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Native American Women Veterans

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  • Native American Women Veterans

    Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation, Inc.

    Very little is known about the contributions of Native American women to the United States military. The Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation is attempting to fill this gap by encouraging Native American women veterans to register with the Memorial so that their stories may be recorded and preserved. We are also conducting research on the contributions of Native American women of earlier eras.

    Historians have only recently rediscovered and verified the actions of an Oneida woman, Tyonajanegen, at the battle of Oriskany during the American Revolution (1775-1783). Tyonajanegen was married to an American Army officer of Dutch descent. She fought at her husband's side on horseback during the battle, loading her husband's gun for him after he was shot in the wrist.

    The story of Sacajawea, the Shoshone woman who accompanied the Lewis and Clark expedition of the early 19th century, is somewhat better known. Much of what is common knowledge is myth, however. Sacajawea has been remembered as a guide. In reality, she served as an interpreter for members of the expedition, who were unfamiliar with the Indian language. "Bird Woman's" service is described in the journals kept by Army Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark during the expedition.

    Four Native American Catholic Sisters from Fort Berthold, South Dakota worked as nurses for the War Department during the Spanish American War (1898). Originally assigned to the military hospital at Jacksonville, Florida, the nurses were soon transferred to Havana, Cuba. One of the nurses, Sister Anthony died of disease in Cuba and was buried with military honors.

    Fourteen Native American women served as members of the Army Nurse Corps during World War I, two of them overseas. Mrs. Cora E. Sinnard, a member of the Oneida Tribe and a graduate of the Episcopalian School of Nursing in Philadelphia, served eighteen months in France with a hospital unit provided by the Episcopal Church. Charlotte Edith (Anderson) Monture of the Iroquois Nation also served as an Army nurse in France. Charlotte was born in 1890 in Ohsweken, Ontario, Canada. In 1917, she left her job as an elementary school nurse to join the Army Nurse Corps. She later referred to her service in France at a military hospital as "the adventure of a lifetime." Charlotte passed away in 1996, at the age of 106.

    Nearly 800 Native American women served in the military during World War II. Elva (Tapedo) Wale, a Kiowa, left her Oklahoma reservation to join theWomen's Army Corps. Private Tapedo became an "Air WAC," and worked on Army Air Bases across the United States. Corporal Bernice (Firstshoot) Bailey of Lodge Pole, Montana, joined the Women's Army Corps in 1945 and served until 1948. After the war, she was sent to Wiesbaden, Germany, as part of the Army of Occupation

    Beatrice (Coffey) Thayer also served in the Army of Occupation in Germany. Beatrice remembers being assigned to KP with German POWs, who were accompanied by armed guards. Beatrice was in Germany when the Berlin Wall went up, and remained in the Army until the 1970s.

    Alida (Whipple) Fletcher joined the Army during World War II and trained as a medical specialist. She was assigned to the hospital at Camp Stoneman, California, which was an Army port of embarkation for the Pacific. Alida was on duty the night two ships loaded with explosives collided at a nearby ammunition dump, killing approximately 400 sailors and wounding many more. The wounded were brought to the hospital where Alida worked. She remembers that night as the most tragic of her life.

    Private Minnie Spotted-Wolf of Heart Butte, Montana, enlisted in the Marine Corps Women's Reserve in July 1943. She was the first female American Indian to enroll in the Corps. Minnie had worked on her father's ranch doing such chores as cutting fence posts, driving a two-ton truck, and breaking horses. Her comment on Marine boot camp "Hard but not too hard."

    Ola Mildred Rexroat, an Oglala Sioux from Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota, joined the Women's Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) directly out of high school. Her job was to tow targets for aerial gunnery students at Eagle Pass Army Air Base in Texas. Towing targets for student gunners was a fairly dangerous assignment, but "Rexy" was happy to be able to contribute to the war effort in a meaningful way. After the war ended, Ola joined the Air Force and served for almost ten years.

    During the 1950s and 1960s, fewer women felt the call to military service. The services, however, were in desperate need of womanpower during the Korean conflict and the Vietnam War, and conducted extensive recruitment campaigns aimed at young women. Many Native American women answered their country's call. Sarah Mae Peshlakai, a member of the Navajo Tribe from Crystal, New Mexico, enlisted in the Women's Army Corps in 1951 and served until 1957. Peshlakai trained as a medical specialist and was assigned to Yokohama Army Hospital in Japan, where she helped care for casualties from the Korean battlefields.

    . Shirley M. Arviso, a Navajo of the Bitter Water Clan, served in the Navy from 1953 through 1963.

    Pearl Ross, a member of the Arikara Tribe from the Fort Berthold Reservation, joined the Air Force in 1953, and trained as a medical specialist. Her first assignment was to the Air Force hospital in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Pearl was then assigned to Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, where she worked in the 865th Medical Group at SAC HQ. During theVietnam era, she saw many men who had been wounded in the combat theater. Pearl volunteered for overseas duty, but was turned down because the Air Force was hesitant to send women to Vietnam.

    Linda Woods enlisted in the Air Force in the late 1950s and was on duty when President Kennedy was assassinated. She remembers that the air base where she was stationed went on full alert. A later assignment took her to the southern United States during the Civil Rights movement. As a non-white, she found the environment somewhat difficult, however, she retained pride in her uniform as a woman of color.

    Barbara Monteiro joined the WAC in 1963 and took her basic and secretarial training at Ft. McClellan. Alabama. Her first duty assignment was to Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, where she worked for three years in the travel office and motor pool in support of troop readiness during the Vietnam War. In 1966, Monteiro was assigned to Ft. Richardson, Alaska, where she served as an administration specialist at the Education Center for a year. Lance Corporal Valla Dee Jack Egge of Dougherty, Oklahoma, served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the early 1960s as the executive secretary to two commanding generals of the Parris Island Marine Corps Base, South Carolina.

