By Gyasi Ross
Still, I wonder if the Skin representation in the military is “across the board” like it was at one time. I wonder if all nations--from all over Indian country--still have that “warrior spirit?” Whether--as with our ancestors--it is still a matter manhood, pride and dignity for Skins of all tribes and nations?
What I mean is many of my friends and relations who are veterans--these modern day warriors--come from places where there are very few economic and professional opportunities. Yes, these guys are hard-working, industrious and diligent. Still, the truth is that their talents would not have been fully developed if they spent their “warrior years” on economically depressed reservations. For many of them, in their search for opportunity, they decided to join the military as a “way out.” They honestly had to leave. And it’s a win-win for them because, in the military, they 1) get a chance to be the warriors that they were born to be, and 2) they have a regular paycheck.
Makes perfect sense to me.
I do not, however, know many active-duty (or recently discharged) Skins that come from tribes where there is substantial economic development or wealth as a tribe. I’m sure there are some; I just don’t know of many. Further, although I am positive there are some examples, I don’t know of a whole lot of Skins who receive a healthy per capita payment who volunteered to go to Iraq or Afghanistan. Not that I blame them. Heck, I don’t even get a per capita and I didn’t volunteer. So I feel you bro!
Still, it makes me rethink the notion that all Skins have the “warrior spirit” equally. It seems like if that was the case, Skins from the wealthy tribes would be compelled to join the military just like Skins from a lot of the large land-based (i.e. “poor”) tribes.
So I wonder: does “warrior spirit” mean “lack of economics and opportunity” nowadays? If all Skins had the same warrior spirit would all tribes be represented equally in the military?
For more on the subject, see Billy Mills Defines "Warrior" and Sitting Bull Defines "Warrior."