– In 1917, as the United States entered WWI, most Native Americans were not U.S. citizens. Some Natives were granted citizenship based on their military service. Others were offered citizenship with the passage of the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924. It was enacted, in part, to recognize the service of thousands of Indians in WWI. Citizenship had been offered to Oklahoma Natives in 1890 and 1901.
– Visit the National Museum of the American Indian’s resource page, “Native Words, Native Warriors.”
– It is estimated that more than 12,000 American Indians served in World War I. More than 44,000 American Indians served during WWII. Military officials acknowledge that Native Americans have the highest record of service per capita of any ethnic group. Native Americans were sent into highly dangerous situations, such as sweeping for land mines, at a higher rate than their non-Native counterparts.
– Native Americans were not placed in segregated units, as African-American soldiers were. The U.S. Government hoped that integration would assist the process of assimilating Native Americans into the United States.