From Enterprise Staff
Citizens of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas who have served in the U.S. military are heading to Washington, D.C. this week for the dedication of the National Native American Veterans Memorial.
Throughout this country’s history, Native Americans have served in the U.S. military, even before they were recognized as U.S. citizens.
“This is our country and it is our duty to serve,” Roland Poncho, an Army veteran who is a member of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas Tribal Council, said. “When I first started working for the tribe in 1969, there were seven council members who were veterans.”
Tribal citizens of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas have served in conflicts ranging from World Wars I and II to Vietnam, and more recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “There are about 10 tribal citizens currently serving in the military,” Poncho said.
Both men and women of the tribe have served in all branches of the military. The tribe has lost one citizen in combat – Marvin Ray Robinson, who was a tailgunner for a combat helicopter in Vietnam.
The memory of those who have passed and respect for those tribal warriors still here will be front of mind when the tribe’s veterans go to the nation’s capital for the dedication of the Native American Veterans Memorial. The dedication will be on Friday, which is Veterans Day, and will include a parade through the streets of Washington to honor the service of Native Americans in the military.
The National Native American Veterans Memorial opened on Nov. 11, 2020 on the grounds of the National Museum of the American Indian. This tribute to native heroes recognizes for the first time on a national scale the enduring and distinguished service of Native Americans in every branch of the U.S. military.
The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas made a commitment and a monetary donation to the National Native American Veterans Memorial project in honor and in memory of Alabama-Coushatta Tribal Veterans.
Throughout the Veterans Day weekend, the museum will host special events in honor of the dedication of the memorial, including performances by musical artists, presentation of colors by the Native American Women Warriors and hands-on activities.
The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas has the oldest reservation in Texas, located on approximately 10,200 acres near Livingston. The tribe is a fully functioning sovereign government with a full array of health and human services, including law enforcement and emergency services. There are more than 1,300 members, about half of whom live on the reservation. The tribe is governed by an elected tribal council and advised by the principal chief and second chief.