American Indian Veterans Memorial, Inc. (AIVMI) is a native-led organization whose mission is to advocate for a clearer understanding of the involvement of American Indian, Alaska Native, and Pacific Islander veterans in wartime.
To help achieve its mission, AIVMI is collaborating with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) to build an American Indian Veterans Memorial Exhibit at the Education Center at the Wall (www.vvmf.org) near the Vietnam Memorial on the National Mall in Washington DC to honor our “First American Veterans”. The American Indian Veterans Memorial Exhibit will highlight the bravery, contributions, and sacrifices of the American Indian, Alaska Native, and Pacific Islander veterans during their service in the American military.
The Education Center at the Wall will give context to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial by placing those who served in Vietnam within the long tradition of American Military Service. Across the street from the Vietnam Memorial, and in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial, the Education Center at the Wall will be a technologically innovative space where visitors will come face to face with those who gave their live in service to this country.
AIVMI is also working to establish a clearing house to disseminate and catalog information about American Indian, Alaska Native and Pacific Islander veterans. For example, in Vietnam, American Indians had the highest per capita participation of any other minority group, and the highest number of casualties, but they are not recognized at the Vietnam Wall, as are three other groups. The “Three Servicemen Statue” at the Vietnam Memorial was dedicated in 1984, and represents a “Caucasian, Afro-American, and Hispanic” soldier; nowhere is there mention of any American Indian, Alaska Native, or Pacific Islander soldier.