Native Americans have a long-standing record of proud military service in behalf of the United States of America. In addition, American Indians have a higher rate of military service than any other ethnic group in the United States. To some people, this is surprising. To others, it seems contradictory given the historical treatment of indigenous people by the U.S. government. Hopefully, Obama is ushering in a new era where the Indian tribes of this country will see more balanced and fruitful policies toward their governments and people.
It’s Veterans’ Day, and there is never a shortage of Native military heroes to talk about. So today I want to remember the Native American recipients of the Medal of Honor: “the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force” and typically awarded by the President of the United States for heroism above and beyond the call of duty.
Many Native American Veterans received the Medal of Honor in the 19th and 20th century. ALL of them exhibited “extraordinary bravery in the face of the enemy” through daring operations, rescue missions, grave risks, fights under fire, perseverance, casualties, and for at least two of them death. ALL of them served as proud warriors and let the rest of us here in America comfortably count on their fighting spirit. I’d like to acknowledge each one of these men here. You can read more about them and their service on this U.S. Navy web site.
Twentieth Century Native American Medal of Honor Recipients:
- Jack C. Montgomery (Cherokee, OK, for service in 1944)
- Ernest Childers (Creek, OK, for service in 1943)
- Van Barfoot (Choctaw, MS, for service in 1944)
- Mitchell Red Cloud, Jr. (Winnebago, WI, for service in 1950)
- Ernest E. Evans (Cherokee and Creek, for service in 1944)
- Charles George (Cherokee, NC, for service in 1952)
- James E. Williams (Cherokee, SC, for service in Vietnam)
- Michael E. Thorton (Cherokee, SC, for service in Vietnam)
Nineteenth Century Native American Medal of Honor Veterans:
- Alchesay (AZ, for service in 1872-73)
- Blanquet (AZ, for service in 1872-73)
- Chiquito (AZ, for service in 1871-73)
- Co-Rux-Te-Chod-Ish (NE, for service in 1869)
- Elsatoosu (AZ, for service in 1872-73)
- Jim (AZ, for service in 1871-73)
- Kelsay (AZ, for service in 1872-73)
- Kosoha (AZ, for service in 1872-73)
- Machol (AZ, for service in 1872-73)
- Nannasaddle (AZ, for service in 1872-73)
- Nantaje (AZ, for service in 1872-73)
- Rowdy (AZ, for service in 1890)
We at National Relief Charities appreciate the service of these military heroes, the Veterans we meet in our work, and the service of all Veterans who have sacrificed during wartime and after. May you and yours be blessed.