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A call for freedom: American Indians in the military

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Once again, members of the military are being called to defend the United States. As in many of Americas past wars, American Indians will join the fighting ranks.

According to the Native American Rights Fund, despite awareness of tribal sovereignty, Native Americans often serve in the military service alongside other U.S. citizens. And while American Indians continue to fight for their own freedom and sovereignty, they are also proudly serving in the armed forces of the United States.

More than 44,000 American Indians out of a population numbering less than 350,000 at the time, served during World War II. The same Department of Defense sponsored study counts more than 42,000 American Indians involved in the Vietnam War. In all, more than 200,000 American Indians are veterans of military service. On a per capita basis, American Indians have been among the most active of all peoples within in the U.S. military.

American Indian women are also part of U.S. military tradition. Not much is known about the contributions of American Indian women to the military. The Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation is working to raise awareness. They are encouraging female Native American veterans to register with the Memorial so the Memorial can record, share and preserve their important contributions. According to the Memorial, as of 1994, more than 1,500 Native American and Native Alaskan women were serving in the U.S. military. For more information on Native American female veterans or to register yourself or another veteran, call (800) 222-2294 or e-mail wimsacura@aol.com.

Many American Indian men and women are currently fighting on the front lines of the war with Iraq. Indian Country Today wishes good luck and safe return to all members of the military involved in the Iraq conflict.

(See page D2 in our newsprint edition for our tribute to some of today's Warriors.)