Why We Serve Native Americans in the United States Armed Forces

Why We Serve Native Americans in the United States Armed Forces

Mar 23 – Aug 1

Why We Serve Native Americans in the United States Armed Forces honors the generations of Native Americans who have served in the armed forces of the United States – often in extraordinary numbers – since the American Revolution. For some, the Native American commitment to the U.S. military doesn’t make sense. Why would Native Americans serve a country that overran their homelands, suppressed their cultures and confined them to reservations?

Native peoples have served for the same reasons as anyone else to demonstrate patriotism or pursue employment, education or adventure. Many were drafted. Yet tribal warrior traditions, treaty commitments with the United States and responsibility for defending Native homelands have also inspired the enduring legacy of Native American military service.

Why We Serve is a traveling exhibition of the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian. Artworks from the Eiteljorg Museum’s collections will supplement the NMAI exhibition, and engaging public programs are planned.

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