Additional Details Emerge for Native American Veterans Memorial
The new memorial honoring Native American servicemembers and veterans will be located outside the National Museum of the American Indian in DC and is expected to open on Veterans Day in 2020 -- more than two decades after planning began. Native Americans have served in the U.S. military in every major conflict since the Revolutionary War, and there are approximately 141,000 veterans and 15,100 active-duty service members who are Native Americans. WaPo reports that museum officials spoke to about 1,200 veterans and tribal leaders in forums across the country while planning the memorial. Kevin Gover, who is a Pawnee and Director of the American Indian museum, said he learned through information sessions with tribal leaders of the commitment Native Americans have to the “well-being of the U.S." He said, "They are perfectly aware that they are serving a country that had not kept its commitments to Indians, and yet they chose — and are still choosing — to serve,” adding that it “reflects a very deep kind of patriotism.” The museum is also planning an exhibit to share the stories of Native American service members. The groundbreaking for the new memorial, titled “Warriors’ Circle of Honor,” is slated for September 21st. A flame can be lit for ceremonies, while four lances will be placed around its edges to allow veterans, family members, and tribal leaders to tie cloths for prayers and healing -- a Native American tradition. Longtime Beat readers will recall that Oklahoma American Indian artist Harvey Pratt had been selected to design the new memorial. Pratt, a Cheyenne and Arapaho artist based in Guthrie, OK, was unanimously selected as the winner of a design contest. The Vietnam War veteran is an internationally known painter, sculptor, and forensic artist. More here.