National Native American Veterans Memorial opens in DC


The memorial, commissioned by Congress, is the first of its kind.

Courtesy of the Smithsonian

WASHINGTON (WDVM) — The Smithsonian has opened its National Native American Veterans Memorial. The museum broke ground on the memorial, which sits outside of the National Museum of the American Indian, on Veterans Day 2019. 

Sticking to pandemic-friendly guidelines, the Smithsonian celebrated the opening with a virtual message “to honor the service and sacrifice of Native Americans and their families.” 

The memorial, commissioned by Congress, is the first of its kind. It was designed by Native American Harvey Pratt who is a Marine Corps veteran. 

“We spent about 18 months traveling across the country meeting with Native veterans and family and community members to get a sense of what they want to see in the memorial and what the experience of visiting the memorial should be, said Rebecca Trautmann, the museum and project curator. 

A stainless steel circle rests on a carved stone drum. It’s surrounded by benches and water for sacred ceremonies.

The museum plans on hosting an in-person ceremony in the future.

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