Skip Navigation
Oklahoma State University

See Smithsonian Institution's “Patriot Nations” exhibit at OSU library

Monday, February 5, 2018

General Douglas MacArthur, commander-in-chief of the Allied forces in the South Pacific, on an inspection trip of American battle fronts, late 1943. From left: Staff Sergeant Virgil Brown (Pima), First Sergeant Virgil F. Howell (Pawnee), Staff Sergeant Alvin J. Vilcan (Chitimacha), General MacArthur, Sergeant Byron L. Tsingine (Diné [Navajo]), Sergeant Larry Dekin (Diné [Navajo]). Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Signal Corps.

Native Americans have served in every major U.S. military encounter, from the Revolutionary War to today’s conflicts in the Middle East, in higher numbers per capita than any other ethnic group. A 16-panel Smithsonian Institution exhibition titled “Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation’s Armed Forces” reveals the remarkable 250-year history of their U.S. military contributions through art, photography and essay. See the exhibit from Feb. 5 - March 19 in the south lobby of the Edmon Low Library at Oklahoma State University.  

“Tens of thousands of Native Americans joined the U.S. armed forces during World Wars I and II,” said Herman J. Viola, curator emeritus of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and curator of the exhibit. “Forty-four thousand Native Americans served in World War II at a time when their entire population was less than 350,000. They are Purple Heart recipients and Bronze Star medal honorees. Many have been recognized with the Congressional Medal of Honor, the United States’ highest military award.” 

“Patriot Nations” also calls attention to the upcoming construction of the National Native American Veterans Memorial on the grounds of the museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Congress has charged the museum with building the memorial to give all Americans the opportunity to learn of the proud and courageous tradition of service of Native Americans in the Armed Forces of the United States. The final design for the memorial will be selected this July. Working together with the National Congress of American Indian, Native American veterans, tribal leaders, historians and cultural experts, the museum will complete the memorial by Veteran’s Day 2020. 

The library exhibition was produced by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and made possible by the generous support of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. 

It is free and open to the public during the Library’s operating hours. To learn more about the OSU library, the exhibit and related programs, visit the library calendar of events at, http://okstate.libcal.com/.

Article Tags:
blog comments powered by Disqus