History
Minnesota National Guard
The Minnesota National Guard celebrates
Native American Heritage


The Minnesota National Guard celebrates Native American Heritage.  American Indians have eagerly served in the military for more than 200 years, in spite of a government which did not always keep its word to their ancestors.  As early as the 18th century, American Indians were recognized by American military leaders. General George Washington in 1778 stated he thought the American Indians would be great scouts and light troops. Since then, American Indians have been involved in every war since the War of 1812. During the Vietnam War, more than 90 percent of American Indians were volunteers.

While there are few circumstances of documented overt prejudice while in uniform, Navajo Code Talkers were sometimes mistaken by their own men for Japanese soldiers. But as one code talker recalled, Navajos had a chance to prove wrong the bigots back home; the military prized them for speaking their own language. For many American Indian veterans, the honor of defending their country overrode all other considerations. Currently, American Indians have the highest record of service per capita in comparison to other ethnic groups. It is deeply rooted in their culture to serve their country and they value a proud warrior tradition. At the end of the 20th century there were almost 190,000 American Indian Veterans.

Veterans Day and Thanksgiving are two popular holidays celebrated every year in the month of November. During this month of November, let's take time to reminisce and be grateful to our American Indian service members who have contributed to the success of the United States of America and its military.



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LAX-4-LIFE partnership teaches Lacrosse, leadership and life skills to Native American Youth
07/31/2013

2013 Native American Lax-4-Life Camp
07/23/2013

Native American LAX-4-LIFE Camp Update: Story, photos and b-roll video available
07/31/2012

National Guard supports Native American youth at lacrosse camp
07/27/2012

Native American LAX-4-LIFE Camp Partnership
07/20/2012

Minnesota National Guard joins the Nation in observing American Indian Heritage Month
08/20/2011

Returning vets of color face unique challenges
07/05/2010

Camp Ripley hosts Nation to Nation event
10/11/2005



Helpful Links

Historical moments of Native Americans in service

American Indian Heritage Foundation

Bureau of Indian Affairs






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Latest News

Chainsaw diplomacy: MN National Guard helps restore Croatian community center

Posted: 2015-07-06  03:22 PM
851st VEC Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard are demonstrating the power of the U.S. military abroad - the power to heal.

Members of the 851st Vertical Engineer Company are in the midst of a three-week deployment, working 15-hour days to repair a community center in the small village of Račinovci in Croatia, a southeastern European country that is bordered by Hungary to the north.

Since mid-June, they have been working side by side with the Croatian army in a humanitarian mission to restore the 70-year-old building after it was heavily damaged by flooding.



Monticello Soldier's motivation and work ethic drive her service in the Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2015-07-06  02:37 PM
Bier RACINOVIC, Croatia - Motivation comes in variety of ways, some find it with a book, some find it at the gym and some find it with the inspirational words and actions of another.

For Spc. Alyssa Bier, her dedication and drive to be a part of the 851st Vertical Engineering Company came with the words and actions of a particular first lieutenant and the inspiration to be the first female in her family to join.

"Up until when I joined, the military members in my family were all men," said Bier.



Pierz native serves in Croatia with Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2015-07-06  10:02 AM
Tomala RACINOVIC, Croatia - Some join the Army on a whim and for others it's a lifelong dream. For Pfc. Nathan Tomala it was an aspiration early on in his life.

"Ever since fifth grade when we had career day me and my best friend, we would always dress up as soldiers," said Tomala.

He is a part of the 851st Vertical Engineering Company out of Camp Ripley Training Center, Minn. He and 30 other members the 851st VEC have recently gone to Croatia for a Humanitarian Civic Assistance mission through the Office of Defense Cooperation.



Local rails get Guard to mission

Posted: 2015-07-02  01:09 PM
Ripley Rails CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - Across the state of Minnesota, more than 4,500 miles of active railroad track is used to move material, equipment and passengers - an extension of a system which started on May 22, 1857.

"Burlington Northern - Santa Fe Railway has a rich history supporting our military, reaching back to the Civil War. Today BNSF still works closely with the Department of Defense to coordinate movement of large equipment by rail, including to and from Camp Ripley, near Little Falls," said Amy McBeth, a spokesperson for Burlington Northern - Santa Fe.

In addition to three classifications of railway systems, the federal government identified a system of railroads for the purpose of moving government equipment to support the defense of the United States.



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