From the NFRW Armed Services Committee
Congress chose November, a traditional harvest season, to celebrate Native American Heritage Month. As of 2021, the U.S. had 574 federally recognized Tribes, with only about 29% of that population living on reservations. It is estimated that Native Americans make up about 2.5% of the total U.S. population.
Native Americans have a long history of patriotic service to our nation with current data indicating that they serve in the armed forces at a rate five times the national average and have served in every major conflict for more than 200 years.
General Ely S. Parker from the Seneca Nation was the secretary to General Ulysses S. Grant during the Civil War and drafted the surrender document for the Confederates to sign. The Navajo Code Talkers of World War II are legendary. During the Vietnam war when most American service members were drafted, 90% of the Native Americans were volunteers.
Native American women have also been quick to provide their services when the country was at war, first as nurses and then in various components of the WACS, WAVES, Woman Marines, and WASPS. About 10,000 Native American women served in the Red Cross. It is reported that since 9/11 nearly 19% of all Native Americans have served in the Armed Forces, which is 5% greater than most ethnicities.
November is a time to show our appreciation for our Native American patriots whose courage and dedication have helped keep us safe and free.