“The tepee door”

W1954. The tepee door. 1909, Crow Reservation, MT. Joseph K. Dixon, photographer.

Native American soldiers brought their cultural perspectives to military life and war.  The soldiers quoted here understood and described how their Indian identities and upbringing shaped their views and gave them practical advantages.

Many of the soldiers felt it their duty to defend the United States and the freedom it stood for—even though they were denied that freedom.

Practical skills and knowledge acquired while growing up in Native communities helped some veterans survive life on battlefields and forests.  Military authorities believed that Indian soldiers were especially good at reconnaissance work—and this was not simply a stereotype. Several veterans wrote with pride about their role as scouts, relying on skills (keen sense of direction, ability to move silently) developed in their home lives.


Henry A. Ankle

James H. Crow

Owen Hates Him

Joe High Elk

Albert Lowe

Henry White



Walter Keyes and Jacob Leader

Peter O. Barnaby

Carlyle T. Pinn

William Hollowbreast