The Sequoyah National Research Center is hosting a traveling exhibit from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C.
The exhibit, “Patriot Nations,” provides insight into the stories of Native Americans that have served in the armed forces since the Revolutionary War. The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is the first Arkansas Institute to display the exhibit, and since the Museum of The American Indian did not want cost to inhibit individuals from viewing it, admission is free for all.
“[The exhibit] shows the long history of Native Americans serving in the U.S. military,” Erin Fehr, an archivist at the Sequoyah National Research Center, said.
The banners composing the exhibit are arranged chronologically, starting with the Revolutionary War and ending with those serving today. Each banner has photos and information about the historical context surrounding the war it is discussing, stories about Native Americans who served in it, and quotes on why American Indians chose to serve their country. Some examples include a banner about code-talkers in World War 2 and one about Native Americans serving in the Revolutionary War, which explained that more American Indians sided with the British than the United States due to the belief that the British upheld their treaties better.
Fehr also discussed the connection between the exhibit and a national memorial dedicated to Native American patriots that is being sponsored by the Museum of the American Indian.
“American Indians have served at a higher rate over any other ethnicity,” she said. “This high rate of service led to petitioning for funding for a national memorial.”
Congress recently decided to fund the memorial, which will be built in Washington D.C. and dedicated on Veteran’s Day of 2020. There was a nationwide search for a design, and the design of Harvey Pratt, a member of the Cheyenne tribe, was selected.
Patriot Nations is a very informative and interesting exhibit. It truly helps to share the stories of American Indian Patriots that sacrificed greatly for their country. It is highly recommended for University of Arkansas at Little Rock students and the surrounding community to take advantage of this free and enlightening exhibit.
Patriot Nations can be viewed at University Plaza, Suite 500, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays through Nov. 30.