Participation in the United States military among all Native Americans is proportionally higher than any other ethnic group. This was true even before 1924, when the Snyder Act granted United States citizenship to all Native Americans. In the 19th century the U. S. Army created a service category of Indian Scouts that served with all major campaigns. More than 12,000 Native Americans served in World War I and more than 44,000 in World War II. Another 42,000 served in Vietnam. More than 18,000 have served in Iraq among the more than 22,000 Native Americans currently active. There are close to 190,000 living Native American veterans.
The end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will bring back to the reservations a large number of Native Americans suffering from PTSD as a result of their war experience. There is an increasing amount of evidence showing that American Indian Veterans have the highest rate of PTSD of any ethnic group and face significant barriers to care, which increases the levels of dysfunction, including in terms of already high levels of violence and crime. Geography is one of the greatest barriers to care, as living on reservations in rural and remote areas are often great distances from suitable medical facilities. For a population already feeling the extreme burden of poverty, the effects of PTSD only add additional emotional and economic stressors to an already isolated community.
Via strong photography and documentary film components, a multimedia site, and print/digital books distributed internationally, we seek to examine one of the least examined cultural groups among American veterans, who despite a strong cultural warrior tradition, as American veterans are perhaps the least acknowledged and least served among the American veteran population.
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