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Indigenous Peoples of New York

Remembering World War I

Indigenous Peoples have a long history of participation in the U.S. military. They served with distinction in the War of 1812 and the Civil War, among other military actions. World War I was no exception. More than 10,000 Indigenous People served in the Great War. This number represented approximately 20 percent of the entire adult male population. They fought in every major offensive of the war, even though many of them were not even U.S. citizens at the onset of the war, as citizenship was only granted to “naturalized” Indigenous People and members of federally recognized Indigenous groups.

At least ten American Indians received the Croix de Guerre for valor in the Great War and 150 other soldiers were decorated for meritorious service. The distinguished service of Indigenous veterans also contributed to all Indians' being granted U.S. citizenship in 1924.

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