By U.S. Senator Mike Crapo
Idaho’s history begins
with Native American Tribes.
The Coeur d’Alene,
Kootenai, Nez Perce, Shoshone-Bannock and
Shoshone-Paiute contribute to the richness of
Idaho’s history and are
each important to its future.
The U.S. Senate passed a
resolution I co-sponsored that recognizes this
November as National Native American Heritage
Month and celebrates the heritages and cultures
of Native Americans and their contribution to
the United States.
A provision in the
resolution highlights some of these important
“Native Americans have made distinct and
important contributions to the
and the rest of the world in many fields,
including the fields of agriculture, medicine,
music, language, and art, and Native Americans
have distinguished themselves as inventors,
entrepreneurs, spiritual leaders, and scholars.”
An important contribution
also recognized in the resolution is the honor
and distinction with which Native Americans have
served in the Armed Forces of the
I have written often about the
outstanding service of our nation’s veterans,
including this month as our nation celebrates
Their commitment to our country continues
Native American veterans are an important
group of these American heroes.
Native American service
members have served honorably throughout our
The U.S. Department of Defense reported
that “historically, Native Americans have the
highest record of service per capita when
compared to other ethnic groups.”
Additionally, the U.S. Department of
Veterans Affairs (VA) detailed Native Americans’
high rate of service over the years.
In addition to noting the service of
Native Americans in the Revolutionary War and
the Civil War, the report includes the following
Roughly 12,000 Native Americans served in
the military during World War I.
More than 44,000 Native Americans served
during World War II, when the entire
population of Native Americans in the
was less than 350,000 at the time.
Approximately 10,000 Native Americans served
in the military during the Korean War.
More than 42,000 Native Americans served in
the military in the Vietnam War, and more
than 90 percent of these service members
Additionally, a high number
of Native Americans continue to step up to
protect our nation and defend our freedoms.
The VA estimated that 31,155 Native
Americans serve in Active Duty, the Reserves and
the National Guard.
A higher percentage of these service
members are female as compared to all other
groups of service members, and the number of
young Native American service members (age 24 or
younger) is nearly 14 percent higher than for
all other service members.
As Native American Veterans
have returned home and continue to return home
from service, they make up an important part of
The Native American Veteran population in
Idaho is estimated at
As we recognize the significant
contributions of Native Americans throughout
this National Native American Heritage Month,
tribute must also be paid to this remarkable
group of America’s