picks up steam, the organization announced Monday. As reported by The Well News last... Read More

November 17, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
House Panel Seeks Better Interventions To Prevent Veteran Suicides

WASHINGTON — The heartrending subject of veteran suicide was again front and center on Capitol Hill Wednesday as a House... Read More

WASHINGTON — The heartrending subject of veteran suicide was again front and center on Capitol Hill Wednesday as a House panel heard one heartbreaking story after another about young people who placed themselves in harm’s way for their country only to return home and take their... Read More

November 10, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
Congress Seeks to Serve More Food to Veterans Who Served the US

WASHINGTON — Navy veteran Tim Keefe told a congressional panel Wednesday about how he was willing to give his life... Read More

WASHINGTON — Navy veteran Tim Keefe told a congressional panel Wednesday about how he was willing to give his life for his country when he enlisted in the military. After he left the Navy, he had trouble finding a sandwich to eat. He suffered a job... Read More

November 10, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck
How the Mission Act is Negatively Impacting Veteran Access to Health Care

WASHINGTON — The Mission Act was launched in 2019 to protect veterans' access to health care, but now health policy... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Mission Act was launched in 2019 to protect veterans' access to health care, but now health policy experts are finding that the legislation may actually be preventing access. “Veterans who need to go to [into] the community are not getting care, or getting... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top