On Veterans Day, the National Museum of the American Indian, part of the Smithsonian museums in D.C., unveiled the new National Native American Veterans Memorial.
This new memorial stands on the grounds of the National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall.
It features a stainless steel circle balanced on a carved stone drum. There are benches for gathering and remembering, and four lances where veterans, family members, tribal leaders, and others can tie cloths for prayer and remembrance.
It does not include veterans’ names or tribal identification; many veterans asked during the design consultation process said they did not wish to have them added, as the memorial is timeless and is dedicated to all Native veterans, past, present and future.
Join @SmithsonianNMAI online this #VeteransDay for the opening of the new National Native American Veterans Memorial. Learn more about the memorial and what it represents, and watch the completion ceremony and virtual tour: https://t.co/cZPSZPc0ix #NNAVM #NativeAmericanVeterans pic.twitter.com/wOBDLC2VaA
— Smithsonian (@smithsonian) November 11, 2020
The design of the memorial is by Harvey Pratt, from the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma. Pratt served in Vietnam from 1962-1965 as a U.S. Marine in Air Rescue and Security.
We are a nation of patriots who believe in the United States, its democracy, and our responsibility to preserve it for future generations. We acknowledge those who have served in the armed forces as the greatest patriots of all. Though we celebrate those who dedicate themselves to defending our nation, many Americans are unaware of the exceptional service performed by American Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native veterans.
Work on the memorial started after legislation passed by Congress in 2013 authorizing the museum to create it. The authorization did not include any federal funding, and the project was made possible by contributions from individuals, organizations, and Native Nations.
The museum hopes to have an in-person memorial dedication ceremony in the future to honor Native veterans and their families.
The memorial is free to visit, timed-entry passes are not required.