Museum of New Mexico Media Center Press Release

“Why We Serve: Native Americans in the United States Armed Forces” Set to Open at MIAC 

Museum of Indian Arts and Culture

April 14, 2021


The Museum of Indian Arts & Culture (MIAC) is pleased to announce the opening of “Why We Serve: Native Americans in the United States Armed Forces.” Available for viewing beginning May 16, 2021, when MIAC reopens to the public, this new traveling exhibition highlights the generations of Native Americans who have served in the United States military.

Native people have served for the same reasons as anyone else: to demonstrate patriotism or pursue employment, education, or adventure. Many were drafted, but tribal warrior traditions, treaty commitments with the United States, and responsibility for defending Native homelands have also inspired the enduring legacy of Indigenous military service.

"I found out I am not only fighting for the little bitty piece of land I talk about, [or] my immediate family. I found out I was fighting for all the Indian people, all the people of the United States,” said Samuel Tso (Navajo), a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

Why We Serve” commemorates the National Native American Veterans Memorial, dedicated at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

The exhibition will be on loan from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian until June 2021.


About the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture   
The Museum of Indian Arts & Culture is a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, under the leadership of the Board of Regents for the Museum of New Mexico. Programs and exhibits are generously supported by the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and our donors. The mission of the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture/Laboratory of Anthropology is to serve as a center of stewardship, knowledge, and understanding of the artistic, cultural, and intellectual achievements of the diverse peoples of the Native Southwest.


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