Join the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian as we highlight the exceptional military service of Native Americans in a formal dedication of the National Native American Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. The dedication and processional will honor American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian veterans and their families.“The memorial is something that was a long time coming. Our ancestors fought for a country that tried to destroy them. We are now the largest minority group to serve in the military. This memorial acknowledges the participation and service to this country in every war since the Revolutionary War by the Native American people of this country.” Greg Kishketon (Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma), Native American/Alaskan Native Liaison, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Events Nov. 11 will begin with a Native veterans procession, which will make its way along the National Mall to the dedication ceremony. Native veterans are invited to participate in a procession, which will travel from the museum to the ceremony stage in front of the US Capitol. Registration is open to individual veterans and veterans' groups. Family members, friends and communities are encouraged to honor participating veterans from viewing areas along the procession route. The procession will be livestreamed on the memorial's website.
Weekend Dedication Celebration Schedule:
November 11 | 10 AM–8 PM
November 12 | 10 AM–5:30 PM
November 13 | 10 AM–5:30 PM
Throughout the weekend, the museum will host special programming in honor of the dedication of the memorial, including 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.
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.
“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.”