The Native American Experience
The images selected for this exhibit show the patriotism of American Indians. Though not citizens of the United States of America; 12,000 American Indians voluntarily joined the war efforts. More than two hundred volunteers were Haskell Institute (Now Haskell Indian Nations University) students and graduates. Joining the military was seen as an acceptable replacement to the tradition of the American Indian warrior. It was still very important to protect and defend their lands even while American Indian tribes were being moved to the reservation system.
The Department of the Interior office Commissioner Indian Affairs Cato Sells in the January 11, 1918 Indian Leader noted that American Indians financially supported the war efforts by purchasing liberty bonds totaling more than nine million dollars. American Indian tribal languages, in particular Choctaw and Comanche would be used to convey sensitive information. Code talking” would continue to be employed in World War II.
World War I veterans were finally granted citizenship in 1919 while all American Indians gained this right in 1924 under the Snyder Act.
All original photographs and materials represented here are part of the Haskell Archives of the Haskell Cultural Center and Museum located on the Campus of Haskell Indian Nations University. I had the distinct pleasure and opportunity to work with Bobbi Rahder, the Curator of the Haskell Cultural Center and her staff in the identification of materials related to this exhibition, Research, Remembrances and Reflections of the Great War.
Nikhat J. Ghouse
KU Libraries Liaison to
Haskell Indian Nations University;
Anthropology, Religious Studies
and Global Indigenous Nations Studies
University of Kansas Libraries