September 24, 2007

Indians die in Iraq

American Indians proud of their service in military

Enlistment rate is increasing on U.S. reservationsWhile American Indians and Alaska natives account for just 0.8 percent of the country's population, they make up about 1.6 percent of those serving in the U.S. military.

That translates to almost 22,000 people in uniform, more than 18,000 sent to Iraq or Afghanistan and almost 3,800 of those deployed today. More than 300 have been wounded in battle in the past six years, and 46 died.

Never mind that America's tribes have a stormy history of relations with the U.S. government and remain locked in treaty disputes to this day. Indian veterans merit special attention at virtually every high plains powwow. They return from battle with the sort of respect that vaults a young man like the 27-year-old Banks to nearly equal footing with tribal elders many years older.

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