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The National Native American Veterans Memorial: Steps to Remembrance

The National Native American Veterans Memorial was dedicated for Veteran’s Day, 2020. It was created to honor the Native Americans of all tribes and all branches who served in the US Armed Forces through all wars. But today, in 2022, 1,500 Native veterans will travel the paths of the new memorial in a special procession.

The Native American Veterans Memorial was created to honor American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians. It tells the story of their service without sugar-coating, acknowledging the problems they faced in the military, but reminding the people of their powerful heritage of service. In the accompaying museum, the story of their service is recounted in pictures and testimonies.

“According to the original teachings of our people, there’s a relationship between the warrior and the enemy and the creator. When you take the enemy, it becomes a part of your life for the rest of your life…”  The Smithsonian

This author once attended a powwow for a Native warrior returning home from his service. The respect given him was marked by the dance and the presentation of an eagle feather, symbol of a warrior.  They honored him for serving in the US Military – the very entity that historically treated them with vicious disdain and hatred.  They served in the military to earn respect… and they have done it.

The Navajo Code Talkers helped win WWII. While some Native veterans are liberal, many others are Conservative. The Hawaiian 442nd became one of the most decorated units of WII. Some Natives are incensed that the Biden admnistration banned the Keystone XL pipeline and other energy projects because they were a source of good paying jobs. Other tribes rejoice at the pipeline ban because of the potential for pollution of their water. In actuality, not much different than the rest of us – there is a division in America.

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The designer of the Native American Veterans Memorial was Harvey Pratt (Cheyenne and Arapahoe), a Native Veteran who served in Vietnam. But why do Native Americans serve the  country in spite of the history?

“They are acknowledging the mistreatment their tribes have suffered at the hands of the United States, yet they still imagine a different and better tribal life in the future. They are optimistic that the U.S. will honor sovereignty, which may be why so many cultural celebrations incorporate the American flag. This is a deep patriotism, a belief that, despite all that has happened, the United States can be better, and we want to be part of that.” Kevin Gover (Pawnee). 

Take a look at that statement: “they still imagine a different and better tribal life in the future.” That’s the thing about the current leftist ideology – it ignores the fact that the United States can grow or even that we have grown as we move forward. Instead of focusing on the past and its problems, the focus should be on the future and a better life. Isn’t that where all of our citizens need to be focused? Not on things that happened long ago, but on what can be accomplished in the future.

To all Native Veterans: thank you for your service!

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Faye Higbee

Faye Higbee is the columnist manager for Uncle Sam's Misguided Children. She has been writing at Conservative Firing Line since 2013 as well. She is also a published author.

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