    Increasing numbers of women, including Native Americans, entered the military in the 1970s and 1980s. Patricia White Bear joined the Navy in 1981. She trained as an instrumentman and served at sea repairing, adjusting and calibrating the wide variety of mechanical measuring instruments used aboard ships.

    Darlene Yellowcloud of the Lakota Tribe was inspired to join the Army because so many of the men in her family had served. Her grandfather, Bear Saves Life, was killed in action in France during World War I. Her father, brothers, brothers-in-law, uncles and cousins were all veterans. Darlene was assigned to the U. S. Army in Korea as a Specialist 4th Class. Lawnikwa Spotted-Eaglefortune joined the Army in 1988.

    As of 1980, at least sixty Native American women were serving in the Eskimo Scouts, a special unit of the Alaska National Guard.

    Native American women lost their lives in the service of their nation. .

    As of 1994, 1,509 Native American women and Native Alaskan women were serving in the military forces of the United States. Thousands more have served in the military over time. The Women's Memorial has only 111 Native American women veterans registered to date, however. As more Native American women veterans are registered at the Memorial, their stories will be available to the interested public. Please help us commemorate Native American History month by registering a Native American veteran at the Memorial.

    The reason for this post is to remind every one of the native women that have fought for us . And to remember some of the ones by listing there names and stories......


  • #2
    My ex wife is a Navajo who served in the Navy..during my time in the sevice I known of many Native women in the hat is off to these ladies for serving....Thank You to all the Ladies who make us and your families proud...
    sigpicWe spend a lifetime worrying about if we make a difference....Marines don't have that problem.


    • #3
      hey shout out to all the native women vets!

      Here's to strength in the uniform as native women! ;)
      The only time its too late to start dancing is when you're dead.


      • #4

        much love and respect to all the ogitchidaqways that have served in the army and military
        you are an inspiration to us all
        and to the up and coming ones as well...


        • #5

          A personal thank you to all who have served with our United States Armed Forces.
          It probably makes no sense to say Happy Memorial Day ... especially to those whom have served and paid the ultimate sacrificial honor any human can make.All done for love of country and love of honor .I thank you sincerely.
          Women who have and are serving right now, Thank you .
          God Bless and God speed.
          Dream :
          Those who dream by day
          are cognizant of many things
          which escape
          those who
          dream by night
          -Edgar Allen Poe


          • #6
            My one and only baby sister; is a staff sergeant in the Marine Corp, I'm very proud of her and her dedication, for the last 14 years. I feel proud that she has other native women to look up to; and follow on her journey. I wish all military personal a good Memorial Day, you are in our thoughts and prayers. :flag: :marching: :flag:


            • #7
              Much love , respect and a huge thank you to all the vets today!
              Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else to hear... just sing, sing a song.sigpic


              • #8
                My sister served in the Air Force during the first Gulf War, I have an aunt that has made career as an officer in the Army, have a Heinz 57 buddy from High school who is in the Marine Corps, and a Navajo friend who is serving in the Navy.


                • #9
                  I want to give a big shout out to one of my former Marines, Santana Yazzen, who is from the Navajo tribe. She served with me in Okinanwa, Japan from 1990-1991.

                  I'm very proud of all the women that made the sacrifice to serve in the military. what an outstanding job that you have done.

                  However, let us not forget the military wives. Although they may have not enlisted, they still served right along with everyone else.
                  Through the good times and bad times, always pray.


                  • #10
                    Something of interest to veterans, of all services. (American War Library)16907 Brighton, Ave- Gardena, CA. 90247-5420 Or URL The worldwide Personnel Registry On line 24 hours everyday. Internet, and Modem access. They also have a G.I. Photograph Museum, of Honor and Personnel Registry If you contact them there are additional services they offer. All free to my knowledge. Ask about these other services.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DANCINGEAGLE
                      However, let us not forget the military wives. Although they may have not enlisted, they still served right along with everyone else.

                      Absolutely, the wives make just as much sacrifice. God Bless them and thier children that they willl have strength as they wait for thier loved ones to return home.

                      ~~~ Never look down on anybody unless you're helping them up. ~~~


                      • #12
                        [QUOTE=melissa_blackbull]Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation, Inc.

                        Very little is known about the contributions of Native American women to the United States military. The Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation is attempting to fill this gap by encouraging Native American women veterans to register with the Memorial so that their stories may be recorded and preserved. We are also conducting research on the contributions of Native American women of earlier eras.

                        Great note. you may want to include Lori Piestewa, tho...who exemplifies courage, honor and all the best traits of humanity, and made the ultimate sacrifice...truly a great American!


                        • #13
                          Thank you so much for your post. I am a 12yr Marince Corps Veteran myself and it warms my heart for your interest in all our Sisters who have served. Thank you so much for honoring us and for giving us some of our history.
                          Netooghe tooh little sister!
                          SEMPER FI! (Marine Corps Motto = "Always Faitful"
                          Last edited by Indigenous97; 11-28-2004, 04:05 PM.
                          "Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth shattering kaboom"
                          <Semper Fi!>


                          • #14
                            My friend, Technical Sergeant Jacquelynn Whitehat of the Lakota, serves as an Emergency Medical Technician for the United States Air Force. She's been in for 13 years. For several years, she has been going to the front lines and supplying medical attention for our fighting soldiers.


                            • #15
                              I was so proud that in my own tribe, when 9/11 happened, SO MANY women stepped up and joined the military. Our men are already proven to be fearless warriors, and I'm so glad that our ladies, our wiyan, our backbone, are also proven to be just as fearless and strong. Li Li Li Li
                              Ipsica Waci
                              Wicahpi Eyoyambya Olowan


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