In 2013, Congress passed legislation authorizing the National Museum of the American Indian to create a National Native American Veterans 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.”
The Memorial opened on November 11, 2020 on the grounds of the National Museum of the American Indian. Kevin Gover, the Museum’s director, explained in The Washington Post that the “memorial brings long overdue recognition to the tens of thousands of American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians who have served in peace and war for two and a half centuries.”
The Memorial was designed by Harvey Pratt, a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma and a Southern Cheyenne Peace Chief. Pratt is an artist, Marine Corps Vietnam veteran, and retired forensic artist. Pratt designed the memorial in partnership with award-winning architectural firm Butzer Architects and Urbanism.