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Memorial Day Tribute: American Indian Warriors Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice in War

Vincent Schilling

The 226 Native American Soldiers listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.; Vietnam War

During the Vietnam War, close to 90 percent of the 86,000 Indians who enlisted volunteered, giving Native Americans the highest record of service per capita of any ethnic group. For all the Native soldiers killed in action who are listed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall, there are an untold number who were not listed as American Indian, in this and other wars. The names of the 226 American Indian soldiers immortalized on the wall can be seen at the website War Stories, and more information about the wall is at the National Parks Service.

Vietnam War Memorial, Washington, D.C. (Photo: Adam Parent/Thinkstock)

Approximately 70 American Indians and Alaska Natives who have died fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq

As of October 2012, an estimated 70 American Indians and Alaska Native had been killed in action, according to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)—43 in Operation Iraqi Freedom and 27 in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

On this Memorial Day weekend, hopes, prayers and strength go out to all soldiers, families and friends affected by the loss of those who gave their lives.

U.S. Marines bowing their heads in silence in honor of fallen comrades (Photo: Thinkstock)


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Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
Thanks to all my brothers and sisters for their service. Natives have NEVER been cowards and that is just as true today as it was in 1492. Why should our servicemen and women have to endure racism after having served their country so honorable?

kickapoocandy's picture
Submitted by kickapoocandy on
Thank you to all my relations for their service. Father: Clyde Melvin Bolster Hutke-lotti-esta-jotti 1932-1996 Kickapoo of Oklahoma Tribe. Kansas National Guard, Korean War. Paternal Grandfather: Melvin Edmond Bolster 1906-1950 Assiniboine, Fort Belknap, Montana. Company “D”, 137th Infantry, Kansas National Guard. Great Grandfather: Stephan Pensoneau, 185?-1891 Shawnee/Kickapoo & French. Military service in 1890, Shawneetown, Oklahoma. Stephan was also a U.S. Special Deputy Marshal, Sergent in the Indian Police for the Kickapoo, Pottawotomie, Iowa and Sac and Fox Nations. Killed in the line of Duty and listed on the U.S. Marshal’s Wall of Honor at Stephan Pensoneau and his Father, Paschall Pensoneau born 1795, were both signers on the Treaty with the Kickapoo of 1862. Stephan signed as one of the Headmen of the Kickapoo Tribe and his Father Paschall signed as a U.S. Army Interpreter. Paschall enlisted at Warren County, Illinois. Caption Peter Butler’s Company, Battalion of Mounted Rangers and Served in the War of the Rebellion, the Mexican War and in the Black Hawk War 1831-32. Wounded in the battle of Cross Hollow. Served this Country for 53 yrs.