Patriot: a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies.
In an article titled, “Some Comments About Indians at War” in the January 1942 issue of Indians at Work, author Floyd W. LaRouche stated that “long before the surprise Japanese attack on America, the Indians of the United States had responded eagerly and fulsomely to the call of their country. In numbers exceeding contribution of the white population, the Indian had enlisted in all branches of the armed services.” He continued, “Many Indians received citations for bravery. They were especially gifted in the intelligence services, in scouting, raiding and sniping.”
In the May-June 1943 issue of Indians at Work, it is noted that “General Douglas MacArthur has publicly paid tribute to the Indians’ fighting ability. In a cablegram from Australia, General MacArthur declared: As a warrior, his (the Indian’s) fame is world wide. Many successful methods of modern warfare are based on what he evolved centuries ago. Individually he exemplified what the line fighter could do by adaptation to the characteristics of the particular countryside in which he fought. His tactics, so brilliantly utilized…”
According to the book Warriors in Uniform, author Herman J. Viola provides solid evidence of how Indian warriors are true patriots. “In 1917, although most Indians were not subject to the draft because they were not U.S. citizens, they enlisted in astonishing numbers…All told, 17,213 Indians registered for the draft and of these, 6,509, or 37.6 percent, were inducted” in World War I. (p67)
By 1942, at least 99 percent of all eligible Indian males had registered for the draft…something like 45,000 Indians, more than 10 percent of the entire estimated population of 350,000 Indians in the United States, saw active duty in the armed forces in World War II.” (p87)
The Korean War began in 1950 and “exact figures are difficult to establish, but it is believed that 10,000 Indians served in Korea” (p117)
In the Vietnam War, “more than 42,000 Indians served in the military...(some) volunteered to go…because (they) wanted to live up to the warrior traditions of (their) people.” (p141)
“In Afghanistan and Iraq, American Indian men and women continue to serve in the armed forces in record numbers. A December 2005 tally…put the number of Native American/Alaskan Native serving in the armed forces at almost 20,000.” (p161)
To sum up, Sgt. Chris Lively (Iroquois/Apache/Cherokee), who served in Iraq, Libya, and Colombia, leaves us with something to think about:
“We are still proud and we hold our heads up high as we have throughout history. But the fact that American Indians are fighting for this great country of ours needs to be recognized. We may have been a conquered people, but we were not a defeated people, and our warriors will always rise to the call of battle.” (p205)
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