Honoring our American Indian

Veterans and Leaders


November 19th and 20th, 2015 

Kellogg Center and Wharton Center for Performing Arts


In 2013, with the efforts of American Indian tribes around the United States and through a legislative act of Congress, the National Museum of the American Indian in conjunction with the National Congress of American Indians was authorized to develop a memorial for our American Indian Veterans on the grounds of the museum.  Given that American Indians have been, per capita, the largest ethnic group represented in nearly all branches of U.S. Military service, extending all the back to the Revolutionary War, this memorial represents a step forward in not only recognizing the efforts of these veterans throughout U.S. history, but also their role within each and every one of our communities across the country as role models, leaders, and inspiration to commitment for the protection of our lands and our sovereign rights as nations. 


Alongside these efforts at the national level, the State of Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) this year recognized Michigan State University as one of it’s Veteran-Friendly Schools at Gold-level status.  The MVAA assesses Higher Education institutions around the state based on seven criteria (see link here). 


With this recognition and in conjunction with the Federal American Indian veterans memorial initiative, the Native American Institute is fortunate to host Dr. Herman J. Viola, curator emeritus of the National Museum of the American Indian, for an initial listening session to discuss the proposed memorial and for an evening of sharing stories on Thursday, November 19th.  In addition to Dr. Viola, Sarah Mellon of the MSU Veterans Resource Center and Peter Vicaire, Tribal Government Relations Specialist of the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Central Region, will provide opening remarks for this evening event and share information regarding the current state of veterans affairs and the resources and programs available to facilitate the pursuit of new careers and overall success as our veterans transition to civilian life.


This Veterans Day, the Director and Staff of the Native American Institute want to extend our gratitude to our American Indian Veterans and look forward to participating in events around the state this day and through the following weeks as these veterans are recognized and honored.  


Chi Miigwetch, Igwien, Pidamaya, 


John Norder (Interim Director)

Mary Calcatera (Outreach Specialist)

Deanna Chisholm (Outreach Specialist) 

April Meersdom (Secretary)



Mission:  The Native American Institute was established to assist North American Indian organizations and tribal governments plan and prepare to meet the present and future needs of their constituents.


The Institute has collaborated with tribes and American Indians in partnership with Michigan State University for close to three decades. Through this time period, Michigan tribes achieved significant advances in their community and economic development.


The Institute continues to provide support and coordination of projects that add value to these community development efforts. 


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