May 23, 2013 –
New Native Veterans Memorial Bill to “Make Memorial a Reality”
NCAI Supports Fixes in Native American Vets’ Memorial Act of 2013
Bill allows for more flexibility for National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) to assist with the completion of the Memorial
Washington, DC – The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is supporting new legislation introduced by Senator Schatz of Hawaii to clarify the Native American Veterans’ Memorial Establishment Act of 1994, amending the bill to allow for the completion of the long standing project. The project has encountered a number of obstacles since the legislation’s passage, including limitations placed on the involvement of the National Museum of the American Indians (NMAI). The new language removes a number of technical barriers that have hindered completion and allows for the memorial to be built adjacent to NMAI, not inside the Museum as originally proposed. Additionally, NMAI would be able to participate in raising funds for the effort.
“It is essential that we fulfill Senator Inouye and Indian Country’s vision for a memorial to honor the service and sacrifice of our Native American service members. NCAI supports the amendments to the Native American Veterans’ Memorial Establishment Act of 1994, which will make the memorial a reality and allow for it to be built on the property of the National Museum of the American Indian,” said Jefferson Keel, President of NCAI and a decorated veteran. “Most importantly, this bill allows for more flexibility for tribal nations and the United States to work together to honor the contributions and sacrifices of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian military service members and veterans. As a Native veteran myself, I look forward to the day my fellow veterans are recognized for their contributions to protecting the sovereignty of tribal nations and the United States.”
According to a 2012 report released by the Department of Veterans Affairs:
- more than 154,000 Veterans identify themselves as solely American Indian and Alaska Native;
- Over 44,000 Native Americans served between 1941 and 1945. The entire population of Native Americans in the United States was less than 350,000 at the time;
– More than 42,000 Native Americans served in the military in the Vietnam Era, and over 90 percent of these Service members were volunteers.