Winning design for the National Native American Veterans Memorial announced

Kaylah Jackson
June 26, 2018 - 5:31 pm

Harvey Pratt (Cheyenne/Arapaho)

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The official design of the National Native American Veterans Memorial was announced today, by the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian.

The winning concept entitled “Warriors’ Circle of Honor," was created by multimedia artist, and Marine Corps Veteran Harvey Pratt (Cheyenne/Arapaho). Pratt served in Vietnam from 1962 to 1965 and was stationed at Da Nang Air Base.  As part of a U.S. Marine Air Rescue and Security unit and the only Native American Marine in his team, he worked on the ground protecting Marine Corps property and recovering pilots that had been shot down. 

The concept of the memorial, which engages multiple senses, features an elevated stainless steel circle that rests on a carved stone drum. It will be located on the National Mall between the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and the U.S. Capitol.

"It's a matter of simplicity that's so strong not only among Native American people, but everything that we see and do is in a circle and it's a powerful object. It brings power in and it sends power out, " said Pratt, during a presentation of the final design.

The vision for the memorial embodies a place for healing and spirituality but also celebrates valor, legacy and culture. The "Warriors' Circle of Honor" will occasionally be lit with a flame at the base of the circle which encourages veterans, families and others to "come around the campfire" and tell stories of their service.

 

National Museum of the American Indian

His winning design was the result of an international competition conducted by The National Museum of the American Indian. The memorial will serve as a reflection space but also a reminder and education tool for everyone to learn about the contributions and sacrifices Native American and Alaska Native Veterans have made to this country.

“These veterans are perfectly aware that they are serving a country that had not kept its commitments to Native people, and yet they chose—and are still choosing—to serve. This reflects a very deep kind of patriotism. I can think of no finer example of service to the United States and the promise it holds,” said Kevin Gover (Pawnee), Director of the National Museum of the American Indian.

Not many people know that over 140,000 living Native Americans are veterans and 18.6 percent of Native Americans served during the post-9/11 period.

But with Congress commissioning this memorial, slated to open in 2020, it gives “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.”

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