Why We Serve: Native Americans in the United States Armed Forces

Smithsonian. Sept. 2020. 240p. ISBN 9781588346971. $29.95. HIST
After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, it is estimated that between five to ten percent of the Native population in the United States enlisted in an effort to help a country that often discriminated against them, through boarding schools and legislation. Their sacrifices within the American military are often overlooked, even though they continue to enlist at higher rates than other populations and although generations of Natives have been part of the military. Published in conjunction with the dedication of the National Native American Veterans Memorial in Washington DC, this book by Smithsonian employees Harris and Hirsch covers the involvement of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Readers will find not only a correction to the historical records, but also personal stories of those who served. The resource is heavily illustrated with historical photos of the men and women who wore the uniform of the United States while maintaining a connection to their tribes.
VERDICT This highly recommended book provides a necessary view of overlooked history, and stands as a powerful reminder of those who have served a country that has rarely served them.
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