Fri May 20th, 2022
Tags: Cynthia Chavez Lamar, D.C., Harvey Pratt, National Native American Veterans Memorial, Smithsonian Institution, The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, Why We Serve: Native Americans in the United States Armed Forces
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian will dedicate the National Native American Veterans Memorial Friday, Nov. 11. The dedication ceremony will take place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., as part of a three-day event (Nov. 11–13) to honor Native veterans. A Native veterans procession will take place before the start of the dedication ceremony.
“The dedication of this memorial is an opportunity to gather and reflect on the extraordinary service and sacrifice of Native veterans and their families,” said Cynthia Chavez Lamar (San Felipe Pueblo, Hopi, Tewa and Navajo), the museum’s director. “I hope everyone will join us for this momentous occasion, so together we can offer them our thanks for their contributions to our country.”
Events Nov. 11 will begin in the afternoon with a Native veterans procession, which will make its way along the National Mall to the dedication ceremony. There will be viewing areas along the procession route for supporters to gather to honor the participating veterans and watch the ceremony.
Throughout the weekend, the museum will host special programming in honor of the dedication of the memorial, including hands-on activities, films in the Rasmuson Theater, performances in the Potomac Atrium and a dedicated veterans hospitality suite. The museum will remain open until 8 p.m. Nov. 11.
Visitors can also visit the exhibition “Why We Serve: Native Americans in the United States Armed Forces” on the museum’s second floor. The exhibition, which tells personal stories of Native Americans, Native Hawaiians and Alaska Native veterans who have served in the U.S. armed forces, brings long overdue recognition to those who have served their country selflessly and with honor for more than 250 years.
More information about the dedication of the National Native American Veterans Memorial can be found by visiting the memorial’s website. The website includes details on how to register to participate in the Native veterans procession. The dedication ceremony will also be livestreamed on the website so those who cannot attend in person can also watch.
Members of the media interested in covering the weekend’s events should also register with the museum via the website.
About the National Native American Veterans Memorial
The National Native American Veterans Memorial sits on the grounds of the National Museum of the American Indian and 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 is 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 was designed by Harvey Pratt (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 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, the Chickasaw Nation, Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, 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, as well as by individuals, corporations, foundations and other organizations.
The museum will continue to raise monies for an endowment for the memorial. The $5 million endowment will ensure the memorial’s continued upkeep and provide funds for ongoing programming, interpretation and events about Native American veterans.
About the National Museum of the American Indian
In partnership with Native peoples and their allies, the National Museum of the American Indian fosters a richer shared human experience through a more informed understanding of Native peoples. The museum in Washington, D.C., is located on the National Mall at Fourth Street and Independence Avenue S.W. Connect with the museum on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and AmericanIndian.si.edu.