The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian has announced it received a
$1 million gift from the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes for the National Native American Veterans Memorial.
The memorial, which will be built on the grounds of the museum, 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.” The memorial design is by Harvey Pratt (Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma), a multimedia artist, retired forensic artist and a Marine Corps Vietnam veteran.
“This gift from the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes enables us to create a national memorial that will serve as a reminder to everyone visiting the National Mall of the service and patriotism of Native veterans, soldiers and their families,” said Kevin Gover (Pawnee), director of the museum. “We are grateful for their extraordinary support.”
“We are extremely humbled to support the National Native American Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., that will honor our past, present and future Native American veterans,” said Reggie Wassana, governor of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes. “We also would like to congratulate Chief Harvey Pratt for being a true warrior for our Cheyenne and Arapaho elders, youth and communities.”
The design features an elevated stainless steel circle resting on an intricately 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.
“We are so proud of the Cheyenne and Arapaho people for honoring their veterans,” Pratt said. “This gift of respect will help to bring recognition for all Native veterans.”
Native Americans serve at a higher rate per capita than any other population group, and Native men and women have served in the U.S. armed forces since the American Revolution and continue to serve today. This will be the first national landmark in Washington focus on the contributions of American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians who have served in the military.
The groundbreaking for the memorial is slated for Sept. 21, 2019, and the dedication for Nov. 11, 2020. For more information about the memorial, visit AmericanIndian.si.edu/NNAVM.
About the Museum
The National Museum of the American Indian is committed to advancing knowledge and understanding of the Native cultures of the Western Hemisphere—past, present and future—through partnership with Native people and others. National Mall at Fourth Street and Independence Avenue S.W.; open every day from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25); Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and AmericanIndian.si.edu.
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