Native Communities Grapple With What it Means to Honor Veterans

Belatedly passing along a Veteran’s Day story from The Circle and the Twin Cities Daily Planet: Native communities grapple with what it means to honor their U.S. military veterans. Native Americans have the highest per capita involvement in the military, it says. It goes on to ask how Native communities — who honor their warriors and veterans — reconcile that with their historic treatment by the U.S. military?

The story talks about a very inclusive Pow Wow at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in South Dakota, one that draws many non Native peoples. It continues:

For some of these curious spectators, the powwow is their first exposure to authentic Native American culture. Inevitably, the impressive pageantry inspires questions. Among those most commonly asked is this: Why would Native Americans, people who have suffered hundreds of years of colonization and genocide, honor the United States military and the American flag at a cultural celebration?

Emmy Her Many Horses of the Sicangu Lakota has heard this question many times. Her Many Horses, who grew up on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, is renowned for performing the United States National Anthem in the Lakota language. Hundreds of Native American veterans have received copies of the translated Anthem on CD. In 2011, she was one of 11 Native American young people honored by President Obama as a “Champion of Change.” …

She said there are a great many reasons why Native people choose to join the U.S. military, but that regardless of their motivation, they should be recognized for having served.

Check out the rest of the story here.

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