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Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit: Honoring Our Nations Native American Veterans

For immediate Release

 Media Contacts:

Timothy Perkins, 515-699-5661, timothy.perkins2@va.gov

Kristi Catrenich, 515-699-5588, Kristi.catrencih@va.gov

‘Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation’s Armed Forces’ 

Traveling Exhibition features the contributions of Native American Veterans

 MARCH 7-12, 2019 at the VA Central Iowa Health Care System, Des Moines, Iowa


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 and remains on view from March 7 through March 12, 2019 at the VA Central Iowa Healthcare System (CIHCS), BLDG. 4 Auditorium, 3600 30th Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50310. Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation’s Armed Forces was 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.

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.  “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.”

The exhibit will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from March 7-12, 2019.  The public is encouraged to visit the exhibit over the weekend of March 9th and 10th due to limited parking during weekdays.  However, if school administrators wish to set up a field trip during the week that is encouraged. Please contact Timothy Perkins at either 515-699-5661 (work), 515-336-0824 (cell), or email at timothy.perkins2@va.gov to schedule the visit. Additionally, a Native American veteran recognition ceremony will be conducted on March 12th from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Patriot Nations also calls attention to the creation of the National Native American Veterans Memorial on the grounds of the museum on the National Mall. Congress has charged the museum with building the memorial to give “all Americans the opportunity to learn of the proud and courageous tradition of service of Native Americans in the Armed Forces of the United States.”  Working together with the National Congress of American Indian, Native American veterans, tribal leaders, historians and cultural experts, the museum will complete the memorial by Veteran’s Day 2020. For more information about the memorial, visit https://americanindian.si.edu/nnavm/.

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