Vincent Schilling
Native Women Warriors Color Guard

Warriors at Heart: Some of the Native Women Who Served in the Military

Vincent Schilling

During the American Revolution, (1775-1783) Tyonajanegen, a Native American woman married to an American Army Officer, fought alongside her husband on horseback during a battle in which she loaded her husband’s gun because he had been shot in the wrist.

Since that time, Native women warriors have continued to make contributions to the U.S. military’s fight in conflicts here and overseas. Though women servicemembers have not been as prevalent on the front lines of combat as their male counterparts, their contributions have still been significant.

In honor of their contributions, here are some Notable Native American Women Veterans that certainly deserve to be recognized. It also goes without saying, that all of our nations veterans and servicemembers are always on our list of heroes, whether or not they appear on this list.

World War II

In WWII, nearly 800 Native American women served to include Elva (Topeda) Wale, (Kiowa) who left her reservation and served in the Women’s Army Corps and Beatrice (Coffey) Taylor who served in the Army of Occupation in Germany assigned to KP with German POW’s.

Alida (Whipple) Fletcher was a medical specialist in WWII and was on duty the night two ships loaded with explosives collided, killing 400 sailors and wounded many more. Alida called the night the most tragic moment of her life.

Korean War

Private Minnie Spotted Wolf of Heart Butte Montana was the first Female Native American to enlist into the Marine Corps in 1943. Having worked on her father’s ranch much of her childhood, commented Marine boot camp was “hard, but not too hard.”

Ola Mildred Rexroat from the Pine Ridge Reservation joined the Women's Air force Service Pilots (WASP’s) after high school and towed targets for aerial gunnery students, an extremely dangerous assignment. “Rexy” as she was called was only too happy to help in the war effort and later joined the Air Force for an additional 10 years.


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Michael Madrid's picture
Michael Madrid
Submitted by Michael Madrid on
NATIVE WOMEN RULE (with apologies to my Italian wife)! NDNs have contributed greatly in nearly every armed conflict. I wonder how many of them support Dan Snyder?

Sam Lo Balbo
Sam Lo Balbo
Submitted by Sam Lo Balbo on
Any chance the term "Eskimo" can be dropped and replaced by "Inuit" as Eskimo is a derogatory name given the Inuit people by the Europeans.

indianmedicine's picture
Submitted by indianmedicine on
First - S A L U T E - To the NAI Women Warriors, who along side of their Male Counterparts have contributed to this Nations Armed Service's. The foundation of these Women, recognizes "The Warrior Culture" of the NAI Nations,Tribes,Bands & Individuals that paved the way forward. These Women answered America's Call For Military Service, First Responders, and Community Service without hesitation. So, from those perspectives, we recognize their contributions to their fellow man kind in Honorable Service so that others may have the chance that others might deny. All The Tribes have sent their young during times of Conflict, from The Revolutionary War to Present Battle Fields. We are grateful for their Service, and Recognition is due for the NAI Soldiers,Sailors,Marines,Airman,Coast Guard,and Merchant Marine's. We also recognize their contribution to First Responders Emergency Services that get called on daily for service to others through Police,Fire,and Medical Community Service. When any Women or Man puts on a Uniform, they make a personal statement as too their core Values as a Human Being that they care enough to go into harms way for another. That Ladies and Gentlemen is a profound statement without verbalizing the act of caring. We THANK you Ladies not only for these acts as a Human Being, but also as The Daughters of The Creator - for whom we realize is within us since our Creation and until we go back Home to our Ancestors and Divine Family. - De Oppresso Liber - Non Gratum Anus Rodentum - Indian Medicine

LineMerrette's picture
Submitted by LineMerrette on
In Canada they are called Inuit and in the U.S. they are usually called Eskimos (e.g. from Alaska). I remember vaguely that they are also different nations.

LineMerrette's picture
Submitted by LineMerrette on
In Canada they are called Inuit and in the U.S. they are usually called Eskimos (e.g. from Alaska). I remember vaguely that they are also different nations.