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Organized by Trickster Art Gallery, The National Gathering of American Indian Veterans is an annual event created to promote discussion, share the untold stories, and educate people on the contribution of American Indians in the military. American Indians have the highest percentage per capita of any race of people to volunteer for the military historically, at 22%. This Gathering brings together military, health, and tribal policy leaders who are able to connect and hear the stories of struggle regarding traditional health and wellness and economic development. These are issues for veterans while within the military and out, for American Indians as well as all other service members.
This documentary, part of an ongoing project, highlights personal experiences of American Indian veterans in the military through interview topics ranging from their own personal history, struggle with health needs, experience with service providers and employment, and what they find important after leaving the military. Veteran service providers are interviewed as well on the efforts to help connect veterans to resources and meet them their point of need. This documentary aims to introduce the public to the realities of serving that they may not be aware of, as well as familiarize them with the long history of American Indians in the military. It also aims to make veterans aware that there is a dialogue they can open with service providers at places like their National Gathering, and that there are strides being made every day to make services for returning service members better.