Wanapum Heritage Center Presents Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation’s Armed Forces

Traveling Exhibition from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian features the contributions of Native Veterans

 MATTAWA, Wash. – Native Americans have served in every major U.S. military encounter from the Revolutionary War to today’s conflicts in the Middle East and in higher numbers per capita than any other ethnic group.

Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation’s Armed Forces reveals the remarkable history of Native American veterans through art, photography and essay. The 16-panel exhibition documents 250 years of Native peoples’ contributions to the U.S. military. The exhibition runs now through May 8 in the Wanapum Heritage Center at 29086 Washington 243, Mattawa WA 99249. The center is normally open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is always free.

Diné [Navajo] code talkers Corporal Henry Bahe, Jr. and Private First Class George H. Kirk. Bougainville, South Pacific, December 1943. National Archives and Records Administration 127-MN-69889-B

Diné [Navajo] code talkers Corporal Henry Bahe, Jr. and Private First Class George H. Kirk. Bougainville, South Pacific, December 1943.
National Archives and Records Administration 127-MN-69889-B

 “It’s so meaningful to me because it shares a story that is an important part of our history,” Lela Buck, Heritage Center director and member of the Wanapum Band says of the exhibition. “It highlights the vital role Native Americans played in military service throughout our nation’s history. We are grateful to host Patriot Nations and invite everyone to come and learn this history.”

 Patriot Nations has mostly visited larger cities and communities. Having the exhibition come to the Wanapum Heritage Center near Mattawa is a great honor, Buck added. “We’re very grateful to share this exhibition with our community,” she said. The exhibition will include the personal stories of the Wanapum Band’s own military veterans in photographs, Buck said.

 Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nation’s Armed Forces was produced by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. The exhibition was made possible by the generous support of the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians.

 The Patriot Nations exhibition also promotes the National Native American Veterans Memorial, to be built on the National Museum of the American Indian grounds on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Design finalists for the memorial will be announced later this month. The National Museum of the American Indian is collaborating with the National Congress of American Indian, Native American veterans, tribal leaders, historians and cultural experts to complete the memorial by Veteran’s Day 2020. For more information about the memorial, visit AmericanIndian.si.edu/NNAVM.

 About the National Museum of the American Indian:
The National Museum of the American Indian is committed to advancing knowledge and understanding of the Native cultures of the Western Hemisphere—past, present and future—through partnership with Native people and others. Follow the museum via social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To learn more about the museum’s mission, visit AmericanIndian.si.edu.

About the Wanapum Heritage Center:
Opened in 2015, the Wanapum Heritage Center tells the story of the Wanapum Band, native to the Priest Rapids area of the Columbia River. The Wanapum Heritage Center is located next to Priest Rapids Dam off Highway 243 about five miles south of Mattawa, projects implemented at this center perpetuate the importance of the culture, traditions and beliefs of the Wanapum. To learn more, visit www.wanapum.org.

MEDIA CONTACT(S):
Wanapum Heritage Center (509) 766-3461 / lbuck@gcpud.org

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