From the NFRW Armed Services Committee
Native Americans serve in the U.S. military due to their cultural values and a proud warrior tradition built on strength, honor, pride, devotion, and wisdom.
Some of the very first accounts of Native American women in the military include the stories of Sacagawea, a Shosone woman who accompanied Army Captains Lewis and Clark in the early 19th century. Historians have also rediscovered the story of Tyonajanegean, an Oneida woman who fought alongside her husband, an Army officer, during the Battle of Oriskany during the Revolutionary War.
While only 14 Native American women are known to have served during WWI, nearly 800 served during WWII. Native American women again served their country during the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam. Since then, almost 20 percent of all Native American service members are women.
Three Native American women are known to have lost their lives while serving in the military. Katherine Matthews of the Cherokee Nation in North Carolina died during a training mission in California in 1985. Terri Ann Hagan was killed fighting fires with the Army National Guard in 1994. One female warrior was killed in combat, Specialist Four Lori Ann Piestewa (pictured) of the Hopi Nation, when the 507th Maintenance Company from Fort Bliss was ambushed as units were marching to Baghdad.
The Women’s Memorial only has 111 Native American women veterans registered. We need to get others registered and their stories available to those interested. If you know of a Native American woman veteran, please get them registered through Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation, Inc. Dept 560, Washington, DC 20042-0560; 800-222-2294 or 703-533-1155; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us all month as we honor the service and sacrifice of our nation’s Native American service members.