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Honoring Native American veterans

Marines of the 28th Regiment, 5th Division raise the U.S. flag atop Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima on Feb. 23, 1945.
Joe Rosenthal
The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian provides important context around this historic image by Joe Rosenthal: "Corporal Ira Hamilton Hayes (Pima, 1923-1955) remains one of the best-known American Indians to serve in World War II. In 1945, Hayes was one of six servicemen who raised the American flag during the Battle of Iwo Jima in the South Pacific." Hayes is shown on the far left.

There are over 150,000 veterans who identify as American Indian or Alaska Native, and more than 14,000 active-duty service members who identify as American Indian, according to reports from the federal departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense.

This hour, we celebrate our Native American veterans. Eastern Pequot Tribal Councilor and U.S. Army Sgt. Valerie Gambrell shares her story.

Councilor Gambrell will be honored at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center's annual Veterans Powwow this weekend. We'll preview the event with Wayne Reels and Robert Hayward and discuss the history of Native American veterans in our state. You can register to attend the Powwow here.

Pequot Veterans Memorial.jpg
Peter Santos
Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center
A memorial to Mashantucket Pequot veterans is on display at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center, honoring individuals from the Pequot War to present-day.

Plus, Alexandra Harris joins us from the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian. She co-authored a recent book and exhibit titled, Why We Serve: Native Americans in the United States Armed Forces.


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Katie is a producer for Connecticut Public Radio's news-talk show Where We Live. She has previously worked for CNN and News 8-WTNH. She enjoys Victorian novels and walks with her dog Sonny.
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