Women’s History Month: Native American Women Veterans Are Been Honoured

Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month: The VA Office of Women’s Health is commemorating Native American women veterans during Women’s History Month in 2024. VA acknowledges the influence your sacrifices, activism, and accomplishments have had on the history of our armed forces. Native American women veterans have nearly 200 years of outstanding military service under their belts. They have persevered through hardships and served at a higher rate than any other group, proving their love for our nation and unwavering devotion to duty. Presently, women comprise 11.3% of the population of Native American veterans (about 20,000), surpassing the ratio of women in all other categories.

American Indian Women in the Armed Forces

During World War I, several Native American women volunteered to join the Army Nurse Corps before they were considered as American citizen During World War II, Native American women volunteers grew to about 800, joining various women’s branches of the military, including Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC, Women’s Reserve or Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES), Women Marines, Coast Guard Women’s Reserve, and Women’s Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). Native American women continued to serve throughout our history, during the Korean War, Vietnam War era, Persian Gulf War and in the Post-9/11 era conflicts, and in several notable roles, from nurses to pilots and more. Native American women now serve in all branches of the Armed Forces.

Short bios for a few notable Native American women Veterans:

Grace Francis Thorpe: From Potawatomi, Kickapoo, and Menominee heritage, and a direct descendent of Sac and Fox Chief Black Hawk, enlisted in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in 1943, where she was elevated to corporal and served as a recruiter before being sent overseas and being awarded the Bronze Star.

Grace Francis Thorpe, womens history month

Upon returning to the U.S., she became more involved in Native American activism and served for the National Congress of American Indians. In 1971, she co-founded the National Indian Women’s Action Corps to further empower and strengthen Indigenous family units and Native women.

Linda Woods: An Alaska Native of Ottawa and Chippewa descent, served in the Air Force between 1962 and 1966 and was stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base, California, as a switchboard operator.

linda wood womens history month

She partnered with the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan for 20 years to promote Native American culture. She is the first female Veteran to create and carry the esteemed “Eagle Staff” symbol of Native American culture.

Dianna Good Sky:  The Bois Forte Band of Chippewa, joined the U.S. Navy in 1980, working in antisubmarine warfare. She was the first Native American woman to become a Chief Petty Officer, and the only woman to reach this rank in her tribe.

Dianna Good Sky, Women’s History Month

As chief, she led training for 600 personnel and was the first to develop training systems for the Atlantic Fleet Integrated Submarine Surveillance System. She was honored with the first-ever combined Native American and traditional Naval ceremony in 1995, and since her retirement, has continued to spearhead Native American advocacy.

Lori Ann Piestewa: The Hopi Tribe from the Navajo Nation, served in the post-9/11 era with the Army’s 507th Maintenance Company, a support unit that focused on maintenance and repair personnel. She became the first Native American soldier to die on foreign soil and the first woman to die in the Iraq War when she and others were taken prisoner.

Lori Ann Piestewa Women's History Month

Since her death, Arizona renamed Squaw Peak, near Phoenix, as Piestewa Peak, and many other memorials have been established in her honor. After death, she was promoted to Specialist and received the Purple Heart and the Prisoner of War Medal.

Mitchelene BigMan:   Apsaalooke from the Montana Crow Reservation, served in the U.S. Army for 22 years. She deployed twice to Iraq and later served on the National Native American Veterans Memorial advisory committee.

Mitchelene BigMan

In 2010, she founded the Native American Women Warriors (NAWW), the first recognized all-Native American Women Color Guard and a resource/community for Native American women Veterans. She currently tours with NAWW, advocating for Native American women Veterans, and serves on the advisory committee for the Smithsonian National Native American Veterans Memorial.

It is pride in providing Native American women on Women’s History Month veterans  with reliable healthcare, and  always work to ensure that you receive treatment that is considerate of your culture. For more info click.


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