November 13, 2009

First national memorial to tribal vets

Morongo Band of Mission Indians unveil national memorial to tribal veterans

By Traci KratzerTo honor the men and woman of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians who have served in the armed forces, several members of the tribal community and dignitaries from the city and county level gathered on Veterans Day to celebrate the unveiling of a new memorial in the courtyard of the tribe's administrative complex.

This is the first known national memorial to tribal veterans in the country, according to the tribe.

“American Indians have fought and died for this country since the Revolution and yet there is no national memorial in the United States that recognizes their service or the ultimate price they paid in defense of the nation,” said Morongo Tribal Vice Chairman Maurice Lyons, who spearheaded the effort on behalf of the Tribal Council.

The memorial features five columns representing each branch of the military and one representing the tribe, encircling a water fountain. The circle holds a great significance in American culture as many tribal rituals are held in a circle. Each column has a cast aluminum band with a weave pattern as a representation of the Morongo tribe's heritage of basket weaving. Topping the memorial is an eagle, a national symbol, which is closely associated with the military and American Indian culture.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see No Monument to Native Soldiers.

Below:  "Tribal members and community members gather outside of the Morongo Band of Mission Indians Adminstrative Complex today to celebrate Veterans Day and to unveil a veteran's memorial featuring the names of tribal members who served in all branches of the armed forces." (Photo for Record Gazette by Traci Kratzer)

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