Film Program Highlights Native American Service Members

Seven Short Films at the National Museum of the American Indian Recognize Native American Service

June 12, 2017

A set of seven short films highlighting the role of Native Americans in the U.S. Armed Forces will be screened at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian Saturday, July 1, at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. They will take place in the Rasmuson Theater on the first floor and free and open to everyone.

The screenings are part of the National Native American Veterans Memorial project. Native Americans have served the U.S. Armed Forces in every major conflict since the American Revolution and, in the past 100 years, in higher numbers per capita than any other ethnic group. The museum is planning events around patriotic holidays to build awareness about the history of service of Native Veterans through the exhibition “Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nations Armed Forces” and public programing. Currently, the museum is finishing a series of consultations with American Indian Nations to develop design guidelines. The memorial will be built on the grounds of the museum and is slated to be completed in late 2020.

The films are:

Cree Code Talker (2017, 10 min.), directed by Alexandra Lazarowich: A 10-minute documentary that reveals the role of Cree code talker Charles “Checker” Tomkins, who used the Cree language during World War II to defeat the enemy.

Jack (2009, 4 min.), directed by Tom Roberts and Jeremy Williams: Vietnam veteran Jack Menard, a member of the Sicangu Lakota Nation, struggles to reconcile his pride in service with the knowledge that his regiment, the 7th Cavalry, were the perpetrators of the Wounded Knee Massacre. Winner of the 2009 Veterans Day Film Contest at the National Museum of the American Indian.

Five short films from “Osiyo: Voices of the Cherokee People” include:

The Patton of the Pacific: Admiral Jocko Clark (2016, 7 min.): Joseph J. “Jocko” Clark was the quintessential Cherokee Warrior—the first American Indian to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy, the “Patton of the Pacific” during WWII and a four-star admiral.

World War II Homefront Hero Echo Rider (2016, 6 min.): Echo Rider was a young schoolteacher when she left Sequoyah County to join the home front war effort during WWII. A veritable Cherokee “Rosie the Riveter,” she worked as a painter, first on airplanes, then on Liberty ships in California, before returning to the Cherokee Nation where she lives today.

Joshua Wheeler, Delta Force Master Sergeant (2016, 1 min.): Joshua Wheeler was a prestigious Delta Force master sergeant, a proud Cherokee Nation citizen and the first American soldier to be killed in combat with ISIS.

Revisiting History With Cherokee Warriors (2015, 6 min.): OsiyoTV follows 11 Cherokee WWII and Korean War veterans on the 2015 warrior flight to Washington, D.C. The veterans tell stories from the wars and what the memorials mean to them.

Diving With Wounded Warriors (2017, 6 min.): Cherokee Nation citizen John Thompson’s lifelong love of the water led him to create a scuba diving nonprofit organization benefiting the lives of disabled veterans.

This screenings are made possible through support from Bank of America.

For more information about the exhibition “Patriot Nations: Native Americans in Our Nations Armed Forces,” visit For more information about the National Native American Veterans program, visit

The National Museum of the American Indian is committed to advancing knowledge and understanding of the Native cultures of the Western Hemisphere—past, present and future—through partnership with Native people and others. Located on the National Mall at Fourth Street and Independence Avenue S.W., the museum is open each day from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). It is accessible from L’Enfant Plaza Metrorail station via the Maryland Avenue/Smithsonian Museums exit. Follow the museum via social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To learn more about the museum’s mission, visit

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[Category: Society and Culture]