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The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian has announced it received a
$1 million gift from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community 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.”
“We are very grateful to the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community for their generous support of the National Native American Veterans Memorial,” said Kevin Gover (Pawnee), director of the museum. “Their gift will enable the creation of a memorial that honors the service and patriotism of Native veterans, soldiers and their families.”
“From the Revolutionary War through today, Native Americans have participated in every major U.S. military conflict,” said Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Chairman Charles R. Vig. “Their heroism has saved countless lives, and our tribe is pleased to help recognize them in such a prominent place on the National Mall.”
Native Americans serve at a higher rate per capita than any other population group, and Native peoples 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, 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 (Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma), a multimedia artist and retired forensic artist, and a Marine Corps Vietnam veteran. 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.
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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