Opening Saturday, May 20, the traveling Smithsonian Exhibit, “Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation’s Armed Forces” will show at the Mid-America All-Indian Center through Sept. 16. The museum is proud to be one of four organizations to host the exhibit this year, which displays the contributions of the American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans who served in the United States military.
Traveling Exhibit Information
Native Americans have served in every major U.S. military encounter from the Revolutionary War to today’s conflicts in the Middle East in higher numbers per capita than any other ethnic group. “Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation’s Armed Forces” reveals the remarkable history of Native American veterans through art, photography and essay. The 16-panel exhibition documents 250 years of Native peoples’ contributions in U.S. military history.
“Tens of thousands of Native Americans joined the U.S. armed forces during World Wars I and II,” said Herman J. Viola, curator emeritus of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and curator of “Patriot Nations.” “Forty-four thousand Native Americans served in World War II; the entire population of Native Americans was less than 350,000 at the time. They are Purple Heart recipients and Bronze Star medal honorees. Many have been recognized with the Congressional Medal of Honor, the United States’ highest military award.”
Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation’s Armed Forces is produced by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. The exhibition was made possible by the generous support of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.