UALR hosting ‘Patriot Nations’ exhibit through Nov. 30
A bust honoring Cherokee Nation citizen Jack. C. Montgomery sits in the Cherokee Nation Veterans Center in Tahlequah. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions and bravery while serving in Italy during World War II. He is among the 44,000 Native Americans who served during the war. His service as well as the military service of Native Americans throughout this country’s history are being honored in an exhibition titled Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation’s Armed Forces.” WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Sequoyah National Research Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock is hosting the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian’s “Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation’s Armed Forces” exhibition through Nov. 30.
Native Americans have served in our nation’s military since colonial times and serve today at a higher rate in proportion to their population than any other ethnic group. “Patriot Nations” tells their story.
The 16-panel exhibition reveals the remarkable history of Native American veterans through art, photography and essay and documents 250 years of Native peoples’ contributions to U.S. military history.
“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 ‘Patriot Nations.’ “Forty-four thousand Native Americans served in World War II. The entire population of Native Americans was less than 350,000 at the time. 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.”
One those who served was Cherokee Nation citizen Jack. C. Montgomery of Sequoyah County who received the Medal of Honor for his actions and bravery while serving during World War II. On Feb. 22, 1944, near Padiglione, Italy, Lt. Montgomery single-handedly attacked German positions, killing 11 enemy soldiers and taking dozens of prisoners. For his actions in the battle, during which he was seriously wounded, he was awarded the Medal of Honor on Jan. 15, 1945.
“Patriot Nations” also calls attention to the creation of the National Native American Veterans Memorial on the grounds of the museum on the National Mall. 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.” 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 Veterans Day 2020.
The “Patriot Nations” exhibition was made possible by the generous support of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and will be on display from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at the SNRC. For more information, call 501-569-8336.